15 Ideas for Your Northern Michigan Fairy-Tale Wedding

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You have your prince or princess. We’re here to wave the magic wand and help plan your Northern Michigan fairy-tale wedding.

The Setting

Beware! These enchanted settings are guaranteed to cast a romantic spell:

The tiny city of Charlevoix, wedged between Lake Michigan and Round Lake is filled with storybook-looking stone buildings (courtesy of Early Young, a last-century local artisan). Want to talk fairy tale? This city even has a drawbridge and a castle

Ah, Mackinac Island, 8-miles around and oozing old-fashioned amour. Romantic Victorian architecture abounds but nary an automobile—horseless carriages are banned so you’ll want to rent a carriage (or bicycle built for two). 

The Victorian Italianate architecture (turrets, red spires and all) of The Village at Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City exudes the age of chivalry. Did we say photo ops?

Lumber baron mansions and elaborate community buildings line the streets of the Victorian Port City of Manistee. And yes, a lazy river wends through this picturesque Lake Michigan kingdom.

Read: 10 Breathtaking Venues in Northern Michigan for a Fairy-Tale Wedding

The Season 

No doubt, sun-kissed summer has romance down. But imagine the possibilities of an autumn wedding where the foliage’s fiery reds and golds fairly trumpet love. Spring, when the breeze stirs a flurry of cherry and apple blossoms, and wildflowers line forest paths. And winter, when snow and ice build their own palace and wrapping in furs is as much necessity as it is glamorous.

Bonus: Off-season weddings are more affordable! 

The Gown 

Princess style, of course! Traditionally that means the gown is fitted on top and then eases out at the waist—to descend to the floor in a bibbidi-bobbidi-boo big skirt, or a graceful sway. All of which means, necklines can range from sweetheart to camisole and fabric from lace to chiffon. And who said Cinderella’s gown was white? White wedding gowns weren’t even en vogue until Queen Victoria wore one—more than a hundred years after Cinderella waltzed with Prince Charming.

The Crown

Speaking of Queen Victoria, she wore a flower crown made out of orange blossoms when she married Prince Albert. We’re imagining the way a cherry blossom crown would look against a spring fairy-tale wedding in orchard country …

The Carriage

Nothing says Cinderella quite like arriving in a carriage. Which means a Mackinac Island wedding, of course. Discover the magic that Mackinac Island Carriage Tours can bring to your big day. 

The Sword

Every great fairy-tale wedding has a sword in it somewhere. Or several. Turns out Northern Michigan has our own master forger, Jason Crum of HoJ Forge (who will be making an upcoming appearance on History’s Forged in Fire, season 6). Talk about a forever keepsake.

The Invites 

Calligraphy, wax seals, ribbons, handcrafted paper and even hand-painted imagery. Check out what Sable & Gray Paper Co. in Traverse City can do for you. 

The Harpist

Harpist Amber Joy Carpenter convinced us of the ambient power of the pluck at our MyNorth Wine & Weddings event. Contact her: [email protected].

The Table Settings 

Channel Beauty and the Beast here—long wooden tables with raw linen runners decked in wax-dripped candelabras, moss, stones and pieces of driftwood. Put flowers under glass cloches, and mix and match old silver and china. 

The Drinks

Nothing says medieval cocktail party like a goblet of mead. No magic spell needed to fill those cups. Northern Michigan has three fabulous meaderies:

The Hors D’oeuvres

First things first: put your butlers in tails. Next, fill their trays with deviled quail eggs among other canapes like hand-held mincemeat pies and fine cheeses. In Northern Michigan, find itty bitty and so Medieval quail eggs at  Morganic Farm.

The Main Course

Nothing like a roast pig on a spit to say the prince and the princess are at the castle. Put an apple in his mouth (not the prince, the pig!) and serve him with a hearty fruit sauce. Many Northern Michigan caterers roast pigs, including Chef’s Pride Catering and Dawn’s Fresh Catering.

The Cake

You could go a lot of different fun and frothy ways here, but we can’t help imagining how a spire-shaped traditional French wedding cake called a croquembouche would look at your fairy-tale wedding. These delicious objets d’art are created from stacked profiteroles filled with pastry cream. Then the entire tower is coated with crispy caramel. 

Any great baker should be able to build you a croquembouche. But we know for a fact Brulotte’s Cakery & Sweets in Traverse City has them in their repertoire.

Surround your masterpiece with meringue-ey type desserts like pretty pastel macarons and blueberry meringue tartlettes. This Food & Wine article will get you started.

The Throwns

You’ve gotta have them. Ideas: Use fabric spray paint to cover vintage upholstered chairs or couches from a second-hand store. If your venue allows it, hang a pair of sheer curtains (tied back) behind each thrown. Better yet—hang a small, DIY canopy over them. 

The Jester

You know the guy or gal who can play this part for you—crack a few jokes, do a little juggling, maybe emcee your whole event. Ten dollar-ish jester hats abound on the web. Small price to pay for your own joker.

The Fairy-Tale Ending

Bonus idea: Sparklers look a lot like that magic wand we mentioned. They’re the perfect send off to happily ever after.

All photos by Melissa Lande of Lux Light Photography. Melissa shoots wedding, engagement and maternity sessions in the Traverse City area.