Documenting all love stories near or far

Shelby Jane

July 28, 2022

How to Elope in Michigan

FILED IN: Elopement

Michigan is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the Midwest.  Between its lush greens, adventurous trails, & good old Lake Michigan itself, there is a whole lot to love. It makes sense then why so many couples are deciding to elope in this beautiful state, but how exactly do you plan out a Michigan elopement?

To help you in the planning process, I’ve put together a variety of resources to help you with everything from the legalities of how to get married in Michigan, to some of the best locations, & everything in between!  

Why Elope in Michigan?

The state has SUCH a wide array of landscapes, between the lakefront bluffs, sweeping sand dunes, scenic hikes & SO much more. There’s such a variety which means Michigan has a little something for everyone so you really can’t go wrong if you plan to elope here. Michigan is perfect for any couple that loves a bit of adventuring in the outdoors! It’s also semi centralized in the US so it’s an easy travel destination if you’re coming from out of state. 

How to Plan an Elopement in Michigan

When you first start planning out your elopement in Michigan think about the who, what, when, & where.  Start by day dreaming with your partner about the experience you hope to have. Who will you two have present there, just you or a few guests as well? What do you plan on doing on the day of your elopement? When & where do you plan to have your elopement? All these questions will help to guide you in your planning process & give you a solid direction when you first start your elopement planning process.

The Legalities

When it comes to eloping in Michigan, you’ll first want to obtain your marriage license.  If you & your partner reside in Michigan, you can apply for your marriage license in the county you live in, & then you can have your wedding anywhere in the state of Michigan with that license.  If you & your partner do not live in Michigan though, you will have to apply for your license in the county you plan to have your wedding in, & those applications range from $20-$30. You’ll also need to find an Officiant for your Michigan elopement. I am ordained & can sign your marriage license, so if you book me as your photographer you’ll be set there!  You will also need two witnesses over 18 though, so we’ll need to have some guests present, or we can find two witnesses to sign off on your paperwork.

When to Elope in Michigan


Early spring is great because there are significantly less people, but there are still a lot of nice days. There is a higher chance of rain due to the season that you’ll need to be aware of as well.  The rain means that all the greenery in Michigan will be in full bloom though making for some absolutely beautiful environments for your elopement. Overall the Spring is a great choice for your elopement day if you’re ok with a risk of rain. 


I LOVE Michigan in the summer for an elopement! This is a little busier time of year just due to the weather being so nice & everyone wanting to be outdoors, but we’ll definitely be able to find our own space & make your day special. You do want to avoid late spring & most of June though for lakefront hiking elopements as the flies & mosquitos get pretty bad. Later into the summer though those clear up a bit & make it much more manageable if you’re ok with the high temperatures.


Fall is arguably my favorite time to visit Michigan. With the endless amounts of trees & the way they change colors in the fall, it’s literally a breathtaking time of year. This is when things start to cool off a bit which means less people for us to have to worry about, but it’s best to pack some warmer clothes in case temperatures really get down there. With Midwest weather being what it is we could end up with snow for your elopement in late Fall so be prepared if you plan to go that route!


Winters can get pretty rough if you plan to elope in Michigan, so you will want to be prepared! With frigid temps & a fair bit of snow you’ll want to pack a lot of warm clothes & some nice boots to deal with the adversity. That being said though there’s something so magical about seeing all the nature of Michigan covered in snow for your elopement. So if Winter is your thing we can definitely make it work!

How Much does it Cost to Elope in Michigan

A Look at my Michigan Elopement Prices

Pricing info is a bit different- All the packages include the same things, but this time the pricing is different to reflect travel costs wrapped in. Also no 2 hour package

4 Hours of Coverage- $4200

This four hour package is perfect for those that are planning an intimate ceremony & adventure for themselves.  Get married at the local courthouse then hit the beach for portraits, or take the legalities out of it & exchange your vows right there on the beach!

8 hours of Coverage- $5400

This eight hour Michigan elopement package is perfect for couples that plan to spend the day celebrating their marriage.  Starting off earlier in the day getting married at the courthouse or with friends & family, & ending the day with an intimate celebration just the two of them or with their loved ones.

12 hours of Coverage- $7400 

This twelve hour package can be split over two days great for couples who plan to elope in private & celebrate with their loved ones the following day, or visa versa.  Twelve hours of wedding coverage split over two days can look like a courthouse ceremony one day followed by a reception, or an intimate wedding ceremony & reception surrounded by loved ones followed by an adventure session the next day.

16 hours of Coverage- $11,200 

Meant to be split over two days, this wedding package is for the couple that wants to celebrate all weekend long.  This 16 hour packages is perfect for the couple that is spending the weekend filled with festivities surrounded by their loved ones.  

Average Prices for Michigan Elopement Vendors

If you want to view prices according to Michigan Cities, head to WeddingWire where you can search the average prices of different vendors based on location. Typically though prices will be close to the following:

Officiant: $300

Flowers: $300-$800 for bouquets, boutonnieres & a centerpiece. Additional floral decorations will add on to this cost.

Hair & Makeup: $300 for hair & makeup on average.

Permits: Most beach & waterfront locations do not require permits for intimate weddings. When choosing a location though be sure to do your research as every location is different!

Where to Elope in Michigan


Known as an outdoor lover’s paradise by those who live in Michigan. Marquette Michigan is one of the most beautiful locations to elope in Michigan & the Midwest in general.  Places like Hogback Mountain, Wetmore Landing, & SO many more make the most picturesque backdrops for your intimate elopement day. & with so much to do in Marquette in regards to outdoor activities you should be set for a day full of adventure for your elopement!

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

One of the more well known scenic locations of Michigan, Pictured Rocks has ENDLESS beautiful views all throughout the lake shore. For most of these trails, the best time to visit is May through October, with the exception of June being a little buggier than other months.  Check out some of the beautiful trails that make up Pictured Rocks on All Trails.

Mackinac Island

This unique island on the northern point of Michigan, is such a cool place to elope.  80 percent of this island is a state park full of beautiful scenery & plenty of space for exploring. This means we’ll have no shortage of adventure for your elopement day & with an incredible downtown area to head to for the evening Mackinac Island really is the full package!

Traverse City

Rent a lakefront cabin for your intimate brunch ceremony & reception, then spend the afternoon exploring the small town of Traverse City!  Between the microbreweries, distilleries, & ENDLESS places to eat, traverse city is the perfect small town for a super fun weekend elopement. There’s also no shortage of outdoor activities to take part in so you get the best of both worlds at Traverse City.


Have your wedding on the beach overlooking Lake Michigan & then spend the rest of your elopement weekend escaping day to day life & exploring the cute little town of Holland Michigan.  Holland is the perfect town to elope in Michigan with its endless beaches, cute shops & good company. There’s a ton to do in Holland itself so I highly recommend extending your trip vacation out of your elopement!

Silver Lake Sand Dunes

Rent a cabin on the lakefront for you & your closest friends & have your wedding on Lake Michigan at sunrise.  Silver Lake Sand Dunes is one of the coolest landscapes in Michigan & honestly makes you feel like you’re on another planet. The rolling dunes are perfect for adventuring or sitting back & relaxing on so whatever you have planned for your Michigan elopement, the Silver Lake Sand Dunes has it!

I honestly could go on & on about incredible locations for your to elope in Michigan. Places like Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, Petoskey, Downtown Detroit, Downtown Ann Arbor, & Tabor Hill Winery in addition to the locations described above are equally incredible. & all of this only scratches the surface of what this incredible state has to offer!

What to Do for Your Michigan Elopement

Rent an Airbnb for You & Your Closest Friends

Make your elopement in Michigan a weekend getaway with your closest people. Celebrate your marriage with all your favorite people by exploring the gorgeous state, enjoying all the nature & exploration your heart can handle. Then at night you can spend time at one of Michigan’s small towns & enjoy the local breweries, wineries & restaurants! Some of my favorite Michigan Airbnb’s (& VRBO’s) include:

South Haven Michigan A Frame

Glamping Tent in Boyne Falls

Remote Farm House in Galien

Private Lakefront Home in Bellaire for you & your closest friends 

Take a Hike

No, literally, the hikes in Michigan are JAW DROPPING. If you plan to elope just the two of you, I highly recommend spending your elopement hiking to some of the breathtaking locations that make up Michigan. Locations such as Pictured Rocks or the Silver Lake Sand Dunes are jaw-dropping locations to elope with your best friend. Rent some kayaks, explore the space, & tow your adventurous wedding photographer along with you!

As you can see there is SO much to love about Michigan which is why it’s one of my favorite states for an elopement. Between the natural beauty the state has, the amazing & personal small towns, & everything in between it truly is a special state. To book me for your own Michigan elopement head to my contact page here, & if you’re looking for more elopement planning tips head over to my blog page here!