Ellie + Tom / Lake Bluff Preserve / Frankfort, Michigan

Wedding on the Dunes

Summer at the Lake

Tom & Ellie, also affectionately known as Tellie, came to us with a vision of celebrating their wedding in “northern Michigan summer on the lake” fashion.  The striking dunescape of Lake Bluff Preserve immediately reminded Ellie of her grandmother’s family cottage on Lake Michigan and with Ellie’s sunset painting on the invitation, an August wildflower palette in the bouquet and a love of houseplants translated to the dinner tables, this wedding was layered in thoughtful details and heartfelt revelry.

Cocktails Kick It Off

The weekend kicked off on Friday with a wood-fired pizza truck and drinks along the dunes so guests were familiar with the setting by the time they arrived on Saturday.  A flowerbox sign of summer blooms welcomed them to a scene of tasty appetizers and sunset-inspired cocktails.  Conversation and laughter drifted up to the airbnb cottages where Tellie & family enjoyed some moments together before the ceremony.

Ceremony on the Bluff

The ceremony was set on an overlook, framed by a wooden hexagon arch adorned in greenery and set with just a few rows of crossback chairs – simple in design to showcase the stunning views and lovely couple.  Guests were encouraged to sit or stand in the dune area or even on the three patios of the closest cottage.  Aunt Maggie led a beautiful ceremony with vows from both Tom & Ellie that inspired both tears & laughter.  The experience had a sense of profoundness.

Dining on the Dunes

As guests walked the sandy trail from the ceremony, they were greeted by servers with trays of wine and welcomed to a dinner scene under vines with a view of Lake Michigan.  The clifftop setting evoked reactions of, “this is better than the Amalfi Coast”, “it’s like being in the Mediterranean”, and “This is the dream.”

It truly was a dream setting and as guests found their names tucked in a mini houseplant favor at each setting, one of my favorite conversations was the discovery that the Wexford water goblets were “the same ones from Grandma’s cottage!”  A summery plaid linen napkin was framed by eclectic gold-edged plates and gold flatware.  

Potted plant centerpieces were inspired by Ellie’s passion for houseplants and in fact, she brought four of her own plants to the occasion that had been family gifts or grown from cuttings of her grandmother and mother’s houseplants.

As dinner and a rousing round of toasts wound down, guests visited the cheesecake bar for a plethora of flavors and sauces, made by Tom’s mom & sister who operate “The Cheesecake Ladies” and make some of the best cheesecake in the state.


Dream Lighting

Sunsets on Lake Michigan are one of the most inspiring scenes to Tellie and it was only fitting that their evening would have an epic show of color on the horizon.  They meandered further down the dune trail to enjoy the view and then rejoined their guests on a cliff’s edge platform as the sky exploded in shades of pink and purple, the bistro lights over dinner grew brighter and the band kicked off a night of revelry & dancing under the tent.

Creative Team Credits

Photography:  Lindsey Billings Photography

Videography:  SJK Productions

Planning + Design + Coordination:  Juniper & Lace Events

Venue:  Lake Bluff Preserve

Officiant:  Maggie Freed

Dinner frame, lighting & rentals:  Meggison Tents & Events

Floral & Plant Design:  Greg Grover Designs

Band:  MacDaddy Band

Catering:  Grandview Catering

Alcohol Delivery:  Hansen’s

Cheesecake Bar:  The Cheesecake Ladies

Hair Stylist:  Josie Glazier

Makeup Stylist:  Makeup by Ariella

Additional Rentals:  Eden Woods Rentals, Event Theory, TC Tented Events

Place Settings:  Gigi & LaClede, BBJ LaTavola

Transportation:  Blue Lakes by the Bay, Lakeshore Shuttle & Tours

Invitations:  Sterling Stripes with bride’s artwork