This is the last in a three part series about the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Part 1 focused on a brief history, while Part 2 highlighted things to see and do. This third and final installment will focus on getting married in the park.
The Lakeshore is a superb place for a small Northern Michigan destination wedding. The beauty found within the park provides a stunning setting for small wedding ceremonies-very small. No formal receptions are allowed. The permits are geared mainly to intimate ceremonies in an effort to minimize impact on the landscape.
As the park is first and foremost geared towards the stewardship of resources and limiting intrusion on park users, regulations are very specific and somewhat limiting.
The majority of the most desirable sites (Esch Road beach, Good Harbor Bay at 651 and 669, and the historic farmsteads) allow up to 50 guests and are available year round. The application includes a list of details specific to the common sites. Special provisions for parking and in certain situations garbage need to be made in order to secure the permit. Application fees are nominal and non refundable ($50), and once the permit is granted, more fees will apply. Additional insurance may also be necessary to secure the permit.
Although the maximum size listed is 25-50 for most locations, the application does state that if you are seeking to use an area not listed or if your proposed guest count exceeds group size limitations as detailed, additional fees may be charged. It is determined on a case by case basis by park officials.
Of course, a trip to the park is essential if you are hoping to host a ceremony there, but if you are looking for a stunning venue for your intimate ceremony and are willing to work with the park service, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is the place for you.
Photo: Cammie Buehler