A woodsy wedding turned weekend escape – this fun loving bride and groom left the windy city to share their special day in a beautiful Michigan barn tucked in the woods. Blue Label vendor J Wiley Photography was there to capture their wedding day, filled with preppy-rustic inspiration.
From the bride, Mackenzie: When Matt and I started planning our wedding, we wanted it to reflect us as a couple: slightly casual, laid-back, and a good time with a lot of laughs. We live in downtown Chicago but wanted to have a destination without the flying. We searched high and low for wedding venues and chose a renovated barn in Watervliet, Michigan. Mill Creek Barn is 2 hours from the heart of the city but another world, surrounded by nature, in the middle of nowhere. Being 2 hours away also gave us the opportunity to escape with our family and friends for more than just 1 night. We made a weekend of it, complete with a winery trip and a pizza party for all of our loved ones.
As we began to plan, we knew that we gravitated towards simplicity in our décor but wanted the details to shine. The planning was truly a family endeavor. Both my husband and mother are event planners and we have a very crafty family. Since I am more of a “big picture” person, I put my mother in charge of the flowers and centerpieces and she knocked it out of the park. From choosing the perfect flowers to hunting flea markets to find the perfect ball jars to cutting old barn wood to put on the tables, everything came together perfectly.
We chose navy and bright green as our wedding colors. The navy popped so well against the greenery around the property. I asked my bridesmaids to purchase any short navy dress and they all looked gorgeous! Our guys wore navy 3-piece suits and were so handsome. In case you couldn’t tell, facial hair was a requirement to be a groomsman in our wedding!
One of my favorite details of the day was the homemade blueberry jam that my great-aunt made. They acted as both our favors and our place cards. We used different navy and green fabrics and decorated them with raffia and they turned out fantastic. Another favorite detail was our cake, which was dedicated to the city we love, Chicago. We had different layers of red velvet and almond cake, decorated with a simple Chicago skyline in navy.
The day was absolutely perfect. There was an 80% chance of rain, but the sun came out 15 minutes before our ceremony. Love was in the air and we were so blessed to share it with such wonderful family and friends. I can say with all honesty that I wouldn’t have changed a thing – all our hard work really paid off! We certainly love a good party and the reception was more than we could’ve imagined. Our DJ is THE BEST and set the tone for an out-of-control 4 hour dance party. Warm weather and no air conditioning resulted in a sweaty mess and the best party we’ve ever thrown!
Wedding location: Watervliet, MI / Photography: J Wiley Photography / Venue: Mill Creek Barn / Catering: CK Catering / DJ: Zach Moss / Cake and Sweets: Dee’s Specialty Cakes / Officiant: Steve Opfer / Makeup and Hair: Robert Michael (hair), Bethza Seminario (makeup) / Dress: Martina Liana / Transportation: First Charter Bus / Invitation/Programs Designer & Printer: MaKenzie Dykstra / Cake Topper: The Little Gift Box / Flowers: Crystal Springs Florist