This Forest Wedding in McBain, Michigan, Embodied Rustic Elegance
For Anna and Robert, a wedding was destined from the start. They first met in 2010 when they were paired to walk together as wedding party members at a different wedding. After going their separate ways, they reconnected again at yet another wedding in 2018 and knew it was meant to be. After COVID-19 derailed the couple's initial plans to wed in a small Italian town where Robert's family is from, the couple pivoted to an outdoor forest wedding in Michigan. Though they tied the knot stateside, the couple still managed to bring European-inspired details into the wedding day as a nod to their original wedding plans.
"Our wedding was originally planned for Italy," explains Anna. "We were to be married in the town where my husband's family is from. It was a huge adjustment, but ultimately, we decided we did not want to postpone our wedding day. So instead, we hired our wedding planner (which was the best decision ever!), and built our wedding from the ground up at our family property in Northern Michigan. It was a big change, but it was still a dream. Our wedding plans shifted quite a bit due to the pandemic, but overall, I'd say I was always inspired by nature. Our wedding ceremony and dinner took place all outside, so we picked up inspiration from natural woods and greenery, with white, champagne, gold and pastel accents. The wedding itself was held on Robert's family hunting property in McBain, Michigan."
To bring their dream wedding day together, Anna and Robert relied on a mix of specialty vendors and DIY tasks. The couple's biggest, and most impressive, DIY project was the wooden altar structure in front of which they exchanged vows. "My husband and a family friend built and painted it themselves, inspired by religious architecture, which we had in lieu of a formal Catholic church ceremony," says Anna. Following the outdoor wedding ceremony, guests were directed to their dining tables via a large paper scroll seating chart. "Guests were invited to take their seats at their dining tables by locating their chairs via a large paper scroll hand calligraphed with each guest name and hung with a golden arrow on a nearby tree. I am such a details girl and I think details like this one truly helped to make our day unique to us," recalls Anna. A traditional Italian feast was then served at the three long tables adorned with candelabras and floral centerpieces. "Inspired by classic European finery, we decided to build an entire formal Italian affair in the center of the 500-acre lot, with the river running directly next to the festivities. We also had a traditional Zaffa group playing to honor my heritage," notes Anna.
Looking back on the wedding day, Anna notes that "one of my favorite memories would be our reception reveal. After such a crazy year of engagement, and plans changing constantly, it was so beautiful and amazing to see it all set up! That feeling is unparalleled. Another one of my favorite moments was walking down the aisle. I thought I would hate this part because I really don't like having attention on me. But I felt such an unexpected calmness. I walked right to Robert and didn't notice a single other person. I also just loved watching the joy on everyone's faces. Having your closest friends and family around to celebrate you is such a wonderful experience. Along with that, my biggest advice would be to follow your heart throughout the entire process! It is easy to get lost and frustrated in trying to please everyone. But at the end of the day, it's about your union as a couple.".