WHAT IS NORTHERN MICHIGAN STYLE?

By Shelby Ferguson

Planning a wedding in northern Michigan is truly unique. While I’m not necessarily what you might call a world traveler, I don’t really think there’s another place quite like it. The crystal waters of Lake Michigan, the rows of pristine grape vines, the hills and the valleys, the waves crashing on the white sandy shores, the dune grass, the autumn array of colors, the charming waterside towns and summer’s unceasing display of watercolor sunsets are just a few of my favorite reasons to love this region.

So it really comes as no surprise that so many couples opt to marry here. It’s magical and nostalgic with endless possibilities from the rustic to the refined. One of the most common things I hear as I sit down with a couple planning their Northern Michigan nuptials is how they want to capture the Northern Michigan style and share the essence of what makes it so special with their guests. Which leads me to the question, what is Northern Michigan style?

It’s nautical.

With so much of the state being surrounded by water, it’s really no wonder that water has such a great impact on our way of life. From tug boats, to yachts to the sails boats with their masts proudly raised high – there’s a magical power to the water and it captivates the audience of both locals and visitors alike. The cool color palettes, the gauzy look of an old fish net and the reflection of a sparkling summer sun across the mirror like water surface all provide the perfect source of style inspiration.

It’s simple.

If you’re from any part of Michigan, there’s a pretty good possibility that you either had a place or knew someone who had a place “up north”. It was the summer getaway and your weekend escape. Work and fussy details don’t follow you here and there once was even a time that cell service was practically obsolete and wi-fi barely existed. While progress has slowly crept into Michigan’s northern regions, it’s still a place where life can slow down. Emails don’t have to be answered in an instant and front porch sitting is a favorite pastime. For this reason, life just seasons a little simpler and styles, venues and décor choices seem to reflect this. I find most couples telling me they want a wedding reflecting the Michigan vibe are seeking this laid back atmosphere to their day.

It’s agriculturally rich.

Fresh produce stands. Rows of wildflowers. Wine, cider and other indulgent beverages are a plenty. There are so many growers and cultivators of the earth. And of course the fisheries too. During the summer, one can practically live on the land. As you’re planning a wedding, this is such an easy way to pay tribute to the area, feeding your guests cherries and asparagus, serving beer brewed with local hops and carrying a big bouquet of homegrown flowers.

I jokingly once told my husband that Leelanau is what you get when you mix a high class yacht club with a bunch of hippie farmers. While it was said in jest, I think there is some truth within that which you can spread across the area. There’s an organic, earthy vibe that fills the air brought by generations of farmers who know the land. It’s a mix of humble farmland, rolling hills and carpets of ferns. All who visit seem to truly appreciate the harvest. There’s a sophistication and love of the water. There’s much rustic and cottage inspired design. Pulling all of these details together in a way that represents what you love about being up north is what makes each wedding truly unique. I think this is Northern Michigan style.

 

 

Shelby is lead wedding planner, artistic director and floral heart behind The Day's Design. She delights in celebrating romantic, natural and fancy free occasions throughout Northern & West Michigan.  When she's away from her design work, you'll find her at home with her hubby and two beautiful baby girls, daydreaming along the shores of Lake Michigan, strolling through local antique stores, picking wildflowers or blogging more about wedding and life adventures at The Day's Dream blog.

Find about more about Shelby on her websiteblogInstagram, or Facebook!

The DIY Wedding

DIY elements can add unique and memorable details to your day or they can be the cause of stress and strife. How can you get the former without the latter? Here are some tips:

  • Be honest about the amount of time and energy you want to commit to wedding DIY. Is this something you’re willing to spending hours on each week for the next few months? If it is, great! Go for it! If it’s not, that’s where Etsy comes in.
  • Pinterest: a beautiful, dangerous place. With Pinterest there are thousands of wedding crafts, designs, and ideas at our fingertips. However, as many of us already know from personal experience, everything on Pinterest does not turn out looking like the picture. My suggestion is to use this bounty of inspiration for just that, inspiration. 
  • Use real weddings as a guide. Nothing can show you what looks good better than an actual wedding. I don’t mean copying exactly what someone else did. I mean picking and choosing what works from other weddings in order to create your unique vision.
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According to bride Ashley, whose DIY details are above, if you can’t rent exactly what you’re looking for, it’s time to DIY. See the full post of Ashley & Jonathan’s wedding here.

What are your DIY wedding tips? Things that work or don’t work?

MICHIGAN MADE THATCHER'S ORGANIC COCKTAILS

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Karen & Dave's detail of Michigan Made Thatcher's cocktails was a sweet personal touch.

From the bride:

"Dave and I met when the event marketing agency I worked for was hired to plan a launch event for Thatcher’s. Being from Michigan and a typical Chicago self-proclaimed foodie (only meaning I LOVE to eat and drink) I fell in love with the brand and concept of Thatcher’s immediately. After a successful launch Dave invited me to dinner at Longmen and Eagle to celebrate a great event on behalf of the brand. Nine months later we were on our first “real” date. 

Thatcher’s is a culinary inspired line of USDA certified organic spirits distilled in Michigan and we really wanted our wedding to reflect the amazing product that brought us together. We also were very particular about the food and drink and where it would be sourced. We wanted Michigan products to be reflected not only with Thatcher’s but in all of the food and beverage we served."

- Karen

Please join us next week for another fab Northern Michigan Real Wedding!
Please click here to view the entire wedding gallery and click here to see Karen & Dave's Real Wedding feature.

RUSTIC MICHIGAN STRAW BALE SEATING

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Covered in muslin and burlap, this rustic Michigan straw bale seating was such a great touch. Pops of color came into the picture with throw pillows in the wedding colors of coral and navy. Small coffee and end tables made from farm crates rounded out the soft seating areas. The guests loved the straw bale seating and couldn't stop commenting on how sweet they were. Way to go, Karen!

From the bride: "When planning the decor, there was one thing we knew: Haybale Lounge Furniture was A MUST  for me and my mom."  - Karen

Check back for more great details on Friday!

Please click here to view the entire wedding gallery and click here to see Karen & Dave's Real Wedding feature.

KAREN & DAVE'S CHERRY BASKET FARM WEDDING

karen and dave

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From the bride:

"Dave and I met when the event marketing agency I worked for was hired to plan a launch event for Thatcher’s. Being from Michigan and a typical Chicago self-proclaimed foodie (only meaning I LOVE to eat and drink) I fell in love with the brand and concept of Thatcher’s immediately. After a successful launch Dave invited me to dinner at Longmen and Eagle to celebrate a great event on behalf of the brand. Nine months later we were on our first “real” date. 

Our courtship revolved around food and drink (obviously) and some of the amazing culinary spots around Chicago: Sepia, Maude’s, Girl and the Goat, Sola, The Purple Pig, Boka, The Bristol and The Publican. With full stomachs we traveled to my home state (also where Thatcher’s is distilled) to what Michiganders call “Up North.” Up North for my family is on Crooked Lake which is nestled between Petoskey and Harbor Springs, two charming Americana towns located on Little Traverse Bay. Dave fell in love. We traveled to Belize to get engaged where he asked me “for a favor” to spend my life with him, I obliged.

Our biggest requirement was a farm or a barn in Michigan. Thatcher’s is a culinary inspired line of USDA certified organic spirits distilled in Michigan and we really wanted our wedding to reflect the amazing product that brought us together. We also were very particular about the food and drink and where it would be sourced. We wanted Michigan products to be reflected not only with Thatcher’s but in all of the food and beverage we served.

Our wedding day was amazing and the entire weekend was full of family, friends, love and laughter. EXACTLY what we wanted! It all started the week before at my grandmother's summer home on Crooked Lake in Petoskey, MI where all the ladies of my family gathered the whole week to cluck away at the excitement. From there, the wedding caravan traveled from Petoskey, MI to Omena, MI for the weekend festivities." - Karen
Please view the full gallery here, and be sure to check back on Wednesday and Friday for more details from Karen & Dave's Cherry Basket Farm wedding.
Accommodations: Leelanau Sands Casino, www. VRBO.com / Pie: Grand Traverse Pie Company/ Floral & Decor: Field of Flowers Farm / Invitations: Rock, Paper Scissors / Golf Outting: The Leelanau Club at Bahle Farms / Rehearsal Dinner Location: Gill’s Pier Winery / Rehearsal Dinner Pig Roast Caterer: Ebels General Store / Beauty: Pavlova Salon / Officiant: Daniel Richards, Grace Episcopal Church / Ceremony & Reception Venue: Cherry Basket Farm / Catering: Epicure Catering / Photography: Weber Photography / Transportation: By The Bay/ Michigan Food and Beverage:
MI Beers: Bell’s Brewery, Founders All-Day IPA
MI Wines: Black Star Farms, Chateau Grand Traverse, French
Valley Vineyard, Bel Lago
MI Bubbles: L. Mawby
Cocktails: Thatcher’s Organic Vodka, Thatcher’s Organic Liqueurs, Journeyman Distillery Bourbons.