A Preppy Lake Wedding in Michigan

Central Lake, MI wedding

Molly and Ryan traveled from Chicago to Northern Michigan for their domestic destination wedding at Molly’s family home.  We asked Molly to share a bit about their big day and how it all came together.  “My family lake house is located in Central Lake, MI. My husband and I love to spend our summers at the lake in Northern Michigan, and Ryan drove up to the lake one summer, as a surprise, which ended in a proposal! We wanted to share one of our favorite places with our closest family and friends, so when my parents said “yes” to holding the ceremony on our front lawn, we jumped at the opportunity!”  And so the ceremony was set at a sentimental spot, while the reception was held nearby at the Shanty Creek Resort.

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“Our lake house is straight out of the 60s, and not much has changed, so we wanted everything to feel both nautical and a bit rustic. We wanted our guests to see the charm in the lake house, so we chose flowers and plants that paired well with our existing landscaping.”

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What was this bride’s most memorable moment?  “Walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing all of our family and friends gathered at our favorite place. I felt such an overwhelming sense of joy and love! We also tried to get a picture of the whole bridal party on my family dock, which started to give way! We have 10 or so action shots of everyone running off of the dock. Those are some of my favorite pictures!”

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“We love the nautical feel that comes with being at the lake. Navy and green seemed like the perfect choice to compliment the natural colors found at our lake house.”  

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And what was Molly’s advice for those of you out there planning to tie the knot?  “Don’t get caught up in the details. Being far away from your venue, you can’t always be there to make every decision. Trust in those who you’ve hired to make your day special. If you communicate your vision clearly, it will all work out! (And even if it’s not perfect, having all of your family and friends in one of your favorite places will more than make up for it!)”

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Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Destination Wedding Photographer:  Paul Retherford Wedding Photography

Wedding Vendors: Band: Mac Daddy Band, Ceremony: Private Residence, Reception Venue: Shanty Creek Resort, Hair: Style North, Flowers: Cottage Floral, Invitations: Earthy Invites


A Nautical Destination I Do in Michigan

michigan destination wedding location

Lisa and Eric had a domestic destination wedding in Michigan, traveling from Texas to a spectacular site that was sight unseen for this pair until their wedding day!  We asked the bride, Lisa, how they selected a location they’d never been to!  “We selected our location for 2 reasons: The pictures looked beautiful online and when I called to inquire more about the facility the lady on the phone was friendly and helpful. Also, the location was a destination for us, coming from Texas, and yet it was still convenient for our relatives in Michigan and Canada.”

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The couple infused lots of color into their big day and even a few fun nautical details!

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Since this bride and groom had never been to the venue until the wedding day, that first moment was extra special for them.  “One of my favorite moments on our wedding day was when I first got to Castle Farms and walked through the Knight’s Courtyard/Castle. It was the very first time I had set foot at the venue and I was totally overwhelmed by how gorgeous the reception hall was and how put together everything already was. Our catering, flowers, and cake were there waiting and the only thing I had to stress out about was getting myself ready… it was great!”

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We went with a nautical theme because we love that surrounding our venue are lakes and lighthouses. Coming from Texas where lots of weddings were rustic and vintage inspired this just seemed like the Michigan thing to do and it was fun!”

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 My advice would be find a venue that is scenic and pre-decorated because if you’re traveling without a car, like we did, you are definitely limited in what you can bring! There were things I didn’t even think to bring, like a steamer for our dresses, that our venue had on site for us to use thank goodness!”

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If you look close, there’s a lucky ladybug designed into their wedding cake!

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Even without a scouting trip to Michigan, this darling Texas duo had an amazing big day!

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Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Destination Wedding Photographer: Paul Retherford (Wedding Photos), Hillary Anne Photography (Engagement Photos)

Wedding Vendors: Wedding Website + Ideas: The KnotVenue: Castle Farms (Knight’s Castle and Knight’s Courtyard), Bakery: Bella e Dolce, Florist: Thyme Hill Designs, Caterer: Catering by Kelly’s, Shuttle: Midnight Madness, Hair Salon: La Dolce VitaOfficiant: Charlevoix Wedding Pastor, STD’s + Invitations: Vista Print, Music: “Cancel Monday” Band


Rustic Elopement in Springfield, MO

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We love this elopement!  A completely private ceremony for two (their wedding photographer, Katie Day was the witness); their intimate day took place deep in the woods on private property in Ozark, MO.  Lisa and Jared decided on this property because of the convenience of doing it their way.  Lisa shared with us some insight into their elopement.  “We were looking for land that we would have a lot of access too. A friend knew the owner of the land. Having our ceremony on private land meant we could set –up and tear-down at our own convenience.”

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When asked to describe the style?  Simple and rustic.   The rustic chandelier with the wine barrel and wooden benches fit in well with the outdoors.”  And it worked perfectly.  The yellows and grey blend nicely with the burlap and woods.  Just because your day is only for two, doesn’t mean you can’t have those fun wedding details too!

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The pair decided to have a first look moment and Katie captured it beautifully.  So much emotion with these two love birds!

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To say “I do” in the middle of a forest, it meant a unique challenge for set up and strike.  The tree we chose to get married under wasn’t close to the road, so we have to rent a truck to drive people from their cars to the ceremony site.” 

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We love this ceremony idea!  When the couple wed, they incorporated a special, personal touch.  “We opted for the wine box ceremony. The bride and groom each writes a letter to the other and puts the letters in the wine box with a bottle of wine. The box is nailed shut during the ceremony and will be opened on our 10 year wedding anniversary. At that time, each person will be able to read what the other wrote and drink the wine in celebration.”  So sweet!  And what a fun night to look forward to many years down the road.

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To celebrate with?  Custom Jones Sodas and Mr. and Mrs. Cupcakes for a sweet reception.

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Then it was off for a little bike ride for two around the beautiful property.

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When the big day was done, the duo were off to Italy for a romantic honeymoon tour of Rome, Florence, Tuscany and Venice.

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Congratulations to the newlyweds (who are still on their honeymoon)!

Destination Wedding Photographer: Katie Day Photography

Wedding Vendors: Florist: The Flower Merchant, Wedding Dress: Mori Lee, Cupcake Co: The Cup, Groom’s Suit: Town & County


Montana Day After Wedding Photo Shoot

field weddings montanaToday’s feature is actually not a wedding, but an unusual day after destination shoot.  Scott and Maddie had a hometown wedding in Orange County, CA.  But the day proved not to be the most sunny in Southern California.  The gloomy weather and rain made it a less than perfect place for their bridal and wedding portraits when the time came.  And thus, a day after photo session idea was born!  But it wasn’t exactly “day after”.winter weddings in MontanaThese lucky newlyweds had a photographer in the family.  Tyler Branch is the groom’s brother so a little over a month later when the family went on a holiday trip to Montana to their family home in Helena, the bride and groom packed up their wedding day duds too!  Maddie vacuum sealed her dress and packed it away in her luggage and the end result was a destination “day after” or month after, shoot that this happy couple will never forget!  Sometimes a little rain on the wedding day can be a big gift in hindsight and these two have some amazing photos to show for it.

Congratulations newlyweds!

 Destination Wedding Photographer: Tyler Branch Photo


Felt Mansion Wedding Re-Run

photography by harrison studioThis week we’re sharing some of our most popular and out of this world destination weddings from across the globe and throughout our year.  To kick us off with our week of fabulous re-runs it’s only fitting that we share with you the very first real wedding we featured back in August, at our launch.  We were so excited and grateful to have the talented work of Harrison Studio on the blog and we’re just as thrilled to share it again for our old and new readers.

Lisa and Ian wed at the lovely Felt Estate in Holland, MI – a location where the bride’s aunt works, making it a natural wedding location selection for the couple. But that wasn’t the only thing making it the perfect property for their nuptials; Lisa and Ian decided to split the difference between their Chicago lives and Michigan roots. And just 160 miles from home, the venue was in just the right spot for their nearby destination wedding.harrison studio weddingsThe couple enlisted help in planning from family; Lisa’s mom and aunt were active in the process and Ian’s cousin Andy was their ceremony officiant.  And what a ceremony it was!  The outdoor site surrounded by trees was a picturesque backdrop for the beautiful bride and her handsome groom to say “I do.”felt mansion weddingsWhen it came time to design the tent, Lisa tells us, “Throughout the planning stages, we both knew that we wanted to be able to look back at our wedding through our photography and videography and feel as though we picked a timeless look. Colors were kept simple and neutral. We did our best to avoid current trends because they can date photos as the trends shift. Ian works with 3D animation, and was able to model the wedding grounds, the chairs, the tables, the tent, everything, and render it so we’d know exactly how it was going to look, and to make sure everything would fit. Since the whole point was to make people have a good time in a beautiful setting, we also wanted to make sure it was captured the same way.”tent weddings in michiganAnd a timeless beauty it was. The antique hydrangea with stephanotis bridal bouquet blended effortlessly with the soft blush pink roses and white peonies throughout the décor. And the cake, oh the cake! Look out Princess Kate, this cake (by Mirabella Confections) rivals any royal wedding.michigan tent weddings

Congratulations Lisa and Ian!  Thank you for sharing your Michigan destination wedding with us twice this year!

Destination Wedding Photographers: Ben and Laura Harrison of Harrison Studio

Other Wedding Vendors: Wedding Venue – Felt Mansion, Floral – Modern Day Floral, Video – Coastline Studios, Caterer – The Gilmore Collection, Cake – Mirabella Confections