Monday, December 28, 2009

The Tale of Two Weddings: Part 1

As a girl I dreamed of having my wedding in Northern Michigan. My extended family loves to spend time in the dinky little towns throughout Northern Michigan and we try to get up to the area as much as possible.
The western coast of northern Michigan is dotted with small towns set on picturesque bluffs with gorgeous views of Lake Michigan. I had always dreamed of having my wedding on the beach. As I got older I started to think that maybe a wedding on the beach wasn't the most practical and maybe the view would be better if the wedding was on the bluff and then we could traipse to the beach for the party.
The more I dreamed about this the more excited I got. A wedding in the middle of the summer heat with a beautiful ceremony on top of a bluff and a wonderful party on the beach.
So well before I was engaged, or even dating Jus, I tried to find a venue that wouldn't be too resort-ish and would be a better expression of me and whoever I would marry. I knew a resort would be easier to plan a wedding at but to me resort=cookie cutter and there's not too much that's cookie cutter about me.
My first thought was Blisswood, a lodge in between Goodhart and Cross Village, about thirty minutes south of the Mackinac Bridge.

Blisswood was built in 1929 and features the large Lodge and three smaller cabins that in total sleep 16 people. There is also a small chapel on the property that seats about a dozen people.

The problem with Blisswood is that you have to rent the entire property for three days and its capacity is 50 people, and while I know a destination wedding doesn't draw the crowd that a hometown wedding does I also know that my side of the family is 60.
So my next thought was Legs Inn. Legs Inn is a funky Polish restaurant in Cross Village that was built in the 1920s.

Its called Legs Inn because the owner lined the roof with legs from cast iron bathtubs. The inside is full of bent wood.

Talk about unique and interesting. And the garden behind Legs Inn is gorgeous, perfect for a sunset wedding.

Legs Inn also has four cottages on the beach that each sleep four people. Which would be wonderful for the bridal party/family to stay in. I imagined marrying in the garden at dusk going inside for a cocktail hour and then partying the night away on the beach.
The problem with this is that the rental fees for the cabins during "peak season" (June 26-September 7) are almost twice that of the rest of the year. And once you get much past Labor Day in Northern Michigan you don't want to spend much time outside.
Once we started dating we seriously talked about including Legs Inn in our wedding day. There are also two sweet little churches that we love in the area.
The first is St. Ignatius Catholic Church.
St. Ignatius Church is located on the beach in Goodhart and is several hundred years old. It's right next to a creepy old Indian cemetery, which is actually pretty cool.
The second church is literally down the street from Legs Inn.
The Redpath Memorial Presbyterian Church is a sweet little stone church with beautiful stained glass windows.
Luckily for me I had Weddingbee's local boards to help my search. I poked around the Northern Michigan boards and was pointed in the direction of the Headlands in Mackinaw City.
The Headlands is a county park with 550 acres situated right on Lake Michigan.

There are two houses you can rent, one that houses 20 people and another that houses 22. The only thing about the houses is that they're kind of hard to get to and not really set up to host weddings.
So it was back to the drawing board, do we find another unique place in Norther Michigan, suck it up and go to a resort, or have the wedding somewhere else...

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