With crystal blue waters, sandy beaches, panoramic overlooks, and historic farms and landscapes, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers breathtaking backdrops for small informal weddings. Accommodating weddings requires careful planning to protect park resources and limit intrusions on recreational visitors.
Scheduling a wedding
Wedding ceremonies may be scheduled up to one year in advance.
Permits are issued for wedding ceremonies only; receptions are not permitted.
Picnic areas may not be reserved and are available only on a first-come basis.
Wedding permits will not be issued for heavy use periods – Memorial Day weekend, July Fourth weekend, and Labor Day weekend.
Submit a Special Use Permit application.
Include a nonrefundable $50.00 cost recovery fee with your application or submit the application fee on pay.gov.
Select a site from the List of Approved Locations for Weddings in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Attached any maps, diagrams or other information that may be helpful to the park staff.
If your application is approved
A permit containing applicable terms and conditions will be sent to you.
The permit must be signed and returned to the park with a $100.00 cost recovery fee for final approval before the wedding ceremony can take place.
Cost recovery fees may be submitted on pay.gov.
All permits have the following basic conditions. Individual permits may include conditions specific to that event.
- Entrance fees into the park are not waived for participants or guests since recreational benefit is derived. The permittee may contact the visitor center to purchase park passes in advance.
- The approved permit must be in the permittee’s possession at the time of the event.
- The release of any living thing is prohibited.
- Bird seed or rice may not be thrown within the park as this provides an unnatural food source for wildlife.
- The use of balloons, sky lanterns or other types of decorations will not be authorized.
- The use of bubbles or bubble making machines is prohibited.
- Directional or event signs may not be used within the park.
- The permittee is responsible for the cleanup of all trash from the site. All trash generated by the event is to be removed from the park by the permittee.
- The wedding party vehicles may not be decorated with cans, paper, streamers or any other item that may be left behind in the park.
- The permittee and guests must comply with all applicable federal, state, county and park regulations.
- Amplified music or public-address systems are not allowed. No disturbance of other park visitors may occur as the area will remain open to the public during the event.
- No ground disturbance is allowed.
- To preserve the natural setting, archways or other artificial structures are not authorized, and tents, tables or other furniture are not allowed unless a picnic area is used. A small number of chairs may be permissible for elderly or disabled guests.
- Pets must be controlled on a six-foot leash and may not be left unattended or tied to an object.
- The permittee is responsible for cleaning up after pets and disposing of waste in trash receptacles.
- Pets should be kept from interacting with wildlife or disturbing park visitors.
- If nesting piping plover are present, approved permits for wedding ceremonies on beaches may be restricted to specific areas on the beach.
- Permitted beach locations are subject to change if nesting piping plover are present.
Applications should be mailed to
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Attention: Special Use Permits/Weddings
9922 Front Street
Empire, MI 49630
For more information email
firstname.lastname@example.org or call (231) 326-4741.