If you’re trying to plan a wedding in the Upper Peninsula, chances are you haven’t had much luck finding tons of information. I know that because not too long ago, I was the one scouring the internet for any tips I could find, with pretty much no luck. And then after my elopement was done and over with, I thought of so many things that I wish I would have known during the actual planning process! For my couples trying to plan their upcoming wedding in the UP – I wanted to create a guide for you that will prepare you for the best experience possible. So without further ado, here are my tips on how to plan a wedding in the Upper Peninsula.
Now, usually choosing a date is one of the first steps in the wedding planning process no matter what. But there are definitely a few things you should keep in mind when choosing a date for eloping in the Upper Peninsula! For example, since the UP is such a popular destination in the U.S., tourist season begins in July and peaks at the end of August. If you want to deal with less foot traffic, you might wanna choose a date outside that window.
The leaves start to turn in September and are fully turned usually around the 2nd or 3rd week. No matter what though, the UP is kinda always cold. Even in the summertime, don’t expect scorching temps! Truthfully, any date between September and May will be risky due to the chance of snow.
Pro Tip – Although tourist season is in the summertime, the UP is always a public place. This means that you should still be prepared to kindly ask visitors to step out of the way while you’re tying the knot!
There are 3 really cool ceremony spots you should consider when planning your wedding in the Upper Peninsula. My personal favorite part about these places is that you can still throw a party in a cabin with your closest friends and family there afterwards. Here are my top picks:
All of these locations do require permits if you want to have your Upper Peninsula wedding there. You should inquire with the park rangers to get any one of these permits, and I recommend doing so ASAP! They go on sale at the beginning of the year and they go very quickly.
Pro Tip – Consider getting walkie talkies and having printed directions. Service is spotty, and Apple and Google Maps are unreliable when it comes to taking you where you need to be. Even Waze has a hard time in Upper Michigan (I know, right?).
Did you know that Michigan only requires 2 witnesses for your ceremony? Yeah, I didn’t either! If you’re not a Michigan resident, there is a 3 day waiting period for your marriage license and you do have to get it in the county where you’re tying the knot. Considering the waiting rule, it might be easier if you’re from out of state to get the legalities out of the way before you have your celebration. Michigan also has a 33 day rule when it comes to their marriage licenses — you have to use it in the 33 days after you get it.
Prioritize figuring out which vendors you need when planning your wedding in the Upper Peninsula. If you’re having a backyard reception, there is the option to do catering, but keep in mind that there aren’t a lot of companies up there. Couples who elope in the UP tend to lean towards lowkey meals that they either prepped themselves, or their friends and family did. If you decide on Marquette for your location, you’re more likely to find a caterer as it’s more populated.
Finding a florist to deliver out to these areas is a bit more difficult. I would definitely weigh the options of being able to pick your flowers up on your way to the UP – perhaps getting your flowers from a vendor in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Flint, Saginaw, Lansing, or even Traverse City! Here are a few of my florist recommendations:
Of course, finding the perfect photographer & videographer (if you’re having both!) is one of the most important things. I recommend finding ones that have experience in the UP and who you feel like you really vibe with. At the end of the day, we’re the ones who you spend the majority of your wedding or elopement with! I have an entire blog post dedicated to Questions to Ask When Searching For a Wedding Photographer, so be sure to check that out. A few of my videographer recommendations are:
That’s everything I wish I would have known when planning my Upper Peninsula wedding. I hope you feel much more prepared than you did before! If you’re starting to plan your UP wedding and you’re still looking for a photographer, I would love to chat with you. To inquire about your date, you can fill out my contact form and I’ll get back to you ASAP!
Oh, and one last pro tip – If you want to do something wild & crazy like hop in Lake Superior right after getting married, keep in mind it is VERY cold!!