Destination I Do
Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Detail-Filled Michigan Wedding

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Hopkins Studios

High school sweethearts Kristen and James have gone through many stages of life and career which ultimately landed them in their current home state of South Carolina. However, when they got engaged, they couldn’t imagine saying “I do” anywhere else than where they met and grew up: Michigan. “Being a wedding planner in the beautiful Lowcountry of South Carolina, my first instinct once we were engaged was to plan our soiree in the amazing Southern setting where so many of my brides have said ‘I do,’” says Kristen. “We thought it might have been tough for many of our family members to travel South, but we knew our local friends would love the opportunity to travel to our home state; a part of the country many of them had never been. With that, we decided to get married lakeside in Michigan, but bring along a taste of the South.”

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Because Michigan has a short wedding season, the couple’s first focus was finding the ideal lakeside venue. “I wanted a location that offered a beautiful lakefront setting with great outdoor options for ceremony and reception space,” says the bride. “We also needed there to be plenty of lodging and nearby golf and recreational activities for our guests to experience if they had extra time.” Thankfully, the couple was referred to the Bay Pointe Inn in Shelbyville, Michigan and immediately knew this was the place for them. “We took lots of pictures, measured everything and knew we could handle the majority of the planning by email now that the daunting task of choosing a venue was complete.”

As a professional wedding planner, Kristen understandably had a clear vision of what she wanted her and James’ dream destination wedding to look like. “Having a career focused around weddings was both a blessing and a curse when it came time to plan my own wedding,” says the bride. “I had a million ideas and had high expectations from vendors. I was adamant that I, nor my family and friends, would not have to run around like crazy setting-up or decorating during the wedding weekend. Instead, I trusted our hired vendors to do what they do best and handle the major details of our weekend.”

The bride made a couple of trips home to Michigan to finalize vendor choices and details during the planning process. By making good use of her time, she was able to get everything planned in just a handful of days. “I think it helped that I tried to always make decisions when the choices presented themselves and not draw out the time and think on it too much. I had a good idea of what I wanted to request or know before meetings and so it was always time well-spent.”

Of the many details on the big day, one of the bride’s favorites was actually a DIY project she did herself: their wedding favors. “I stamped little canvas bags with ‘Grits and Gratitude' and filled each with corn grits from the city we now call home, Columbia, SC. I included ‘A Taste of the South in Your Mouth’ recipies and instructions so our Northern guests could experience what Southerners enjoy morning, noon and night!”

Not surprisingly, Kristen thoroughly enjoyed planning her destination wedding and was smart in not letting her many ideas and wishes overwhelm her. As a bonus, she got to spend lots of quality time in her home state with her family. This clearly savvy bride has some advice for other brides planning the wedding away of their dreams:

“I’m a true believer that details do matter. I always tried to put a lot of effort into the little details…I wanted our wedding to represent our relationship and journey and I didn’t want to regret anything on the only chance I would have to plan my own wedding. It was amazing and so worth it to see my ideas come to life…with that being said, planning and being creative are fun for me and therefore so was the experience. If it’s not your thing, don’t stress and either hire someone to help or create a day that makes sense for your personality and relationship.”

Vendors: Photographer: Hopkins Studios, Ceremony/Reception Site: Bay Pointe Inn in Shelbyville, Michigan, Florist: Designing Dreams, Stationery: Jennifer Diamond Creative, Cake/Desserts: Continental Bakery, Videographer: Drew Mason Productions, Ceremony Musician: Clifford Babcock, DJ/MC: BJ Etheridge with Music Masters, Hair/Makeup: Erin Brown with A Davis Brown Salon, Gown Designer: Custom-made from Fantastic Finds Bridal Salon

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