Holland State Park Elopement

Holland State Park Elopement

Where to begin..

Keith and Lilia’s Holland State Park elopement took place on a blustery, October afternoon. The sun was shining, and they said their vows atop a sugar white sand dune overlooking gorgeous Lake Michigan.

Sounds like a dream, right? For the most part, yes it absolutely was. But that’s the thing about weddings. No matter how much you plan or how prepared you feel, they always have a way of not going exactly as planned.

Shortly after saying “I do”, Lilia and Keith are getting cozy in the sand for a super cute photo when Keith feels his ring slip from his finger. We all freeze, like deer in the headlights, not wanting to make any sudden movements. Keith and Lilia slowly stand up, and I’m certain the bright gold ring will instantly stand out against the white sand. Not the case.

I do my best to keep the mood light, insisting this will be a very funny story once we find the ring. After 20 minutes, on our hands and knees, essentially strip mining this little patch of sand, we call it. We all agree, at least it wasn’t Lilia’s diamond, and we should resume with photos. I can tell that Keith is disappointed, but Lilia is doing her best to remain positive and bring his spirits back up.

As we’re walking to our next destination, I’m people watching, taking in the hustle and bustle of the beach. 

In the distance, I see a man, with of all things, a metal detectorI glance at the photographer, Gabrielle; she seems him too. She takes off running and quickly returns with Andy, the hero of this story. Long story short, after 10 agonizing minutes, Andy finds the ring.

My point is, all weddings, even the smallest, will have something that doesn’t go exactly as planned.

The question is, how will you handle it? Will you allow the “speed bumps” to become all-consuming and define your day? Or will you acknowledge the mistake but let them pass, not giving them the power to ruin such a special day?

Like Lilia, I hope you choose the latter. Loosing a wedding ring is a significant “speed bump” that could have easily derailed the entire afternoon. Instead, she chose to see the bigger picture and did not allow this one event to define her day. 

The result was a beautiful afternoon filled with love and laughter that shines through in every single photo. 


X Brittany

Photography – Gabrielle Lester Photography

Florals – Precious Petals

Planning & Design – So You Want to Elope


Michigan Elopement – So You Want to Elope

Intimate Michigan Elopement

Where to begin..

Let me preface by saying this; never have I laughed as much or had as much fun during an elopement as I did with these two. When I look back at the photos from this day, one thing stands out. The genuine smiles on both Matt & Sam’s faces. In almost every picture, they have the biggest, most authentic smiles which so accurately depicts the atmosphere surrounding the entire day.

Samantha is an elopement planners dream bride. She is organized, focused, and knows exactly what she wants. When we first connected, Sam knew she wanted a ceremony on the beach But she also wanted to find a way to pay homage to her roots. Originally from Washington State, it was important that some of her wedding photos have an earthy/woodsy vibe as well. Lucky enough, Washington is one of my favorites so I knew exactly what she was looking for. I quickly found a location that brought a little piece of Washington to her Michigan Elopement.

The ceremony took place at one of my favorite B&B’s. Huron House Bed & Breakfast, an ideal home-base for any Michigan Elopement. Matt & Samantha took turns sharing handwritten vows in an intimate beach ceremony with beautiful Lake Huron as the backdrop. From there, we headed to a secret spot along the AuSable River. Accessed by a secluded, heavily tree lined walking trail, this location opens into huge sand dunes overlooking a crystal-clear river below. We spent hours under a canopy of trees, laughing, sharing stories, and taking countless photos of the two newlyweds.

When we finally made it to the sand dunes, we were just in time to capture some of the most stunning sunset photos of this amazing couple.

So, there you have it! From sand dunes to beautiful beaches and canopy lined trails, Matt & Sam’s Michigan elopement truly had it all.

x Brittany

Photography – Tiffany Eberline

Florals – Precious Petals by Jamie

Planning & Design – So You Want to Elope


Marquette, MI Black Rocks Intimate Elopement – So You Want to Elope

Intimate Elopement at Black Rocks / Marquette, MI

I first met Lauren when she reached out in early 2021 looking for help planning an elopement for just her and her fiancé, Beau. Like so many others, they started off with plans to have a big wedding but decided to elope after the stress of it all became too much.

Let me preface this by saying, Lauren is my favorite kind of Bride. The type of bride that refuses to let the fear of the unknown stop her from having the wedding day of her dreams. She just goes with the flow and trusts the process.

Lauren came to me knowing she wanted to elope somewhere in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, that was it. After a few location recommendations, she quickly settled on the black rocks. Prior to her wedding day, she had never actually been to the black rocks or Marquette for that matter. She chose the location based solely off of a few photos and my recommendation that this location would check all of her boxes.

Lauren & Beau’s intimate elopement at the Black Rocks was held on Friday the 13th surrounded by their closest friends a family. The decision to have family present was something Lauren went back and forth on. One of the reasons they decided to elope was because they felt like focus had shifted off of them during the planning of their large wedding.

Lauren shared these concerns with me and we made it a priority to find ways to include their families while still keeping the focus where it should be, on her and Beau.

Beau & Lauren arrived at the ceremony site before everyone else and shared their vows for the first time during an intimate first look. Their families joined them shortly after where they were present for the ceremony and group photos.

It was what every bride hopes for on their wedding day. An afternoon filled with love, surrounded by their closest and truest.

x Brittany

Photography – Sabrina Leigh Studios 

Florals – Precious Petals by Jamie

Planning & Design – So You Want to Elope

Lauren & Beau Wedding
Lauren & Beau Wedding
Lauren & Beau Wedding
Lauren & Beau Wedding
Lauren & Beau Wedding
Lauren & Beau Wedding
Lauren & Beau Wedding
Lauren & Beau Wedding
Lauren & Beau Wedding
Lauren & Beau Wedding
Lauren & Beau Wedding
Lauren & Beau Wedding
Lauren & Beau Wedding
Lauren & Beau Wedding

Black Rocks Elopement

Madeline & Blayne’s elopement at the Black Rocks in Marquette, Michigan took place on a perfect summer evening in early July. The clear blue water and stark black rocks created a stunning backdrop for their intimate elopement.

An intimate wedding ceremony with family

Earlier in the week, the forecast called for rain – and lots of it. You know the joke about the weatherman being the only profession where you get paid to be wrong on a daily basis? Thankfully, in true Midwest weather fashion, this rang true. Madeline and Blayne had clear skies and a warm breeze for their ceremony.

The evening started at their cute, historic Airbnb rental in downtown Marquette. Across the street there was a lively micro-brewery with an outdoor patio draped in twinkle lights, playing live music with a taco truck parked out front. The perfect place for the newlyweds to celebrate after the ceremony. Upstairs, Madeline had just finished getting ready and Blayne was hiding out in the guest room trying not to ruin their First Look plans. The couple drove separately to the ceremony location, Madeline with her mom and Blayne with Madeline’s dad.

Black Rocks in the summer is a huge tourist destination, for obvious reasons. The area was crowded with families taking in the picturesque scenery and daring college kids’ cliff jumping from the rocks into the frigid waters of Lake Superior.

As Madeline made her grand entrance to the ceremony location, she was met with congratulations from strangers and everyone telling her how beautiful she was.

So sweet.

The ceremony was beautiful and intimate with only Madelines parents and Blayne’s family (via FaceTime) present. The couple chose to write personalized vows which they took turns exchanging between laughs. After the ceremony, the couple spent time with the photographer, wandering around the Black Rocks and nearby locations capturing the amazing photos you see here.

At this point, we parted ways but Madeline and Blayne wandered back down to the beach to enjoy the last bit of the sunset together. A perfect ending to the day.

If you’re interested in having your own Michigan elopement, check out our blog, Where to Elope in Northern Michigan.

If you’re ready to start planning your very own Black Rocks or any other destination elopement, reach out. We would love to help make your wedding day vision a reality!

ceremony location at the black rocks
beautiful bride with her bouquet at the Black Rocks
groom reading his vows at the Black Rocks
wedding rings at the Black Rocks
newlyweds posing for photo for their Black Rocks Elopement
newlyweds posing for photo
Madeline & Blayne Elopement
Couple posing for photo
Madeline & Blayne Elopement
Black Rocks Elopement
Couple watching the sunset
Black Rocks Elopement
Black Rocks Elopement


Planning & Design: So You Want to Elope

Photography: Sabrina Leigh Studios

Florals: Precious Petals

Do’s & Dont’s of Eloping

The words, “Lets elope” mean something very different today then they did 10 years ago. Elopements have evolved from spontaneous trips to the courthouse to meticulously thought out ceremonies planned months in advance.
We’re here to share all the Do’s and Dont’s and what planning a modern day elopement entails.

1. Do decide on a location.

First things first, you need to pick a location. It could be somewhere that is special to you and your fiancé like where you got engaged or your favorite vacation spot. Or maybe you’re an adventurer at heart and your perfect spot involves a sunrise hike to your favorite overlook.

2. Don’t forget to consider weather.

If you have your heart set on a beach ceremony in the Caribbean definitely plan around the rainy season. And if you’re considering a beautiful fall elopement somewhere in the mountains DO take into consideration there will likely be snow. Most mountain areas see snow, sometimes a lot of it, by mid October.

3. Do make it special.

Hair and makeup, an expensive hotel or B&B you normally wouldn’t splurge on, your dream flowers…you get the picture. If it’s important to you then it should absolutely be included in your special day.

4. Don’t dismiss the legalities.

Theres nothing cute about flying halfway across the country only to realize Washington isn’t a self solemnizing state and now you’re scrambling for an Officiant. Don’t ever assume what is legal in one state will be in another.

5. Do hire a planner.

From the best vendor recommendations to permits and location scouting, we do it all so you don’t have to. This is especially true if you’re planning a destination elopement. We strongly advise hiring someone who is either local to the area or who has planned elopements there before.

6. Don’t let your wedding be the first time you meet your vendors.

We’re not saying you need to make a special trip across the country to meet your vendors in person. But you should be utilizing things like Zoom or FaceTime to chat with them “face to face” prior to your wedding day. These people are going to be planning and capturing a very significant day in your life, it’s important you feel comfortable with them. Or at the very least, are able to recognize them in public.

7. Don’t be afraid to be bold.

We love a traditional white wedding dress as much as the next girl. But some of our favorite elopement looks feature brides in non-traditional colors like bright red or even black.

8. Do expect costs.

While elopements are typically 1/3 the cost of traditional weddings still be prepared for some costs. On average, couples can expect to spend 4-6 thousand on their elopement. If you’re planning a destination elopement and you’re not using local vendors then this number will likely increase as you will be responsible for their travel costs.

9. Do have a wedding day time line.

Unless you spontaneously decided to elope today and you’re reading this on the way to the courthouse, you need a timeline, plain and simple. Chances are you’ve been planning this day for months and your day needs structure in order to get the absolute most out of it.

10. Don’t feel guilty.

This one may be easier said than done. Especially if you’re close with your friends and family and have decided not to include some or even all of them. Don’t stress about your decision and know that once over the shock factor, they will likely be happy for you and respect your decision.

Need help planning your elopement or intimate wedding? Send us an email! 

XX Brittany

Winter Elopement / Lake Michigan

Anytime a couple reaches out to us and expresses interest in a winter elopement,  we are immediately hooked. If there is one thing I have learned in my years of professional elopement planning, it’s that winter elopements are incredibly underrated. Whether your backdrop is a snowy mountain, a frozen lake or wooded forest with snowcapped trees, you’re guaranteed to have stunning photos.

Joshua & Jennifer chose a semi frozen lake for their winter elopement backdrop and boy was it a memorable and magical day. It was a brisk 26 degrees with absolutely crazy winds but these native Michiganders didn’t even seem to notice the below freezing temperatures, the wind on the other hand was impossible to miss.

To date, Joshua & Jennifer have been one of the most fun, quirky and in love couples I have ever had the pleasure of working with. They also happen to be huge Game of Thrones fans, so it was only appropriate that the ceremony began with yours truly humming a few notes of the shows theme song. There is not a lot I won’t do for my clients. They then took turns exchanging beautiful and deeply personal handwritten vows to one another. By the time they were finished, there wasn’t a dry eye left.

Need help planning your winter elopement or intimate wedding? Contact So You Want to Elope to set up a complimentary consultation.

X Brittany

Jen walking down the isle
Stunning Bride
Josh putting a ring on it!
Jen saying her vows
First kiss


Planning: So You Want to Elope

Photography: Dana O’Dell

Florals: Precious Petals

Michigan Sunrise Elopement/Lake Huron

Sunrise Elopement / Lake Huron

Brian and Tori’s Michigan sunrise elopement is proof that the third time really is the charm and that good things come to those who are patient.

When Brian and Tori contacted me, they were scrambling to come up with an alternative to the wedding they had planned for this past fall. I could tell that they were beyond stressed and beginning to feel defeated as COVID continued to nix every contingence plan they came up with.

What Brain and Tori wanted was simple, a beautiful location and a stress-free wedding day that they could enjoy, just the two of them. We settled on a beautiful beach location in Northeastern Michigan. For those of you who don’t know, the eastern side of Michigan is known as the Sunrise Side and for very good reason. Lake Huron produces some of the most jaw dropping sunrises (it’s true, I’ve seen dozens, and each is better than the last). Once I mentioned this to Brian & Tori, without hesitation they decided they NEEDED a sunrise elopement.

Done and Done!

Like any elopement planner, I obsess over the weather forecast on the weeks and days leading up to my client’s ceremonies. In true Michigan fashion, the weather went from clear skies to days of torrential rain literally overnight. With Brian and Tori being set on a Sunrise Elopement, there wasn’t a backup in-door location waiting for them. So once again, their wedding day was put on hold.

Two days after their originally scheduled ceremony date, it looked like we may get lucky with a brief break in the rain. The next morning, around 3am I lept out of bed like a child on Christmas morning, rushed outside and was elated to find a crystal-clear sky with 0% chance of rain in the forecast.

Fast forward to 5:40am, Brian and Tori finally said their vows on a secluded beach with the most stunning sunrise as their backdrop. In the end, it was everything they wanted, simple and just the two of them.

Cheers to Brian and Tori!

Need help planning your Michigan sunrise elopement or intimate wedding, Contact So You Want to Elope to set up your complimentary consultation.

X Brittany

IMG-6 copy


Elopements and Intimate Weddings – New Normal After COVID-19?

Are elopements and intimate weddings the new post COVID-19 norm?


If you’re reading this,chances are, you are one of the countless couples who’s wedding day was affected by the Corona Virus. If so, our thoughts and well wishes are with you as you navigate this difficult time.

When you started the planning process, naturally, you envisioned all of the different scenarios for what could go wrong on your big day. From drunken bridesmaids to bad weather and everything in between, you had a plan for them all.  Or so you thought. Even in the worst of worst-case scenarios, we’re willing to bet, global pandemic did not make the list. Don’t worry, it wasn’t in our ‘what to do in case of emergency’ plan book either.

Now, we’re all left asking ourselves the same question. Do we postpone or cancel? Do we postpone and pray everything will be ‘back to normal’ by our new date? What happens if it’s not, do we have to postpone AGAIN? Or do we just cancel and wait for life to return to ‘normal’…whenever that may be? We gotta’ say, we’re not loving either option and we’re pretty certain the rest of you aren’t either.

There are so many questions surrounding this pandemic and what life will look like post COVID – 19. Who’s to say if or when our versions of normal will return. And in the meantime, what does that mean for the brides affected by this virus? Are we all just supposed to stop celebrating love until we have a clear answer?

If you’re reading this and thinking, there has to be a better option. A way for brides to still have their dream weddings (even if that dream is slightly altered) and still adhere to the rules of our new norm?

What if we told you there is? What if we told you, an elopement or intimate wedding was a way for brides to still have their cake and eat it too. Cliché wedding pun absolutely intended. Their popularity amongst millennials and modern couples have made them a staple in the wedding industry that continues to trend year after year.

Maybe you’re familiar with both an elopement and intimate wedding. Or maybe you still think of a secret affair in a dusty old courthouse when you hear the word ‘elope’. Either way, we’re going to break them both down for you and ultimately help you decide which could be right for you.



What is an elopement?

An elopement means you’ve decided to tie the knot and celebrate with just yourselves or an intimate gathering of your closest friends and family. It’s a truly personal and intimate experience that ensures your wedding day will be all about you and your partner.

Where can I elope?

This is possibly the greatest thing about choosing to elope. Your imagination is the only limit. We’ve had couples say their vows on top of a mountain in Canada and we’ve also had couples who we’re totally happy with a simple beach ceremony in their hometown.

Varying reactions from friends and family

If you’re choosing a traditional elopement with just you and your partner, we strongly recommend telling close friends and family members beforehand. Not only is it the easiest way to avoid hurt feelings but a common courtesy that should not be ignored.

In short, be prepared for not everyone to support your decision.

Can we still have a celebration?

Absolutely! *Once mass gatherings are deemed safe again, of course. *

It has become very common for couples that have chosen to elope to have a dinner party or celebration after the fact.

*Special note for brides affected by Covid 19: If the reception was a part of your wedding you were especially looking forward to having, do not deny yourself one! Maybe give special consideration to having a 1-year anniversary party that doubles as your reception.


Intimate Wedding

What is an intimate wedding?

To put it simply, an intimate wedding is a normal wedding, with fewer guests. A typical intimate wedding has somewhere between 25-50 guests.

Special note for brides affected by Covid 19: This is a great way for you to have all of the aspects of a what drew you to a traditional wedding. If you’re comfortable trimming your guest list this is a great way for you to still have your cake and eat it too!

Where can I have an intimate wedding?

Deciding to have a smaller wedding gives you access to more venues and even some unique wedding day locations you may have never considered. Instead of the massive banquet hall picture an intimate backyard wedding with twinkle lights overhead. Or an elegant beachside celebration with a Adventure elopement in the mountainsbeautifully decorated table. With fewer guests the possibilities really are endless.

Intimate does not have to mean boring

 Just because you’ve decided to keep the guest count low doesn’t mean you should pay any less attention to details or skimp on the things that make a wedding great! Food and beverage are the biggest cost of any wedding. With lower guests count you can choose to offer premium menu options. Or maybe over the top decorations and entertainment are more your style. Either way, it’s sure to make a lasting impression that your guests will remember .

Consider making it a weekend affair

Intimate weddings offer the couple the opportunity to spend more one on one time with their guests. Consider hosting a welcome reception and a post wedding brunch. If your guest list is small enough, consider planning activities and excursions that allow you to spend more time with your guests.


 As we learn to navigate the world post Covid-19, couples may be wise to consider elopements and intimate weddings as an alternative to the large-scale gatherings of traditional weddings. Whether this article has you dreaming of an epic adventure elopement or an intimate beachside wedding. We hope we’ve given you some inspiration to start planning your big day

Feeling inspired and ready to plan your perfect elopement or intimate wedding? So You Want to Elope is full service elopement and intimate wedding planning company based out of Detroit, Michigan (available for adventures worldwide). We create custom curated elopements and intimate weddings for the couple who craves adventure. Get in touch with your personal wedding planner today!

Elopement and Intimate Wedding Planner

Where to Elope in Northern Michigan

Michigan is beautiful, there is no denying that. Whether you are a lifelong “Michigander” or have only seen photos of the “Mitten” State, you’ve no doubt stumbled across a few of the treasures that make the Pure Michigan motto so fitting. But with so much vast beauty, it makes overlooking certain areas of the state far too easy.
We recently had a couple reach out to us wanting to elope in Michigan, specifically Northern Michigan. Elopements in our home state are our favorite so we of course jumped at the opportunity. What we realized during our research was just how under appreciated and under represented Northern Michigan is. When you search “where to elope in Michigan” very few places pop up for anywhere up north.
Which, in our humble opinion, is a total waste! From Marquette all the way to the tiny towns along the Lake Huron coastline. These areas have some of the most beautiful and pristine nature

And we’re here to share them with you.

  1. Black Rocks – Marquette, Michigan. The iconic Black Rocks in Marquette’s Presque Isle Park are dramatic rock formations that jut into Lake Superior. Maybe you dream of a summer elopement, complete with a romantic sunset picnic on a secluded sandy beach. Or maybe the otherworldly beauty that winter brings to Northern Michigan is more your style. With icy blue waters and frozen icebergs as your wedding day backdrop. It’s not for the faint of heart but can you just imagine how amazing your wedding day photos would be? *sigh*
  2. Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Paradise, Michigan. The centerpiece of this park is, of course, the Tahquamenon River and its beautiful waterfalls. The upper falls have a drop of nearly 50 feet, making this one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. And an obvious choice for some killer elopement photos. Like all things in Northern Michigan, the Tahquamenon Falls are beautiful year-round, BUT, we’re partial to the October and November months when the leaves are on full display. Waterfalls and fall colors? YES PLEASE!
  3. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Alger County, Michigan. Sand dunes, waterfalls, super cool rock formations. This location has it all for an adventure loving couple. We happen to favor the most eastern side where the dunes can reach heights of over 300 feet and you can see for miles. Making for some pretty dreamy elopement photos.
  4. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, Leelanau, Michigan. Wait, there are mountains in Michigan? Absolutely! Michiganders refer to them as ‘mountains of sand’. Sleeping Bear Dunes is a truly special place tucked away here in Northern Michigan. Time slows down and you are able to truly connect with your better half. We think that sounds like the PERFECT setting for an intimate elopement. We’re thinking a warm summer evening with a famous Lake Michigan sunset as the backdrop to your elopement photos.
  5. Lake Huron, Oscoda, Michigan. Dreaming of saying your vows on a sugar sand beach with crystal clear water lapping in the background? Yep, Northern Michigan has that too. This special area of Michigan is lined by miles and miles of pristine and secluded beaches. Making it the perfect destination elopement, without the pricy plane ticket.

There you have it! Our list of the top 5 places to elope in Northern Michigan. From the iconic Black Rocks at Presque Isle Park to the sleepy sand mountains in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. Northern Michigan truly does have something for even your most adventurous elopement dreams. We’re talking to you, brides who swooned at the idea of icebergs and icy blue water as the backdrop to their elopement photos.

Feeling inspired and ready to plan your perfect Pure Michigan (or anywhere else) elopement? So You Want to Elope is full service elopement planning company based out of Detroit, Michigan (available for adventures worldwide). We create custom curated elopements and intimate weddings for the couple who craves adventure. Get in touch with your personal elopement concierge and start planning today.