Posts Tagged ‘beach photos door county’

10 Best Door County Venues for Small Weddings

Small weddings are our absolute favorite! The short guest list usually means the day is more intimate and shows couple’s personalities. Brides feel less inclined to follow traditions that don’t suit them, and couples get to better enjoy their wedding day free from major stressors!

Door County is a great spot for small weddings whether you’re planning an elopement, small wedding, or destination wedding. Since we photograph in Door County regularly, we thought we would compile a list of the best small wedding venues in the area so you can get an overview and details on each before jumping website to website!

Door County Wedding Photographers

1. Wineries

Even if you don’t know much about Door County, chances are you know that the peninsula is dotted with wineries from toe to tip. What you may not know is that these wineries often open their doors to small weddings.

Simon Creek Winery, Sturgeon Bay, WI

  • Outdoor weddings can be held in green space near the creek (see photos above).
  • Ceremony tents are allowed.

Stone’s Throw Winery, Baileys Harbor, WI

  • Outdoor weddings can accommodate up to 150 people in the green space, or smaller groups on the patio or in the sculpture garden.
  • Indoor weddings can accommodate up to 80 people in the Barrel Room or Tasting Room.

2. Garden Gables

Garden Gables, Sister Bay, WI describes themselves as Door County’s premier DIY wedding venue. It’s romantic, whimsical, and charming with an outdoor stone bar, concrete band stage, indoor barn area, and outdoor gazebo. Everything about this venue is unique and perfect for weddings with a boho theme or a rustic vibe.

  • Open June through September and can accommodate up to 200 guests outdoors or 100 guests indoors.
  • There is a cottage space with restrooms available for wedding preparations and two multi-stall indoor restrooms for guests.
  • Only four miles from downtown Sister Bay.

3. State Parks

Until we were invited to photograph our first state park wedding at Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek, I had no idea they even rented for weddings. But with all the water views and gorgeous wooded areas, it’s a great choice for your warm weather affair. Some parks even rent shelter areas to be used for simple receptions!

Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek, WI

  • Only small weddings are permitted. Two enclosed shelters are available for rent and can accommodate up to 50 people. Other than the shelter rental fee and vehicle stickers, there is no fee for holding your wedding at Peninsula State Park.
  • There are some locations where tents are permitted.
  • Wedding locations include Weborg Point (see photos above), Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, Welckers Point, Sven’s Bluff, Eagle Panorama, and Eagle Terrace.

Potawatomi State Park, Sturgeon Bay, WI

  • Some facilities are reservable including the picnic shelter on South Shoreline which seats 30 and the Amphitheater located in the center of the park near the campground which seats around 60.
  • A tent can be set up outside of the picnic shelter for outdoor ceremonies.
  • There are areas that are not reservable, but weddings can also be hosted there, (see photos above) just contact the park for details.

4. Gordon Lodge

Gordon Lodge, Baileys Harbor, WI may be Door County’s most popular wedding venue. Their unique grounds feature so many options from an intimate beach wedding, woodsy views, or indoor spaces, you can customize to your heart’s content. Onsite catering and lodging is a big plus for this venue as that is not easy to find in the area. The water views are unbeatable and the food is incredible!

  • Amenities include onsite catering and lodging, private beach, and equipment rentals (bicycles, kayaks, and paddle boards for exploring).
  • Gordon Lodge’s Event Center seats 250 without encroaching on dance floor, and the Boathouse is perfect for smaller weddings which can seat 50-60 based on wether you choose to do plated dinner or banquet style.
  • Ceremonies may also be held outdoors on the green space where Lake Michigan and North Bay meet.

5. Woodwalk Gallery

Art, wine, and beaches, that’s what Door County is known for! Woodwalk Gallery, Egg Harbor, WI is an active art gallery and a beautiful venue featuring a historic barn, landscaped trails, and multiple outdoor wedding locations. They are also known for their friendliness when working with couples to plan their wedding!

  • Although known mostly for small weddings, Woodwork can accommodate outdoor groups up to 250.
  • There are many outdoor options for ceremony including a garden lattice and vintage silo (see photos above), or you can hold your wedding inside the historic barn. A tent may be set up barn adjacent to make the transition indoors easy for your guests.
  • There is a getting ready space onside for wedding preparations and indoor bathrooms are available for guests.

6. Horseshoe Bay Farms

Although mostly know for its larger weddings, Horseshoe Bay Golf Club, Egg Harbor, WI is set up well for smaller affairs in their Beach Club venue. Centrally located, Horseshoe Bay Farms is only a short drive from Sturgeon Bay where many of the peninsula’s amenities and lodging are, or guests can plan to travel north after your wedding to explore more of what the county has to offer. Murphy Park is just across the way which is a beautiful stop for photos with a pet-friendly park and warm bathing beach.

  • At Horseshoe Bay the Members Clubhouse seats up to 200 indoors for dinner, the Private Dining Room seats 35, and Horseshoe Bay’s Tent Pad is an outdoor venue with seating for up to 140 guests.
  • The Beach Club is it’s own small venue along the shores of Green Bay with rooftop deck, patio, and indoor venue space with seating for up to 70 guests.
  • Horseshoe Bay is also known for their signature cocktails such as Door County Cherry Mojitos or Horseshoe Bay Old Fashioneds to add a personal touch!

7. Stavkirke Church

If you’re feeling adventurous, an island wedding might be for you! Stavkirke Church, Washington Island, WI is a small wood chapel surrounded by woods (see photos above). It was build by local craftsman to honor the Scandinavian roots of the island and based on a church in Borgund, Norway from 1150 AD. Washington Island does require a ferry from Gills Rock, so it’s not for the faint of heart, but your guests will appreciate the weekend getaway. No guests? Washington Island is the perfect spot for an elopement, just don’t forget to pack you swimsuit!

  • Great for elopements and small weddings of 30 or fewer guests.
  • Just around the corner from famous Schoolhouse Beach, perfect for photos.

8. Bjorklunden

Bjorklunden, Baileys Harbor, WI is a 440 acre estate on the quiet side of the peninsula. If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the “bay side”, choosing a location along the “lake side” is a good option. Bjorklunden is actually a small music school (a branch of Lawrence University) but they do rent multiple spaces for private events and weddings.

  • The most popular option for weddings is Boynton Chapel which is a wood stav church built in 1939. It can accommodate up to 36 guests.
  • There are multiple onsite lodging options available (including a studio apartment space) as well as indoor spaces for food and events.

9. Landmark Resort

Although not exclusively for small weddings, Landmark Resort, Egg Harbor, WI is a Door County staple, voted “Best Wedding Venue” by Door County Magazine. In addition to their well known reception site and lodging options, The Landmark also has two outdoor ceremony locations including the Egg Harbor Terrace (see photos above) and Flagship Garden offering views of the bay.

  • Best known as a reception hall, the Landmark also offers outdoor ceremony venues and a smaller restaurant space (Carrington Grill) perfect for intimate weddings.
  • In the banquet space, The Landmark can hold up to 200 guests. The State Room seats 80, and there are smaller rooms to accommodate groups up to 40.
  • 284 condominium suites are available for rent for you and your guests so they can make a weekend of it. Book hospitality suites, distribute brunch vouchers, or even host a fish boil for your guests!
  • Outdoor ceremonies can hold 120-200 guests.

10. About Thyme Farm

About Thyme Farm, Baileys Harbor, WI is a gorgeous barn venue on the “quiet side” of the peninsula. It is surrounded by fields and lush green space. If you are thinking a barn wedding might be for you, but want a place that is already prepared to host, About Thyme is that venue. They are set up for DJ and band equipment, have a built-in bar, and chandeliers throughout the main of the barn with Italian bulbs lighting the back of the barn.

  • About Thyme boasts amble parking for up to 75 cars and the option to leave vehicles overnight if you are shuttling guests to lodging.
  • Wedding ceremonies can be held indoors or outdoors.
  • Indoor restrooms able to accommodate a full guest list.
  • Barn can seat up to 200 for dinner.

Honorable Mentions:

We didn’t want to make this post too overwhelming and there are so many great places to get married in Door County! If you didn’t find your hidden gem listed above, we suggest you check out Silver Poplar Studios, Birch Creek Music Center, Hillside Inn, Bridal Chapel of Door County, or Whistling Swan Restaurant. There are also many more restaurants that can host wedding receptions.

If you are considering an elopement, we suggest checking out a bed and breakfast (like the Chanticleer B&B cabin elopement pictured above) or a public park or beach area like Cave Point County Park.

We hope this guide has helped guide you through your planning process! We love Door County and it’s been such a pleasure to work with the people at these incredible venues to make beautiful, memorable wedding days. If you have questions about a venue or want to meet up and chat about your wedding photography vision, send us a message HERE.

Personal Post: “pictures of the summer to prove that it really existed”

Fingers crossed and saying my prayers for safe transit, I packed up the film I shot all summer long and shipped it out to be developed. When the package arrived, Ben and I sat in bed together and flipped through the prints, my heart exploding with every photo. This summer wasn’t just any summer, it was Juniper’s first summer, something I anticipated since that second pink line appeared 18+ months ago.

Part of the joy of parenthood is sharing the things you love with this new little person. It may be your 200th visit to the beach, but it’s the first time she’s felt sand in her toes, and it may be your annual camping trip at the usual spot, but it’s the first time she has woken up to the sunny pattern leaves make on the tent walls in the morning.

This summer was full of “Juniper’s firsts”, and part of that was sharing places with her that meant a lot to us growing up. We visited The Farm where she held a kitten and giggled when she touched a baby goat. We went camping at Peninsula State Park where she rode in a canoe and took naps in a cargo wagon. She ate fruit straight from the orchard, visited beaches, parks, and pools, and soaked up the summer sun right in our own backyard.

Every outing required more planning and packing than any previous summer (babies come with SO much stuff), but as anyone who has ever loved anyone knows, the joy of wonderful things is multiplied when you see someone you love experience that joy. And we are closing out the summer with a heart full of memories and a head full of stories to tell as she grows up.

It’s amazing how children can change how we experience our world. Everything is new again — just like magic.
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Photos above from 35 mm film scans July-September.
Blog title taken from song “People Take Pictures of Each Other” by The Kinks.
If you like this blog, check out The Family of Over-Celebrators and Summertime on Film.

Seniors: alli, green bay botanical gardens & green bay beach

It’s so fun for us when seniors choose two locations that are completely different from one another. With our first stop at Green Bay Botanical Gardens, we had beautiful greens, flowers, and fountain with everything precise and perfect, and with our second beachy location we got the wind and water completely untamed and beautiful. As we got to the bay, the wind picked up along the shore and we were worried about how it would affect pictures, but we actually love Alli’s windblown hair and dress, especially as the sunset glows in the background! Alli is sporty, easygoing, and fun, and we loved getting to know her and her family. Best wishes on your senior year and beyond, Alli!

Seniors: clara, jackson harbor, washington island, door county

This past winter I shared with Ben the fact that I longed to shoot a session on Washington Island. In spring we started chatting about how to make that happen, then out of nowhere, I received an email from Clara. Clara’s family has enjoyed the island for generations and for her it’s a home-away-from-home, the place to get away and reconnect with nature, family, and herself. With both of her parents as teachers, Clara and her sister are able to spend the majority of each summer at their cottage on Jackson Harbor.

For those who don’t know, my family has an old farmhouse on orchard land in Baileys Harbor that I connect to the same way Clara connects to her cottage, so when we started messaging I knew her session would be a perfect fit for us to photograph. After FaceTiming to plan her session, we set a date and packed our gear to board the Washington Island Ferry. The ferry departed from Gills Rock and took us across Death’s Door to the island. It was a beautiful, breezy ride. When we arrived, Clara’s family was there to greet us and share the island and all the spots they’ve enjoyed there over the years. It’s amazing to me all the memories that a place can hold, and how those memories can become the legacy of a family. Clara’s senior portraits were meant to be on Washington Island; anywhere else wouldn’t quite have been the same. Enjoy your senior year, Clara!

Portraits: beach maternity session, waiting for baby alena

Elizabeth was turning two and Rachel and John were expecting their second baby girl – so much to celebrate! Lizzy loved playing in the sand and patting her baby sister, and we loved the sweetness of three of them (soon to be four) snuggled up together. Together we explored the beach, watched seagulls, and chased Lizzy down the boardwalk. It was a beautiful evening to celebrate milestones.

Portraits: victoria’s 15th birthday session, beach and preserve

After setting up Luis’s senior photo session and planning for photos at Voyageur Park and downtown Green Bay, Matilde had an idea to celebrate her daughter’s 15th birthday: her own portrait session. Victoria loves natural, artistic photos that have fashion photography influences, which is a perfect fit for our style. Together we looked at some source images to pick the perfect locations – one with blue water and a sandy beach, and the other with rustic fields of wildflowers and warm sunlight. We got exactly what we were hoping for, and Victoria chose outfits that complimented her boho vision for the session. Victoria celebrated her 15th birthday away from her extended family, and we hope that this session helps her feel extra special on this big milestone! Happy Birthday, Victoria!

Engagements: brittany & tim, door county state park

For Brittany and Tim, Door County is their getaway place, so as we planned their engagement session, we knew we would be heading north. Potawatomi State Park is one of our favorite locations to photograph because of the diversity – woods, water, beach – it’s got it all. Their day was beautiful and warm with overcast skies and and tree-filtered light.

Brittany and Tim met through mutual friends nearly two years ago. On their first date they started the day with mini golf at Bay Beach, but a day date turned into lunch, and then into a movie until they had spent the entire day together. It was only a short time before they knew that each of them had met their match.

On a spring day, Tim woke up and knew he wanted to propose to Brittany that morning. He had planned to wait, but something about that day told him it was the right moment. He asked her to go for a walk at Green Bay Botanical Gardens and he tucked the ring into his jacket. Partway through their walk, she was cold and asked for his coat; as he helped her into it, he crossed his fingers that she wouldn’t tuck her hands into the pockets. At the top of the overlook, he wrapped his arms around her and snuck the box from his coat; moments later he asked and she said yes!

This couple is so sweet together. They know that life isn’t all celebration; they have seen the harder sides of things. But they face everything together, leaning on one other for strength and greeting each day with optimism and thankfulness for each other. Congratulations, Brittany and Tim!

Senior Session: isabelle, door county beach & downtown de pere

door-county-beach-photos-senior-pictures-portraits-green-bay-photographer-class-of-2017-east-de-pere-high-school-1door-county-beach-east-de-pere-senior-pictures-portraits-downtown-brick-green-bay-photographer-class-of-2017-high-school-urbran-2When a senior requests a split session between her hometown and the family beach house, we say “oh yes!” and immediately start packing our gear! Isabelle attends East De Pere High School where she is heavily involved in clubs, Spanish, and athletics. Outside of school she is a talented figure skater and teaches figure skating on the side in addition to her hostessing job. Her variety of interests and fashionable sense of style made for a fun and dynamic session (including a late August dip in Lake Michigan for some splashing and twirling!) The family beach house was lovely and we adored photographing on the Door County waterfront. Downtown De Pere gave us the perfect balance with some richer colors, rougher textures, and some great urban vibes. Congratulations, Isabelle, enjoy your senior year!