A perfectly appointed cabin that fits all of the friends and family. Leland Lodge was the perfect venue for this snowy wedding in December.

Want more ideas for a Northern Michigan wedding? You’ll want a copy of the 2018 issue of MyNorth Wedding! You can read the magazine online here. Plus, scroll down for a chance to win a trip Up North to plan your own wedding and $2,500 for a wedding dress!

Perhaps it stands to reason that a musician with the last name of Love would be a romantic. Erik Love and Kirstyn Wade had been living together for several years when Erik, a music teacher, broached the subject of marriage. Kirstyn, a nurse, demonstrated her practical side. “What’s the point? I know I love you and am committed to you,” she recalls saying with a laugh. When Erik didn’t give up, she finally told him, “Okay, if you can move the stars I’ll marry you.”

View the full version of this wedding feature including photos, plus complete venue information!

So he did. On an October day in 2015 Erik and Kirstyn set out for the local park with their dog, Juno, whom they lovingly refer to as their 50-pound mystery mutt. The ruse? That Erik’s friend, a videographer, was interviewing Kirstyn for a spot about adopting rescue dogs (a thoughtful touch by Erik, as it meant Kirstyn dressed up a bit more than usual to walk their dog).

Unbeknownst to Kirstyn, as the interview proceeded, their friends were busy mounting a sign nearby. Made by Erik, it read I Love You—in cutout stars lit by tealights. When all was ready, the videographer turned his camera to catch the proposal.

Erik had brought Kirstyn the stars. Now to plan the wedding! The couple knew they wanted to be married Up North—where her parents and grandparents live and where they vacation often. They also knew that October was late to be planning a wedding for the summer. Some calls later, they realized they could have their pick of just about any venue—in the winter! Kirstyn loves the coziness of the holidays and the time leading up to it, so a December wedding sounded perfect. After Kirstyn’s grandparents told them about the Leland Lodge, tucked into the picture-perfect Lake Michigan harbor town of Leland, their plans fell into place.

The couple booked the entire lodge for the weekend of their December wedding— planning to hold both the ceremony and the reception at the lodge. With 18 lodge rooms there was plenty of space for the bridal party and many of the 85 guests who attended. (Most of the others stayed at the nearby Lodge at Leelanau Sands Casino and were shuttled back and forth.)

From beginning to end the staff at the Leland Lodge went out of their way to assure that the bridal party and guests felt completely comfortable. The festivities began Friday night with a relaxed rehearsal dinner at the Bluebird Restaurant and Tavern a couple of blocks away from The Leland Lodge. Afterward, the bridal party returned to the lodge for a meet-and-greet with drinks and appetizers. Guests woke up on the wedding day to find complimentary coffee and muffins waiting for them in the lobby. Since the wedding attendees were the only guests at the lodge, “We all hung out on the lobby couches in our pjs and ate and had our coffee,” Kirstyn says.

After the lovely ceremony, the newlyweds went down to the Lake Michigan beach for photos—a chilly but stunningly beautiful experience given the falling snow. Meanwhile, guests were enjoying cocktails at the lodge as the staff prepared the reception area for a plated dinner of roast chicken, whitefish, and veggie lasagna.

As the crazy-fun evening of dancing to the music of UpNorth DJs wound down, the couple and their friends and family who were still awake hung out together in the lobby and guest rooms. In the morning it was more coffee and muffins in the lobby where the goodbyes were warmed by the intimate bonding experience, courtesy of the Leland Lodge. “It was like the largest cabin ever—with a staff,” Erik says.

Leland Lodge Wedding Vendors

  • Venue | The Leland Lodge
  • Photography | Willow Noavi Photography, Grand Rapids
  • Brownie Bar | Brownies by Sisson’s Main Street Specialties, Leland
  • Rehearsal Dinner | Bluebird Restaurant and Tavern
  • Music | UpNorth DJs, Traverse City
  • Bridal Gown | Natalie Bridal, Traverse City

Husband, wife and rescue-dog Juno leave the relaxed, intimate ceremony.

Kirstyn’s mom, Karen Wade, did the decorations.

The wedding party, left to right: Michael Woodward, Megan Pashnik, Adam Love, Allie Harris, Erik Love (groom), Kirstyn Wade (bride), Nate Wade and Carmen Wade.

Cedar sprigs and pinecones play up the winter in the Northwoods theme.

The couple chose a brownie bar in lieu of a wedding cake.

Kirstyn with her dad, Tim Wade. The flowers in the bouquet are Sola wood flowers, meaning Kirstyn can keep them forever.

Guests signed the birch tree picture that Kirstyn found on Etsy.

MyNorth Wine & Weddings | April 21, 2018 

Brides, grooms, friends, and families are invited to explore Leelanau and Old Mission wineries and meet vendors including photographers, bridal gown shops, wedding cake bakers, and florists. Did we mention everyone gets a wine taste at each winery? Get your tickets at MyNorthTickets.com.

Win a weekend Up North to plan your wedding! 

The getaway includes …

  • Two nights’ lodging in glamorous camping— king size bed, luxurious sheets, down pillows—at Nature Michigan Retreat
  • $2,500 credit for a dress at One Oak Bride
  • Event planning services from Revel Rose, Wedding Revelry & Etc.
  • $100 dining certificate at La Bécasse, Authentic French Country Cuisine
  • Make-up, hair & nails package by Pavlova, European Salon & Day Spa

Photo(s) by Willow Noavi Photography