My Lovely North: Three Brides Vol. 2

Continuing our three beautiful brides series is the wedding of my maid of honor, cousin and longest friend, Katie (and Jake, too!). Keep reading for a taste of Katie's remembrance of her incredible September wedding!

1. How do you feel your wedding encompassed Northern Michigan?

Our Michigan was "northern Michigan" because it was outdoors at my fiance's parent's home. We spent the summer prepping the yard and had beautiful gardens ready for the ceremony and reception. We had beer from a local brewery, and took advantage of the beautiful northern Michigan landscape for our photos. Our bouquets and table arrangements were from Field of Flowers, a local florist- We got to visit the gardens and tell her what we liked and didn't to make our flowers represent us and Northern Michigan. My husband's brother Mike Erway (a local graphic designer) made our wedding invitations as his gift to us. They were inspired by the National Lakeshore where we got engaged and were very different from the traditional wedding invitation but they were absolutely perfect.

2. How long was your planning process and what portion was the most stressful?

We had just under 11 months to plan and the most stressful part was deciding our playlist! :)

I had ideas of what I wanted for each aspect so really narrowing down the appetizer we were to serve on the buffet, how much alcohol to purchase for our crowd, and the tent size and amenities we would need was a lot of the work. Because our wedding and reception was at a home there were more details that one wouldn't necessarily have to think about when having it in a tradition "wedding venue" but it really represented us, and so all of the extra work was definitely worth it. Having an outdoor wedding is always stressful because one really never knows what Mother Nature will hand is for a day but our's was absolutely perfect!! We did have a  backup plan in order but thankfully didn't have to use it.

3. How was your venue selection and what determined your final selection?

We had known from the beginning we would be getting married at my husband's parent's house. With a rustic log cabin sitting on 25 acres, it includes a pole barn, meadow, various gardens and is across from cherry fields. It was spacious and beautiful and would accommodate any number we would decide to invite. Plus it's always wonderful to be out there and look out the window to the exact spot we said "I do" and spent the night dancing into the wee hours. This was wonderful because not only did we feel so very "Northern Michigan" but we really got to enjoy the summer and the outdoors in all of our hours of prepping!

4. Knowing we live in a crazy land of unpredictable weather, was this a concern for your wedding?

Yes- not at first though- I didn't even think about it; apparently already convinced the weather would accommodate me! About a month before the wedding though we got a plan b in order just in case. It was not my first... or even fifth choice, but it was what we could do with the space, people and money we wanted to spend if the weather didn't go our way. I'm so happy we had wonderful weather, but either way it would have been perfect because, in the end I was married to my best friend with my wonderful family and friends around us!

5. Would there be any advice for future brides in regards to communication with your vendors?

Get a contract! Having everything in writing is so helpful for you and the people helping you with all of the details, big and small. Leading up to an event, producing it and wrap it up is much easier when everything is in writing. Having a contract puts professional guidelines and stipulations on services rendered and time frames you can expect things. From the most professional vendor, to those who were friends of friends that we illicited for help, I had contracts, timelines, and detailed information so everyone was on the same page and we didn't have to worry about answering the littles questions on our big day! I was actually at the beach on the day of my wedding reception swimming in Lake Michigan without a single worry...It took a lot of time prepping it and at times I felt like a crazy control freak, but in the end everyone was clear, and appreciated the direction and it was totally worth it!

6. Describe your favorite moment during your wedding.

My husband said his vows first- we wrote them together and were saying the same thing but as he read his he got choked up- which doesn't happen much- and as he finished he whispered "good luck"! Knowing full well I'd never make it through without losing it. And I didn't; but it was wonderful and funny and a moment only we could hear. It was incredibly special and comforting knowing it wasn't a show and we could still be ourselves.

7. In closing, what final, general advice would you give brides-to-be?

I would say the most important advice is to remember what your day is about- you and your fiancé getting to be married and spend the rest of your lives together. It shouldn't be a show or a performance. It should be you two being happy and guests, parents, family, friends, vendors or weather shouldn't change that!

It's honestly a treasure to be able to remember each part of this wedding, as not only did I take part in it as a bridesmaid, but it was nothing short of breathtaking. It was perfect!

Stay tuned next week for the conclusion of our Three Brides posts!