The Ultimate Guide to Eloping in Wisconsin

Eloping couple in the Driftless of Wisconsin enjoying an intimate dinner at their cabin.

Eloping in Wisconsin isn’t always top of mind when it comes to dreaming up a location, but it’s home to a million hidden gems! The beautiful bluffs, rivers, lakeshores, and forests make the Badger state the perfect spot to say your I do’s. I was born and raised (for most of my life anyway) right here in Eau Claire, and Vhan has come to love this state as if he was too. Through all of our travels, we always come right back home so happy to live where we do. There’s something really magical about Wisco and we can’t stop exploring it.

If you’ve been thinking of eloping we’ll share everything you need to know to have the elopement of your dreams right here in Wisconsin! From legalities and locations, to what to wear, we’ve got you covered! Nothing we’ll go over here is completely exhaustive so if you’ve still got questions don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to talk about your day!

What is an elopement?

Couple running through a field outside La Crosse Wisconsin at sunset on their wedding day

Okay, I know you’ve probably thought eloping requires a last-minute flight to Vegas with a cameo from Elvis or an impromptu trip to the courthouse. Eloping has evolved into a truly intentional and beautiful way to celebrate your wedding day exactly the way you want it. Traditional weddings have more of a set formula to the day and eloping throws rules and restrictions out the window to allow you to commemorate your love story in exactly your own way.

Eloping in Wisconsin could truly just be the two of you (check out the self-solemnization info here), or you could go for more of the micro-wedding route and be surrounded by your closest family and friends. Maybe you’d rather rock chacos than heels, a picnic at sunset instead of a formal sit-down dinner, or private vows on a favorite trail instead of reciting them in front of hundreds of eyes.

If that resonates with you, planning an elopement or micro-wedding could be perfect!

How to get married in Wisconsin:

Couple having an intimate wedding in their backyard reading vows

Self Solemnization:

You’re doing it – eloping in Wisconsin the way YOU want with the love of your life. Now all the exciting planning begins. From choosing the perfect windswept dress or comfortable suit to the beautiful location where you will say, “I do.” But what about the legalities? Or self-solemnization? 

What is self-solemnization?

Most states require that you have an officiant and two witnesses at your elopement. If you choose self-solemnization, you can get married alone in the most romantic and intimate way. How incredible is that? 

There is no stress of a big, grand wedding where you have to entertain guests and all eyes on you. Can you picture it? Instead, you make your commitment to each other under a beautiful waterfall or on a mountaintop overlooking a lake. 

What you need to know about self-solemnization

Self-solemnization, or self-unity marriage, means you can marry whenever and wherever you want without a third-party officiant. Keep in mind that you have to sign a form acknowledging that the state won’t guarantee your marriage will get recognized by all states. 

Start by applying for your marriage license:

  • You must be 18 years.
  • Both parties must have a driver’s license and birth certificate. 
  • Non-residents must apply for their marriage license in the county they marry.
  • Proof of residency, for example, a lease agreement or a utility bill.

A marriage license in Wisconsin costs between $50-$120, depending on the county you submit your application. There is also a waiting period of 5 days for your license, although you can pay a waiver fee to receive it sooner. 

On the day of your elopement in Wisconsin, both you and your love will have to fill out the officiant section on the license. You will also be liable for filing the license within three days of your ceremony to the county clerk’s office.  

Witnesses

You may choose to have your elopement with just the two of you or bring a friend or two to join. They can even sign as witnesses or have me, your elopement photographer, sign too. Whichever way you choose to elope, I am here for you!

Having a few loved ones with you is not uncommon. The best part is that kids can sign as a witness in the state of Wisconsin. They love feeling like an adult and doing something grown-up. Some have the same adventurous spirit as you and will want to join you on this journey! 

Take the Leap!

Your elopement in Wisconsin will be everything you have been dreaming of! Whether you have an officiant or choose self-solemnization, expect an intimate and unforgettable ceremony. 

Remember, it is only about you and your love – nothing else matters!

Finding an officiant:

Do you dream of hiking to a favorite spot for your ceremony? Finding an officiant open to making the journey with you is super important. If your ceremony location is a trek, you’ll want to find an officiant who’s up for it!

If you’re struggling to find an officiant, consider asking a loved one! The process to become an officiant is super simple and affordable through various organizations. The officiant should register with an organization that is recognized in Wisconsin, like Universal Life Church. Unlike some other states, your officiant won’t need to register with any government office after applying.

An option we have for our own eloping couples is having us officiate! We’re both licensed to perform your ceremony, and are totally familiar with the process.

How to get your marriage license:

Wisconsin native? You’ll want to get your marriage license in the county you reside in. It can be used for ceremonies anywhere in the state. Non-Wisconsin resident? You’ll get your marriage license from the county you’ll be getting married in. The fee for your marriage license varies by county, and you’ll be able to get it after the 5 day waiting period and will be valid for 30 days. You want to get your wisconsin marriage license between 30 days out from your wedding and 6 days out. Make sure you have two adult witnesses (Vhan and I volunteer!), and you’ll be good to go!

Finding a Private Location

Couple embracing outside airbnb they eloped at, in Madison Wisconsin

The biggest factors when it comes to avoiding crowds during your elopement will be the day of the week, the season we’re in, and the time of day. Opting for a weekday ceremony over a weekend can help drastically lower the number of people out and about, and in addition, it can help lower costs.

A summer weekend might be swamped, but having a sunrise ceremony can add the perfect level of privacy. Many Wisconsin state parks are super open when it comes to locations for elopements consisting of only a handful of people. Always double-check what areas are allowed when it comes to your ceremony or vow exchange. If possible, check out your location at the time you’re hoping to elope prior to the big day to get a good idea of the crowds. If you can’t, your photographer will be able to share a ton of insight!

How to find permits and passes:

Wisconsin’s DNR makes finding their permit information super easy. On their site (here) they share that if you’re planning something very small (think just the two of you, witnesses, officiant, and photographers) you can virtually elope in any public place in most Wisconsin state parks. If you’re planning on having more people in your elopement or micro-wedding, you’ll want to search through their reservable facilities. Fees vary for parks, so you’ll want to reach out to the property manager for the park to get your specific permit information. When we work with couples on their elopements, we’re always happy to take this off their plate. We reach out to the parks and collect all of the permit info for them.

Wisconsin elopement planning checklist

When it comes to planning an elopement the amount of options you have is ENORMOUS! When there isn’t a formula for your day and you can truly do anything, the decisions can be overwhelming. Not to fear, we’re in your corner to walk you through the planning process!

Invitation suite for eloping couple in Madison Wisconsin

1. Brainstorm your dream day

Pour your favorite drinks, grab some take out and settle in. Turn planning into a date night! Is there something you two love that you hope to incorporate? Is there a location close to your heart, or that you’ve been dying to visit? Do you want to be in the heart of a favorite city or somewhere quiet and secluded? When you imagine your wedding day, is it just the two of you, or are you surrounded by your closest family and friends? Make notes as you dream up what your elopement could look like, and how all of these elements could come to life.

2. Reach out to a photographer

Your photographer is going to have so much great info to share with you! If you’re not sure about your timeline for the day, or you’re struggling to land on a location they have all the knowledge to help! Finding a photographer is such an asset to your planning process! Another reason to start looking for a photographer early in your process-they book up early! If you’re hoping for a weekend date especially in prime wedding season, you’ll want to get in touch as early as you can.

3. Settle on a location

If you haven’t already, decide where you’ll be getting married. We love to help our couples find the perfect spot! If you’re not sure, your photographer should have some great suggestions on where to elope in Wisconsin based on what you’re looking for! Here are some things to think about when you pick a spot. When you’re planning an outdoor vow exchange you’ll want to think about what seasons you enjoy being outdoors. Don’t forget to look into the permit process for your location!

4. Nail down the guest list

It can be easy for your guest list to continue to grow, and you want to be sure that your guest list matches your vision for the day! If you’re dreaming of something with just the two of you, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! If you want guests included in your elopement or micro-wedding talk over with your partner how many you’d feel comfortable inviting.

5. Book travel and lodging

Start booking your flights and accomodations. If you do need to fly into the state, give yourself some wiggle room on dates. Don’t try to fly in the night before, especially if you’re planning a winter or spring wedding where the weather might be a little tricky. Give yourself time to enjoy the experience together. The last thing you want is feeling rushed and stressed while prepping for your elopement.

When you choose your lodging, plan out how far it’ll be from the spot you hope to have your vow exchange. The closer the better, however also pick a space that you’ll love to see in photos! In other words, lots of windows and natural light and a space that speaks to you will make photos in your accommodation rock.

6. Find your other vendors

Boho cake with fresh fruit and florals at an outdoor cabin elopement in the Driftless of Wisconsin

Just because your eloping doesn’t mean you can’t have some killer florals or a beautiful cake! Therefore, reach out to local vendors for your elopement who can build a beautiful day just for the two of you. We’re always happy to share recommendations with our couples, but if you’re exploring options on your own wedding directories are a good starting point to source vendors. Want some awesome tips for picking the perfect elopement florals? We’ve got you covered with our how-to, picking the perfect elopement florals.

7. Plan your day

What are you hoping to include on your wedding day? Now is a perfect time to reach out to your photographer and get some input! They can totally help you plan on when to do that sunset sail you’re dreaming of for perfect portraits or when to plan that romantic picnic on the beach. If you’re hoping to just enjoy the day without any solid plans, that’s totally okay too! Some of our favorite elopements have been where the couple had a loose idea and incorporated things like a vow reading when it felt right.

If you’re a Wisconsin resident, look up the county clerk for the county you reside in. Plan on getting your marriage license 30 days before your elopement at most, and 6 days at the latest to account for the five-day waiting period. After getting your license, you’ll have 30 days to be wed. At this point, you should be good to go when it comes to your location permit (depending on the location!).

9. Pack EARLY

This is coming from someone that loves to pack the day of her flights (don’t worry Vhan has assumed the role of packing for me to kill that habit). You don’t want to forget anything on your elopement day! Double-check for your license, IDs, wedding attire and don’t forget shoes, socks, rings, jewelry, ties, etc. You don’t want to scramble last minute to find something you’ll need. Make a checklist ahead of time and pack a few days early.

10. Elope!

It’s here! Time to celebrate and enjoy this day you’ve been dreaming of together! Focus on each other, and even if not everything goes to plan remember that more than anything else it’s about the two of you being together. Remember to take mental pictures, and soak in your elopement day.

When to elope

How to Choose the Best Season

Fall bride in Altoona Wisconsin posing by a river

You’re eloping in Wisconsin? Don’t forget to check the weather! 

Eloping in Wisconsin offers so many magnificent places, such as the Kettle Moraine State Forests wooded areas to the white sands at Rock Island State Park. Wherever you choose to elope in Wisconsin, rest assured that no matter the season, it will be beautiful!

Let’s explore the four seasons in Wisconsin and choose the date and season that’s right for you!

Winter

If you don’t mind the cold, then winter weddings are for you! With endless white snow and blue sky views, winter weddings in Wisconsin are stunning. Consider it your very own winter wonderland filled with romance and snuggles around a warm fire. Build a snowman and have your first snowball fight as a married couple – this is the perfect photo opportunity to show your personalities!

Oh, the activities you can enjoy! If you and your love are adventurous, expect days filled with snowboarding, snow tubing, and cruise down snowmobiling trails for an exciting afternoon! Have you been dog sledding? Let’s give it a go.

The month with the coldest temperatures is in January. Opt for a December or March elopement to avoid any blizzards. 

When you choose to elope in winter, there are a few things to consider, especially when walking and hiking:

  • Skin-colored fleece leggings are a must in the snow!
  • Bring along a jacket, shawl, or cardigan to keep yourself warm.
  • While you know you want to wear those gorgeous ice princess shoes when you say “I do,” consider some boots for the hike to your elopement destination. Change your shoes when you get there and take the most beautiful photographs in your wedding attire – just as you have envisioned.
  • Thermal underwear, gloves, and socks will keep all your important bits as warm as can be. 
  • A cold weather face buff will prevent you from inhaling that cold winter air while hiking and keep your hair looking perfect too!
  • Let’s not forget a nice warm coffee or tea. Snuggle up with your love around a campfire with a blanket and enjoy the view of the white-capped hills.

Winters in Wisconsin can become unpredictable; keep a backup location in mind – just in case the weather doesn’t agree with you.

Spring

Don’t you just love the spring? Wildflowers, full blooms, greenery everywhere, and birds chirping at every turn – Spring elopements in Wisconsin are delightful. Think of spring as a symbol of the new beginning you and your love are undertaking.

The spring activities include horseback riding, kayaking, ziplining, and the abundance of wineries in the area for you to tour.

What to wear for your spring elopement in Wisconsin:

  • Consider layers for those beautiful spring mornings and evenings. Bring along a shawl and warm blanket and remove the layers as the day warms up. 
  • The afternoons can get quite warm. Choose light materials such as chiffon, dotted swiss, and taffeta. Not only are they breathable when on your elopement journey, but they are also whimsical and mysterious. 

Spring elopements in Wisconsin may be beautiful, but the time to be mindful of is early spring because of flooding from rainfall and melting snow. May is an excellent time to elope in Wisconsin, and spring break visitors should be leaving the state so you will get some privacy. 

To ensure a quiet elopement, opt for Tuesday-Thursday wedding day as locals tend to take Mondays or Fridays off work when spending their weekends exploring at national parks or outdoor hotspots.

Summer 

Summer is a trendy time to elope in Wisconsin and the days are long, which means more time for photographs, and the lighting is always perfect. If you don’t mind some heat and humidity, summer is the season for you. What makes summer perfect is that the lakes offer great breezy weather to break the heat and lots of shade in the beautiful forests. 

Summer activities in Wisconsin are the best! Go kayaking to the sea caves in the Apostle Islands, or see shipwrecks while scuba diving in Lake Michigan. There is so much to see and so much to do, one thing you shouldn’t forget to try – the Leon’s in Milwaukee. The best frozen custard in the state!

Summer is when your clothes matter. Since summers get so hot, I have compiled a list of fabrics to be mindful of. These materials are lightweight, breathable, and when loose fit, they make the best windswept dresses:

  • Chiffon
  • Tulle
  • Organza
  • Taffeta
  • Charmeuse
  • Batiste

Fabrics to avoid in the summer are silk, damask, and satin. They are heavy, crease easily, and can make you uncomfortable if you have to walk far. Another tip for your wedding attire in the summer is if you plan on wearing a veil, think about a beautiful chin-length one – it’s light and airy!

Times to avoid in summer are the last couple weeks of July and the beginning of August because of all the summer festivals. If you don’t want any onlookers to your elopement, try dates in late June and early July. Pack the bug spray and bring along extra water, and let’s journey through the woods, and I’ll capture you saying “I do” in some of the most secluded and romantic parts in Wisconsin.

Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Fall

Fall could be one of the BEST seasons to elope in Wisconsin! Picture this – yellow, red, green, and brown leaves, crisp early morning due, and you and the love of your life are overlooking a lake with the reflection of the mountains on the water. Commit yourselves to each other in one of the most beautiful locations in Wisconsin!

Do you know what else is great about fall? It’s festival time! Go apple picking, walk through corn mazes, and get giggly on some autumn brews and ciders. Fall offers such great weather that you can hike for hours, go kayaking, and many more adventurous activities without overwhelming heat and humidity.

Not only is it like living art, but the weather in the fall is excellent, with the days being less hot and humid than the summer and not too cold. Bring along a cardigan or shawl if there is a chill in the air for a sunrise or sunset elopement. 

Your elopement in the fall months is sure to be beautiful, and expect phenomenal photographs with various colors to make you pop!

Hunting Season

Since hunting is allowed in state parks, be sure to call or get information online when the park expects the most hunters. Consider the peak seasons, rules and regulations, and the areas to avoid. See here for all state park information.

Pick a Season and Elope in Wisconsin

Eloping in Wisconsin is beautiful no matter what time of year you decide. Consider your attire, the exceptionally high and low temperatures – you want to be comfortable! Decide what interests you and the amazing activities that are in store for each season.

Fall couples session in Interstate State Park in St. Croix Wisconsin area.

Best places to elope in Wisconsin

One of our favorite parts of being elopement photographers is getting to explore our home state! Wisconsin is teeming with incredible locations right under our noses. While some of the locations here will require a permit to have an elopement or micro wedding, some only require the cost of entrance, and others free to explore.

This list is not exhaustive by any means, but it does give a little insight into our favorite outdoor options in our state! If you’re not sure where you want to go, an elopement photographer familiar with the area is an awesome resource! Not only will they be able to give tons of insight when it comes to locations, but they’ll also be able to tell you when you should shoot to get married. Experts in the area (we’re raising our hands here!) can help you find permit information, the best spots for portraits, Leave No Trace practices, and so much more.

Having trouble finding an elopement location? One of our favorite parts of our job is helping narrow in on the perfect backdrop for your nuptials. Share what you’re hoping to find and they can help dig up those hidden spots off the beaten path you’ve been dreaming of! If none of these locations speak to you reach out and let’s talk about your day.

State parks and natural areas

Growing up in Wisconsin means a deep love for our landscapes. Wisconsin boasts so many incredible landscapes to explore! If you’re searching for the best spot for your adventure elopement out here in the midwest, we’ve got you covered! Here are just a few of our favorite parks to consider. Above all, finding those hidden gems for our own couples somewhere off the beaten path in or around these areas is one of the best parts of our job.

State parks
  • Devil’s Lake State Park – Devil’s Lake is one of our favorite spots to explore, with incredible 500-foot tall bluffs surrounding the lake and beaches. It’s the largest state park in Wisconsin, with plenty of space to explore!
  • Rib Mountain – Rib Mountain is a billion-year-old hill situated in Wausau Wisconsin! Nothing beats the sprawling views from the amphitheater. It’s one of the highest points in the state!
  • Kohler-Andrae State Park – Kohler-Andrae sits on Lake Michigan and is the perfect spot for eloping at sunrise here in Wisconsin. Miles of gorgeous beaches and stunning dunes with tall grass make for a remarkable backdrop for your nuptials.
  • Interstate State Park – Interstate hosts beautiful sweeping views of its glacier-carved basalt gorge right on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin. It’s one of our favorite spots to watch the sunset dip into the river. If you’re looking for easily accessible views, Interstate is the spot!
  • Perrot State Park – These bluffs along the Mississipi always stop us in our tracks. Perrot State Park just glows at sunset, and is the perfect place to spend the day canoeing, kayaking, or hiking together.
  • Pattison State Park – Pattison State Park nestled in the Northwoods is home to the largest waterfalls in the state. The falls are jaw-dropping and an astonishing spot to share your vows. With 9 miles of hiking trails, and over 1400 acres of forest to get a little lost in together.
Natural areas
  • The Driftless – We’ve got a soft spot in our hearts for the Driftless. First, there are numerous designated natural areas and state parks here that showcase the gorgeous steep goat prairies that the sunrises and sunsets light up beautifully. Secondly, there’s so much opportunity for outdoor recreation. Biking, boating, hiking, canoeing- it’s the perfect spot.
  • Madeline Island and Big Bay State Park – After a quick ferry ride from Bayfield Wisconsin, you’ll find yourself on adorable Madeline Island. It’s the largest of the Apostle Islands, though it isn’t part of the Apostle Island National Lakeshore. Explore the island together and enjoy kayaking through the sea caves or camping around beaches on Big Bay State Park.
  • Door County – If you haven’t taken the time to wander Door County and explore the 300 miles of shoreline, remarkable sea caves, tons of orchards and wineries, and five state parks it’s time to make the trip! You can have the best sunrise and sunset views all within a short drive!

Airbnbs, VRBOs, and unique resorts

Eloping couple in an A frame Wisconsin cabin photographed by Skyler and Vhan

Okay, if we could have a wedding day do-over we’d be eloping at a lakehouse right here in Wisconsin. We would want to turn our elopement into a weekend of our favorite things with our families coming together under one roof. Eloping in the privacy of an Airbnb or resort makes that possible! If you’re considering eloping in rental always double-check their rules and regulations when it comes to events. Even if you’re not eloping, check out some of these favorites to find an awesome spot to come back to after saying your I do’s.

Campgrounds and resorts
  • Camp Wandawega – We dream of shooting a wedding or elopement at Camp Wandawega. It’s named one of the best hotels in the USA for good reason. If you’re a lover of incredible design and the great outdoors, Camp Wandawega is the one for you!
  • Candlewood Cabins – These cabins are an absolute dream. The meadow house and glasshouse are beautiful from every angle, full of natural light, and the coziest spots to come home to after marrying your sweetheart!
  • Coady’s Point of View – Coady’s POV is one of our favorite resorts in the state. They offer year-round outdoor experiences for you and your guests to enjoy. In addition to being in the gorgeous Wisconsin Northwoods, they offer adorable cabins and glamping spaces. Campgrounds are tucked in the pines with easy access to the lake.
  • Edenwood Ranch – Edenwood ranch offers luxury cabins and glamping tents with activities year-round. They cater to intimate weddings and elopements and are all about personalizing your elopement in their stunning natural setting up north.
  • Off-Grid Inn – Nestled in the woods in Fall Creek (right next door to our stomping grounds!) are two incredible tiny homes! With massive windows, you feel completely immersed in the trees while still feeling totally secluded on the private lot.

Rentals

Cabins and lakehouses
Rustic cabin in the driftless region
  • Bark Point Lakehouse – This gorgeous lakehouse sits on Lake Superior, in the BEST location to watch the sunrise. The home itself is gorgeous, with open concept living spaces to host your nearest and dearest. It also has private beach access, perfect for a small ceremony.
  • Cabin with bluff views – Sitting on Lake Wisconsin, this cabin is perfect for privacy and sweeping views. Finding an awesome spot for a vow exchange here doesn’t take anything more than stepping out into the backyard!
  • Kusel Lake log cabin -This rustic cabin on Kusel Lake, Wisconsin has plenty of space to accommodate your loved ones for your elopement. There is able outdoor space with a private pier, a beautiful yard, and a firepit! They even have photos from previous intimate weddings on the property.
  • A-Frame in Sister Bay – We are suckers for an A-frame! Nestled in the trees is the sweetest A-frame Airbnb with tons of natural light. This location is also sporting a cozy fireplace to cuddle up to after exploring door county!
  • Modern Lakehouse in the pines – Nestled in pine groves in Somerset Wisconsin is this beautiful modern marvel. With its own private shoreline, and room for 10 guests, this trendy space is perfect to celebrate with loved ones.
Couple eloping under two floral arches in the driftless region of Wisconsin
Unique stays
  • Lost Creek Retreat – Surrounded by an orchard and rolling hills, this stylish rental has plenty of privacy for eloping right in the Lake Pepin, Wisconsin area. Perfect for stargazing in the yard, enjoying the sun in the sunroom, and exploring the bluffs along the Mississippi.
  • Sugarland Farmhouse – This farmhouse situated about 30 minutes outside of Madison Wisconsin has enough space for 10 guests. The 1850’s colonial revival home has beautiful light and gorgeous porches for enjoying the countryside together.

Small Venues

If you’re planning on having a small group of people with you when you elope, you can opt for one of the incredible Wisconsin venues that offer elopement packages or caters to small groups!

Elopement tablescape in Madison Wisconsin
Outdoor options
  • Bubolz Nature Preserve – Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve is made up of 700 acres north of Appleton. Your I do’s can be shared in a tall pine grove with your nearest and dearest, and you’ll have plenty of gorgeous trails to explore.
  • Pioneer Creek Farm – Pioneer Creek Farm in Lomira, Wisconsin has super affordable options for eloping couples. They have fantastic outdoor ceremony options on their property along with indoor shelters for inclement weather.
  • Enchanted Barn – The Enchanted Barn in Hillsdale Wisconsin is the perfect place to elope all year round! They also offer a special elopement package for couples looking for a more intimate option. They offer stunning ceremony spots available for eloping couples.
  • Dancing Yarrow – We are obsessed with Dancing Yarrow’s Farm to Fork retreats and their “un-weddings”. Their property on the Buffalo River in Wisconsin is perfect for eloping in a laid-back setting where nature takes the focus. If that didn’t sell you, their amazing wood-fired pizza will.
  • The Bowery Barn – The Bowery Barn outside Oconomowoc Wisconsin features awesome packages for eloping couples and those planning micro-weddings. They boast so many beautiful vignettes on their 6 acres of property from an original smokehouse, seasonal sunflower fields, and their 1800’s farmhouse. To top it all off they’re dog friendly!
Indoor options
Couple inside their airbnb in Madison
  • Pabst Theatre – Pabst Theatre is currently offering three different venues for couples eloping or hosting intimate events in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They offer two theatres and a gorgeous ballroom for your elopement. It’s the perfect dramatic backdrop for your micro-wedding.
  • Murray Mansion – For elopements and micro-weddings with 60 guests or less, Murray Mansion offers inclusive options to make hosting your dream day a breeze. Their space is bright and full of light, and in addition, an officiant and ceremony decor are included for elopements!
  • Sweet Legacy – One of our favorite spots in the Chippewa Valley! Sweet Legacy is an adorable indoor venue perfect for 50 guests and under. It’s filled with vintage treasures and string lights- the cutest backdrop for your micro-wedding!
  • The Iron Horse Hotel – The Iron Horse’s library is a great indoor option for up to 80 guests. Their cool industrial vibes are awesome for a city event or elopement in Milwaukee!
  • Old Rittenhouse Inn – Up in Bayfield Wisconsin is this charming Inn, perfect for a micro-wedding or intimate elopement. Situated on Lake Superior, Old Rittenhouse Inn has tailored experiences for couples looking for a venue for their small wedding.
  • Hotel Metro – Hotel Metro’s rooftop is great for an elopement or micro-wedding with 32 guests or less. At Hotel Metro you can elope with gorgeous views of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

What to wear

Fall Minneapolis couple photographed by Skyler and Vhan

As a good rule of thumb for elopement wear something that makes you feel awesome, and you can move around in easily. You might feel weird in a fitting popping a squat and testing your range of motion, but I PROMISE you’ll be thankful you did!

How to choose a dress

If you’re planning a more adventurous elopement you’ll want to opt for a dress you can move around in. When you try on dresses, try different styles and move A TON! Lunges, twirls, bending, the works- you’ll definitely want a dress that feels awesome on. If something is feeling even a bit annoying when you’re trying it on you’ll want to go in another direction. You don’t want to feel limited when it comes to moving around on your elopement day or exhausted from wearing a dress that just doesn’t feel great.

A-line dresses are some of our favorites when it comes to choosing a dress, but you can find comfortable dresses in virtually every style. Just don’t forget to move around when trying on options!

Are you having a city elopement? You can definitely rock a more structured dress than if you were planning on going on a hike on your wedding day. Still, sit, wiggle, twirl- you’ll still want to be comfortable regardless of the setting!

How to choose a suit

Emerald green suit on a groom in his airbnb in Madison Wisconsin getting ready before his elopement

Comfortable suits often get overlooked when we talk about what to wear for an elopement. You’ll want to move around, try a lunge, lifting your legs, and sitting down. If you’re exploring the great outdoors on your wedding day you’ll want to move around freely without a restrictive suit. Wisconsin is known for frigid winters, so you’ll want warmer fabric (think wool) and layers. For a warm summer elopement, thinner wool like linen, or cotton are great options for a more breathable suit fabric.

Choosing your shoes

A city elopement or outdoor elopement where you won’t be walking long distances can still be a great time to bust out a cute heel. If you’re planning a longer hike or will be standing on uneven terrain definitely opt for a more comfortable shoe (or bring some to change into!). We love incorporating movement into our photos, so being able to move freely is HUGE when it comes to creating epic images. If you feel like your shoes are going to limit you, it’s better to go a different route.

You’ll want to try on your shoes and move around in them. Do they have good traction? Are they pinching anywhere? You want something comfortable with some good grip when you’re walking. The last thing you want on your wedding day is slipping and sliding all day in your dress shoes.

Pro tip: When getting your suit or dress tailored, wear the shoes you plan to wear on your elopement day! This way you’ll know your suit or dress is properly tailored.

Ordering online

If you’re choosing to order your fits online, make sure you’re super familiar with the return or exchange policy. You don’t want to be stuck with something that feels all wrong when it arrives. For suits, we love The Black Tux and have had awesome experiences with their customer service! For dresses, BHLDN always has an incredible selection and consistently runs sales.

How to tell loved ones

Wisconsin paper elopement announcement

One of the biggest questions we get asked is how do you announce to your family and friends that you’ve eloped! If you’re not planning on having close family and friends along for your elopement and haven’t told them that you’re you’ll be marrying in private, call your nearest and dearest! Even if they’re surprised at first, in the end, they will be so happy you two are married!

Share the awesome news that you’ve tied the knot with the rest of your friends, family, and colleagues through mailed announcements, or posts! One of our favorite things is sending our couples a sneak peek gallery from their elopement to use on announcements and social media posts 2 days after their wedding! That way you have an epic image to go along with your epic news!

Just because you’ve eloped doesn’t mean the party has to stop! Plan a reception in the future (even for later that day!) to celebrate with your loved ones. Plan a backyard barbeque where you can dance the night away. with brews and your besties and invite them on your elopement announcement!

Elopement photography

Your elopement day deserves to be remembered. You’ve crafted a day around you and your story and all of these little elements you’ve chosen should be preserved. The focus isn’t on anything but you two, so on an elopement day, we’re less focused on a laundry list of formal photos and more focused on documenting your connection and experience. Your photos are filled with all of those genuine moments you had, and you won’t want those memories to fade.

When you choose an elopement photographer you want to choose someone who can capture the day the way you want to remember it. They should be people who you trust to document you and preserve those memories for a lifetime. Elopement photographers uniquely also are a treasure trove of information when it comes to planning your elopement. Finding someone familiar with the area is so important!

Lastly, you’ll want someone you vibe with. We feel so honored that we get to capture these stories for a living, and we take getting to know our couples seriously. No strangers behind the camera, just a couple of dorky humans who want you to have a little door back to this day. When we show up to a wedding or elopement, we’re 100% there for you! If you’re not sold on a photographer shoot them a message! They should be totally down for a Facetime or coffee date to get to know each other better.

Want us to capture your elopement?

We are so stoked you’re planning your dream elopement! Capturing these moments for our couples is such an honor, and we would. When we work with an eloping couple here in Wisconsin, we want to help make their vision come to life. Planning an elopement is so incredible, but we know you probably have lots of questions! Whatever questions you have, we’re right in your corner. We’d love to hear your story, and see if we’d be a good fit. Click here to get in touch!

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