rustic lake house community celebration wedding

The offbeat bride: Whitney, Drama Therapist

Her offbeat partner: Sully, Poet

Date and location of wedding: Beech Tree Circle, Grand Junction, MI — June 23, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our talented and creative community of family and friends helped us put our stamp on the day. We found it very important to honor our grandparents, who could not make the trip, so we incorporated family quilts, my grandmother's hen-on-nest collection, and our parents' and grandparents' wedding photos to surround our handmade guest book.





Tell us about the ceremony: Sully's father Terry officiated the ceremony, we wrote our own vows, and we had original performances by the Speak'Easy Ensemble directed by Poetry Slam Founder Marc Smith, as well as Sully's sister Heidi on the ukulele. Our friend Victoria, from Whitney's Playback Theater Ensemble “All Things Story,” played the acoustic guitar and sang as guests arrived. Another friend, Nicki, performed “At Last.”


Both of our mothers carried a different wild flower to combine in one vase to symbolize the joining of two families. Later in the ceremony, instead of a unity candle, we each added a white daisy to the bouquet.


While “At Last” was sung, the rings were passed around in a cinnamon bark heart-shaped box. The congregation was asked to give a blessing or say a prayer over the rings before the exchange of vows.



Our biggest challenge: The usual hangups got in our way at times: how to keep the guest list a managable number, budgeting, logistics of day-of duties, relentlessly checking the weather report, last minute RSVPs and cancelations, finding a ladder tall enough to hang the paper lanterns, and when and where to get ice. Ultimately though, we took time out to communicate with each other, listen, and approach situations on a unified front. Between that and a small army of loyal friends willing to help, we were good to go.



My favorite moment: We wrote our vows separately, but combined them into a back-and-forth exchange. We are both criers, so it's a miracle we made it through them. Sully says that one of his favorite moments was seeing me walk down the aisle on the lake front to “Down to the River to Pray” by Allison Krauss.



My funniest moment: Sully's dad, while officiating, accidentally said something along the lines of, “Sully and Whitney have the kind of love that makes the world go wrong.” He then had to repeat himself and stress, “… the world go 'round.”



Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? We were worried about ordering flowers in bulk from and having them shipped to such a small, off-the-beaten-path location. But they arrived on time, the Thursday before the wedding, and were in great shape. Our challenge was trying to keep them cool and shaded until Saturday. Our friend (who used to work in a flower shop) volunteered to arrange my bouquet, Sully's boutonniere, and the centerpieces.


My advice for Offbeat Brides: Steer away from using the word “wedding” when talking to vendors, shops, or anyone trying to sell you something. The price automatically goes up when they know they've got you for something so big and special. Utilize your friends' strengths and creative talents. Chances are, you may know someone who has worked in a flower shop, knows how to use Photoshop and likes designing save-the-dates and invitations, can build a stage, does theater lighting, or owns a PA system.



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Comments on Whitney & Sully’s rustic lake house community celebration wedding

  1. I LOVE the flower unity idea & the pinwheels. The wedding photos are rad as well.

  2. Wonderful wedding & photos! I’m really starting to consider using Etsy for wedding stuff now, everything was so lovely

  3. Thanks for posting! Thanks for the kind comments everyone! The whole experience of our wedding day was truly a dream and still feels surreal. My wife is so wonderful and beautiful!

    I’d also like to give a shout out to InBlue (Mary Lynn Schroeder) on Etsy. I ordered leather bound journals with quotes I picked out and a stamp of a mason jar to fit our theme. I gave these as gifts to the groomsmen and wrote a letter on the first page to each of them. Definitely was a great and affordable gift!

  4. Yaaay! Another Michigan wedding! It looks like it was so beautiful. Congrats. ^_^

  5. You listed an Alterations business. I am curious, did you have a dress from someone in the family that you had altered?

    • Hey Debbie, the dress was purchased new. I’ll ask my wife as to where she bought it. The woman who did our alterations is also a costume designer. She did pretty major adjustments to fit it to exactly what Whitney wanted.

  6. This is such a cute wedding! My fiance and I are trying to plan an outdoorsy wedding in Michigan and have been struggling to find a good location. Is this location rent-able or was it a private home? Thanks for your help and congratulations!!


    • Hey Rachel, I’m sorry I missed this comment until now. The duo-cabins on the lake front are in the family. They may be rentable. Please email me and I’ll forward you the right contact info if you’re still interested. sully at whoisdansully d0t c0m.

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