Real Wedding: Erin & Tim | Traverse City

In our opinion, there is nothing better than a vineyard wedding. There is something so 'French Country' about it and we love that we have our own taste of that right here in Northern Michigan. This wedding is what summer in Northern Michigan is all about. The vines, the soft summer light, cherry pie, and of course wine! 

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Erin and Tim are a very intimate couple. They wanted a small, romantic wedding in one of their favorite places, Bowers Harbor Vineyard. Erin spent many summer days visiting her sister, maid of honor, and best friend who spent summers working at the vineyard. Traverse City holds so many special memories for both Erin and Tim that it just seemed like the perfect place to host their wedding. Erin and Tim really wanted good food, good wine (and cider!) and good company. 

Everyone invited to their wedding was able to get into one picture at the reception, which meant to much because to Erin & Tim, that’s what their wedding was all about. According to Erin, “BHV has always been a place we would visit while in TC so after deciding on a small intimate wedding with family and close friends, we knew BHV would be the perfect place to have our wedding. BHV provided a unique setting that we were looking for while allowing family and friends to enjoy all of the natural beauty the winery has to offer”.

They spent the days leading up to their wedding boating in the bay with friends and family that flew in from Chicago, Grand Rapids, and Detroit. Erin and her family traveled along the Leelanau peninsula to find a roadside flower vendor to create unique, whimsical bouquets. The night before the wedding, Erin and her cousins spent the night creating unique, individual bouquets for all of the girls. The morning of their wedding, Tim and the boys went golfing while Erin and the girls got ready at Veneer (Allure Salon), a local boutique and salon owned by one of Erin’s bridesmaids, Melissa. With local flair and flavor, this boutique was amazing at hosting the girls for hair and makeup. From here, they traveled to Bowers Harbor where Erin received a wedding day present from Tim and where the couple also did a first look. 

After the first look, an elegant sunset ceremony took place at The Boat House on the beach. The ceremony was perfect for Erin and Tim as it focused on creating their new family together with all of their loved ones present. After the ceremony, guests headed up to Bowers Harbor to enjoy appetizers, wine and Tim’s favorite -- the hard cider. The evening was spent full of laughter and friendship, all while enjoying a delicious 4 course meal prepared by The Boat House. A beautiful day indeed.  

Ceremony: The Boat House / Reception: Bowers Harbor Vineyard / Photographer: Carrie Cathleen Photography / Floral: Erin & Family (crafted with flowers from a roadside stand in the Leelanau Peninsula) / Dinner & Desert: Bowers Harbor / Gown: Vintage / Hair and Makeup: Allure Salon

Real Wedding: EB & Blake | Northport

We are completely obsessed with this wedding. When you look through these photos you'll see why. You can't look at this wedding and not find yourself smiling. It exudes pure joy and we love that you can see that joy across EB & Blake's faces. We absolutely love the simplicity of this wedding, with the seeming focus on two people so excited in love and to share it all with their nearest and dearest. You can almost feel the warmth of the summer night and hear the laughter of friends who are gathered around the crackling bonfire.   

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We loved hearing Kendra's thoughts (Kendra Stanley-Mills Photographyabout EB and Blake's wedding day. Our favorite moment? When the bride & groom cut off their bracelets. What a beautiful sentiment.   

When I pulled up to the scenic Northport farm where Blake and EB were to get married, I found a guy wearing a straw hat working on getting all the details in place. It was Blake. Right then I figured if the groom was in hot August heat working to get things just so, that this was going to be good. And it was.
Even though Blake and EB now live in Wisconsin, the two chose the farm to get married because it overlooked the Manitou Islands -- the place where they were engaged. The couple said they wanted to share with their closest friends and relatives all the things that they loved about Michigan. They paid special attention to using local food and drink. Their invitation was crafted by a childhood friend of EB’s. The cake made by another and stored in the cellar to stay cool until it was time to cut it.
Before the ceremony, Blake and EB reached through a door to cut off symbolic bracelets they had worn for years -- the bracelets were to be replaced with wedding rings. The evening was a perfect ending to a perfect day -- with a crackling bonfire, people lounging in hammocks and more laughter and hugs then I could count. 

Photography: Kendra Stanley-Mills Photography / Venue: Leelanau County Modern Farmhouse / Flowers: Hooper’s Farm Gardens / Invitations: Chinn Wang / Cake: Lisa Wolf / Rentals: GJ’s Rentals / Caterer: Pigs Eatin’ Ribs / Wine: Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery / Suit: Brooks Brothers / Bride's Dress & Shoes: J.Crew / Cider: Tandem Ciders / Sparkling Wine: L. Mawby

My Lovely North: Home Sweet North

After your honeymoon tan has worn off, your gifts are all unpackaged and you’ve settled into married life, ideas start to cross your mind as to what’s the next step. Some couples are content in their current flow and others begin to look towards change. For some, a baby may be on the radar and for other couples like Pieter and myself; a new home is the next star on our horizon. Interest rates are at an all-time low and the list of available houses is quickly dwindling. Our first concern in purchasing became location, and so our search began.

There’s no question that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the planet. My favorite locations within Northern Michigan are Traverse City proper, Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau Peninsula. Within these three locations, there’s always such variety in both home style and neighborhood range. Downtown Traverse offers beautiful, older homes, Old Mission Peninsula provides the homes surrounded by vineyards and rolling scenery, while Leelanau Peninsula boasts spectacular views of West Bay and perfect woodland settings. There are seemingly unlimited options to say the least!

Along with choosing your location, when deciding to live in Northern Michigan your list of must-haves should quickly be hammered out, as well as your flexibility with those must-haves. For Pieter and myself, our must-haves included location, 3 bedrooms, 1+ bath, a garage and a yard. We were willing to substitute a garage for a lower price and/or yard – what can be built simply needs the space, right? So all in all, you could say that our must-have list was a bit flexible.

Once your must-haves list is set and your pre-approval is taken care of, find yourself a good realtor! We absolutely love, love, LOVE Linda Schaub with Real Estate One, and couldn’t be happier to recommend her. She helped my brother and sister-in-law find their dream home and fell nothing short of amazing in helping us through this process.

One important lesion was learned through Linda is that in our Northern Michigan area with the low interest rates, there are currently fewer homes than there are buyers, so hop to it! Buying a home may not be on the horizon for all of you beautifully newly-wedded couples, but if it is, I wish you the best in all of your home-hunting endeavors, and will keep you all posted on our hunt for the perfect home!

This fabulous map creation can be purchased here on Etsy