A Free Spirited, Relaxed Bride (And the Groom Who Adores Her)

Meet Katie, a willowy, gypsy-beautiful brunette with a hippie soul. Katie loves cycling, camping, and taking in outdoor concerts, and she’s always up for an adventure: Like the epic out-West backpacking trip she took soon after she met Peter. As for his part, Peter thought she was way worth waiting for her to get that trip out of her system.

You want relaxed? Here’s relaxed. Peter had just proposed when Katie found out she’d been accepted to grad school in New Hampshire to become a physicians assistant. So after a whirlwind three months of planning, Katie packed up and moved from their Columbus, Ohio, home to the East Coast, where she buried herself in books while Peter picked up planning details. Serendipitously, Katie’s semester exams fell on the weekend before the wedding.

Katie’s laidback demeanor showed in her bridal-wear choices: A strapless, flowing Nicole Miller gown and a eucalyptus head-wreath.

Photos: Melisa McKolay Photography
Location: Leland and the Leland Lodge

An Ace Team

To make their boho wedding happen, Katie and Peter put together an amazing team—amazing both for their skill and for the way they embraced the couple’s vision of a boho wedding. The day-of coordinator was Madeline Begley of Event to Remember. Marla Courtney Wood executed the stunning floral pieces—including Katie’s hairpiece and the fabulous bouquet on the wedding altar. The intimate, outdoor lounge (think: bedouin tent!) and birch altar were created by Kate Walski of 307 Events. And, of course, there was Katelyn VanVreede, the super organized and helpful events and marketing manager at the Leland Lodge, where the reception was held.

A Free-Spirited Harbor Town: Leland

Both Katie and Peter have connections to Northern Michigan. Peter and his family spent many summers on Platte Lake, and Katie and her family on Lake Leelanau—not far from the village of Leland, with its weathered wharf and shanties collectively known as Fishtown. It is the perfect backdrop for a laidback free-spirited event! The couple provided their guests with an Explore Leland itinerary. Under headings like Chill, Play and Wine they directed their guests to everywhere from the uninhabited Manitou Islands, kayaking the Crystal River and touring the wineries of the Leelanau Peninsula.

A Venue With Special Meaning

Peter proposed to Katie on a short getaway to the Leland Lodge the summer before. They’d strolled to a bench beside the golf course with a view of Lake Michigan, when he decided to go for it. “Well, I don’t know what the future holds …,” he began. “Yeah, no one does, duh,” Katie said not grasping the magnitude of the moment. “Well, I don’t know what the future holds but I know I always want you by my side …,” Peter persevered. The rest being history.

Color, Color, Color, Pattern

Boho colors make bold, sassy statements—pinks, orange, gold, red, turquoise, deep green—and the patterns are in nite. Don’t even try to get matchy-matchy! Katie purchased her own tapestry tablecloths and the macramé online, and Kate Walski of 307 Events provided the props for the Bedouin-style lounge. Billowy, translucent-white swag created a tent feeling, while the cosmos-patterned Mandala hung behind a bench outfitted with orange and gold beaded pillows.

Marla Courtney Wood picked up the theme with a sunset-burst of color in the flowers: pink ice and burgundy safari sunset protea, magenta mokara orchids, mango and pink spray roses and coral peonies danced with each other in the bridal bouquets the stunning altar piece and even in the bride’s and bridesmaids’ eucalyptus-leaf headdresses and the groom’s and groomsmen’s boutonnieres. Marla also brought along her collection (given to her from her mother) of antique brass vases and candle-stick holders to shine up all that color and give the décor a Moroccan accent.

Boho Wedding by Melisa McKolay Photography

Natural Elements

The earthiness of boho style demands bringing the natural world in. So Marla Courtney Wood was free to unleash her stash of driftwood (under the salmon charcuterie, as the surface for the present table and as a part of each centerpiece— making each unique). Marla also reached into her magic boxes of cool décor items and came out with deer antlers, arranged strategically on tables and fastened to the top of the altar, and quail feathers to go into the floral arrangements—even the one on the cake.

Additional Touches:

Birch bark cones were filled with bouquets to hang on the altar.

Three members of Olivia Mainville & the Aquatic Troupe performed acoustic music at the ceremony.

Young guests, Jaxson and Eva Hays, hang out in the children’s tipi that was outfitted with pillows and white lights.

A lantern send-off for Katie and Peter.

This feature originally appeared in the 2017 issue of MyNorth Wedding.
Get your copy for more Up North wedding inspiration!

[Editorial note: Chinese lanterns do pose an environmental risk, and are not recommended by MyNorth or Traverse Magazine.]

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Photo(s) by Melisa McKolay