Michigan Wedding Photos

Lakefront Michigan Destination Wedding


January 19, 2024
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Kellie Hetler Photography

Hank and Ashley, an adorable couple who originally met through mutual friends at a downtown Houston bar, love their home city but knew it wouldn’t be the right location for the “woodsy,” mild-temperature summer wedding they envisioned. They researched Montana, Tennessee, Oregon, and more, but nothing quite excited the bride like a Michigan destination wedding.

“Ashley’s father is from Michigan and they have been coming up to summer in Pentwater for over 30 years, so it’s our home away from home,” Hank says.

Despite researching various venues around their family’s summer vacay spot, the couple couldn’t find anything that spoke to them. That’s when Ashley’s aunt chimed in, suggesting Bay Pointe Woods in Shelbyville, Michigan (an hour and a half south). 

“We toured the Woods location, but it seemed too ‘cookie cutter,’ so the coordinator suggested the Lakefront Pavilion and we instantly fell in love with the view of the water,” Ashley says. 

Detailed planning for the Michigan destination wedding got underway shortly after when the bride recruited a family friend, Keisha, owner of the floral and event design company, Keisha’s Kreations. In addition, the bride’s sister, Madison worked with Keisha for years so the execution of the couple’s dream wedding lay in good hands. 

“For DIY Projects,” the bride says, “my sister designed the welcome sign as a watercolor print for guests. We also had custom drinks and stirrers featuring our dogs’ faces that we made ourselves. Also, my mom and mother-in-law hand-painted oyster shells for each guest and gave them along with a little chocolate at their table setting.”

The couple took a timeless approach to their lakeside ceremony with fun personalizations. Like a “newspaper” that detailed the bride and groom’s backstory, why they chose a Michigan destination wedding and little hints about what would happen for the rest of the celebration. The bride and her sister’s dog played the roles of flower girls, and the couple wrote a script for their officiant (brother-in-law of the groom), allowing any improvised jokes about the couple.

“It would have been easier for guests to travel to Houston since about 85 percent had to fly/drive,” the couple admits. “But they LOVED [Michigan] and were able to understand why it’s a slice of hidden heaven for the bride.”

After hosting a successful wedding far from home, Hank and Ashley provided this special advice to help others prepare for their destination weddings:

  • “Instagram and social media are your friends! That’s how I found almost every vendor besides the designer/florist and hair & makeup team which were both based in Houston.”
  • “Trust your vendors! My photographer suggested my cake vendor and we fell in LOVE with her and her sweet treats.”
  • “Ask questions, no matter what they are, and be honest if you’re unsure about something like pricing.”
  • “Be sure to know how guests will be getting there, whether it’s through an airport or driving. We had to eliminate Montana and Wisconsin because the airport would have been about three hours away, and that was too inconvenient for our guests.”

Vendors: Photographer: Kellie Hetler Photography; Wedding Planner/Florist: Keisha’s Kreations; Venue: Bay Pointe Inn’s Lakefront Pavilion; Coordinator: Get Wed Michigan; Stationery: Zola; Cake: Sweet Details Grand Rapids; Hair & Makeup: Kiss and Makeup Houston; Rentals: Special Occasions MI; Gown Designer: Anne Barge; Gown Store: Ivory Bridal Atelier; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Geno Suits You; Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse; DJ, Videographer & Photobooth: Complete Weddings & Events

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