Mitch will tell you he's the best photographer in Michigan--and I can tell you he's probably right. An extremely talented photographer and consummate professional, Mitch is the perfect blend of artistry and reliability that is so important on your wedding day. I'm a photographer/artist myself, and so are many of my friends, so my standards are pretty high. And while Mitch's confidence in himself may sound like he's selling you something, trust me--on your wedding day the most important thing to him is giving you what you want. We just saw the preview of our wedding album, and I feel pretty comfortable saying that, shot-after-shot, we have some of the best and truly unique wedding photography I've ever seen. Worth every penny!
If you are a foodie, this is the best you will find in the area, and at a decent price. Owner Steve is very talented and extremely knowledgable--he gave us loads of great advice. Because Steve is talented and busy, it was a little hard to communicate with him at first. After a few delayed replies to my emails, I was about to give up. Luckily, my husband is a little more patient and took over the communication. Everything worked out perfectly, Steve knows our venue like the back of his hand, and it was a great comfort knowing that he was our caterer--we trusted him completely. His staff was also extremely professional and were all-around nice people.
The Blue Dress Barn is a beautiful, natural location that needs very little dressing up. The barn is beautifully rustic, surrounded by lush greenery in the summer. There are some downsides (no kitchen, no AC), but for our August wedding everything worked out beautifully. If you are an independent type who doesn't mind a little DIY (or if you are paying for a coordinator), this is a good match for you. If you are high-maintenance or expecting a lot assistance from the venue, it may not be a good fit. Amy and Kirby are nice people who run a tight ship, but they are very clear that they are not wedding coordinators--you are on your own when it comes to making sure your vendors get in and out on time. If you don't live in the area (we're in Chicago), I recommend making it easier on yourself by using vendors from their recommended list.
Best location of hotels in the area, decent rooms (some are nicer than others, but you can tell it's been a while since a remodel), a bit overpriced (but so is everything in the area during the summer season). The restaurant is excellent. Special events service was very poor, however.
Over a year in advance, we opened up a wedding block, and they promised they would open up more rooms for us as we filled them (we requested 20-30 rooms and they originally only wanted to open 10). Six months later, when they finally followed up with the contract, we were dismayed to find out that they had not opened up more rooms for us and now the hotel was entirely booked. We had to scramble to find other hotels who could accommodate our group (and yes, we needed more than 30 rooms). Such a stressful experience, and so disappointing given the business we were offering them.
I did not actually see this hotel, but from what I heard it was up to expected standards. Location is not great, but accommodations are decent with the added bonus of a pool.
They were much more communicative and accommodating with regard to booking a wedding block than the people at the Boulevard Inn.
For our rehearsal dinner/fish fry, we rented a pavilion that seated 88 people for $85 (you rent via the City of St. Joseph). On a Friday night with the sun setting over the lake, it was a really beautiful, peaceful location for our casual affair. I'd be cautious on a weekend evening if you want the place to yourself, however. A month before the wedding I was there on a Sunday night, and the beach was still crammed with families and kids and littered with a day's worth of picnic-related debris. Still fine for just a casual BBQ, but if you're having more of a formal event such as a rehearsal dinner, you'd be better off on a weeknight.
Great place to kill an afternoon. We were there in the fall while on a trip out to meet with wedding vendors. Don't miss the River Trail, which ends at a beautiful bend in the river, and the Tree Top Tower!
This unique nature center has five miles of trails meandering through its 800 acres. It sounds big, but it's easy hiking.
The trail system includes boardwalks, observation platforms, and an easily accessible barrier-free walkway (although some are in better repair than others). Bring your binoculars--we saw lots of birdwatchers making use of the observation benches.
This was our back-pocket option that we reserved when the Boulevard Inn dropped the ball on our wedding block. Cheap (we were able to get a rate of $45/night), but from what we read on Trip Advisor (and saw driving by) really gross. I believe they recently changed their name from the Economy Inn to the Loyalty Inn. Would not recommend to guests you want to stay friends with unless you've toured it yourself. They claimed to be remodeling, but we're not so sure. None of our guests ended up staying here.
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