You’ve spent months, weeks, days, and an infinite amount of minutes waiting for this single moment at your wedding: your walk down the aisles, barefoot, and glowing in the beach sun. You wait and watch behind the sidelines as your friends and family, most of whom have never been to Northern Michigan, shake out their heels as the first cascading sand grains spill into their shoes. But they hardly notice. They begin to traverse the beach toward your ceremony location, overlooking the cobalt waters of Lake Michigan. Staring, they say phrases you and your fiancé have said countless times before. After all, it’s why you decided to plan your destination wedding in Northern Michigan in the first place.


“I never even knew this was here!”

You smile knowingly. Yes, the magic of Northern Michigan and the waves lapping against the shoreline have taken your breath away, too. And now, your family and friends have experienced the magic as well.

Planning a destination wedding in Northern Michigan, whether you are a beach bride, a resort bride, or somewhere in between, has pleasures and challenges all it’s own. But in the end, after you’ve said your vows at your favorite place on earth, and brought your guests together to experience the magic with you, you will always know you made the best choice for your outdoor wedding location.

But don’t let a destination wedding in Michigan make you nervous! These outdoor wedding ideas will showcase your love for Michigan and ensure your guests experience a weekend full of celebration!

Custom Tent Overlooking Glen Lake (Above) 

Nothing says personal, elegance, and custom like building a platform over Glen Lake to host your outdoor wedding reception! Event planning and design company A Day In May created this stunning vision at a family home on Glen Lake where the bride had spent summers exploring the fresh waters and boating on the lake. All of Northern Michigan’s majesty was evident to the guests in attendance, as family huddled together in love and wonder at the end of the night, gathering to watch the sunset over the western sand dunes on Lake Michigan.

Horse Carriage Ride on Mackinac Island

Horse carriage rides are iconic for any bride and groom getting married on Mackinac Island. But set yourself apart by taking the time to truly enjoy this private moment with your husband after you say “I do!” Hiring a coach for an hour ensures some private time away from the hustle and bustle of your day, and allows you to escape and explore the best spots on the island for some breathtaking wedding pictures as well.

Classic Car Entrance

Classic cars are practically a staple for most Traverse City summer residents. So when bride Jennie hitched a ride on the back of a classic 1950’s Ford before walking down the aisle, guests and her fiancé were thrilled! Her vineyard wedding at Black Star Farms served as the perfect backdrop for a small, intimate ceremony with their friends and family, and of course, this vintage classic!

Floral Swing

Looking for that WOW factor for your summer wedding? Talk to florist Kristi Mills from Simply Exquisite By The Bay, and design a floral swing for you and your fiancé! Showcasing this jaw-dropping feature at your reception will not only give you one-of-a-kind wedding pictures, but guests will be talking about it for years to come! Want some extra Michigan flare? Don’t be afraid to add in some locally grown florals and ivy.

Puppy Ring Bearer

There is nothing cuter than inviting your family to the ceremony. And by family, I mean your fur babies of course! Choosing an outdoor wedding in Northern Michigan has so many benefits, but a bridal favorite is including your best friend in your ceremony processional as a ring bearer or flower pup. Your dog will have the time of its life outside as you say your vows (and maybe if he is extra sweet, score some cake from the guests as well). The Homestead Resort is dog-friendly, and welcomes your fur baby to be involved throughout the entire day!

Melissa Lande is a Traverse City wedding photographer. View more of her work at

Click the cover to read MyNorth Wedding, a magazine for brides who love Up North!

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More Ideas for an Outdoor Wedding

Photo(s) by Lux Light Photography