backyard lake michigan wedding

Kayla and Taylor’s hosted their wedding at their family’s lakeside cottage in South Haven along the shores of Lake Michigan and my goodness was it dreamy! A spectacularly beautiful 75-degree sunny day set the backdrop for their incredible wedding with Christa Hitchcock Photography there to capture it all!

Wood ring box Justin Alexander wedding dress Pink mini roses Lake Michigan Backyard Wedding


From Kayla – “Tyler and I met in nursing school at Western Michigan University. We were in all of the same classes for all 4 years of college. Our sophomore year we were both dating other people but became really good friends. We studied together all the time, helping each other prepare for nursing school exams. A few years after being best friends, we were both single and studying for an exam together one night. Out of no where, he leaned in and kissed me. That was the first time we finally told each other how we felt, and we have been together ever since!”

First look Gold chargers Wedding vow book Lake Michigan wedding Tom's bridal wedges Cake balls Lake Michigan wedding


“Tyler and I have a tradition of going on a weekend get-a-way in Northern Michigan to go golfing every year. I usually do all of the planning, so I didn’t expect him to have any surprises planned for our trip last summer. That year we decided to stay at Boyne Mountain to golf, which is a ski resort in the winter.

The day we got there we had made plans to take the chair lift to the top of the mountain and eat lunch at the cafe on the top. Once we got to the top of the mountain, we were standing at the edge looking at the glorious view. Right then he got down on one knee, pulled the ring out of his pocket, and asked me to marry him! I was so surprised. After I said yes, I looked over and realized there was a photographer taking photos of us. Tyler had hired a photographer to act like another resort guest taking pictures of the view, but really he was taking photos of the moment Tyler got down on his knee. They are such special photos that we will have forever!”

Sequin bridesmaids dresses Romantic quote Groomsmen and bridesmaids photo


“We had our ceremony at my grandparents’ church in South Haven, Michigan, and our reception in the yard of our family cottage. My family has had our cottage in South Haven for over 30 years and we spent a lot of time there growing up. It has always been my favorite place, and my entire life I have said that I wanted to get married in our cottage yard looking over Lake Michigan. It is such a special place to my whole family, and anyone who lives in Michigan probably has the best memories surrounding Lake Michigan.

Even though it was an outdoor wedding overlooking the beach and the lake, I still wanted the feel of the wedding to be romantic, classy, and fun. That is why I chose golds and blush as our colors. I chose simple, elegant center pieces and decorations so that the focus of everyone’s attention would be on us and the backdrop of Lake Michigan behind us.”

Summer lakeside wedding Diamond engagement ring Shabby chic place setting Under the veil kiss South Haven Lake Michigan


“After trying on a handful of wedding dresses, I knew mine was the one because it fit my wedding vision perfectly. It felt so romantic, while still fitting the outdoor theme of our wedding. I felt so beautiful in the dress and knew I could wear my sparkling gold heels in it at the church, and then switch to my white wedges for the grass and that the dress would fit in perfectly with both situations. I have never felt more beautiful than I did in that dress!

I had 7 bridesmaids and wanted them to enjoy being apart of our big day as much as possible, so I let each one of them pick their own bridesmaid dress. I asked them to stick to the gold, champagne, and blush color palette and let them pick from there. This allowed all of my girls to find dresses that not only did they feel comfortable in, but also fit their own personal budget.”

Mother of the bride


“As we were planning, we tried to keep the constant theme of ‘fun’ in our minds. As my husband put it, we wanted this to be the best party our friends and family ever went to. We didn’t want to bore people with wedding traditions that we didn’t have value in; instead we wanted our people to enjoy the night and celebrate with us!

Since the receptions was on a private property, we decided to have our favors we the guests drinking glasses rather than renting all of the drinking glasses. We ordered mason jars with ‘With Love, T + K’ etched on them. The guests used them throughout the night, then took them home with them.

We skipped the cake cutting, bouquet toss, and garter toss because I told our DJ not to stop people from dancing for any of those events. Our dance floor was full the entire night, so we never did them! The funny thing is, not one person asked us about any of those. Instead, all we heard about was how much fun everyone had dancing all night!”

Bride taking a selfie Gold love napkins Lake Michigan cottage First dance Blush pink rose bridal bouquet


“Our cake was a small, personal cake for just my husband and I. We chose a simple, white design to keep in line with our romantic, elegant look. Our cake topper was hand carved by my grandpa and given to Tyler and I as a Christmas gift last year. It made for the most special, personal touch!

My husband is extremely handy and was a huge help in creating my “backyard beach wedding meets romantic and classy wedding” vision. He handmade our bar, dessert stands, and seating chart board all to match each other. I created the seating chart lists and all of the signs directing guests to have matching styles. I also made our ‘guest board’- a wooden board stained and painted with our last as our last name in the middle. We had our guests sign that rather than a book, and now have it hung above our dining room table.”

Hand carved wedding cake topper


Photography: Christa Hitchcock Photography // Floral: Linnaea Floral // Catering: Adeline Leigh Catering // Cake: Ginger Bakes // Bakery: Cookies on Call // DJ: A Mills Masterpiece // Makeup: Kellie Zammit // Hair: Urban Studio Salon and Spa // Rentals: The Rental Company // Wedding Dress: Justin Alexander // Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse // Bridesmaids Dresses: Adrianna Papell, Lulus, David’s Bridal, and Mia’s on Wealthy // Ceremony Venue: Hope Reformed Church // Reception Venue: Bride’s Family Cottage (private residence) in South Haven, Michigan.

About Sara Burnett

Editor of Burnett's Boards, which she founded to showcase global creativity in the wedding industry. Sara currently lives out of a suitcase while island hopping the Caribbean and beyond. Learn More // Follow on Instagram.