A Northwoods wedding could mean a lakeside ceremony, or an exchange of vows under the trees, or a rustic cabin event. This area comprises several counties in the northern (duh) portion of Wisconsin: Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas counties. It’s an escape from city life, a retreat away from the people and the noise.
Do you want some galaxy photos on your wedding day…? This is the place to do it. Do you see yourself waking up with the sun and watching the fog over a lake, listening to the birds while you drink your morning coffee? This is the place to do it.
Wisconsin natives know exactly what you mean when you say “up north;” I had to do a lot of confused Google-ing. Several fascinating rabbit holes later and I am stoked on this part of the state. I’m convinced it’s one of the best places to get married in Wisconsin. (For the other places on my list, check out the Ultimate Guide to eloping in Wisconsin!)
If you’re local, you know what the Wisconsin weather is like, right? (If you aren’t, there’s a seasonal breakdown on the guide.)
When choosing which time of year to elope, I’d say there’s a lot of personal preference involved. The climate up north isn’t drastically different from the rest of the state, maybe a wee bit colder. So when you’re choosing the best time of year for you to have a Northwoods wedding, think about a few things:
1. Wisconsin has seasons. Real ones. Winter and summer could not be more different. Depending on which weather you’re comfortable with, and where you plan to stay, the temperature is a huge factor.
2. Different seasons look…different! Kind of an “obvious” thing to say, but it’s something that a lot of people don’t consciously think about. Winter is going to be a frosty wonderland: can you see yourself on the shores of an icy lake, wrapped up warm, with all those gorgeous blues? Do you see yourself in a vibrant, green clearing? In a red and orange forest? Temperature isn’t everything, my darlings.
3. High summer is going to be busy. The middle of winter is going to be more private. With such a large area to explore, we’ll still be able to find you a quiet place away from the crowds, but it’s harder to do in the summer.
Your options are very nearly endless here, because “up north” is such a large area. You’ll find a lot of cabins, some larger venue-style locations, and some really cute AirBnBs. There’s also camping! …Just throwing that out there. I dug around a wee bit and found some excellent options for an elopement getaway:
LOOK at this adorable “Hygge Cabin.” Look at it. It’s so charming
Gorgeous Yurt in the woods, anyone…?
Lakeside views in an isolated area: yes please
I’m going to cover my own butt here and say: every county is a wee bit different.
Your best bet is to go to your county’s official website and look up the info for obtaining a marriage license. Usually, there’s a set time you need to get the license before your wedding day, and there’s a set time that the license is good for (e.g. you have to get married within 30 days of getting the license). You’ll need proof of residency, identification, and possibly some more documentation.
If you don’t live in any of these northern counties and want to get married up here, you can get the license in your own county! Some places let you get married anywhere, provided the license gets returned to the same place where you picked it up. Or you can do a courthouse ceremony for the government, and get married wherever and however you want. If you have to/want to split things up like that, don’t stress about it! Your anniversary is the day you exchange vows, in my opinion. Not the day you sign a piece of paper.