My favorite wedding venue of the 2023 wedding season

I shot 31 weddings this year – which was humbling, stretching, and defeating, rewarding… all the things! If you’re a wedding photographer, you know. I shot all around Michigan, the upper peninsula too, and even Mexico, but one venue stole the show for me and I was suprised – almost offended- I hadn’t heard of it yet – Soujourn Lakeside Resort.

Soujourn is a wedding venue that feels like summer camp. If you’re a michigander you probably have some type of nostalgia of having the whole family at the lake, with no to do list besides cooking dinner that night on the grill, tubing on the lake, and getting a good sunburn from the reflection off the water. If you want your wedding venue to feel like a summer camp for your family, this is the place. They have enough lodges and cabins for guests and family to stay, and if you’re like Paige and David, you’ll be smart enough to have an earlier ceremony so that you can enjoy a longer cocktail hour by the water with a pontoon boat ride in between and then a dinner inside.

It feels tucked away, private, and truly like it was made for your family and friends. It’s clean, and the reception area has a woodsy feel that makes for beautiful reception photos. You can sneak outside for golden hour portraits on the lake because the sun sets on the west side of the lake, and there’s literally beach access so the ring bearers and flower girls can dip their toes in the water and build sand castles.

In my seven years of wedding photography, it’s been challenging to find a lakeside venue that let’s guests experience or even stay. Guests could dance the night away knowing they just had to walk to their cabin, and makes accommodations so easy.

It felt like a sweet retreat in Gaylord, Michigan that everyone could enjoy. Weddings are an experience for guests too, and this one made for a sweet Michigan memory for everyone.