Considering getting married at the Beach in New Buffalo?

For years, several brides and grooms have chosen the shores of Lake Michigan as their preferred location to exchange vows. With Lake Michigan or the dunes as a background, couples have created lasting and cherished memories.


Photo: Toni Jay Photography

If you are considering holding your wedding on the public beach in New Buffalo, here is what you need to know:

  • No permit is required and no advance notification or even coordination with the City is required.
  • The Beach is public property and cannot be reserved. All areas of the beach are on a “first come, first serve” basis.
  • Use of the beach is limited to the times the park is normally open. Sunrise to 11pm.
  • This scheduling tip from Toni Jay Photograhy: The best time for an outdoor ceremony is 2-3 hours before sunset. This later time ensures your photographer will have more even illumination, eliminating harsh shadows.
  • Weddings are not permitted during Ship and Shore Festival, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day holiday weekends.
  • Use of the beach for a wedding does not include parking accommodations or parking passes. Parking is available to attendees at the City’s Beach Parking Lot at normal hourly and daily rates. No overnight parking
  • No demands will be made of beach/park visitors. The rights of all beach-goers will be respected which means members of the public may be observing your ceremony
  • No signs or banners shall be displayed at the beach.
  • No special seating, tents or other structures are permitted on the beach.
  • No pets, fires, glass containers or alcoholic beverages allowed at the beach.
  • Those using the beach for a wedding ceremony are required to adhere to all City of New Buffalo Beach Park Rules and restrictions.
  • Don’t forget, a Marriage license required and there is a three-day waiting period. See Michigan Marriage License Requirements

Toni Jay Photography
toni@tonijay.com

Toni Jay Photography is a Wedding + Portrait Photographer serving the Lake Michigan coast of Northwest Indiana + Southwest Michigan

Learn More About Toni Jay Photography

Tips on Making your Beach Wedding a Success

Having your wedding ceremony at the beach can be both rewarding and challenging. Here are a dozen tips to help you overcome some of the natural obstacles.

  1. If your wedding date is scheduled far enough in advance, visit the beach on the calendar day that you’ll be married. This will give you an idea of what to expect from mother nature.
  2. Have a Plan B! Mother nature doesn’t always have the same schedule as we do. Wind, rain, blowing sand can all make things unbearable. It’s best to always have a foul-weather option – if only for your peace of mind.
  3. Select a local photographer or one that routinely shoots weddings at the beach – they will know how to take advantage of the natural scenery, lighting and weather conditions.
  4. Make sure your guests know that the wedding is actually on the sand, so they can dress appropriately.
  5. Consider having some sort of a shoe valet where guests can trade their “reception shoes” for casual flip-flops or go barefoot. Having a few inexpensive soft bristled paint brushes on hand to get the sand out from between the toes of your guests is a good idea.
  6. Embrace the beach wedding theme: Have your guests sign a beach themed wedding guest book like the one offered by the Finishing Touches Collection, available online at Amazon.com
  7. New Buffalo’s Beach faces west so chances are your guests will be gazing into the sun. Make sure everyone knows to bring sunglasses, hats, or visors so they are not squinting during the the entire ceremony or the photoshoot.
  8. If it is a spring or fall wedding, remind your guests to bring appropriate wraps, in case it gets chilly.
  9. Getting married mid-day ceremony in August – provide cool drinks for your guests.
  10. A formal ballgown or chapel train is not a good match for a beach wedding. Think light, sheer fabrics, have a nice fluid movement to them, yet still look dressy.
  11. Select a hairstyle that at least keeps the front part of your hair off your face. Even the slightest lake breeze will have battling strands of hair or curls sticking to your lip gloss.
  12. Beach weddings are best kept intimate where guests gather around the couple during a brief ceremony. If your guest list is larger than about twenty, you may want to consider another venue.
  13. Finally, New Buffalo’s beach is public. If you want complete privacy, we recommend renting a private residence, a beachfront resort or Inn or booking a sunset cruise on a private yacht.

Congratulations and Good Luck!