A Rustic, Vintage Tent Wedding on a Ranch in Michigan
Taryn and Brian
Taryn Bickley (a writer and photo stylist) and Brian LaFlamme (an information security consultant) wanted a wedding that reflected their fun personalities, eclectic design aesthetic, and love of food and wine, as well as the picturesque surroundings. They were able to achieve their dream wedding by choosing wonderful fabrics, beautiful dishes, and some local touches to add to their rustic setting -- with help from event planner Chandra Wheeler, of Orchestrated Grace.
Snow Moon Ranch, located near Taryn's childhood vacation spot, provides the perfect setting for their late September nuptials. The secluded ranch offers views of Glen Lake and Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Guests arrive by trolley for pre-ceremony trail mix from a local purveyor and peach bellini cocktails that pay homage to Capri, Italy, where Brian proposed.
A few locals come with the location -- a working Suri alpaca and llama farm. One llama greets guests (with a saddle bag filled with flowers) and poses for photos.
Holly Bedell of The Paper Nickel worked closely with the couple to design the graphics and stationery for the wedding. Taryn drew inspiration from a greeting card she saw on Etsy that added double "l's" for the word "love."
Yellow and white alpaca wool twine wraps around the save-the-date, as a play on the location. Packaged in pillow envelopes with custom llama postage from Zazzle, the small spool-style card lists the basic details of the wedding and the couple's wedding website.
The invitation is packaged in a small paper box, wrapped in kraft paper and covered in a mixture of vintage stamps from The Paper Nickel. A custom designed label printed on sticker paper is adhered to the front of each.
Boxed Wedding Invitation
Inside the box (meant to evoke a keepsake drawer) is the formal wedding invitation, a keepsake card, a weekend itinerary, a pair of buttons, and a spool of yarn to continue the theme from the save-the-date.
The Welcome Bag
The Bridal Bouquet
Bridesmaids Valerie and Bridget wear Diane Von Furstenberg dresses with bouquets that mirror Taryn's but also include chocolate cosmos, tanacetum, and calla lillies mixed in.
As a stylist, Taryn couldn't resist giving each a special piece of jewelry (from Kate Spade) to finish their look.
The Ceremony Area
Benches covered in burlap are set out for the mid-afternoon ceremony overlooking the lake. Rocks collected from northern Michigan hold a program down at each seat.
Taryn's mother, Martha, escorts her down the aisle, which is lined with fallen birch branches.
A dear friend of the couple officiates at the highly personalized ceremony, which is witnessed by 160 guests. The service also includes a handful of readings and music, both traditional (Mendelssohn's "Wedding March") and contemporary (The Beatles's "Two of Us" and "All You Need Is Love"), played by Mike Moran.
Taryn and Brian kept their portrait session short, opting for more candid moments captured by their photographer, Cybelle Codish of Studio [c]. Here, they pose with their friend (and officiant) Bennett, bridesmaids Bridget and Valerie, and groomsmen Jun-Jun, Paul, and Rion.
Four special cocktails -- The Perfect Pear, Peachy Keen, Poma Llama, and Frolickn' Fruit -- are served on the lawn outside the barn following the ceremony. Guests also enjoy spirits, as well as beers from local Short's Brewing Company.
Finding the Way
As the sign instructs, guests find their names -- and their seats -- displayed on a vintage door fixed with an eclectic mix of knobs from Anthropologie.
A fantastic set-up awaits inside the tent. Clear shelves suspended above the long tables hold votive candles, assorted lanterns, and a variety of crab apples, green millet, and birch branches. Small floral arrangements of assorted grasses, dahlias, caladium, lemon mint, sweet olive branches, garden roses, leucadendrom, assorted berries, bordeaux mini gerberas, and herbs line the tables.
Lace, velvet, and grosgrain ribbons are casually attached to the backs of every other chair.
The tabletop selections are influenced by a black-and-white paisley print the bride spotted years prior to the wedding. Knowing that she wanted to incorporate wooden elements and fall colors, Taryn remembered the print and used it as a launching pad for the place mats and runners at each table.
Salad plates sporting an illustrated peacock are placed atop white dinner plates and wooden chargers.
The Place Setting
Place cards are tied with twine around the napkin at each setting.
Small slices of wood were custom cut to hold the menus, which sit between each place setting for guests to refer to throughout the five-course meal created by Trattoria Stella.
The meal begins with a pumpkin and roasted chestnut soup topped with toasted pumpkin seeds.
The Lounge Area
Cozy lounge areas are sprinkled around the barn and tent.
As a memento to the couple, guests sit for photos in a photobooth and attach a photo square to a card that matches the rest of the wedding's paper elements. All of the cards are collected in an old library file found at an antiques store.
In lieu of cake, the couple chose a sweet send-off for their guests: packaged chocolate heart whoopie pies with champagne filling from Cranberry Island Kitchen in light-pink paper bags sealed with a sticker. Guests are given their pies as they board the trolley at the end of the reception.
The couple takes to the dance floor to Cat Power's rendition of "Sea of Love."
Photography: Cybelle Codish of Studio [c]
Rentals: Special Events Rental
Veil: Toni Federici "Hope" veil, from Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier
Engagement Ring: Zoe, from Barneys New York
Wedding Bands: Malcolm Betts; Linda Lee Johnson
Bride's Shoes: Rebecca Taylor
Groom's Shoes: Crockett and Jones
Hair: Kristina Narra of Figo
Makeup: Gjysta Nuculaj of Mijo-a' Studio
Reception Deejay: Style Matters
Transportation: Mackinaw Trolley; Bay Area Classic Limo; Boyland Golf Cars
Restrooms: At Your Service Plus