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A Natural, Nautical Wedding at Boatwerks Event Center in Holland, Michigan

Four years after they met as undergraduates at Hope College, Clayton Sommers (26 and in software sales) proposed to Katlyn Prince (26 and an accountan

Four years after they met as undergraduates at Hope College, Clayton Sommers (26 and in software sales) proposed to Katlyn Prince (26 and an accountant) while the two were taking photos in their backyard one January evening. “It was just the two of us and our golden retriever, Bear,” Katlyn says. “We had never gone ring shopping together, so it was very sentimental to see the thought Clayton had put into designing my engagement ring.” Because the Holland-based pair enjoy spending time on nearby Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa, a waterfront wedding was a must. “When we heard that Boatwerks Restaurant was opening an event center, we knew that we needed to have our reception there,” Katlyn says. “It incorporated our love of the water and allowed us to arrive to our reception in my family’s boat, Yes Dear.” Lush arrangements of garden roses, scabiosa pods, eucalyptus and anemones (Katlyn’s favorite) were used throughout the design, along with nautical-inspired details like rope place card holders and a subtle anchor motif. After Katlyn and Clayton exchanged vows at Dimnent Memorial Chapel at their alma mater, the newlyweds escaped for a trolley ride and a boat trip while guests sipped sangria on the Boatwerks outdoor patio. In addition to seafood appetizers and lawn games like corn hole, guests were treated to late-night carnival fare in the form of corn dogs and elephant ears. “We wanted to set up shop to feed our guests one more time,” Katlyn says. Her advice for future to-be-weds? “You can plan only so much,” she says. “When the big day comes, don’t sweat the little stuff—just focus on your commitment to each other." —Rachel Sylvester

Chicago-based illustrator and lettering pro Allie Hasson worked closely with the couple to create a pastel-colored invitation suite that incorporated subtle anchor details. "She really helped us set our theme with her design expertise," Katlyn says.
The couple got engaged on a snowy January day while taking photos in their backyard. "Clayton custom-designed my engagement ring and wedding band," Katlyn says. "We had never gone ring shopping together, so it was very sentimental to see the thought he had put into it."
Katlyn accessorized with a pair of Badgley Mischka cream heels complete with a glam brooch detail.
Katlyn accessorized with a pair of Badgley Mischka cream heels and an elegant pair of crystal drop earrings.
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Anemones were incorporated into Katlyn's bridal bouquet since they're her favorite bloom.
The couple's golden retriever, Bear, donned a green-leaf collar made from eucalyptus.
Clayton and his groomsmen donned green boutonnieres made from scabies pods and hops sourced from western Michigan.
"When Boatwerks Restaurant announced they'd be building a new event center, we knew we wanted to have our reception there," Katlyn says. "It allowed us to incorporate our love for the water with our nautical design."
Bridesmaids wore turquoise dresses and carried lush arrangements of dahlias, anemones and greens. Other blooms included ranunculus, garden roses, hops and peonies.
Katlyn worked with Holland-based florist, Spring Sweet, to design a lush bouquet of greenery, peonies and white anemones—the bride's favorite.
The newlyweds arrived to their venue via a boat adorned with a green and pink garland made from eucalyptus leaves.
A simple chalkboard sign bearing Katlyn and Clayton's names welcomed guests to the Boatwerks reception space. For a whimsical touch, a single white balloon was attached to the sign's wooden frame.
Guests found their seats using a mirrored seating chart emblazoned with a nautical compass. Other nautical-inspired accents included knotted-rope place card holders and an anchor detailing on the buttercream cake.
White linens and dinnerware gave each tablescape a natural, simple feel, while towering green and pink centerpieces were housed in silver vessels.
Katlyn worked with Holland-based florist Spring Sweet to design lush table arrangements that included eucalyptus leaves, peonies, anemones and hops.
After ordering sea glass from Baltic Beach Treasures on Etsy, Allie Hasson hand-painted each guest's name on the glass.
Guests were treated to a three-tier buttercream cake that was baked by the Cakabakery and finished with a colorful, anchor detail. Other dessert items included chocolate-covered strawberries and cherries.
Guests were treated to a three-tier buttercream cake baked by the Cakabakery and finished with a colorful, anchor detail. Other dessert items included chocolate-covered strawberries and cherries.
The Cakabakery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, created a sweet dessert spread that included a tiered buttercream confection and two flower-topped naked cakes.
As a nod to the subtle nautical motif, knotted ropes served as holders for watercolor table numbers.
Locally sourced hops and greens covered a wooden pallet wall, which served as a backdrop during the reception.