Planning an Outdoor Summer Wedding

Elizabeth and Spencer's wedding day was two and a half years in the making, including thousands of hours of planning, enduring a pandemic, and changing venues 6 months before the wedding! We had to modify almost all of our previous details to fit the new venue—an open field at the Huntsman Hunt Club in Dryden, Michigan. With a copious amount of space and the open concept, we designed and constructed a tent, or house as I call it, which is quite an undertaking on its own, but even more so with a time constraint. The tent took over a week to build—including a hard floor, full carpeting, chandeliers, and an AC installation! It was a remarkable experience to orchestrate behind closed doors, and was an unforgettable experience for the couple, their guests, and families.

Planning and Prepping

My first meeting with a couple is like an intense first date: asking 100 questions to get the essence of the new couple’s tastes, feelings, favorites, quirks, sense of humor, love languages, favorite shops, Amazon carts, home decor styles, and recent Netflix binges … just to name a few. I always find it funny when parents join in on the meeting and find out new things about the couple that they didn’t know.

After our “first date,” I get to work designing an experience for the couple and their guests! It is extremely important to think about wedding guests as well as the couple for a fully planned out experience. Sure, the couple will be having a magical day, but what are the guests doing while you are taking pictures, etc.? Do guests know where to go throughout the evening? A well-planned event tells the guests where to be, through suggestions of music, lighting and so on. Details are very important! When I can add in little details that match the couple’s personality it makes all the difference. The best events are those that guests say when leaving, "That was the BEST NIGHT and that was so them!" Couples are my muse for their day. I want the day to represent them in the best way, on the best day of their lives.

The Vision

On our “second date,” I present the vison. The vison is made up of all the details previously discussed—their dos and don’ts, their personalities, and their wedding day ideas through my eyes. The following is what was presented to Elizabeth and Spencer for their special day:

Imagine stepping of out of your car as the valet opens your door. You make your way to a shoe change station as you enter the grass field where servers await with glasses of sparkling champagne. Then you stroll over a bridge where you’re served signature cocktails and passed hors d'oeuvres circling the cocktail tent as Ben Sharkey's band sings “The Way You Look Tonight."

Cocktail hour ends. The doors of the tent open to the dining room. As you walk in you notice plush carpet filling the room, billowing fabric fills the ceiling, and massive pine chandeliers (adding scale and perspective to the space).

Four long communal dining tables feel as if they may never end. Three thousand white hydrangea fill the tables with chic freshness, and candles flicker for extra ambiance. Escort cards are hand-calligraphied on hunter green cotton parchment. As guests take a seat, the new Mr. and Mrs. will take to the dance floor for their first dance, shortly after cutting the cake. As father toasts to the couple, everyone will be left in tears, and a five-course dinner will be served.

As the evening continues, cigars and bourbon will be served on the patio overlooking the pond, and guests will dance the night away to the music of a live band.

A Magical Evening

It is amazing to see my couple's faces when I go into detail about their wedding. They often express that they couldn't verbalize how they wanted the wedding day to feel, and my design inspiration goes beyond what they envisioned. I love bringing a vision to life for my couple, their families, and their guests. For Elizabeth and Spencer's wedding in particular, it was truly one to remember. It was the perfect mix of great weather, fun guests, an amazing couple, and a gorgeous design. Cheers to the happy couple!

Vendor List

Planning and floral design: fleurdetroit Events
Photography: J & N Studios
Video: 97 Films
Food art & Cartering: Forte Belanger
Cake: Sweet Heather Anne
Dress: Sareh Nouri
Hair: 6 salon
Makeup: Todd beauty
Cocktail entertainment: Ben Sharkey
Reception entertainment: Gold Coast All Stars
Paper goods: Annabel Reese
Tent: Event Theory
Rentals: Event Source