Michigan Vendor Spotlight: 1928 Planning Co.

Michigan Vendor Spotlight: 1928 Planning Co.

Our goal in doing these vendor spotlights is to highlight and give credit to some of the amazing vendors we get the pleasure of working with here in our little corner of Southwest Michigan. But truth be told, no spotlight can shine bright enough to give the amount of credit that is due to our friends at 1928 Planning Co. If you are a numbers person, their numbers speak for themselves. Seven years as a premier Michigan Wedding Planner, over 800 events to their credit, and an (almost!) embarrassing amount of awards from top wedding companies. Put simply, these ladies know what they’re doing and they do it well.

But all of these accolades aren’t what sets 1928 Planning Co. apart from the other Michigan wedding planners – it’s their heart and passion for what they do and for the couples they serve. Yes, we know that’s a bit on the sappy side but it’s the most accurate way to frame the reason for their success. Having worked alongside this company for all seven years, we can say with confidence that getting married at The Vineyard wouldn’t be the awesome experience it is without their dedication. 

From days starting before dawn steaming linens to late nights spent stoking the fire pit, 1928 Planning shows up and rocks these events every.single.time. They have seen and done so much and yet – they will still tear up if they witness a first look, they will laugh sincerely at best man speeches, and they will gladly accept the hugs from couples at the end of the night who “couldn’t have done this without them”. This is who they are – as individuals and as a company – and those are the people you want by your side for one of your most important days.

Now that our gushing is through – we thought the best way for you to get to know them like we do was to sit down for a little Q&A. Let me assure you, you’ll want to read and screenshot and save all of these answers because there are some valuable and time-tested tips here! So we present to you: 


Michigan Wedding Planner : 1928 Planning Co.

All answers are a combination from 1928’s Lead Planners!


A:  Wish I had your answer… lol. I’d say mixing creativity with organization and structure was the draw. The planning and process is the same but the product is always different, so it’s hard to get in a rut when it comes to the output of what we do. 


A: 30 minutes before guests arrive when the venue decor sits perfectly as it should. I also love the minute before we send a bride or groom down the aisle and tell them to soak it in, live presently and enjoy it. We’re really lucky to be so close to an intimate moment like that.


A: This won’t be the lovey-dovey movie you’re probably looking for, but I love “ I Love You, Man” and “Bridesmaids” and “27 Dresses”. They are all funny takes on the dynamics of wedding planning, relationships and friendships and they poke fun at the many stereotypes and nuances of wedding planning.



A1: I’ve been called a friend. It means a lot because of how much we invest in each other between phone calls, emails, and face to face time. We have been relationship building for 1.5+ years typically and to be called a friend, not a hired vendor, has really stuck out to me.


A2: Their day was perfect because of all of my hard work and they did not have to worry about a thing.


A1: I’d do the color scheme and flowers differently. At the time I loved it, but I’ve evolved a lot more from a designing perspective since then and I think I could have done something way more suitable to our personalities than I knew how to back then. I encourage clients when doing our design services with them to really think about that and ask themselves “is this me?”.

A2: Invite less people and decorate more.  We had roughly 250 people and I used small round fishbowls with glass beads and floating candles that the venue owned.  I did not have time to put thought in any of it with working out of town and 2 kids. Nothing existed like this back when I got married, lol!


A:  I vote NO. Personally I didn’t have a first look and will never forget that feeling of seeing him first when I was walking down the aisle. I do agree with a lot of the pros of first look – especially when it has something to do with “having more time to be together before the wedding and enjoy our wedding today together”. But when I hear someone want to do a first look just because their photographer recommends it for timing, I say no. Find a photographer who can work diligently with a shot list post-ceremony, maybe comes with a second shooter to move things along, and by all means get as many separate bridal party photos and portraits done as possible pre-ceremony to only leave “together-shots” after the ceremony.


A1: Our linens, including full cloths, runners and napkins. A wedding that steps away from white on white always grabs my eye in photos. Investing in a bold or statement linen allows clients to do less from a decor standpoint, including florals, because the transformation in the look of the linen does that! At minimum, we recommend considering a head table, or dessert table to be a different linen inspiration so it can be given the focal point it deserves.

A2: Yard games – small town Michiganders love a good game of Cornhole. We include a custom decal on the Cornhole boards to add to the customization a lot of people look for when planning their wedding vibe.

Feel free to browse their Rental Collection for inspiration ideas!


A1: I think color is (finally) making its way back. We’ve been living in a neutral wedding world for awhile, and I’m excited to see a return of vibrant hues, particularly gem-colors.

A2: We’ve seen a shift this last year and think we’ll continue to see in 2022: less traditions! Not a lot of full bridal party announcements, head tables, cake cutting (or having a cake at all), bouquet + garter toss, traditional guest book etc.


A: I’m thinking we’ll continue to see smaller guest count weddings and a shift or restructure of their budget to be focused more on the experience. Less guests = more of everything else.


A: The seclusion. You’re fully submerged (is that the right word?) in the vineyard and I think that really enhances the experience for guests. You don’t see the parking lot, the road, streetlights, etc. It’s just you and the outdoors.

Check out other unique features of our winery wedding venue!



A1:  Perfectly curated playlists. If you’ve hired a DJ or band, give them a smidge of guidance but don’t micromanage the playlist. Let them vibe with your crowd so your dance floor stays packed.

A2: The seating chart. Steer away from assigned seats when possible, to avoid the extra work. Let guests know what table to sit at, but let them choose the seat. In the scheme of it, that close to the wedding, this is a stressor we recommend removing.

A3: Tedious decor details. DIY is fun until it isn’t. Guests remember the food, bar, venue, and music the most.



A: 1. How much can you relinquish control and trust someone else?

2. What do you expect from a planner? A personal assistant? No planners are apples to apples.

3. Talk live with the planner and make sure you vibe well prior to signing a contract. We want to match well with you just as much as you. We want our couples to understand who we are and make sure the connection is there live before we are contracting with you.

Bonus: Is the planner flexible on services (a-la cart) or do they only have certain packages to choose from?

Browse 1928’s flexible service options!


A1: Be active in correspondence we share and ask us questions. No question is silly. We also want to know all the details and sometimes people think it doesn’t pertain to what we are doing as your planner, but the more we know  – the better. 

A2: Trust that we know what we’re talking about. Trust those you’ve hired that we can make this amazing for you.

And there you have it friends – some great input from the experts! If you want to learn more about this amazing Michigan Wedding Planner – 1928 Planning Co – feel free to visit their website to explore services offered, drool over their rental collection, or even reach out to get more details. You won’t be disappointed.

If you can see yourself working alongside 1928 Planning Co to perfectly execute your Vineyard Wedding, we’d love to hear from you!

Featured Photographers: (in order of photo appearance)

Brick and Pine Photography

Michelle Muliken Photography

Kathy Davies Photography

Santiago Murillo Photography

Sweet Lemon Drop Photography

430 Studios

Alyssa McElheny Photography

Rachael Osborn Photography

Kati Mallory Photography

Meg Van Kampen Photography

Michael Koch Photography

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

Where’s the After Party?

As with many venues, the rental for your wedding space will end at 11:00PM. This is when your DJ will be asked to stop playing music, the bar will no longer serve drinks, and our staff will move in to begin cleaning up. So, you’ve got a few options on what you can do next.


If you and your spouse are looking forward to getting back to your Hotel or AirB&B to end the night but you know your friends and family will want to keep on celebrating on your behalf, you can recommend these local bars and restaurants for them. If there is no way you and your new spouse are going to head home when you know the party is going to continue on, you may want to make a plan to hit a few of these places.



The Vineyard at 12 Corners is located in Benton Harbor, Michigan.


The Livery


This Livery is a microbrewery that is open until 1AM on Friday and Saturday nights. It has an industrial but homey atmosphere that encases some historical aspects of the building. This is a popular spot for local bands to play at and holds many entertainment based events. Be sure to check out their website (liverybrew.com) to see if there are any events happening that you would want to check out the weekend of your wedding. It also features an outdoor patio that is pet friendly!

Serves: Craft Beer, Pizza, Sandwiches, and Salads (Vegetarian options)

Open Until: 1AM Fri & Sat

Location: 190 5th St.

Benton Harbor, MI 49022


River’s Edge Bar and Grill



This dive bar is located right off the Paw Paw river, which directly connects to the St. Joseph river. They have affordable prices and will be a decent choice to curb those fried food and burger cravings. For warmer nights, they have an outdoor beer garden right on the river. It’s far from classy, but it’s a casual place to have a few more drinks and hangout.

Serves: Fried Foods, Burgers

Open Until: 2AM Fri & Sat

Location: 653 W Main St

Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Next to Benton Harbor, located along Lake Michigan, is St. Joseph. It is approximately a fifteen minute drive from the Vineyard at 12 Corners.


Silver Harbor Brewing Co.


This Brewing company is large enough in size where it could accommodate more of your guests comfortably. Along with beer, they also serve hard liquor and wine. It has a classy but industrial feel to it and has excellent food. The restaurant closes at 11PM but if you book a group event, they will stay open until 2AM. They have a seperate space called The Garden where you and your guests can have a comfortable and private party. To book their space, you’ll want to call them or fill out the form on their website.

Serves: Craft Beer, Large Variety of Foods (Good Vegetarian options)

Open Until: 2AM – If you book the space

Location: 721 Pleasant Street

Saint Joseph, MI 49085


Czar’s 505


Located in downtown, St. Joe, this live music focused club is a host to many local and up and coming artists of many genres including country, reggae, hard rock, and R&B. If you and your wedding party feel like hitting a small concert to keep on dancing, this is the place to be. Check the show schedule on their website (czars.com) to see what bands are playing on your wedding night. The night club almost has a retro vibe and there is table seating in addition to the dance floor.

Serves: Pizza, Nachos

Open Until: 2AM

Location: 505 Pleasant St

St. Joseph, MI 49085


221 Main


This Restaurant and Cocktail House is located on – you guessed it – 221 Main St. in St. Joseph. They have a wide variety of whiskeys, wines, beer, and other liquors. They have excellent food – but the kitchen closes at 10pm, so the options will be limited. The pub section is a modern, clean and comfortable bar. It is a smaller and subdued area, so this would be the best choice for a smaller group of your wedding guests who are just looking to hang out together for a bit longer while winding down.

Serves: Seafood, Steak, Mac&Cheese, Sandwiches, Salads, and Desserts

Open Until: 2AM (Pub)

Location: 221 Main St.

St. Joseph, MI 49085

Mickey’s Pub


This local sports bar could be a fun way to spend the rest of the night if you’re feeling competitive. They offer pool, ping pong, darts, pinball, and club keno. They have cheap beer and affordably priced options all around. It is a very casual pub with friendly service. Can be a bit noisy, but this means your large group will fit right in. This link ( https://goo.gl/maps/ghA1oCbbzyp ) will show you some photos of the inside that will give you a better look at the space.

Serves: Traditional bar foods

Open Until: 2AM

Location: 1495, 1007 Main St.

St Joseph, MI 49085


Whether your ideal After Wedding Party would be a private event, a night of dancing, or a casual bar experience one of these locations (or a combination of a few!) will have you and your wedding guests covered.