Pictured Rocks Elopement Adventure in Michigan

Pictured Rocks Elopement Adventure in Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is probably one of the best places to elope in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Amy and Marcus decided to plan a more intimate, off-road wedding experience instead of their original plan for a large summer wedding.

Are you sure you want to elope in Michigan? Check out our featured Michigan elopement vendors.

Photography by Yana Benjamin

Deciding to Elope Versus Have a Traditional Wedding

Amy and Marcus decided they couldn’t wait to get married when the pandemic hit. Despite having to change their original plans, these two tell us they always loved the idea of adventure elopements. They even talked about eloping before they got engaged!

“We imagined getting married on the top of Mt. Rainier in Washington, where Marcus is from, or flying to Europe to do a trek from Italy to Switzerland. So when we found ourselves thinking about elopements, we knew we wanted to make it an adventure!” [Amy]

With elopements on the rise, so many couples think they need to elope a certain way. Social media shows a lot of “fancy” elopements, but you really don’t need to follow any rules when planning your elopement.

“You don’t need to fly to Yosemite to have a meaningful and authentic elopement. You can get married anywhere. In the middle of a city, in your backyard, at a river, in the woods, or at your favorite local spot. That’s the beauty of elopements, creating an experience uniquely crafted to your vision, rather than following the path of the wedding industry standards. Close your eyes and envision your day, take a deep breath, and write down all the things that make your heart skip! There is an entire universe of ideas you can explore.” [Yana]

Check out some of our favorite elopement ideas.

Deciding to Elope in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan

Deciding where to elope can be kind of stressful. There are endless possibilities all around the world. For this couple, they had an authentic connection in the upper peninsula of Michigan, which made it the perfect spot for their “I do’s”.

Marcus and Amy spent a Memorial Day weekend a few years back hiking, camping, and canoeing along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan and absolutely loved it. When they decided they wanted to plan a Pictured Rocks wedding, they soon realized they had no clue where to go, or how to put it all together.

“Thankfully, we came in contact with Yana! Immediately, she informed us of the process for getting married on national land (a permit is required, and we didn’t know!) and started giving us recommendations on the different sites we could choose for our elopement. After considering the logistics of several beautiful beaches and cliffs in the area, we decided to exchange our vows on a beach. It was beautiful and intimate, almost like we had a private beach for our day.” [Amy]

For more tips and beautiful places to elope in Michigan, check out our Michigan elopement guide!

Top Tips For Planning a Beach Elopement at Pictured Rocks

Amy tells us they actually used Wandering Weddings resources during their elopement planning. Our resources are a great starting point for couples who aren’t sure how to elope, or who are looking for elopement ideas.

The bride’s biggest advice is just to do your research and ask for help from your vendors and loved ones.

Are you thinking about planning a Pictured Rocks wedding day? Amy followed these steps when planning their adventure:

  1. Decide the location of your elopement
  2. Book accommodation
  3. Find an adventure photographer and other vendors
  4. Finalize wedding attire
  5. Look for rings
  6. Finalize the legal requirements for the elopement

Yana gave us 3 additional tips for couples who are thinking about planning a similar elopement adventure to this couple. She recommends talking to your photographer about an ideal location you have for your ceremony, consider the time you are eloping for the best lighting for your photos, and don’t be afraid to take a few risks!

“These two took a dip in the freezing waters of Lake Superior to capture their untamed love and passion right after sunset. Do you, but be a little adventurous, it will become a part of your unforgettable elopement experience.” [Yana]

Memorable Moments During This Couple’s Wedding Day

Amy and Marcus experienced a little bit of everything during their elopement. From their wedding vows on Michigan’s coastal cliffs to cuddling up close at the end of their elopement by the fire.

Instead of a 4-hour event, this couple enjoyed 10 hours together exploring the Michigan landscape. During their elopement, they enjoyed conversations about exciting travel, hiking, favorite avant-garde music.

“We found a beach with a dramatic coastline that ended up being an absolutely magical location for their powerful vows on the cliffs of Lake Superior. It was such a deeply emotional experience for me to witness their journey. It touched me on such a personal level. At sunset, Amy and Marcus played their favorite song, danced on the cliffs, and made a fire. Their fearlessness became even more apparent when they leaped into the chilly lake IN THEIR WEDDING ATTIRES!” [Yana]

Should You Elope?

Planning a wedding day can be overwhelming for some couples. You have to make a lot of decisions, and sometimes you aren’t sure if you’re making the right choice. The best advice Yana can give couples who are trying to decide if they should elope is, follow your heart.

“Big weddings are not for everyone and eloping couples especially enjoy the opportunity to experience their day without the pressures of a big wedding production and a tight timeline. If you’re not ready to go full elopement mode, you can always invite the closest members of your family and friends to witness your day. Another perk of eloping is that you can choose a date that works for you, rather than hoping a date will open up at your local wedding venue. You will also save lots of money which could be used for a dreamy honeymoon instead!” [Yana]

Check out our top reasons to elope and see if you align with any of these reasons.


Photography | Yana Benjamin
Accommodation | Landmark Inn
Florals | Flower Works 
Cupcakes | Babycakes

Photos From This Pictured Rocks Wedding Adventure in Michigan

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