The ring's on and shown off. Where do you go from there? Here are some ideas for a unique wedding experience.
For the low maintenance couple
'Wham, bam, thank you ma'am' is how this couple likes to get things done. For those in favor of no-frills nuptials, head to the local courthouse to make things official, then get on with the rest of your lives. In West Michigan, there's the Kent County Clerk (300 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids), Ottawa County Clerk (414 Washington Ave., Grand Haven), Kalamazoo County Clerk (201 West Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo) and the Muskegon County Clerk (141 East Apple Ave., Muskegon). You've got your location, now you need to bring the goods in order to apply. First, moolah. It's $20 for residents, $30 for non-residents. Second, you need to bring your I.D. to prove your age and address and social security numbers. Third, your birth certificate. In three days, the license is ready. (You know, so the courts don't have to deal with that 55-marriage business Britney pulled.)
For the thespians
Turn your wedding into the production of the year with some help from Wealthy Theatre. Display your names on the marquee because it's your day and you get to be the stars. Bring stage props and set the scene for West Michigan's most talked-about production: Your wedding. Wealthy Theatre makes it easy to book your big day with its online reservation. "Weddings are usually fun for us because people who choose Wealthy Theatre have thought out the theatre ... Usually, it's more than needing the space, they want this space," said Erin Wilson, theatre director. "People also really enjoy having their new name on the marquee." First, you have to be a Community Media Center member. Not already? No biggie. A membership is $36 a year and it not only gets you Tony Award-worthy wedding, but CMC perks throughout the year. Next, build your wedding. The price is based on how simple or extravagant you want your day to be, with sound and lighting included in your package. You can also opt for an in-house DVD recording of the spectacle, which costs between $150 and $200.
For lake lovers
With an outdoor wedding, you take a risk on the undependable West Michigan weather. But if it all plays out, the reward is far greater. Let the people at My Barefoot Wedding stress over the ceremony details while you keep an eye on the weather report. The company provides the photographer, officiant, decorations and has a list of beaches along the West Michigan shoreline for you to choose from. The company is currently booking for 2013 weddings and slots are filling up fast. Visit them at mybarefootwedding.com. Not the beach type? Sail the high seas (or Lake Michigan) on the Port City Princess (560 Mart St., Muskegon). This unique experience has one to three-hour cruise options for a minimum of 100 people. Price is determined on amount of guests and add-ons, where you can pick from a sit-down dinner or buffet, wedding cake, champagne, cocktails, a DJ that plays music of your choice, décor, bartenders and wait staff, set up and clean up. To find out more, visit portcityprincesscruises.com/wedding.
For the ballers
Batter up and incorporate America's pastime into your wedding with Fifth Third Ballpark. Exchange vows on home plate, then party at Pepsi Stadium Club, which looks out over the baseball field. Show your allegiance to the West Michigan Whitecaps and book the reception during one of the team's 70 home games. Make your guests share what you love most as they watch the game inside the club with one of six flat screen televisions and the in-game radio broadcast, or on the venue's patio. Just because it's a wedding, doesn't mean you must be demure. Let your fandom fly and belt, scream and tough talk with the rest of 'em. Pepsi Stadium Club rental includes 200 game tickets, with food and beverage at an additional cost. The venue is also available for booking on non-game days. For more information, contact Corporate Event Sales Manager Alanna Klomp at 616 784 4131
Get it all done in one stop
MoDiv (40 Monroe Center NW, Grand Rapids) makes it easy for any couple looking to get things done fast and the way they want. The space features three businesses that have customized services to make your wedding unique to your personality.
Start out at 6.25 Paper Studio, where the bride and groom (or bride and bride or groom and groom) work with Owner Abbey Fowler to create custom invitations, place cards, seating charts, thank you cards, save the dates and more. Whatever you can imagine, Fowler can help bring to life.
If dress hunting has you burnt out, maybe it's best to have a hand in creating your own. Shannon Gales, who owns Vue Designs helps brides "create a gown that's unique to them based on their desires of the day," she said.
Brides have options to work directly with Gales to create a custom dress or pick from the more affordable mix-and-match options available in the boutique. Schedule your appointment by visiting vuedesign.net.
Get the goodies at RitaGirl's, which creates specialty cakes and sweet treats. Cakes come in classic white, chocolate and yellow, as well as more daring flavors such as red velvet, lemon, brown butter, cinnamon vanilla bean and apple spice. Mix it up even more with fillings that include coconut crème, chocolate ganache, raspberry, café latte, blueberry lavender, peanut butter, lemon cream, salted caramel and key lime cream.
Put the finishing touches on your wedding with bokay by Eastern Floral. "We do what we can within our means to get the bride and groom the flowers and design they want," said Manager Cherie Jaworowicz, who works in conjunction with Eastern Floral to give the couple as many options as possible. This includes utilizing unique and different containers for arrangements, as well as pieces that include different kinds of plants in various sizes. Jawaorowicz goes all out because as she says, "It's a one-time thing; there's no do-over."