Planning a Northern Michigan Wedding advice from a Wedding Professional

Advice from a Wedding Professional in Northern Michigan

Are you planning a destination or local Wedding in Northern Michigan?

First and foremost, hire Professional Wedding vendors that you feel will work with you to make your Wedding day the perfect experience.  Use your instincts.  Be sure to check independent reviews online.

My 14 years in business have demonstrated that Professional Wedding vendors who own their own businesses are your best bet for your Wedding day.  Make sure you know who will be working your Wedding, and that the person you hire is the business owner.

Start a Pinterest board right now and pin your findings to that board.  You can create boards for all individual aspects of your Wedding or just create one board with all of your ideas.

Wedding themes help create a focus for your day and can create a sort of tunnel vision so that planning will be less overwhelming.

If you have made the decision to get Married in the beautiful venues of Northern Michigan, keep this advise from Paul Retherford Wedding Photography in mind.


Wedding Planning ~

First and foremost, are you going to research your venues, vendors, and details, or are you going to hire someone to bring your Wedding together for you.  This can be partial planning or full Wedding planning where you just show up for your big day.

Keep in mind that Wedding Planners narrow your choices down for you to a select group of vendors that might not be perfect for your Wedding day.

There are lots of quality Wedding Planners in Northern Michigan that would be happy to work with you on your vision for your Northern Michigan Wedding.

I work with planners on a weekly basis and I can attest that Weddings do flow easy with someone on your side.

If you decide to plan the day yourself please allow enough time to bring everything together.  Having a Wedding day coordinator is a huge bonus to help relieve the stress when all the planning comes together.  Have lots of help bringing your vision together and enjoy your Wedding day.

Wedding Planners are typically a wealth of information.  They can steer you towards your vision.  There are a lot of small details that should not be overlooked.


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wedding day idea photo


Wedding Venues ~

Narrow your Wedding day location search to locations that fit your style, comfort, personality, and dream.

Online research will give you lots of answers BUT there is a lot more available than what Google tells you.  Keep in mind that vendors pay a lot of money to reach the top of search engines and they are not always the fit for you.

Call Visitor Bureaus and local Chamber of Commerce.  Keep in mind that their list is not inclusive either.  People are, most of the time, paying to be on their lists.

Look at what other people have done for Weddings.

Vendor lists sometimes help and sometimes just show you who the owners “like.”

If you are interested in beach Weddings you can sometimes get permits from the city to have your Wedding right on the public beach.

Ask yourself if you want indoor or outdoor venues and how many people you will have attend.  Larger Weddings, over 200, will limit the venues available.

Visit the venues and imagine yourself in the location on the biggest day of your life.  Will this location be the perfect match?

Don’t just go off of someone else’s referral.


wedding ceremony northern michigan photo

wedding reception northern michigan photo


Wedding Photography~

Once you have your Wedding Venue booked look at Photographers, if you haven’t booked already.

Photographers book quickly and to get your preferred Wedding Photographer you need to secure your pick as early as you can.  I have Brides book two years in advance and sometimes even before they secure venues.

When you find the Photographer that fits your needs, meet with them in person or on the phone or computer, and if they are right book them.  Then you can start thinking about Engagement Photography and how this photographer can document your entire story.  Winter Engagement Photography creates a nice contrast to Summer Weddings and vice versa.

Referrals are nice here too BUT be sure that the Wedding Photographer meshes with your personality.  Remember, if you have any ill feelings towards your Photographer it will show in your Wedding day images.


wedding engagement northern michigan photo


Wedding Dress, Tuxedo, Shoes~

Selecting the Wedding dress can be a long process.

I would suggest looking at Pinterest to find styles that you like before going to the bridal shop.

You can see my Pinterest boards at Paul Retherford Wedding Photography on Pinterest.  Be sure to see my Wedding gown and dresses board.  I have boards for all types of Wedding Planning.

Wedding dress hunting is one area of the Wedding Planning that you should reserve a good amount of time to find that perfect fit for you.



photo northern michigan floral design

Hair and Makeup~

Wedding hair and makeup is about how you feel and look on your Wedding day.  Keep this in mind when you scout salons to do your Wedding day hair.  It is a good idea to do trial run(s) to ensure that your destination stylist is in line with your look.

Northern Michigan has incredible talent in this area and I find that there are lots of choices that are as good as if not better than large cities.

You can also bring your own stylist with you to do your hair and your bridesmaids.   A small percentage of my Brides feel more comfortable with their stylist and pay for them to travel with them.  This will ensure comfort in knowing what the final product will be.

With that said, I have lived in a lot of large cities and the salons in Northern Michigan will suit everyone except maybe the most particular people.

Don’t forget the groom too when it comes to beauty on the Wedding day.  A salon appointment can make the groom feel at the top of his game too.


wedding day salon petoskey michgianphoto northern michigan bow tie


Wedding Flowers, Boutinerres, and Arrangements~

This is one of the areas of the Wedding that can play a huge role in the overall theme and feeling of the Wedding day.

There are so many ways to decorate your venue and the price points are all different too.

Northern Michigan Wedding florists and floral designers can help bring your ideas and dreams to fruition.

A great place to start is Pinterest, and also combing blogs with your theme.

You can get almost any flower in the World delivered right to Northern Michigan for your Wedding day.


northern michigan wedding idea

fall wedding northern michigan bride photo


Wedding Catering and Bartending~

Catering sometimes coincides with the Reception venue.

There are a large number of mobile caterers in Northern Michigan that will prepare your perfect meal.

Do a food tasting and make sure you know exactly what will be served on your Wedding day.

Don’t forget your cocktail hour, horderves, and bartending too.


photo cocktail hour walloon lake photo


Wedding Entertainment~


The Wedding Entertainment will set the stage for your Wedding reception.  You can decide what you want that stage to be on your Wedding day.

It could be a band, dj, strings, or your own music on an ipad.

Professional Wedding Entertainment vendors will adhere to a timeline and keep the evening moving along so that your guests will not have a chance to get bored and leave.

Ask if you can come to an event that your Entertainer is playing prior to booking.


wedding dance floor photo castle farms

photo northern michigan dancewedding dj northern michigan


Wedding Dessert~


Desserts can be everything from cupcake tables, gorgeous Wedding cakes, candy tables, pies, ice cream bars, and lots more.

The Wedding cake is the obvious choice but not always the best choice for each Bride.

Some locations charge a substantial cutting fee that might be avoided if you don’t have a cake.

Northern Michigan has wonderful bakers that make awesome cakes!  Trust me, I know, because I sample all of them.  I am a cake connoisseur.  You want to know my favorites bakers, just ask.:-)


photo northern michigan weddingwedding cake northern michigan photophoto wedding cake northern michigan


Wedding Transportation~


Don’t forget to book your Wedding day transportation quickly.  There is a limited amount of companies in Northern Michigan so be sure to book the company that will work best with your Wedding needs.

We have everything from limousines, buses, trolleys, shuttles, hot rods, boats, and more.


photo wedding day boat

wedding photo bicycle mackinacmackinac island wedding transportation

Wedding Night~


The end of the evening you should plan on resting in a comfortable room after all of the craziness.  Splurging on a room that you can wind down and enjoy your Wedding night together should be a big priority too.

Waking up and reminiscing about the wonderful Wedding day with all of the Professional vendors who made it all come together is the best feeling in the World.



photo northern michigan sunset


Other Wedding details~


Wedding favors, Groom gift, Bride gift, Officiant, Flowergirl, Ringbearer, Honeymoon, Pets involved?, Pre Wedding spa day, Bridesmaid picking, Groomsmen picking, Bridesmaid dress, Wedding Colors, etc.


Post Wedding Photography~


A popular option to capture the beauty of Northern Michigan is to plan a post Wedding photography session.  During this session you can go to locations that you were not able to like the beach, water, woods, downtowns, etc.  You can even make this a little more aggressive and do a trash the dress session.


sunset in northern michigan wedding photo


Consider Paul Retherford Wedding Photography for your Northern Michigan Wedding Photographer

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