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June 01,2021

Your wedding day is about celebrating your lifelong commitment to the love of your life. It is the day on which everything should be exactly how you would like it.  Everything from the people in attendance, to the location, and the layout of the day plays a role in how your wedding day turns out. 

Recently, more and more couples are planning Destination Weddings because it helps the couple create a day in which there is an intimacy and a personalization of the celebration that reflect who they are together. 

Destination weddings can be traditional, in gorgeous churches, or a little more non-traditional, such as on top of a sand dune overlooking Lake Michigan. But in the end, Destination Weddings are simply a way for couples to create their ideal wedding day that represents who they are as a couple and provides the setting for the celebration of their marriage with those they love.

Over the past couple of years, Northern Michigan has become a popular Destination Wedding Location because of the natural gorgeous setting nature provides. Northern Michigan is full of incredible Lakes, Sand Dunes, Lakeside towns, Golf Courses, Wineries, Vineyards, Forests, and more. And these locations hold a special place in many couple’s hearts because it is where they have vacationed all of their lives, or it is a location they fell in love with more recently. Either way, it is a stunning place to set the tone for your wedding day. 

So, how do you create and plan your ideal Destination Wedding in Northern Michigan?  What makes your wedding day a day you will always remember as having created a celebration that is perfect?  Let’s take a look at a few things that I have found (from photographing many couples' Destination Wedding) that make a Destination Wedding Spectacular.

First, throw out all of the rules for wedding planning.  Create the day exactly how you would like it to unfold, be that traditional or non-traditional. If you would like an early morning wedding on Lake Michigan so that the light hits the lake just perfectly to create that intensely gorgeous blue color, have your ceremony early in the day. If you would like to start the day off with Yoga on the Beach, paddleboarding, or golf, go for it! The sky’s the limit for what you can plan. Some of the more unique and common plans I find my couples absolutely love are:

  1. Create a day or two of activities for your guests: Yard Games, Paddle Boarding, Kayaking, Wine Tasting, or create an entire day of celebration with your guests, such as an afternoon Beach BBQ followed by the traditional wedding schedule in the evening.
  2. Create a menu plan you love! Many people love appetizers and will have a dinner filled with different appetizers, or an ice cream Sunday bar to go with pie, or a backyard BBQ or hamburger or taco station.  The sky is the limit for what you can create.  This year is the first year I will be having weddings that are using food trucks!
  3. Hire an Event Planner to pull everything together for you so that you don’t have to worry about anything. When plans are a little different from normal, it helps to have someone running the day for you!
  4. Work with a photographer that will help bring your vision to fruition and capture all of the amazing moments of your entire day, from morning yoga to your sparkler exit. Spend 3-4 hours in the afternoon traveling around gorgeous Northern Michigan for photos, or plan a day before or day after the photo session to take advantage of the gorgeous area. And make sure to set aside time in the evening for the sunset.  This always allows the couples a little breather during the day to take in all of the amazing moments.  It also provides the couples with incredibly beautiful portraits of the two of them during the sunset.

Second  Location! Pick a location that you love and will create a sense of relaxation, comfort, beauty, and the ability to celebrate in an intimate way. Your wedding location sets the mood for your celebrations (Church, beach, forest, rustic, sophisticated, etc.) All of the wedding elements come together to create the overall feel for your wedding day.  So make sure that you pick a location you love as the location will set the tone for the day:

  1. A Private Property Venue. A private venue, such as Stafford’s Perry Hotel, Crooked River Lodge, or Bay View Inn, will already have the tent, view, and basic coordination available to you at the wedding site.  It is a wonderful setting to walk into as you have staff readily available who know what it takes to create a beautiful wedding day for you. Generally, they have rooms on site available for you and your guests to stay at so the entire wedding and all guests can be on site for the celebration and they don’t have to drive anywhere. They will help you pull together the wedding of your dreams in a beautiful location.
  2. A Private Residence/Beach Property. If you have or know of, a private residence you can plan your wedding there. It is so helpful to have a wedding coordinator come in and work with you to help create your vision for the day and to keep the day humming along. 
  3. A Beach Wedding. There are so many locations in Northern Michigan for a beach wedding ranging from a Great Lake to a smaller inland Lake, like Lake Charlevoix.  It is perfect to have your wedding at the beach and your reception handled for you at a venue. 

Third Intimacy. There is something that is intangible that you feel when you create a Destination Wedding that can only be described as creating a level of intimacy that isn’t present in a hometown wedding. People are coming into your Destination from out of town and as a result, you create a getaway for you and your guests.  One big celebration out of town! Take advantage of the smaller group by spending time with them leading up to the celebration and/or after the celebration.  And the day of your wedding will have an intimacy to it that will bring out the joy and emotion in a very distinct way. 

Fourth Vendors: The vendors you select for your wedding day are those people that will help bring your vision of your wedding celebration to life. So surround yourself with exceptional and creative vendors that support your view to create your perfect wedding day.  Some of your key vendors are:

  1. Event Coordinators and Wedding Planners: They will take your vision for your day, create it, and then pull it together at the venue for you. If you are looking for twinkle lights and candles with a blue and white color theme, they will help you see your vision come to fruition, from the design to the implementation on your wedding day. They also take a lot of the stress off of you because you have nothing to worry about and they will take care of everything.
  2. Musicians or DJs: These people will keep your party moving just how you would like it, so make sure they have the personality you love!
  3. Florists: They help to provide part of the décor for your wedding that will set the tone for your day, so make sure you have one that will help bring your vision to life!

There are a lot of moving pieces that go into creating your destination wedding.  And no matter how you do it, if you do it the way you would like, you will love your wedding day.   Make it a successful endeavor by creating a day just how you would like, and surrounding yourself with people who will see your vision come through.  Once you do that, you can let go and enjoy the celebration to your fullest!

Written & submitted by Rayan Anastor, Destination Wedding Photographer

Contact Rayan Anastor Photography
Phone: (231) 335-3001
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