On a beautiful, very windy, September day in Leland, Mary and Eric celebrated their marriage, surrounded by friends and family. Though they woke up that morning to find the beach swept away in the fall gales, the sun was shining and temperature ideal for their outdoor ceremony. With a no-look first look, the bride and groom walking down the aisle together, and a medley of three first dance songs, Mary and Eric's wedding was meaningful, unique, and captured their relationship perfectly.
From bride Mary: I knew I wanted to incorporate my Dad where I could in a meaningful way without having to explain anything or feel sad. He passed away when I was in high school and I knew that besides graduation and maybe one day having kids of my own, my wedding would be one of the hardest days.
He was from the UP; we spent summers on Lake Superior amidst white birch trees and freezing cold water. When I met Eric, we started going up north to Good Hart with his parents every year and it was the first time in my life I did something that made me think about my dad and feel hopeful instead of empty.
The decision to get married on the beach somehow came without discussion; one minute we were engaged and the next minute I was on VRBO looking for a northern Michigan beach rental. It was as if that was the only option available and one to which we were quite happy to acquiesce.
After finding the amazing property we realized we also needed to feed and accommodate 150 people (up from the original 80 I had proposed).
Luckily the Lodge was nearby and suddenly we were making the trip up to visit Leland for the first time.
Upon driving into Leland, we saw the sign noting the latitude of the town; half way between the north pole and the equator. It is a widely acknowledged fact that I have what Eric likes to call my 'Goldilocks zone' (I'm always either hot or freezing, starving or stuffed, completely exhausted or magic erases the molding) so the coincidence here was serendipitously comical.
A year and a half later and it was upon us!
Eric and I spent Monday exploring Leland on our own; for as many times as we had been up there, he hadn't seen anything except the beach and the Lodge. That is so far my favorite day of my life.
My favorite elements of the wedding were the handblown glass birds we used for our cake topper (from Boyer Glassworks in Harbor Springs) and tiny vintage bluebird pin on my bouquet to represent the Bluebird of Happiness, something I remembered my dad loving. The navy for the bridesmaids dresses was inspired by the bluebird as well.
I love loved my flowers; white roses, baby's breath, natural greens, and eucalyptus are my favorites because they can be so beautiful in the simplest way.
The chandelier hanging from the arch, the massive amounts of collected crystal, each piece considered and chosen, and our books- I couldn't just choose any book and I took great private satisfaction in knowing all the titles meant something- all these things were like little creature comforts for me; surrounded by little trinkets I had personally selected, each one served as a little grounding element.
Just as each bridesmaid had a different dress, each groomsmen had a different bowtie; letting all of our friends still be themselves.
My favorite moment of the wedding was walking down the stairs, since I was walking alone I knew I had to just go for it, so down I came to MGMT with no idea what was in store; the beach had completely washed away and I had no idea what to expect, but Eric was waiting for me at the bottom and none of it mattered.
Our friend married us and we wrote our own vows and even though they were mostly serious, mine ended with an inside joke and his began with one and it was all so unplanned and so perfect.
Almost everywhere we turned during the planning process something went wrong to allow room for something to go so right.
I let Eric surprise me with our first dance song and he picked 3 that were so different, but so perfect, country for me (huge surprise there), Motown for him, and a contemporary song at the end I'd never heard but immediately loved.
Tim McGraw, she's my kind of rain
Otis Redding, that's how strong my love is
Miguel, face the sun
I liked seeing how pretty my mom looked and how happy she was; we got married on her and my dad's anniversary so it was really special for her I think.
The best part of the reception was when Eric and I left to go walk the dog; we could see the lights and hear the music and just be our little family.
Something old- a gold bangle from my great great grandmother
Something new- the tiny diamond band eric gave me as gift
Something borrowed- the drop pearl earrings I borrowed from Eric's mom
Something blue- my tiny bird pin and my blue shoes
Photography: The Weber Photographers / Event Coordination: Sincerely, Ginger Event Design & Production / Venue: The Leland Lodge / Floral Design: Stems & Sprigs / Hair & Make-up: On-Site Bridal / Catering: The Leland Lodge / Cake: Sweet Baby Cakes / Transportation: Blue Lakes Charters / Videography: Future Focus Media