Real Wedding - Krista & Ryan on Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island has always been one of my favorite places to visit in Michigan. Our family tries to go up in the summer or fall each year or two. The clip clop of the horses, the breeze off the lake and of course, the bike riding and is such a magical place! 

Coordinating or planning an event on Mackinac Island has always been on my work bucket list and when Krista and Ryan reached out about their October wedding, I knew it would be a dream come true! They were so fun to talk to on the phone and we just clicked right away (I mean, they are U of M grads....GO BLUE!). They could not have had a more beautiful Fall weekend on the Island to celebrate with their family and friends and Red Heels was honored to be a part of it! 


Planning and Design: The amazing couple!

Ceremony: Grand Hotel (The most amazing porch in the world!)

Reception: Mission Point Resort

Photographer: Andrejka Photography

Videography: Owen Video

Coordination: Red Heels Events

Florist: Margaret's Garden

DJ: DJ Brevin

Ceremony Quartet: Breve Quartet

Thank you again Krista and Ryan for letting us be a part of your amazing weekend! ~ Michelle



There are countless reasons why you would or should hire a wedding or event planner. In my previous posts, I have mentioned a few of those reasons: 

  • Assisting you with pulling your ideas together
  • Helping to find the perfect vendors for your budget and style
  • Being onsite for out of town couples
  • Developing designs, time lines and budgets
  • Taking the stress out of planning so you and your family can relax!

Wedding Planners wear a lot of different hats to provide these services for you.....such as:

Adviser: Planners are there to listen to your questions and concerns throughout the planning process and give you professional advice. Using their knowledge and experience, a good planner will guide you in the right direction based on your budget and style. Planners can also assist with budget management by helping you create your ideal budget breakdown and helping you track your spending to limit any overages.

Consultant: Wedding Planners have large networks of vendors. They can recommend quality vendors that they know and trust, saving you hours of research and meetings. Most wedding planners offer services from hourly consultations to full planning assistance. So even if you are planning the majority of your wedding yourself, a planner can help get you started with a consultation to create a plan of attack for you. 

Designer: Planners can also act as Designers by helping you pull together the overall look and feel for the day. Starting by getting to know you and your personal style, coming up with a color palette and then creating an inspiration board for all of the important design aspects of the day. A designer will then assist you by pulling together all of those aspects such as linens, flowers, place settings, paper products, table shapes, chairs, etc.  

Mediator: Wedding stress can effect not only the couple but also their families. A wedding planner is a third person that can offer a knowledgeable position to keep everyone from getting overwhelmed. If any issues arise between the clients and a venue or vendor a planner can act as a mediator to resolve those concerns. 

Coordinator:  Event planners will work with you to create your event time lines, room layouts and assist you with creating the overall flow and feel of your event from beginning to end. On the big day, a planner’s job is to run all of the logistics from behind the scenes and fix any problems that arise, before you or your guests know anything was wrong. Planners keep everything and everyone on schedule, both during the planning process and on the day of the event. Having a planner running the time line will ensure you have the time you need to get all the amazing photos you want too! Along with coordinating the schedule, a planner can act as your vendor liaison, directing and guiding your vendors as they arrive on site and answering any questions they may have. A planner/coordinator will assist with setting up your decor to ensure the design you worked so hard on will be brought into reality.

Gofor: A planner can relieve some stress by running errands both during the planning process but also on the day of. If anything is forgotten or an emergency pops up, a planner can (hopefully) handle it for you. 

Friend: Sometimes, in all of the chaos and stress that wedding planning can bring, all you need is a friend. Someone that will listen to you when you need to vent, give you a hug when you are feeling overwhelmed and reassure you that everything will work out fine and reminding you about the real reason for the day. 

Other hats we occasionally wear? Babysitter, bus boy, buffet re-filler, bartender, seamstress, lint roll administrator (see pic), garbage changer, cake cutter/server, photography assistant, dress bustler, florist, marriage license witness, furniture mover, candle lighter, taxi driver, server, MC, and on and on.

While these are not things that we are usually contracted for it is always our goal to make your day perfect so we will do whatever it takes to make that happen!!  What hat can we wear for you?


In our last post, THE BUDGET...SETTING IT, we talked about how to come up with an overall budget for your event and what all costs are associated with those funds. In this post, we are going to talk a little bit about how to stick to the budget that you set, ways to cut back and the best places to allocate your funds. 

Now that you have an ideal budget in mind the key is to stick to it. This can be the tricky part. It is important to keep a good record of your costs so that you do not loose track of where you are at and end up overspending. A spreadsheet is a great way to do this and if you are not super computer savvy there are a lot of resources online to use such as on

Let's talk about some easy ways to keep your costs down. 

TIME OF YEAR/DAY: The time of year you decide to schedule your event can have an effect on your budget, as well. Peak event season in Michigan is from June to October, with September and October being very popular months due to the Fall foliage. Most venues will offer discounted rental fees during the months of January, February and March, this is a great option if you want a completely indoor event and don't mind the colder weather. The time of day can also make a difference. A late morning brunch or luncheon will cut down on your bar bill and possibly even your room rental fee. And depending on the type of event you plan you may not need to hire a DJ or band if it is more of an intimate, mingling luncheon. 

GUEST LIST: This topic can be just as stressful for couples and their families as the budget but it is just as important. Before you begin hunting for that perfect venue you need to know approximately how many guests you will be inviting to make sure the venues you consider can accommodate that number.  It can be extremely difficult to minimize your guest list if you come from large families. If you can, limit it to just immediate family, aunts and uncles and first cousins and your closest friends. Do not feel that just because 3 years ago you were invited to a friend's wedding you need to reciprocate that invitation, especially if you have not even seen them since their wedding! Your guest list should not feel like a time or place to "return favors". Your wedding is a very special day and you should want to spend it with only those closest to you. The larger the list becomes, the less likely it will be that you are able to greet and spend time with everyone. 

Cutting down on the guest list can influence your budget in a HUGE way. Not only can you look at smaller more intimate venues but you will have more money to spend on the things most important to you. (Side note: if having 300 people is the important part to you then by all means go for it! You will just need to cut back on other expenses to balance it out.) For every 8-10 guests you have an additional table, chairs, linens and napkins, place settings, food costs, drink costs, centerpiece, favors and invitations/postage. It is not just the food costs that are involved, it is EVERYTHING. 

BRIDAL PARTY: You may have a large family or friend group but if your budget is small keep the bridal party small too. For every bridesmaid or groomsmen you add you are also adding a bouquet/boutonniere and making your head table longer which means more decor. Also, if you want to provide transportation for your bridal party the difference between a small limo or a large party bus can add up.

FLOWERS: Do you love red roses and want to use them in all of your bouquets and arrangements? Stay away from February....due to Valentine's day they will cost you at least double. On the same note, ask your florist what flowers will be in season during your wedding month. Local and in season flowers can be a great way to save. In lieu of floral centerpieces on every table, add some simple candles. If done right, they can be an inexpensive option as well as add lovely ambiance to your venue. 

TRANSPORTATION: Offering your guests transportation to and from their hotels is a great service to provide, especially if having an open bar! This is also an area that can cost you. If your guest's safety is a concern for you but you do not have the room in your budget for shuttles consider hosting your reception at the hotel itself. Most hotels have event spaces and some can be quite lovely. If that is not an option for you, at a minimum have information for taxis available at the end of the night. 

RENTALS: Rentals can add up quickly. You may be tempted to bring in chiavari or cross back chairs instead of using what is provided but that can cost anywhere from $8-$20 per chair. If the included chairs are that awful, a fabric chair cover may be a more reasonable option at around $4-$5 per chair. I love chargers plates on tables but renting them can be a large expense. If looking to make a statement think of investing into a colored or textured linen instead. Linens can make a big difference in the overall look of a room at a reasonable cost. 

BAR: The bar is always a large line item cost. A few ways to cut back on this expense would be to offer only beer and wine for all or part of the evening. During cocktail hour, perhaps, you could add in one or two signature cocktails with the beer and wine but then end them after dinner. Use plastic cups after dinner instead of glass to cut down on rentals. I do not recommend a cash bar as an option. My reasoning for this is that you have invited these guests to your event, they should not be expected to pay for anything. If you decide to cut the bar all together and plan a "dry" event plan for your evening to end slightly earlier than normal. Most people will leave sooner if there is no bar provided. 

CAKE: Everyone loves to walk in and see a 5 tier wedding cake just waiting to be cut and enjoyed, I know I do! To save some cost on a large cake like this some bakeries will make "faux" layers out of Styrofoam and decorate them to look like your actual cake, then serve cut sheet cakes from the back. Another option is doing a smaller tiered cake for maybe half of the guest count and sheet cakes for the rest. Most good quality bakeries will make sheet cakes that look just like the regular cake so there would be no noticeable difference to your guests. If thinking of doing cupcakes or other desserts in lieu of a cake double check with your caterer that they will not still charge you a "cake cutting fee". This fee covers plates and forks for the desserts which you may be able to bring in disposable instead. 

There are lots of great ways you can cut back to make your budget work for you. Just because you have a smaller budget does not mean you can't have the wedding of your dreams! 

In our next post we will be talking about Finding the Perfect Venue! 


I have never been a writer, just never have had that eloquence with words that some people are gifted with. So, because of that I have struggled with maintaining a blog over the last 12 years that I have been in business. When I updated the Red Heels Events website a few months ago I decided to just forget about the blog altogether but recently I have had this feeling that I needed to revive it and not just for pretty posts about Real Weddings but to dive deeper into the event that is planning a wedding. Posting Real Weddings is easy because I can fill each post with gorgeous pictures from amazing photographers but I want to do more than that. I want to share the knowledge that over a decade in the industry has given me to hopefully help those planning events to feel less overwhelmed and frustrated. 

My grammar, punctuation and all that jazz may not be right on point but the information will be and that's what really counts, right? You will get to know me, as a planner and a person, through my words. So, with all of that being it goes.