This off-the-grid Michigan wedding from Kat and Dylan Schleicher of Ellagraph Studios has completely captured our hearts and reminded us why we love a good woodsy wedding. It was a truly Eco-friendly fete with virtually no waste left. The bride, groom, and their families and friends spent months preparing for the wedding, including cleaning and clearing a plot in the woods for their ceremony and reception. Not only the couple, but also some of their guests, spent time camping to get into the festive spirit!
From the bride, Nora: EVERYTHING was a DIY project. We built our wedding on my brother’s land which is out in the northern forest and it is completely off-grid. We had no power, or running water. We worked on the land for a month beforehand. We built the beautiful elliptical stage, and cleared the large area where we put our big tent. The clearing and road to it, were a neighborhood group effort with the use of tractors and many hours of help by many beautiful people who helped just because they knew it was needed. My husband built the romantic bridge and pine arch that I crossed over to walk up our cedar-bow ‘aisle’. My brother, Mike, built another bridge near the tent that guests could take over to the ‘margarita bar’ which we constructed. My sister-in-law, Erica, and I did a lot of path work, clearing walkways from one magical place to the next. Jared (my husband) and I cleared the trees and scrub for the ceremony site, and all of this took place along a trickling creek.
We had very little waste, using bamboo plates that are currently decomposing on the land (and should be dirt within a few more months). All other utensils and glassware were gathered from second-hand shops by a few friends and family members. They have been donated back, minus a few that people wanted to keep. My nieces took the reigns on decorating each mason jar (for drinking out of) so that each would be different and identifiable to it’s owner. I bought inexpensive, white towels from IKEA and my maid-of-honor and I hand-dyed them all purple to stand out on the muslin table clothes. Everyone involved with the wedding, now has a few purple kitchen towels in their home.
Any advice for brides planning their weddings now? Ask for help, and dole out jobs to people ahead of time. When it comes down to a day or two before, it’s ok to let a few things go undone. It’s no biggie. Savor everything!
From the photographer, Kat: Nora and Jared’s story is very sweet. They grew up together near Marquette, Michigan and were good friends their whole lives. It wasn’t until a few years ago, that they realized they were in love (Jared lived in Los Angeles, Nora on the East Coast). They live in Bend, Oregon now, but when they decided to get married, it was a no-brainier that it will be held near their childhood homes in the U.P. With help from their family and friends they spent one month prior to their wedding clearing space in the woods on the bride’s brother’s land for the ceremony and reception. They actually lived in a little camper in the woods while they re-landscaped the land. Most of the decor and design of the wedding was done by the Bride and Groom, very creative artists/musicians. (This included paths through the woods, a space for the reception tent, a clearing in the forest for the ceremony, a covered wood bridge, a margarita bar). For me, the brass band processional through the forest from the ceremony clearing to the reception tent was one of the most amazing things I have seen at a wedding. Many of the guests camped on the land over the weekend too.
Wedding Vendors (Michigan):
Wedding Venue: Private Residence in the Upper Peninsula / Wedding Photographers: Kat and Dylan Schleicher of Ellagraph Studios / Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero “Gatsby” / Wedding Shoes: MRKT / Bride’s Hair Accessory: WeeGardens / Bride’s Necklace: Tissage / Groom’s Suit: J. Crew / Groom’s Shirt: Prada / Groom’s Tie: Sptzbrgn / Groom’s Shoes: Cydwoq / Bride’s Hair: Studio 5 Nineteen (Marquette, MI) / Officiants: Mothers of the Bride and Groom / Wedding Musicians: Bohola / Wedding Flowers: Gille Mills and Marcia Gonstead of Garden Bouquet / Wedding Caterers: Rubaiyat, Randy Hicks (pig roast) and Michael and Terry Walker (tortilla makers) / Wedding Cake: Sister of the groom / Fruit Pies: Gopher’s / Stationery: Bride and Groom / Decor: DIY / Transportation: Checker Transport