Although their Northern Michigan proposal was made more difficult thanks to Lake Michigan, their Grand Traverse Resort and Spa wedding was made perfect by the charms of Up North.

A Gorgeous Grand Traverse Resort and Spa Wedding …

Bri Chapman & Michael Parker // August 10, 2019

Thankfully Bri and Michael’s wedding went a bit smoother than the proposal itself. That happened on a blustery day on the South Haven Pier. “The waves were ginormous,” Bri recalls. “When he asked me to walk out on it, I was like, ‘This is how people die.’” He persisted and finally she put it in gear and went—not stopping to notice that twice he’d gotten down on one knee. When she finally did turn around she assumed he was tying his shoe. Well, until she saw the box …

Flash forward to the wedding for 180 people at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. Although the couple (she is a nurse, he is a firefighter) live in Kalamazoo, they both have roots in Northern Michigan. Michael grew up spending summers in Charlevoix while Bri visited her grandparents’ home in Northport. When they looked at the map, Grand Traverse Resort was pretty much smack in the middle of the two locations. Beyond that, the resort willingly blocked off almost 50 rooms for their guests who were coming from all over the country—something most venues simply can’t do.

The couple was looking to make their Northern Michigan destination wedding seamless—as well as a mini-vacay for their guests. With the help of Liz Kondik and Molly Schroderus at Grand Traverse Resort, their wish was granted. “I literally can’t say enough great things about them,” Bri says. The couple felt the love from the GTR staffers as early as the January before the wedding, when they had their one and only chance until spring to get north for their dinner tasting. “I work nights and Michael’s schedule is erratic,” Bri explains. The couple had tried to come twice, but each time was stopped by snowstorms. Seeing a break in their hectic schedule, Bri emailed Liz with only days’ notice. Liz said no problem about the short notice—and even comped them a room.

Eventually, of course, the big weekend finally came. The festivities kicked off Friday when Michael, an avid golfer, hit the Grand Traverse Resort’s golf course, The Bear, with his groomsmen and all of their fathers.

At the rehearsal dinner that evening, the wedding party dined on an Italian buffet at the Grand Traverse Resort’s stunning 17th-floor restaurant. “It was perfect because the sun was just setting,” Bri says. A meet and greet cocktail hour followed the dinner—an affair that guests left as friends.

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The ceremony was held at the resort’s Shores Beach Club that sits on Lake Michigan’s East Grand Traverse Bay. The resort provided a shuttle service to transport them the short drive to the beach where cocktails awaited them, prior to the ceremony. The sun shone and a soft bay breeze blew across the wedding party as the 10-year-old flower girl, Casey, the couple’s golden retriever, walked down the aisle greeting guests. Under Casey’s loving gaze, Bri and Michael exchanged vows. And then it was off to the reception at the resort’s tented-outdoor venue, The Plaza. After a sit-down dinner of GTR’s famous root beer/vanilla braised short ribs and cherry chicken, the Bluewater Kings Band got the evening rocking—until midnight when the young folks headed down to the bar in the resort’s lobby and met up with another wedding party where they turned out to have mutual friends.

A send-off brunch back up on the Tower’s 17th floor sealed the perfect weekend. “Just talking about it makes me want to do it all over again,” Bri says.

Northern Michigan Wedding Resources

Venue and Catering // Grand Traverse Resort and Spa
Photographer // Samantha Rice Photography
Flowers // Dorothy’s Floral Studio
Cake // Aunt B’s Cakes & Desserts
Music // Bluewater Kings Band

More photos from Bri & Michael’s Traverse City wedding …