Door County is quickly rising as one of the premier destination wedding locations in Wisconsin, if not in the country. With its laidback atmosphere, stunning landscapes of bluff and forest, and tight-knit local communities, it’s one of the best places to have an intimate ceremony with all of your closest friends and family. When you have a destination wedding in Door County, you’re inviting your loved ones to experience the simultaneous exciting rush and relaxation that only the peninsula can offer.
When it comes to planning the perfect Door County wedding, there are several factors to consider, such as the ordinary checklist of venues, lodging, and vendors, but you also need to think about transportation for those who may live out of town and even the season of your set date. With so much to consider, it can be very overwhelming to figure out exactly where to start. Here is our guide for planning the very best Door County wedding that will fit your vision—and, perhaps most importantly, your budget!
Why Choose Door County?
If you’ve read this far, then chances are that you’ve already chosen Door County as the destination for your wedding. But maybe you still have some lingering doubts or questions, especially if you live far from the area. What makes Door County different from other wedding destinations? How can I accommodate my friends and family if they’ve never visited before? Where do I start the planning process?
What makes Door County so special is that a destination wedding allows you to enjoy a full weekend of fun and celebration rather than just one day. You can explore the different state parks, have a tasting at a winery or brewery, or relax before the big day at a spa or massage parlor! The options are endless on ways to have fun with your closest loved ones, from hiking to boating to perusing art galleries to playing bag toss in a beer garden!
Each of the seasons in Door County has its own activities and perks too, which might determine when exactly you want to tie the knot.
When Should I Get Married?
Ultimately, it’s up to you when you want to say, “I do!” To save money, you can choose a weekday or shoulder season, or you can allocate more of your budget to a more popular day, time, and season.
In Door County, there’s no question that the two most popular seasons for weddings are summer and fall! Summer is perhaps the most notable time that visitors come to the peninsula, so it will be quite crowded at certain touristy spots and busier in the state parks and restaurants. However, there are several reasons why summer is such a great time to visit! Since Lake Michigan is calmer and warmer, you will have more opportunities to get out on a boat or kayak into the water. You can hike and bike through scenic trails in the parks, visit several local businesses, and eat at delicious dining establishments.
Similarly, fall is another busy time of year for the peninsula, as several visitors are flocking to the state parks and around the county to see the breathtaking autumn colors. This offers a perfect backdrop for wedding photos, though it may be crowded at points. Additionally, this is the time of year when some businesses are limiting their hours in anticipation of the quiet season.
Spring and winter are the slowest seasons in Door County, but that means they are the most serene and peaceful! If you’re the type who loves a winter wonderland, then there’s no better place than the peninsula surrounded by bodies of water and blankets of snow. Conversely, spring is a special time to say your vows with the budding of the cherry blossoms, signaling a new day and a new season.
Where Should I Have My Ceremony & Reception?
Now that you’ve decided on a season and a day, it’s time to visit the venues that can accommodate your desires and your guests. When it comes to choosing a venue, it’s important to consider your look, feel, and the overall big picture. What do you want the vibe of your wedding to be? Traditional? Floral and lacey? Outdoorsy chic?
Outdoor weddings are especially popular in Door County, and for good reason. There’s no better background for your ceremony than the crystal-clear blue water of Lake Michigan, the limestone bluffs and cliffs, and the lush forestry. However, remember to be mindful of the weather! In case of weather unpredictability, you should always have a backup indoor option to host your ceremony.
At the Landmark Resort, we have two venues for our couples to choose from, one indoor and one outdoor, and either can accommodate more intimate or more extravagant celebrations. For ceremonies with over a hundred guests, we recommend our spacious Egg Harbor Room, located on the lower level of the Carrington. This ballroom features floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing the stunning bay below the bluff, and you’ll have the perfect vantage point of Door County’s renowned sunsets. Outside the Egg Harbor Room is our terrace, one of the spaces where you can have your reception or ceremony.
For smaller weddings, or in case of inclement weather, we also offer our State Room, located on the upper level of the Carrington. Just like the Egg Harbor Room, this room is surrounded by massive windows overlooking the bay and the Village of Egg Harbor. Host your ceremony in the Flagship Garden, a beautifully well-groomed venue with a breathtaking backdrop of the sun setting over the water. To help you save money in the long run and to save time on the day of your wedding, consider booking a venue that can host both your reception and ceremony on-site. Booking two separate venues can lead to some confusion with coordination and less time spent with your friends and family. At the Landmark Resort, we can host your reception, ceremony, and cocktail hour all on-site! As an added bonus, the bride and groom are granted a complimentary suite when they book with the Landmark!
How Should I Choose My Vendors?
Door County is made up of a group of tight-knit communities, so it’s advised to choose a wedding planner familiar with the area. They’ve likely made great connections with local vendors based on their knowledge and expertise!
It’s important to choose vendors that align with your vision and, of course, your budget, so always make time to meet with them in-person or talk with them on the phone if you live far from the county. Working with professionals will ensure that your wedding day will turn out exactly how you want it, and vendors will be happy to work with you and accommodate where they can!
Perhaps one of the most essential considerations when planning your Door County wedding is transportation, especially if you or your guests live out of town. The nearest airport to the peninsula is Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay, which is about 40 minutes away. It’s recommended to either drive your personal vehicle or rent a car when you visit, since Door County is bigger than it may seem! However, there are some rental transportation services available, such as Door County Trolley or Door 2 Door Rides.
Another essential element of your wedding is choosing the right photographer and videographer to capture every unmissable moment. Door County is a community full of artists, so you won’t find a shortage of services available! However, we cannot recommend Tandem Photography highly enough! We’ve worked with them on several weddings over several years, and their quality is unrivaled. They offer packages for both photo and video, spanning your entire ceremony and reception from beginning to end. For other recommendations on vendors, such as bakeries, florists, and officiants, contact our sales team for our FREE list of local Door County resources!
As mentioned previously, you’ll want to reduce travel time on your wedding day so you can spend more time celebrating instead of coordinating and driving. That includes finding the right lodging for your guests that is as close to your ceremony and reception site as possible. Fortunately, the Landmark Resort can accommodate! As the largest resort in Door County with nearly 300 suites, we can host your guests, your reception, and your ceremony all in one place! Additionally, we’re one of the most family-friendly resorts in the peninsula, so guests with children can entertain themselves at our indoor or outdoor pools or at the playground set.
Finally, perhaps one of the most important considerations for you and your guests is the catering. You’ll want to have exceptional food that matches the tone and vibe of your wedding, served hot and fresh by professional staff. The banquets team at the Landmark Resort has years of experience planning and serving dinners, both to wedding guests and corporate events. When booking your wedding at the Landmark, catering will be included in whichever package suits your vision and budget best! This takes the stress off of you coordinating with third-party vendors and the venue.
Your Happily Ever After
Now that you’ve picked the perfect date, the right venue, and the most professional vendors, it’s time to sit back, relax, and get married! Everything you’ve worked and planned so hard for has lead up to this very moment, where you get to celebrate your love with your friends and family. Enjoy your time in Door County, and make landmark memories with the ones you love!