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 and not less than 21 days prior to your ceremony. Permits are issued for wedding ceremonies only; receptions are not permitted. Wedding permits will not be issued for heavy use periods – Memorial Day weekend, July Fourth weekend, and Labor Day weekend. Picnic areas may not be reserved and are available only on a first-come basis.
Submit a Wedding Special Use Permit application.
Include a nonrefundable $50.00 cost recovery fee with your application.
Attach any helpful to maps, diagrams or other information to assist the park staff.
Visit the park before choosing a site for your ceremony.
If your application is approved
A permit containing applicable terms and conditions will be sent you.
The permit must be signed and returned to the park with a $100.00 cost recovery fee for final approval by the park Superintendent before the wedding ceremony may take place.
An additional charge of $50.00 per hour will be incurred for a National Park Service event monitor for those outdoor activities of 50 people or more.
All permits have the following basic conditions. Individual permits may include conditions specific to that event.
- The approved permit must be in the permit holder’s possession at the time of the wedding.
- The permit holder is responsible for the cleanup and removal of all trash from the site.
- A wedding permit does not allow the ceremony to restrict other park visitors from the chosen location, nor does it guarantee availability of a specific site at the permitted location.
- Entrance fees into the park are not waived for participants or guests since recreational benefit is derived.
- The permit holder and guests must comply with all applicable federal, state, and county regulations.
- Parking is limited in most locations and the use of car pools or shuttles is recommended and may be required as a condition of the permit.
- Pets must be leashed at all times.
- Directional or event signs may not be used within the park.
- 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.
- No ground disturbance is allowed.
- 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.
- The release of any living thing is prohibited.
- Birdseed 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.
- The wedding party vehicle s may not be decorated with can, paper, streamers or any other item that may be left behind in the park.
Check the list of approved areas for weddings in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. If your proposed application conforms to this list, standard fees will apply. If an area not listed is proposed and/or the proposed group size exceeds the maximum group size listed, the permit will need additional review and approval. Additional fees of $50.00 per employee hour to manage and monitor the permit may be required.
Applications and fees should be mailed to
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Attention: Special Park Uses/Weddings
9922 Front Street
Empire, MI 49630
For more information call (231) 326-4741 or email Dawn Majewski or Phil Akers.