A Stylish Summer Wedding by the Water in Michigan

Missi and Brian

wedding couple
Liz Banfield

In the spring of 2015, the 21st century version of fate played a part in the meeting of Missi and Brian. The couple found each other on a dating website—each thought the other was good-looking, and they shared similar interests, so Brian made the first move. They met for the first time at a bar in Missi's Chicago neighborhood. Over a few Coronas and the Michigan State University Final Four game, the twosome clicked. "It was a really fun, low-key night with immense attraction," the bride recalls. Following their date, Missi was going to meet up with her best friend and her fiancé and extended an invitation to Brian, not thinking he would actually come—but he chose to tag along.

That group meeting seemed to be a foreshadowing of sorts, as less than a year later, on a snowy December evening, right in the comfort of their Lincoln Park home, Brian proposed. "I had picked up the ring that Monday and I proposed on Friday. I was so anxious and excited that I instantly wrapped the ring in a box filled with other stuff, right after I got it!" he says of the early Christmas present.

The couple, who lived in Chicago at the time of their nuptials, wanted a small wedding with their closest loved ones. So it was a perfect fit to have their wedding weekend at Missi's parents' home on Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids, Michigan. The self-proclaimed "outgoing introverts with very intentional relationships" sought out an intimate feel to their big day. To impart this intimate feel, they incorporated a ton of personalized details, like writing their own vows. "It's so easy, yet so meaningful to do," Missi says. "You're simply telling your partner, best friend, lover, and teammate what you desire and promise to give to them." On June 25, 2016, in front of 120 friends and family, Missi and Brian did just exactly that and were married by the water, under a clear blue sky. Focusing on a whimsical, glamorous, and slightly bohemian theme with a color scheme of blue (to play off the lake) and white with gold and raspberry accents, the duo created an elegant at-home summer wedding.

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The Stationery Suite

Liz Banfield

A Day in May Events channeled Missi's and Brian's vision of a sophisticated yet fun celebration with the stationery suite. A rich magenta outline framed the gold text on the invitations, which were tied with a silk ribbon and mailed in a navy blue envelope, with calligraphy penned by The Artistic Quill. RSVPs played off the wedding's lakeside location with a blue color palette and ripple-like design on the envelope liner.

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The Welcome Basket

welcome basket
Liz Banfield

The couple gave everyone a taste of their personal favorites with a welcome basket assembled by A Day in May Events. Filled with goodies like chocolates from Brian's hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania, and local beer from Missi's hometown (and the wedding location), the basket also had a note tucked in, which greeted guests and detailed transportation for the day. "You can't go wrong with sweets and beer," the groom says.

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The Getting Ready

wedding vows
Liz Banfield

Not wanting to miss out on the special little moments before their big one, Missi and Brian had instant cameras to casually document all of the prep. The pair wrote their own vows from petite BHLDN vow books.

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The Fashion

wedding couple
Liz Banfield

After trying on several gowns, Missi knew she had found the perfect one when she slipped on her Oscar de la Renta number. The classic "Caroline"-style trumpet silhouette also had a gorgeous, cascading pleat on the back, which was the bride's favorite feature. She paired her dress with Jessica Simpson shoes and accessorized with delicate jewelry that held sentimental value—a small diamond pendant Brian had given her when they were dating, a peace bracelet, and a Cartier "love" bracelet her parents had gifted her the night before the wedding. For the reception, she also donned a bohemian Free People lace choker.

Brian kept it classy with a Hugo Boss suit and a blue A.K. Rikk's bowtie.

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The Bridal Bouquet

Liz Banfield

The bride carried a stunning blush bouquet of peonies, lisianthus, and spray roses, with the stems wrapped with a hankie given to her by her mother-in-law (whose own mother had given to her). Missi's mother-in-law added a personalized touch with the embroidered M.

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The Flower People

wedding kids
Liz Banfield

Missi's adorable niece and nephew, Vespa and Michael, served as the couple's flower girl and ring bearer, respectively. "Vespa was so excited and wanted to hold Michael's hand down the aisle, she forgot to drop the flower petals!" the bride recalls.

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The Ceremony

Unkempt Willow Branch Wedding Arch with Pink and Orange Flowers
Liz Banfield

Missi and Brian were married in her parents' backyard, with the spectacular waterfront providing the ceremony's backdrop. Under a delicate arch of dendrobium orchids, they recited their own heartfelt vows. Brian's vows ("When I look at you Missi, I see perfection—the perfect mate and there's nothing more I can ask God for, than you") had guests in tears while Missi's promise to "dream with you, celebrate with you, mug beside you through whatever life may bring" sweetly wrapped up her vows.

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The Recessional

Liz Banfield

The newlyweds took their first steps together to the "The Rose" by Amanda McBroom.

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The Cocktail Hour

Island Wedding Bar
Liz Banfield

Guests sipped on a bevy of summery concoctions like blueberry mint juleps, watermelon martinis, and mojitos, from the customized blue-and-white monogrammed bar, which lit up and added a personal touch to the festivities.

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The Cocktail Hour Setup

wedding tent
Liz Banfield

Martha's Catering provided a selection of king crab legs, charcuterie, fruits, and vegetables for everyone to nibble on. Set up in a midnight blue tent, complete with dangling Moroccan-inspired light fixtures, the cocktail hour was both classy yet casual.

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The Lounge

wedding lounge
Liz Banfield

Allowing guests to soak up the scenic view of the lake and bask in the natural surroundings, a lounge was set up between the backyard and reception area. The white billowy curtains, plush seating, and luxe gold-trimmed décor evoked the feeling of being in a fancy poolside cabana, befitting a summer wedding.

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The Lounge Details

Overhead Flower Installation
Liz Banfield

A boxwood wall brought in a touch of the outdoors. Dressed up with a glamorous mirror, the rich green backdrop proved popular with guests who snapped selfies against it.

13 of 18

The Custom Napkins

wedding napkins
Liz Banfield

Pops of the rich pink were also seen in the couple's cocktail napkins, customized with their monogram in gold.

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The Reception

Marbled Hexagonal Sugar Cookies
Liz Banfield

The couple worked with A Day in May Events to come up with the chic table settings, making blue their central color with edged napkins, blue-and-gold menus, and blue chinoiserie vases with the double happiness character on them. To add a splash of brightness, they incorporated shades of raspberry with the centerpieces of peonies, spray lilies, and gloriosa lilies.

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The First Dance

First dance
Liz Banfield

Under pink lighting, accented by the dangling light fixtures, Missi and Brian had their first dance as husband and wife to Otis Reddings's "Stand by Me."

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The Finale

couple watching fireworks
Liz Banfield

The glamorous affair was topped off with a spectacular fireworks display. "I was a little hesitant about this idea from my dad—it seemed a little over the top but it ended up being very special," Missi says. The night continued with more dancing and eating.

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The Farewell Brunch Invite

wedding invites
Liz Banfield

To wrap up the wedding weekend, the couple held a farewell brunch for 15 loved ones the following morning. Printed on pink paper with a gold-patterned envelope, the charming A Day in May Events invitations were a nice, subtle tie-in to the reception's pops of raspberry.

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wedding couple
Liz Banfield

Photography, Liz Banfield

Event planning, A Day in May Events

Catering, Martha's Catering

Flowers, Dawn Owen Luxury Design

Videography, Epic Motion

Stationery, A Day in May

Calligraphy, The Artistic Quill

Music, Great Lakes Chamber Players (Ceremony and Cocktail Hour); Elan Artists (Reception)

Rentals, Special Events Rental

Bride's gown, Oscar de la Renta

Bride's accessories, Jessica Simpson shoes; Cartier bracelet; Free People choker

Hair & Makeup, Cheeky Strut

Groom's suit, Hugo Boss

Lighting, Visionary Sound Productions

Transportation, Gail Andrus Travel (Guests); Metro Car (Couple)

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