First, congratulations! You're getting married. Now what?

Tis the season of wedding and bridal expos, but what if you want to skip all the hassle and get straight to the good part:

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your wedding!

A recent post on the Kalamazoo Informed Facebook group caught my attention and warmed my heart. Bride to be Jenna Overley shared, 

Boyfriend and I of almost 4 years are eloping here in just a few short months as he is enlisting and was wondering where some good places the ceremony could take place instead of a courthouse. We plan on having 10 guests with 2 toddlers

Good news for Jenna and her husband-to-be, intimate and scaled-down weddings and elopements are totally in right now. Here are several non-traditional wedding venues straight from the source-- brides across SW Michigan. Here's what they had to say:

The Bellflower - Kalamazoo

The Bellflower Kalamazoo

According to the venue's website the former one-room schoolhouse was built in 1871 and sits just outside out Kalamazoo on "one countryside acre." Recently restored the venue can accommodate up to 50 guests and is fitted with wi-fi, heat, and A/C so you can celebrate comfortably no matter the time of year.

The Station - Kalamazoo

The Station Kalamazoo
Google Maps

Built in 1905 the building was originally a hub for Kalamazoo's old interurban cars, but that's a whole other story! The small studio is available to rent for small gatherings such as dance rehearsal and club meetings, including extremely small weddings. Note: because there are residents in the building no professional DJs or loud music are allowed.

Kindleberger Park - Parchment

Kindleberger Park Parchment
Google Maps

If you're looking to scale your nuptials down even more, several locals suggested the gazebo at Kindleberger Park in Parchment. Writes Paula Frichtman, "The little gazebo and garden at Kindleberger Park is beautiful in all seasons."

Leila Arboretum - Battle Creek

Leila Arboretum

Available from sundown to sunset the arboretum says they offer, "settings for special events unmatched by traditional indoor venues." You'll be treated to an array of blossoms in bloom, day lilies, or hues of red and yellow depending on the time of year you get married-- and don't forget about the woodland creatures of the enchanted forest!


Bonus: The Tiny Wedding - Dexter, MI

If you're looking for an extremely stress-free wedding planning experience, this one's for you! Each year Zingerman's Cornman Farms hosts 15 weddings over a 3 day period. Here's the catch: everything has already been planned for you.

Venue, officiant, photographer, small cake, and the champagne toast have all been taken care of for you and up to 8 guests. All the bride and groom have to do is show up! The theme of the Tiny Wedding changes from year to year; for 2024 the theme is "Vintage Romance". Check out photos here.

K & J Luxury Beach Picnics Deliver Fall Themed Pop-Up Picnics In Michigan

If you want a pop up experience like seen below, you can contact them here.

Michigan Wedding Photos: 1800s-1950s