by Shelby Ferguson
In January my travels took me to New York. While I was there I had the good fortune to visit the most amazing little dress boutique. I met the designer and needless to say, I want to get married all over again just so I can wear one of her gowns – but that’s a story for another day. As I was sitting in her salon, I was listening in on one of her appointments and one of the first things she asked the newly engaged bride-to-be was about the location of her wedding.
“It’s in Vermont,” the bride answered.
“Oh, so it’s rustic,” the designer quickly responded as she began to ponder the perfect dress.
This quick little conversation got me thinking about how quickly we jump to conclusions on what someone’s wedding will be like just based on the location – she didn’t know anything about the venue, the bride’s style, colors, number of guests, formality, and the list goes on.
I think Northern Michigan is one of those assumed places. Most Northern Michigan weddings tend to be more on the “rustic” side. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, the problem lies in the fact that most people assume they know what rustic means. But it’s not a universal term. These are the three problems I most often run into when people start planning their rustic celebrations:
NOT DEFINING RUSTIC
As I alluded to above, I need to know what rustic means to you. In my experience, I have come across 3 basic “rustic” brides.
There’s shabby, vintage, and sometimes even a little dirty “rustic”. This bride includes décor choices that you might generally associate with a barn wedding. Perhaps horse saddles, wooden crates, vintage table numbers, and burlap accents.
Then there’s outdoorsy rustic. Think almost woodland wedding or even nautical style. Birch bark, tree stumps, and mossy touches might be mixed in. You could also incorporate antlers, sand, or outdoor activities that the couple enjoy together.
Finally, there’s the girl who describes her day as rustic elegance. She dreams of a touch of sophistication paired with wide open spaces. Think gold flatware against a raw wooden table. Everything stays sleek and refined while complimenting a slightly more relaxed mood.
And of course there’s a hybrid of any of the above which makes every day extremely unique.
CHOOSING THE WRONG VENUE
Northern Michigan is home to a countless number of barns, wineries, and other outdoor spaces that lend themselves so well towards this style of gathering. With such a plethora of earthy spaces, I think we tend to assume that everyone getting married up north is search of that casual vibe. However, we mustn’t forget that there are many hotel ballrooms, elegant restaurants, and rental halls that also can host amazing events. And not all of them pair well with burlap, wooden crates, or nautical rope décor. Make sure that your venue provides the right backdrop and sets the perfect tone for your wedding day.
ASSUMING PLANNING WILL BE SIMPLE
I hear it all the time, I want a simple wedding day. Don’t we all? Does anyone want their day to be an overly complicated nightmare?? The fact of the matter is, regardless of the style or theme of your wedding day, you’re still inviting guests, they still need invitations, chairs, tables, linens, food, centerpieces, transportation, and about a 100 other details that go into the planning of a successful event. Oh and you thought it would cost less because it’s a rustic wedding? While there might be a few details that become more casual and you could possibly skip out on the draping or extremely tall formal centerpieces, that greenery garland and beautiful compote centerpieces still cost money. And the price tag on your flank steak is the same whether you serve it in a fancy ballroom or on a tented hillside.
I am absolutely not discouraging you from planning a rustic celebration, I just want expectations to be realistic with all guests, vendors, and, most importantly, for the newlyweds. Northern Michigan is one of the most romantic wedding backdrops I can possibly dream of.
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.