An Elegant Winter Wedding at Traverse City’s Historic Barns Park

A busy Northern Michigan couple chose their most relaxed time of the year to be wed in the place they go to unwind. Fall in love with this pure and simple Traverse City wedding at Historic Barns Park.

Featured in the January 2019 issue of Traverse Magazine. Get your copy. 

If you’re talking construction in Northern Michigan, chances are the name Paul Maurer General Contracting comes up. In business for four decades, the firm has built some of the finest residences in the Traverse area. Meet our groom: Ben Maurer, Paul’s son and vice president of the company.

Looking for a design firm with a young, fresh sense of style? You’re bound to hear about Paige Lee Interiors. That’s the new Traverse City-based business of award-winning designer, and our bride, Paige Fuller Maurer.

With pedigrees like those, it’s not a stretch to imagine an over-the-top, Traverse City gala-of-the-year kind of a wedding. But not for this grounded couple. Yes, given their shared organizational skills and design sensibilities, there was never any doubt their wedding would be smart, stylish, understatedly elegant and perfectly executed (read: Paige’s planning binder!). Deep down, Paige and Ben wanted their wedding to reflect their Traverse City lifestyle, which revolves around family, friends and unwinding from work on hikes with their beloved fur baby, a Weimaraner named Kobe.

Fittingly, Ben proposed on one of their favorite hiking trails in the Brown Bridge Quiet Area. And they first kissed after a hike through the Grand Traverse Commons—a place Paige describes as having a “cool vibe.” 

The day of that kiss, the couple had parked at Historic Barns Park (the gorgeous property adjacent to the commons), directly in front of the rustically magnificent Cathedral Barn. Built in 1932, the barn was once a part of the farm that fed patients at the Traverse City State Hospital (whose elegant Victorian Italianate buildings now comprise the Village at Grand Traverse Commons). Newly renovated to accommodate weddings and other large events, the 3,500-square-foot building’s trussed and arched ceiling rises to an inspirational 30 feet.

Paige recalls the venue popping into her head soon after she said an emotional and enthusiastic “YES,” to Ben. But she kept it to herself. “I wanted to hear what Ben had to say before I came out with any ideas,” she says. A short time later, on another walk at Historic Barns Park, Ben said, “What about the barn?”

With the venue agreed upon, the planning began. It was Ben’s idea to have the wedding during their businesses’ downtime, so February 17, 2018, became the date (followed by a honeymoon in Costa Rica). Paige turned her style eye to the decor, something she kept purposely simple. “As a designer, I tend to let a building speak for itself and the barn just kind of had its own thing going on,” she says.

Paige’s pinkish taupe color theme was an elegant choice—and, bonus, it reminded the couple of Kobe’s beautiful coat. The bouquets by Premier Floral Design were a mix of greenery, white and soft pink mondielle roses, gray beronia berry and white ranunculus. The table centerpieces were made from lanterns surrounded by two types of eucalyptus with baby’s breath and white majolica spray roses.

Ben’s older brother, Brian, officiated at the ceremony held under a simple wooden arch set at the front of the barn. Afterward, guests enjoyed cocktails and a hot chocolate/coffee bar (Bailey’s, marshmallows, crushed mints …) at the back of the barn, while the staff deftly swapped out wedding guest chairs for a dance floor and station for 2Bays DJs.

Meanwhile, the wedding party was aboard The Magic Shuttle Bus for a photo-op tour of the hip and historic Commons campus with photographer Jessie Zevalkink.

With photos finished, it was back to Cathedral Barn for a soup and salad bar catered by Streetside Grille in Suttons Bay. “We wanted to do something different,” Paige says, “So I thought, ‘What do we like to eat in the winter?’” Answer: Chili, curried lentil and root veggie soup, roasted garlic and potato, chicken tortilla.

Each table was outfitted with a bottle of Mawby’s Sparkling US wine. The toasts commenced to the celebratory sounds of 16 corks popping. And then a crazy-fun night of dancing began and didn’t let up until the DJ’s final song. Good thing the couple had rented a nearby condo at the Grand Traverse Commons for the night.