Five on Friday: Five Years

~ Happy Friday Friends ~

I am super excited about today's post.  Yeah, Yeah, I know I say that a lot...but this time it's different.  Today is my 5th Wedding Anniversary!!! And because it's Five on Friday (and most of you didn't know me 5 years ago), I thought it only fitting to share with you my top five favorite things from the wedding.  Writing this has given me the most fun excuse to go back through all my photos and it really was a lovely walk down memory lane.  
Now, I also hope this goes without saying, but the best thing about my wedding was obviously marrying my husband Joe.  I've know him since October of 2004 (almost 10 years) and it was love at first sight. He really is the only person I know who can tolerate my sass, put me in my place, and love me for who I am, all at the same time.  Neither of us are perfect, but I think we're perfect for each other. 

The Location
From the time I was a little girl I can remember my family vacationing 'Up North" during the summer.  To us Michigan people, that meant anywhere North of Traverse City.  But the place I loved the most was Mackinac Island.  No matter where we went (Boyne, Harbor Springs, Petoskey, etc...) we always visited the Island and stayed at The Grand Hotel.  Words will never be able to explain this Island, it literally is the most magical place on Earth.  I can remember vividly telling my dad that this is where I was going to get married and it was going to be like a Cinderella fairytale where we rode in  a horse-drawn carriage...
Downtown Mackinac Island & The Fort
The Grand Hotel

So when Joe and I got engaged in August of 2004 and we were trying to decide where to get married, it was my mother who said,  "you're getting married at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island."  I was beyond excited with the suggestion, but at this point my mother was "terminal" and we were pretty confidant she wouldn't live to see the wedding. We suggested having an extremely small ceremony in my hometown with family only, so that she could be apart of everything. But, in true Susan Kowal fashion, she refused to let her cancer dictate anything in her life and was 100% set on The Grand; so Mackinac it was.
St. Anne's Catholic Church where the ceremony was held. 
A view of The Grand Hotel at night
You can read more about Mackinac Island and The Grand Hotel here, but in a nutshell Mackinac is an island located in Lake Huron (you arrive via ferry), at the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac, between Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas. In the late 1800s, Mackinac Island became a popular tourist attraction. "Much of the island has undergone extensive historical preservation and restoration; as a result, the entire island is listed as a National Historic Landmark. It is well known for its numerous cultural events; its wide variety of architectural styles, including the famous Victorian Grand Hotel; its fudge; and its ban on almost all motor vehicles" (except an ambulance & fire truck) It is also the setting for the famous movie, "Somewhere in Time" with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.

The Shoes
It is no joke or surprise that I am a certified shoe whore! When planning the wedding, that was the one thing I was constantly stressed over; tough life right!? My dress was very unique; a vintage Pronovias Barcelona (think Grace Kelly), so the shoes had to fit the "persona" perfectly.  It figures that the ones I fell in love with were ridiculously expensive, so I actually put together a PowerPoint for my dad detailing the specifics on why I needed them.  And so, I got my dream shoes; Christian Louboutin Satin D'Orsay's.  

And it should be noted that one of the selling points on my PowerPoint was that since these shoes were satin, I could have them professionally dyed a different color in order to wear them again.  Now my wedding shoes are black satin, still in gorgeous condition, and I've worn them to 2 weddings since my own.  #winning!

The Centerpieces
I had a very specific vision in my head of what I wanted for my centerpieces and the florist couldn't have done a more perfect job.  The hotel itself was decorated by world-renowned Carleton Varney (a very eclectic & bright old man) so there was very little need for extra color.  I just wanted white.  LOTS of blooming, blossoming, flowing white. I emailed the florist some pictures & tried my best to explain what I wanted (planning from Florida definitely had it's disadvantages)...after that I just crossed my fingers that it would work out.  And boy, did she exceed my expectations. 

The "Cake"
Neither Joe or I are "cake"people.  I can house some cupcakes, but big deal.  So when we were thinking about what to "cut" and serve our guests it was a no-brainer for me.  The Grand Hotel is known for their Grand Pecan Ball; a ball of vanilla ice cream rolled in chilled, crushed pecans and drizzled with a homemade Mackinac Island fudge sauce.  It's ridiculous!  It made it's debut in 1947 and they say they serve over 50,000 every summer. So, it only seemed appropriate to serve & cut the ball; wow that's so weird.

And last, but certainly not least...The Guests
Joe and I decided to have a small wedding.  We didn't want to be meeting anyone for the first time at our wedding, and we wanted everything to be intimate. We wanted our family & best friends only. We had 99 guests to be exact, and were touched by each person's attendance.  As you can imagine, getting to Mackinac Island (especially if you're not from Michigan) can be quite an ordeal.  We had guests lose their luggage, miss their connections, have birds hit their plane during take-off, etc...  We had a friend from San Francisco take 3 flights (one a red-eye), one guest miss his white-coat ceremony, and one family fly their own plane onto the Island all the way from Central Florida just to be there for us.  The love and joy we felt was overwhelming and there still is no way to thank everyone who shared in our day.  

Looking at all these pics makes me realize I don't regret anything from our wedding; which is a very fulfilling feeling.  I feel very lucky & blessed, and even though we had one very important person missing, I know she was my guardian angel making everything perfect.

Okay Lovies...have a great weekend!
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