Bayfield Summertime Proposal
Here in Bayfield, Wisconsin we don’t hibernate inside all winter waiting for summer to come. We embrace the beautiful snow, cold, ice caves and the many outdoor activities and sports. Mollie + Isaac did not disappoint with their outdoor January wedding.
Read more about this beautiful winter wedding along with their advice for planning a winter wedding of your own!
Photo by JaneCane Photography
Isaac is a full time fire fighter and EMT in Burnsville, MN . I own my own hair and makeup business and do lots and lots of weddings! Isaac and I met a few years before we started dating at our CrossFit gym in the cities, we quickly become best of friends and didn’t see anything beyond that. All of our friends thought a little bit different and asked when we were going to start dating! Once we finally decided to go for it we never looked back, and each day was better than the last! We now have a perfect little baby boy Axel and couldn’t be more thrilled for our little family! We can’t wait for forever!
We had a very laid back casual outdoor January wedding! I was on Madeline Island with family and a few close friends getting really at a family home, took the ferry across bright and early so I could be able to style Isaac’s hair… he had strict orders of keeping his eyes shut.
We then traveled to Isaac’s family’s dock on Lake Superior to do our first look, we couldn’t have picked a better location! Then off to Good Thyme for our ceremony where my brother officiated our big “I Dos.” Someone was definitely watching out for us- gave us 40 degree weather in January! We then ate a wonderful brunch and our perfect day was complete.
Isaac was born and raised in Bayfield and I have family connections to the area, having traveled there a lot growing up. It seemed the perfect place, and not far for the majority of our family.
The advice I tell all of my brides – Don’t worry and stress about the small things, no one is going to notice besides you. Think about the big picture and the outcome of the day: getting to marry your best friend!
Nothing is as beautiful as the never ending white snow and pine trees here in Bayfield during the winter. You can incorporate both pine trees and branches throughout your entire wedding, really embracing the winter forest theme. We have gathered some of our favorite ideas to help inspire your winter wedding!
Bring the outdoors in for your ceremony; pine trees and branches make a beautiful addition to your space! Feeling adventurous? Bundle up in a fur shawl and have your ceremony outdoors in the snow!
Photo Credit: Alison Conklin Photography
Set the mood for your winter wedding by sending stationery that reflects your theme!
Keep the forest theme strong by incorporating the outdoors into your centerpieces! Pine branches, tree slices, and birch bark are just a few ideas to go along with a winter forest wedding. Add candles or fairy lights to make the mood very warm and cozy!
Photo Credit: JoPhoto
Photo Credit: Erin Kate Photo
Although favors are becoming optional these days, if you do decide to give your guests a favor choose an eco-friendly gift like pine tree plants!
Do you have a love for the water, especially Lake Superior? Does a small, intimate ceremony sound perfect to you? Are you looking for a very unique wedding and experience for you and your guests?
The Bayfield area offers a number of charter businesses that can take you and a small group out on Lake Superior for your ceremony, and even officiate it themselves! This is exactly what Steve and Rhea did this inAugust through Dreamcatcher Sailing. Read about their Bayfield Wedding, and how they went about planning a ceremony on Lake Superior.
Photo Credit- Colin Schye
Tell us a little bit about yourselves and how you met.
We met in Lowertown, St. Paul at a gallery show. Steve is a graphic designer and art director and I am a photographer. We first became best friends before realizing we were actually in love with each other. We had been best friends for 2 years and together for 5 before marrying. When Steve proposed to me, we were on the sailboat along the north shore from Duluth to Silver Bay. It was the same place we ended up getting married, on the bow of my dad’s boat.
Where and when was your wedding? Tell us a little bit about it.
We had our grooms dinner on August 12th at Maggie’s in Bayfield, early on in the day and then had desserts and drinks at Wild Rice later that evening. Our wedding was August 13th at Presque Isle Bay on Stockton Island. When we arrived and put anchors down, the morning storms cleared and skies opened up into a bright blue and sunny sky. Both of our mothers decorated the front of the boat with yellow Gladiolus flowers (Rhea’s favorite). Then we had our ceremony on the bow of the boat with our fathers officiating. Once the ceremony was over, we grilled some Romocky brats (a local farmer in MN) and ate a late lunch. Next we went swimming and played water frisbee on the beach for hours. After that I made greek pasta salad, we drank and chatted till night fall. 2/3’s of us stayed over night on the island. The rest went back to hotels and stayed overnight in Bayfield. We had just under 20 people with us for the wedding.
How did you decide on Bayfield for your destination wedding?
Well, I (Rhea) grew up sailing Lake Superior with my father. I spent most spring, summers, falls and some winters in Bayfield working on the boat and sailing with my dad. When Steve was introduced to sailing and Lake Superior, he immediately fell in love with it, which was kind of a deal breaker if he didn’t. It seemed to just fit into place.
Photo Credit- Colin Schye
What made you decide to get married on a sailboat on Lake Superior?
When we were looking to plan our wedding, we wanted it to be on a boat, and neither one of us wanted it to be in a fantasy location (i.e. Bahamas, Hawaii, etc.) We felt it was important to get married in a location that had meaning to us. A place that was based in our reality. So when thinking about our favorite places, Lake Superior, and Bayfield was the undeniable choice.
How did you choose Dreamcatcher Sailing?
When we were looking for help getting some of our family members to the island, we couldn’t find any large motor sailboats for rent. It was actually a little frustrating. We were looking for overnight motorboats for our friends and family that were not comfortable the way we were with sailing. But by not finding this, it allowed us to take our family and friends on an even greater adventure and sailing trip. We looked into some boat rentals, but at the end of the day, really settled on a captained trip. The people from Dreamcatcher were the most receptive, accommodating and helpful that we could find. We are so glad we chose them to help us make our wedding a reality, it was perfect.
Anything you would recommend for other couples getting married in Bayfield?
I think our top recommendations are:
- Get married in the way you want to in a place that has sentimental value to you. It’s a game changer.
- Double, triple, quadruple check in with everyone you have hired, even when they say you don’t need to. Give them your number when they say they don’t need it. Always take theirs.
- Make sure you are not alienating anyone. It’s a small town and when you leave, they have a life after you.
- Book everything FAR in advance to make sure you have everything you need to make your special day happen.
Photo Credit – Kiah Brasch
It is no surprise to us that Bayfield, Wisconsin is an absolutely beautiful place to say your “I-Do’s”. Elopements, small intimate weddings and large destination weddings are frequently hosted by our little town. Between Lake Superior and the beautiful outdoors, there are many gorgeous backdrops for your wedding, especially a tent wedding.
We’ve put together a list of some of the local options for tent weddings, and what makes each and every one of them unique!
Known for its location right on Lake Superior, Superior Rentals is a beautiful venue that hosts tent weddings all summer long. With an on-property array of rental cottages, rooms and boat houses, up to 75 of your guests can stay right here! This is such a great benefit, and allows you and your guests to make a whole weekend out of your wedding together. Superior Rentals even boasts its own private, sandy beach, giving you the option to have a lakeside ceremony right on the property too!
Good Thyme Restaurant
“Settled on 5 acres with trees, gardens, & beautiful sunset view”, Good Thyme Restaurant is a very unique venue due to its versatility. The restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday night for dinner to the public, with space upstairs for parties/weddings up to 40 people. Use the entire restaurant for a day-wedding or the beautiful property for your ceremony and/or tent wedding! Perfect for smaller, intimate weddings of 100 guests or less, your tent wedding would capture the beautiful outdoors while dining on delicious, local food!
Photo Taken at Good Thyme Restaurant
Madeline Island Museum
How unique would your tent wedding be if it was next to the oldest structure on Madeline Island? Madeline Island Museum is located right in the heart of downtown LaPointe, the town on Madeline Island. Their property offers the opportunity for you and your guests to view Lake Superior while celebrating the start of your marriage. With space for both an outdoor ceremony and tent, everything for your wedding could be in one space.
Photo Taken at Madeline Island Museum
Are you tossing around the idea of taking your engagement photos this winter? Not sure if the beautiful snow covered pine trees are worth the cold? We have spoken with Kyle and Kori, a couple who took advantage of our beautiful winters, and their photographer Jen Jensen of PS 139 Photography. Below you will find both perspectives to a winter engagement shoot- the couple and their photographer.
Photographer: PS 139 Photography
The Couple – Kyle + Kori
Tell us a little about yourselves and your engagement photo session.
Kyle is originally from the UP and I am from Wisconsin. Since I have come to love winter activities because of all he has introduced me to, we decided that winter engagement photos were the right thing for us. We gave Jen, of PS 139 Photography, the instruction that we wanted a rustic, woodsy shoot and she choose the perfect location for us in Ashland.
What were some of the advantages of taking your engagement photos in the winter?
Advantages of a winter photo shoot are that crisp white snow makes a beautiful background. In addition to photos of us, Jen captured a couple of pictures of my engagement ring in the snow and the way it sparkled was amazing! Additionally, since we knew that we would be getting married in the fall it is a nice way to have contrast between your engagement photo and wedding photo environments. Lastly, we knew what clothing we wanted to wear for our engagement photos, including boots and Kromers, so they were best for a winter shoot!
What were some of the disadvantages of winter engagement photos?
The disadvantage to a winter shoot is it can be VERY cold! Our photos were taken when it was only 11 degrees outside and since I did not want us to wear coats we had to take breaks during the shoot to get in our vehicle to warm up. This also meant that in some of our shots we had red noses, thank goodness for Photoshop!
What would you recommend to future couples looking to get their engagement photos taken in the winter?
If couples are thinking of doing their photos in the winter I would suggest that they find clothes that they can layer and also be able to wear long underwear underneath. Kyle learned quickly that my suggestion of putting long underwear under his jeans would have been a good idea, since he decided not to take my suggestion he was definitely colder than I was. When taking all engagement photos have a plan with your photographer of what type of photos you would like them to capture. If you want any specific props included, locations or poses let them know in advance. This is especially important when you are working quickly in cold weather, you won’t want to spend too much time outside discussing what you wanted to capture. And most importantly have fun with it! The more relaxed you are and the more willing you are to interact with each other like you aren’t being photographed the better your photos will be.
Photographer: PS 139 Photography
The Photographer – Jen Jensen of PS 139 Photography
What are some of your favorite settings/props for winter engagement shoots?
I look for locations first with great light! Then with untouched snow—I want it to look like my couple was the first and only people in that setting after it snowed. Beautiful backdrops would include birch trees mixed in with pines, pines with lots of snow on the branches, dark branches of any kind of tree or foliage to contrast the snow. I especially love the look of an open unending road meeting the sky with trees or forest on both sides! One location I have permission to use and use often (including Kori and Kyle’s engagement session) has a mix of everything including pathways, cut logs and usually some round hay bales. I also love the opening of any kind of structure too, like a barn, shed, porch or even a grove of trees! I’m not too big into props but I like to use the natural props in our surroundings. Sometimes though I’ll bring my wood box or in this case a quilt because it was SO cold that day!
Photographer: PS 139 Photography
How long are you typically outside for? Anything special you have to do with your equipment in the cold?
We stay out as long as we can stand it! Oftentimes I’m in snowpants (because I always end up kneeling in the snow) and have layers on and handwarmers in my gloves and boots. I suggest and encourage my clients to do layers and use handwarmers to their advantage but often they don’t realize how cold it’s going to be and just want to look cute without the bulk. If the couple finds themselves getting very cold, we spend just little moments outside and get back into vehicles to warm up. One winter engagement session I brought along a thermos of hot chocolate with mugs that say “Love” on them, layered blankets on the snow and shot pictures of the groom-to-be pouring hot chocolate for his bride-to-be and the couple sharing the warmth of those mugs together. The steam was fun to have in the shots as well as the fun of the marshmallows!
My equipment can handle the cold quite well but I do have to keep my extra camera battery in my front jeans pocket or near a hand warmer so that it can be switched out when the camera starts to slow down from the battery being too cold.
Is it more difficult to shoot in the winter such as glares from ice and snow?
I actually find the snow fun to shoot in and a great natural reflector. The snow bounces light up into the clients’ faces so there’s no need for me to bring an artificial reflector or even bump my exposure as high as I would in the warmer months with green grass, leaf covered or dirt roads. Some photographers will fear shooting in snow because they find it hard to not have the snow come out with a blue color cast or looking too gray but if you set your white balance correctly there’s no need to worry!
What are a few advantages to winter engagement shoots for you and your clients?
Some advantages of winter engagements would be: shooting a totally different season than their wedding. I do quite a few destination weddings for couples that travel to Madeline Island or Bayfield for their summer or fall weddings. This gives them a good opportunity to check out their venue or meet with other vendors while they are here for the engagement session. Also, it’s a much slower time for me and for my clients so it’s a little easier to schedule a date and have fun getting to know each other before the wedding day!
The Bayfield area is absolutely beautiful all year long, especially in the winter. There are plenty of hidden places your photographer would be able to take you! If the ice caves are open you have endless opportunities for stunning and unique engagement photos. To see local engagements and engagement photo inspirations take a look at our Pinterest boards. You can see more of PS 139 Photography‘s work on their website or Facebook page.
Married on a frozen Lake Superior – now that is a winter wedding!
Every year the channel separating Bayfield and Madeline Island freezes over, becoming thick enough to drive back and forth on. Locals plow and sand the route, creating a way to get back and forth. Ryan, who grew up in Bayfield, and Shui, his bride, have a love for Lake Superior and decided to take full advantage of the Ice Road in a completely unique way! Read about their wedding and how they went about getting married in the middle of winter out on the beautiful ice in Bayfield.
Image by Riverstone Photography
Ryan and Shui had an outdoor winter ceremony on February 28, 2015 on the Lake Superior Ice Road between Bayfield and Madeline Island. A small, intimate ceremony is exactly what this couple had in mind. With 12 in-person guests and family Facetiming from China, they had their unique ceremony on Lake Superior. Ryan has family in Bayfield and always loved Lake Superior. Shui’s name actually translates to water – so it was no surprise that they wanted to incorporate Lake Superior into their ceremony.
Around two weeks before their wedding date, Ryan’s mother made the suggestion of getting married on the Ice Road. Since they were planning on having a small, quick ceremony they knew this could work! They found a spot on the Ice Road where they could be out of the way of traffic and set up an arch. Everything fell together perfectly and they had the unique wedding they were hoping for. Following their ceremony they quickly bundled up and had a small reception at Ryan’s parents’ house. Then this past August they had a large reception at the Bayfield Lakeside Pavilion.
Image by Riverstone Photography
To prepare for an outdoor winter wedding, the couple made sure to dress in many layers. February 28 ended up being quite a cold day, but that didn’t stop any of their guests from celebrating with them. Their plan B if it was too cold or if the Ice Road wasn’t open was to either go to one of the Bayfield marinas or Ryan’s parents’ property. Either option would still keep them outside and near the water – like they wanted. For any couple looking to get married outside in the winter, they would recommend to dress very warm and to stress to your guests that it can get very, very cold out on the ice. Ryan and Shui also agree that an outdoor winter wedding is easiest when the ceremony is quick and the guest list is short, in case plans need to be changed last minute.
Ryan and Shui are very happy with how their wedding turned out. They said their guests were excited to attend the unique ceremony and everyone had a really fun time. Not many people can say they were married on the ice of Lake Superior or even attended a wedding out on the ice! If their story has inspired you to take advantage of the Ice Road for your own wedding, please visit here to learn more about the Ice Road.
Create an exceptional experience by offering memorable activities for your guests. While the main reason for your guests gathering is to watch you get hitched, Bayfield’s boundless beauty sets the stage for countless memorable experiences for them to enjoy during their stay. Check out some of the seasonal activities waiting for you and your entourage to dive into. Your wedding guests will be thanking you.
Part 1 — Outdoor Adventures
Sailing & Boating — Bayfield is known for some of the best sailing in the world due to the shelter offered by the Apostle Islands. Charters can take you and your group out all day or for a shorter happy hour outing. Find more information here.
Kayaking — Apostle Islands kayaking is an experience not to be missed. Your guests will enjoy breathtaking views of rising bluffs and historic lighthouses while cruising along the pristine Lake Superior shoreline. Don’t forget to venture into the famous sandstone sea caves! Find more information here.
Hiking — Whether your guests are looking for a quiet hike or to burn off a couple glasses of wine consumed at the reception, they’ll find it here (plus stunning views no matter the season) Check out this complete list of hiking trails in the area.
Bicycling — Cruise past orchards just outside of Bayfield on country roads or on biking trails
within the plentiful forests of the Chequamegon National Forest. Pick a route here and rent your wheels here.
Beaches — Crisp, clean waters and warm sandy beaches? Your guests will be sold. Don’t get us started on the views. Check out this map of beaches in Bayfield County here!
Madeline Island — The possibilities are endless over on the island. Your guests will enjoy a beautiful 20 minute ferry ride from Bayfield before getting a taste of island life. Bring a car over or rent mopeds or bikes. Because there are so many activities on the island, the best way to find what’s most appealing to your guests is by exploring the Madeline Island Chamber website.
Dog Sledding — Riding a dog sled over the hills surrounding Bayfield is something few people think about when they think of this beautiful area, but now that your know of this secret adventure, syou can inform your thrill-seeking guests! Wolfsong Adventures will take them on an unforgettable ride.
Skiing + Snowboarding — Wisconsin’s most delightful winter playground with great downhill skiing is just 3 miles south of Bayfield at Mt. Ashwabay. While racing down the hill, visitors enjoy the spectacular view of Chequamegon Bay. Your guests don’t event have to bring gear, rentals are available.
Ice Caves — The hype is real! Lakeshore cliffs along Lake Superior form crimson red borders to create an arctic landscape. Inside the ice caves awaits a fairyland of needle like icicles. If you’re in Bayfield in the winter, the ice caves are a must. Dazzle your guests with these hidden winter gems. All the information you need can be found right here.