How to Elope in Michigan

Michigan is probably one of the most unique and underrated locations to elope in the US. Surrounded by multiple terrains, Michigan has a little bit of everything for every type of adventurer. Take some time to explore the vibrant cities, explore through beautiful forests, or visit a stunning beach. If you’re thinking about eloping in Michigan, then keep on reading to find out how to elope in Michigan and some of the best places to elope in Michigan.

  1. Find the Perfect Place to Elope in Michigan
  2. Hire a Michigan Elopement Vendor
  3. Decide When You Would like to Elope in Michigan
  4. Apply for your Marriage License and Permits


Places to Elope in Michigan

Headlands International Dark Sky Park

Probably one of our favorite places to elope in Michigan has to be this park. The Headlands is the perfect place to have your elopement ceremony at sunset/sunrise and stargaze together. There are certain sky events such as the northern lights and meteor showers that can be seen at this 550 woodland acre, but keep in mind more people visit the park during these events. We also love this park because it’s free entrance, and it’s open 24 hours a day, every day! This leaves a lot of creative room for your elopement planning. 

Sleeping Bear Sand Dune

Hugging the northeast shore of Lake Michigan, you will find Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This spot is known for its huge dunes. These not only create a pretty epic backdrop for your elopement ceremony, but we also love when couples have fun and run up and down the dunes together. If you’re looking for somewhere to relax, then this spot is pretty unique. While you can enjoy miles of sand beach, you can also enjoy an elevated view of Lake Michigan, lush forests, and unique flora and fauna. 


Black Rocks Presque Isle

These Black Rocks at Presque Isle are easily accessible and sit high on gorgeous sandstone cliffs. This is a great spot for your ceremony or wedding portraits. If you decide to elope in Michigan, then the Black Rocks should be on your list to see. In the surrounding area, you can bike, hike, and enjoy the view together. If you both are feeling extra adventurous and plan on trashing your wedding dress, then you should consider diving off of these epic rocks. 


Silver Lake Sand dunes

Are you looking for something unique and different for your Michigan elopement? Silver Lake Sand Dunes is a gorgeous area where you can explore. If you’re feeling adventurous, then you can rent a dune buggy and drive across the sandy dunes together. The dunes here also have an epic history – 1,800,000 years. 


Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf mountain is accessible and perfect for someone planning an intimate wedding ceremony. The mountain itself is a relatively moderate hike and takes 15 to 20 minutes to hike to the highest point. There are also three viewing decks on top of the mountain, offering three different vantage points. 


Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Elope to Michigan and have the opportunity to visit the beauty of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. This park is filled with sand dunes, waterfalls, inland lakes, and sandstone cliffs. Take some time and explore the forest, or plan a glamping trip together before your elopement day. 


Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park 

Porcupine Mountains is 60,000 acres and considered to be Michigan’s largest state park. It’s home to gorgeous waterfalls, more than 90 miles of hiking trails, and amazing views. This area is perfect for a pet-friendly elopement, and for couples who are looking for exploring opportunities for remote locations.


Isle Royale National Park

Maybe you both want to elope somewhere remote and beautiful. Isle Royale National park is on an island cluster in Lake Superior. It’s actually close to Canada’s border! This whole area is filled with wildlife including moose and wolves. We love this elopement location for all of its forests and lake views. 


Tahquamenon Falls State Park

If you haven’t noticed, Michigan is filled with awesome state parks and forests to plan your epic elopement. Tahaqueman Falls state park stretches over 13 miles and is home to one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. With a drop of nearly 50 feet and running more than 200 feet across. This location takes the cake as one of the most spectacular views you can see in Michigan. 

Proud Lake State Recreation

If you both are looking to elope in Michigan somewhere with multiple trails and activities, then Proud Lake Recreation Area is your best bet. With more than 20 miles of trails, you will be able to have plenty of remote areas for your ceremony and portraits. The area itself is more than 4,700 acres and has plenty of nature activities to enjoy. 


Hiawatha National Forest

If you’re trying to elope somewhere in Michigan where you won’t see big crowds, then consider checking out Hiawatha National Forest. This national forest is perfect for your whimsical elopement. Groups larger than 10 are actually prohibited from traveling together here. This area, much like most of Michigan’s wilderness areas, are very much protected. Check out their website for a list of special rules that apply to this area.


When to Elope in Michigan

The most popular time to get married in Michigan tends to be the summer months, with Fall being the second most popular season. Michigan is gorgeous year-round, but it does get very cold during the winter. Expect below-freezing temperatures snowstorms. We personally love Fall and Spring elopements because of the milder weather and slower peak season. 


Wedding Permits and Marriage Licenses in Michigan

If you’re thinking about eloping in Michigan, then you need to consider permits and obtaining a legal marriage license. Application fees for Michigan marriage licenses are $20-$30, depending on if you’re a Michigan resident. After processing your application at the specific Michigan county, there is a 3 day waiting period before validating the license. Also, all licenses must be used within 33 days in order to be valid. 

Once you applied for a marriage license, you’ll need to find an officiant for your elopement. Some of your options include federal judge, country clerk, minister, or a district court judge from the state of Michigan. 

Most state parks require a permit to hold a wedding ceremony, even a small ceremony. Our best advice is to head over to the specific location’s website we mentioned and check to see their permit fees and conditions. If you’re still unsure of where to start, then our Wandering Weddings members are perfect resources to help plan your Michigan elopement.


Now that you know how to elope in Michigan, you’ll need to pick your elopement vendors! At Wandering Weddings, we are here to help. We would love to know which location you are considering in Michigan, or what tips you’re looking for when planning your elopement.

Michigan Elopement Photographers