Elegant Wedding at Historic Willowbrook Mill in Northport

Although Lynzie and Nick both spent a portion of their childhood growing up in the same Okemos, Michigan, neighborhood, Nick is four years older so their paths didn’t cross often. Only, in fact, when Lynzie babysat for a family who lived across the street from Nick—a family she’d willingly babysit for, she recalls, so she could crush on Nick.

During Lynzie’s last year in college, a mutual friend formally introduced them and four years later they were planning their dream wedding. Lynzie’s grandparents have a home on Spider Lake, just outside of Traverse City, so the East Lansing-couple was familiar enough with Northern Michigan to believe an Up North destination wedding would be very special. A friend of Lynzie’s told her about Willowbrook Mill in Northport—a village located at the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula on Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay. Lynzie headed north to check it out—a trip that took her along the famously scenic M22, a country highway that winds through the village. “It was intimate and had so much character—I just fell in love,” Lynzie says of the venue.

Photos by Jessie Zevalkink

Willowbrook Mill Northport

Indeed, the venue’s ballroom with its white shiplap siding, stone surround windows, fieldstone fireplace (one of three at the venue), open rafters, dark wood floor and elegant chandeliers is the very definition of rustic elegance. The historic building itself is cantilevered over Northport Creek and entered by a footbridge over the creek—a setting that befits a fairytale wedding. Sweetening the package is the fact that Willowbrook Mill is nestled smack in the heart of Northport. “A wedding at Willowbrook Mill means that you have a built-in village of well wishers,” says the venue’s owner Mimi Heberlein.

Willowbrook Mill Northport

As the 105 wedding guests of Lynzie and Nick found out, Northport also throws some pretty great parties—as in the annual Dog Parade and the Northport Wine Festival, both of which took place over the wedding weekend. Beyond those fun events, Lynzie and Nick and their closest family and friends enjoyed a rehearsal dinner at the North Country Grill in nearby Suttons Bay, followed by a lively welcome party for all the incoming guests at Tucker’s of Northport, a restaurant/bar that offers bowling.

After the ceremony in the charming white-clapboard Trinity Church, guests simply strolled down the hill—while they took in the expansive harbor view in front of them—to Willowbrook Mill. And what an enticing sight met them when they entered the ballroom. Amid the glow of tealights and pillar candles, sensual bouquets fat with six different shades of pink, cream and peach roses set in mercury glass vases graced the center of each table, while an equally lush arrangement festooned the fieldstone fireplace. A plated dinner followed a lovely cocktail party served on the Willowbrook Mill terrace overlooking the creek. The reception wrapped up in true Northport style—with homemade cinnamon buns and coffee from the village’s beloved Barb’s Bakery, located just across the street from Willowbrook Mill.

Take a video tour of the venue:

This wedding is featured in the 2017 issue of MyNorth Wedding.
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Willowbrook Mill Northport

Lynzie can’t say enough about her florist, Melissa Walker, of Tie the Knot Bouquets. The day after the wedding, the Heberleins, who own Willowbrook Mill, distributed the bridal flowers to the shops and restaurants of Northport for the enjoyment of the town’s people and wedding guests alike.

Lynzie purchased the mercury glass vases and candlesticks from BHLDN. Melissa Walker of Tie the Knot Bouquets crafted the floral arrangements from six different colors of roses: ivory, champagne, peach, two shades of pink as well as pink garden roses, white standard mums, green and white hydrangea, pink lizianthus and eucalyptus.

Lynzie’s gown is from Anthropologie’s bridal line, BHLDN.

The three tiers of the cake by Kingsley Cakes: white with champagne filling; chocolate with chocolate mousse filling; chocolate with chocolate peanut butter filling. 

 The couple’s first dance was to “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You,” by Elvis Presley.

Willowbrook Mill Northport


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