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July 27, 2019

Onaway,  Michigan​

Private Lake House

Rentals /  Taylor Rental Petoskey

Linens/ Taylor Rental Petoskey

Cake / Bella e Dolce

Catering / Island Thyme Catering

Our role /

Full Service Planning

Event Design

Event Management​ and Coordination

Photographer /Brian Smith Photography

Hair & Makeup / Carleana DeLaCruz

Floral / The Day's Design

Entertainment / The Groove Party


At the beginning of 2019, I was honored by being featured in our electric co-op's annual feature on business owners and entrepreneurs living in rural Michigan. I had seen the request for people to submit their stories of owning and running businesses, and after I wrote to our magazine, they reached back out to me for an interview and some photos to be published! It was such a sweet, small way to get more practice sharing more about my work as The Revel Rose, and it is always fun seeing your name in print. My parents were proud, to say the least!

A month or so after the publication came out, I got a phone call from a woman in Kentucky saying that her brother had seen my story in the magazine, and given her my name! Her daughter, and his niece was recently engaged to her longtime beau, and they were hoping to plan a 2019 wedding at their lake house in Onaway, Michigan, about 2 hours north of Traverse City. Because they were out of state, and were hoping to get married within the year, the mother who contacted me hoped I could help them by way of fully planning their backyard wedding.

A resounding yes was my response! And I asked Jody to thank her brother for me (I'd end up dancing with him at the wedding later!)


I didn't have any weddings on my calendar for July yet - but had plenty of fun events planned with an elopement early in the month, a 20th wedding anniversary later in the month, and a styled shoot for Great Lakes Glamping. So I pitched the idea of July to the couple, and they agreed it would be a perfect time to gather their friends and family at Black Lake for a midsummer affair.

I love a good challenge, and nothing says challenge like planning a wedding start to finish in less than five months at a private estate located in a really rural part of Northern Michigan during the height of wedding season. I mostly enjoy this type of planning because it is clear and appreciated that a planner is necessary and such a valuable piece of the process, and I love serving in this role. I knew we had to work fast and efficiently, without sacrificing the quality of the event or the vendor team pulled together.

Right away, I got to work contacting some folks I had been waiting for the right opportunity to work with - and was so happy when I began to find some availability among some favorite and new to me vendors.

The most difficult part of planning any estate wedding are the logistics, such as parking (especially on a tiny dirt road), waste management, restrooms, water and electricity access, and ensuring that we have quality rentals and plenty of time to complete a full set up and build out. 

I was so happy to be working with Taylor Rental of Petoskey for our one stop rental needs. They offered to come out and do two site assessments prior to the wedding weekend to take measurements , and ensure we had everything we would need for the weekend.

I reached out to two of my favorite wedding vendors (who also were a part of my wedding), Island Thyme Catering based in Leelanau County and Bella e Dolce bakery in Cheboygan right away, and was glad that they had availability.

Next, I contacted a new friend in the industry, Brian Smith of Brian Smith Photography who splits his time between his summer house in Northern Michigan and his more permanent residence in Charleston, South Carlolina. Brian is a fine art photographer specializing in classic Southern weddings, and I knew he would understand and appreciate the approach this couple was taking by blending Esther and Mark's southern roots with Esther's upbringing spending summers in Northern Michigan.

Shelby of The Days Design had recently located from Mid-Michigan to Northern Michigan when I reached out to her, and was beginning to fill her season with more local events. I thought it would be the perfect time for us to collaborate on our version of a rustic lakeside aesthetic. A rustic sensibility that was more earthy and elemental rather than folksy and quaint. We had so much fun brainstorming together for the ceremony on the beach and the large tent that would go up right in the backyard in the cedars.

Carleana of Hairpins and Happiness is a vendor I became aware of through a past bride, and I immediately fell in love with her presence on a wedding day and her calm demeanor. She and Esther and Esther's family had a slow and beautiful morning, sipping coffee in the big picture windows of the living room while Carleana led them through her hair and makeup beauty rituals.

The entire afternoon graved us with beautiful Northern Michigan summer weather - so rare, especially the weekend after monsoon like rains caused most of us in the wedding industry a years worth of stress and careful backup planning.

This was such a stunning wedding to get to see come to life with our vendor team, and the photos below paint just a little glimpse of a pretty classic Pure Michigan weekend in Northern Michigan wedding!


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