Renee and Chris were set up the old-fashioned way—by a mutual friend. The connection was before dating-app trends, and Chris wasn’t much for social media, so Renee’s Facebook stalking did little good prior to their first, basically blind, date. Hurrying along Chicago’s Milwaukee Avenue in 5-inch heels and a silk blouse, Renee called Chris to see how she would recognize him. He said, look for the White Sox jersey. She wasn’t impressed. And then she saw him: a bald, middle-aged, overweight guy wolfing down a hotdog. Just then, Chris stepped around the corner, laughing (and very nicely dressed). Renee says from that first date, she knew this was her guy.
Chris and Renee, who now call Chicago home, had both previously lived in NYC during the same timeframe, even running in the same circles, but had never met. With a shared love for comedy, they frequented the same NYC improv club—Upright Citizens Brigade (founded by Amy Poehler), where Chris performed and Renee went for a good laugh. Though the fates missed their cue in NYC, fortune smiled on them in Chicago, and after that first date stunt, Chris and Renee proved inseparable.
They knew they wanted a Northern Michigan wedding, where Renee’s connection runs deep. Back to the 1850s, in fact, when her family immigrated to Beaver Island. For the last 160 years, her relatives have continued to live on the remote Lake Michigan island, making it the perfect getaway for family vacations throughout her childhood. Chris spent his college days in Northern California, and Renee went to school in the South, so friends and family were coming from all over the country. The destination wedding had to give everyone an unforgettable Northern Michigan experience, and water was a prerequisite.
Enter The Homestead. Renee, who had never before been on the grounds, chose the venue outright, recognizing there was nothing else like it: the expansive vistas nearby that take in the Glen Lakes and Lake Michigan, the incredible accommodations, and the myriad of resort amenities. The idea of wedding guests taking the ski lift up the mountain to the ceremony site to be greeted with a glass of champagne at the top was icing on the cake. And for the 140 guests—75 percent of whom had never been to Northern Michigan—the setting, including the Caribbean-blue of the water and the sheer size of Sleeping Bear Dunes, was nothing short of astounding.
The couple was married on the resort’s Bay Mountain—a stunning outdoor ceremony site that looks out over Lake Michigan. The couple’s eclectic love of music was reflected in the ceremony that featured The Moxie Strings as guests were seated, followed by covers of John Williams’s songs for the wedding party processional and Radiohead’s “True Love Waits” as the bride walked down the aisle. The Beach Boys, Velvet Underground and Kanye West rounded out the couple’s carefully crafted program before guests were treated to an après-ceremony cocktail hour atop Bay Mountain.
As these were no conventional newlyweds, this was no ordinary cocktail hour. Taking advantage of the fact that The Homestead’s Mountain Flowers golf course runs along Bay Mountain, the couple took each other to the golf-hole game Closest to the Pin while their guests sipped and cheered.
And then it was all aboard The Homestead’s chairlifts to descend the hill to Mountain Flowers Lodge, located in the resort’s charming winter village. The Homestead’s chefs served a delicious plated dinner that kept everyone’s energy up for the nonstop full dance floor courtesy of DJ AB from Grand Rapids, who brought down the house (and got the fun-loving bride to crowd surf).
The Homestead Wedding Vendors
- Ceremony Site | Top of Bay Mountain
- Reception Site | Mountain Flowers Lodge
- Photography | Amy Carroll Photography
- Flowers | BLOOM Floral Design
- Cake | Assorted Pastries provided by The Homestead
- Music | DJ Adrian Butler or DJ AB
- Hair & Makeup | Lilly Jade, a Salon
A solitaire-cut stone with channel diamonds set in a yellow gold band shows off a classic elegance.
Hundreds of candles, alongside the rustic wood centerpieces secured from Eastern Market in Detroit, allow the centerpieces to shine.
BLOOM Floral Design uses an array of ora, including succulents, dahlias and roses among smoke bush foliage and plum ranunculus to create the vision for natural, organic décor.
The bride and her mother sip sparkling rosé and enjoy the peaceful solitude outside their room at The Homestead before the ceremony.
The maid of honor, Elizabeth Poindexter, assists the bride with her wedding dress—an Amsale-designed gown from Nordstrom that epitomized the bride’s effortless glamour.
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.