When it comes to a wedding day, choosing the perfect venue sets the stage for a truly unforgettable experience. For couples seeking the magic of nature intertwined with their love story, Traverse City boasts a plethora of scenic wedding venues that offer breathtaking views and intimate charm. As a Traverse City Wedding Photographer, I have had the privilege of capturing love stories at some of the most awe-inspiring locations in the area. In this blog post, I’ll share my top 10 wedding venues, along with the unique features that make each of them a dream destination for couples in love.

1. Lake Bluff Preserve in Frankfort:

Stunning private vacation houses built on the high bluffs of Lake Michigan await you at Lake Bluff Preserve in Frankfort. The Upper Bluff homes offer awe-inspiring lake views, while the surrounding town of Frankfort provides beautiful beaches for photo opportunities. Enjoy your wedding your way, whether in the heart of the town or in the serenity of your own private escape.

Frankfort for Elopements and Small Weddings


2. Fountain Point Resort in Lake Leelanau:

Overlooking the tranquil Lake Leelanau, Fountain Point Resort offers 19 cottages and a 14-room hotel, making it an idyllic spot for family and friends to celebrate together. Its private setting, just 30 minutes north of Traverse City near the Sleeping Bear Dunes, allows you to cherish intimate moments by the lake or amidst the resort’s expansive grounds.

Fountain Point Resort

3. Nature Michigan Retreat in Maple City:

Nestled amidst the beauty of Northern Michigan, Nature Michigan Retreat steals hearts with two on-site ceremony locations – a picturesque meadow and a serene forest sanctuary atop a hill. Guests enjoy an adventurous golf cart ride to the ceremony site, creating a memorable experience. With Sleeping Bear Dunes just 15 minutes away and accommodations available in charming clamping tents, you can create your own unique wedding celebration in nature’s embrace.

Nature Michigan Retreat

4. The Homestead in Glen Arbor:

A beachfront resort that sits close to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park and the charming Glen Arbor, The Homestead offers diverse photo locations, from forested spots to the sun-kissed beach. Family and friends can stay on-site, and the ski chair ride to the ceremony site promises an unforgettable adventure and breathtaking views.

The Homestead Resort Wedding Photographer

5. Bay View in Traverse City:

Boasting the best view in Traverse City, Bay View at Gallagher Farms offers a stunning ceremony site overlooking the water. Its proximity to downtown Traverse City ensures numerous photo options, from lush orchards to the picturesque pond. The staff’s warm hospitality adds a touch of magic to your wedding day.

Bay View at Gallagher Farms

6. Aurora Cellars in Lake Leelanau:

For wine lovers, Aurora Cellars presents a beautiful winery experience, complete with vineyards and graceful willow trees, creating romantic photo backdrops. The team’s helpful and accommodating nature ensures a seamless celebration amidst the vineyard’s charm.Aurora Cellars Small Wedding

7. Brengman Brothers in Traverse City:

Located on the Leelanau Peninsula just five minutes from Traverse City, Brengman Brothers offers a paradise for wine enthusiasts. This winery’s picturesque vineyard and sunset views make it a dream wedding destination. The friendly staff ensures your special day unfolds effortlessly.

Brengman Brothers Winery in Traverse City

8. Willowbrook Mill in Northport:

Discover the enchanting Willowbrook Mill in Northport, MI, nestled in the heart of the magical Leelanau Peninsula. This hidden gem offers an intimate setting with a babbling brook and ample indoor and outdoor spaces for small wedding ceremonies. I adore taking couples on a romantic stroll through the charming streets of downtown Northport, capturing candid moments against the backdrop of small-town charm.

Willowbrook Mill

9. Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville:

With an adventurous ski lift ride to the mountain top for a panoramic ceremony view, Crystal Mountain offers a unique wedding experience. Located away from Traverse City’s traffic, this venue still allows easy access to restaurants and activities for guests, and its attentive staff will make sure your day is nothing short of magical.

Crystal Mountain Resort

10. Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City:

At the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula is a place of serene beauty, Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City. In my opinion, this is one of the most tranquil and beautiful wedding settings in Northern Michigan. You are away from the hustle and bustle. Still, guests can easily find a hotel in Mackinaw City and also make the ferry trip to Mackinac Island  to explore the by bike, one of my favorite Michigan experiences.

Ceremony International Dark Sky Mackinaw City


Traverse City’s top 10 scenic wedding venues promise a magical blend of nature’s beauty and intimate charm for couples in love. As a Traverse City Wedding Photographer, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing countless love stories unfold at these breathtaking locations. Whether it’s a serene lakeside celebration or a secluded forest sanctuary, these venues offer the perfect backdrop to create cherished memories that last a lifetime. If you’re dreaming of an enchanting wedding amidst Northern Michigan’s beauty, explore these stunning destinations and contact me today. Let’s embark on a journey of love and adventure amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Northern Michigan.

Josh Hartman – Traverse City Wedding Photographer