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A beautiful late-summer Northern Michigan wedding takes place at The Homestead in Glen Arbor, on the stunning shores of Lake Michigan.

Karey Seward & Andrew MacDonald // September 7, 2019

Andrew and Karey met on Match.com. They were two singles living in Chicago along with 2.7 million other people. Their first date was at a bar in Lincoln Park. It went well enough that he walked her home. That was when they realized they lived on the same block.

Of course, it takes more than geography to make a lifelong commitment, and Andrew and Karey soon realized they had all of that. They both love to laugh, love to party, love their families and friends. She is an over-planner; he balances that out with spontaneity. They share a love of the outdoors, water and boats. And it didn’t take more than one visit for Andrew to feel as passionate as Karey about the Glen Lake area where her family has summered for generations.

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By the time they’d been together four years, marriage was a sure thing. But Karey had one request: To be surprised when he asked her. (Not an easy thing to do for a woman who plans everything!) But using her birthday as an excuse, Andrew pulled it off on the rooftop of their apartment complex in Chicago. The guy who hates scrapbooking (Karey loves it) surprised her with a photo book of the 10 reasons he loves her and wants to spend the rest of his life with her. She cried as she read it. He’d made the background on the last page green. “Green meant go,” he says. Before she closed the book, he was down on one knee pulling out the ring. 

And that ring? “Buying it was the scariest thing I’d ever done,” he says. But Andrew got it right. 

“He’d listened to everything I ever said I wanted in a ring and found the perfect one,” Karey says. “I’m still obsessed with my ring.” 

Thankfully for Andrew’s sake, choosing their wedding venue was easier. They both knew they wanted a destination wedding in the Glen Lake area. “I love out-of-town weddings because guests are invested for the whole weekend and you have more time to spend with everyone,” Karey says. That made choosing The Homestead, set on Lake Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Bay, the spectacularly obvious choice. The amenity-filled resort could easily accommodate their 185 guests—and provide a weekend full of scenic activities, beach time and water sports. Beyond that, The Homestead offers Bay Mountain for wedding ceremonies, an inspirational perch overlooking Lake Michigan, the Manitou Islands and even Glen Lake. 

The “weekend” began on Thursday when the bride and a few bridesmaids moved into one big, beautiful house on the resort property, and the groom and his groomsmen moved into another house nearby. That gave plenty of time for hanging out on the beach, a hike along Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, golf and browsing the quaint shops in Glen Arbor. The rehearsal dinner was held at the resort’s casual, Northwoods rustic venue, Camp Firefly. Like all the food at The Homestead, the Italian buffet was overseen by the resort’s renowned chef, John Piombo. As the couple would find out, Piombo was just beginning to show off his culinary skills.

With the help of Sandy Luthardt, The Homestead’s event manager, and wedding coordinator Stacy Horn of Juniper & Lace Events, the wedding day, says Karey, was absolutely seamless. “They were both so wonderful to work with,” she says. “Stacy went above and beyond what we paid for.” Karey often joked with Stacy that, “You have turned into my best friend, you should be standing up at my wedding!”

Karey’s brother-in-law, Dr. David Duke, officiated at the intimate Bay Mountain ceremony. As he spoke, the sun came out and two hawks circled each other in the sky. Then it was back down the mountain on the chairlift for the reception at the resort’s Mountain Flowers Lodge for a plated dinner that included steak and salmon. Once again, Chef John Piombo’s skills were on display: “The steak was just unreal,” Andrew says.

“Everyone said it was one of the best steaks they’d ever had, and we had a bunch of Chicago foodies there.” 

In lieu of a wedding cake, the couple ordered up donuts from Peace, Love & Little Donuts. Karey also surprised Andrew with a groom’s cake, decorated with bagpipes complete with the Scottish MacDonald tartan and family crest.

Andrew and Karey chose Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight” for their first dance. The couple had taken dance lessons, “so we didn’t look like idiots,” as Karey says. But guests didn’t see the full extent of Andrew’s new moves until the end of the evening when the newlyweds found themselves encircled by their loved ones as they danced to Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.” Near the end of the song, Andrew picked Karey up and artfully swung her around. When she hit the ground she caught sight of her father tearing up with happiness. 

No doubt, this couple knows how to entertain: They’d ordered up sliders to be brought in as the evening wore down. “Everyone cheered from the dance floor as they brought the platters in,” Karey says. Refueled, the bridal party kept the night going back at the groom’s house and hung out together until the wee hours of the morning.

However, everyone was up in time for the farewell brunch the next morning. Once again, the couple says, The Homestead staff outdid themselves with the beautiful spread. “I was so energized I didn’t eat,” Karey remembers. “But everyone couldn’t stop saying how great it was.” Words they also used to sum up the entire, wonderful weekend and the start of their lives together.

Wedding Resources

Venue | The Homestead

Photographer | Dan Stewart Photography

Wedding Planner | Stacy Horn

Videographer | LM Visuals LLC

Florist | Premier Floral Design

Rehearsal Dinner | The Homestead

Reception Dinner | The Homestead

DJ | Mr. Music DJ

Dessert Donuts | Peace Love & Little Donuts

Scottish Family Crest Cake | Aunt B’s Cakes & Desserts

Find more Northern Michigan weddings, lots of ideas and vendors in the 2020 MyNorth Wedding!