by Shelby Ferguson
This isn’t the first time I’m mentioning the picturesque views that Northern Michigan has to offer. In fact, it may be because of this breathtaking scenery that you chose to get married Up North in the first place. Rolling hillsides, autumn foliage, pristine beaches, the cliffs, the overlooks, lighthouses, vineyards, orchards…. I could go on all day.
But how do we truly take full advantage of all that Northern Michigan has to offer?
First and foremost, find a photographer who knows the area – hidden treasures, local spots and the ability to travel away from the beaten path, a photographer in “the know” is going to be a great ally. I think photography is the most obvious way to capture the essence of Northern Michigan.
Schedule your day with time for photos. Realize that a trip to the beach (or other coveted location) for pictures could take at least 15 minutes each way (depending on location, traffic, time of day, etc) - by the time you load everyone into a car, drive, take pictures, and then head back to the reception again, it could easily take an extra 1 ½ hours – and that’s if you’re organized. If Lake Michigan views are important to you, try to find a venue that easily accessible, either for the ceremony or reception. Look for areas that you’re going to drive by naturally on your wedding day, rather than taking extra time for a detour. Finding a venue with beautiful grounds will add a layer of ease to the planning process and allow for a more relaxed wedding day.
But beyond photos, make sure you have time to breathe it all in. Take an early morning minute to sip coffee by the lake. What if you were able to take a walk hand in hand through the tall northern pines or skip stones on the sandy beach just moments after becoming husband and wife? Not only do you have to schedule your day for photos, but you also need to schedule time for yourself. Make sure you’re not hustling so much that you’re unable to relax and enjoy this beautiful day and celebration you have planned.
Trust your local vendors to guide you, ask if they have any new or slightly “out of the box” ideas - it’s easy to get stuck in a tourist trap of must-see places and refreshing to try something new. Take a “non wedding planning trip” to the area and focus on what it is you love. What speaks to you? Think about where the sun will rise and set. What will the view be like – for pictures, for your guests, for you? What is it that you love so much about being Up North? Think about how to translate that into your wedding story. Don’t feel pressured to incorporate beautiful areas if they don’t hold any meaning for you. After all, this is your wedding day and I like to think of being Up North as a time of rest, relaxation of getting away from it all. The key to perfectly capturing the essence of the North is unlocking the secret meaning and sentiments it holds for you as a couple. Bottle up that feeling and share it with your guests on your wedding day and treasure it for years to come.
Shelby is lead wedding planner, artistic director and floral heart behind The Day's Design. She delights in celebrating romantic, natural and fancy free occasions throughout Northern & West Michigan. When she's away from her design work, you'll find her at home with her hubby and two beautiful baby girls, daydreaming along the shores of Lake Michigan, strolling through local antique stores, picking wildflowers or blogging more about wedding and life adventures at The Day's Dream blog.