Kristin Cornell, Author at The Vineyard @ 12 Corners - Page 2 of 3
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.

 

Vineyard Wedding: Elizabeth & Dave

Vineyard Wedding: Elizabeth & Dave

Elizabeth and Dave were married on July 7th, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They had one bridesmaid and one groomsmen.

 

The bride was escorted by her parents.

 

Two elegantly potted plants served in place of the traditional arch.

 

There were two officiants.

 

The guests were given small bubble containers to blow after the ceremony.

 

Two baskets containing bubbles and paper fans were set out on a chair next to a decorative stack of crates.

 

The centerpieces consisted of a wine bottle, a bundle of flowers in a wine glass and a photo that depicted the table ‘number’.

 

The bride and groom sat at a sweetheart table.

 

The tables featured white linens with a purple plate-folded napkin. The meal through CK Catering was family style.

 

The couple chose a live band called The Bluewater Kings to play at the reception.

 

They added a second tent from AAY’s Event Rental for the bar to be outside of the main tent space.

 

Alcohol and bartending service was provided by Beverage Specialists, with the wine coming from 12 Corners Winery.

 

The cake and desserts were from Froelich Bakery.

 

They chose to have a wide variety of individual desserts as well as a traditional wedding cake.

 

Photography was done by Kitty Lee Photography.

Vineyard Wedding: Melissa & Frank

Vineyard Wedding: Melissa & Frank

Frank and Melissa.

 

Frank and Melissa were married on September 22, 2018.

 

There were about 120 guests attending. Click here to view their layout.

 

 

Their comically cool wedding at the vineyard began with their ceremony at 4:30pm.

 

Crystal Florist provided these lily based arrangements as well as all florals.

 

This couple had a love for Marvel, specifically the Hulk.

 

As guests arrived to the tent, they picked out their name to find their table number.

They went for a clean white linen with an ivory napkin in a flat fold. Dinner style was buffet.

A glass bowl filled with clear decorative rocks with flower heads placed on top served as the centerpiece upon a natural wood platter.

 

The welcome handout was a Hulk shade of green.

 

The barrels and arch were rentals from 1928 Planning Co.

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For dessert, they served cupcakes from Mimi’s cupcakes. Placing them on a tower like this is a cute alternative to the traditional wedding cake. The topper features a silhouette of Hulk and his wife and Melissa and Frank’s three cats.

  

They chose to decorate the tent with a package from Schades of Light.

 

Photography was done by Sweet Lemon Drop.

The wedding party consisted of six bridesmaids and eleven groomsmen.

 

The photobooth was done by Flip N Sweet.

 

They had an elegant card box.

 

Bartending was done by Beverage Specialists, with wine coming from 12 Corners.

 

27 Entertainment was the DJ for their wedding.

Again… Sweet Lemon Drop Photography.

 

Melissa and Frank’s fun personalities were excellently incorporated into their wedding.

 

Thank you for letting our team here at White Space Events and 1928 Planning Company be apart of your wedding day.