Duluth, Minnesota wedding and elopement photographer

It’s no secret that one of Minnesota’s most sought-after wedding locations is on the North Shore. While many couples choose to elope further up the shore (Two Harbors, Lutsen, Grand Marais, etc.), Duluth is an incredible option for those looking for the “best of both worlds”. From the iconic Aerial Lift Bridge, to the blue waters of Lake Superior crashing to shore, there’s plenty of ways to make your Duluth elopement one to remember. As a Minnesota wedding and elopement photographer (who spends a lot of time on the North Shore), I’m so excited to bring you the ultimate guide to eloping in Duluth, Minnesota. Let’s get into it!

Eloping in Duluth, Minnesota | Payton Rademacher Photography

Like eloping anywhere, the first thing that you need to do is decide on a season! If you’re a Minnesota native, you’re no stranger to the ever-changing weather. If you’re visiting from out of state, let me tell you firsthand: the weather is no joke.

Because it’s situated right on Lake Superior, storms can roll in quickly and without warning (even if the forecast is sunny and 75°). The same goes for the Winter months. If you’re brave enough to have a Winter elopement in Duluth, please be aware that there is pretty much always a chance for snow!

Best Season to Elope in Duluth

November-March — You can anticipate cold temperatures + lots of snow. Cold fronts come directly from Canada, and so does the snow. But if you can see past the cold temperatures, the snow can be really magical. The cold weather brings fewer tourists than the warmer months, so this is a big plus for many couples searching for a more intimate vibe.

April-June — While the rest of Minnesota is typically drastically warming up in the Spring months, it takes Duluth a bit longer to do so. Especially in April, you can still anticipate there being snow on the ground. As for May and June, the weather definitely gets warmer, but it’s just slower to do so. June is a really popular month in the Duluth area because of Grandma’s Marathon. Traffic changes are frequent, and many hotels are booked up. So if your hearts are set on June, book your accommodations as soon as possible.

July-August — Those Summer months are beautiful on the North Shore. While Lake Superior is definitely a cold one to swim in, these are the best months if you’re looking for some “toes in the sand” photos. Because these are the warmest months in Duluth, you can count on many tourists and families filling the parks and beaches.

September-November — FALL!! I can’t even explain just how breathtaking the North Shore is in the Fall months. The vibrant, rich Fall colors bring thousands of tourists to the area (especially further up the shore), so plan accordingly.

How to Elope in Duluth, Minnesota

Where to Elope in Duluth

Once you’ve decided on which season you’re looking to elope in, it’s time to choose a location. Duluth has plenty to offer; the only issue is deciding on just one! Pro tip: Do your research on each of these locations, as many of them require a permit and/or reservation prior to your event.

Park Point is one of the most popular locations in Duluth for senior sessions, engagement photos, and weddings! Located across the Aerial Lift Bridge, Park Point stretches along a beautiful coastal neighborhood, surrounded by tall beach grass. It’s definitely an area that doesn’t feel like you’re in Northern Minnesota.

Canal Park is probably the most well-known locations in Duluth because of the Aerial Lift Bridge. The bridge lifts upwards of 20 times a day for iron ore ships and sailboats alike. If you’re looking for an elopement in true Duluth fashion, this is the best place to tie the knot. Located just off of Lake Avenue, you’ll be close to breweries, spas, and shopping alike!

The Duluth Rose Garden is stunning when flowers are blooming! You won’t even need to bring any flowers, as there are literally thousands of rose bushes bursting with color. The boardwalk from Canal Park leads all the way up to the Rose Garden, so you could have many photo ops if you wanted!

Brighton Beach is located just North of Duluth on the scenic highway. This beach is perfect if you’re not about the “sandy vibes”; it’s full of black river rock and giant boulders. Truly a stunning place to get married.

Enger Tower is also one of the most iconic locations in Duluth. When you drive into the city, you’ll see the Aerial Lift Bridge to the right, and Enger Tower on the left. One of the biggest draws for an elopement is that you have 360° vows of the city, Lake, and bridge. What more could you want!?

North Shore beach elopement

Duluth, MN Wedding Vendors

Alright, so you’ve nailed down the season (or date) and a location. Now, comes the really fun part! It’s time to select your wedding vendors. Elopements are definitely different than traditional weddings in that they frequently have less vendors.

One of my biggest tips for selecting your wedding vendors is to start with booking your photographer. And no, I’m not just saying that because I am a wedding photographer! But when you book your photographer first, you have access to top of the line planning resources. For my couples, I pride myself in being able to walk alongside them in the planning process. From recommending other vendors, to establishing a guest count, to helping to obtain permits, I’m your gal.

Champagne pop on Park Point by Payton Rademacher Photography

Duluth, Minnesota Elopement Photographer

As soon as you’ve established your date, location, and vendors, you’re ready to get married! My biggest encouragement to my couples is to truly make this the best, most adventurous day of your lives. I’m talking about making the entire elopement an experience. If you’re struggling with nailing down an itinerary or order of events, here’s a few of my favorite “templates” to help your vision come to life. PS – we can create your personalized itinerary together!

Go to a cute local café (190 Coffee + Tea is *chef’s kiss*), grab a coffee, and some breakfast (Duluth Grill is one of my faves). Savor your morning together, go for a walk on the boardwalk, or even a hike in one of the many surrounding state parks. Come back to your Airbnb and order some local pizza (you can’t go wrong with Pizza Lucé). Once your bodies are fueled, head out to your ceremony! Then, you’ll be tasked with the tough decision of choosing where to take sunset romantics. But trust me, you can’t really go wrong with any of the locations mentioned above!

You could also opt for camping, a morning hike, and a picnic lunch. Once you’ve enjoyed your picnic, head back to the Airbnb to get ready. You could even head to the salon if you didn’t want hair & makeup to travel to you! After an afternoon ceremony, you could do some brewery hopping down on Superior Street. There’s literally no shortage. Once your bellies are full, you could head back to the campsite for some moonlight dancing while the campfire crackles.

Have I sparked some inspiration in you, yet? 😏

Minnesota wedding and elopement photography

Additional Elopement Resources

There you have it! The Ultimate Guide to Eloping in Duluth, Minnesota. If you’re looking for more elopement planning tips, you can find me over on Instagram (@paytonrademacherphoto). And be sure to keep tuning into the blog every other Friday for more swoon-worthy couples, tips, and tricks! Until next time.

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