Real Wedding: Landon Caroline and Jason

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For the Martin and Brunette families, seeing Landon Caroline and Jason's big day come together was truly magical. With the Martin family residing in Glen Arbor during the summer, they couldn't imagine anywhere more perfect than Northern Michigan to see their daughter say i do. The ideal August day started with the ladies getting their hair and make-up done on the wrap around porch at the Martin cottage, "Summersbee" while the boys and guests spent the day enjoying the sun and water. Married in the Leland Community United Methodist Church, the church was exploding with love for the stunning couple as they became Mr. and Mrs. Brunette. The celebrations then continued at Snow Moon Ranch in Maple City where guests were blown away by the views of Lake Michigan and spent time hanging out with the residing alpacas of the ranch. Landon Caroline and Jason's day was not short of unique and personalized touches, from signature cocktails served in mason jars to a custom logo used throughout the event. With pops of hot pink in the romantic tent, guests were sat at dark wood farm tables filled with vibrant flowers and hundreds of candles to create an elegant, rustic feel. The live band brought the party to the dance floor where guests danced under the stars late into the night. For a couple like Landon Caroline and Jason, dreams really do come true!

Be sure to check back for more details from this stunning wedding on Wednesday, and click HERE to see the full gallery.

Catering: Epicure Catering / Event Floral: Field of Flowers Farm Music: Ceremony, Cocktail Musicians: Sylvia Norris / Music: Reception Music: Black & Blue Band / Officiant: Dr. Scott Walker / Photographer: Kate Krueger Photography / Rentals: Special Events Rental / Graphic Designer and Invitations: Gourmet Invitations / Ceremony Location: Leland Community United Methodist Church / Reception Venue: Snow Moon Ranch / Event Planning & Design: A Day in May Event Planning &  Design / Hair Stylist: Douglas J Salon / Makeup: Escape Salon / Trolley: Houdek's Trolley / Cigar Roller: HavaTropic Premium Cuban Style Cigars / Dessert: Everything Gal

Pink and Gold Dancing Tent

After the toasts were made and dinner was served, the guests of Ashley and Loren made their way outside to a pink and gold dancing tent filled with light and shimmering tablecloths for an evening of dancing. The bride, who works for Kate Spade, was inspired by the company and wanted to bring to life the whimsical elements that is represented in the brand. Sequin table cloths, pops of pink and accents of gold brought that vision to life inside the tent. To represent the groom, who owns a luxury car dealership, white tufted leather lounge seating  and bar surrounded the dance floor, a subtle and stylish nod. And as the sun set on the golf course, the hot pink light filled the tent, bringing a pop of color to the dark night sky.  Whether resting their dancing feet on the cozy lounge furniture, celebrating on the dance floor or sipping on bubbly at the cocktail tables, the loved ones of Ashley and Loren were exploding with happiness for the newlyweds. It was hard to end this perfect night, especially in a tent filled with love and dancing! 1541










Jen Kroll PhotographyA Day in May Events


I love color, texture and playing with patterns. Fabric stores (the good ones at least) are like treasure chests and it's hard for us to leave them without bringing home some serious yardage of our own! Kim and Mark's cocktail tent was filled with comfortable lounge seating for guests to take in the stunning views of West Grand Traverse Bay and accents of cobalt, lake blue and tangerine. One of the easiest ways to bring in these accent colors is with throw pillows and who doesn't love punches of color on crisp white sofas?! We pulled in a gorgeous orange and white stripe fabric we found on a buying trip. (If you see their Real Wedding Gallery you will notice that the cocktail tent was "flipped" for dancing. Linens were refreshed to a beautiful terracotta with punchy color accents and the blue pillows were swapped for some gold and peach polka dots and coral while the orange and white pillows remained.) The blue pillows left on their own were a bit bold so we personalized them with some of the couple's favorite things by hand painting designs on them.

The bride's family has a Chris Craft they enjoy on the water and the groom had an affinity for vintage wooden boats so we incorporated three different silhouettes on the two different blue pillows. And since Bailey, their adorable golden retriever could not make the flight to Michigan, we properly placed her silhouette on cute duck cloth pillows. To some, pillows may be "just pillows" but for us they are much, much more and can really help to weave the couple's story in to their day or add an unexpected and fun accent, even a topic of conversation!




Jen Kroll Photography, A Day in May Events

My Lovely North: Airbrushed

Being a girl who loves everything beauty, and having had a conversation regarding airbrushed makeup, I wondered how many brides were planning to airbrush for their wedding day. Whether you plan to own and use a kit yourself, or will consider hiring a professional for your beautification process, airbrushing holds many benefits! Airbrushing makeup is typically silicone, paraben and oil free, so no messy smudges, clogged pores or tightness during your day. It also offers wonderful coverage that doesn't have to look as heavy as most full coverage applications would. On the other hand, if not applied correctly, the makeup can be blotchy and uneven. There's literally nothing worse than having your face a different color than the rest of your body, and nothing that will distract from the beauty of the bride.

I didn't choose airbrushing my makeup for my wedding, and although it's not that I regret it, but I certainly wish I had done more research into it. I typically use products that can be found at a range between drug stores and higher end makeup departments such as Laura Marcier or Sephora, but regardless of the brand, each one has its pros and cons, and will effect your skin differently. I towards the end of the planning process, I didn't feel like I had to time to try something new, so if you are a planning bride, I'd say to get a jump on your beauty decisions earlier on so that you can be prepare towards the end.

If you decide that airbrushing is the right route for you, my suggestion is to go to the professionals. Chances are you've hired professionals for the remaining aspects of your wedding, so why let one of the most important aspects, the bride, fall short? Many local salons such as Pavlova, Style North, and Impres offer beautiful makeup, and will also provide trial makeup appointment scheduling. Make sure that your foundation coverage matches your natural skin tone, is blended properly, and that dries before you put your beautiful white gown on.

So what do you plan on doing? Is airbrushing your foundation the right choice for you? Comment below and weigh in on the discussion!

Photo courtesy of Sarah Benjamin Paul


my lovely north: a groom's voice

A marriage combines two lives into one lifestyle. I like to say lifestyle because you're not losing any part of what you were, but adding to it. Assuming this addition of lives begins upon, "I do.", I found that it was quite the contrary. During the planning the process this combination of lives often begins at the first utterance of 'yes', as you accept the proposal of your dreams and begin hunkering down to plan your nuptials. You will both immediately have an idea of what this oh-so-precious day will be like - whether it be stemming from years and years of planning (*cough cough - usually the bride), or the humble beginnings of initial thoughts and ideas. Whether you already have, or soon will be spending all of your moments together thinking everything wedding, there's so much brain-power dedicated to the check-list, that you rarely have any time to reflect on ideas of your mental state. It got me thinking, as I'm constantly reflecting on the wedding, what it was like for the groom. It seems obvious, (the differences) but is it? Thankfully, I happen to have a pretty stellar fella that can help provide insight into what it's like to plan a wedding as the groom.

Q: What were the unforeseen challenges of planning a wedding? A: People always say, "the devil's in the details" and I completely agree with that! Getting the "big picture" was easy enough but the most challenging aspect for me were all the small details that really helped spotlight our theme. All of our DIY-creations really started to come together in the last couple weeks and everything seemed to need its own special trip to a store or last minute online purchase. There didn't seem to be enough time in the day! The last few days of crafting and running unique errands were a real blur at times!

Q: What would be advice that you wish you had received prior to planning a wedding? A: "Start now." We really got a jump on our planning but even trying to book certain vendors was tricky. The beauty of Northern Michigan in each season will forever attract couples to choose this area for their special day. As soon as you pick your date, call all your preferred vendors immediately. Seriously. Even if you simply put your name on their calendar or pay their deposits - the longer you wait, the less chance they'll be available. In Northern Michigan, venues seem to book especially fast.

Q: Anything you wish you could have done that you didn't get a chance to? A: We had a few small items and couldn't find a local supplier so we had to use out-of-state vendors. Whether it was a time-sensative issue or a cost/benefit concern, I wish we would have utilized our resources better to get those couple items from a local vendor. Otherwise, we used all local vendors and I was (and still am) extremely proud to support our beautiful state in every aspect of our special day.

Q: What was the easiest aspect of the planning process? A: Emily and I made a real DIY effort in all the decor. Some days we couldn't land on a design idea we both liked but once we did, I really enjoyed the hands-on process. Everything from building our custom "doorway entrance" to cutting and sewing little flags and banners wasn't difficult and the feeling of accomplishment (read: compliments) when everything was finally in place made the whole process worth it.

Q: What were the biggest differences of planning between the bride's and groom's roll? A: Emily did all of the design work. Emily's creative side really came through in every aspect of our wedding so while she was busy designing, I took care of a lot of the logistics. I made plenty of those initial early phone calls, researching vendors, scheduling meet-and-greets, and booking the services that we both agreed on. From there, I simply tried to help Emily out any way I could - especially when I was home from my unique work schedule.

Q: Any suggestions for future grooms while planning their weddings? A: A lot of times, all this wedding planning stuff rests on the shoulders of your bride-to-be and can get overwhelming. Lend a hand. Your soon-to-be-wife will be seriously grateful and it will make the process much less traumatic for everyone.


Out & About: Shopping Local


With the Holiday season happening around us, with it is the season for shopping, and no one knows better gift giving than gift buyers of local stores. Living in a smaller town full of incredible and talented local vendors, I urge each of you to get 'Out and About' in some of the beautiful towns that come together to create Northern Michigan.

Towns like Glen Arbor, Suttons Bay, Traverse City, Bay Harbor and Petoskey hold home to some of the most beautiful jewelers, most delicate trinkets and delicious treats for everyone on your list! The friday after Thanksgiving traditionally marks the biggest shopping day of the year, and it's a great opportunity to include our local vendors who also participate with incredible deals, like To Have & To Hold's White Saturday sale! It's not only a great time a year to shop locally for Holiday gifts, but it's also a wonderful opportunity to get some deals on wedding and home decor.

This past Saturday also marked Traverse City's very own Shop Small: a day dedicated specifically to spending your hard earned dollars in local, small businesses to help our small town economy. Merchants in the Village of Grand Traverse offered specials, as well as snacks and wine tastings provided by Black Star Farms. There's little better than shopping, delicious food and incredible wine all rolled into one superb experience!

It's so very important to support our local community, and keep it the great place we love to call our home. Get out and get shopping locally!

Out & About: November's Winter Adventures

With the first flurries of snow reminding us of the ever-present fact that summer and fall have waved goodbye, it brings a whole new feeling to the air. More time is spent indoors, less time is typically spent on travel time and more and more couples want ‘something to do’! Living in Northern Michigan presents warm, sunny summer days followed by crisp, picturesque fall evenings. With the onset of winter, and in the past few years, Northern Michigan has been vamping up its options for couples with an itch to get outdoors!

Kicking off the snowy season and beginning this Friday the 16th is the weekend of the Hunters’ Better-Half – a weekend dedicated to treating those not taking part in the hunting season to three days of shopping and tasting! The weekend offers door prizes, wine by-the-glass specials, discounts and tastings. Everything can be enjoyed from 11am to 5pm in the tasting room at Brys Estate – a talented winery located on Old Mission Peninsula.

Haven’t quite satisfied your passion for delicious food, tasty wine and great times with even greater people? Think of your favorite childhood comfort food and some of the best adult beverages the peninsulas provide – the answer is: The Great Macaroni & Cheese Bake Off! $40 include tastings at each of the participating 7 wineries around the area providing their take on this classic dish and paring it with the perfect wine. But space is limited so get your tickets as soon as you can!

If all of this eating of delicious meals and drinking of spectacular wines has your winter figure a little worried, ease your mind! Conveniently placed between these two weekends is the TC Turkey Trot – a 5k walk/run around the Traverse City area that donates the collected money to local non-profit organizations. What a better way to participate in your community?!

November sure has a lot to offer, especially with Thanksgiving bringing families and friends together. Let's enjoy this brisk month to the fullest because before we know it, December will be knocking on our door. Before we say goodbye to this month of opportunity, let's send it off the right way - at the annual Tree Lighting night filled with the celebration of Santa's Arrival and the countdown to Christmas, all filled with caroling of Christmas songs. This truly is the most wonderful time of the year!


See You In The New Year

It takes a strong woman to say goodbye to her husband for long period of time, but I think it takes an even stronger one to accept that it’s going to happen on a regular bases. Over the past week and a half, Pieter and I made the difficult decision in regards to him taking another relief position that would send him over seas for a couple of months. You never really know when life’s going to throw you a curveball.

For those of you who aren’t already familiar with our summer endeavor, Pieter and I decided that he should take a position for two and a half months that would put him back in my arms approximately three weeks before the wedding. This left a VERY hectic and flustered three weeks together when he was home. The wedding and honeymoon flew by and before we knew it, we were saying hello to the crisp air of October.

It may never be something that I get used to, but saying goodbye to Pieter means I get to miss him, write him letters and practice old-timey love language. By far the largest and most important part that I take away from our time apart would be the privilege of feeling the renewed loved and appreciation every time we see each other at the airport. That part will never get old.

Pieter left on November 4th and I won’t see him until about January 15th, but before he left we were able to have some pretty good times together. We attended the official opening of the Off-Leash Dog Park as official donors (yay!), partied down with family and friends on Halloween, Pieter finished his first Iceman and we enjoyed plenty of simple, relaxed time together.

I miss my sailor every day that we’re apart, but I am forever grateful that we both have jobs to work hard at, a home we’re providing for ourselves in and the love and support of everyone around us. Oh and of course Aries keeps me company while he's gone, but she sure does miss him!

Fair winds and following seas, my darling.