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 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