Chad and I collect mid-century modern furniture and love camping. We wanted to keep it casual, fun, and throw the best party that we could. We wanted to honor the traditions of our heritage, but create a day that reflected our personalities.
I do a lot of event planning with my art nonprofit job, and as a part of that, I create a lot of interactive installation art. It was important to change the environment of our ceremony and reception to be interactive, fun, and give the feeling of a camp cabin in the 1950’s. My family is from Michigan and Chad’s is mostly from Wisconsin. We didn’t want to make just one side travel, so we settled on the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as our location. In the heart of the woods, at the edge of Lake Michigan, and it was perfect for us.
We found the Old Settlers Park in Glen Arbor for our ceremony. An old, tree filled park right on Glen Lake. We needed a space for the reception and were hemming and hawing about it for months until we found the Empire Township Hall, just mere blocks from the National Lakeshore beaches. Visually speaking, it was a blank slate: the location where they hosted town meetings and bingo on weekends. Old wooden floors and white walls. It could be decorated as we wished, and it was perfect.
All photos are by Nicole M. Photography, out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
My dress was a custom made replica of Audrey Hepburn’s wedding dress in Funny Face. Chad’s suit is from Express Men.
The ladies are wearing green and navy dresses from Modcloth with simple baby’s breath bouquets. Their gifts were pearl earrings and necklaces.
Chad and his guys are wearing different gray suits, plaid ties from ties.com, and the boutonnieres are badge pins from Etsy.
Liam was amazing. Before he walked me down the aisle, the three of us had a private ceremony on the dock of the lake.
We shared words and promises to each other, hugged, and honored the day when we officially became a family of three.
My cousin Joe played bagpipes for the ceremony.
My Uncle Gregg married us, reading a ceremony that we wrote. My brother Dylan and Chad’s sister Shala picked and read readings.
We wrote and read our own vows.
One of our favorite moments of the ceremony was the Persian Sugar Ceremony. Chad’s Dad shared sugar cones that have been in his family for years. Family members and friends rubbed the two sugar cones together and shared good wishes and hopes for us.
I loved all of our vintage details. I spent eighteen months collecting lanterns, globes, 1950’s games, cards, field guides, binoculars, pine cones and more. Every table was a different vignette that offered things to do for people of all ages.
We had music from Kellerville, a band from Petoskey, Michigan.
Barbeque food and tacos from Pigs Eatin Ribs.
Later in the evening, we walked a few blocks over to Lake Michigan, where my cousin Sonia and her husband Pat had set up a spectacular bonfire. Fifty of our guests had gathered there, bringing down drinks and blankets. There we laughed, the kids waded in the warm waters, and toasted under the bright Michigan stars.