In 2017 we visited a lot of venues for the very first time - from golf courses + banquet halls to backyards + beaches - and everything in between. There are A LOT of incredible Michigan venues that are on my bucket list, MANY that I dream to book one day but I thought I would make a post of some of our 2017 venues that we highly recommend.

What to consider when choosing a venue: My best advice is to observe natural lighting. Are there windows? Are there outdoor areas? How photogenic are the grounds? If they are not super photogenic, are you close to any locations that you can travel to for the portrait session? Check reviews! A lot of traditional banquet-type reception venues tend to have uplighting and few windows, which is perfectly fine. But I strongly suggest not having every aspect of your wedding inside of a windowless location- even if just the portrait session is outdoors that's okay! There are a lot of factors to consider from a non-photo aspect, but often I see couples spending thousands of dollars on venues that have no windows, green carpets and yellow light fixtures. (Obviously do what your budget requires as well!) But here are some venues we worked at + loved in 2017.

Disclaimer: These are just my personal reviews from working at these venues, along with some research I did, but to get completely correct information I would contact the venues! 

1. Packard Proving Grounds - Shelby Township, MI

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Features we love:

  • Outdoor nature ceremony location.
  • An open warehouse full of windows + vintage cars for the portrait session.
  • The reception location is spacious, has a white-palette scheme (great for photos), lots of windows, incredible ceiling lighting and there are vintage cars parked inside of the reception room (a wow factor for guests).

Price Range: weekend weddings start at about $5,000 for 6 hours according to their site.

Rainy day alternative: If it rains, the reception location offers a lot of room + natural window light and could easily make for an alternative ceremony location. (the venue may have an alternative too!)

Website: http://packardweddings.com

2. Sundance Studios - Millburg, MI (15 minutes from St. Joe + Benton Harbor)

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Features we love:

  • Outdoor nature ceremony location with a staircase leading up from the reception site. It has a backyard wedding type feel.
  • Incredible getting rooms for the girls + guys.
  • Very close to the beach for portrait sessions (preferred!)
  • A LOT of character + vintage decor including dried flowers, knick-knacks, etc. 
  • The reception room is spacious and there is a seperate dancing room if needed.

Price Range: Friday weddings start at $4,500, Saturday weddings start at $5,500 and Sunday weddings start at $3,600 according to their site.

Rainy day alternative: If it rains, I assume you would have to do the ceremony in the reception room as well. Again, this would not be an bad option and doesn’t leave you stranded if it does rain!

Website: https://www.sundancestudiosvintage.com

** Note: They also have sister venues in similar locations, I hear incredible things about Blue Dress Barn but have yet to photograph there!

3.  The Cheney Place - Grand Rapids, MI

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Features we love:

  • EVERYTHING! It has 3 stories with hundreds of windows. LOTS of character to this venue.
  • The first floor includes the ceremony + reception location, incredible window light + ceiling lighting along with white brick walls (great for photos).
  • The second floor has tons of knick knacks, victorian couches, colorful walls, vintage decor, tiffany blue piano, repurposed doors, chandeliers. The second floor also includes a getting room for the girls with large mirrors.
  • The third floor is practically empty and surrounded by windows, the large space is absolutely perfect for bridal party photos (large + small). It is tucked away which helps with intimate first looks as well.
  • The venue is downtown so you can do the portrait in Grand Rapids if desired.
  • This is also is a VERY large venue so if you want to have a large guest count- this would be perfect!

Price Range: not listed - inquire for pricing.

Rainy day alternative: Everything is indoors and there is SO much to work with, you don’t even need to go outside if you don’t want to.

Website: http://www.thecheneyplace.com

4. Wellers - Saline, MI

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Features we love:

  • Outdoor ceremony location surrounded by greenery, flowers and very spacious grounds.
  • A long walkway in between a row of trees to the ceremony - beautiful for walking down the aisle shots. 
  • Outdoor bar + dancing area, indoor reception.
  • We have photographed inside of the Carriage House which was absolutely stunning. It’s a wooden A-frame reception room with tall windows. The wood photographs great, especially if you add some greenery or lavender.
  • (There is also the Raisin Room, which we have not worked with yet.)

Price Range: Depending on the room you get and which year you inquire, there is a $1500 - $2000 deposit, I’m not sure what other fees there may be.

Rainy day alternative: There is a space outdoors with an roof covering that I believe would be manageable for a rainy ceremony, but you would have to talk to the venue!

Website: http://www.wellersweddings.com

5. Fox Hills Golf Course - Plymouth, MI

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Features we love:

  • Outdoor ceremony + access to the golf course for portraits (requested).
  • Indoor reception location, incredible catering (golf courses always have the best food for some reason).
  • Great reception lighting in the Summerhouse, a mix of natural + string lights - it is also a tent with retractable walls so on a summer evening a breeze can flow into the dance floor.
  • Lots of natural lighting.
  • (There are 3 reception locations on the course; we really love the Summerhouse and have worked with it before! The Fox Classic is a wooden reception area and also looks beautiful for photos, we have yet to photograph that one! The Golden Fox looks very traditional and can hold up to 500 guests according to the site!).

Price Range: Couldn’t find a price range - I’m sure if varies with each location!

Rainy Day Alternative: I believe you could do the ceremony inside of the reception location since it is an indoor/outdoor tent (Summerhouse) but you would have to ask the venue!

Website: https://www.foxhills.com/special-events/wedding/3-venues

** These were our top 5 favorites but there were many other venues that we worked with in 2017 that were incredible for photos including Cobblestone Farms, Bay Pointe Golf Course and the Grecian Center. I am so excited for the venue sites we will visit in 2018! 

 

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