Your Perfect Michigan Wedding: Traverse City Edition | Full Interviews and Photo Albums

It’s happened, you have a beautiful ring and a promise from the love of your life to spend the rest of your lives together. The over the moon excitement at first is soon followed with the reality and stress of everything that needs to be planned. You want your day to be perfect, but often many brides don’t know where to begin.

Here at White Owl we want to make the planning a little easier for brides in any way we can. We’ve put together a guide of vendors in the Traverse City area that we’ve highly enjoy working with, bring something new to the industry or are just flat out awesome people. Whether you’ve just begun planning or are looking for a missing piece, here are some insights and advice that we strongly believe will make your planning journey a bit easier and all the more exceptional.

Wedding Planner

Many couples first step is to find a wedding planner. A wedding planner will help ease the stress of doing it all by yourself but also keep track of all the little details planning a wedding entails. Many say that a wedding planner is crucial, so finding the perfect one for you can make all the difference.

Fox + Fern events

What do you feel sets you aside from other wedding planners in Grand Rapids?

Great question! I’d say our strengths lie in our experience as a team (We come from a lot of different aspects of wedding planning – desserts, design, rental and set-up, planning, and venue management to name a few) and our personalization of each of our couple’s planning and design. If we had to put ourselves into a “niche”, I’d say that we LOVE color and creative, fun details. We’re also logistics champs and love a good challenge.

Do you have any advice for brides as they search for (or decide if they want) a wedding planner?

Yes – chat with a few different planners and hire the one who you get off the phone with and think “wow. Yes. They get me.”. If you don’t get a “warm, fuzzy, good vibe” feeling when you’re talking to them, move on. 

What do you love most about what you do?

Our days are never the same and our clients are the most amazing humans. Every meeting and phone call is something we genuinely look forward to because the people who hire us are THE BOMB.

Do you have anything else you would like brides to know as they plan their wedding?

Remember the why. Remember that at the end of the day, your wedding is happening because you’re marrying your favorite person. 



A wedding photographer should not only capture your day as beautiful as you’ve imagined but also tell a story.

Our photographer - lorin!

What do you feel sets you aside from other wedding Photographers in the area?

Sometimes it can feel overwhelming choosing a photographer because on the outside they all seem similar! However, there is more under the surface that can help make your decision easier, and that’s why I feel like I stand out... it’s not only about the quality of the photo but the quality of your experience. The bride and groom should feel like they are not only the objects behind the camera, but that they are part of the actual photography. What does that mean? It means it’s your day and your thoughts should be heard in order to make your photo dreams come true. I make sure that if there are any photos you’ve been dreaming about that we make it happen... if there’s a certain way you want things done, we make it happen. I want your day to be everything you’ve dreamed of and you should feel confident that you are getting the outcome you want! I believe that I am the detail queen- I absolutely love a good detailed photo as well as focusing on the little details of your day. I believe in capturing the candids because those are the little things that make up your day. I want you to be able to look at your wedding photos and be able to relive your day because that is the purpose of your photographer!

What do you love most about what you do?

It’s hard to pick one thing! First off I love beautiful things and creating beautiful photos, but what I love most is creating those beautiful photos in order to create memories! I love that I get to capture the most important parts of people’s lives and getting to hand them a collection of beautiful photos that they can look back on and relive those wonderful moments. 

Do you have any advice for brides as they look for a wedding Photographer?

My advice would be to stay true to who you are and choose a photographer who you feel captivates things in a way that you love! Do you love the little details? Choose the photographer who gets that every time! Do you love the soft vintage look? Then go for that! Don’t let anyone sway your choice of a photographer because these are YOUR photos and these are the photos you’re going to look back on to relive your day, so choose the photographer that captivates YOUR style because it is important. 

And finally, do you have any other advice for brides as they are planning their wedding?

 Planning a wedding is FUN! Don’t get too caught up in the little details because there are a LOT of choices, but choose something that you love and move on! It can get overwhelming, but it isn’t ALL about the details of the day. It’s about getting married to the love of your life and getting to spend the rest of your lives together! Yes choose the pretty candle holders, choose your favorite napkin color, but don’t get stressed out over it! Your day is going to be beautiful; not only because of the decor but because of the meaning behind it. Make planning your wedding a joyful experience! 


Oden & Janelle Photographers

What do you feel sets you aside from other wedding Photographers in the area?

We don’t just capture their photos we love to give them an experience.  We are there for them at any given moment, anticipating their needs so they don’t have to worry about a thing.  They can just be in the moment, soaking up all the love of their wedding day.  

What do you love most about what you do?

We feel so privileged when a couple chooses us to be a part of the most important day of their life.  We love being a part of it and sharing in those moments with them, in a way we get to relive our own wedding day in the moments.  We laugh and cry with them, there is nothing like being able to capture someone’s best day ever! 

Do you have any advice for brides as they look for a wedding Photographer?

Your photographer is with you more than any other person on the day of your wedding so find one that you get along with, that you really connect with but also showcases the style you love.

Do you have anything else you would like brides to know as they plan their wedding?

Don’t over stress about the day.  Choose great vendors that will take care of you so that you can truly enjoy your day. Don’t overthink all the small details because the most important thing about your wedding day is you are starting your married life together.    

We were honored to have worked alongside Oden & Janelle while capturing Mike + Carrie's wedding day last September!



What do you feel sets you aside from other Photographers in the area?
Northern MI is lucky to have so many fantastic photographers and we are proud to work, learn, and collaborate together! I, myself, love seeking the adventures that my couples live for, and capturing them in that element. I am always up for new places and experiences, and I love working with couples who don’t mind a little dirt on the dress or ‘off-limits’ locations.

What do you love most about what you do?
In addition to getting to be part of the most amazing love stories, I love the treasures clients share with me! Many of my clients take me to their favorite places for their engagement sessions, and these places become some of my favorites!  And the best part - delivering the images. There’s nothing better than watching their faces light up, and giving them heirlooms to remind them of their adventure, their love story.

Do you have any advice for couples as they search for a photographer?
Find your perfect fit! I always encourage couples to meet with a photographer, even more than once. Grab a drink with them, or at least a video call. They will be by your side for your entire wedding day - make sure you like them and trust them! Additionally, know what style and services you want and become familiar with their work before inquiring. This makes finding your perfect fit easier for everyone!

And finally, do you have any other advice for brides as they are planning their wedding?
Don’t forget why you’re getting married in the first place. Weddings are one of the most amazing days of your life, but keep your focus on your partner. Don’t let some of the stresses that accompany planning an event cause unnecessary tension or disagreements. Make a commitment to check yourselves anytime you find you’re stressed and remember what’s the most important. At the end of day, this is about your union, your commitment to each other, and you want to be calm enough to remember and embrace every minute. So plan your day in a way that allows you to do just that. Don’t ever sacrifice that to keep up with the trends, or please your friends and family. Invest first in your marriage, then in your wedding day.


Reception & Venue

Often times, we already know where we want our wedding. Despite knowing where you say “I do”, sometimes the reception may leave you searching around for options.

The homestead

What do you feel sets you aside from other venues in the area? What makes The Homestead so unique?

I think we have two big assets that really set us apart. The first is the amazing natural beauty. The 500 acre property offers streams, forest, open fields, and white sand beaches overlooking turquoise waters and surrounded by the Sleeping Bear Dunes - the area chosen by viewers of ABC's Good Morning America as the Most Beautiful Place in America. The second is the all-inclusive nature of our property. Finding adequate lodging for weddings in Northern Michigan can be tough during the summer months but our brides don’t have that problem with our four hotels and abundance of condominiums and vacation homes available to them. Wedding guests often make a long weekend of the trip so they can take some time to enjoy themselves while participating in the many recreational activities on property.

Do you have any advice for brides as they search for a venue?

Consider a non-Saturday wedding. There are often a variety of discounts for a non-Saturday wedding which may allow you to consider a venue that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. It also then give your guests all day Saturday to enjoy the local area.

What do you love most about hosting weddings?

I love getting to meet so many awesome people. No wedding is ever the same nor are the people involved. Many of our brides book their weddings 12-18 months in advance and I’m working with them from beginning to end. I’ve built some wonderful relationships with so many people that come back to visit year after year. It’s also a very rewarding job. I love seeing all of the hard work pay off when the final day arrives and the pure joy radiating from the bride and groom.Do you have anything else you would like brides to know as they plan their wedding?

Do you have anything else you would like brides to know as they plan their wedding?

Don’t get hung up on the little things. There’s no such thing as a perfect wedding process and at some point during planning there will likely be bumps. Whether it’s juggling tough family dynamics, agreeing on a budget, or choosing décor just remember the big picture. If the napkins are slightly the wrong color or a groom forgot his cufflinks, no one will know so don’t let it ruin your day. The brides that are able to go with the flow a little bit tend to be the ones who enjoy their big day to the fullest. 



What do you feel sets you aside from other venues in Northern Michigan?

Our historical buildings and picturesque grounds are one-of-a-kind, and our service to couples is top-notch.  We have an office full of venue specialists and venue coordinators who are always available to answer questions throughout your planning process; on your wedding day, in addition to your specific Venue Coordinator and their Assistant, you will have a Castle team of set-up staff, housekeepers, and maintenance crew to ensure your venue is ready for you and your wedding day goes as smoothly as possible. 

Do you have any advice for brides as they search for a venue for their wedding?

Ask questions! Create checklists, bullet points, and personal wedding needs to discuss with your venue and even your other wedding vendors. Knowing all the details before choosing your venue is important, so you can have a clear picture of what to expect on your wedding day. Find what is most important to you and pick a venue and vendors that align with your vision.

What do you love most about what you do?

Seeing couples celebrate together with their friends and families, and knowing that our team works hard to create the best experience for everyone.

Do you have anything else you would like brides to know as they plan their wedding?

Trust your venue and your hired professionals, and let them handle the work! Sit back and enjoy your wedding day, don’t worry about details that your vendors take care of, and have fun!