A Ski Lodge Wedding at Bay Mountain at the Homestead in Glen Arbor, Michigan

Kelsey Carpenter (22 and a preschool teaching assistant) and Austin Smith (22 and a student) met in high school. “Austin was the quiet type and I was

Kelsey Carpenter (22 and a preschool teaching assistant) and Austin Smith (22 and a student) met in high school. “Austin was the quiet type and I was the loud cheerleader,” Kelsey says. Even though they went to a very small school—only 35 people were in their graduating class—they didn’t start dating until their senior year, when Kelsey realized she had a crush on him during a class trip. “A few months later we made it official, and we’ve been together ever since,” she says. The couple are from Ann Arbor but wanted a Memorial Day weekend getaway wedding away in northern Michigan, and they fell in love with Bay Mountain at the Homestead the minute they saw it. “It felt comfortable and relaxing but still very elegant,” Kelsey says. The couple went above and beyond to make sure guests felt appreciated, hosting a party Saturday night with an open bar, pizza and s’mores, the wedding on Sunday (decorated in a pretty palette of gold, ivory and navy) and a brunch Monday morning. Instead of favors, guests received welcome bags featuring the couple's favorite Michigan-made products: Faygo soda, Better Made chips, Bell’s Oberon beer, assorted small boxes of Kellogg's cereals, a road-trip CD with their favorite songs (for the drive home), Tylenol, sunscreen, bottled water, a map of nearby Traverse City, a list of things to do in Glen Arbor and a schedule with wedding details. “We wanted them to know how thankful we were that they would spend their weekend celebrating with us,” Kelsey says. For the ceremony, guests took the ski lift to the top of the hill for stunning views of Lake Michigan. Lanterns, navy ribbons, garlands of ruscus and simple floral arrangements decorated the aisle, and guests were encouraged to pick up a paper cone filled with ivory rose petals. A massive cross, made by the bride’s cousin, finished the ceremony decor. “Our faith is very important to us,” Kelsey says. “Christ truly has blessed us with more than we deserve.” After the ceremony, guests rode the ski lift down the hill for the reception at Mountain Flowers Lodge for an evening of eating, drinking and dancing. “Everyone had a blast,” Kelsey says. —Chrissy Sorenson

Kelsey didn't want to risk her super-curly hair having a mind of its own on her wedding day, so the stylist pulled it back into a low bun, parted on the left side. Not a big makeup person, Kelsey kept her makeup simple and natural, “like a better version of my everyday self,” she says.
Kelsey describes her wedding day look as simple, timeless and comfortable. When shopping for wedding gowns, she tried on the Evelyn gown by Anais Anetter, a lace fit-and-flare, “just for fun.” As soon as she had it on, knew it was her dress.
Kelsey's veil was a last-minute decision to add some drama to her otherwise simple look.
Other than a large handmade cross, a navy ribbon, garlands of ruscus and simple floral arrangements on aisle seats, the ceremony decor was kept simple so as not to take away from the natural beauty of Lake Michigan.
Kelsey’s brother, Eli, walked her down the aisle. “He is a light in my life,” she says. “He brings me so much joy. It was the greatest having my two favorite guys in the world up there.”
“Our faith is important to us,” Kelsey says. “Christ truly has blessed us with more than we deserve.” A cross was the most prominent ceremony decor, she says, because “God was the center of it all.”
The five bridesmaids selected their gowns from eight style options, all in the same color and fabric.
Austin wore a Hugo Boss suit with a Van Heusen tie; his groomsmen rented navy suits from Men's Wearhouse.
The bouquets consisted of ivory dahlias, garden roses, ranunculus, ruscus and sweet peas (in honor of Austin’s nickname for Kelsey).
The bridal party walked down the aisle to the instrumental version of Switchfoot’s “Your Love Is Strong,” performed by Bayshore Strings. “When we were dating, Austin used to make me CDs with a bunch of his favorite songs, and this song was on one of the first ones he gave me,” Kelsey says. Their recessional was a mash-up of “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “Eight Days a Week” by the Beatles.
The couple rode the chairlift down after the ceremony. "It allowed us to have alone time before the reception," Kelsey says.
Ivory and gold details were added to the reception through floral arrangements, tea lights, gold flatware and gold napkins with a ruscus sprig tucked inside.
Two weeks before the wedding, the person the couple hired to make their cake “went MIA,” Kelsey says, leaving them scrambling to find a bakery who would work with their short time frame—for a holiday weekend, no less. “The cakes ended up being amazing,” Kelsey says. “We were so thankful for RuthAnn’s Bakery.” The layered cake was chocolate with chocolate ganache filling and buttercream frosting and Funfetti with buttercream filling and frosting, dusted in gold sprinkles. A gold sparkly cake topper spelled “Hooray.” Smaller cakes were also served to guests.
Kelsey and Austin shared their first dance as a married couple to “Dear True Love” by Sleeping at Last, a song they listened to frequently throughout their relationship.