It was a (mostly) sunny day when celebrity meteorologist Ginger Zee married Ben Aaron at The Inn at Bay Harbor in June 2014. Originally from the mitten state, this weather woman knew she wanted to get married by Lake Michigan.
The bride moved gracefully down a grassy aisle, strewn with white rose petals, to her groom who waited on a bluff above the Lake Michigan shore. If by chance you were near the beach at The Inn at Bay Harbor that day and didn’t instantly recognize the celebrity bride, you might have figured it out by her shoes: gray satin wedges sprinkled in a storm of crystals with tornadoes on each heel …
Yes, the bride was ABC meteorologist Ginger Zee, a Michigan native, who’d wooed her groom, NYC television personality Ben Aaron, to her home state to wed. With a setting like the Inn at Bay Harbor, it hadn’t taken much convincing. The palace-sized white resort-hotel, built in the style of elegant Victorian-era lodges, looks out over the wide, blue waters of a most romantic Great Lake—a view that is all-important to Ginger.
Photo by Michael Murphy IV Photography
“I’m from Grand Rapids and we always camped on Lake Michigan,” Ginger told us in a pre-wedding interview. “I feel a connection with Lake Michigan, especially Up North where you can see that crystal blue water. Whenever I come home to Michigan I go straight to the lake. It’s like going to an island, but you’re home.”
Outfitted with such amenities as golf courses and a spa, surrounded by the posh Bay Harbor shops and rising near the Petoskey commercial district, the inn is the very definition of destination wedding, which is exactly what Ginger and Ben were looking for.
Everybody was able to stay in the same place and “that’s one thing I love about the inn,” Ginger said. “You have your own space, but you are all together so you can get some personal connections going. Getting my mom and his mom together … those sorts of things that don’t happen as often as they should in our world. Our families are spread out all over the country.”
The 50 or so friends and family who attended the wedding began trickling in on Thursday. Among them were Ginger and Ben’s close friend and wedding planner extraordinaire Francesco Bilotto, who had worked for months coordinating a team of talented professionals in the Northern Michigan events industry, including Jennifer Haf of BLOOM floral design, Jessica Stubbs of Simply Sweets by Jessica, Sheila Wright of Tableau Events, photographer Michael Murphy IV and Lindsay Kaler, senior event manager at The Inn at Bay Harbor.
After the simple ceremony, during which Ginger and Ben took their vows in a circle of white rose petals, guests headed to cocktails under a tent adjacent to the inn’s main dining room. Working with the team of event professionals, Bilotto achieved what he calls a “formal nautical look” with navy blue table linens, dark club chairs and white-on-white tabletop bouquets created from garden roses, tea roses, carnations and baby’s breath.
Dinner was plated with guests seated at one long banquet table in the inn’s elegant dining room. Ball-shaped (clouds!) white floral centerpieces ran the length of the table, interspersed with white tea lights and scattered rose petals. After a dinner that began with an artisan cheese plate and continued on to choices of veggie quinoa, grilled salmon, Parmesan-encrusted chicken or filet mignon, guests moved back out to the tented patio for a cake with tiers of carrot, red velvet and vanilla.
As the northern night enveloped the fairytale scene, the band The Outer Vibe rocked the house down with a sound they self-describe as Big America Energy—“a collage of the Motor City’s passion and power, the upbeat, good feelings of the West Coast and a cinematic Southwestern nostalgia.” The lead singer, Sean Zee, is, you guessed it, Ginger’s brother. As Francesco quipped at the reception to Ginger’s mother, Dawn, “What is going on with the DNA that you have such talented kids?”
By the time the dancing started, Ginger had changed into a second pair of shoes. Sky blue stilettos these, embellished in crystals set in the shape of clouds and in the word Love. When she lifted her feet and flashed her soles, you saw it was true: This bride walks on rainbows.
More About Ginger Zee’s Wedding
- Pre-Wedding: Chatting with Wedding Planner Francesco Bilotto
- Post Wedding: Chatting with Wedding Planner Francesco Bilotto
- Behind the Scenes of the Floral Design: BLOOM Floral Design
- More Wedding Photography from Michael Murphy IV
- Ginger Zee’s Top Northern Michigan Picks
- 10 Fab Ideas from Wedding Planner Bilotto