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The wedding of Brad McCarty & Valerie Bain

Brad McCarty and Valerie Bain were married on Mackinac Island on June 8, 2013. Mackinac Island is an especially romantic location for weddings. Going there is like going back in time: Most of the Island's hotels, inns and cottages are built in Victorian architecture. No motor vehicles are allowed on the Island, except for a few emergency vehicles, and all transportation there is by horse drawn carriages, horse drawn taxies, bicycles and foot.

Much of the Island outside the downtown area is one of Michigan's many State Parks. Mackinac Island has long been a favorite summer vacation spot for people from all over the world, and is renowned for its quaint shops, romantic settings, beautiful gardens, and breathtaking natural scenery.

Mackinac Island is located in northern Michigan, in the Straits of Mackinac that connect Lake Michigan with Lake Huron. The Island is reached by 15 minute rides in fast ferryboats from Mackinac City at the top of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, or from St. Ignace at the east end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The two peninsulas of Michigan are connected by the mighty Mackinac Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the Americas with 8614 feet suspended and an overall length of 5 miles, and the bridge in the distance is a prominent landmark from many Island viewpoints. In addition to visiting the Island while in the area, many tourists also visit the various historic colonial sites in and around Mackinac City, including Fort Michilimackinac and the restored lumber mill at Mill Creek.

It was a wonderful weekend, and we had a great time. Thank you all who attended the wedding and festivities.


Are You Sure This Was Brad & Valerie's First Dance?

By Erin Wilson

Hey YOU!! Yes YOU!! You with the remote control in your hot little hand, and the box of tissues in the other. You're watching a 'Say Yes To The Dress' marathon and you're crying because you can't afford that $$$ gown!!

As much fun as is it to watch that show (?), it sends all kinds of wrong messages to prospective brides, not to mention the general public. Mainly, if you don't spend thousands on a designer gown, your wedding will be awful and, your potential for marital bliss? Bumpkus. 


If we didn't have these programs to stunt our creative growth and turn our brains to jello, we might actually plan a wedding with a style all our own, and that didn't bankrupt us. It would be beautiful, and meaningful. Not some eye popping, bank breaking monstrosity. 

The above picture is from the recent wedding of the daughter of a dear friend. Valerie is a nonconformist, but she had a truly lovely wedding. She and her girls picked out their own white sundresses. Each got exactly what they wanted, in a style that flattered their shape, and knew they could wear it again. None of the dresses retailed for over $50. Valerie's only guideline for the shoes was that they be white. Each girl got the style that they favored. No teetering on sky high heels if they preferred flats. No stilettos if they'd rather have a wedge heel.

The cardigans were from Old Navy. Regularly priced at $15, one girl got hers on sale for $12. The bride's lime green cardigan matched the groom's tie and vest. The bridesmaids wore navy.

Simple. Classic. Beautiful. Brad and Valerie were married at an inn on Mackinac Island, Michigan, and the attire matched the easy going but elegant vibe. The guys all wore vests and white shirts with ties. 

I was thrilled when I saw the wedding pictures. It warms my heart when someone has the good sense to follow their instincts. I know Brad and Valerie will be very happy looking back on their special day for years to come.

Now, am I against big blow out weddings and wedding dresses with miles of satin and tulle? NO! The message I want to send is LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS. Don't have a huge wedding if you have no hope of ever paying it off. In turn, don't have a simple wedding in a field if your heart is set on a big bash. You should know by now that your life is only limited by your creativity, not your checkbook. Plan ahead, do your homework. Surprise yourself and others when you do wonders with far less than they might expect.

Congratulations Brad and Valerie!!

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