I’m Kristi Mills, owner of Simply Exquisite by the Bay, LLC.
Being born and raised in Northern Michigan and a native of Benzie County, I've always had a long standing passion for creativity and design with the belief that “all things happen for a reason”.
I truly enjoy spending time with my husband, Josh and our four boys, playing on the beach, attending sporting events, and entertaining family and friends in our home. We live, work and play in beautiful Benzie County.
How did you get into the wedding industry?
Simply Exquisite by the bay was formed in 2009, as destination weddings increasingly became more popular in Northern Michigan the need for a coordinator presented itself and from the advice and encouraging comments from a friend we began our journey. We've grown into a full service wedding planning and floral design business that provides services for about 30 couples per year. We are dedicated to making memories that will last a lifetime. We plan, design and coordinate your special day or event to reflect your style from simple, classic elegance to exquisite.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes directly from nature, all things bright and beautiful and my ability to creatively think outside the box. I enjoy treasure hunting, repurposing interesting items, and old vintage finds to deliver a one of a kind decor item for each of my clients. I believe the natural beauty of our area speaks for itself and sets the backdrop for a dream destination wedding.
How would you describe your style?
My style tends to be a bit eclectic. I'd say Simple with a hint of natural beauty infused from my own backyard. I enjoy picking wildflowers, collecting moss, scouring the beaches for driftwood, collecting stones and hauling downed birch trees to be incorporated in my designs. I find these natural elements can accent just about any wedding style and really lend themselves to the perfect Up North Wedding.
What are your current favorite wedding trends?
Gone are the strong traditions of how your wedding should be. I love the trend of creating a quaint wedding that tells a personal story about the bride and groom. Anything that can be incorporated to lend a personal touch or meaning to the day is very unique. I think it’s important to always celebrate your family, friends and traditions.
What is your favorite part of a wedding day?
After the formalities of the evening have taken place and are coming to a close...I really enjoy when the sun begins to set and the ambience is enhanced by the warm glow of string lights and candles as the bride and groom enter the dance floor to start the night off right.
How far in advance should a couple look into booking your services?
It is never too early to start planning your dream wedding day. I advise my clients to give me a call at any time during the planning process, it all depends on the level of assistance that you may desire. We have a package for everyone or we can customize a package just for you to fit your budget.
What advice do you have for couples about the planning process?
As a thriving resort community on the shores of Lake Michigan, I often suggest inquiring with local lodging establishments in the area before picking your venue and wedding date. After securing a block of rooms, finding the perfect bed and breakfast or even a few spots at the local campground. I suggest that couples spend a bit of time creating a wedding website to share lodging information, local attractions and maps with your out of town guests.
What is your vision for an ideal "Northern Michigan" wedding?
My vision for the ideal Northern Michigan wedding is a beautiful and quaint outdoor ceremony that flows into a well planned casual reception at the Elberta Life Saving Station on beautiful Betsie Bay. The view is stunning with the sun setting to the west on Lake Michigan with the Frankfort Lighthouse in the background. The peaceful tranquility of the boats in the harbor and the sensational views of the City of Frankfort can be enjoyed while your guests dance the night away outside on the patio under the stars.
What do you love about living and working in Northern Michigan?
I’m blessed to be able to work and play in the town I grew up in. My husband and I are very connected in this wonderful community so I am happy to be able to provide services to my clients in my old neighborhood while sharing the surreal beauty of this place we call home.