Having grown up in Northern Michigan, and having so many friends and family still up there, we jump at any chance to travel "home" for wedding photography!

There is just something about "up north" weddings that makes them so memorable. Actually, it's many "somethings"...

First of all, you can't beat the beauty of Northern Michigan! It's peppered with amazing lakes and endless beaches to stroll down or to "walk down the aisle" on. The forests in Northern Michigan are a magical place to hike, explore, and get your nature fix on. Especially in the fall! Mother Nature gets all dramatic and show-offy about it and the leaves are ablaze with color. We love it so much that our own wedding was up north, in fall.

The tip of the mitt is full of small towns with plain ole' good folks. They're hip, but not hipster. With a big emphasis on community, these are some of the friendliest people you may ever encounter. And if you're in their town, you're part of their community and the hospitality is unbeatable.

Northern Michigan has a vibe that's all it's own. To us, it's all about the beautiful surroundings, humble people, community, and getting back to what's important. Northern Michigan weddings always seem to have that vibe, too.

Chelsea and Ben chose to celebrate their wedding in Northern Michigan at Blue Bridge Events Centre, in Grawn, near Traverse City. Blue Bridge is nestled in the forest and is one of the most perfect venues we have been to. The staff was SO accommodating and friendly. They tended to Chelsea and Ben and all of their wedding details as if they were tending to the wedding of a family member of their own. Their wedding coordinator, Amanda couldn't have been more helpful or friendly. She was truly invested in this wedding, and it was obvious.

The couple chose to have their up north wedding be a weekend long event. The celebration was extended to several days, rather than several hours. Guests arrived a couple of days early. Many lodged in cozy little cabins close to Blue Bridge and spent time exploring the woods and nearby lake. Morning coffee extended into the afternoon at picnic tables, and evening bonfires extended into mornings.

The relaxed vibe continued on the day of the wedding. Chelsea, and her bridesmaids enjoyed mimosa's and laughs hanging out in the bridal suite while getting their hair and makeup done. Ben and the boys took in a few rounds of corn hole near the venue's vineyard.

Chelsea and Ben wanted to be together before the ceremony, but wanted to keep tradition with not seeing the bride until she took the aisle.

They opted for a "first moment". Ben kept his back turned as Chelsea came from behind him so that they could still be together to share their thoughts and excitement. I think it was what they both just needed, they have a calming effect on each other.

The couple wrote their own vows and shared them in an outdoor chapel surrounded by lots of smiling, teary eyed guests. The whole ceremony was so heartfelt and emotional and real. It was like they had so much love that it spread out to everyone there, you could feel it, it was contagious! And when Ben kissed Chelsea there was so much passion and love there that it took your breath away!

After the ceremony, guests headed to the outdoor patio for cocktails and hors d'oeuvre's and we took the wedding party out for some fun and photos in the forest just across the street from Blue Bridge Events Centre.

The bachelor/bachelorette parties were held at Electric Forest, so this was not their first rodeo together partying in the forest! It was such a cool setting for wedding party photos with the sunlight peeking through the tall pines. Total bonus that it was right across the street so we didn't have to leave for long. We like it when our couples get to enjoy the celebration as much as possible, rather than spending that valuable time getting photos taken. It's also important to us that our couples get a few minutes to themselves after the ceremony, so we headed over to the vineyard area at Blue Bridge for a few photos and to let them just be together without an audience.

Dinner, dancing and merriment came with toasts from family and friends and a first dance like no other.

Ben's brother, Jessie, who is a dancer choreographed the most amazing dance for the couple, complete with spins and lifts and dips and love. The crowd went absolutely apeshit. It was like I was watching the finals in a live taping of Dancin' With The Stars, but way better and without the spray tans.

The music went on through the night and brought nearly everyone there to the dancefloor. Chelsea and Ben and their sweet daughter, Dylan were right there in the middle of it all enjoying every second.

We are so lucky to have been there to document their love, their story and their celebration. Traveling to Northern Michigan for the wedding was such an added bonus for us, as well as for their families and friends.

Again, I can't say enough good about this venue! It immediately made it onto our list of Michigan's Best Wedding Venues. Check that out here!

The team:

Venue: bluebridgeevents.com

Dress: Jenna in White http://www.jennainwhite.com/

Florist: Amanda Pearson bluebridgeevents.com

Hair and Makeup: Kelly Kaiser, Neil Johnson, and Erika Broderdorf http://luigibruni.com

Caterer: http://www.grandviewcateringtc.com/

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