When a hops grower in Leelanau County proposes to an ER nurse from Chicago, where should they marry? On a hill overlooking Lake Michigan, of course. See photos and venue details from their outdoor wedding at The Homestead in Glen Arbor, Michigan.

This love story begins in the ER at Loyola Hospital in Chicago where Marta Hitchcock (who is currently the STEMI Coordinator at Munson) was a nurse. Or, more precisely, it begins with Marta’s mom, Mary, and her best friend, Carol Clark, who were scheming to set Marta up with Carol’s daughter’s brother-in-law (got it?)—Alex Wiesen, from Northern Michigan. The woman had told Marta a teeny white lie: That Alex had seen her on Facebook and was interested and she should friend him. Hesitant to friend almost a complete stranger, Marta was showing his Facebook page to fellow nurses one day when a doctor walked by and asked what Alex did for a living. “He’s a hops farmer,” she told him.

The doctor smiled. “That’s awesome—you have to friend him, he practically grows beer.”

Featured in MyNorth Wedding, a magazine for couples who love Up North 

Photo by Dan Stewart Photography

Photo by Dan Stewart Photography

So she did. And after three weeks of messaging each other, Marta made the trip up to visit him. That was in 2016. The next summer, Alex proposed on the beach (after a drive there in his grandfather’s old baby-blue convertible Cadillac).

Marta was still living and working in Chicago, a city she grew up near and adores, so obviously she wanted to explore a venue there. Alex was willing and made the trip down to check out a venue with a view of the Chicago skyline. However, he was, shall we say, underwhelmed, telling Marta: “Hey, I grew up in Northern Michigan where we have mountains and lakes.”

Photo by Dan Stewart Photography

So the couple turned their attention to an outdoor wedding at The Homestead Resort. The ceremony venue is on the top of a mountain (the ski hill in winter) that overlooks both Lake Michigan and the Glen Lakes. “We knew it would be a great way to show our friends and family who aren’t from here my new home,” Marta says. With its vast buffet of lodging that ranges from lodge rooms, to condos, to homes, the resort was more than capable of housing out-of-town guests onsite.

The event’s relaxed vibe was set the day before the wedding when the couple set the rehearsal at noon so that the wedding party could spend the rest of the day boating on Glen Lake. The ride up the mountain on chairlifts to the ceremony also helped the fun factor—especially as several of Marta’s bridesmaids had never ridden a chairlift.

Photo by Dan Stewart Photography

A white floral and greenery bridal bouquet, navy bridesmaids dresses and gray suits for the groomsmen set a simply sophisticated tone that harmonized with the gorgeous Lake Michigan view from the top of the mountain.

Guitarist Mike Moran played for the ceremony and during the mountaintop cocktail party that followed. Guests nibbled on butlered hors d’oeuvres that included shaved tenderloin on toast, whitefish pâté and shrimp cocktails while a spirited game of Closest to the Pin commenced at the resort’s beautiful hole #7 on the resorts on-site par-3 course, Mountain Flowers.

From there it was back down the mountain aboard chairlifts for a beautifully catered sit down dinner followed by a wildly fun night of dancing.

Guests left happy and armed with a nod to that other beautiful city down Lake Michigan’s coast: bags of Chi-town’s famous Garrett Popcorn.

At the end of the night, Marta’s mom told her, “We thought this wedding was our gift to you. We now know it was your gift to us.”

Photo by Dan Stewart Photography

Wedding Vendors

Venue |The Homestead
Photography | Dan Stewart Photography
Flowers | Field of Flowers North
Cake | Aunt B’s Cakes & Desserts
Music | Mike Moran, 2Bays DJ
Hair & Makeup | Lilyjade Salon
Bridal Gown | Complete Bridal, Illinois

Photo(s) by Dan Stewart