Project Description

Even though Kaitlyn and Dan had known each other since high school, he still managed to pull off a surprise! Walking the beach looking distractedly for seashells while on vacation in Florida with friends, Kaitlyn turned around and was shocked to find Dan down on one knee…and it wasn’t to dig for a particularly attractive seashell!

With that big question behind them, they set off to plan their wedding. The first big questions are always, “What do we want?” and “Where can we find it?”. A wooded outdoor ceremony was very important but they really didn’t want the full outdoor wedding & reception experience. They chose August as their month and the summer heat can be stifling. Stonegate Manor fit all those needs and flew to the top of their list. The Fairy Garden is the perfect wooded outdoor ceremony location; the air-conditioned Riverside Room that opens onto the lawn provided the rest. It was the best of both worlds!

While they didn’t have a real “theme” in mind, they knew they wanted rustic, simple and elegant. And they did it! With dusty blue and pale grey their colors and using a lot of eucalyptus and white roses, dark walnut stained signs tied it all together with the wooded ceremony. It maintained its rustic feel but the roses and colors maintained the overall sense of elegance.

Photography by Suzanne Nevill, Gorgeous bride

Finding a wedding dress she loved was a bit of a challenge. Beginning her search online, she found two fancy “ballgown” style dresses she liked and that were available at The Dress Shop in Howell, Michigan. After trying on those and multiple other dresses, Kaitlyn finally agreed to try on a dress her Mother and Maid of Honor had suggested but she had hated. She still didn’t like it but when a belt was added, it tied the whole thing together and looked like an entirely different dress….one she loved!

The wedding dress was an ivory lace, Maggie Sottero with an open back and lots of beading and rhinestones with beautiful buttons down the back. Adding a cathedral veil with matching beading around the edge, it fit well the venue and, more importantly, truly reflected Kaitlyn. It was THE ONE!

The bridesmaid dresses were dusty blue, floor-length Mori Lee dresses also from The Dress Shop. Knowing the color and wanting a blouson, floor-length dress, she picked out several styles and let her bridesmaids choose. The Maid of Honor’s dress had straps of a different design so she would stand out a bit.

The guys wore pale grey suits with ivory shirts and dusty blue ties and pocket squares. The groom wore a darker grey tie and ivory pocket square. Accompanying Kaitlyn down the aisle, her brother wore the same suit but with a dark grey tie and blue pocket square. So, the color flow was maintained but this allowed each man’s role a unique look.

Photography by Suzanne Nevill, Wedding party

The couple added some very unique and fun touches to make their day especially meaningful. The beautiful wooden arch was made by the groom and his father which made it very special.

Photography by Suzanne Nevill, Bible guest book

In lieu of a traditional guest book, the couple used their own, customized corn hole boards! The Maid of Honor designed the logo and her father made the boards and stained them the dark walnut color of all of their wedding signs. The bride and her mother made the bags….”Mr” on one side and “Mrs” on the other. Guests signed them with a silver paint pen. Adding a coat of polyurethane after the wedding, these unique boards will bring hours of fun and memories through the years. Kaitlyn says they turned out even better than she had hoped!

One of Kaitlyn and Dan’s most special and favorite item they brought home (and we at Stonegate Manor had seen done before) from their wedding was the Bible they placed at the mouth of the Fairy Garden. As guests entered for the ceremony, they were asked to highlight their favorite Bible verses. It will be treasured for a lifetime.

Kaitlyn borrowed a lace handkerchief from her Grandma that was actually her Grandmother’s. The handkerchief came with a lot of family tradition…it was an Irish tradition to wear an Irish lace dress when you got married but if you couldn’t afford an entire lace dress, the bride would carry a lace handkerchief in her bridal bag or hand them out to guests. Now Kaitlyn and the other cousins all carry the lace handkerchief to honor their roots and in memory of the bride who once carried it on her wedding day. A blue garter and a new dress completed the “Something borrowed, something blue, something new” tradition!

For couples planning a wedding, Kaitlyn recommends doing your homework, plan ahead, stay organized and communicate! Know who you are booking. Review their work, read reviews and ask lots of questions. Read contracts, know what you are signing up for and keep copies of EVERYTHING. Kaitlyn kept a binder with a tab for each vendor which really helped and a separate email account for all things wedding kept everything together. Book far in advance…especially the venue and photographer!

Getting married during a pandemic took a lot of patience and some compromises but in the end, it was perfect. She wouldn’t change a thing! And the sparkler send-off was the perfect way to end the day and are some of her favorite pictures…