Michigan Elopement Packages for the Wild at Heart

May 21, 2020


Are you inclined to do a traditional wedding, or do you want to walk off the beaten path and do things a little differently? Adventure elopements are quickly becoming a unique alternative to traditional weddings in Michigan. Couples are reimagining their weddings and choosing smaller intimate ceremonies or adventure elopements to celebrate their love. The typical wedding day of 10+ hours can be stressful and the pressure to create an event for hundreds of guests in this added uncertainty can feel overwhelming. Instead, you can plan an intentional celebration with your one and only in a beautiful landscape in Michigan or anywhere else in the world. This article will guide you through Michigan elopement packages, sample elopement timelines, checklists and the best locations to elope in Michigan.


elope in michigan



Elopements are small intimate wedding celebrations on your own terms. The idea of eloping on a whim is fairly outdated and there is quite a bit of detailed planning that goes into making an elopement a completely unforgettable experience. Elopements can happen anywhere – in urban or nature settings, in a backyard of a cool AirBnB in Marquette, on a deck of a skyscraper in Detroit, at a courthouse in Ann Arbor, or on top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Since most eloping couples don’t hire a wedding planner for their day, I will guide you through the planning, starting from helping you build your elopement timeline, to suggesting Michigan elopement locations if you need inspiration. Your day is about you and no one else! And if you are interested in a hiking elopement, check out this article!


pictured rocks national lakeshore elopement 



Adventure elopements are for anyone who wants to do things a little differently, for couples in love with nature and the outdoors, for adventurers and free spirits that want to have an intimate event instead of a full on wedding with couple hundred guests. When you think about your wedding day, what are the most important elements? Is it the time spent with your partner or your family? If you imagine this crazy idea of an intimate elopement wedding in Northern Michigan, or an adventure elopement in the Pictured Rocks, does your heart skip a beat? Does it sound exciting to create a day for you and your partner that reflects all your wants and desires regardless of what others think? Elopements are also a perfect idea for introverted couples that don’t love being the center of attention the entire day, don’t want to be stressed out while planning their day and want to spend the money somewhere else. Perhaps another travel adventure?


michigan elopement packages



If you’re planning an adventure elopement, you might be looking for a beautiful, flattering dress that will allow you to move freely without feeling constrained all day. You are most likely not wildly interested in a fairytale ballgown from a traditional bridal shop, but a gown that simply makes you feel you. The good news is that there are SO many options for incredible wedding dresses that will make you feel like a goddess without paying thousands. Get inspired. 


elope in michigan



This isn’t your classic, traditional staged wedding photoshoot with others dictating your day – I capture raw moments for badass couples that dream up their unique elopement wedding adventures and marry on their own terms. My job as an adventure elopement photographer is to help you find your dreamy Michigan location and capture your day in an authentic way. You can say your vows privately, under the pines, overlooking the Lake Superior or while you are sitting in a canoe on the Manistee River. These intimate ceremonies are incredibly emotional and powerful.


elopement packages michigan




5 – 10 hours of photography coverage

Unlimited elopement planning and consultation

– Includes a personalized elopement timeline

– Vendor recommendations

– Location expertise

  • AirBnB research
  • Hike research

Hand-picked high-resolution files in a private online elopement gallery

Elopement digital slideshow



miners castle upper peninsula michigan



Elopements are just as valuable, significant and precious as traditional weddings and you absolutely deserve to have your Michigan elopement day captured in a complete and authentic way! If you’re not planning to invite any guests to witness your elopement, your photographs are going to represent the only means of communicating how your entire day looked. Elopements are not styled photo shoots, or couples sessions that can be done in 2 hours. They are beautiful intimate wedding celebrations uniquely tailored to the couples’ vision. Your elopement day can be so much more epic that you can imagine right now!


elope in michigan



  • You will need an officiant and two witnesses, if you want to make it legal in Michigan! This could be a friend or family member who is ordained, or you can hire a local officiant available for an elopement ceremony 

  • Alternatively, you can get married beforehand in a courthouse and plan a completely immersive elopement day with intimate vows and your photographer

  • Bouquet/hair piece and a boutonniere

  • Determine the time of the day and a specific setting (I am here to help)

  • Cake or desert

  • Champagne for an epic sunset shot

  • Optional: sparklers or wish lanterns

  • If you need more help, hire a planner for the day

michigan elopement packages


If you are game to choose less of a traditional approach to your wedding, I am not just a wedding photographer, who shows up with a set of standard poses:

1. I will help you craft a day that truly reflects your personalities and your relationship;

2. I will get dirty with you if you choose to take me on an adventure;

3. I will guide you on this fully immersive and unforgettable experience;

4. I will be there to share jokes and stories and most importantly document your epic wedding day;

5. I will look at this day as a unique wedding experience, because you allowed me to witness your authentic connection through raw moments.

Are you unclear what do you need to do to pull off an epic elopement in Michigan? Here are some rad resources!


elopement packages michigan



  • Light is everything! If you want to plan for a truly magical lighting, your ceremony should happen early in the morning or 2 – 1.5 hour before sunset. If that isn’t doable, there are locations with tree cover that are great for mid-day.

  • Allow about 15 minutes to exchange vows, 1.5 hour for the wedding portraits, and 20 minutes for photos with friends or family (if in attendance)

  • Plan for getting ready photos at your AirBnB or hotel. Allowing me to document these moments will help tell a complete story of your day.

  • Allow for an hour and a half for hair and makeup.

  • Always cushion your timeline with extra travel time between locations. Also – this will give us an opportunity to make impromptu stops in case we spot a gorgeous location we didn’t know about!

  • To avoid crowds, especially in the summer, plan to elope on a weekday.

canoe wedding photos michigan



2 pm – Couple getting ready photos 

– Photos of wedding attire, accessories, make-up touch up

3:30 pm Travel to location

4:00 pm Portrait session on the beach with coastline in the background

5:00 pm Charcuterie/cheese board snacks 

6:00 pm Toast with bubbly and cake

7:00 pm Launch canoe and paddle to location

7:15 pm Private vows in the canoe

8:00 pm First dance on the coast

9 pm Sunset photos

9:30 pm Fire on the beach


adventure elopement photographer michigan



Have fun

Be present

Don’t forget to eat and drink plenty of water

Focus on the connection with your partner

Enjoy every minute of this epic adventure!


upper peninsula michigan elopement packages



There are some truly gorgeous locations in Michigan’s lower and upper peninsulas, from beaches and dunes, to waterfalls and dramatic coastlines. After we settle on the vibe you’re going for and the type of terrain you enjoy exploring, I will start researching specific locations for your day. I use professional tools to map out hiking trails and to determine the best season and light during the day of your shoot. 



Sleeping Bear Dunes, Empire

The Lake Michigan shore and the dunes is a staple location for amazing landscape shots. Ideal choice for eloping couples that want to reflect “Caribbean” atmosphere in their elopement photos, right here in Michigan. The sunsets are stunning and romantic. There are multiple different trails to explore for a one-of-a-kind adventure experience – overlooks, sand dunes or dune grass landscapes.


sleeping bear dunes michigan elopement packages


Turnip Rock, Port Austin

There are several sites along the shore near the Turnip Rock formation that provide a perfect landscape for an adventure engagement or elopement – from the water! The land is privately owned, so the rock formation can only be seen from a kayak or canoe, but the entire coastline provides a beautiful nature setting right here in Michigan. If you are into a true adventure, you can bring a canoe or rent one and decorate it with florals and do your elopement vows directly on the water. Once you paddle towards the Turnip rock, the water is shallow enough for you to stand up and have a sultry couples photo session!

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Upper Peninsula

Coastline of dramatic cliffs, gorgeous sandy beaches and turquoise waters is a dreamy setting from spring to fall. If you like the adventure of hiking the trails through woods, coastline and waterfall, or you just like to have a peaceful and private elopement ceremony on the beach, this area has it all! The landscape is so diverse, that you can transform your elopement day into an adventure of exploration on foot or in a kayak.


black rocks michigan elopement packages


Silver Lake Sand Dunes, Mears

Most of that state park is covered in pristine sugar-sand dunes, but the location also includes a four-mile beach at Lake Michigan, inland Silver Lake and wooded hiking trails.

The dunes that reminisce of North African Sahara desert (but on the West side of Michigan!) lure visitors to explore its sandy peaks. Absolutely gorgeous spot for sunrise or sunset engagement photography sessions. Don’t forget to wear a long gown that will reflect the soft light and fly in the wind.


Other fantastic elopement locations in Michigan:

Black Rocks, Marquette, MI

Porcupine Mountains, White Pine, MI

Sugarloaf Mountain, Upper Peninsula, MI

Traverse City, MI



michigan elopement photographerHi, lovely, I am Yana! When you book me as your Michigan elopement photographer, you’re also booking my knowledge of stunning locations in the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan. 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 wedding 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. You chose me to be a part of your day and I don’t take that lightly. We will chat about your favorite hiking trails in national parks, lovely wines from Napa and the most vibrant restaurants in the world. I will put my entire soul into telling your story and make sure your wishes are taken care of through the entire planning process until the delivery of your wedding photographs. 

To book your complimentary consultation to chat about your Michigan elopement planning, fill out the form below. 



Hello. We know we want to be married and we know what date. It’s going to be something between and elopement and wedding, less than 15 people total. We would like to get married somewhere scenic in the U.P preferably with waterfalls and pretty rocks. (Open to suggestions) the services we need are photos of the elopement and some at the celebration dinner with family, afterwards. Thinking 4 hours total photography time. Can you give me an estimate with these broad details? Thank you