Starting off with the perfect meet-cute, this couple bonded over their love of Chicago and the Leelanau Peninsula. Working with a dream venue, design and planning team, here’s how they brought their Northport nuptials to life. Learn more about this Northern Michigan wedding below or grab our January 2023 MyNorth Weddings issue.

This article first appeared in Traverse Northern Michigan. Find this story and more when you explore our digital issue library. Want Traverse delivered to your door or inbox monthly? View our print subscription and digital subscription options.

Married couple posing for a photo

Photo by Dan Stewart

Kiley Hogg & Mke Heberlein // October 15, 2022

On a November evening in 2018, Mike Heberlein had no idea that when he and a friend walked into The Pearl of Germantown, a dive bar in Louisville, Kentucky, his life would change for the better. Way better. After a snarky exchange with a sarcastic bartender, Mike exclaimed, “Give me a break. I’m from Chicago.” A luminescent blonde a few seats down overheard the exchange and interjected that she, too, was from Chicago and she was moving back there.

Her name was Kiley Hogg, and after the two got talking they found plenty in common. For example: Mike’s roommate at the time was his cousin, Will DiFrancesca, who it turned out was also one of Kiley’s college friends. Together, they called Will and had a laugh over the meet-cute. After completing her master’s degree six months later, Kiley finally made her move to Chicago. By that time the pair was a definite couple.

In March of 2020, with the pandemic beginning, Mike and Kiley chose to escape their city apartments for Mike’s parents’ Northport home in the peace and quiet that is the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula. His family also owns the village’s charming wedding and event venue Willowbrook Mill and the couple often worked remotely from its empty ballroom.

Just married sign on back of a car

Photo by Dan Stewart

In January of 2021, Mike took a knee in Chicago’s Oz Park, a favorite picnic spot, to ask Kiley to marry him. Though she also researched venues in Chicago, it soon became clear that Northport was perfect for their wedding. “We realized that Willowbrook meant so much to both of us,” Kiley says. “It’s a beautiful destination and I loved the idea of having everyone in one place for the whole weekend.”

Wedding venue decorated

Photo by Dan Stewart

They set the wedding date, and with all of the Heberleins’ connections in the area, plans came together quickly and beautifully—including hiring wedding planner Stacy Horn of Juniper & Lace Events. The couple booked the nearby 16-bedroom Northport Bay Retreat so that many of their friends could stay there together and the space could be used for a welcome party hosted by the Heberleins.

October ushered in a spectacular color season, and many of the 120 wedding guests from all over the country arrived early in the week to take advantage of it, enjoying Leelanau Peninsula activities from wine tasting to hiking Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Beautiful weather held until Wednesday, when the temperature then fell and rain moved in, putting the plans for an outdoor ceremony at Northport’s waterside Haserot Park in jeopardy. But they had a backup plan: the quaint, white (with a steeple, of course) Trinity Church just a short walk from Willowbrook Mill. The little church was just exactly big enough to fit all the guests. “There wasn’t one seat left but everyone was warm and cozy,” says Kiley.

Man giving a speech at a wedding

Photo by Dan Stewart

Table decor at wedding

Photo by Dan Stewart

Table setting at wedding

Photo by Dan Stewart

The moving and funny ceremony, officiated by friend/cousin Will, included an acoustic duet performed by Kiley’s brother and sister-in-law, Seamus and Kyna, who were spontaneously joined in singing by their 2-year-old son, Cormac.

The newlyweds then boarded a golf cart clad with a “Just Married” sign and cans in tow for the short trip to the enchanting Willowbrook Mill where guests were greeted by a “Bourbon and Bubbles” table filled with welcoming glasses of Mike’s favorite bourbon pours and flutes of Prosecco. As if it were staged, guests thrilled to the sight of the seasonal salmon run viewed from the foot-bridge as coho and Chinook salmon made their way up the Northport Creek that flows directly beneath the ballroom.

Inside the rustic-elegant venue, Christina Pfeufer, of Field of Flowers North, had created a stunning arrangement of white roses and greenery cascading around the fieldstone fireplace. White fairy lights and chandeliers twinkled from the rafters while the flames from warm gold candles cast their glow on gold Chiavari chairs. The newlyweds opted for their own sweetheart table set in front of the fireplace; an intimate perch for them to share their dinner while enjoying the happy scene of family and friends before them. And what a dinner! Dan Kelly of Catering by Kelly’s personally over-saw the serving of braised short ribs, salmon, and mushroom pasta ensuring the picture-perfect plating arrived piping hot. Dinner was followed by a blueberry-lemon wedding cake and a table filled with matching flavored cupcakes made right in Northport by Kate LaCross, owner of The Baker’s Gamble. “She’s the new baker on the block and she is phenomenal,” says Kiley.

Married couple posing for a photo

Photo by Dan Stewart

After dessert, tables were moved to make room for dancing to the five-piece Bluewater Kings Band from Grand Rapids. The couple’s first dance was to “Beyond” by Leon Bridges. And from then on, the dance floor was packed—with Kiley leading the fun. “Quite literally, she never left the dance floor,” laughs her husband.

After the reception, the party kept going at Garage Bar-B-Q, a Northport favorite where the staff graciously stayed open late just for the wedding guests. A bit after the stroke of midnight, the storybook wedding, in the storybook venue, in the storybook village wound to a close.

Couple on their wedding day

Photo by Dan Stewart

Willowbrook Wedding Resources

Willowbrook Mill
Willbowbrook Mill Website

Dan Stewart Photography 
Dan Stewart Photography Website 

Montage Media Films
Montage Media Films Website

Wedding Planning
Juniper & Lace Events
Jupiner & Lace Events Website 

Catering by Kelly’s
Catering by Kelly’s Website 

Flowers & Candles
Field of Flowers North
Field of Flowers North Website 

Bluewater Kings Band
Bluewater Kings Band Website

The Baker’s Gamble
The Baker’s Gamble Website 

Rentals & Décor
307 Events & Tents
307 Events & Tents Website

Event Theory
Event Theory Website 

Couple kissing on wedding day

Photo by Dan Stewart

Decorated venue

Photo by Dan Stewart

Photo(s) by Dan Stewart