Rest & Relaxation

Rest & Relaxation

The best thing about having your destination wedding along the lakeshore? Your guests will have a variety of places to choose from when it comes to lodging facilities. In addition to nationally-known hotels, there are many wonderful locally-owned smaller motels that offer great amenities.

Perhaps your group may want the charm that only a bed & breakfast can provide. These grand homes along Ludington Avenue, built in the late 1800s, have been transformed into beautiful bed & breakfasts, and the innkeepers are more than happy to have a part in your special celebration. With their locations so close to downtown and the beach, a Ludington B&B may be the perfect choice. It adds that special touch to your wedding weekend, and a good night’s sleep is guaranteed in their one-of-a-kind rooms. A more modern bed and breakfast can be found in Hamlin Township.

Summer in West Michigan

Take a shortcut across the lake on a Carferry

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Maybe a comfortable cottage setting overlooking water would fit your needs, and we have that too! Many resorts can be found along Hamlin Lake, just north of Ludington and a few miles from the state park. Hamlin Lake is a great choice is you desire tranquility and peacefulness, as the area is truly serene. You can reserve numerous smaller cottages or larger facilities on either the upper or lower portion of the lake. This is a more casual option, and a great choice if you have a large family, group, or many children. Imagine looking out over the lake when you first wake up, or enjoying a fiery sunset. Add to the fun by renting a boat or jet ski and visiting the dunes.

Nice, modern hotels are located along the US-10 corridor, or consider one of the smaller motels, many of which are located near the downtown/beach area. Select motels offer many nice amenities, and you get that personal touch from the innkeepers that have been in business for generations. They’ll be very happy to help you make the most of your celebration.

Capturing the Day

Capturing the Day

With all the planning and preparation that go into putting together a beautiful wedding, an absolute must is a photographer with a great eye who will capture the essence of your special day.

It’s important to find a photographer that understands the vision for your celebration and who will work diligently to photograph the special moments so that you will have lasting memories for years to come.

Summer in West Michigan

Love Summer in West Michigan

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Many local photographers have started their own business in the Ludington area. They live here, and know all the “hidden” locales around Ludington. Whether it’s the beach, lighthouse, or a pretty park, Ludington certainly has the unique scenery that will make wonderful backdrops for your wedding pictures.

You only get one “shot” at great wedding photography. Set up an appointment with one of the lakeshore’s premier photographers and enjoy the memories for years to come.

Eat, Drink, & Be Merry!

Eat, Drink, & Be Merry!

The cuisine can make or break a wedding reception, but no worries—the West Michigan lakeshore restaurants and caterers have the best food around.

From Thai to Italian, BBQ to Sushi, Steaks to Seafood–you won’t be disappointed. Many restaurants will happily cater your event, whether you’re having a backyard barbeque or a more refined affair. Select restaurants in this area have banquet rooms that can accommodate large or small crowds.

Don’t forget the cake! Multi-layered or sheet—in whatever flavor suits your fancy—local businesses specialize in designing and baking your dream confection. Their unique creations will amaze you and your guests, and it’s just one more item you can check off your list. Even if you choose cupcakes or another sweet option, our bakeries can whip it up.

For toasting and great drinks, be sure to hire a professional bartender for your reception. Many mobile bartenders come right to you, with everything you need to keep you and your guests happy! Or if you’re hosting your own event and need beverages, lakeshore party stores stock your favorite wine, champagne, popular beer and craft beer.

Gloria Ann’s Catering
(231) 277-8300 Ludington, MI 49431

At Gloria Ann’s Catering, we guarantee delicious food and friendly, professional service. We’re fully licensed and offer a wide range of services with plenty of flexibility to meet your needs. We specialize in unique food presentation and high quality menu items. We also feature take-out and delivery for most menu items.

Setting the Tone for Your Special Day

Setting the Tone for Your Special Day

When it comes to accenting your bridal party’s attire and outfitting your ceremony or rehearsal space with flowers, there are experienced florists ready to help you choose beautiful bouquets, boutonnieres, and arrangements. Flowers simply make everything more beautiful and our local florists can show you a wide array of floral ideas that will add that colorful touch to your wedding.

You’ll also want to think about how to decorate the space in your own unique way. Wedding event planners specialize in this, and are happy to discuss decorations that the bride and groom have in mind. Casual or elegant…or maybe something with a theme…leave it to the professionals to help you create your fantasy wedding.

Tunnel of Trees

Tunnel of Trees

M-119 Heritage Route from Harbor Springs to Cross Village

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As far as entertainment, the West Michigan lakeshore has many great DJs and bands that will provide a fun filled reception after you’ve exchanged your vows. The lakeshore is filled with talented musicians that play a wide array of songs from every era. Dancing the night away tops off your celebration, so make it epic with a local band or DJ.

Get the Look

Get the Look…

For that dream wedding dress, check out local bridal shops. It’s so much fun to shop around and browse through all the beautiful gowns. It’s usually one of the first things a bride thinks about when she gets engaged, and every woman has an idea of what she wants. Whether it’s traditional white or pale pink, strapless or long sleeved, short or long–you’ll have a great time trying on dresses until you find the one that says “Yes to the Dress!”

Jewelers provide the perfect wedding bling! After the engagement ring is chosen, brides and grooms-to-be will want to visit a local jeweler to pick out their wedding rings. There’s so much more to choose from today, especially in the groom’s ring. Materials such as tungsten and silicone are now being used, along with the traditional silver and gold. Bride’s rings have also come a long way, with rose gold now being an option. And you don’t have to settle for diamonds–many brides are choosing colorful gemstones for their wedding bands, such as rubies or sapphires.

Visit Michigan's Lighthouses

Visit Michigan’s Lighthouses

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The bride will want to be pampered at a local hair and nail salon, along with her wedding party. Nail salons are found throughout the lakeshore, specializing in all types of manicures and pedicures. Acrylics, shellac, french–make your nails pop with a professional and relaxing manicure. Don’t forget the toes! Spa pedicures are all the rage, and make your feet soft and pretty. Once the nails are done, let one of the lakeshore’s experienced beauticians create an elegant up-do or style your hair that’s most flattering to you. You can even freshen your color or get extensions for your big day!

The groom will need to be outfitted in a tux or classy suit. Don’t forget to make appointments to find formal wear for the wedding party! You can easily rent from one of the lakeshore’s tux rental shops, where they provide the men with everything from the tie to the socks.

Choosing Your Wedding Date & Location

Choosing Your Wedding Date & Location

There are so many options along the lakeshore for your wedding and reception. And this area isn’t just great for beach weddings. Here are some other ideas for ceremony and reception venues.

Rustic Weddings

Do you love the idea of marrying your soulmate inside the natural setting of a cozy barn? Many couples are going this route, and we have some beautiful, historic barns located throughout the area that can be rented for weddings. You and your guests can enjoy the natural, wooded surroundings while you celebrate in the great outdoors. Brides with a rustic wedding in mind typically use decorations that include burlap, mason jars, field flowers, pine cones, and other natural, rustic décor. Check out our Rustic Weddings story for more ideas!


The most traditional ceremonies are held in churches, and the lakeshore has many to choose from, in every denomination. Some churches are the more conventional type; others have opened up and offer a modern approach that caters to younger people. A visit with a local pastor will get you started on the ceremony of your dreams.

Ludington State Park

You can’t go wrong with a wedding at the Ludington State Park. It truly is one of the most beautiful places to start your life together. There is an amphitheater that would be perfect for your nuptials, surrounded by natural surroundings. If you love the water, you could also marry along the Sable River that winds through the park. You must contact the Ludington State Park for permission to hold your ceremony within their boundaries.

The Season for Love

While many choose summer for weddings, consider the other seasons for your lakeshore nuptials. Fall is gorgeous, especially in October when the leaves turn bright shades of yellow, red, and orange. Being the off-season, you’ll have your choice of venues and planning your wedding will be a breeze.

A winter wedding can be beautiful, if you don’t mind the cold! Center it around Christmas with a holiday theme, or choose a cozy retreat for you and your guests. Spring is so pretty in West Michigan, too, with colorful tulips, lilacs, and daffodils blooming. Everything is fresh and new—what a great way to start your new life together!

Hold Your Wedding or Reunion at Sunset Bluff Resort on Hamlin Lake

Hold Your Wedding or Reunion at Sunset Bluff Resort on Hamlin Lake

If you’ve always dreamed of getting married against the backdrop of a beautiful lake, then Sunset Bluff Resort is the place to call. The name says it all–this charming resort sits on a wooded bluff overlooking Upper Hamlin Lake, where you can view some of the most spectacular sunsets around. All 40 acres of Sunset Bluff Resort are in a peaceful, quiet area which is perfect for your special day.


Sunset Bluff Resort would be happy to be your wedding venue in the off-season months of May, September and October. Imagine getting married in the spring when the flowers begin to bloom…or the fall when the glorious colors paint the countryside. And with Hamlin Lake in the background, your wedding can be the special moment it deserves to be. Sunset Bluff Resort has cottages that can accommodate up to 100 wedding guests, so everyone can be together in cozy and comfortable surroundings. For the venue itself, Sunset Bluff can seat up to 150 wedding guests. There are very few places in Ludington where you can get married on a lake, so let the friendly staff at Sunset Bluff Resort help make your wedding dreams come true.

Reunions & Retreats

In addition to weddings, consider holding your family reunion or corporate retreat at Sunset Bluff Resort. It’s perfect for families with plenty of space for everyone. Their chalets and A-frame cottages feature fully equipped kitchens, bed linens, grill and picnic table. Sunset Bluff also has boats to rent, where you can enjoy a leisurely cruise on Hamlin Lake or take advantage of the terrific fishing. Right next door is Victory Park with some terrific hiking trails. The Upper Hamlin Lake area is very quiet, so you can rest assured that your reunion and/or retreat will be private, surrounded by wooded beauty.

Ludington & Surrounding Area

Ludington is just a few miles from Sunset Bluff Resort and home to Stearns Park Beach and the North Breakwater Light. The S.S. Badger carferry sails from May-October from Ludington to Manitowoc, and various events take place during the spring, summer and fall. Enjoy the downtown shops and restaurants, or visit the Ludington State Park, the most popular state park in the Midwest. Other communities within a 30 minute drive include the Victorian city of Manistee to the north, the charming artsy village of Pentwater and the Silver Lake Sand Dunes to the south. There’s no shortage of things to do in the West Michigan area!

Sunset Bluff Resort is a year-round haven for those who enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature. They invite you to hold your wedding, reunion or retreat at their “home” for memories that will last a lifetime.

Also at Sunset Bluff Resort: Cottage & Boat Rentals…

Cottage Rentals

Hamlin Lake is such a great recreational destination–for boating, fishing, and swimming. Families come back year after year for the memories that can never be forgotten. You can experience a relaxing, family-friendly vacation at Sunset Bluff Resort on quiet Upper Hamlin Lake. Set upon a wooded bluff, you will witness spectacular golden sunsets over the water, and enjoy the beauty and privacy that Sunset Bluff Resort provides.

Boat & Motor Rentals

Love to fish? Hamlin Lake is an angler’s dream, with walleye, Northern pike, bass, perch, crappie, and bluegill in abundance. For even more variety, take a short drive to Lake Michigan for trout and salmon, or fish for steelhead and brown trout at the Pere Marquette River. For your convenience, Sunset Bluff Resort has a boathouse with a freezer and modern fish cleaning facilities. Plus they rent fishing boats, pontoons, canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats.

Sunset Bluff Resort & Boat Rentals
6075 N. Victory Park Rd.
Ludington, MI 49431
(231) 845-5002

Shagway Arts Barn & Wedding Venue

Shagway Arts Barn & Wedding Venue

Shagway Arts Barn, LLC, is a family owned company dedicated to expanding the cultural and economic growth of Mason County. Opened on July 18th, 2014, the beautifully restored 1920s-era barn attracts local artists and musicians to showcase their talents at live concerts and monthly art & craft shows at the barn.

Shagway Arts Barn is located near Hamlin Lake, just 7 miles north of Ludington. The Barn sits on forty acres of beautiful land, surrounded by woods and fields. This is what makes the Shagway Arts Barn such a unique venue for weddings and other events. It’s the perfect location for a rustic wedding or other events, large or small!

Tourists and residents alike are attracted to the scenic setting and the historic architecture. The Arts Barn is also part of the Mason County Quilt Trail. You can see the beautiful painted ‘Blazing Star’ quilt hung at the front of the barn, created in honor of Henry Shagway of the Ottawa tribe, who built the granary, barn and ‘Log Inn’ cabin on this 40 acre, wooded property from 1900 to 1920.

Concerts on the Deck

The Arts Barn also hosts concerts on the deck by local musicians throughout the summer months. There is a $5 cover charge for concerts. Children 12 & under are free. Credit cards, cash or checks are accepted. Visit the Shagway Arts Barn Facebook page or their website for updated information.

Don’t Miss the Monthly Craft & Vendor Shows!

Shagway Arts Barn hosts awesome craft & vendor shows every month! The craft & vendor shows are outside and inside the barn, and feature food, entertainment, and games. They run from 10am-4pm. You can expect to see many handmade treasures including crafts, home decor, paintings, sketches, and much more. There will also be vendors selling their products at the shows. For more information, or to fill out an application to be a vendor, visit the Shagway Arts Barn website.

The Barn and many of the surrounding areas are accessible, as well as the restroom on site. There is so much room to roam, and the sky really is the limit at the Arts Barn. If you have something in mind, just ask owner Nancy Miller, who will be very happy to help host your idea or event!

Take a Tour of the Barn & Property

The Shagway Arts Barn isn’t a regular old barn. There’s no hay, no animals, and no farming equipment. It’s clean (as clean as a barn can be!) and recently restored, yet still highlights the beautiful, historical elements that makes it so charming. It’s a very creative, unique setting for events of all sizes. The barn even has an outdoor, attached deck, which is large enough to use as a stage for a small wedding ceremony. The guests can either sit inside the barn, or outside on the lawn. There is also a loft and balcony inside the barn, which would be a nice setting for creative photographs.

Surrounding the barn, you’ll see some lovely fields and wooded areas. There are large, open areas close to the barn that work very well for event tents and parking. You can even enjoy several trails through the woods and fields that are regularly mowed and maintained.

Also on-site is an accessible Porta-Jon. For large events, additional Port-a-jons can be made available. A professional sound system is also available to use if needed.

In-person tours can be arranged with the owner of the barn, Nancy Miller. The barn is open to the public seasonally from May-October. Arrangements can also be made to tour the barn during the months that the barn is closed, depending on conditions and weather.

Have Your Event at Shagway Arts Barn!

Whatever size event, you can have it at Shagway Arts Barn! From large weddings to small birthday parties, you’ll find that the barn and surrounding property can be a perfect location for your event. Other events worth considering having at the Barn would be baby showers, family reunions, graduation parties or open houses, and more! The sky is the limit. Several areas on the property are available for tents, tables, gazebos, dance floors, grills, lawn games, and inflatable games.

Pricing and Additional Information

The Shagway Arts Barn is one of the most affordable venues of this type around! Weddings and receptions can cost as little as $450 (up to 80 guests). This includes use of the property the week before your event, the day of, and the day after, so there’s plenty of time to decorate and clean up. There’s no hourly charge. For more information, visit their website.

Shagway Arts Barn & Events Venue
5949 Shagway Rd
Ludington, MI 49431
(231) 970-0222

Rustic Weddings Along the Lakeshore

Rustic Weddings Along the Lakeshore

It’s time to plan your wedding. There are numerous things to consider…the wedding date, who the bridal party will be, how many guests to invite, and of course, where to hold the wedding and reception at. Will your wedding be traditional and be held at a church? Do you want it to be romantic and held on the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan? Or how about having your dream wedding at the family farm…have you ever considered a rustic wedding?

Rustic weddings seem to be all the rage recently. Think of a vintage-setting, maybe held within an old but beautiful barn, or on a traditional farm, or even an open field in a country setting. One of the best ways to make an indoor wedding ceremony or reception rustic is to bring nature indoors. Brides with a rustic wedding in mind typically think of decorations that include burlap, mason jars, field flowers, pine cones, and other natural, rustic decor. In a way, if you are thrifty, having a rustic wedding can save you some money, especially when choosing your decor and location of the event.

Gloria Ann’s Catering
(231) 277-8300 Ludington, MI 49431

At Gloria Ann’s Catering, we guarantee delicious food and friendly, professional service. We’re fully licensed and offer a wide range of services with plenty of flexibility to meet your needs. We specialize in unique food presentation and high quality menu items. We also feature take-out and delivery for most menu items.

Rustic Wedding Venues in West Michigan

The West Michigan area has many locations to hold a rustic wedding. There are several barns that are available to be rented out for special events, and some even come equipped with tables, chairs, restrooms, and sometimes a kitchen. Some people might think it strange to host a wedding in a barn, but in reality, they can be the most gorgeous weddings you can imagine.

Shagway Arts Barn in Hamlin Township (Ludington)

Looking for a beautiful, rustic location to host your special event? Shagway Arts Barn is an historical, newly restored barn with a loft and deck, filled with art from over 30 local artists. The Barn deck is the perfect spot for a small wedding ceremony, or take it outdoors in one of the many fields for more space! There are 40 acres of land that the Barn sits upon, and they are a beautiful setting for a wedding or special event. The Barn and many of the surrounding areas including the restroom on site are handicap accessible.

Sunset Bluff Resort on Hamlin Lake (Ludington)

If you’ve always dreamed of getting married against the backdrop of a beautiful lake, then Sunset Bluff Resort is the place to call. The name says it all–this charming resort sits on a wooded bluff overlooking Upper Hamlin Lake, where you can view some of the most spectacular sunsets around. All 40 acres of Sunset Bluff Resort are in a peaceful, quiet area which is perfect for your special day.

To Assist with Planning Your Special Day, Check Out These Wedding Related Links…

Bridal Shops & Tuxedo Rental— Let these bridal and tuxedo shops help you outfit your entire bridal party.

Florists — Let the West Michigan experts help you choose just the right floral design for your event, available in any price range.

Food & Drink — These businesses are ready to make your dream cake, prepare an amazing meal, and serve tasty libations, no matter what your budget is.

Jewelers — Visit one of the West Michigan jewelers to find your perfect engagement and wedding rings.

Lodging — West Michigan hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts have all the amenities to make you and your guests comfortable.

Music — Unless you have your own sound equipment and awesome tunes, hire a DJ or band to do it all for you!

Photography — Your wedding is such a special day. You’ll want to make sure to hire a photographer to capture all the special moments before, during, and after the ceremony and throughout the reception.

Salons — West Michigan salons offer multiple services, such as tanning, nails, hair, and spa amenities to help you look and feel your best on your special day.

Services — Planning, organizing, and cleaning up after a big event can be a very time-consuming job, so don’t hesitate to enlist the services of one of these fine lakeshore businesses.

Venues — Whether it be big or small, your ceremony and reception are once in a lifetime events! Check out these businesses to hold your celebration in.

Beach Weddings

Plan Your Beach Wedding

It’s no wonder couples choose Ludington for their destination wedding. Our beautiful beaches are popular with brides and grooms that desire a more casual ceremony. If you’re considering tying the knot with Lake Michigan as your backdrop, here are a few pointers to get you started:

Stearns Park Beach

This expansive beach, right at the end of Ludington Avenue, is the setting for many small weddings. The park area has restrooms, accessible walkways, concessions, picnic area, mini golf, and skate park. You are free to set up chairs anywhere on the beach, hold your ceremony, then clean up immediately after. Tents or canopies are not allowed, and no permits are required. Keep in mind the beach is public domain, so your event may not be completely private. But a few extra onlookers sending their best wishes adds to your happy day!

Buttersville Beach

Located south of Ludington, this beach is accessible from a steep stairway, so keep your guests’ needs in mind. It’s a bit more private, and once again, no tents may be erected but chairs are fine. There is no permit needed to exchange vows on Buttersville Beach.

Summit Park

Also located south of Ludington, it has the same setup as Buttersville, with a steep staircase leading down to the beach. However, this park has a pavilion, with 40 folding chairs, six long tables, picnic tables, stove, microwave, and refrigerator available for use. The pavilion can hold up to 75 people and can be rented for a small fee.

Ludington State Park

This popular park has two beaches—one on Lake Michigan and the other on Hamlin Lake. There are also miles of public beaches along M-116 leading out to the park. The outdoor amphitheater is available to rent for open-air weddings and other events. The rental fee includes reserved parking, exclusive use of the amphitheater facility, electrical and nearby restrooms. Access to the beach and other scenic areas is available for photo opportunities. For details and reservations, call 231-843-2423.

Waterfront & Copeyon Parks

Though neither is on the beach, these two parks on Pere Marquette Lake both have gazebos for small weddings. Waterfront Park is set between our two marinas and features a playground and many bronzed sculptures. Rental of the gazebo does require a permit from the City of Ludington. Copeyon Park overlooks Pere Marquette Lake and has a picnic area and restrooms. No permit is needed. Another nice location with a covered picnic area is Suttons Landing along the Pere Marquette River.

Gloria Ann’s Catering
(231) 277-8300 Ludington, MI 49431

At Gloria Ann’s Catering, we guarantee delicious food and friendly, professional service. We’re fully licensed and offer a wide range of services with plenty of flexibility to meet your needs. We specialize in unique food presentation and high quality menu items. We also feature take-out and delivery for most menu items.