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Real Wedding: Raven & Daniel’s Michigan Beach Wedding

Raven + Daniel

July 7, 2017

The Veranda

The amount of amazing photos from Raven & Daniel’s July beach wedding is almost overwhelming – I could hardly narrow them down to a few favorites for this post! Everything about this couple and their day was just beautiful! We are all still swooning over Raven’s perfect lace and beaded dress that had a soft blush underlay. It was a perfect, subtle alternative to the traditional white wedding dress. And she

Raven & Daniel were married at Tiscornia Beach overlooking the St. Joseph Lighthouse on a picture perfect day. These photos capture how Lake Michigan almost looked tropical with bright blue water and rolling whitecaps. The couple incorporated a “promise box” into their vows and the ceremony was filled with such heartfelt moments. Their photographer, Cellardoor Weddings, even captured Raven’s walk with her Father down the pier to meet Daniel. You can also check out their blog post of this beautiful wedding here!

Their reception reflected the couple’s colors of navy, silver, white and gray. Crisp all white linens gave The Veranda a fresh feel while the silver sequined linen on the cake table added the right amount of sparkle and highlighted their fruit adorned naked cake!

Raven and Daniel completed the tablescapes with personalized beer bottles and hashtag cards at each setting to get guests ready to party and record all the fun. The look on their faces as they walked through their sparkler send off proves it was a day filled with so much love and laughter. We are so grateful to have shared these moments with them.

To get the full scope of how amazing this Lake Michigan beach wedding was, check out this video of their day from Coastline Studios!

Raven + Daniel

Congratulations once again Raven & Daniel!

Interested in a Lake Michigan beach wedding? Let us know and we’ll get you info!

Vendor Rundown:

Ceremony: Tiscornia Beach, coordination by 1928 Planning Co.

Reception: The Veranda

Catering: CK Catering

Photography: Cellardoor Weddings

Videography: Coastline Studios

Florist: Scarlet Begonia Floral Design

Baker: The Flour Shop

DJ: Kaleidoscope Events

Lighting Decor: Schades of Light

Officiant: Spirit Link Wedding Ceremonies

You’re Engaged!! How To Get Started Planning

Happy Engagement Season!

From now until just after Valentine’s Day the number of engaged couples will jump dramatically. It’s such an exciting time for all the new fiances out there! As wedding professionals, we share your excitement and seeing as most people only plan one wedding, we’re guessing your new status comes with a whole host of questions. With all the flurry of activity and emotions that surround a new engagement, it’s easy to get focused on some of the more “fun” parts of wedding planning. Wedding style, decor, colors, dresses, etc are definitely important but below we’ve put together a list of some of the less-glamorous parts of wedding planning that should be top on your priority list right now. 

So without further ado – our top 5 most important tasks for the newly engaged!


Narrow down some of the most important wedding details. Starting to research wedding locations can be a daunting task – there is just so much to choose from! So start with the broad ideas – will you get married near home? Will you have a destination wedding? Will the wedding be an intimate event with a few close friends/family? Do you need space for 300 of your closest friends? Narrowing down the location and sizing options will help you begin your venue search with a more manageable list of options.


Start your wedding research using the smartest resources. The vast majority of wedding research takes place online these days. It’s best to know where and how to look for what you want. While a general Google search is going to get you some results based on proximity, it may not give you all of your options. Consider  picking out a few keyword details that will help you target more of what is useful to you. For example, many couples that get married at The Veranda are hoping for a beach wedding. Searching terms like “southwest MI beach wedding” will get you better results based on your preferences. If you have a style in mind already – try searching with a general location and style paired together – like “rustic MI weddings”. And if you don’t know already, you are about to find there are a billion websites devoted to helping you find vendors, styles, etc. The big sites dominate – like The Knot and Wedding Wire. Both are great sites but again – when searching through the pages and pages it’s important to filter based on your preferences. Many sites like this will show you results based first on how much a vendor pays to be there. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just means you may not see the perfect fit for you on the first page of a search.  So get those keywords working for you to bring some of the smaller but equally amazing vendors to the forefront of your searches.


Pick dates in your calendar for venue visits now! We think choosing your venue should be the first vendor you lock in (and not just because we manage venues!). Spaces book up quickly – much faster than most people expect. We recommend you not pick a wedding date until you have a venue you love and can check their availability. You don’t want to choose a date and fall in love with a venue only to find out you have to change plans. It’s just less stressful to pick the venue first! Once you have some of your venue options narrowed down, set aside some dates to visit the venues. If you have time with your fiance, friends, family, etc. set aside for visits, you will be able to set tours with venues as quickly as possible. The sooner you can get in to tour a place, the better chance you’ll have for securing a date before someone else steals it away!


Educate yourselves on what to ask while touring venues. Venues are structured in a million different ways – pricing, inclusions, bar services, etc. This makes comparing apples to apples very difficult for you so it’s important to know what to ask to get the answers you need to make the right decision for you. If you are the spreadsheet type (which I love!) it can be helpful to create a spreadsheet with the venues listed you plan to tour and the categories of questions to ask so you can easily see if you have missing information. We’ve created a template that you can download here to help along the way!


Once your research is done and your venue is narrowed down, it’s time to talk dates. Begin thinking about how the weather, holidays, work schedules, etc will figure into your date choice. You should have your venue’s availability already so start by blocking off all dates that won’t work. Cross out dates the venue is booked, dates that conflict with your work schedule, dates that other friends/family members are having weddings, etc. More than likely, this process will leave you with only a handful of dates that will work. Run those dates by key family members and friends and then make the jump to lock your date in!

Now, you can actually take some time to enjoy being engaged knowing you are already on the right track to stress free wedding planning.

If you want even more advice on what to do next or if The Veranda may be on your list of venue visits – don’t hesitate to connect with us!

Real Wedding: Amanda & Jimmy’s Lakeside Wedding

Amanda + Jimmy

September 9, 2017

The Veranda

Amanda and Jimmy celebrated with an intimate group of friends and family right along the shore of Lake Michigan. Although in September, their lakeside wedding had a distinct beach feel. Between decor and the bridesmaids dresses – the couple brought in shades of blush, mint, juniper, and teal. We ended up with a beautiful September day and Amanda’s lace detailed dress fit perfectly with a lakeside wedding. This is a great example of how to get that beach feel without needing to wade through sand! Had this been a beach ceremony we wouldn’t have been graced by these shoes! Gorgeous!

This couple kept reception decor simple and classy. All white linens kept the focus on the bright florals in mason jars and the Lake Michigan view. Personalized mints were the favor of choice at each place setting and mercury glass votives added a romantic glow.

The couple chose a single layer traditional cake to cut along withe cupcakes for dessert. Although not seen in the photo – there were even graham cracker crumbs on the dessert table as “sand” to keep with that lakeside feel – so creative!

Amanda & Jimmy made sure their guests were taken care of which is always appreciated when guests are traveling so far to be with you! Their stationary suite included local accommodations and guests were served pre-ceremony beverages on The Veranda rooftop overlooking the lake.

This wedding was filled with special moments like Amanda’s first look with her Dad along with a live musician!

And of course, no Veranda wedding would be complete without some photos by the lake and lighthouse!

Throughout the night it was obvious that this couple just enjoyed being together and truly appreciated all who were there to celebrate with them. They even treated guests to the luxury of local favorite – DiMaggio’s Pizza!

Congratulations Amanda & Jimmy! Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding with us!

Vendor Rundown

Reception Venue: The Veranda @ The Whitcomb

Ceremony Venue: The Veranda Rooftop

Coordination: 1928 Planning Co.

Catering: CK Catering

Bar Service: Beverage Specialists of Southwest Michigan

Rentals: 1928 Planning Co. (lounge furniture, sweetheart table loveseat)

Florist: Mother of the Bride (wow!!!)

DJ: Drew Behringer

Photographer: Karrn Frost Photography

Desserts: Mimi’s Cupcakes

Lighting Decor: Schades of Light


Love Amanda & Jimmy’s laid back lakeside wedding vibe?

Let us know your vision and we’ll work to make it happen!

Contact The Veranda


Seasonal Wedding Details

Even though Veranda wedding season is only 6 months long, couples can still reflect the changing seasons with wedding details. We love the little ways you can incorporate your favorite time of year into your wedding style. Check out some of our favorites!


Floral arrangements change naturally with the season. When deciding which blooms and greenery to use, keep in mind the time of year you will be celebrating. Not all varieties are available throughout the year. Spring wedding floral arrangements are some of our most loved! They are often soft colors like blush and white and reflect the freshness of the season.


Photo opportunities also often change with the season. We have the good fortune to be located right on Lake Michigan! No summer wedding is complete without those coveted beach wedding photos. Even if you choose not to have your wedding directly on the beach, amazing photos are only steps away!


We don’t really hide our love of all things dessert! With fall weddings, we see some pretty spectacular donut and pie displays. If you are hosting a fall wedding and are right on the edge of chilly weather, a donut paired with a spiked hot cider will make sure your guests feel warm and cozy regardless of the temperature.

Wedding Colors

Although we are seeing couples edge away from “set” colors to represent their wedding style, we almost always see couples working off a color palette. And color palette’s are an easy and effective way to incorporate the season into your day. We see a lot of aqua and pink in the warmer months and the colors tend to be more bold for fall weddings.

While all of these little touches can make your wedding fit the season, keep in mind; this is your day! If you like deep reds in July, go for it! If you want a beach feel in September, make it happen! Your wedding style should always speak to your personality regardless of date! 

Photo Credits (in order of appearance)

Tina Rae Photography

Karrn Frost Photography

Cellardoor Weddings

Gingertown Photography

Tina Rae Photography

Allie Siarto Photography

Laurenda Marie Photography

430 Studios



Wedding Season 2017: So Much to be Thankful For!

So it’s been a minute (or three) since we’ve dug into all things social at The Veranda and with a new year approaching we plan to focus on getting out all the lovely-ness we’ve witnessed lately. Consider this our triumphant return to the web!…at least we hope you see it that way! 

To kick it off, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’d like to share a few snapshots of what we are so grateful to have shared in our 2017 wedding season. Keep in mind…this is just a quick peek at the previous year. As we gather photos, stories, tips and resources we’d love to include any past Veranda couples! If that happens to be you, don’t be afraid to send us some highlights of your most special day! 

And so we begin – so very thankful for:

Rainy Day1DessertsBear HugsFeel GoodDance MovesThose LooksLittles

You feel the love now, right? Don’t worry – there’s more to come!

From all of us here at The Veranda – Happy Thanksgiving!


“Sunset”: Brian Wolfey Photography

“Desserts”: Tina Rae Photography, 1928 Planning Co. (Rentals)

“Bear Hugs”: Karrn Frost Photography, Schades of Light (Lighting Decor)

“Feel Good”: Brian Wolfey Photography

“Dance Moves”: Tina Rae Photography

“Those Looks”: Brian Wolfey Photography

“Littles”: Karrn Frost Photography

Wedding Ideas – What Made Our 2013 Love List!

The Veranda hosts close to 50 weddings each year and we love recognizing “stand out” moments of the season to share with our fans! We’ve created an annual tradition of sharing what we’ve coined as our Love List for each wedding season and being right around Valentine’s Day, we thought it was only fitting to make this post today!

S’more Bars

A few of our beautiful fall weddings this past year added a fun dessert element to their reception – S’more Bars! A buffet line full of a variety of graham crackers, chocolates and marshmallows added a wow-factor and gave guests a truly unique experience! It’s so fitting for our outdoor venue on a fall evening – who wouldn’t want to top it off with a homemade s’more?

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Wedding Guest Flash Mobs!

When we hosted our first wedding of the 2013 season, we witnessed (and loved!) our first wedding guest flash mob! Throughout cocktail hour, small groups of guests would sneak off and teach others the stellar choreographed routine to perform in front of the new Mr. and Mrs. It occurred during dinner service – such an unexpected time of night! – and the look on Becky & Eric’s faces say it all! It was a great group of family and friends that helped them celebrate their wedding day!

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New debuts from Schades of Light!

Anyone looking to do something different lighting-wise in The Veranda is something guaranteed to get our attention! To see new ideas come to life is an exciting time for not only the couple but for us and our close friends and lighting vendor, Schades of Light! In early spring, Lindsay & Elliott wanted to add a lighting element in our garden patio to add a touch of nighttime elegance for guests to enjoy during the reception. In addition, they had large black lanterns suspended from The Veranda’s sunken section to not only add lighting but also compliment the wrought iron that is showcased in The Veranda. How cool, right? Their wedding has become a source of inspiration for Schades of Light and couples for 2014 that want to recreate the same look in the space!

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{ Top Photo: Erica + Ryan | Photography courtesy 430 Studios } { Bottom Photo: Lindsay + Elliot }

Color Mania | Chiavari Chairs | Lounge Furniture

This year marked a number of our Veranda couples looking to make a statement by either embracing colors at the reception, adding chiavari chairs for an elegant look, and renting The Veranda’s lounge furniture for the garden area! What do you think? Weren’t their ideas a complete success? We love to push the boundaries here and see how versatile The Veranda can look – it’s such a blank canvas just waiting to be transformed!

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{ Photo Credit –  Top Left | Karrn Frost Photography, Bottom Left | Luna Dulce Photography, Bottom Right | SJ2 Photography }

Cute Cakes

Yes, we have a sweet tooth and yes, we love to talk about cake! Fun and unexpected cake decorating details, four-tier cheesecake wedding cakes, and cake cutting pies instead of traditional cake! Had to share – and always love seeing the couples’ personality when it comes to the desserts.

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Foodie Love

We love cake and of course we love food too! We’ve really enjoyed seeing the transition of new food trends at receptions – especially stationed food and the live interaction the caterers have with your guests. Below you’ll see CK Catering‘s mashed potato martini bar with all the fixins, pad thai station, as well as walkaway salads served in a cosmo glass.

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{ Photography courtesy Steven Kowalski Photography }

We look so forward to seeing our 2014 couples tie the knot and seeing who makes the list for our Love List 2014! Stay tuned!

Cheers to 2014: Wedding Bar 101

One of the most common misconceptions about the wedding bar service is not thinking that it will be something your guests will remember. From what we’ve seen at the 150 weddings we’ve hosted at The Veranda, the bar stands out just as much as the food (and its service!) Rest assured – we’ve got the hook up on all things bar for your wedding day! After picking the brain of one of the most talented bartenders we know, Sharon Montgomery of Lil Fox Bartending (she’s the bomb!) gave us the scoop on what is trending for 2014, common bar-related questions as well as worthy tips of a bartender with over 25 years professional experience. Get ready, grab your pen, and take notes – this is some good stuff!

Let’s start with two commonly asked wedding bar questions and provide you with some answers:

Q. At the average wedding reception, what is the most served liquor?

A. You’ll always go through the most vodka, followed by rum then whiskey.

Q. How much alcohol do I need to buy for the bar at my wedding?

A. These rules of thumb will help get you started:

      • A case of wine will yield 48 wine glass pours
      • A case of champagne will yield 72 flute glass pours
      • A 1/2 barrel of beer will yield 164- 12oz. beer glass pours

Overall, when determining which alcohol to serve, try not to offer so much variety that you overwhelm your guests – because there is a thing as too much. You want your guests to grab their drink and get back on that dance floor – not be tied up at the bar looking at the array of alcohol staring them down! Stay simple and go with your gut instinct. You know your friends and guests better than anyone.

Collage 2{ Photos courtesy Karrn Frost Photography, Jennifer Mayo Studios, Ben Pancoast Photography }

As for what’s trending in 2014 for wedding bars:

  1. Having a Gentlemen’s Bar! Although out of the norm, they were a popular hit with the men this year. One phrase: Bacon-infused whiskey drinks. It’s a way to show off the groom’s personality and add a masculine touch at the reception.
  2. Out of the box bar setups like martini bars and mojito bars.
  3. The end of summer/beginning of fall popular cocktail – hot apple cider with Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum.
  4. The end of fall popular cocktail – hot chocolate with Pinnacle Whipped Vodka.
  5. Be sure to check out more wedding bar trends that are staying on board in 2014 here!

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 Tips you can trust from a professional bartender:

  1. If the reception is going to start early, you may want to think about closing the bar during dinner hour to give your guests a chance to pace themselves before the real celebration begins.
  2. Have a universal mixer. Sharon’s famous go-to mixer is a special combination of orange juice, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, and cherry juice. Keeping it universal ensures the ability for it to be served with vodka, gin, white run or spiced rum. The kids at the reception will also love the mixer as a non-alcoholic punch or to act as a kitty cocktail.


A few things to avoid to ensure a great wedding bar:

  1. Stay away from serving hard liquor like Jaegermeister with energy drinks. People tend to think they can drink more than they really can.
  2. If your guests enjoying drinking shots, limit the amount of shots the bartenders are to serve thru out the evening so the reception doesn’t get out of hand!


Hopefully now that we’ve overloaded you with information, you’ll have some unique ideas of your own to make your bar service stand out and leave  your guests talking long after they leave.

To reach out to Sharon of Lil Fox Bartending, you can email her at:






Partners In Crime: Trendy Bridesmaids Gifts

So, you popped the question ‘Will You Be My Bridesmaid?’


After you know your friends are going to be by your side for your special day, you need to ask yourself what am I going to give them as gifts?

At the Veranda, we came up with some gift ideas that will help you thank your friends:

If your bridesmaids have the same style dress, it might be difficult to decipher who’s dress is who’s. Here is a convenient gift for them to use on the big day:


Several versions of this can be found on Etsy.
By having these hangers as your bridesmaids gift, it gives a personal touch that will help your bridesmaids remember the special day every time they look in their closet.

Getting ready for a wedding can be a lot of work. Hair and make-up are two important aspects when being a bridesmaid. Aside from the bride, eyes are going to be on your bridesmaids a lot of the day, so you’ll want them to look their best. Here are a few gift items that will help the day of and long after:


Listed above are:
a) Totes your bridesmaids can carry all of their day of necessities.
b) Small cosmetic bags for their must have make-up.
c) Robes which the bridesmaids can wear while getting ready.
Robes are a great option because it helps prevent ruining hair and make-up.

(Each gift listed above is monogramed which makes it very easy to decipher them and it gives a personal touch.)

A gift that your bridesmaids can use on a daily basis is jewelry. Every girl loves jewelry, right?

Kate Spade has a bridal line that is perfect for your bridesmaids.
Each bracelet has a saying on it from “peas in a pod, partners in crime, birds of a feather,” etc.
Bracelets come in rose gold, gold and silver.


With this piece of jewelry by Kate Spade, your bridesmaids will always remember helping you ‘tie the knot.’
I am loving Kate Space’s bridal line and I will definitely be purchasing this for my bridesmaids….(whenever that time may be)

(The tie the knot bracelet comes in silver or gold.)

Happy shopping!


Purely Michigan: Special Treats For Your Special Day

St. Joseph, Michigan is a quaint town surrounded by sandy beaches on Lake Michigan. St. Joseph takes pride of being a part of the ‘Mitten State.’ To help capture the state we are so happy to be a part of, a downtown St. Joseph store, Purely Michigan, carries several Michigan themed items. Help your guests get a sense of the area by stopping by and grabbing your wedding favors at Purely Michigan.

Here are a few words from Lynne Christiano, owner of Purely Michigan:

Special Treats for Your Special Day

Purely Michigan would love to be invited to your wedding!  You don’t need to add us to your guest list, but what you do need to add is one or two of the delicious treats we carry for the guests that will be helping you celebrate your special day.

We offer a wonderful variety of party favors from the many flavors of Kalamazoo Kettlecorn,  to American Gourmet pretzels, Maple Coated Nuts from Jack & Jill’s Maple Hill Farm, Chocolate Covered Mints from Hanover’s of St. Johns, Trail Mixes, Granolas, chocolates from DW Hammond Chocolates & Fudge and the list goes on and on!


picstitch-2Make every guest happy with several flavors of kettle corn.
The flavors listed above include Buttery Caramel Corn, Praline Pecan, Chocolate Nut Avalanche and Toffee Cashew.

Please add “visit Purely Michigan for a taste test of treats” to your To Do List. We look forward to meeting you and helping you make your special day one your guests will remember!

Purely Michigan, 406 State Street, Downtown St. Joseph, 269-983-3300,, or visit us on Facebook – Where You Come To Experience What Michigan Has To Offer!

Let Purely Michigan show you what the Mitten State is all about.


Real Weddings: Summer Love

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The beautiful Lake Michigan beaches in St. Joseph, Michigan was a great choice for Laura + Rudy. Their summer inspired colors could not have been more appropriate for their July 2012 wedding. The Veranda captured summer colors by having lots pink, peach, and maize. The couple had an intimate wedding full of summer beauty.

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A St. Joseph beach was the perfect backdrop for Laura + Rudy’s wedding pictures.

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The bride carried a bouquet full of summer colors by Crystal Springs.

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Colorful Mini Cupcakes by Amanda Marie’s Bakery.
Make your wedding personalized by naming your desserts or drinks.

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The couple fulfilled their guest’s sweet tooth and pulled together their color scheme by having a colorful candy bar.

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A favor of small jar of preserves were placed at each guest seat. What a great way to “spread the love!”
Having jars of summer preserves was a perfect way to complete the summer theme.

Check out their full photo gallery capturing their big day here! Congratulations, Laura + Rudy!

The Veranda is an ideal location to celebrate a summer party. Summer in St. Joseph is unlike anywhere else. The Veranda has breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and the St. Joseph Lighthouse.