I’m calling it now. 2020 is the year of the elopement! Even before weddings started getting downsized and cancelled because of COVID-19, eloping has increasingly become an attractive option for millennials and gen z’ers over the past 10 years. Student debt, saving for a down payment and prioritizing spending their money on travel (guilty here!) are just a few reasons that some are looking to tie the knot in a more low key fashion. But whether you were always wanting a more unconventional wedding or you’ve been forced to re-imagine your big day because of the pandemic, that doesn’t mean it has to be low on personality and style. While there are undoubtedly at least a million great places to elope in Michigan, we believe that Schooner Serenity is one of them!
A LOVELY MICHIGAN ELOPEMENT
There are PLENTY of places in Michigan to plan a super special elopement. Each of the magical towns along the west coast offer their own built-in benefits– in Traverse City you can elope at a world-class winery and then run down the Sleeping Bear Dunes straight into Lake Michigan like a couple-a-crazy-kids. Or maybe you could rent a beach house in South Haven and have a small ceremony at sunset followed by a bonfire party. Or perhaps consider finding a quiet outdoor spot in Saugatuck (Oval beach, Coghlin Park, the SCA Garden, just to name a few) to have your ceremony and then have a fancy dinner at one of our favorite places. Boom! Now you’re hitched! It really can be that easy.
LET’S HAVE A BOAT WEDDING!
Lately we’ve been getting more emails from folks asking if we allow elopements and small weddings on Schooner Serenity. The answer is ABSOLUTELY YES. We LOVE LOVE and would LOVE to be part of your LOVELY day. Okay, calming down now. The truth is… we pride ourselves in offering one of the most unique, accessible and affordable places to have your ceremony– and feel that getting married on a boat is one of the coolest ways you can do it.
So what’s it like to tie the knot on Schooner Serenity? Well, a typical cruise will depart our dock promptly at whatever time you decide on. After that we’ll start off by motoring down the Kalamazoo River for about 30 minutes, a serene and scenic tour that would be a perfect time for vows (or whatever you’re planning!) After that we’ll enter Lake Michigan and start the party. We’ll sail wherever the wind takes us for about an hour while you pop a bottle of champagne, toast to your new exciting chapter and be merry with your closest friends and family. This is the time to snap some instant classics of the two of you raising a sail or taking the helm. After our time on Lake Michigan, we’ll head back to the dock, another 30-ish minute cruise.
But we aren’t a traditional wedding venue. We don’t have dedicated wedding planners or a million options for you to consider. We don’t require massive down payments or have you sign complicated contracts. What we offer is a simple and unique venue for you to plan your day around. Easy for us, easy for you! And it also should go without saying but we’re an inclusive venue available to all. Love is love, ya’ll!
A COUPLE QUICK DETAILS
Group size: Up to 24 guests.
Private charter length: Two hours, but longer cruises are available by request.
Cost: A two hour morning or afternoon cruise will cost about $750 and a cruise ending with the sunset will cost $955.
The Crew: Each private sail is crewed with one Captain and two deckhands. Our Captains and crew are very personable and know how to be helpful without getting in your way. No grumpy old salts here interrupting your vows with sailing stories.
Additional fees?: NOPE, not here.
Setup time: We can work with you to give you a little time before the sail to get your decorations, food & drink set up no prob. If you need even more time we can negotiate a very reasonable rate for that too.
PLANNING FOR THE WEATHER
It’s never a bad idea to have a backup plan if you’re looking to elope outside. While we will try our VERY hardest to adjust timing on the day to dodge some pesky rain, the truth is that sometimes in the summer it can just rain all darn day. We’ll be in touch as we lead up to the big day if weather looks like it will be an issue.
OKAY, SOUNDS GOOD! WHAT ELSE?
Here are some great people to work with if you’re planning an elopement in the Saugatuck/Douglas/Fennville area. (Plug alert! I used all of these vendors below for my Saugatuck wedding in 2019. I wouldn’t be recommending them if they were just okay. They aren’t the only great options in the area, just ones that I can personally vouch for.)
Food: Do yourself a favor and have Farmhouse Deli cater your intimate wedding/elopement. Tell them your vibe and budget, ask for recommendations and then just say yes. They know how to put together a spread that will be perfect for your group size and setting. If necessary, they will even send a staff member that will set up and maintain the food station so it stays looking beautifully appetizing throughout the sail.
Photographer: Can’t recommend Rachel Kaye photography enough for her more modern, photo-journalistic eye. Her work speaks for itself but her personality is also fun and really puts you at ease, which is very important if you’re not naturally *super* into having a million pictures taken of you on a day that’s already filled with so much pressure!
Transportation. The Interurban is one of Saugatuck’s best kept secrets. You call and they come right to you. It’s like a friendly hometown Uber, except they’ve been doing it for FOREVER and aren’t an evil conglomerate trying to take over the world.
SO LET’S DO THE DAMN THING
Are people still saying that? Anyway, give us a shout if you have any questions about what it’s like to get married on Schooner Serenity or if you want to lock down a date. We’re here to help! CLICK HERE TO CONTACT US.