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Rustic Chic Estate Wedding in Northern Michigan

After deciding to tie the knot in the tiny Northern Michigan town where they fell in love, this darling duo let nothing stop them from having the “I Do’s” of their dreams — from having La Tavola linens flown out from CA, to buying the silverware and decor they couldn’t rent, to DIYing ceremony signs from old barn doors! Tec Petaja captured it all to perfection, and you won’t be able to get enough in the gallery here!

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Estate

From the beautiful Bride… Jonathan and I were living in NYC when we met through mutual friends at a Christmas party. He grew up in Manhattan and went to school in Philadelphia, I grew up in Michigan and went to school in Arizona, so when we got engaged the biggest decision was…where? We had a specific vision for what our wedding would be and our number one priority was choosing a meaningful location. I grew up spending summers in northern Michigan and took Jonathan there to meet my family shortly after we started dating. That weekend was the first time he told me he loved me, and in the 6+ years we’ve been together it has been a place of nothing but happy memories. It became even more sentimental after my father passed away in 2012, because it was one of his favorite places to be. Getting there is not easy and the reaction of most of our friends was … “You’re making me fly to Michigan?” But we knew once they were there it would be worth it.

This is dedicated to all of the Brides out there who want to throw a stylish, personal and unique wedding on a budget in a small town. I live in New York City where you can rent or buy pretty much anything you want at any time. When we started our research every venue and rental company we found in Michigan felt generic, cheesy or expected. Even at the risk of giving my mom a nervous breakdown, we had our hearts set on having everything outdoors. We were close to accepting that we might not be able to do what we want “up north” when we came across photos of an outdoor wedding at a home in Boyne Falls, just minutes down the road from my family’s cottage growing up. The perk of a small town is that everybody knows everybody, and that photographer was nice enough to connect us with the owner of the private property. As soon as we saw it in person we knew nothing else would compare.

Being a Graphic Designer and Art Director, I’m a bit of an aesthetic control freak. The first decision I made was our photographer, Tec Petaja. He shoots film, has an amazing eye and when you look at weddings he has photographed you feel like you were there. I wanted someone who would capture the authentic moments of our day, and he did not disappoint! As a bonus, he lives in Nashville but is from the area and appreciates it as much as we do.

Having an outdoor wedding on private property means you bring everything in, and when we started calling rental companies I felt discouraged. We wanted our decor to feel inspired by the venue: natural, rustic and the perfect balance of casual and elegant. Every company seemed to have the same options and nothing felt unique. So what we couldn’t find, we bought (silverware, napkins, runners, miscellaneous decor) or had made (the ceremony arbor), which is not as extravagant as it sounds when you get resourceful and creative.

We found wood from old barns that had been knocked down and made all of our signage, and bought chalkboards with coupons from Hobby Lobby for menus. My mom and aunt sourced vintage mismatched silverware and coordinated each and every place setting to be the perfect mix of patterns. We searched all of Michigan for farm tables before connecting with Ben at Fancy Fray who had just started building 20 of them. We called every rental company in Michigan to find chairs that looked rustic. (“Those old ones you have in the garage that you don’t even advertise? Yes, that’s exactly what we’re looking for.)” Linens for our serving and cocktail tables came from La Tavola in California, which we assumed would be over budget but was comparable to some of the options we found locally. My advice to Brides is to make as many phones calls and do as much research as you can, because these days there are no limits to your options. We also had a number of rental companies interested in expanding their assortment because we insisted that updated options would be worth the investment. I was able to sell most of what I purchased to our vendors. You never know until you ask!

Jen Haf at Bloom Floral Design was our florist and so much more. We immediately connected and she really made sure she understood our style and vision. She was reassuring about the ability to pull it all off in an unconventional venue and went above and beyond to partner with us on decor choices and coordination with other vendors. We went with a neutral palette that beautifully complemented the venue; lots of greens and textures arranged organically. We mixed wooden boxes with interesting small vases in different materials, and did tons of simple votives for candlelight. Jen also worked with the caterer to decorate the food display with mixed vases of leftover flowers from our welcome party on Friday night. If you find a vendor that you really connect with don’t be afraid to ask them if they can help you in other aspects beyond what they do. These people have worked on hundreds of events, seen it all and therefore are your best resource.

We talked to a number of caterers who warned us about the complexities and costs of serving food at an outdoor location, and at one point considered pulling the plug because it seemed like too much. Dan Kelly on the other hand told us we could drop him in the middle of a corn field and he’d be able to feed 500 people. He helped us build a unique and non-traditional menu for the cocktail hour and dinner buffet that included things like grilled cheese bites with tomato soup, mini BLT’s, local whitefish, a baked potato bar and fresh veggies. The food display was important to me and Dan was incredibly accommodating, allowing us to provide dishes and serving pieces of our own even though they all weren’t the most functional. Boyne County Provisions helped us complement the vibe with a mix of wine, liquor and craft Michigan beers. We weren’t interested in the traditional things like bouquet toss or wedding cake, and instead opted for individual key lime pies for dessert from our favorite local cafe.

We exchanged hand-written vows under a custom made arbor and were married by a dear family friend, which made our ceremony special and personal. Our music was simple and beautiful, played by a Spanish Guitarist, and two of my cousins sang a song together. One of my favorite parts of the day was hearing speeches from my Mom, MOH and our best man. Later in the night our caterer served grilled pizzas and guests warmed up by the bonfire with s’mores and sparklers after the sun went down. Our band played mostly Motown and we danced until 1am.

All Brides know that planning a wedding can be like a full time job, and with a different budget I might have opted to pay to have a lot of it done for me. But as we looked around us that day it felt that much more special knowing all of the love that went into making it happen. It was a lot of work, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. While planning I looked at blogs and couldn’t get over how idyllic so many of them look in photos. You don’t see pictures of the bathroom trailer that had to be parked behind the tent, or the tire tracks that one of your vendors carelessly left in the mud. It’s important to realize that there are things you won’t be able to control, and letting go of some of those will allow you to enjoy your day.

As perfect as ours was for us, a lot did go wrong. We lucked out with the weather but it was questionable in the days leading up as an electrical storm blew through Wednesday and Thursday. The ground was very wet, but as some friends put it, that only added to the fun because people had to go barefoot. (Those are the kinds of guests you want at your wedding!) Because of the rain we had to swap our layout and a bunch of family ended up at the wrong tables. We lost power in the tent for about ten minutes before dinner was served. But those aren’t the things that people remember, so don’t sweat the small stuff. The imperfections are sometimes the best part. Prepare as best you can, make it personal and let go of the rest on your wedding day, because you only get one shot and it is over before you know it.

Photography: Tec Petaja | Videography: This Is Practical | Floral Design: Jen Haf of Bloom Floral Design | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Catering: Catering By Kelly's | Makeup Artist: Mari At Talulu | Band: Soul Xpress | Ceremony Music: Music By Gael | Transportation: By The Bay | Bartending & Spirits: Boyne County Provisions | Ceremony Chairs: GJ's Traverse City | Day-of Coordination: A Moment In Time | Farm Tables: Fancy Fray | Invitations, Hand Lettering And Signage: Ashley Meyers Design | Linens: La Tavola | Maid Of Honor's Dress: Joanna August | Private Property: Double K Estate | Reception Chairs: RentalEx | Silverware, Napkins And Runners: Ashley Meyers Design | Tent And Dishes: Rental Express

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Whimsical Mackinac Island Destination Wedding

What comes to mind when you marry the genius of Clary Pfeiffer with the mastery of LoLo Event Design? Just one thing, utter perfection. A charming day awash with island-inspired whimsy, the gallery is chock-full of minty green wedding details galore. Beginning with the Bride’s jaw-dropping JLM Couture LWD gown and ending with a romance filled evening, you can see it all unfold here!

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Hotel
Styles
Elegant

From Clary PfeifferToday I’m submitting a wedding with a really fun bride and groom that wanted something different for their guests. They selected Mackinac Island where there are only horse drawn carriages for transportation and a landscape of quaint houses. My favorite is the ceremony where the guests sat in rocking chairs overlooking the river. Below is more for the couple.

Sara and Aaron’s love story crisscrossed multiple cities and countries so when they decided to say “I do” it was only fitting that they host a destination wedding. Sara, who grew up in Illinois, spent her childhood summers vacationing on Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan. The quaint island has held onto its charm by forbidding cars of any kind. All transportation is, very romantically, via horse-drawn carriage. Given Sara’s love of horses and the outdoors Mackinac was a dream destination to host their closest friends and family.

To unveil their wedding location LoLo Event Design partnered with stationary designer Lynn Graham Designs and Toile illustrator, Denise Spoenlein of Custom Illustrations to create a custom invitation suite. Denise created a custom toile pattern that told the story of how Sara and Aaron met, dated, came to be engaged and ultimately be married. Even their beloved dog True was featured in the design. The toile pattern was ultimately featured on the save the date, invitation, ceremony program, menu card and welcome gift.

As guests arrived to Mackinac Island they were welcomed with a canvas tote bag filled with local Michigan goodies and adorned with a luggage tag featuring the toile pattern. Family and friends explored the island before departing via horse –drawn carriage to the rehearsal dinner hosted by the groom’s parents at a restaurant deep in the woods.

Come wedding day Sara and Aaron enjoyed a private carriage ride around the island before walking down the aisle. The intimate ceremony took place on the infamous front porch of The Grand Hotel. Guests were seated in rocking chairs with views of Lake Huron. Sara walked down the aisle in a JLM Couture gown carrying a custom bouquet constructed by LoLo Event Design of a leather horse lead.

Following the ceremony Sara removed the long skirt of her JLM Couture gown to reveal a knee length look. Guests were invited to a private dinning groom within The Grand Hotel where they were welcomed by a jazz pianist. The kelly green and robin’s egg blue tabletop was designed to compliment the eccentric interior of the dinning room. Custom candelabras finished with gold tapper candles became the focal point of the table. The place settings featured a menu card designed around the couple’s toile pattern, which was wrapped with a personalized leather engraved belly band place card. Guests lingered over their choice of a vegetarian or meat tasting menu. Sara and Aaron shared a love seat at the head of the table. For dessert everyone was invited to the hotel’s ice cream parlor for their choice of sundae, Sara’s personal favorite.

Photography: Clary Pfeiffer | Event Design: LoLo Event Design | Floral Design: Margaret’s Floral Garden | Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Groom's Attire: Black By Vera Wang | Wedding Venue: The Grand Hotel | Bridal Gown : JLM Couture LWD | Bridal Hair Piece : Richard Designs | Bridal Veil : Ellen Marie Design | Brides Leather Bouquet: LoLo Event Design | Ceremony And Dinner Music: The Grand Hotel | Custom Toile Design : Denise Spoenlein Of Custom Illustrations | Dessert: Sadie's Ice Cream | Linens : Table Toppers Of Newton | Paper Goods: Lynn Graham Designs | Place Cards: LoLo Event Design

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Romantic Blush Pink Michigan Wedding

Admittedly, it doesn’t take much for me to fall in love with a wedding. Show me a happy couple, and I’m smiling from ear-to-ear. But there’s something about this wedding captured by K. Holly Photography that I absolutely adore. Maybe it’s the lush, romantic flowers or maybe it’s the Groom’s teary reaction to seeing his Bride for the first time, but to be honest, it’s a bit of everything. Take a peek at all the gorgeous images and you’ll see why I’m swooning.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Country Club
Styles
Romantic

From K. Holly PhotographyMid-summer along the water. Warm bright sun, with the outdoor ceremony shaded under the trees. A palette of blush pink and soft whites, the tiniest hints of peach and lavender, and just enough silver to sparkle. And joy in everyone’s eyes, smiles and cheers on everyone’s lips.

Some weddings have the most incredible venue as a backdrop, and some are full of magazine-worthy details. Some weddings have the most adorable couple you’ll ever see. Some are blessed with perfect weather. Some receptions have the most fun and crazy dance parties you’ll ever shake your groove thing to.

And then there are days like Amanda and Trevor’s. Where the stars align and everything comes together like a storybook. The kind with gilded edges, pop-up pictures, and an ending that sweeps you off your feet. The kind where your photographer twirls in the middle of the dance floor with you, just as blissed-out as the rest of your guests as the sun slowly dips below the tree line and makes the whole world glow.

Amanda and Trevor met in 6th grade, and new this day was in their future. They planned a picture-perfect country club wedding, and celebrated under the sunset with friends and family from all across the country.

Photography: K. Holly Photography | Videography: Coastline Studios | Floral Design: Dorothy's Floral Studio | Wedding Dress: Becker's Bridal | Hair And Makeup: A. Davis Brown Salon | Groomsmen's Attire: Jos A. Bank | Venue: Kalamazoo Country Club

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Northern Michigan Romantic Autumn Wedding

Adorned with perfectly pink blooms and autumn air, this Northern Michigan affair is chock-full of lovely. From the Brides cute yet comfortable shoes, to the newlyweds autumn-hued portraits, the gallery is the definition of perfection. Straight from the lens of Kelly Sweet with assistance by Jen Lynne, see the entire day unfold here!

Colors
Seasons
Fall
Settings
ChurchMill
Styles
Rustic

From The Bride… We decided the Leelanau Peninsula was the perfect location for our timeless, classic, romantic wedding. It just had the perfect amount of character we desired.

Tim had proposed to me on the Sleeping Bear Dunes overlooking Lake Michigan roughly a year before our big day so we had a tie to the area. We also thought it would be the most lovely place to getaway every year for our anniversary.

Both romantics at heart, we loved the thought of having an intimate and quaint wedding. The Willowbrook Mill was the first place we visited after getting engaged and just fell in love with the venue! The rustic yet elegant-feel had us swooning! To add to the classic elegance we were going for, a sweet couple from the Leland area offered to drive us from the wedding to the reception in their 1946 Cadillac Limo (!!!!).

Having a fall wedding, I’m sure everyone expected to see deep tones of reds, oranges, and browns but we took a completely different route based on our personal style and taste; romantic, airy, and light. Lush greens, ivory and blush tones with a mix of silvers and golds, were accompanied by small fall tie-in’s such as pinecone name tag holders, and a coffee bar serving warm caramel apple cider and pumpkin spice lattes. The cocktail hour was entertained by a 2-piece classical band playing the keyboard and saxophone.

With all the wedding details aside, this was the most perfect day we could have ever hoped for, or imagined. Being surrounded by our family and friends that we love so dearly, as we committed our lives to one another, was so special and will be treasured all the days of our lives.

Photography: Kelly Sweet Photography | Videography: Coastline Studios | Event Planning: The Day's Design | Floral Design: The Day's Design | Wedding Dress: Casablanca | Cake: Aunt B's Cakes And Desserts | Ceremony Venue: Emmanuel Lutheran Church | Reception Venue: The Willowbrook Mill | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN | Catering: Grandview Catering | Makeup: Erick Gerson | Band: Paul Vornhagen | Bridal Shoes: BHLDN | Photography - Assistance: Jen Lynne Photography | Tenting: Party Plus Tents + Events

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Preppy Gold Michigan Vineyard Wedding

Not only can this bride rock a topknot bun like nobody’s business, but she makes planning the cutest of cute weddings (in five months flat!) look like a total walk in the park. Set at a gorgeous vineyard venue, it’s one part glam and one part rustic with a dose of preppy stripes thrown in for good measure. More pretty from Amanda Crean’s lens sitting here.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Styles
Rustic

From The Bride…Brian and I met at the wedding of two of our very best friends in the summer of 2012. He quickly went from my wedding dance floor partner, to my long-distance boyfriend, to my fiance in the January 2014. I have to admit, before we got married, I had planned just about every theme of wedding in my head. An outdoor fall wedding, a beach destination, even a New Year’s Eve bash. It wasn’t until Brian brought up the idea of having a summer wedding in the same town as my family’s lake house that I felt like the dream wedding started to become a reality.

I tasked our extraordinary wedding planner (my mom) with finding an unforgettable venue and boy, did she deliver. I still remember her calling me at work to tell me the date options that were open: June 28 or July 5 of 2014. I laughed at the idea of both. Planning a wedding in 5 months? There was no way. Little did I know this was my first glimpse into how married life is done – jump right in with both feet and figure out the small stuff together along the way. So we booked the date, 5 months to plan, and slowly July 5 started to feel like it was meant for us all along.

Our vineyard venue was off the beaten path, so I loved the thought of having guest feel like they had stepped out of the country and into a summer soiree. I picked gold as our main color to give a touch of glam to the rustic surroundings and used the pops of coral and greenery to highlight the natural colors in the vineyard. As for the navy, I have to give credit to my now husband, who’s only request for our big day was to wear a “really cool” blue suit.

Before we got married, I prepared for all the small details that I thought would define our big day. And while those details turned out beautifully, I must say now what defined our day was the love that was put into making all those details come together. My sister and sister-in-laws surprised me by painting the 300 gold vases and candles we used as our center pieces because they knew I had a lot on my plate at the time.

My mom won the blue bicycle at an auction because she knew it would be the perfect accessory for the beach and in the vineyard. She even asked for a bike basket as her Mother’s Day present so she could fill it with flowers for pictures. My dad let me stretch the wedding budget just a little bit further to get the white bulb lighting of my dreams and then patiently screwed in the 500 light bulbs while checking to make sure each one worked. And Brian stayed up with me until 3:00am making the stop-motion video we played during our reception, allowing me to ask him for “just one more picture” over and over again.

No matter the theme, colors, decorations or dress, the most important part of our wedding was the people who came to support us. We ended our first night as husband and wife in our big white tent on the dance floor surrounded by the best family and friends two people could ask for. I couldn’t have imaged starting our new lives any other way!

Photography: Amanda Crean Photographers | Cinematography: Wooten Media Co | Coordination: Lauren Kelleher | Floral Design: Lauren Kelleher | Wedding Dress: Reem Acra | Ceremony Venue: Willow Harbor Vineyard | Reception Venue: Willow Harbor Vineyard | Hair And Makeup: Blend Beauty Studio | Band: Toast And Jam | Programs/signage: Adam Anderson

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here