Adding distinctively Door County flavor to any wedding, is as
easy as incorporating details couples already love about the
Peninsula, into the big event - from the endless list of perfect
settings to the smallest of details.
"Door County is a couple's destination of quiet, calmness,
serenity, and beauty, away from the hustle and bustle," said Lisa
Carlson, owner of Cottage Garden Wedding and Event Planners in
Ephraim. "Whether it is in the spring when the lilacs are out, or
in the fall at a winery for the harvest, each Door County wedding
represents the bride and the groom - whether it is a big wedding or
a small wedding."
An atmosphere of romance
Off the beaten path, among rolling hills and rows of grape
vines, is Simon Creek Winery, Door County's Napa Valley of sorts.
Wedding rehearsals, ceremonies and receptions are tucked amidst the
vineyard for an unforgettable setting. Gorgeous in all seasons, the
vineyard especially shines in the fall.
"As fall foliage sets in and grapes are ripening, Simon Creek
creates an impeccable atmosphere for the romance of a Door County
wedding," said Carlson. "And when the ceremony is complete, guests
can enjoy sipping a glass of wine in the winery."
For an added dose of romance, couples can arrange for a
horse-drawn carriage ride from Mayberry's Carriage Service or a
ride on a shiny red Door County Trolley.
The winery also attracts wedding parties to their door even when
ceremonies are held elsewhere.
"Many couples will stop to have a glass of wine or to take wedding
pictures out in the vines," said Barbara Lawrie, an owner of Simon
Another picture of romance is found at local bed and breakfasts.
At the White Lace Inn in Sturgeon Bay, guests of the inn can
arrange intimate wedding ceremonies in the main parlor or at the
gazebo in the stunning garden.
Celebrating the art of love
Incorporating Door County's culture of art into wedding
celebrations is almost as easy as selecting a favorite
At the Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek, receptions shine
when held inside the art school's gallery - where the only
decoration needed is the art itself. The art school's gardens and
grounds also showcase art sculptures; a gazebo is a popular
"The Peninsula School of Art provides couples with something
different. It's not the norm of a banquet hall," said Carrie
Baldwin, Door County Wedding and Events planner. "It has atmosphere
and great conversation pieces as well."
"Our gallery, designed to replicate a ten-sided round barn, makes
a great space for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres," said PSA Executive
Director, Cathy Hoke-Gonzales. "The gallery has a rotating calendar
of exhibitions that changes six times of year and features both
local, regional and national artists."
Other settings melding art and hospitality include Karin
Overbeck's backyard, located just outside Sturgeon Bay. A stained
glass/mosaic artist and avid gardener, Overbeck has created an
entertaining oasis outside her home - the Evergreen School.
"It is really a photogenic place with the brick schoolhouse, the
mosaic wall inside the courtyard and the rock garden," said
An art-filled haven in Ellison Bay is Jim and Carole Maronek's,
Silver Poplar Studios. A collection of restored buildings, a barn
built of salvaged barn wood, masterful gardens, and Jim's studio,
the setting is perfect for hosting "rustic" Door County weddings.
The "Russian party barn" offers space enough for evening music and
dancing, while guest cottages make it a perfect destination wedding
Woodwalk Gallery in Egg Harbor, a trendy spot to tie the knot,
serves up plenty of charm and space for receptions within an 1890's
weathered barn. "It is a Door County experience for a lot of people
to be inside a big barn with lots of large scale paintings hanging
on the walls. It makes it very interesting," said Woodwalk Gallery
owner Margaret Lockwood. Couples can also walk a romantic wedding
labyrinth in the meadow or say "I do" at the ivy covered silo.
Sail away with me
With Lake Michigan, Green Bay and some 300 miles of shoreline,
Door County is all about the water - even for weddings. "A lot of
people want the beach feel of a wedding but at a remote Door County
location," said Baldwin.
For the intimate wedding on the water-as well as engagements,
parties and photos-couples can take to the waters surrounding Door
County by sailboat.
"A sailboat is the quintessential romantic experience," said Sail
Door County owner, Peder Nelson. "The boat removes you from the
chaos of the shore…and it seems like the world is all yours for a
moment. And for a while, it is."
For weddings with guest lists larger than half a dozen, couples
can look to the Harbor Lady, docked in Sturgeon Bay, or the Island
Clipper passenger ferry, docked at Gills Rock. The larger vessels
can offer wedding ceremonies at sea, rehearsal dinners or other
wedding-related activities. The Island Clipper also ferries
weddings to Rock Island State Park or can anchor near Washington
Island for a spectacular view.
Beauty by the water
Couples can also tie in Door County's main attraction as the
backdrop for their special day.
One tried and true lakeside favorite is Björklunden vid Sjön -
Birch Forest by the Water - Lawrence University's northern campus
with retreat center in Baileys Harbor.
"With the trees and how the property is set, it feels like you are
the only one there at Björklunden," said Door County Trolley owner
A.J. Frank. "It has a quiet and quaint feel with beautiful Lake
Michigan as the backdrop."
Located near Baileys Harbor on 425 acres, Björklunden offers
couples space for an outdoor tent event or intimate indoor
reception in distinctive Vail Hall. For smaller weddings or an
elopement, Boynton Chapel offers an unforgettable beauty with
Norwegian inspiration, hand carved furnishings and hand painted
"At Björklunden, it is all about the setting and the atmosphere,"
said Björklunden coordinator Kim Eckstein. Vail Hall's soaring
ceiling and handsome fireplace provide an impressive backdrop for a
wedding celebration, and the picturesque lakeside view of available
guest rooms are sure to impress.
Newport State Park, Cave Point County Park, and Whitefish Dunes
State Park are additional lakeside locations that showcase the
natural wonders of the Peninsula - from beaches to sea caves - and
offer gorgeous wedding settings.
On the bayside, couples looking for a park-setting have a full
palette of choices. Peninsula State Park, Weborg Point and
Welcker's Point each offer panoramic water views of Green Bay with
shelters for rent, while Eagle Terrace atop of high bluff with a
steep staircase climb, provides a view of Eagle Harbor.
"People are attracted to Peninsula Park because of the view and
the perfect sunsets," said Baldwin. "And it is a beautiful drive
into the park."
Another bayside gem is Sunset Beach Park, along the waterfront in
downtown Fish Creek. "Sunset Beach Park can accommodate larger size
ceremonies and is a bit more private because it is hidden and
protected by trees," said Baldwin. The blue water full of boats,
sails, and Chambers Island creates a picture perfect
Other bayside settings include Ellison Bluff County Park's
impressive bluff-top views of Green Bay, Anderson Dock's unique
on-the-water feel, and the Ellison Bay Women's Club's romantic
white gazebo and water view with breathtaking sunsets and room for
Details to making good memories
Plenty of Door County details can be included in a wedding to
add that memorable touch. From riding the shiny red Door County
Trolley, to serving up a Door County fish boil with a slice of
cherry pie, or toasting with locally produced wine, couples are
definitely including distinctively Door County details in their big
The end result is a marriage and plenty of cherished memories,
something that brought most couples to Door County to wed in the
"People remember coming to Door County in the summer, picking
cherries, and swimming up in Ephraim," said Rebecca Braschnewitz,
owner of A Delightful Day Wedding and Events, Sturgeon Bay. "It is
always good memories that draw people back to Door County, a place
where they want to create good wedding memories as well."