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  • Writer's pictureSam Hageman

Our Greatest Adventure: Our Wedding in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Well it is finally here, the blog MANY of you have been waiting for...Our June 12th, 2021 Wedding Blog. We had many people who were unable to attend our wedding this year & wanted to share our memories with those who came & those who were unable to come.

Leading up to the Wedding:

We traveled up to the U.P. a few days early & spent a few days preparing for our wedding since it was 10 hours away. So we left after work on June 9th & slept overnight in a hotel in St Ignace right across the bridge. Then finished making our way to Ontonagon, Michigan just outside the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park on June 10th. That day was when everyone was slowly arriving for the most part to Scott's Superior Inn & Cabins, which was completely rented out for us, our bridal party, vendors & immediate family.

When we arrived on June 10th we were able to hang out & catch up with people as they arrived, as well as get some stuff done at the reception venue before most people arrived. One of the positive things that came from the postponement of our wedding is that most of the time we spent leading up to the wedding & the day of the wedding was a giant reunion with many friends & some family who we had not seen in over a year due to the pandemic. We had a great night & were able to greet most of the people who arrived that day.

Then on June 11th Garrett was able to go golfing with a bunch of the guys in town, while most of the girls & my family hung out, set up the beach where the ceremony would be (on Lake Superior on the property of Scotts), & set up the reception hall (the Porcupine Winter Sports Complex in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park). My brothers David & Ashton were put in charge of building an arch out of driftwood & burying parts of the driftwood we had laid out to make the aisle, (they honestly killed this & it was amazing). The rest of my family & bridesmaids came to help at the reception hall to help me set up the venue, putting on the table clothes, finishing the chalk seating chart, putting out the gifts, putting together the center pieces, & getting all of the final touches put together. We worked most of the afternoon on this before heading back to Scotts for the Rehearsal.

The Rehearsal was about a half an hour, we practiced the order, the entrance, & overall how things would be laid out. This is when we first saw the arch nearly complete & we were super pleased with David's creation. Our immediate family & bridal party all went to the main lobby to eat food my parents had picked up from Syl's Cafe & we hung out until we had to head back to finish the reception hall. With the help with a bunch of the bridal party & their significant others, we finished the reception hall by 9/10PM. We then headed back to Scott's to hang out, but experienced the worst rainstorm & could not see where we were going really. Thankfully we made it back without incident, but it took us longer than planned. However when we arrived back, Garrett was surprised by his musician friends/groomsmen with a Jam session in the basement/suite of Scotts. Garrett had a great time playing with everyone, while Shelby thankfully drove me back to our cabin down the road so I could get some sleep.

Our Big Day, June 12th, 2021:

The morning of our big day Garrett & I woke up & relaxed with the dogs at our cabin. We spent the morning running around with the dogs in the yard/on the beach & got our stuff together. We each took turns showering, then my Mom arrived to help prep my hair & face for the day. We all hung out while my Mom helped me, then headed to Syl's to pick up an assortment of muffins for the morning & then headed back to Scott's main property to meet with our bridal parties. I took the girls & my Mom to my cabin to get ready for the day, while Garrett got ready with the boys at the Inn.

Garrett spent some time seeing our family around the property at the cabins before he headed to get ready with the guys. Garrett started to get ready, shaved his neck, steamed his shirt, & then started getting everything on. However when he put on his pants, they did not fit & realized he forgot to try it on before getting there.

Panicked, he thought that the tailor might have switched his & his Dad's suit pants. So he cinched up his pants, put on his flipflops, & ran over to the cabin his family was staying in. Thankfully he caught his family before they were leaving to go explore & grabbed his Dad to go check out if the pants had been switched. Garrett grabbed the pants & put them on, thankfully fitting him. He bid farewell to his family & ran back over to the Inn to finish getting ready.

All the boys finished getting ready & Garrett realized they were running late to go take photos at Presque Isle (the opposite side of the park from where we were staying) & rushed everyone out. The boys headed to Presque Isle, attempting to call the girls (who did not have service, so we never answered). Garrett arrived at Presque Isle & asked the DNR attendant if he had seen a truck full of girls dressed up come in yet. He said no & Garrett was relieved. The guys all parked, grabbed their stuff, & headed to Presque Isle to wait for the girls.

When this was happening with Garrett, I had returned to the cabin with the girls & my cousin Mickayla was there to do my hair/makeup. She got to work with me, while the girls hung out & started getting ready. Around 10AM our photographer Taylor & videographers Katie & Shelly arrived to our cabin for the "getting ready" & "detail" shots. My Mom helped the girls get ready & made us Apple Juice with White Wine drinks (because Mimosas are overrated) & we all hung out talking, eating muffins, & having a good time.

Getting my hair done took us longer than expected & we were running behind on our time. Before I knew it Taylor was handing me my wedding dress to put on. I went to the bathroom & got into my dress most of the way & then let my mom help zip me up the rest of the way. After I got ready, I got the dogs ready & the girls headed to the beach for some photos.

We took our photos, bid farewell to Taylor, Katie, & Shelly as they left before us to get photos of the men "getting ready" & the girls packed up. My Mom & Mickayla headed out, with my Mom heading to finish stuff at the reception hall for the balloons & alcohol. Then the girls & pups piled into our cars & we headed to Presque Isle. Although we were behind the schedule, I was not too worried as I had built extra time into the schedule just in case. When we arrived at Presque Isle we parked, grabbed our stuff, & hiked down the stairs/trail to the waterfalls on the North Country Trail.

Melissa went ahead of us to make sure everyone was ready for Garrett & I's first look. When everyone was in position, I went down the rocky falls to tap Garrett on the shoulder & we shared our first look for our wedding day with our Bridal party watching behind us. It was a great moment & I highly recommend anyone who wishes to do photos beforehand to at least do a first look together.

Once we had completed the first look we grabbed my wedding binder & started going through the shot list. We took all of our photos with our bridal party & some together. It was honestly the perfect spot & of course everyone made it fun. When we were finished with those, everyone else started packing up & Garrett & I went to take a few more photos of just us. Once completed everyone but Rachelle, Little Sam, Adam, the dogs, Taylor, Katie, Shelly, & us had departed back to Scotts to relax before the ceremony. The rest of us left to go to Lake of the Clouds for another photoshoot.

We drove the 45 minutes to Lake of the Clouds where the rest of us hiked the short trail to the scenic overlook. We went down the mountain a little & had the perfect spot to take some more photos with & without the dogs. It was another great location & a spot we wished we could have had the ceremony (however we decided against it due to some health concerns for some potential elderly guests). When we wrapped up we had about an hour until the ceremony & headed back to Scotts.

When we arrived at Scotts we went to my Dads cabin, which was closest to the ceremony. While there we were able to relax for a few minutes. Rachelle frantically copied the reading I had forgotten to copy for our officiant & we were able to stuff our faces with some pizza before the ceremony since we had eaten nothing but muffins that day. I was then informed by Jen & Melissa that my Mom stated there were "naked people" on the beach right behind the arch & that they had all asked them to move, but they refused. Garrett & I did not care much, however my Mom did & she approached them one more time before the ceremony to ask them to move...thankfully this only caused a few minute delay & we started close to 5PM.

Our families all lined up, we gave our officiant & DJ the thumbs up, & we were off to the races. Our processional music was the instrumental version of "A Thousand Years." Garrett started it off & walked the dogs down the aisle first, but Alfred had to stop after the first few steps to go to the bathroom. He was then followed by his parents, my mom & brothers, then the bridal party with Jen & Mike, Melissa & Will, Shelby & Dave, & Rachelle & Adam. The music changed to "I Wont Give Up" by Jazon Mraz & then my Dad & myself walked down the aisle. Honestly most of it is a blur, but we had our Officiant perform a reading called "How Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog" by Taylor Mali, we read our own vows we had written, our Officiant said some words, & then our Officiant sang the "repeat after me" ring exchange. Garrett played along and sang too, but I did not. The ceremony was about 15-20 minutes long & we exited out on the song "Get Up Offa That Thing" by James Brown. We did a thank you line at the end of the small trail to the beach to thank everyone who attended the wedding & told them we would meet everyone at the reception in a little while.

We went on the porch at my Dads cabin & signed the Marriage license, then took all of our family photos right there. Rachelle & Adam helped go through the shot list to make sure we hit everything, then we all packed up & headed to the reception. Garrett & I stopped at the cabin to take off the puppies gear, feed them, & then let them stay there for the rest of the night after their long day with us (plus they needed their rest before our 3 week honeymoon road trip cross country). Once they were done we went to the basement of our reception & gathered the bridal party to do a grand entrance.

Our DJ started playing "Celebrate" by Kool & the Gang so we all could dance in as he introduced everyone in the bridal party. After the entrance we went right into the speeches, both of our Dad's gave a speech, then the Best Man Adam, & then the Maid of Honor Rachelle. They were all thoughtful & it was the perfect way to kick off the reception. After the speeches, dinner was served by Kathy from Syl's. We had Pulled BBQ Chicken, Ribs, Caesar Salad, Cole Slaw, Green Beans, Corn bread, Mac & Cheese, Mashed Potatoes, as well as a Bar with water, lemonade, coffee, four different beers, two wines, & three different mixed drinks (one whiskey based, one vodka based, & the other sangria). The food was honestly AMAZING & our only regret is not being able to eat more of it, because it was magical. Everyone loved the food & after everyone had finished it was time for the dances.

We did things in a different order, instead of us dancing first we did the parent dances first. We started with the Daddy Daughter dance where my Dad & I awkwardly danced to "My Little Girl" by Tim McGraw (& I say awkward because neither of us dance ever & we just talked the entire time to ignore the fact everyone was staring at us). Then the Mother Son Dance, where Garrett & his Mom danced to "You'll Be in My Heart" by Phil Collins. Then we concluded with our First Dance, which was an orchestral version of "In My Life" by Strictly Fine (Garrett's band with a few of the groomsmen, our DJ, our officiant, & a few others) that Garrett arranged & played at his Graduate Recital from Wayne State. It is a long song, so we spent the first minute in a half dancing alone, but then invited everyone else to join us to create a big "First Dance" with almost everyone in attendance. It made the night very special & was honestly one of my favorite parts of the whole day.

Once that concluded, we all dispersed. The Porcupine Winter Sports Complex is MASSIVE. We literally had an entire A-frame portion of the hall for the tables/dance floor, an entire kitchen for the food/bar that was in the lodge part, an entire game area, gift area, guest book area, photo booth area, movie area (where UP played on loop), & more on the inside. Then on the outside we had lawn games set up, the ski lifts were open for people to ride up & down on, & a massive porch with a huge fire pit. It was amazing. So a lot of the guests were spread out everywhere for the reception. Garrett & I mingled for a little while, talking with friends & family around the place.

The Ice Cream/Brownie bar (no cake for us) started at 8PM, but we were still full & exhausted so we didn't touch any until later. Some people enjoyed that & then when the sun was going to set, Taylor, Katie, Shelly, Garrett & I all headed to the ski lifts for a final sunset shoot. I enjoyed the whole ride, while Garrett, Taylor, & Shelly had a little bit harder of a time. However we made it to the top & had an amazing sunset photoshoot at the top of the Mountain where we could view the forest & Lake Superior for miles. We then watched the sunset over Lake Superior on our way down the ski lifts & were the last people off.

Once we returned we both made brownie sundaes & hung out for a bit. We hit the last few songs of the night on the dance floor with our friends & closed out the night at 11PM by singing Happy Birthday to my Brother Ashton (who turned 17 the next morning). Once the song was done, we started tearing down/packing up so we would have nothing to do in the morning. All of the Bridal party, our friends, & our family helped teardown, we only had to pack up what we had brought not the chairs & tables thankfully.

Once we made sure everything was packed up in all of the cars, we headed back to our cabin to change & drop stuff off. My Mom had brought the alcohol back to Scotts & there was a massive party on the beach with everyone staying on the property. Garrett & I however did not partake as we were exhausted, but we stopped by Scotts for a little while. We hung out with some people at the Inn & said most of our goodbyes as we did not know how many people would be leaving earlier than us. We went back to our cabin & crashed for the night.

Honestly the entire day was a massive blur & we remember quite a lot thanks to the hours we spent in the car on our honeymoon that allowed us to write even more detailed recollections of the day. A few things we took away from the entire day that we wish to pass on to anyone else looking to have a wedding; (1) Have a timeline & try to stick to it, but just in case build in extra time before the ceremony/rehearsal so you can enjoy your day & also allow your vendors to have a good time as well; (2) Enjoy your food & for the love of god bring some leftovers home because you may not remember what anything tasted like; (3) Hire a Photographer & Videographer. Although you may say whats the point when everyone has a phone that can do the same thing, these individuals work their butts off to capture what you want & make it so you or anyone else you want can view your special day over & over again;

(4) Make sure you have the best people standing with you & helping you. Honestly without our amazing vendors, families, & bridal party/their significant others, this day would not have been possible. Having the people we had surrounding us made everything go smoothly & made it all the more impactful; & finally (5) Do what is right for you. Don't let anyone tell you that you have to do certain things or that you can't do X , Y, or Z. This is about the two of you & maybe even a few select special people, like your kids or your dogs or your family or my Little Brother whose birthday was the next day. Do what you want & what makes you happy.

Although we may have had many people who could not make it to our special day, we are happy we can share our recollection with you, as well as all of the photos & videos from that day. You can view all of the Photos, Our Wedding Trailer, Our Ceremony, & our Reception on our Google Drive here.

Also huge shout out to the following people for making the entire day fantastic & helping out: Our Photographer Taylor (from Your Evolving Adventure) who took all these amazing photos; our videographers Katie & Shelly (from 97 films) who shot the trailer & our wedding footage; Don & Kathy (the owners of Scott's Superior Inn & Cabins); Kathy & her catering staff (the caterer/owner of Syl's Cafe); Bill & his ski lift operators (the operator of the Porcupine Winter Sports Complex); Rick & Chris (our good friends, as well as DJ & sound guy); Chris Kendall (our friend & officiant); Mickayla (my cousin who did my hair & makeup); my bridesmaids Melissa (& her husband Sean), Jen (& her fiance Chris), Shelby, & Rachelle (as well as Little Sam) for all the help with set up/tear down & everything in between; Garrett's groomsmen Adam, Dave, Mike, Will (& his fiance Kayla) for surprising Garrett with a Jam & helping out with everything; my Dad for helping us out from the beginning of planning, keeping me sane, & helping get everything set up/torn down even when we left; my Mom & Brian for helping us with all of the alcohol, setting up/tearing down; my brothers & their significant others for helping with the driftwood & setup/teardown; the Helzermans for transporting the alcohol to the U.P. for us; & to everyone who made the long trip to attend, contributed gifts/well wishes, & made all of this possible. Thank you all for making our wedding a very special day.

***Please note I will be doing an entire blog on the planning process & I will provide the information for every vendor we used if you would like to contact them/use them***

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