• Yana

Top 5 adventure elopement locations in Michigan

Updated: Jun 27

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. Venues are starting to offer intimate wedding packages and local couples are taking notice. Read more about my top list of 15 intimate wedding venues in Michigan.

Elopements are not about running away to get hitched in Vegas without witnesses. They are just more intimate celebrations focused on two people getting married and celebrating a commitment to each other. Elopements embrace a style of a wedding that reflects on the relationship, rather than hosting a ballroom full of guests with their own expectations.

Here are a few things to consider before you make the decision:

When you think about your wedding day, what are the most important elements? Is it the time spent with your partner, family, or are you looking to invite a ton of guests and dance the night away? If you imagine this crazy idea of getting married in Iceland or at Faroe Islands, 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? When trying to come to a decision about what is right for you, the first steps are to consider your finances, your personalities and preferences for an ideal day.

What are adventure elopements?

Adventure elopements are intimate ceremonies in the nature setting, often in the desert, on top of a mountain, at lakes, oceans, anywhere beautiful. The idea of elopements on a whim is an outdated notion, you can create the day of your own and invite your immediate family to witness your ceremony. But don't be mistaken, there is actually quite a bit of planning that goes into your adventure elopement and this is where my expertise comes in. I will help you research the perfect location, the ideal time of the day, we will talk about logistics and come up with the ideal game plan.

Who are adventure elopements for?

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. Elopements are a perfect idea for introverted couples that don't fancy 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?

What to wear?

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.

Check out my blog post about incredible down-to-earth wedding dresses for adventurous brides.

Top 5 locations in Michigan for eloping couples to consider:


Sleeping Bear Dunes, Empire, MI

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.

Turnip Rock, Port Austin, MI

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, Upper Peninsula, near Munising, MI

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, Marquette MI

And oh my, this amazing dramatic coastline near Marquette reminds me of Hawaii and is an absolute stunner for an adventure elopement or a simple engagement session. The intimate beach can be a great setting for a private elopement and the black rock coastline looks like dramatic slate. It is easily the number one for your romantic portrait session and an exhilarating coast dive into chilly waters of Lake Superior right after!

Porcupine Mountains, White Pine, MI

Beautiful landscape of woods and lakes with dramatic hilly views - a gorgeous area for a hiking elopement with backpacks an all! The landscape reminds me a bit of the Catskills or mini version of the Smokies. If you are true adventure lovers, you don't mind to climb hills and exploring new landscapes is your jam, Porcupine Mountains might just be perfect for you two!

There are many more stunning locations to consider when thinking about creating a beautiful elopement ceremony for you and your partner, here is my favorite list of locations out of state:

Death Valley, California

Death Valley, California

Joshua Tree, California

Big Sur, California

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Lake Powell, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

Telluride, Colorado

Zion National Park, Utah

Taos, Utah

For true boundary pushers:

Bisti De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area (Badlands), New Mexico

Bisti De-Na-Zin Badlands, New Mexico

I would love to hear what your favorites are in Michigan and beyond. Let's explore together!

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since 2012

Mary + Brett
katina + blake
Julie + Michael

Ann Arbor, Detroit, Michigan & Midwest boutique wedding photographer.
Traveling worldwide for adventurous weddings & intimate elopements.



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