You’ve got your groom, or your bride. You’ve picked out the flowers and the gown or the tux. Now what backdrop would be best for wedding photos you’ll treasure forever?

Lake Erie, obviously. 

Do you want a snappy bright blue sky and rollicking waves that scream HAPPIEST DAY OF OUR LIVES! Or are you going more intimate, you two embracing on the beach during the dazzling golden hour of sunset?

Cleveland photographer Maria Sharp says more than a third of her couples want to take photos by the water. She likes Edgewater Park, especially for engagement photos, because if offers a variety of vibes: woodsy areas, willow trees, the new beachhouse, the skyline.

Couples pose in front of the skyline pretty much for every session, Sharp says. The rest she tries to mix it up.

“It’s a nice Cleveland staple and a cool feature,” Sharp said. “Just the color of the water is awesome. I just did a sunrise session at Edgewater; I wanted to capture the pink hues from the sunrise and pair that with the frozen lake. I think you can do a lot of things with the lake and make everything look awesome. It’s a great backdrop.”

Ken Clunk, who owns too much awesomeness photography, often shoots on Lake Erie.

“Lake Erie is an amazing spot to take photos because it is constantly changing,” Clunk said. “The gorgeous scene elevates the raw emotion of the people we capture. Bringing color, depth, and feeling that reflects the fleeting moments.”

The water is also fun.

“Getting to be on the beach (although it may only be for an hour) during the summer weddings, it’s a nice break from being inside a ballroom shooting family formals,” said photographer David Petkiewicz, who also shoots weddings for Peak Moments Photography.

You can’t dictate your wedding day weather, unfortunately. But you can decide the prettiest place to take your wedding pictures. Here are 12 of the best on Ohio’s Lake Erie shore. With photos to match, natch.

Romance the lake. Celebrate your wedding on Lake Erie.

1. Marblehead Lighthouse, Marblehead: The oldest continuous lighthouse on the Great Lakes, Marblehead is also one of the most picturesque.  A stark white column with a red cap, the lighthouse is surrounded by big rocks you can climb on. You can even get Cedar Point in the background.

2. Vermilion on the Lake, Vermilion: The Vermilion on the Lake historic community center includes a rustic log building available to rent from April through December. A gazebo is available for outdoor ceremonies.

3. Huntington Beach, Bay Village: This Cleveland Metropark has a big wide beach, stone jetties in the water, and a tower on the bluff overlooking the lake.

4. Cleveland Yachting Club, Rocky River: Yes, it’s a private club. But you can’t beat the island in the middle of the Rocky River, where it empties into Lake Erie. It has a great view of the little green lighthouse at the mouth of the river, too. And maybe you can pose on a sailboat!

5. Lakewood Park, Lakewood: Those Solstice Steps are aptly named, a lovely place for a summer sunset, or maybe tiered seating for a giant relative photo.

6. Edgewater Park, Cleveland: You want fun? Use the script Cleveland sign for fun poses in upper Edgewater, with the downtown skyline in the distance. Rather go modern? Try the sweeping walkways radiating from the Edgewater Beachhouse. What about industrial? Stand on the pier. You’ve got all sorts of options, a few minutes from downtown Cleveland.

7. Whiskey Island, Cleveland: From Wendy Park on the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, capture the lighthouses in the harbor behind you. Or go cool with the blinding white art moderne Old Coast Guard Station, surrounded by sailboats. You can even get a shot of the river, and if you’re lucky, a laker.

8. Windows on the River, Cleveland: Worried about the weather? Get a view of the Cuyahoga River from this old brick warehouse on the west side of the Flats.

9. Voinovich Park, Cleveland: Brides love this spot in North Coast Harbor, just north of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You can pose by the script Cleveland sign, or the Goodtime III, all with the city spread out behind you.

10. Headlands Beach State Park, Mentor: This Mentor state park has a wooden boardwalk, dunes and loads of beach, plus a picturesque lighthouse.

11. The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake: You can get married here, or just take photos at the state park. Plus get a little ’50s kitsch on the strip of Ohio’s first resort town. Great mid-century neon signs, mom-and-pop food stands and a Ferris Wheel!

12. Historic Ashtabula Harbor: The Bascule Lift Bridge lights up like a rainbow at night. Take photos by the Ashtabula River, or pose against century-old brick builds on Bridge Street, once the roughest and busiest port on the Great Lakes.

 Got better ideas? Email them — and your photos — to [email protected], or find us on Facebook.
Romance the Lake is an occasional  RocktheLake series brought to you by Peter & Co. Jewelers in Avon Lake.  Throughout 2018, we’ll bring you the most swoonworthy stories of love on the lake. Because Lake Erie not only rocks, it romances.