Detroit NFL Draft Wedding Guide: Essential Tips for a Smooth Celebration

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2024 NFL Draft in Detroit: Wedding and Guest Guide to Navigating Downtown

As Detroit prepares to host the 2024 NFL Draft from April 25-27, the city is buzzing with excitement. Yet, for those planning weddings and other special events, the influx of tourists and numerous road closures present unique challenges. This Detroit NFL Draft Wedding Guide guide aims to help you smoothly navigate these challenges, ensuring your special day is unaffected by the Draft festivities.

Detroit NFL Draft Wedding Guide: Transportation and Accommodation Tips

Effective March 29 to May 6:

  • Jefferson Avenue Closure: Both directions from Beaubien Street to Washington Boulevard and from Washington Boulevard to Randolph Street will be inaccessible. We recommend considering alternate routes or adjusting event timings to avoid peak Draft hours.
  • Bates and Atwater Streets: These streets will be closed from Jefferson Avenue to Atwater Street and from Civic Center Drive to Bates Street. Planning detours in advance is advisable for guests traveling by car.
  • M-10 and Brush Street: The southbound M-10 exit to Jefferson Avenue will be closed; however, exits 1A and 1B will remain open. Similarly, the southbound section of Brush Street between Larned and Jefferson will also be shut.
  • Check out additional road construction, road closures, and travel information here.

Parking Information and Recommendations

With the ongoing street closures, downtown parking will be more limited. Here are some suggestions to consider:

  • Ford Underground Garage: Remains accessible through April 23 and is a reliable option for early wedding setups.
  • Pre-arranged Parking: Booking parking spaces in advance via apps like Park Detroit and Park Whiz is highly recommended. Aim to arrive by 10 am to sidestep the bulk of traffic and congestion

Public Transit and Alternative Transportation Options

To minimize traffic hassles, leverage Detroit’s public transport and shuttles:

  • Park & Ride Shuttles: Operated by SMART, QLINE, and Visit Detroit, these shuttles offer a cost-effective means to navigate around. Check locations and timings in advance to sync with your event schedule.
  • Detroit People Mover and QLINE: These services will operate extensively during the NFL Draft period and can save significant time while avoiding traffic snarls.
  • Explore more transportation options here.

Tips for Wedding Guests and Planners

  • Plan Ahead: With road closures and significant traffic, advising guests to arrive early or even the day before can help circumvent last-minute delays.
  • Communicate Clearly: Maintain ongoing communication through your wedding website or a dedicated email blast about the best routes and transportation options.
  • Consider Off-Peak Hours: If possible, schedule your events or photography sessions during off-peak hours when draft activities are subdued.

Detroit NFL Draft Wedding Guide: Wedding Photography Challenges

The 2024 NFL Draft will transform downtown Detroit into a bustling hub of activity, which might impact popular Detroit wedding photography locations like Campus Martius and Woodward Avenue. Here are some challenges you may encounter and alternative spots that can offer beautiful backdrops for your wedding photos.

Challenges at Popular Wedding Photography Locations

  • Campus Martius and Woodward Avenue: These areas are likely to be crowded and may have restricted access due to NFL Draft events and installations. The usual serene or urban chic backdrops could be overshadowed by event structures and bustling crowds.
  • Street Closures: Many streets, including parts of Woodward Avenue and surrounding areas, will be closed or restricted, limiting access and making it difficult to capture wide shots without the interruption of crowds, barricades, construction barrels, and structures.

Alternative Wedding Photography Locations

Given these challenges, consider these picturesque alternatives that are less likely to be affected by the draft festivities but could still be crowded. 

  • Belle Isle Park: Just a short drive from downtown, Belle Isle offers a variety of scenic views, including water backgrounds, lush greenery, and architectural gems like the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory and the Belle Isle Casino.
  • The Detroit Riverwalk: This location provides a beautiful backdrop with views of the river and the Windsor skyline. The expansive area allows for a variety of shots, from intimate close-ups to expansive panoramic views.
  • Eastern Market: For a colorful and vibrant backdrop, Eastern Market’s murals and lively atmosphere can provide a unique setting for wedding photos, especially if you’re looking for something a bit more eclectic.
  • Palmer Park: The park’s historic log cabin, lush greenery, and scenic pond provide a natural and tranquil setting away from the downtown hustle.

Tips for Adapting to the NFL Draft Environment

  • Scout Locations in Advance: A few weeks before the wedding, visit your chosen photography spots to assess the impact of NFL Draft preparations. This can help you plan the best times and angles for photos.
  • Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer: Professional wedding photographers are likely to be familiar with both the challenges posed by the NFL Draft and the less-known spots that might provide perfect photo opportunities rather than an independent or an amateur photographer that has not been exposed to these challenges, 
  • Be Flexible: Be prepared to adapt your wedding photography schedule based on the day’s dynamics. Early mornings or later evenings might offer quieter moments.

Leveraging the NFL Draft as a Backdrop

For couples who embrace the excitement, the NFL Draft itself can provide a unique and memorable backdrop. Consider incorporating the festive atmosphere, decorated streets, and vibrant crowds into your wedding photos for a truly distinctive touch.

By anticipating challenges and exploring alternative locales, you can ensure your wedding photos are as stunning and memorable as your special day, even amidst the excitement of the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit.


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