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  • Writer's pictureShannon K. Wendt-Heath

How to Create an Amazing Experience for the Wedding Guests at Your Northern Michigan Wedding

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

Are you getting married in the Charlevoix, Petoskey, Gaylord, Harbor Springs, Traverse City or Bay Harbor area? Read on to discover valuable tips on creating an awesome wedding your guests will rave about for years.

According to a recent Wedding Wire survey, one of the elements most important to couples planning their weddings is creating an amazing experience for their family and friends. What does this mean and how can it be done?

1) Prioritize decor rental upgrades. Your guests will most likely spend more time in their seats than anywhere else in your venue. Why not make it a treat for their senses with velvet napkins or linens? Or a super fun and colorful print? Here is a bulleted list of some upgrades (definitely not everything, but it's a great start):

  • Napkins. Is your venue supplying them? If so, are they boring white polyester? Napkins are inexpensive to rent (usually running about $1-$2 a piece for a basic solid, and in tons of colors). And now also carry handmade linen napkins that are hand-dyed. They've been a gorgeous addition!

  • Linens (tablecloths, chair covers, runners, etc.). I am not sure about you, but I love running my hands over my velvet tablecloths! I bet you'll have guests that like to do this as well! And linens set the tone of your wedding more than most other items.

  • Chairs! Chairs really set a tone! Whimsical garden chairs and elegant or traditional Chiavaris are so much fun to use! Chair upgrades can be expensive, so shop around. Here at Heart, we can provide your wedding or event with the chairs you want, rather than the white plastic chairs that come with most venues.

  • Candles, candle holders and candelabras are absolutely gorgeous upgrades to make to the venue. Candelabra rentals can run $25 and up, but they can always be alternated with taper candles on your guest tables. And we carry a massive amount of candle holders in all different styles.

  • Glassware is the new HOT request. Vintage and modern styles are present at almost everyone of my weddings this year. They range from several blues, blush, amber, green, purples, red and smoky grey.

  • Flatware is also a very popular rental request. We carry gold and rose gold to really upgrade your tables.

2) Hire a DJ that lets you create personalized music for the ceremony and within the wedding reception. Those parts include the ceremony itself, the cocktail hour, dinner and more. Instead of using the "standards", the music speaks to the two of you and your guests. Those great modern folk songs you love, but that can't be danced to? How about adding to cocktail hour or dinner? The upbeat ones would be a great way to set the tone during cocktail hour. Our entertainment division, A+ Entertains, does planning meetings with our couples to get to know you better; better than any other entertainment provider does in northern Michigan.

3) Create various "stations", which all include items personal to the two of you, or that "tell your story". A memory table with photos of family and friends that have passed away is always beautiful and touching.

4) Find a Master of Ceremonies that will highlight those ceremonies within your reception or that you care about most (first dance, telling your "Love Story") and omitting those that do not serve you (garter/bouquet toss).

5) Add a lounge area (or two) if your budget allows. Older guests especially will love the lounge areas. Even better? Vintage lounges and pieces that tell a story. These "grandmillenial" style lounges create the most "buzz" among your older guests. And don't be surprised if your older guests ask about the pieces. We will have made sure that the two of you know the story of the piece beforehand and can share it with curious guests.

6) Have you considered elevating any part of your day with live music? How about strings for ceremony and a modern folk tribute band for cocktail hour? Our entertainment company A+ Entertains fields several different live music offerings. One of our most popular is our "DJ and Beats" where a percussionist (drummer) plays alongside the DJ. And as we like to say, it's like getting a live band feel at your reception, but the music is music that you and your guests will know. You can find out more about this at the website of our parent division, ThomasHeathevents.

Here at Heart (and ThomasHeathevents), we take the time to get to know the two of you. Time to discuss those decor, entertainment and other elements that speak to you, and that also send a message to your guests: that yes, you want them to have fun, but also that they feel like active participants in your Big Day.

Let's create an experience for you and your guests!

Select photos by @kariannephotography @shanahansbarn @staffordsperryhotel @theboathouse @theellisonplace

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