A Family Getaway + A Wedding in Saugatuck

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I love it when my friends make my travel plans for me, because I always find myself experiencing things I would never have thought to look for myself. My friend, Jess (a travel agent and fellow photographer) convinced us to take Zel to Hawaii with her family when she was 13 months old and to plan a family trip to Costa Rica this December with two four-year-olds and two almost two-year-olds. She took me along to Austin this year and planned our trip to Puerto Rico last December.

This time, my friend Lisa asked if she could tag along with me to a wedding to see what it’s all about. When it worked out to have her come along to Saugatuck for Jess and Jon’s wedding, she booked a farmhouse for both of our families to stay in across the river in Douglas. We went to the wedding while our husband’s hung out with the kids in Saugatuck.

Lisa has a son who’s four months older than Zel and a daughter who is less than two weeks younger than Arden (her daughter was actually due on the day Arden was born and decided to wait a few extra weeks to make her appearance). The combination of other kids to play with, sleepovers in the farmhouse, bunk beds, fireflies and chickens out in the yard made Zel so so excited. The kids would get up and run outside with their pajamas still on to see the chickens and look for the barn cats in the yard. If you’re looking for a kid-friendly place to stay that’s relatively close to the beach and the cuteness that is Saugatuck, check this place out.

Kids playing near a chicken coop in the Saugatuck, Michigan area
Kids playing near a chicken coop in the Saugatuck, Michigan area
Toddler looks at a chicken coop in the Saugatuck, Michigan area
Kids playing near a chicken coop in the Saugatuck, Michigan area

Here’s Lisa with all the kids before breakfast. We were all still in our pajamas.

group photo near a chicken coop in the Saugatuck, Michigan area
chickens in a chicken coop
kids holding hands

After a morning in town scouting out pretty spots for photos, peeking at the marinas (of course) and enjoying some amazing food, Lisa and I headed off to Jess and Jon’s wedding at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. Bah – I can’t wait to share the rest of these photos, but here’s a quick preview for now:

oval beach wedding photos in Saugatuck, Michgan

On Sunday, we drove north to Muskegon to see if the weather would cooperate and let us go sailing. My dad joined us after he had to cancel his Grand Canyon rafting trip at the last minute (literally the last minute—he was about to get on the raft when he decided not to go because of record setting temperatures in the 120s and higher).

We spent some time at the beach, and after some rain, cold, wind and a scraped knee, we were packing up the car to go home without sailing when the weather made a last minute shift that gave us a chance for a mini sail on Lake Muskegon.

family sailing on a Catalina 30 on the deck

We learned an important lesson this weekend about sailing with kids. Always, always have snacks available. Arden cried so much that I finally took her down below and read her a book (her favorite thing to do) while Jeff and my dad sailed the boat back to the marina.

We ended the weekend with a picnic overlooking Lake Michigan, where Arden ate everything in sight. Noted, my dear. We won’t leave the dock without snacks again 🙂

kids sailing on a Catalina 30 on the deck
the girls in a cart at Great Lakes marina

Captain Barnacles comes along on all of our family adventures.

the girls in a cart with "Captain Barnacles" at Great Lakes marina

A Barn Wedding Near Traverse City, Michigan

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Kelly and Murphy live in my old city (Chicago), and Kelly grew up in my current city (East Lansing), but Kelly’s parents moved up to Elk Lake recently, so they decided a destination wedding at the Garvey Barn in northern Michigan would be just the right fit for them.

There was so much creativity in this group—from the custom flag that Murphy designed (check it out above flying over the lake) to the house on the lake that Kelly’s sister, an architect, designed for her parents, to the wedding flowers that were custom designed by Murphy’s dad’s partner, Scott.

We got a bit of rain around ceremony time, but both Kelly and Murphy were so laid back about moving everything inside. Kelly was definitely a “bride-chilla,” and I loved her for it 🙂

Here’s a bit more from Kelly about how they planned their day:

“I grew up visiting my Grandma in Traverse City every summer, and more recently my parents moved onto Elk Lake, so the area has sentimental value to me. We were looking for a venue that could be semi-formal but still have a casual relaxed feel. Murphy designed and made all the signs and printed materials for the wedding (invites, save the dates, etc). His Dad’s partner Scott prepared all of the flowers for us, my friend Mary made all the vases for the centerpieces and my brother in law was our officiant! We were so excited to share this moment with our friends and family!”

Scroll all the way to the bottom for more details on Kelly and Murphy’s wedding vendors.

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traverse_city_wedding_barn_photos__0013.jpgTraverse City Wedding Venues: Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern Michigan
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Getting ready cottage at the Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern Michigan
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Traverse City Wedding barn
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern MichiganTraverse City Wedding Venues: Indoor ceremony at the Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern Michigan
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Indoor wedding ceremony at Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern Michigan
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Indoor wedding ceremony at the Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern Michigan
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Indoor wedding ceremony at the Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern Michigan
Traverse City Wedding Venues: indoor wedding ceremony at the Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern Michigan
Traverse City Wedding Venues: indoor wedding ceremony at the Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern Michigan
Traverse City Wedding Venues: indoor wedding ceremony at the Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern Michigan
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Wedding photos from the Traverse City wedding barn
Traverse City Wedding Venues: The lawn of the Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern Michigan
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Bridal party photos at the Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern Michigan
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Bridal party photos at the Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern MichiganTraverse City Wedding Venues: wedding photos from the Garvey Wedding Barn, also called the Traverse City wedding barn Traverse City Wedding Venues: wedding photos from the Garvey Wedding Barn, also called the Traverse City wedding barn Traverse City Wedding Venues: wedding photos from the Garvey Wedding Barn, also called the Traverse City wedding barn Traverse City Wedding Venues: Traverse City Wedding Barn photos
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Garvey Barn wedding photos
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Wedding reception setup at the Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern Michigan
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Wedding reception setup at the Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern Michigan
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Wedding reception setup at the Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern Michigan
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Wedding reception setup at the Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern Michigan
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Wedding reception setup at the Traverse City Wedding Barn, also called the Garvey Barn, in Northern Michigan
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Wedding photos from the Traverse City Wedding Barn
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Traverse City wedding barn photos
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Traverse City wedding barn photos
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Traverse City wedding barn photos
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Traverse City wedding barn photos
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Traverse City wedding barn photos
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Traverse City wedding barn photos
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Traverse City wedding barn photos
Traverse City Wedding Venues: Traverse City wedding barn photos

Wedding Vendors:

Check back next Tuesday for a brand new blog post.

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Sailing Trip #3: Our First Sail on Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan wave photo

Jeff and I set last weekend aside ages ago to go up north and go sailing—even before we had a sailboat of our own, my parents had offered to watch the girls, and we planned to charter a boat out of Traverse City for the weekend.

This ended up being a great chance to get the sails up out on Lake Michigan for the first time (before this, we had only sailed on Lake Muskegon and motored on Lake Michigan).

These photos make it look so calm, but there were definitely moments when I yelped as the boat bobbed across the waves or heeled over in the wind (I’m still getting used to that part). Not to mention the minor injuries—a bumped head (mine), a few bruises and cuts from the lines. But injuries aside, there’s really nothing like sailing across the water with the quiet sound of wind and waves.

We did get a chance to practice our anchoring—we anchored in one of the arms of the channel in Muksegon, and we paddle boarded over to the beach to pick up some takeout from The Deck, a restaurant on the beach (we also learned that they sell sunglasses for $5 after Jeff lost his). It was a bit surreal looking out at the boat anchored there as we shared our plate of nachos. It was like looking out at a decade of hard work—multiple companies, multiple cities, late nights and long trips—all coming together to realize our dream.

a photo of Allie Siarto sitting on the deck of a Catalina 30 sailboat A photo of the deck of a Catalina 30 sailboat a photo of the waves in Lake Michigan a photo of the shore in Muskegon while sailiing

Lifestyle Newborn Session at Home

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I’m finding myself so drawn to the snugly at home lifestyle newborn sessions lately. I remember those first few days when we got home with each girl—both times we were so excited, so relieved to be home, so in awe of these tiny girls that had our features. I never want to forget how that felt, and I never want to lose that awe that I still have for my children.

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