How to Elope on Minnesota’s North Shore \\ 2023 Minnesota Elopement Guide

Bride and Groom looking at each other during the sunrise in Tettegouche State Park
Tettegouche State Park Sunrise Elopement in The Winter

// The Ultimate Guide to Eloping on Minnesota’s North Shore //

If you and your partner are thinking of eloping in Minnesota to make your wedding day an intimate experience, Minnesota’s North Shore will definitely offer you so many gorgeous options to do just that! This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about how to elope on Minnesota’s North Shore!

By the end of this guide, you will be able to create your elopement experience of a lifetime!!

How to Elope on Minnesota’s North Shore

1. CHOOSE YOUR ELOPEMENT DATE

2. MAKE YOUR ELOPEMENT VISION BOARD

3. CHOOSE YOUR LOCATION(S)

4. HIRE YOUR ELOPEMENT VENDORS

5. GET PERMITS + MARRIAGE LICENSE

6. BOOK LODGING

7. BOOK ACTIVITIES

8. CHOOSE YOUR WEDDING ATTIRE

THE BEST TIME OF THE YEAR TO ELOPE ON MINNESOTA’S NORTH SHORE

Spring + Summer (June to August): Everything is in bloom during these months (leaves on the trees and flowers sprouting from the ground) but it can get pretty warm and humid during these months so be prepared!

Fall (September to October): Autumn is one of the best times to experience Minnesota’s North Shore!! The colors up north are unmatched, and if you’re looking for some moody/beautiful backdrops, the fall season is your best friend!

Winter: If you’re a fan of the snow and cold weather, then you may want to consider eloping in the month of December or January! Be warned though, it can be QUITE cold during these months so plan accordingly! The north shore also experiences lake effect snow so even though the forecast may say it won’t snow, there are good chances it could still snow!

TIPS FOR SELECTING YOUR ELOPEMENT DATE

TIP ONE: The North Shore’s busy months are from June to October, so I highly recommend avoiding holiday weekends and weekends in general, unless you’re planning to get up at sunrise! Traffic can be backed up for MILES on Fridays and Sundays.

TIP TWO: The least busiest days of the week will be Tuesdays and Wednesdays, if you want maximum intimacy and privacy for your elopement!

TIP THREE: Airbnbs and hotels book up pretty fast for the busy season, so consider this before being set on a specific date!

black beach mn elopement

CREATE YOUR ELOPEMENT VISION BOARD

Just because you’re choosing to have an intimate wedding day, doesn’t mean you can’t create an entire vision for your big day! I want you and your partner to sit down, close your eyes, and think about your IDEAL elopement day. Here are some questions to think about:

  • What small details will we include?
  • How will my hair and makeup look like?
  • What kind of bouquet do we want, if we will have one?
  • When we close our eyes, what sounds do we hear? What does it smell like?
  • What activities do we love to do together?
  • If we could do anything in the world on our big day, what would it be?
  • What will my partner and I be wearing?

Have some fun with your vision and create your vision board using Pinterest! Your vision board will help you narrow down locations and plan out your big day.

WHERE TO ELOPE ON MINNESOTA’S NORTH SHORE

When it comes to locations along the North Shore, your possibilities are simply endless! You can have everything from cliffs, waterfalls, forests, beaches, and lookouts! The question is, where do you see yourselves spending your time? Maybe in one location or two?

Here are some ideas that you can consider:

  • A short term rental such as an Airbnb or VRBO
  • At the bottom of a waterfall such as High Falls in Tettegouche State Park
  • A sailboat on Lake Superior
  • In the middle of the woods
  • In a nature reserve or botanical garden
  • A hotel
  • A clifftop such as Palisade Head

You will see that when it comes to Minnesota elopements, the possibilities are endless! But have in mind that if it is owned property, you need to check if they allow private events and remember to obtain the permits you’ll need for these locations!

THE BEST PLACES TO ELOPE ON THE NORTH SHORE IN MINNESOTA

– Isle Royale National Park

– Black Sand Beach (no permit needed // just marriage license)

– Palisade Head (no permit needed // just marriage license)

– Tettegouche State Park

– Temperance River State Park

– Grand Marais

– Lutsen

HIRE YOUR ELOPEMENT VENDORS

The vendors you hire for your elopement day can make or break your experience!! The biggest tip I have for you when hiring vendors, is to make sure they understand your vision and that they have provided experiences for elopements before!! For example, there’s a big difference between photographers that specialize in traditional weddings versus elopements. You want to hire an elopement photographer that can provide the best experience possible for you!

Here are some elopement vendors you should consider hiring:

  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Stylist (hair + makeup)
  • Florist
  • Chef
  • Officiant (If you book me as your elopement photographer, I am ordained in MN if you’d like me to sign off on your license!)

Another tip for finding the right vendors, is to meet with them over the phone or on a zoom call. Ask all that you need to know!

OBTAIN YOUR PERMITS & MARRIAGE LICENSE

If you wish to get legally married in the state of Minnesota, then you need to contact the specific county’s clerk’s office and they will explain what you need to do to obtain a marriage license. Depending on where you’d like to have your ceremony, you may also need additional permits (state parks specifically) but your elopement photographer should be able to help you with this step! (Just another small reason why you should hire an elopement-specific photographer! They understand what permits you may need)

Remember – get your marriage license before the elopement ceremony!!!

BOOK YOUR LODGING

Your lodging is also a big part of your experience!! There are handfuls of stunning Airbnbs if you’re looking for an adventurous type of stay, and there’s endless hotels/spas if you’re wanting a more luxurious stay! There’s a little something for everyone up on the north shore.

THE BEST HOTELS + RESORTS ON THE NORTH SHORE IN MINNESOTA

– Bluefin Bay Resort

– Lutsen Resort

– Larsmont Cottages

– Cascade Lodge

THE BEST AIRBNBS ON MINNESOTA’S NORTH SHORE

The airbnb experience will make you feel that intimacy and closeness to one another. In addition, it is a great option that serves a double purpose – as a getting-ready space, but also for a part of your photoshoot! (Which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!) Need recommendations? Head over to this link to browse some of my favorite Airbnbs up on the North Shore!

Ham’s Haus // Lusten MN

Tiny Home with Private Sauna // Two Harbors MN

Wild Pines Cabin // Two Harbors MN

Tranquilo at Agua Norte // Grand Marais MN

Gaucho Cabin // Grand Marais MN

Klarhet’s Laguz Dome // Tofte MN

THE BEST ACTIVITIES TO DO ON YOUR ELOPEMENT DAY ALONG MINNESOTA’S NORTH SHORE

– Kayaking

– Hiking + a picnic

– Snowmobiling

– Swimming

– Soak in a hot tub

– Get ready in your wedding attire together

– Go for a dip in a waterfall

– Campfire with s’mores + hot cocoa

– Get a couples massage at Waves of Superior Spa

– Whitewater rafting with Swiftwater Adventures

– Ride down the Alpine Slide in the Lutsen Mountains

– Get a tattoo together at Anchor’s End

– Go wine tasting at the North Shore Winery

– Horseback riding at the Gunflint Lodge

– Take a bubble bath together

– Ice Skating

– Stargazing

– Cuddling in a hammock while enjoying nature

CHOOSE YOUR ATTIRE CAREFULLY!

It is quite simple really – glam yourself but do it wisely! If you are going to be out in nature and need to hike, then comfortable footwear will be essential! For example, a lot of my couples bring a gorgeous pair of shoes for the moment when we arrive at their elopement location. Also, it is your day, wear whatever you like! You can opt for traditional wedding attire, but also choose casual wear! (FYI Pantsuits and black wedding dresses are definitely a thing!)

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Samantha Burke is a traveling adventurous elopement photographer for the wild and goofy soulmates that’s based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota! She’s also an educator for fellow photographers that are wanting to grow their business! Samantha is also a traveling addict that’s always looking for somewhere to travel too! Sam is also obsessed with Star Wars, Marvel, and Chai Tea! Please contact Sam if you would like to have her be your elopement photographer or if you have any questions!

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