As a wedding photographer, I’ve been to my fair share of wedding venues in and around West Michigan. I’ve narrowed it down to my top five favorite venues! I haven’t personally experienced planning and hosting a wedding at these venues from a bride’s standpoint, but rather being able to share my perspective and made my selection as a photographer. I’ve thought through how these venues will photograph from getting ready to the end of the reception, in terms of both the experience during the day as well as the end product of your wedding photos.
1. Greencrest Manor – A Luxury Wedding Experience – Battle Creek, MI
Greencrest Manor is a stunning venue that will make it feel like you’ve been transported to a European estate. You’ll get the full feel of a French destination wedding without the need to travel overseas! If you celebrate your wedding at Greencrest Manor you’ll be given the option to book an all-inclusive package where you’ll have access to the full manor all weekend long – allowing you, your family, and friends a luxurious place to enjoy your full wedding weekend.
From a photography standpoint, every single detail about this venue will enhance your wedding photos! You’ll have access to an amazing bridal suite and groom’s room that are styled consistently with the feel of the rest of the manor. I believe that your getting ready location is a significant part of your day, and Greencrest Manor has completely nailed this! Of course, the rest of the venue offers so many perfect photo locations. A few of my favorites are their iconic stairs and old-world European-style doors that allow for the most romantic photos. The manor also has several indoor locations that make for beautiful photos to add more variety to your gallery or serve as a backup in case the weather isn’t great. And the gardens! I know they put so much energy into the gardens, and some of the blooms can even be used in your flowers on your day. I could go on and on about the unique beauty at Greencrest…check out a wedding I shot there to see for yourself!
2. Glass House Community – Ideal for Intimate Weddings
Another one of my favorite venues is the Glass House Community. This venue is perfect for an intimate wedding; I believe it’s the most ideal place in West Michigan to hold your intimate wedding! The venue is designed very intentionally and will make your intimate wedding feel like a true celebration. The Glass House can accommodate up to 50 guests for your celebration and offer a variety of wedding packages that include the glass house as well as the use of their grounds, farmhouse, cottage, and barn. The cottage makes for a great getting ready location for the morning of, and you can even rent it out to stay on site the weekend of your celebration!
The owners of The Glass House Community live on site as the venue is a part of their historic farm. They are such down-to-earth people and are hands-on in your experience as you celebrate in their gathering space. Intimate weddings are an honor to photograph as the day is truly so special and filled with such intentional moments! Take a look at this video by Ingalls Pictures to see for yourself how beautiful and special an intimate ceremony and celebration can be at The Glasshouse Community.
3. Venue3Two – Classic & Timeless – Grand Rapids, MI
If you’re looking for a venue that is classic, timeless, and close to home, Venue3Two might be the perfect place for you! This venue is a remodeled 1925 mansion with several locations on-site there’s sure to be one that’s perfect for your celebration. The mansion was renovated to bring back some of the integrity of the original mansion from the 20s while also converting the space into an event center. They recently added The Conservatory, which is intentionally designed to hold large events and receptions while remaining simple and beautiful to not take away from the beauty of the mansion. The Conservatory is bright and welcoming and photographs beautifully!
Venue3Two is one of my favorites because it has such a unique and elegant feel while still being close to Grand Rapids. You’re able to get ready at the venue in a beautiful bridal suite, hold your ceremony in one of their multiple ceremony locations, host cocktail hour on the patio or courtyard, and then finally dance the night away at your reception all on-site! From a photographer’s standpoint, the variety of locations and beauty of the mansion both inside and out ensure that every single space will look amazing in your photos! A brief scroll through the venue’s Instagram feed will quickly allow you to see the variety of beautiful spaces on site.
4. Revival Wedding Barn – Clean Meets Rustic – Dowagiac, MI
Another of my favorite wedding venues is Revival Wedding Barn. This wedding barn is tucked away in Michigan’s beautiful rolling hills and allows a clean modern take on the classic barn wedding. Their newly built open concept all-white barn will allow the details of your day to speak for themselves by providing a beautiful backdrop for your reception of up to 200 guests! There are also multiple on-site locations where you can hold your indoor or outdoor ceremony, making the all-in-one location convenient for you, your vendors, and your guests.
The barn is the perfect blend of clean and rustic, creating a simple yet luxurious look for your wedding! The barn includes large glass and sliding doors that can open and allow amazing light to pour in. This clean backdrop will help create photos that you’ll want to hang on your wall forever! The barn isn’t the only photogenic part of this venue though. The barn is built on acres of what used to be an asparagus turned Christmas tree farm, and is now acres of lush greenery, woods and tree-lined grassy spaces, and a wildflower meadow; creating multiple natural backdrops for your wedding photos to be taken without having to leave the venue! Check out Revival Wedding Barn’s online gallery to see more of the beauty that can be captured there.
5. Your Own Back Yard!!!
Finally, my fifth favorite wedding venue is your own backyard! Designing your wedding day to fit in your beautiful setting will allow for an intentional and meaningful day that is completely one-of-a-kind. This will allow you to show off your creativity or hire your dream team of vendors to perfectly curate your day the way you want it to be! There is so much potential with a blank canvas of your yard that will truly leave your options endless. Not to mention, celebrating your love and promising your forever commitment to your person in such a nostalgic place to add another special layer to the emotion of your day! Just imagine your mom or sisters helping you get ready, making sure every detail is perfect, in the same rooms you used to play dress-up in as a little girl. Why not celebrate this best day in the place that’s home to so many milestones and memories already?
While Covid may have brought on this trend of backyards weddings originally, I think they are here to stay! If you want your day to be extra unique and nostalgic, celebrating in your backyard may be the perfect alternative to booking a traditional wedding venue.