If you’re interested in eloping in Michigan, you’re in the right place! From the Silver Lake Sand Dunes to Mackinac Island, there are so many incredible places to elope in Michigan.
As a Michigan elopement photographer, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring many of the gorgeous places that this state has to offer while capturing my clients’ big days and through lots of personal travel. I’ve put together everything I know about Michigan elopements in this post to help you plan one of the most memorable days of your life.
Keep reading to learn all about how to elope in Michigan, from when and where to elope to marriage license and officiant information!
If you’re wondering if you can elope in Michigan, the answer is a YES! There are some important facets of your day that you have to pay attention to, which I’ll get into later (see the important Michigan elopement information section), but it’s nothing too difficult.
Truthfully, it’s fairly simple to get eloped in Michigan because it doesn’t take that long to get a marriage license and blood tests aren’t a requirement.
Many people come to Michigan to elope because of the beauty of the state. There’s everything from breathtaking outdoor locations to beautiful city spots in Detroit, too. No matter your style, there’s definitely the perfect location in Michigan just waiting for you.
The price of eloping can genuinely vary depending on the location you choose, the photographer you pick to capture your big day, the time of year you get married, and more. Depending on your budget, you can most likely find the perfect location and vendors to have your dream elopement in Michigan.
Generally speaking, eloping in Michigan tends to cost less than a big wedding, but again, there are so many factors! With an elopement, you may also want to account for travel fees, especially if this is a destination elopement for you.
There are so many places for a Michigan elopement! Here are some top picks to help you get started if you’re wondering about the great locations this state has to offer.
This may seem obvious, but a great place to elope in Michigan is actually right at the Detroit Courthouse! This is perfect if you want something lowkey yet still in the city. Plus, there are some gorgeous spaces around the courthouse where you can get some incredible elopement photos taken.
For an intimate wedding, the Detroit courthouse is an incredible option.
Surrounded by breathtaking turquoise waters, Mackinac Island is easily one of the more popular elopement destinations in Michigan. It’s filled with outdoor locations, from spots right by the water to even those located in gardens with gorgeous rotundas. Cars aren’t allowed on Mackinaw Island so you’ll start your day with a sweet ferry ride and no cars in your photos!
If you’re a Michigan local, you could also just elope right in your backyard. This is the perfect way to have a low-key wedding day, and it will feel truly intimate. You could even have it in a family member or friend’s backyard! And in your backyard, the rules are your own, no permit or park pass required!
Some of the most stunning places for an elopement in this state are right near the water, just like Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. With breathtaking rocks jutting out of bright blue-green water, it’s easy to see why couples choose to get married here! Pictured Rocks is Michigan and the Great Lakes at their finest. From a secluded beach, to cliffs, to pinewood forests, you can find the perfect sport for your ceremony. Pictured Rocks does require a special-use permit ($100) and a parks pass to enter the park.
Yes, Michigan also has sand dunes which can serve as a beautiful backdrop for a marriage! Located right on the water, these sand dunes tower high above and look gorgeous underneath a bright blue sky. For a unique elopement location, (where you might forget you’re in Michigan) look no further than Silver Lake Sand Dunes. To elope in the Sand Dunes requires a $50 permit and a Michigan Park Pass for your car.
For the more adventurous, it is possible to get married in one of Michigan’s most scenic landscapes, Isle Royale National Park, though getting married there can include quite a bit of planning. They require you to get a special-use permit at least three weeks out, so keep that in mind, and there are logistics to plan since this is a remote island. However, this destination is incredible, with forested spaces, lakefront views, and breathtaking trails that can provide a beautiful backdrop for your dream elopement.
Last but not least is The Riverside, a newer, industrial-style location, great for elopements and intimate weddings right in Detroit. Opened in 2021, the interior of this place is perfect for those wanting something a little more unique in the city. It even features gorgeous exposed-brick walls.
Dating back to 1920, the building itself is very one-of-a-kind and features a unique rooftop with a view right to downtown Detroit. There’s no other venue like it in the city, and it can be truly transformed into any type of wedding venue.
Located right in Detroit, Belle Isle Park is a great spot to get married. It’s on an island that’s just shy of 1,000 acres, and it has amazing views from every angle. From waterfront, high grass, trails, fields, and more.
Belle Isle is so great because there are so many beautiful viewpoints around the island. If having a breathtaking view near the city is your goal with simple logisitcs, then Belle Isle Park is a great option.
When it comes to planning to elope in Michigan, you’ll want to think about when you’d like to get married. Michigan does see all four seasons, and various parks and locations, like the Upper Peninsula, tend to experience more snow and longer winters than the southern parts of the state, so keep that in mind when deciding your perfect wedding date.
The summer months are normally the most popular time to elope because of the weather, but fall and spring are a close second because they’re so magical.
Between June and September, Michigan has its warmest season. The average temperature is normally in the 70s though it can get higher, especially in July during the high season of summer. With that being said, it gets nice and cool in the mornings and evenings!
Fall and spring are the shoulder seasons in Michigan and are normally in the 50s and 60s. This time of year is great, but spring can be rainy (which can make for magical elopement photos), and the fall has beautiful fall foliage.
Winter is amazing for those who don’t mind the cold and want to have the dreaminess of snow in their photos. It can get pretty cold between December and March, with the average temperature around 40.
Be sure to do your research on various parts of Michigan before choosing an elopement day for seasonal closures, seasonal bugs and mosquitoes and more. No matter when you decide to elope in Michigan, you’ll truly have an absolutely unforgettable day! There really isn’t a bad time to get married in this state; you’ll just have to choose the time of year that best fits with what you’re looking for or imagining, and the location you choose.
To legally elope in Michigan, you’ll want to make sure you have your marriage license. In Michigan, it’s $20 to get a marriage license if you’re a resident of the state and $30 if you’re not. The legal marriage age is 18 in Michigan, and there is a 3-day waiting period, so you’ll want to account for that.
Another important thing to note is that you do have to apply in person to get married in Michigan with a driver’s license or state ID. All weddings in the state also require there to be two witnesses present who are at least 18 years old.
After receiving your license, you have 33 days to be used before they’re deemed invalid. While some states allow self-uniting marriages, Michigan marriage licenses have to be signed by an ordained minister or officiant along with two witnesses.
For these reasons, when eloping, you’ll either need to hire an officiant and bring along at least two witnesses (or find strangers and your photographer). Alternatively, you can have a civil ceremony (a judge at the courthouse performs your legal marriage) or meet with an officiant outside of your elopement ceremony. Just note that if you keep the elopement to just the two of you, your legal marriage date and personal elopement ceremony date may be different.
Lastly, if you decide to get married in a state or national park in Michigan (which are stunning!), then you may need to get a permit. This changes from park to park, so be sure to do some due diligence to make sure you have all the requirements checked before your big day.
If you’re still on the hunt for your Michigan elopement photographer, I’d love to be considered. We have a few different elopement packages to choose from!
We offer metro Detroit elopements, which begin at $2900 and can include getting married at the Detroit courthouse or even getting married intimately in your backyard. We also offer elopements for everywhere else in the state starting at $3700 and this includes travel and lodging.
Check out our other resources on eloping: