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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: jshar1159@aol.com






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, www.purelymi.com, 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.


Trolley: A Unique Wedding Transportation Idea

Are you looking for a fun and unique way to travel from point A to point B on your wedding day? Arriving in style is a great way to impress your guests while making a big statement. The Veranda @ The Whitcomb is a unique venue that offers a unique transportation option for your wedding day. If you want to avoid the typical limo transpiration option, try a trolley instead! A trolley is a unique alternative that will have your guests in awe.


Your wedding day is one of the most memorable days of your life. Make your wedding day even more memorable by using a trolley as your wedding day transportation. A trolley is an elegant and unique way to travel. Using unique transportation can be creative and add decoration to your wedding pictures and theme.


Your wedding day transportation can be a hassle when you have a large guest list. Free yourself of the hassle and consider Sunset Coast Trolley Company! The trolley is Southwest Michigan’s newest transportation and wedding transportation company.

Sunset Coast Trolley Company provides a completely unique, elegant and memorable way to travel for your wedding or special event. The 34-passanger trolley is a safe and stress free transportation option. Ride in style with Sunset Coast Trolley Company!

The trolley is a festive way to travel around town. Your guests may not be familiar with the area. What better way to show your guests around and travel from point A to point B than in a Sunset Coast trolley?

For more information about the trolley and how to book transportation for your wedding, visit their Website or like them on Facebook!



After Party Hot Spots in St. Joseph

Without a doubt, your wedding day is the biggest celebration of your life. You and your guests will probably want to continue the party even after your venue closes. The question on everyone’s minds is where to go after the party has ended at The Veranda @ The Whitcomb? There are several after party hot spots in St. Joseph, just walking distance from The Veranda @ The Whitcomb.

Check out some local hot spots that will continue the celebration:


Czar’s is Southwest Michigan’s premiere live band venue, featuring local, regional and national acts.The local underground hot spot has a new band each night with occasional themed nights that include comedy night, reggae night and country night. If you and your guests are looking to continue to dance the night away while listening to live music, this after party hot spot should be at the top of your list. Czar’s is located across the street from The Veranda @ The Whitcomb and is open until 2:00a.m., which is perfect for your after party celebrations.


Players Bar and Grille is a great lunch and dinner destination that has a bar atmosphere at night. Players Bar and Grille has several flat screen TVs and assorted games like pool tables and darts. This after party hot spot is located on Main Street downtown St. Joseph and is open until 2:00a.m.

557813_345650295488939_2023583793_nThe Buck is an American style restaurant. This hot spot is known for their assortment of beer and having 74 draft tap handles, which is the largest selection in Southwest Michigan. You and your guests can enjoy a drink while overlooking Lake Michigan on The Buck’s outdoor patio. The Buck is located on State Street downtown St. Joseph and is open until midnight on weekends.


Silver Beach Pizza is known for their delicious pizza and unique schooners of beer. Silver Beach Pizza is located right by Silver Beach in St. Joseph. This hot spot has a lakeside patio with a full bar that is open until midnight or later.

If you and your guests are looking to travel, many more hot spots can be found for an after party celebration. Wether you are looking for a drink or to dance the night away, there is a hot spot in St. Joseph that will be just what you are looking for.

If you have been to St. Joseph, what is your favorite hot spot?

Happy Celebrating!


The Veranda’s Lake View!

It’s so easy for staff here at The Veranda to talk about how amazing our venue is because we get to enjoy the awesome view of Lake Michigan on a daily basis. But recently we’ve had a lot of couples ask about photos of the lake view. Almost 90% of the couples married at The Veranda are out-of-towners looking to treat their guests to all that St. Joseph has to offer. But being from out of town, many couples find it difficult to make it here for a tour and therefore the need for awesome photos is that much greater.

Since Danielle and I haven’t mastered the art of capturing a beautiful lake view with our phones, we enlisted the help of a professional photographer. Andy Zachary from Zachary Photography was kind enough to take these shots from inside The Veranda. And I have to say they blow our phone photos out of the water (my attempt at a clever lake pun!). If you are in the market for a great photographer please stop by Zachary Photography’s website – he’s got the patience of a saint to put up with us and our crazy ideas and he takes some pretty fantastic pics! Thank you Andy!



[caption id="attachment_1949" align="alignnone" width="569"]2013-05-08 05.20.00-2 Maids of the Mist Fountain[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1948" align="alignnone" width="614"]2013-05-08 05.19.21-2 Looking North toward St. Joseph River[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1947" align="alignnone" width="614"]2013-05-08 05.16.27-2 View of the bluff and old train bridge.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1946" align="alignnone" width="614"]2013-05-08 05.12.21-2 The Lighthouse (sigh – so pretty!)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1945" align="alignnone" width="614"]2013-05-08 05.10.50-2 Maids of the Mist Fountain on the bluff.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1944" align="alignnone" width="614"]2013-05-07 20.35.32-2 The Garden Patio[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1943" align="alignnone" width="614"]2013-05-07 20.32.39-2 You can’t beat this view![/caption] [caption id="attachment_1942" align="alignnone" width="602"]2013-05-07 20.31.58-2 St. Joseph Lighthouse on Lake Michigan![/caption]


Morgan Schaefer: The New Veranda Intern

Each year at The Veranda @ The Whitcomb, we bring on several interns eager to learn the wedding business.  One of our fresh crop of interns this year, Morgan Schaefer, is a public relations major.  We welcome Morgan to the team and hope you do too!

Here’s Morgan, in her own words:


I was born and bred in Arizona & now live in the beautiful Southwest Michigan area. I am a soon-to-be Central Michigan University graduate with a degree in Integrative Public Relations and minor in Communication. Throughout my education, I realized I could do anything with a public relations degree, so I had to narrow it down.

My dream was to do sports PR and I followed that passion by interning with the Lansing Lugnuts. Out of all places, working in sports is where I started to fall in love with weddings. How on earth is it possible to fall in love with weddings working in sports?

Well, several fans throughout the season would utilize the games and stadium to propose to their loved one. Whenever I was told there was going to be an engagement during the game, it was all I could think about. It was then that I saw my dream for sports slowly turn into something a little more girly. My new dream was to work in the wedding industry. In my free time, I found myself pinning all things wedding and searching for internships in the wedding industry.I am now following a new passion by working at The Veranda @ The Whitcomb.

I have experience in event planning, assisting in wedding planning, public relations, marketing and design.

One of my tasks as a marketing intern is to blog alongside Kristin and Danielle. As the summer goes on, you will see me blog about various subjects such as popular trends, beach weddings, tips and ideas, as well as featuring real weddings.

Give me some ideas! What topics would you like me to blog about?

I am grateful for this experience and I hope you enjoy the blog posts as much as I do!

Affordable Destination Weddings in Michigan

Affordable destination weddings are the dream scenario for couples who want their big day to be unique and involve travel.  Did you know that this can be done in beautiful locations (like St. Joseph, Michigan) that truly aren’t that far away or expensive to travel to?

Planning affordable destination weddings in Hawaii or Cancun isn’t very feasible, since the distance means a lot of remote planning, and cost much more than regional destination wedding venues.  “Affordable” goes right out the window.

However, if you’re located in the Midwest, you can reach one of the most popular destination wedding venues within just a couple of hours.  On top of that, the pricing of destination wedding venues in the St. Joseph area is usually much less expensive than big-city counterparts.

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St. Joseph. Michigan has been growing as a location for affordable destination weddings over the past few years for just this very reason.  When you combine short travel times, gorgeous beaches, convenient hotels and a quaint downtown shopping district,  you can treat your guests to a weekend full of fun and memories.

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Pictured above, The Veranda @ The Whitcomb has become one of the most popular wedding venues in Michigan, being just 90 minutes from downtown Chicago and Grand Rapids.  In a few hours, you can make it from Indianapolis and Detroit.

It’s an outdoor venue, yet protected from the elements by an ornate roof and majestic Mediterranean columns.   Michigan’s famed sunset on the water are visible to your guests as they dance the night away in celebration of your new union.

When clients seek to plan affordable destination weddings, it’s nice to save guests travel time and gas by choosing a destination wedding venue that is near to all of your most important wedding elements.  The Veranda @ The Whitcomb is located in downtown St. Joseph, within walking distance of beaches, hotels, restaurants and shopping.

If you’re planning remotely, our onsite wedding coordinator Danielle Monte can assist you with all of the details.  She offers full-service wedding planning and day-of coordination, to make your day a seamless breeze.

If you’d like to learn more about planning affordable destination weddings in Michigan, please give us a call at (888)785-6377 or contact us via the web.