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The Unfake Wedding of Erin + Jonathan

I just love Unfake Weddings, don't you? Hope you love this one of Erin and Jonathan. I know I do!


The most important question: wedding night…did you or didn’t you?

Ummmm…..pass.  We’ll probably show our friends and family this blogs…so yeah. 

The Thirty-Something Bride Commentary: I think we can figure this one out for ourselves....

Please take the time to tell me all the vendors you used.

Photographer – Paul Retherford Photography

DJ/Band – Sound Productions

Reception Venue – Emmet County Faigrounds Community Building, Petoskey, MI

Ceremony Venue – Cross in the Woods, Indian River, MI

Planner – Chelsey Ingersoll (my MOH who actually is an event planner)

Transportation – Mackinaw Shuttle

Flowers – Flowers Up North, Indian River, MI

Dress – Fantastic Finds, East Lansing, MI

Accessories – my friend Kerry Stapleton made necklaces for my bridesmaids, and my hair piece was specially made in NYC (thanks to my MOH)

Hair/Make-Up – Headquarters Salon, Jackson, MI

Groom's Attire – Petoskey Bridal

Catering – Catering by Kelly’s, Williamsburg, MI

Cake – Bella e Dolce, Cheboygan, MI 

Invitations – The Panik Studio by Nichole Panik Earle 


Who was your favorite vendor and why?

Paul (our photographer) was FANTASTIC.  He got our images to us in less than a week and he did such an AMAZING job of capturing our day.  We literally can’t say enough good things about him.  I also have to give props to my hair dresser, Jill, who made a 4 hour trip just to do my hair.  She’s pretty awesome.

Was there a “method to your madness” in choosing your vendors? 

We tried to choose local vendors, but also those who were a little less expensive.  Catering by Kelly’s did my older brother’s wedding and offered great food at a price that included linens and table settings.  For our invitations, Nichole and I went to college together and I loved what she did.  Our invitations were literally the perfect beginning for what our wedding would be like.

How long did you take to plan your wedding?

We were engaged in April 2009 and had until June 2010.  Granted, we really didn’t need quite that long, but booking the date early was definitely a good thing.


How many guests did you invite versus how many came?

Our guest list topped out around 300 – when you grow up in a small(er) town, you know everyone.  We ended up having about 225, though.  Jon and I were living in East Lansing for 2 years so many of our friends from there didn’t make the 4 hour trek up. 

What was your budget?  

My parents gave us $15,000.  It’s such a struggle though – how much should you really spend on one day versus wanting this one day to be perfect.

Did you include rings and/or the honeymoon in your budget?

Nope – our European cruise would have taken up a decent chunk of that!

Were you over or under budget? By how much?

Over by about $1000…I think.

How large was your bridal party?

 5 girls, 5 guys, 1 ring bearer, 2 flower girls


Did you have favors for your guests? If so, what were they? How much did you spend?

 Sure did.  My dad makes the BEST chocolate chip cookies.  The recipe is from my great-grandma. So for about 2 weeks prior to the wedding, the big guy (as I sometimes call him) and I set about making enough for each guest to have two.  I never wanted to see a chocolate chip cookie again (I’m over that now).  We bought all the bags for about $25, the favor tags cost about $4, the ribbon about $4, and the cookie ingredients about $20….so around $55.  And we included the recipe on the favor tag…the gift that keeps on giving.

The Thirty-Something Bride Commentary: A bride after my own heart. 

Did you include any special family traditions?

Other than the cookies, none that I can think of.

What was your biggest day-of crisis and how did you handle it (or rather, not handle?)? 

Maybe no one told me, but I don’t think we really had one???  It was POURING the night before so our rehearsal dinner had to be moved inside our tiny cottage, but it worked.  It also made it so our ceremony couldn’t be outside, but if you check the pics, the view from inside the church was just as amazing. 


What was you biggest wedding planning crisis and how did you handle it (or rather, not handle?)?

Mostly just trying to figure out the budget thing…and trying to plan from a different city….oh and the fact that I’m a really good procrastinator and my mom is WAY on top of her game.  That caused a little tension at times, but she pushed me to make decisions and get things done.

Who was the biggest pain in the ass on your wedding day (you can opt out of this if you’d like)? 

Honestly…everyone was great J  I had already made it clear while we were decorating the day before I was not to make decisions…and Chelsey, my MOH handled any issues.

The Thirty-Something Bride Commentary - there's great advice here. Put someone else in charge on the day of so you don't have to fret so much.

What was the biggest waste of money that you loved?

Hmmmm….maybe just the party bus.  We had a RIOT.  Oh, and the open bar, but really, who doesn’t love an open bar?

What was the biggest waste of money that you wish you’d passed on?

Can't think of a thing! 

What did you love that was also the cheapest?

For our seating assignments we did a seating chart (since I’m a teacher).  It cost next to nothing and turned out pretty cute!

What was the most unexpected thing that happened (not necessarily a bad thing, just a surprise)?

We went to Bay Harbor (the richy-rich development a few minutes outside of P-town) and they were having an antique car and boat show.  VERY cool pics!


What was the funniest thing that happened?

Oh boy…too many to choose from.  Our wedding party was too funny and there were some hilarious pictures of the boys ‘fake’ peeing in the bushes, and then the girls ‘fake’ squatting. 

What was the most ooey-gooey, tear-jerking moment?

My husband’s parents were killed in a car accident a few years ago.  His aunt did one of our readings and it talked about being parents and she was pretty teary.  I think it was a beautiful thing, though, because we all remembered them in that moment. 

Did you DIY? What parts?

Um, pretty much everything we could.  Our table numbers, table stands (Jon crafted them out of coat hangers and spray paint), wedding party gifts (cutting boards Jon made), centerpieces, favors, fake flowers during the ceremony, table runners (my grandma hemmed the edges of the fabric and my cousin used them the next weekend for her wedding), seating arrangements, mantle arrangements. 

Where did you go no your honeymoon?

  Cruise through the Mediterranean – 3 stops in Italy, 2 in France, and 1 in Spain.  It was AMAZING…and tiring, from the walking and being busy on our tours.  I know people are going to take that ‘tiring’ in a totally different way though!

If you could do it all over again, what would you change, if anything?

I would love to have written down what we loved about it the next day.  We kept thinking that we should do it and never got around to it.  It all seemed to go by so fast.  Other than that, nothing really.  It was a perfect day!



Thanks for sharing your Unfake Wedding! 

Reader Comments (4)

That last picture is the BEST!

November 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMom

I LOVE your unfake wedding series! It's my favorite!

November 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenni

You did a great job with this Louise. I love your questions. They are so different from the norm! I learned some cool things about my client too. Thank you for posting my Wedding Photography. Cheers!

November 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Retherford

Wow, Erin - you & the girls were just gorgeous...so glad to be able to help make the day special with Flowers! Hope you have many, many years of happiness together!

November 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkelly ashford

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