YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO ELOPE IN WISCONSIN

Whether or not you call Wisconsin home, it might just be the perfect place for your intimate and adventurous elopement. Wisconsin offers a variety of stunning locations to exchange vows. Whether you’re looking for fairytale forests, beautiful lakes, or scenic cliff sides, Wisconsin has it all. Let’s explore the best places to elope in Wisconsin and make your dream elopement a reality.

When to elope in Wisconsin

If you live in Wisconsin, you already know that winters are often harsh and long, especially in the northern part of the state. If you love winter then this is the perfect state for you, as 3-5 months out of the year, much of Wisconsin is covered in snow. The best time to elope here if you want to avoid the cold, is late spring through early fall (May-October). Summers here are pleasant, and during the fall, Wisconsin had beautiful colors all over the state.

Self-solemnizing

Wisconsin is one of the nine states that allows you to self-solemnize, which means you can marry yourselves without witnesses or an officiant! Apply for your marriage license in the county where one of you resides. If neither of you is a Wisconsin resident, you must apply in the county where the ceremony will take place. When applying for the marriage license, inform the County Clerk that you intend to self-solemnize your marriage. The Clerk can provide you with the appropriate forms and instructions. There is a 3-day waiting period from the time you apply for the license until you can use it. This can sometimes be waived for a fee. Your license is valid for 30 days once issued.

Permits

Permits are often required for many of these locations. Obtaining permits is a service I include for all my clients. You will not need to worry about this if I am your elopement photographer!

BEST LOCATIONS TO ELOPE IN WISCONSIN

1. Door County: 

Door County, often referred to as the Cape Cod of the Midwest, is an ideal location for couples seeking a blend of the natural beauty of Lake Michigan and charming small-town ambiance. With over 300 miles of shoreline, Door County offers many waterfront spots perfect for a romantic elopement. Check with the Door County parks service or the state parks office before planning your elopement to get info on permits and available areas for your ceremony.

Some of my favorite locations in Door County include:

Cave Point County Park

Peninsula State Park

Washington Island

Whitefish Dunes State Park

Rock Island State Park

Newport State Park

Toft Point State Natural Area

Things to do here: Check out Destination Door County to discover all the activities you could do for your elopement.

Stays for your Door County elopement:

Retreat Azure

Cozy Birch Cabin Retreat

Cabin on Clark Lake

Waterfront A-frame

Luxury A-Frame

Hygge Lake Cabin

Unique architect-designed home

Cave Point County Park in Door County, WI

2. Devil’s Lake State Park: 

For couples who love the outdoors, Devil’s Lake State Park is an ideal elopement location. Known for its stunning quartzite cliffs, hiking trails, and breathtaking views, this park offers an adventurous and serene setting. This park is very popular especially during the warmer months, and has over 2.5 million visitors every year. Plan your elopement on a weekday and at sunrise for the most privacy. A special event permit is required. Contact the parks office to obtain your permit here.

Some of my favorite Devils Lake locations include:

Balanced Rock

East Bluff Trail

North Shore Beach

Things to do here: The park offers many different hiking trails from easy to advanced. Kayaks, canoes and other watercraft are available for rent through the park. Scuba diving is also available. Just outside the park, venture into Baraboo and visit Balanced Rock Winery for some delicious food and drink.

Couples photos in Devils Lake State Park

3. Madeline Island: 

The largest of the Apostle Islands, Madeline Island is (in my opinion) one of the most beautiful places to elope in Wisconsin. You access the island via ferry from Bayfield. This is also where my husband and I chose to elope! Even though this is part of the Apostle Islands, I wanted it to have its own moment because of how much this island has to offer. Special event permits may be required for ceremonies at many of these locations. Contact the Town of La Pointe or the park office for more information.

Some of my favorite locations on the island include:

Big Bay State Park 

Big Bay Town Park

Madeline Island Wilderness Preserve

Private Cabin Rentals

Things to do on the island: The island offers many different activities from adventurous kayaking tours to stargazing over Lake Superior. Visit Madeline Island Chamber of Commerce for all things to do on the island.

Stays for your Madeline Island elopement:

The Inn on Madeline Island

Feeling Superior

Payne Cottage

The Boathouse Lodge

Cedar Chalet

Modern Nest

Big Bay State Park in Madeline Island

4. Bayfield (and the surrounding areas): 

Bayfield is a quaint and charming town. With its historic architecture and views of Lake Superior, Bayfield provides a romantic and intimate atmosphere. You’ll find many beautiful locations in the area surrounding as well.

Here are some areas around Bayfield for your elopement:

Big Rock Campground

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Lost Creek Falls

Meyers Beach

Private cabins

Discover things to do in Bayfield here.

Stays near your Bayfield elopement:

Sailor Springs Glamping

Romantic Vineyard Cabin

South Shore A-Frame

Bayfield Rustic Yurt

Hart Haven A-frame

Sailing Vacation

The Acorn of Little Sand Bay

5. Kohler-Andrae State Park:

Kohler-Andrae State Park, located on the shores of Lake Michigan, is the perfect location for couples who love the beach and beautiful sand dunes. The park’s sand dunes, peaceful forests, and a shoreline of Lake Michigan, make it a beautiful spot for an intimate elopement. A special event permit is required. You can contact the park for your permit here.

Things to do here in the area: If you enjoy horseback riding, Black River Trail is 2.5 miles long and begins at the northwest section of the park on South 12th Street. With the parks biggest attraction being Lake Michigan, lots of water activities like swimming, kayaking, and canoeing are possible here. However, the park does not have a boat launch. Nearby, enjoy The Blind Horse Restaurant & Winery, and relax before or after your elopement at Kohler Waters Spa.

Stays for your Kohler-Andrae State Park elopement:

Destination Kohler Resort

Pristine Beach Access

LUXE Manor

Lake House

Beachfront Home

Beachfront Property

Kohler Andrae State Park Elopement

6. Copper Falls State Park:

Copper Falls State Park, located in northern Wisconsin, is stunning especially during the fall. The park features beautiful waterfalls, deep gorges, and lush forests, making it one of Wisconsin’s most scenic parks. Special event permits required. Contact the park office here.

Things to do here: Hiking, swimming, and watercraft rentals are available activities within the park.

Stays for your Copper Falls State Park elopement:

Cottage inside Copper Falls

Forest Stargazer

Lakeside Stargazer

Eureka Lake Log Cabin

7. The Apostle Islands: 

For a more adventurous elopement experience, The Apostle Islands are a great choice to elope in Wisconsin. These islands have so much beautiful scenery to offer along with fun activities like kayaking and exploring for your elopement. If you choose to elope on one of the lesser visited islands and avoid the more popular Madeline Island, you’ll have more privacy for your ceremony. Contact the parks office for information on permits and ceremony areas. You can visit 18 out of the 22 islands. You can find everything you need to know about visiting the islands and more here.

Check out the stays near Bayfield and on Madeline Island for lodging.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

8. Interstate State Park:

Interstate State Park is an excellent place to elope for couples who love nature and scenic landscapes. Situated along the St. Croix River, the park offers a variety of beautiful and intimate settings for your elopement. Special event permits are required. Contact the park office to obtain your permit.

Things to do here: Inside the park, there are lots of outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and non motorized boating. Rent kayaks and canoes here or here. Outside the park, there are many great places for food and drink like Trap Rock Brewing Co and Chateau St Croix Winery, or take a scenic boat tour with Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours.

Places to stay:

Glamping in style

Cozy Wisconsin Cabin

Wolf Creek Luxury Eco-Tiny Home

Nordic Harbor Haus

Wild Mountain Retreat

The Island House

9. Willow River State Park:

Willow River State Park, located in western Wisconsin, is home to the stunning Willow Falls, a multi-tiered waterfall that provides an amazing backdrop for your elopement. This park offers a mix of beautiful landscapes, from forested trails to scenic overlooks. Special event permits required. Obtain your permit here.

Willow Falls

Little Falls Lake

Things to do here: The park has 13 miles of hiking trails for easy to advanced hikers. Swimming is also very popular here with the waterfalls. Kayaking and canoeing are popular activities on Little Falls Lake. There is a boat launch on the lake. Rent kayaks here.

Places to stay for your Willow River State Park elopement:

Modern River Getaway

Tree House

Cozy, Historic Home

Tranquility on Lake Mallalieu

Log Cabin

Willow River State Park Waterfall

10. Kettle Moraine State Forest:

Kettle Moraine State Forest, shaped by glaciers, is a diverse and beautiful area featuring rolling hills, lakes, and forests. This expansive forest is spread out over 100 miles and offers numerous spots for an elopement. You can learn all about Kettle Moraine State Forest here. Special event permits may be required. Contact the park office:

Northern unit

Southern unit

Ready to Elope in Wisconsin? Your Dream Wisconsin Elopement Awaits

No matter what kind of location you’re dreaming of to elope in Wisconsin, the state has a large variety of scenery for you to choose from. From the scenic shores of Door County to the adventurous landscapes of the Apostle Islands and the amazing beauty of Devil’s Lake, there’s a spot in Wisconsin that will make your elopement truly magical. With me as your photographer, I’ll help you find the perfect place to have your ceremony and plan out the details.

Ready to start planning your dream elopement? Click here to book your free consultation call, and let’s elope in Wisconsin! 

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