Monday, August 23, 2010

Happy Happy Happy

Happy Monday Lovebugs!
I hope you had as wonderful of a weekend as we did. Saturday I had my first bridal shower and was given many wonderful things including 3 teapots and 2 camo snuggies (Jus's fault), Sunday Jus & I used our new waffle maker to make brunch and then I spent the day working on invitations (still! ugh! they'll be the death of me) and Jus spent the day washing windows at our reception space.
After my post on Friday I realized that many of you aren't familiar with our wedding plans and since I've been having trouble posting regularly lately I thought I'd use posts I wrote for my wedding blog (which is now defunct) and let you all in our wedding plans. (I apologize to those of you who have previously read these posts on Jus Hearts Cole but I wanted to post them here and fill all my bloggy friends in our plans!)
So without further ado, the tale of our wedding (so far)...

As a girl I dreamed of having my wedding in Northern Michigan. My extended family loves to spend time in the dinky little towns throughout Northern Michigan and we try to get up to the area as much as possible.
The western coast of northern Michigan is dotted with small towns set on picturesque bluffs with gorgeous views of Lake Michigan. I had always dreamed of having my wedding on the beach. As I got older I started to think that maybe a wedding on the beach wasn't the most practical and maybe the view would be better if the wedding was on the bluff and then we could traipse to the beach for the party.
The more I dreamed about this the more excited I got. A wedding in the middle of the summer heat with a beautiful ceremony on top of a bluff and a wonderful party on the beach.
So well before I was engaged, or even dating Jus, I tried to find a venue that wouldn't be too resort-ish and would be a better expression of me and whoever I would marry. I knew a resort would be easier to plan a wedding at but to me resort=cookie cutter and there's not too much that's cookie cutter about me.
My first thought was Blisswood, a lodge in between Goodhart and Cross Village, about thirty minutes south of the Mackinac Bridge.

Blisswood was built in 1929 and features the large Lodge and three smaller cabins that in total sleep 16 people. There is also a small chapel on the property that seats about a dozen people.

The problem with Blisswood is that you have to rent the entire property for three days and its capacity is 50 people, and while I know a destination wedding doesn't draw the crowd that a hometown wedding does I also know that my side of the family is 60.
So my next thought was Legs Inn. Legs Inn is a funky Polish restaurant in Cross Village that was built in the 1920s.

Its called Legs Inn because the owner lined the roof with legs from cast iron bathtubs. The inside is full of bent wood.

Talk about unique and interesting. And the garden behind Legs Inn is gorgeous, perfect for a sunset wedding.

Legs Inn also has four cottages on the beach that each sleep four people. Which would be wonderful for the bridal party/family to stay in. I imagined marrying in the garden at dusk going inside for a cocktail hour and then partying the night away on the beach.
The problem with this is that the rental fees for the cabins during "peak season" (June 26-September 7) are almost twice that of the rest of the year. And once you get much past Labor Day in Northern Michigan you don't want to spend much time outside.
Once we started dating we seriously talked about including Legs Inn in our wedding day. There are also two sweet little churches that we love in the area.
The first is St. Ignatius Catholic Church.
St. Ignatius Church is located on the beach in Goodhart and is several hundred years old. It's right next to a creepy old Indian cemetery, which is actually pretty cool.
The second church is literally down the street from Legs Inn.
The Redpath Memorial Presbyterian Church is a sweet little stone church with beautiful stained glass windows.
Luckily for me I had Weddingbee's local boards to help my search. I poked around the Northern Michigan boards and was pointed in the direction of the Headlands in Mackinaw City.
The Headlands is a county park with 550 acres situated right on Lake Michigan.

There are two houses you can rent, one that houses 20 people and another that houses 22. The only thing about the houses is that they're kind of hard to get to and not really set up to host weddings.
So it was back to the drawing board, do we find another unique place in Northern Michigan, suck it up and go to a resort, or have the wedding somewhere else...

I went through most of my teenage years sure of what my wedding would be. A hot summer day, my groom and me up on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan and then all of our guests heading to the beach for a party. It was going to be perfect.
And then we got engaged.
The funny thing about dreaming about your wedding and planning your wedding is that very rarely do the dream and actuality line up.
Jus proposed on December 4th. That night, as we drank champagne with our parents I kept repeating that we wouldn't do any planning until after Christmas, I wanted to enjoy being engaged without the stress of planning a wedding.
So that's what we did...
For about 24 hours.
In the first 24 hours of being engaged we were asked the same question dozens of times. "When?" I'd respond saying we weren't planning until after Christmas but the question came up so much that Jus & I started talking about it.
I had always thought I'd have at least a year engagement so that automatically put us at 2011. We'd have almost a 2 year engagement and then get married in Northern Michigan in August of 2011. Easy peasy.
And then Jus had to open his mouth, turns out 2011 was too far away. Since he was the one to buy the ring he'd had more time to get used to the idea of getting married than I had and he was ready to do it. So we started talking about getting married in 2010.
This was when stress started slinking its way into my mind. Plan a wedding 6 hours away in 8 months? This was going to be tough.
But was it really realistic to plan a wedding for Northern Michigan in August? This is prime vacation area. People from all over the Midwest head to this resort area to spend their summer.
So in an effort to keep costs down we started talking about getting married after Labor Day.
Getting married after Labor Day provided some pluses: less money, less people, more planning time, and unfortunately one gigantic minus: the weather.
Northern Michigan's weather is a little crazy. In the summer it usually rains until noon when you get about a 75% chance the sun will start to shine. After August don't expect much.
So that's where it stood. 8 months to plan an August wedding that will hopefully have good weather or 9 months to plan a wedding that will cost 75% less and most likely be held indoors (which sort of kills the "married on a bluff" thing).

The more I thought about it the more I wanted a Northern Michigan wedding even though it seemed impractical. But all of the things I was so excited about were stressing me out.
How on earth was I going to be able to plan the wedding of my dreams in 8 months. I would only be able to make the 6 hour drive once or twice before the big day which meant that most of my planning would be done over the phone and email with people I didn't know who offered services I hadn't seen.
The stress was keeping me up at night and I hadn't even started planning the wedding, the more I thought about it the bigger the pit in my stomach got.
So instead of looking at small venues like I had before I started to look at resorts. Even though I had never been excited about having my wedding at a resort I knew this would be an easier option. There would be someone I could be in contact with that had done this before and could organize everything for me. And let me tell you, Northern Michigan is full of beautiful resorts.

Boyne has three resorts in Northern Michigan. My family goes to Boyne Mountain every winter to ski and there are many wonderful Boyne memories I have.

Boyne Mountain is gorgeous in the winter and it's really hard to pass up the adorable pictures you can get on a ski lift.

But the fact remains that a gorgeous snowy mountain in the winter is a big green hill in the summer.
Stafford's Bay View Inn was another possibility. Located in Petoskey, my family passes Stafford's every summer on our way up north.

The Bay View Inn is located right on Little Traverse Bay and can accomodate 250 guests. We could rent the entire inn and have our wedding in their garden on the bay.

As beautiful as it is I don't feel a strong connection to the Bay View, my family and I have never been on the property and it's a little too manicured for my tastes.
The Homestead in Glen Arbor is the resort that peaked my interest the most. The Homestead is both a ski and summer resort that is situated on Lake Michigan among the Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Cafe Manitou is right on the lake and is available in May, June, September & October and seats 50 people.

The Mountain Flowers Lodge Ceremony Site is on the top of the mountain and is available May-October and seat 150 people.

Imagine the photo opportunities with both Lake Michigan and a mountain.
Cute groomsman skipping stones.

Jus waiting for me.

What's that you say? They have a ski lift?

Oh yes oh yes oh yes.
Unfortunately the site fee is $3,900 with a 125 person minimum and 60 rooms must be booked, and excuse me for saying but that just seems like a LOT of money considering all of our guests would be traveling at least six hours.
And ultimately won't someone else be planning my wedding? I mean come on, a girl only gets to plan her wedding once and I don't know if I want to relinquish my control just yet.


Scientific Housewife said...

Those are all beautiful locations and I love the wedding pictures from them! It definitely is your day and if you want to plan it all, go for it! It can be stressful but so worth it in the end to get the wedding of your dreams :)

Mrs. Dontje said...

i am a bit biased because i'm from northern michigan.... but all those locations are stunning!! good luck on choosing! :)