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Lessons Learned When an Event Planner Ties the Knot

Make it personal, take care of your guests and don’t forget about the logistics … three incredible lessons from one incredible bride. Who also happens to be an event planner who knows her stuff. With photographs from Keen and Kind along with gorgeous florals + styling from, All Grand Events – a Little Black Book member that we ADORE – this is our own definition of wedding perfection. Click here for more!

From the Bride… Matt and I were engaged for almost two years before we walked down the aisle. We decided on a longer engagement so that we could book the vendors we wanted and we knew we needed extra time since we were planning a mini destination wedding. It was difficult for me specifically as a bride since I have been in the industry for six years as an Event Coordinator and Event Designer. I have played a role in hundreds of weddings and certainly felt the pressure to make sure all the notes I had from weddings of family, friends, and clients were taken into consideration.

Luckily, Matt and I were on the same page of what we envisioned for our wedding. We wanted to spend as much time with our family and friends as possible. As people get older and busier, it seems to be more difficult to gather and make memories. We took that as our vision for our wedding and decided to host our wedding in Traverse City in Northern Michigan.

Matt’s family had a home in Northern Michigan that we frequented throughout our relationship and my family spent every summer in Northern Michigan and it was such special place to both of us. We wanted our family and friends to spend the weekend with us up north. We met up with friends and family the night before on a patio along Lake Michigan with a live band, it was the perfect kickoff to the festivities ahead. We did a farewell brunch on Sunday at the hotel where everyone shared stories from the wedding and said their goodbyes after a great weekend together! The weekend allowed us to spend time and catch up with family and friends on numerous occasions. Since we had the whole weekend we didn’t feel rushed or feel that our wedding flew by, which is exactly what we hoped for when we decided to host a wedding weekend rather than just a wedding day!

We wanted our wedding to be timeless and classic, so we decided on a neutral color palette. I knew I wanted all the bridesmaids to feel comfortable in their dress so I opted to have the girls choose a floor length dress in any hue of champagne and the men wore black bow tie tuxedos. It worked out beautifully and the wedding party looked stunning!

From that point we chose to keep things as neutral and classic as possible with ivory, gold, and metallics. We knew that the beauty of Northern Michigan would help bring color to our wedding from the church among the green vineyards and the reception hall overlooking a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan. Our focal point for design was the reception hall. We wanted to transform it into a space that felt inviting and warm but also sophisticated and formal. All Grand Events did a beautiful job transforming our vision. We created a warm environment with ivory pipe and drape around the entire room and extra long tables where our guests dined in candlelight. The tables were perfection with gold candelabras, fresh florals, and beautiful place settings.

Our ultimate goal was for our guests to feel welcomed and taken care of the entire evening. We included personal elements to the cocktail hour with a fresh floral backdrop for guests to take pictures in front of, wedding pictures from generations past, and a “take home a taste of Michigan” favor table that included popular items that represented Michigan including Mackinac Island Fudge, dried cherries, salt water taffy, great lakes bumper stickers, and special Michigan State University cookies as a nod to East Lansing where Matt and I met.

We were thrilled with the vendors we chose from our photographer, Sarah Dunn, from Keen and Kind who took stunning photos and captured our wedding day beautifully to our band, The Bluewater Kings, who were the highlight of the wedding for all of our guests! We danced the entire night with all of our loved ones, it was perfect!

I think my favorite moment, though, was when Matt and I stood in front of all our guests at the wedding reception and thanked everyone for being there with us. It was an overwhelming feeling to look at all the people in one room that have shaped mine and Matt’s lives and they all graciously gathered together in honor of us. Our wedding would not have been the same without them! The next best thing was dancing the entire night to our amazing band, Matt and I never left the dance floor!

As for advice, my recommendation would be to think about logistics before anything else. Logistics are the most important aspect to a wedding and they are often overlooked. Weddings are a very complicated fete that people assume will come together on that day. It is important to think of weddings you have attended as a guest and what you remember to be a positive experience and negative experience and let that guide you to creating a positive and memorable event. This will lead you to choose the best vendors based on your budget and be able to prioritize what is important to you. Begin your wedding planning with your guest list and a budget and then talk over the logistics from the beginning of the day to the end of the evening. If you are able to navigate the logistics, the mindset of a guest’s point of view, and all the special details you want as a couple; you will be able to host a flawless wedding!

All your family and friends will have the best time but they won’t be able to quite put their finger on why it was so wonderful – that’s logistics!

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Photography: Keen And Kind | Cinematography: Kaz and Mac Creative | Wedding Dress: Allure Bridal | Cake: Cake Connections | Invitations: Kaz and Mac Creative | Ceremony Venue: St. Joseph Catholic Church on Old Mission Peninsula | Reception Venue: The Hagerty Center | Catering: The Hagerty Center | Band: Bluewater Kings Band | Transportation : Celtic Shuttle | Bridal Boutique: Beker's Bridal | Chiavari Chairs: Sweet Seats Chairs | Floral Design & Styling: All Grand Events | Groom & Groomsman Attire: Ike Behar | Jewelry Designer: Wheat Jewelers Custom Design | Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist: Memorable Occasions

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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Michigan Surprise Beach Proposal

This beautiful gallery really needs no introduction. A surprise proposal, with an adoring groom-to-be and his gorgeous love. Photographs that will make you tear up by the incredible Tiffaney Childs. And a sense of magic that just leaps right off the page.

From the photographer… When David contacted me about photographing his surprise proposal to Kier, he was so nervous and excited as we talked over the timeline. Kier had no clue what had been planned for months prior to her seemingly innocent girls day out with her sister and girlfriends to a local winery.

David made all the signs, had Kier’s talented sister paint the meaningful lyrics on them, and set them up a path on the beach for Kier to follow when she arrived with the girls. The sun had been behind the clouds all day, and it was a bit chilly, but when Kier found that first sign on the path, the sun peeked out and seemed to shine for the two of them.

It was so emotional watching them both absorb the shock of this perfect upcoming moment. David got down on one knee while Kier wiped away tears of joy and instantly said yes. The excited laughter and kissing that followed was a joy to watch.

Kier’s sister and friends watched from a sandhill and ran down to congratulate and hug them. We quickly headed down towards the water to take some beautiful photos of the two of them while they were both still reeling with glee. Her sister and friends had brought some cute decorated glasses for a quick toast to them on the beach. The sun set over the water as they cuddled and giggled to themselves about getting married.

This was one of the most perfect proposals I have ever had the privilege of capturing.

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Photography: Tiffaney Childs Photography | Calligraphy: Brooke Brinkley | Jeweler: James & Sons

A ‘Garden Party’ Bridal Shower With Shades of Lavender

Hello, SMP readers! I’m so excited to be here sharing my sweet garden bridal shower planned by my maid of honor Ashley Slater, one of my bridesmaids, and a sweet friend, Rhiannon of Hey Gorgeous Events. They designed a stunning celebration all around my love of the color lavender. From gorgeous linens, blooms, and sweet personal touches throughout, I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Take a peek and grab some garden party inspiration for yourself!

The Setting

The Florals + Decor

The Food

The Favors

The Fun

From Rhiannon of Hey Gorgeous Events… >Michaela has such a romantic and feminine style so incorporating those attributes into her shower was a must! Also, as a long-time friend of Michaela’s I know she loves the color lavender and is including that at the wedding so I made sure to bring in lavender with the linens and vintage glassware. I then balanced all of that lavender with some soft pinks and other muted colors like ivory, blush and pink seen throughout the centerpieces and vintage plates. The gold flatware and gold framed signs with fun details about M and her fiance McCann were the pretty final details making up the tablescapes! It was a beautiful summer day for an even more beautiful bride to be!

From Ashley Slater Photography (maid of honor)…I was so thrilled to be able to throw Michaela a bridal shower in the gorgeous gardens of Aquinas campus. I knew I wanted it to be reflective of her wedding day color palette and once I found the invitation on Minted, I used it to build the rest of the day. I had the greatest help in Rhiannon, from Hey Gorgeous Events, who helped choose linens, dishes and really bring Michaela’s feminine style to life! We used signage from the same calligrapher Michaela had hired for her wedding and the watercolor floral elements were used throughout the setup. Of course, as beautiful as it was, the best part was sharing in such a special day, watching Michaela open gifts under a beautiful weeping willow and eating lots of delicious food! It was such a sweet day and great representation of the perfect Michigan summer afternoon!

Photography: Ashley Slater | Floral Design: Hey Gorgeous Events | Invitations: Minted | Venue: Aquinas Holmedene Gardens | Cookies: Mahdris Cookie Kitchen | Dishes, Flatware + Goblets: Gigi and LaClede | Linen Rentals: Special Occasions | Michaela's Dress: Rent The Runway | Ribbon + Runners: Adorn Company | Signage: Graceline Art

Peek back at my wedding inspiration!

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