Romantic Northern Michigan Wedding in the Upper Peninsula

November 15, 2020

Elope Up North: Marquette log cabin wedding inspiration

Cabin weddings are a dreamy choice for couples in love with Michigan nature and outdoor adventures in the Upper Peninsula. Jayme and Peter live on the East Coast, but a part of their family resides in the Midwest, so the couple chose to host their intimate Michigan cabin wedding in the stunning landscape of the UP. 

cabin wedding first dance

Why planning a cabin wedding in Marquette is a fabulous idea

Jayme and Peter envisioned a low-key wedding day celebration right in the backyard of their log cabin rental in Marquette. They chose this dreamy cabin property in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan because of the breathtaking waterfront with dense woods. They imagined an event with their close family members and most cherished friends, without the pressures of a large wedding with a tight timeline. They enjoyed bonding time with their loved ones that witnessed their emotional ceremony with a woodsy backdrop and then shared a catered meal under the stars of Northern Michigan skies.


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The couple really cared about flexibility and having the opportunity to fully personalize their wedding day:

1. Their date wasn’t determined by the wedding venue’s booking calendar.

2. Their wedding day was crafted to Jayme and Peter’s vision, which included an adventure at Black Rocks.

3. Interactions with their wedding guests weren’t dictated by their wedding timeline.

4. And still, while they rented a luxury log cabin property in the Upper Peninsula, the cost of the entire wedding was much lower than renting a traditional venue.

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Marquette cabin wedding with a stunning waterfront to elope at

Jayme and Peter, two wanderlusts and adventurers decided to elope up North and got married in the a backyard of a log cabin in the Upper Peninsula. The wedding featured a few staple traditions, but the couple mostly focus on a personalized approach, hand-picked designs and sustainable food options.

Jayme wore a gorgeous silver BHLDN wedding dress that perfectly fit with her playful personality. We ventured out to the dramatic coastline of Black Rocks near Marquette and the cliffs served as a stunning backdrop for their adventure portrait session. 


First look on a woodsy trail 

First look is a fantastic option to help avoid a logistical nightmare of not seeing each other in your cabin. Adding this fun element into your wedding day can also help get all the formal photos out of the way, so you can enjoy your time mingling with your wedding guests after the ceremony

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I usually recommend to schedule wedding ceremonies and bridal portraits during a time with the most flattering light. You can aim for about an hour before sunset for a beautiful soft glowing lighting conditions. When building Jayme and Peter’s timeline, we were working around the lighting possibilities and afternoon downtime for younger family members. 

“This couldn’t be just a lake. No real water was ever blue like that. A light breeze stirred the pin-cherry tree beside the window, ruffled the feathers of a fat sea gull promenading on the pink rocks below. The breeze was full of evergreen spice.”

Dorothy Maywood Bird, Mystery at Laughing Water

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Black Rocks adventure wedding session at Presque Isle in Marquette to elope up North

We decided to schedule the adventure portrait session at Black Rocks in Presque Isle to take advantage of the softer light in the afternoon. Presque Isle in Marquette features one of the most stunning black rock formations in Michigan. The landscape of Upper Peninsula offers drama, adventure and stunning sunsets! And in the evening, we got a chance to add sparkler shots right in time for sunset, back at the cabin. These playful portraits added to the diversity of Jayme and Peter’s wedding photos we were able to create that day in Marquette. 

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Wedding timeline with 2 pm ceremony and Black Rocks adventure session

11 am Bridal prep photos

Wedding dress


12 am Groom getting ready photos

12:20 pm First look

Set up for ceremony 

1:30 pm – 2 pm Ceremony

2:30 pm Family pictures

Set up for reception

2:30 pm – 5:30 pm Black Rocks/Presque Isle, Marquette adventure session

6:30 pm Dinner 

First Dance

8 pm Sunset photos at the lakefront cabin

Later at night – Sparkler shots

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Elope Up North: Northern Michigan wedding ceremony time and location

If you’re hosting your wedding in your backyard, observe the light for a few days and envision the best time and the most ideal backdrop for your ceremony. Tall trees, natural arches or a lakefront before sunset, typically serve as the most ideal backdrops for any wedding ceremony.


cabin wedding reception

Pro tip: Make sure to keep the direction of light in mind when making the decision. You will want to avoid harsh lighting situations and mid-day shadows. Once the sun starts setting, your photographer will love a backlit scene of you and your partner reading your vows. 

If you are setting up a wedding ceremony in an rental to elope up North, ask the owner for some photos at different times of the day to get a better idea of how the light looks. This might give you a better idea of location possibilities and setup ideas for your cabin wedding. 

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Northern Michigan Cabin wedding reception

The whimsical woodsy property was beautifully decorated with string lights, candlesticks and rustic accents. The dinner was locally catered and served al fresco after sunset. If you are like me, you will love an outdoor summer reception under the stars!

cabin wedding in michigan

To set the scene, make sure to light the evening reception area with plenty of lights and candles – your wedding photographer will love capturing the cozy atmosphere. If you’re getting married in the fall, get free standing heaters or personalized cozy blankets to keep your guests warm during dinner and toasts. 


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Northern Michigan wedding reception decor

Having a backyard wedding at a cabin gives you the opportunity to personalize your accessories and colors to your aesthetic. Create a space full of comfort and hygge using local makers and artisans for wedding favors, which can also be incorporated to the table settings.

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Jayme and Peter used copper mugs to serve up delicious crafted mules. The mugs ended up being one of the wedding favors along with cozy personalized blankets with the guests’ names

wedding food

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Highlights from this Upper Peninsula Northern Michigan wedding

Cabin with woodsy property and a lakefront

Personalized DIY elements 

First look on a private trail rimmed with tall trees

Adventure session at Black Rocks

Local Marquette fine foods and cake

Award winning bottle of wine from Napa Valley

Moscow mule with secret bitters

For more pro tips on how to plan an elopement in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, click here.

michigan wedding photography

Hi, lovely, I am Yana, a Michigan wedding and elopement photographer! When you book me as your photographer in the Upper Peninsula, you’re also booking my knowledge of stunning locations and venues. But that’s not all. I spend hours scouting new locations, researching activities and vetting vendors to be able to provide my expertise for a unique experience. I will also become your sounding board to consult ideas about your dream elopement adventure. Through all of this, we will most likely become friends and I will silently shed a tear hiding behind my camera when I witness you exchange your vows with your one and only. To book your complimentary consultation and chat about your UP wedding or elopement, fill out the form below.