Kristin Cornell, Author at The Vineyard @ 12 Corners
Winery Wedding Venues: Unique Features

Winery Wedding Venues: Unique Features

Choosing your wedding venue is a big task. There are a ton of factors that figure into what could be the biggest decision you make after the initial “yes, I’ll marry you!”. With the abundance of venue styles to choose from, narrowing your focus is a great start to this big decision. So let’s explore the unique features winery wedding venues can bring in hopes this will help you make the right choice.

(Featured Image Photo Credit: 430 Studios)

 Feature 1: Built In Wedding Theme

corks for wedding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 (Photo Credit: Rebekah Albaugh Photography, Absolute Photography, Kitty Lee Photography)

I tend to think the term “wedding theme” comes with an unfortunate mental picture. Too often this phrase makes our minds  jump to cheesy decor and plays into every part of your wedding. But in reality, subtle reflections of a theme can help you keep control in the overall design. And winery wedding venues have an easy built in theme to play off.

Consider beginning with a wine color scheme and build on the shades that naturally blend well with this deep hue. Wines and dark burgundies can easily be mixed into flowers or wedding party attire. You could also incorporate corks or wine bottles into your decor. You could even treat guests with wine glasses or small bottles of your favorite varietal as a favor. The wine theme doesn’t have to be obnoxious. Instead, it can give you an easy Pinterest search to get those creative juices flowing. You can always check out our board for Winery Weddings for even more inspiration!

Feature 2: Access to Great Wine

Michigan Wine, wedding wine

(Photo Credit: 12 Corners Winery)

True, you can often serve great wine at many venues, but with winery wedding venues there’s a bit more meaning behind it. I have to admit, it’s just a cool feeling to be sipping great wine while being surrounded by the actual grapes that created that goodness.  Often this is a chance for people to experience the greatness of 12 Corners wine for the first time if their distribution hasn’t reached your area. It’s a unique opportunity and can often lead to a newfound favorite for you and your guests alike. You can always get an idea of the amazing offerings of 12 Corners wine by visiting their website.

Feature 3: Outdoor Spaces

vineyard wedding tent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo Credit: Sweet Lemon Drop Photography)

These next two features were touched on a bit in our last post about why outdoor wedding venues are so great. But let’s dive in a bit more. Winery wedding venues often have an abundance of space to work with outdoor spaces being a big part of that. Having the option to create unique features for guests outdoors gives you access to some ideas that might not be possible when space is limited. Again, drinking wine  among the vines where it grows is something special. And to be honest, we often find wedding guests happily popping grapes in their mouths just because you can.

Feature 4: Guest Experiences

welcome drink, wedding drinks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo Credit: Durling Photography)

Now this one gets interesting. Our goal for all couples we work with is to provide you the opportunity to design your wedding. It’s safe to say most couples have this innate desire to do something different, something that will make your wedding stand out. This is where crafting unique guest experiences comes into play. Winery wedding venues definitely lead the way in offering some pretty fantastic options. Start thinking about all the ways you want to immerse your guests in all that surrounds them so they feel appreciated, loved, and relaxed enough to let loose and party.

Wineries are happy places so you’re already starting out with happy guests. Add in some different experiences – like perhaps a welcome sangria for guests when they arrive. Now you have a crowd that is excited and ready to join you for the celebration.

Feature 5: Effortless Elegance

vineyard wedding tent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo Credit: Kati Mallory Photography)

It pretty much goes without saying that wineries and class go hand in hand. Why would winery wedding venues be any different? Without having to put in much effort, a winery wedding is naturally elegant and sophisticated. Even if you aren’t the “sipping with my pinky up” type of person, a touch of elegance is never wrong. Sure, you can still have a wild party (we want you to have stories to tell!) but with a setting like this, your wedding can be the perfect mix of fun and fancy.

Wrapping Up

We want you to design your day, we want you and your guests to remember it always, and we want to make both possible with little stress. So it’s time to type in your search term of winery wedding venues and make that big decision just a bit easier. And remember, we’re always here to help!

Outdoor Wedding Venues – Are They Right for You?

Outdoor Wedding Venues – Are They Right for You?

When it comes to choosing your wedding venue, there are a seemingly infinite number of options. It can be difficult to narrow down the venues worth touring and try to determine what will be the best fit. Outdoor wedding venues have been growing in popularity for good reason but just because you like the idea of an outdoor venue, doesn’t mean it necessarily suits your needs. With the crazy amount of choices you will soon be making while wedding planning, let us help you out with this one! From a team that has hosted almost 600 outdoor weddings – we’re going to give you the “real” talk on outdoor wedding venues.

(Featured Photo: Brandon Shafer Photography)

 Outdoor Wedding Venues Have Lots of Pros

 Beautiful Scenery at Outdoor Wedding Venues

outdoor wedding venues vineyard tent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo credit: Sean Cook Weddings)

The great thing about most outdoor wedding venues is that they are in naturally beautiful locations. Wedding venues near water, wedding venues in rolling countrysides, or wedding venues in (hint, hint!) the middle of a vineyard all have something spectacular in common – picture perfect views. Many outdoor venues aren’t set in big downtown cities so they offer serenity and privacy just simply by where they’re located. With an abundance of photo locations often right at the venue, giving you more time to enjoy that lovely scenery with your guests.

 

Outdoor Weddings Bring Beauty, So You Can Keep it Simple

outdoor wedding venues copper arch wedding ceremony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 (Photo Credit: Ashley Galminas Photography)

This one goes hand in hand with our first “pro”. Because of the natural beauty associated with many outdoor wedding venues, you often have the ability to keep it simple. Gorgeous surroundings means you can go easy on the decor if you want. It can take some time, creativity, and usually lots of money to transform an indoor space into the wedding you want. But with a sunset, some grape vines, and the stars – you don’t have to work hard to make the space beautiful.

We’re also talking simplicity for your guests. Many outdoor venues have onsite ceremony options and onsite parking. This means your guests can arrive without frustration, remain in the same location, and just enjoy themselves without having to worry about the logistics of getting from place to place.

 

Lots of Space at Outdoor Wedding Venues Means More Room for Experiences

outdoor wedding venues rental furniture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo Credits: top- Kati Mallory Photography, bottom- Rebekah Albaugh Photography)

One of the wedding trends we get really excited about is a shift in focus on guest experiences. Yes, it’s your day, but you want to make it memorable and fun for your loved ones. Choosing an outdoor wedding venue can often give you some room to let that guest experience come to life in ways it wouldn’t be possible with an indoor location. Think lawn games, fire pits, food trucks, etc. You can almost choreograph the space to guide your guests from experience to experience while giving them room to celebrate with you in ways they enjoy.

 

Unique Weddings Can Easily Be Designed Outdoors

outdoor wedding venues great photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 (Photo Credit: Rachael Osborn Photography)

Although we have seen that growth in outdoor wedding venues recently, it’s still so easy to find unique options. The wedding venue you choose, should reflect who you are as a couple. Styles for outdoor venues vary from rustic to elegant, casual to formal, and everything in between. Most outdoor venues give you the ability to express yourselves and create memorable events because they shy away from what is typically found in hotels, banquet halls, or country clubs. If you take the time to discover what is truly important to you and how you want your day to “feel” you can narrow down your search and select an outdoor venue that is perfectly you.

 

Outdoor Venue Cons & How to Mitigate

 

Navigating Michigan Weather

outdoor wedding venues vineyard umbrella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo Credit: Lauren Crawford Photography)

This is honestly the biggest concern for most couples when deciding if an outdoor wedding venue will work. Will it be hot? Might it be cold? Will it rain? All valid concerns. You don’t want to spend the duration of your planning worrying about something that is completely out of your control – it sucks the fun out of the process. However, doing your research when looking at venues can put your mind at ease. Always ask the “what if’s”. What is the plan if it rains, where will people go, how does affect the spaces you’ll be using? What if it’s cold, how does that change the flow of experiences my guests encounter? Is there an emergency plan for severe weather? If you are unsatisfied with the answers any venue gives you to these questions; move on.

You have to plan for the worst and be okay with Plan B if it’s needed. If you can only imagine your wedding day at a certain venue in perfect conditions, it might not be the right fit for you. Weather will always be a factor but as long as you take the time to think through scenarios, you’ll find it doesn’t have to be that constant worry in the back of your mind.

 

Dealing with the Outdoors and Bugs

(No photo here – no one wants to see pictures of bugs…)

Like it or not, there are some less glamorous parts to planning a wedding. If you are considering an outdoor wedding venue, how to deal with bugs can be one of those unsavory topics. Flies, and mosquitoes, and bees – oh my! The last thing you want to be doing on your wedding day is swatting away flies or trying to itch a fresh mosquito bite. If you have a fear or pretty intense distaste of the winged pests, you may want to reconsider your outdoor vibe. Bugs here and there are part of the territory. However, if you are looking at experienced and reputable venues, they will have thought of this already and hopefully taken the steps to keep your space as bug free as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask a venue what measures they use to control the issue. If they are like us, they will tell you the lifecycle of a mosquito is 21 days, and yes – we treat our spaces every 21 days – so fear not.

 

Outdoor Venues Come with Limited Dates

outdoor wedding venues perfect for photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo Credit: 430 Studios)

If you are reading this, you are likely planning your wedding somewhere close to our little corner of Michigan. Which means with good old Michigan seasons – we have a limited number of dates we can host outdoor weddings. Depending on the venue, Michigan wedding season often runs May through October. That’s only 6 months of Saturdays to choose from so those will be at a premium. You will want to start looking early and make some of those big decisions pretty quickly because dates fill fast.

In the end, your choice of venue is very personal and there are so many factors to consider but if you think an outdoor wedding venue might be right for you, we’d love to talk through your ideas! Just reach out!

 

Skip the Big City: Small Town Weddings Win

Skip the Big City: Small Town Weddings Win

Why a Small Town Michigan Wedding is Right for You

Without giving up my age, let’s just say I’ve been doing weddings for quite a while now. When we first began on our venue management journey almost all the couples we hosted had some connection to our lovely little corner of Southwest Michigan. Maybe they grew up here, maybe they vacationed at the beach, maybe they graduated from a nearby university and had the chance to see first hand the beauty of Lake Michigan, the unique wineries and breweries, the welcoming feel a quaint town or the peace some farmland can bring. And they chose to skip out on the busy day to day and overwhelming task of planning their wedding in a bigger city. But as the years have gone by, the connections to our area have become less of the reason couples choose to travel this way. We see more and more couples coming to beautiful Southwest Michigan (many for the first time!) just to host their most amazing day. Sure it can seem like a tough task to tackle – planning from afar, having to find local vendors, asking guests to travel – but here is why they continue to take that leap. And a few tips for how to quiet your worries about planning your mini-destination wedding.

Reason #1: Cost – Plain & Simple

I find myself telling couples when they come to view our venues, we get to see the best side of sticker shock in our little town. Yes, weddings are costly and yes, you still want to create the wedding of your dreams, so the simple solution is a small town wedding. Couples heading this way from larger cities like Chicago, Detroit, Grand Rapids, etc. take a look at costs associated with a wedding in our area and their mouths drop open – that’s the sticker shock. And then, a sigh of relief. “Maybe we can invite all the guests we want to celebrate with! Maybe we can do those creative food stations! Maybe we won’t have to take out a loan for this!” Big cities are glamorous but come with a hefty price tag. So take a look at a smaller town and start pinning all those extra little details you were dreaming of incorporating – it can ALL be within reach.

Reason #2: Unique Experiences

Yes, hotel and country club weddings are exquisite – but how many have you attended? If I had to guess, I would say many couples I work with have at least three other weddings they have to attend and/or plan around when getting ready for their own. It’s just a natural instinct that you want yours to stand out – to provide your guests with an experience they will remember for all the right reasons. So picking up and traveling just a little distance gives you the chance to create a wedding that is a whole new kind of lovely.

St. Joseph/Benton Harbor in particular is a great setting for your guests to enjoy more than just your wedding day. Of course there is the draw of Lake Michigan and the beaches – but there are also some killer restaurants (lots of farm-to-table in this area!), a whole trail of wineries and breweries to enjoy, hotels, unique shops, rental homes, etc. There is a solid reason this area is a tourist destination – show your guests a good time, create amazing memories, and get hitched all with one great weekend!

Reason #3: It Really Can Be Easier

Planning a wedding from a distance can be tricky but let’s focus on all of the details that can be easier than trying to plan in a big city. Parking – really I don’t need to say more about this. How much easier is parking in a small town versus the hassle of finding a space in a big city? So.Much.Easier.

Less Distraction –  if you choose to get married in or near your home town, do you ever really step away from it all to focus on your day? You run errands on lunch breaks or get sucked back into work and inevitably you find yourself wedding planning right alongside your day to day life. If you plan a small town wedding you get the opportunity to make a clean break from everyday and fully immerse yourself in your wedding, your family, and your friends.

Fewer Options – initially this may seem like a negative but if you are anything like me, or the hundreds of couples we work with, too many options can be overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, fewer options doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on quality. There are some unbelievable wedding professionals in this area! Researching options and making connections with your vendors doesn’t take as much time and is far less stressful to narrow down your top picks.

Still on the fence about trying to escape the big city? Let these tips for a small town Michigan wedding make your decision just a bit easier.

Tip #1: Do Your Research

Think broadly with this one! You don’t just want to get to know the venues in these smaller towns. There are so many other factors to consider. Conduct your research on the area as a whole. What can my guests do in town? What does lodging in this area look like? Are there local events I need to consider? Who are the best local vendors? Yes, finding the perfect venue is important and can narrow down the towns you research – but make sure to dig a little deeper and look past the venue itself. Some of the answers you’ll find by doing this will make planning so much easier in the long run.

Tip #2: Keep Guests Informed

You obviously want your guests to have a great time and remember how amazing your wedding was. The easiest way to make them happy is to prepare them for the weekend so they can relax and enjoy all a small town has to offer. Get those Save-the-Dates out early and include lodging information. Put important area information on your wedding website – things like directions to important places, area attractions, parking information, transportation options, etc. And if you decide to put welcome bags at hotels or rental houses, include a timeline for your guests to follow. Your well informed guests will love you for this extra effort!

Tip #3: Hire a Wedding Planner

Hiring a wedding planner is probably the obvious answer to making any wedding easier. But it’s even more important if you are hosting a wedding in a location other than “home”. Local wedding planners will know the best vendors, will be the most realistic about what to expect when budgeting, and will have all the in’s and out’s of the area you may not even consider. Plus, letting a planner take care of all the details is the best way for you to be able to spend time with loved ones without needing to run around crazy the entire weekend. Our friends at 1928 Planning Co. are SO good at what they do – check out their blog to see other tips and resources for planning!

So take a deep breath, take our advice, and this will be you – crushing your small town Michigan wedding!

 If you want to find out more about how your vision fits with our corner of Southwest Michigan, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Photo Credits!

Craig Watson Photography

Michael Koch Photography

Rebekah Albaugh Photography

The Boulevard Inn

Kati Mallory Photography

Kitty Lee Photography

Sweet Lemon Drop Photography

Wedding Vendor Spotlight: CK Catering

Wedding Vendor Spotlight: CK Catering

Every so often we like to give some love to our crazy-passionate fellow wedding professionals. This week’s spotlight shines brightly on CK Catering. Our exclusive partnership with CK has seen us through over 500 Southwest Michigan weddings and counting. So it’s pretty safe to say – we love working with these guys!

A Bit About CK

CK Catering is a family owned and operated business and has been for the past 46 years. They serve many Michigan wedding venues as well as providing fantastic options for corporate events, private parties, and serving hundreds of hungry business men & women each year.

So Many Options

CK is definitely known for their flexibility and custom menu options. This means our couples get the chance to create a wedding menu that suits their taste and CK gets to be creative with new offerings and presentations each year. Want to check out some of their sample menus? Click here!

Among our crew, our favorites are the bacon wrapped dates (believe us on this one – so, so good!), horseradish & parmesan smashed red potatoes, braised beef short ribs, and maple whiskey chicken. And this was difficult for us to narrow down to just these few with all their glorious options!  Hungry yet??

Why We Love Them

There is a lot we can say about working with our friends at CK. The reason we have an exclusive contract with them is very simple – they will make your wedding better and ultimately that’s everyone’s goal. We know our couples will not only love the food, but also because CK is so good at what they do, working with them makes your whole wedding day run like a well-oiled, but super pretty, machine. We know we can rely on them to consistently provide great service, exciting menu options, and satisfied brides & grooms.

What our Couples Have to Say

You certainly don’t need to take our word alone on how great these folks are – so many happy couples have shared their experiences with CK as well. They consistently win “Best Of” weddings awards, have a 4.9 out of 5 star rating on Facebook, and are even in The Knot’s Best Of Weddings Hall of Fame! Feel free to read some of their stellar reviews here!

And if our love and client reviews still haven’t convinced you of CK’s awesomeness – come try for yourself! They will be hosting a group tasting event January 19th! All the details can be found here!

If you have any questions about all CK can bring to your wedding at The Vineyard, just let me know and we’ll get you hooked up!

Looking forward to another lovely year with the whole crew!

 

Vineyard Wedding: Melissa & Philip

Vineyard Wedding: Melissa & Philip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melissa and Philip were married on July 21st

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding Photography was done by Lauren Crawford.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wedding party included eight bridesmaids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and eight groomsmen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because of the weather, the couple utilized their rain plan for the ceremony. Two rows of chairs were put on the dance floor and most guests watched from their tables.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A chair in the front row was dedicated to the bride’s grandfather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wedding program handout doubled as a personal fan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The groom was escorted by his mother.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bride was escorted by her father.

 

 

The groom’s father was the officiant.

Their wedding cake was ordered from Amisha Mays.

 

Transportation was through B&W Charters.

 

Guests left messages using metallic markers on this wooden decoration with their last initial printed on it.

 

Guests found their seats by referring to a printed gold framed poster.

 

For their head table, they rented a Napa from 1928 Planning Co.

 

Table numbers were printed in gold frames.

 

 

Centerpieces featured floating white candles, tea light candles, and long strips of greenery with light pink and white flowers.

 

Florals were done by Stem’s Market.

 

Guests received a bundle of Hershey’s Kisses on their place setting.

 

This embroidery hoop decoration was hung on the bar.

 

Cocktail tables were decorated with gold, geometric vases and tea lights.

 

Lighting was done by Schades of Light

 

Wine barrels were from 1928 Planning Co.

 

Alcohol and bartending service was provided by Beverage Specialists.

 

The DJ was with Wiser Productions.

 

 

Thank you to Melissa and Philip Champion for choosing our venue to celebrate their wedding.