OY! I am back to blogging! For some reason I feel like blogging a wedding means everything is final, and therefore I have put off blogging this one because I just don’t want it to ever end! THESE TWO!! GAH!!! I don’t want to give it all away but their story is adorable, this day was a gorgeous October day (despite some really close calls with the rain!), and Fallasburg Park in Grand Rapids MI was the perfect backdrop. I’ll let Connie and Mike take it from here:
How You Met:
We both work at museums, so it’s fitting that we met at the Michigan Museums Association (MMA) conference in 2012. I (Connie) thought Mike was cute when I first saw him, but Mike was the ultimate professional and didn’t even notice me! After that, we saw each other annually at museum conferences and became friends. Although we secretly liked each other, we each had no idea the other person was into us…even after hanging out several times on what we now joke about as our multiple “first dates.” After the 2014 conference on Mackinac Island, we decided to pay a visit to Whitefish Point on Lake Superior, where Mike had interned at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. This was our first “official” date, and we had a great time!
We actually found our venue by accident! We originally stopped by Fallasburg Park to check out the covered bridge, thinking that it might be a good location for the ceremony. After driving by, though, it was obvious there wasn’t enough space to accommodate all our guests. Disappointed, we drove over the bridge to head home–and immediately discovered the enclosed shelter house on the other side of the park. It was built in the 1930s and has a giant stone fireplace, cool vintage picnic tables, and a beautiful, forested view overlooking the river. We both love history, hiking, and camping, and with such a great rustic look, we knew it was perfect. We ended up getting married outside against the backdrop of fall colors, then moving inside the shelter house for the reception.
Although the rain that had been threatening us all day held off for the ceremony, we did have one major hitch in our plans: the person who we had scheduled to marry us was over an hour late! Fortunately, we were able to invite our guests into the reception area early so they could stay warm and enjoy popcorn and board games while we waited.
When it finally took place, we really loved our ceremony. We broke with tradition a bit and had our parents walk down the aisle first, followed by the maid of honor and the bride. The ceremony itself was about ten minutes long, and we customized our vows to reflect our personality as a couple, which made us (and our guests) laugh.
Finding my suit was pretty straightforward. We went with a navy suit since it paired perfectly with our decorations. I’m also known for wearing checkered shirts so finding one to wear at the wedding was a must. We topped it off with matching orange plaid ties for me and my best man. The ties were even on clearance! Connie made my boutonniere herself.
It only took one day to find my dress! My mom, sister, and I went to several bridal shops and department stores in my hometown in Ohio. I’m rather practical and didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a dress I’d only wear for a few hours, but I also wanted something that reflected my love of all things vintage. We hit the jackpot at a small shop at the end of the day, and I bought the dress directly off the sale rack at a steal–I only had to have some minor alterations done later. I paired the dress with a pair of comfy, bright red heels I’ve owned for years. For my accessories, I wore a pearl necklace and pearl earrings that my grandmas each gave me when I graduated from college. I made my own bouquet out of fall leaves and an assortment of wood, silk, and dried flowers, and my sister made the clip for my hair.
(I literally was BLOWN AWAY that Connie made her bouquet/ Mike’s boutonniere herself!!!! AMAZING!!!)
With such a great venue, we decided to just go with the rustic look and embraced a classic fall theme. Connie made most of the decorations herself, including the centerpieces, table runners, signage, and floral decorations. It was really fun to come up with creative, cost-effective solutions for the decor. For the centerpieces, we collected branches, then Connie glued fake leaves onto them and arranged them in festive orange vases from the dollar store. For the table runners, she took a class to learn how to use a sewing machine, then bought fabric with a great coupon and sewed all the table runners and tablecloths. All the signs and table numbers were hand-painted and made from scrap wood.
Another great thing about handling our own decorations was the fun fall things we got to do together to prep for the wedding. We went apple picking at a nearby apple orchard and we picked out a bunch of pumpkins and gourds at a local pumpkin farm. (it’s no secret I live on a pumpkin farm, and these two CAME TO VISIT <3 <3 so some of Bethke Farms pumpkins featured here!).
We wanted our reception to feel like a big, welcoming family event, so we served fall-themed comfort food (pot roast, chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes, the works!) and opted for apple and pumpkin pies instead of the traditional wedding cake. We also served delicious pumpkin cookies, sugar cookies, and s’mores.
Mike’s extended family is known to make good use of the dance floor, so the right music was a must. Mike created a great playlist with song requests from our guests, including lots of Motown classics and some fun dance tunes.
Our photographer was AMAZING! Rachel was not just on time–she was early, and she got to work immediately. Without needing guidance, she took a ton of shots of the venue, the decorations, the set-up, getting ready, candid shots of family and guests….it was great. She made us feel super comfortable and had us laughing constantly. She also rolled with unexpected changes really well…like when our officiant didn’t show up. She just skipped ahead to taking photos of the extended family–a total pro!
She was also really easy to get in touch with and was really approachable and flexible, so we really felt like we got exactly what we wanted the day of. Thanks so much for everything!!!!!
Advice to Couples Planning Their Wedding:
Triple-check that all your vendors (especially your officiant!) have your wedding on their calendars. Get their cell phone numbers, and text them friendly reminders.
Don’t be afraid to DIY some things, but plan ahead for craft time. Some things won’t come out perfectly on try #1…or try #2….or try #12.
It sounds super cliche because everyone tells you this, but your wedding day will truly fly by. Don’t stress over unexpected things and try to go with the flow as much as possible. As long as you’re married and everyone gets fed by the end of the day, it will be a success! 🙂