A Wedding Planner's At-Home Wedding in Northern Michigan

Alicia Fritz, who is a wedding planner and proprietor of A Day in May Events, got to see the other side of a wedding when she said “I do” to Matt MacPherson, general manager of event production studio Frost Florida. On June 22, 2019, the couple wed in front of 96 guests at their home in Traverse City, Michigan.

As expected, the bride let her creativity fly, finding unique ways to show their love story, their adoration for Michigan, and her affinity for Dutch paintings. “I wanted to share that weddings could be colorful and bold yet still be romantic and traditional in their own right,” she says. “I wanted guests to feel like they stepped inside my version of a ‘still life.’” 

The celebration kicked off with a casual welcome party that included lawn games and dress-up costumes for the kids. The following afternoon, the wedding went off with "surprisingly perfect summer weather" and special touches from many of Alicia’s wedding industry friends. For the reception, the bride combined a "dark and moody" black tent with vibrantly colored florals, energetic music, and plenty of “MacSprintz” cocktails (a lively blend of Lillet, St. Germain, and Champagne).

“We are always entertaining—our house is filled with laughter and family, the Bossa Nova radio station playing, candles lit,” she says. “Everyone knows to make themselves at home. I wanted this atmosphere to translate into our wedding. I think we nailed it.” 

Read on for all the details of Alicia and Matt’s Northern Michigan wedding, planned by A Day in May Events and photographed by Liz Banfield.

Alicia designed their save the date cards herself, then worked with her team at A Day in May Events to have them printed. For invitations, Alicia turned to Carey Lowe at The Idea Emporium to create an invitation suite that foreshadowed the wedding day's details with a formal script and floral illustrations.

Since most of their guests were staying nearby, the couple encouraged everyone to explore the area, even handing out maps of their favorite trails and customized hats that read, "Up North."

On Friday night before their nuptials, Alicia and Matt welcomed their 96 guests to Traverse City, Michigan, with a casual party hosted by Epicure Catering at Cherry Basket Farm. Alicia wore a vibrant pink dress that stood out amongst the otherwise natural setting.

The night included a meal at picnic tables, lawn games, and fun for lots of kiddos. 

Alicia and Matt actually met at a wedding, but not as guests—they were producing a mutual client’s celebration in Florida! “Over the course of the summer and fall, we worked on two other jobs together,” Alicia says. “Slowly our working relationship grew into a friendship and then blossomed to love.”

Alicia found her wedding dress while shopping with industry friends at Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City. The Jane Hill design featured a V-shaped neckline and an A-line skirt, with Alicia adding a cathedral-length veil for the big day. “When the tears welled in my eyes, we all knew that this was the one,” she recalls.

Matt also went classic with his look, donning a custom-tailed Tom Ford suit with a sweet nod to his Scottish heritage: a subtle tartan-inspired windowpane on the fabric. 

The bride’s bouquet included several flowers, such as ranunculus, sweet pea, anemone, hellebore, and bleeding hearts, but it was the tie that held the real symbolism. On the silk ribbon, she attached a small locket of her late mother. “I wanted my mom close to me on the day of the wedding,” Alicia says.  

The couple’s close friend and talented musician, Bob Mervak, played during the ceremony, including Alicia’s entrance song, “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor. She was escorted by her father.  

Having all of our family and friends in one place for just us was incredibly amazing and overwhelmingly awesome...It was beyond.

The ceremony took place by the property’s fond and fern-covered forest. Alicia and Matt admit they didn’t add a lot of “décor” because they wanted their guests to be the décor, not an abundance of flowers. “Attire was ‘garden formal’ and our guests did not disappoint!” Alicia says. 

Alicia and Matt wrote their own vows, noting promises to one another such as “I promise to never stop exploring with you" and "I promise to never stop seeing the world through your eyes.” Their dog looked on from the aisle.

“Having all of our friends and family in one place for just us was incredibly amazing and overwhelmingly awesome,” the bride says. “All the smiling faces from all different walks of life were convening in one place to celebrate us. It was beyond.” 

The couple’s officiant, Shawn Harvey, is Alicia’s “wine guy” at Burritts Market and the person she credits with helping them pop bottles for a decade. He happened to also go to seminary, so it felt right to officially marry them and sign the marriage license.

A giant board with a Meet Joe Black movie quote—a nod to the couple’s love of film—greeted guests on the transition to dinner and dancing. The escort cards were housed in small bud vases holding a stem of local flowers and ferns.

Alicia worked with several of her wedding industry friends to pull off the day, including Virginia Edelson of Bluebird Productions and Anna Richardson of Anna Lucia Events.

I wanted guests to feel like they had been transported to a secret dinner club where stories could be shared and revelry would be had by all.

The reception was held beneath a black—yes, black!—tent accented with modern chandeliers. Below, the emphasis was on the tabletops, which featured bold linens created in collaboration between Anna Lucia Designs and BBJ Linen. “Weddings can be sophisticated and moody and intimate and that’s the look and feel I was going for,” explains the bride. “I wanted guests to feel like they had been transported to a secret dinner club where stories could be shared and revelry would be had by all.”

The space was finished off with honey-hued taper candles, wooden bistro chairs, and vibrant arrangements by Alicia’s dear friend Jennifer Haf of Bloom Floral Design.

A personalized charcuterie board greeted each guest at their seat. Vicki Corwin of the Artistic Quill penned each guest’s name on the black acrylic board. 

The tabletops clearly pulled from Alicia’s love of Dutch still-life paintings, as each arrangement looked as if it had come directly from artwork in a museum. Cut crystal glassware and bamboo flatware complimented the whimsical flowers and decadent menu. 

The couple’s menu featured local ingredients from nearby farms, such as Nicholas Farm strawberries on an arugula, beet, and goat cheese salad. There was a wine pairing for each course, such as Tuscan red wine from Tenuta di Sesta Camponova to go with the grilled chicken breast entrée and Prosecco to sip alongside the fruit-and-buttercream wedding cake.  

Outside the tent, lounge areas invited guests to sit and chat. In one, leather chairs flanked a table full of cigars.  

Alicia and Matt took their first spin on the dance floor to their live band’s cover of James Taylor’s “Something in the Way She Moves.” 

Looking back on the day, the pro planner and bride share this piece of advice: “Remember to lean into your partner. They are your rock, your lighthouse—if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, talk with them. You are a team.” 

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