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!

woodsy wedding programs
Nora & Jared, Off the Grid 08.06.11

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.

Nora & Jared, Off the Grid 08.06.11

Nora & Jared, Off the Grid 08.06.11Nora & Jared, Off the Grid 08.06.11

Nora & Jared, Off the Grid 08.06.11

Nora & Jared, Off the Grid 08.06.11Nora & Jared, Off the Grid 08.06.11

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.

Nora & Jared, Off the Grid 08.06.11Nora & Jared, Off the Grid 08.06.11

Nora & Jared, Off the Grid 08.06.11
marching band wedding

Nora & Jared, Off the Grid 08.06.11Nora & Jared, Off the Grid 08.06.11

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!

Nora & Jared, Off the Grid 08.06.11

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.

View all pictures from this wedding in the gallery

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

  • OMG! I love what they did to the bridge and created an arch. I die for weddings like this! Super-charming!

  • the details are amazing! love those lantern lights!

  • How charming! The purple kitchen towels were just one of many creative touches employed by the bride and groom. We were particularly fond of the use of the tuba.

  • *sigh* it looks like a fairy tail

  • ABSOLUTELY STUNNING! I’ve been in this industry for seven years and HANDS DOWN, this is the most unique and special wedding I have ever seen. I would have LOVED to have shot it. I mean, just WOW, WOW! I really mean that, I REALLY do! It’s like a couple of kids playing fort in the backyard, but in the most sophisticated and lovely way! I love the rustic feel to the cakes, I love the bridge- how fun would that be to play on?! It reminds me of the wedding (in some aspects) that took place on Frontier House, the PBS special that aired in 2001. (Nate Brooks and Kristen McCleod’s wedding). Absolutely wonderful. GREAT JOB guys and congratulations!

  • The lantern lights are fAnTastic! Great details!

  • Shannon

    Can someone tell me more about the brass band? Who was it? I want to hire them!

  • Wedding Photographer Manchester

    What a romantic and idyllic place to get married! It’s great everyone worked together to make it nice and keep costs low. It’s a great satisfaction when you have made things yourself and you can then make it exactly how you want it. The pictures are beautiful!

  • O the lavender cupcakes and birch lamps are to die for! Absolutely in love with this wedding.

  • Birch is so fabulous and what a great way to use it! Gorgeous wedding!


  • Erica Ann Photography

    Wow, this is amazing!

  • Such a breathtaking wedding! These photos make me want to go hiking, something I never thought I’d say about wedding photos. :-)

  • Stunning Woodsy Wedding! Love the shot of the couple underneath the arch, the choice of lavender and eryngium for flower accents, the eco-friendliness of the wedding, the birch bark lamps (so awesome!), all the beautiful details, and the photography is beyond beautiful (love the last shot of the sun peeking through the forest trees)….BEAUTIFUL WEDDING!

  • Ann

    What an incredible gown!

  • shawn

    absolutely beautiful! i have no words…

  • Gladys

    It’s a few months after this wedding and I may be a little late with my comments but I must commend the bride and groom for sharing their wonderful wedding with the world. Simple abundance in all its glory! It was so very authentic and natural. After viewing your photographs and see the way everything was planned, I came to the conclusion that is the appreciation and good use of nature and Mother Earth, great friends and family coming together plus the other little things that add more to a wedding ceremony than the great display of worldly richness that often consumed weddings, today. Good luck

  • Was that a glass of broth in that glass jar?

  • Shannon

    How did you make the birch lanterns? They’re beautiful!