Haley and Kane knew they wanted a Northern Michigan wedding in a vineyard. After viewing Aurora Cellars’ ceremony site, featuring a half-century-old willow tree, they couldn’t picture their Up North nuptials anywhere else. From incredible vendors to ending the night with Diet Coke and PB&J’s, go behind the scenes of this Lake Leelanau wedding.

This article was first featured in the 2022 issue of MyNorth Wedding.

Haley Cribbs & Kane Sarkisian | July 17, 2021

A law student went into a bar. And fell in love with the gorgeous bartender. A month or so later that law student, Kane, who was attending Valparaiso University in Indiana, asked that bartender, Haley, also then a student at Valparaiso, out on a date. Six years later, on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, Haley followed Kane into the bar where they had first met. She thought they were simply meeting some family and friends who were in town for the holiday weekend. When she walked in, she was surprised to find a lot more family and friends there than she’d expected. And even more surprised when Kane got down on one knee and proposed to her. Oh, yeah!

When the planning began, their love of the breweries and wineries up and down the West Michigan coast prompted the couple to imagine a vineyard wedding. “I wanted an outdoor wedding with plenty of greenery,” Haley says. A bit of internet surfing landed Haley on the Aurora Cellars website, where she found she and Kane could be married surrounded by vineyards—and in front of a massive half-century-old willow tree. “The willow was the selling point,” Haley says.

Haley and Kane told both sets of parents to get ready for a road trip to Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula, where Aurora Cellars is located. They traveled North in December when the landscape was more white and brown than green, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the happy families who met with Aurora’s event manager, Kristi Brown. Haley and Kane had no trouble imagining how romantic the setting would be. The willow weeps beside a vintage white farmhouse—a perfect place for the bridal party to get ready. Aurora’s Tuscan-style winery sits across from the vineyard, where a 40-by-80-foot tent could accommodate the 150-person wedding they dreamed of.

Event coordinator Stacy Horn of Juniper and Lace Events teamed up with Kristi to make the event magical. The Aurora team “bent over backward,” Haley says. And as for Stacy, Haley wishes she could hire Stacy to run her entire life.

Kane and Haley kicked off their destination wedding with a meet and greet the evening before the wedding at The Parlor, an intimate cocktail bar in Traverse City. The day of the wedding, some guests golfed while others toured area wineries.

Photo booth at Aurora Cellars

Photo by Taylor J. Photography

Reception at Aurora Cellars

Photo by Taylor J. Photography

Ceremony at Aurora Cellars

Photo by Taylor J. Photography

Bride and groom at Aurora Cellars

Photo by Taylor J. Photography

Meanwhile, Haley and her bridal party sipped mimosas made with Aurora Cellar’s own blanc de blanc bubbly in the picturesque farmhouse while they had their hair and makeup done. That was just a prelude to the rich wine experience that the bridal party and guests were treated to during the course of the event. “Couples are able to select from a variety of our wines for their events and we also keep wine stewards on the property during the event to answer wine and estate questions,” Kristi says.

Beyond the blanc de blanc, Haley and Kane chose sparkling brut rosé for their toasts and paired their dinner entrées—local trout, ribs and lemon pepper chicken, all served family-style—with blaufränkisch and pinot grigio, each made with estate-grown grapes. Additionally, brut rosé, pinot grigio, Luminous (a medium-sweet white), rosé and full-bodied reds blaufränkisch and cabernet franc were all served at an open bar.

Fine wine, delicious food and fabulous music provided by the Collision 6 Band (who came horns and all!) kept the reception swinging. “No one left the dance floor all night,” Haley says. When they finally did depart, Kane made sure they were all given personalized cans of Diet Coke and their own PB&J’s. “It was his idea,” Haley says. The fun touch was just one of so many details that made Kane and Haley’s wedding memorable.

Walking into the sunset at Aurora Cellars

Photo by Taylor J. Photography

The Homestead Wedding Resources

Venue | Aurora Cellars
Photography | Taylor J. Photography
Event Planner | Juniper & Lace Events
Bar | Tonic & Lime
Cake & Dessert | Sweets by Jessica
Catering | Island Thyme Catering
Cinematography / Videography | Xavier Nicole
Florals | Sweetwater Floral
Invitations, Custom Signage & Menus | Jes Married
Hair & Makeup | Girl on the Glow
Lodging & Travel | Park Place Hotel
Music & Entertainment | Detroit Event Company, Collision 6 Band
Rehearsal Dinner Shuttle / VW Bus | The Magic Shuttle Bus
Rentals & Decor | 307 Events & Tents; Events by I. Candy; Event Theory; BBJ La Tavola Linens.

Cake at Aurora Cellars

Photo by Taylor J. Photography

Photo(s) by Taylor J. Photography