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Michigan Sleeping Bear Dune Elopement

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September 2, 2022

Elopements

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How to Elope in Michigan

Why elope in the first place? 

So you’re planning to elope as you begin your life together? Count me in! Elopements offer such an intentional and intimate way to celebrate your love! Let me be your guide to the best day of your life as you plan your Michigan elopement.

The beauty of eloping is the freedom that comes with it! This is your “Yes Day.” The day that you can ask for absolutely anything your want for your wedding. It is also a great opportunity for the you to embrace your favorite activities together. Want to go for a sunrise hike? Let’s do it! Want to kayak to a remote location? You got it. It’s so important for you to remember that this day is focused solely on you without the expectations or pressures from anyone else. 

Why elope in Michigan? 

You know I’m a proud Michigander through and through, and I absolutely love helping my couples plan their dream elopements in our beautiful state. From rocky coastlines to beautiful beaches, towering sand dunes and woodsy treetops, Michigan has it all. The Great Lakes State can truly be enjoyed in any season to get the look you’ve always dreamed of. 

Michigan has plenty of amazing places to consider when eloping. Five of my favorite places include: 

  1. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – the dunes are an amazing place to look out over the dazzling coastline of Lake Michigan. 
  2. Presque Isle State Park – the ancient rock formations on the coast of Lake Superior offer a moody backdrop as the dark rock meets the crystal clear water below. 
  3. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – This lakeshore spans over 42 miles and is made up of so many alluring locations to have your elopement including stunning multicolored sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, and waterfalls. 
  4. Isle Royale National Park – This park is one of the least visited national parks as it is only accessible by boat or plane, it offers a quiet location with plenty of woodsy or rocky overlooks of Lake Superior to have your charming elopement. 
  5. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – These mountains are a large bluff that look over the UP with treetop views that are especially gorgeous in the fall.

For more information on these beautiful locations see my Five Epic Locations to Elope in Michigan. 

Preparations for your Elopement

When considering what you want for your elopement, it might be important to sit down with your future spouse and hash out some of the bigger picture details that you want included in your elopement. Ask yourselves: 

  1. What are some activities you and your future spouse like to do on your days off? 
  2. What’s something you both have wanted to always do? A bucket list item?
  3. What are you looking forward to most about your elopement day? And you can’t say getting married! 

The beauty of these questions are they are entirely subject to you as a couple. So this is a great time to not think about what your families might think is fun, but entirely what you would enjoy! 

After spending some time considering what you and your spouse enjoy as a couple, it is also important to address what you want this amazing day to look like: 

  1. Are you imagining warmer or cooler temperatures?
  2. Do you have a specific season you are imagining? 
  3. What scenery are you picturing? 
  4. Is there a specific place in Michigan that you have always imagined getting married? 

Remember to check out my blog on the Five Epic Locations to Elope in Michigan! It’s important to note that getting married on state land or in national or state parks may require specific permits. These vary between parks and I am happy to help you figure these out based on the location you choose. 

The Legal Stuff 

In addition to the fun and beautiful part of planning your elopement, I’m also here to help you make sure you have your ducks in a row. We want you to actually end up legally married when everything is said and done.  

The Marriage License

In order to get your marriage license in Michigan you must be 18 years and older. Additionally, you must apply for the license in person and before your elopement. It typically takes three days after the day the application is submitted for the license to be issued and used. For residents of Michigan, the application fee for the license is $20, for nonresidents it is $30. While it’s great to plan ahead, you won’t want to apply for your Marriage license too soon. Michigan marriage licenses are only valid for 33 days after being issued. The earliest you should apply for your license is 34 days before your ceremony. 

If you are a current Michigan resident, you’ll need to apply for your Michigan marriage license in the county you live in. If neither of you are Michigan residents, you’ll need to apply for your license through the county where the elopement will take place. 

Officiants and Witnesses

The state of Michigan requires your ceremony to be performed by an ordained officiant. You will also need your documents signed by two witnesses at least 18 years of age. I am absolutely willing to be one of the witnesses if my couple wants a more intimate ceremony without bringing others along, or we can certainly snag some nearby hikers to be the witnesses to the start of your life as a married couple. If you need help finding an officiant for your ceremony, check out this Michigan database. The officiant will be responsible for mailing in your legal documents for you, so you won’t have to worry about that after the ceremony! 

If you’re not super fond of having an officiant who you don’t have a relationship with a part of your elopement day, you can consider other options, like meeting up at a coffee shop in the morning to sign the documents, or getting married legally on a different day with a judge at a courthouse. 

You can find additional laws of marriage in Michigan here: Michigan Marriage Laws.

Ready to Start Planning?

Ready to elope in Michigan? Reach out to me today to start planning your Michigan elopement with Boy From the Mitten. Here are 4 Things to Remember While Planning Your Elopement  as well as 3 Reasons You Should Hire a Videographer for Your Elopement.

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