Real Wedding: Kate & Phil | Omena

Cherry Basket Farm is one of our favorite venues in Northern Michigan. The white barn, the rolling fields, and the delicious food that accompanies every event. It also was the perfect venue for this true DIY wedding. The bride, Kate (with the help of many family & friends), planned the entire wedding and incorporated special touches into each part of the day. You must read on about all the amazing details from Kate herself!


Since the wedding was outside, Kate wanted it to be rustic with a touch of the classics. Also, the wedding day fell over 4th of July weekend, so she chose Americana inspired colors with a twist. There was gold in her shoes, cake, napkins, the grooms tie, and candles on the table. Red in the matron of honors dress, and pops in the bouquets. Various shades of blue in the bridesmaid dresses, and turquoise in jewelry and the centerpieces. She was able to accomplish the vintage feel by having her mother and sister search high and low collect vintage plates and champagne glasses from antique stores, resale shops, and yard sales during the year and a half engagement. A lot of friends and family showed up during the rehearsal to help hang stained glass windows in the barn that her father had made, and everyone who attended the wedding was given a handmade glass star with her colors. Her husband was charged with building an arch the morning of the ceremony so he and the groomsmen found downed trees to tie together in a tripod with a love knot at the top. The officiant was a friend and also doubled down as the DJ known as Amy Dreamcatcher. Amy made a dreamcatcher to hang above the couple, from the arch while they got ready. The nuptials were based around Prince's Purple Rain lyrics. It was a whimsical day and everyone had a little hand in helping out.

Here's what Kate had to say about the day:

Growing up I was not the typical girl that day dreamt about my big day. My parents are wed for life and I didn't think it would be possible to find that kind of love. I was literally gobsmacked when I met Phillip and felt that 'love at first sight feeling.' When we got engaged I knew I wanted to get married outside and amongst close friends and family. The months leading up to the big day were stressful since I had to think of every detail because it was a destination wedding. With all the careful planning I was oddly calm on the day of. I was placing flower centerpieces an hour and half before the wedding until the makeup artist insisted that I take a seat and get ready. Time was literally flying and the 'hen house', where all the maids and ladies got ready, was buzzing with activity. Then there was call for everyone to line up and when I wrapped my arm around my fathers and looked into his teary eyes I took a deep breath and I knew it was time to walk down the aisle and into my future husband's arms. I think I held my breath behind a smile until we commenced the ceremony with a kiss. Everything was a blur thereafter, we managed to drive away in a vintage car and find a cherry orchard to take some photos and there was a fantastic view of Grand Traverse Bay. When we got back to the celebration everyone was seated and ready to feast on the delicious food that Epicure Catering had prepared. Then came the speeches. My father rocked it, my sister brought tears to everyones eyes, my Father-in-law sang Irish tunes, and my brother-in-law had jokes. We proceeded to the barn where we cut the cake and then some rug. We had our friends play in a 5 piece band and sing Purple Rain for our first dance, albeit karaoke inspired. We danced and danced until dusk and looking back at pictures all I see are big smiles on our guests faces. Cherry Basket Farm and the peninsula are magical. I wish I could re-live that day, because it was the best day of my life, but perhaps someday we will do a slimmed down version on our anniversary. I just have to convince my husband of it, and since he loves me so much I think he will say yes (again).


Event Coordinator: Kate Bordine (bride) / Venue: Cherry Basket Farm & Epicure CateringPhotographer: Jose Infante / Floral Designer: Megan Stojcevski / Cake: Sarah Harlen / Gown: Augusta Jones; Mimi's Bridal, Ann ArborInvitation Designer: Kate Bordine Cooley, Suzanne Bordine Ediem, & Daron Simon 

Most vendors were friends of the couple.

Ask the Expert: Danielle Vogelheim

Photo by Weber Photography

In this week's Ask the Expert, we've turned to Danielle Vogelheim, previous owner of N|M Event Designs and a current account executive at Nüage Designs.  We asked Danielle about planning a destination wedding because she happens to also be a bride planning for her own wedding in the Bahamas!   With her years of experience planning destination weddings for couples coming to Northern Michigan, she's the perfect person to pass along advice to anyone planning their own.

What are the things you look at when picking a venue, especially when you don't know the area and it's new to you?

It's important to look for things that represent you and your 'soon to be'. Whether that be a beach, a country setting or a romantic vineyard, first find where your dream location exists then see what's around that area.   If you can picture yourself standing there in the photo that's a good start. However, it's also important to make sure it's logistically possible for you and your guests, from flights to accommodations.   If you are able, schedule a site visit and pick three solid contenders, many venue pictures look glamourous online but don't depict the full picture of the whereabouts.

How do you find vendors that you know are going to do a good job?

You really need to rely on those who have planned events there in the past. Local Wedding Planners or Event Coordinators for the hotel have seen first-hand the vendors in the area. They want the event to be just as grand as you do and their preferred list is compiled with people who have worked well for them in the past. They would not recommend someone that has a record of showing up late or not meeting their clients' expectations. Don't be afraid to ask your coordinator exactly what you are looking for and they will recommend the best fit.

How do you handle guest accommodations?  Do you assume they'll handle it on their own?  Do you plan to cover part of their expenses, and if so how do you select what you cover?  Do you make sure to include shuttles? Or choose a venue that has everything included?

If your budget allows for it then yes, by all means a paid vacation for all your family members and closest friends is a real treat! You don't need to pay everyone's way but you do need to provide them all the necessary information. Let them know where there are accommodations, suggestions on rental cars or transportation providers as well as things to do around the area. If you have a destination wedding and the ceremony and/or reception is held offsite from the hotel it's best to get a shuttle so they don't have to worry about finding their way around on their own in a foreign town. If you are asking your guests to travel hundreds of miles help them figure out how to get there with ease!

How do you take care of the guests?

Welcome them! After a long trip it's always great to see a friendly face greeting you! Make sure you arrive to the destination before most of your guests do so you can spend time with them as they arrive. If the budget allows it's always nice to have an informal "welcome reception" as a gesture of appreciation for them coming all the way to see you both;  serving refreshments and light appetizers allows people to mingle and come and go at their leisure. This also does a bit of double duty as it allows guests to get to know one another if they don't already. When the wedding night comes along everyone is really able to let loose and have a good time as they feel like they are all amongst friends.

Any additional advice for couples planning a destination wedding?

Find a spot that you both would love to return to. It will be your "special place" and a great excuse to make future vacation plans. Also, there is only so much you can do from so far away so rely on your planner or coordinator as they do this for a living. When you get there... relax and enjoy your vacation!

Thank you so much Danielle!