Tying The Knot! Literally!

When it comes to Unity Ceremonies there are endless possibilities!  Apart from the traditional Unity Candle, we’ve compiled a few popular ideas we have seen our couples do.

Sand Ceremonies
A very popular one is a Sand Ceremony. We have seen this done multiple ways. The couple mixes their two sands together; the couple along with the officiant can mix three sands; or the two families can mix multiple sands together.

Sand Ceremony

Tying the Knot
When tying the knot, most couples opt to use the fishermen’s knot. It’s the strongest knot, the rope will break before the knot comes undone and the knot only gets tighter with pressure, similar to a marriage where it should only get stronger when going through hard times.

Tying the couples hands together symbolizing a binding union. The cords used vary in type, color & length, whatever the couple desires!

Couples Cocktail
The couple creates a cocktail together to symbolize the merging of their lives. It’s often featured as their special drink at their reception, too.

Bread Breaking
After the couple each has a piece of the bread, than they may share with their friends and family to symbolize their unity and future as a family.


Lock Boxes
This is a new, but very popular idea. Couples lock different mementos in the box to be opened up on a later anniversary. Items may include a bottle of wine, love letters, CD’s, pictures, and any other items that would bring back a smile.

Foot Washing
This ceremony shows a physical commitment of service to your husband or wife. It’s a lovely way to show humility, devotion and complete surrender to your spouse.

Jumping the Broom
Jumping the Broom can symbolize many different things, but the main meaning of the ceremony is the old being “swept away”, and the welcoming of a new beginning!

Do you plan to use these during your special day? Or, did you? Share your story with us at eclub@staffords.com. Find more inspiration on our Pinterest Boards.

Sweet Treats For Your Special Day


Sweet Collage


More and more we are seeing couples that are looking for ways to personalize their day in order to match their personalities. A lot of the time, this can mean veering away from the traditional wedding cake.

There is an array of possibilities when it comes to choosing desserts.

We have listed out a few of the pros and cons of each, hoping you’ll find the tips helpful!

The most common tends to be Cupcake Towers

  • Pros: Variety of flavors, colors & designs. Towers add instant “décor”
  • Cons: If someone doesn’t like cake, this defeats the purpose of veering from wedding cake

Another popular treat is the Dessert Table

  • Pros: Can offer a large variety of treats, instant “décor,” can be a late night snack
  • Cons: Someone has to be in charge of refilling, once its been dug into, it may no longer add to the décor, if outdoors animals may get into it, if indoors and there are kids attending, it will be an instant attraction. Once it runs out, it either has to be torn down, or it can be an eye sore.

Candy Bar

  • Pros: Acts as wedding favor, fun to incorporate wedding colors & décor
  • Cons: Have to source candy bags, scoops, and something to display the candy in, it can get messy, once it runs out it may hinder décor


  • Pros: Provides a gluten free option, sometimes lighter than other desserts, often a summertime favorite
  • Cons: Can be very messy, are delicate, not as easy to incorporate your colors/décor

Megan Keith -1351-L


  • Pros: Can have a variety of options to dip, Fountains add to décor, an interactive dessert
  • Cons: Gets very messy, if not using a fountain the pot may hinder décor, can be expensive

Sundae Bar

  • Pros: Can be refreshing on a hot day, variety of toppings and flavors, offers nostalgia
  • Cons: Can melt, can get messy


Other Options We Suggest:

Cherries Jubilee/Bananas Foster Station (Available through Stafford’s)

Inn-Baked Mini Sweets (Available through Stafford’s)

Wedding photos Jul, 22  2012 182


Cake Pops/Truffles

Fudge Table

Waffle Station


Do you have any of these planned for your upcoming celebration? Please share with us! For more inspiration, visit our Pinterest boards.

Wedding Feature: Megan & Keith

Megan & Keith were married in June at Stafford's Perry Hotel in Downtown Petoskey

Megan & Keith were married in June at Stafford’s Perry Hotel in Downtown Petoskey

Their Story

Keith and I were hanging out with a mutual friend in Kalamazoo when we first met. We quickly found we had the same interests and shared many laughs and conversations the evening we met. Keith had asked me for my number and a few days later he called to ask me to go snowboarding – we haven’t stopped dating since!

The day Keith proposed, we were visiting a friend (who was one of our groomsmen) in New York City. We spent the whole day exploring Times Square, Chinatown, Central Park and eating too much pizza! Finally around midnight, we made it to the top of the Empire State Building where Keith got down on one knee and proposed.M&K Details

We chose to marry in northern Michigan as we both grew up in Michigan and love it here. We’ve traveled many places, but nowhere compares to northern Michigan’s beauty and Lake Michigan Sunsets. M&K Details 1

We have so many memories going snowboarding, having beach trips and camping with family and friends in northern Michigan, it seemed fitting to invite everyone here to celebrate our wedding. The Rose Garden Veranda at Stafford’s Perry Hotel was the perfect place to showcase what we love most about Michigan.Details 2

Dessert BarWedding Details
We chose a Kentucky Derby theme – we take an annual trip with friends each year. We love the history behind the derby and the fun atmosphere!

We added a few details like past derby winners as table names, derby photo props and Mint Juleps as our signature cocktail to go with the theme. Mint Julep

Wedding Ingredients
Ceremony & Reception Location: Rose Garden Veranda at Stafford’s Perry Hotel
Photographer: Paul Retherford Photography
Cake: Assorted Pies from Grand Traverse Pie Company
Flowers: Sky’s the Limit
Centerpieces: Baby’s Breath from Sky’s the Limit
Dress: Maggie Sotorro Larissa
Color Scheme: Blush pink and grey

- Submitted by MeganDetails 1

Wedding Feature: Natalie & Kevin

Natalie & Kevin marry in downtown Petoskey

Natalie & Kevin marry in downtown Petoskey

Their Story

A mutual friend introduced us at a bar in Birmingham, on a night that we both had no plans to go out but were dragged out by friends – I guess it was meant to be!10441925_10152478431317485_1829470979387358992_n

After months passed, wondering when Kevin was going to propose, I was surprised at when & how he did. We were in St. Joseph’s for his cousins wedding and planned to stay the weekend. Much to my surprise, Saturday morning after breakfast he told me to pack my bags – we’re going to Sagutuck, a place we had wanted to visit for sometime. After riding bikes around town and having lunch on the water, we went back to our hotel where he popped the question (I thought he was having a heart attack)! He got down on his knees and I put out my right hand by mistake. It wasn’t until dinner that I realized it was on the wrong hand.Story Board 3

We chose to marry in northern Michigan because we both wanted to marry on the water. When we saw the venue, we knew instantly it was the one and we cancelled other site visits. We fell in love with the Rose Garden Veranda, the bay views and the unbelievable sunset. Story Board 2

“Our wedding was truly a magical weekend. The weather was perfect. Love filled the air. The mother/son dance was epic – an unexpected choreographed break-out routine set the tone for the night. One of our bridesmaids performed a parody to the “Friends” theme song for Kevin and I. The party continued into the wee hours of the night because no one wanted the party to end. It was perfect!” – Natalie Storyboard 1

Wedding Ingredients
Ceremony & Reception Location: Rose Garden Veranda at Stafford’s Perry Hotel
Photographer: Christopher Belli Photography, LLC
Cake: Simply Sweet by Jessica
Flowers: Petit Fleur
Dress: Matthew Christopher
Color Scheme: White with pops of silver, green & emerald

- Submitted by Natalie R. 10360348_10152478431062485_4458794920702684122_n

Let’s Dance!

Choosing the right songs for special moments at your wedding can be a fun, yet daunting part of your planning process! We asked one of preferred Disc Jockeys, Tom Pluister, his advice on the “Top Songs” to play at a wedding. Here is his favorite list.

Top 5 First Dance Songs
The bride and groom’s first dance is a very special time for the couple and their families. Choosing a song that touches your heart is the most important thing to consider when making this decision.

1. “At Last” by Etta James

2. “When You Say Nothing At All” by Alison Krauss

3. “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds

4. “First Day Of My Life” by Bright Eyes

5. “I’m Yours” (Bass over Babylon Mix) by Jason Mraz

First Dance on the Rose Garden Veranda -  Lizzie Photo

First Dance on the Rose Garden Veranda – Lizzie Photo

Top 5 Father-Daughter Dance Songs
The father-daughter dance is typically a song of endearment from father to daughter. It’s also one of the hardest choices for a bride and her father to make… to curb emotions on the wedding day, Tom suggests a fun twist: Half way through the slow endearing song, Tom and his staff segue’ abruptly into a quick, fun song and the bride and her father pull out some choreographed dance moves! The guests love it and it brings everything back to celebration mode!

1. “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra

2. “Over The Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

3. “I Loved Her First” by Heartland

4. “Daughter” by Loudon Wainwright III

5. “My Girl” by The Temptations

Father-Daughter Dance  at Stafford's Perry Hotel - Paul Retherford Wedding Photography

Father-Daughter Dance at Stafford’s Perry Hotel – Paul Retherford Wedding Photography

Top 5 Mother-Son Dance Songs
Again, the mother-son dance becomes a difficult choice for many of the same reasons. This formal dance is entirely optional. Many mothers and grooms simply just take a moment together on the dance floor at some time during the night to show their appreciation for one another.

1. “Over The Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

2. “I Hope You Dance” (Single Version) by Lee Ann Womack Featuring Sons of The Desert

3. “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong

4. “In My Life” by The Beatles

5. “Simple Man” (Acoustic Version) by Shinedown

Mother-Son Dance in the H.O. Rose Room at Stafford's Perry Hotel - Dan Johnson Photography

Mother-Son Dance in the H.O. Rose Room at Stafford’s Perry Hotel – Dan Johnson Photography

Top Party Songs
Variety is key to a great wedding celebration. When thinking of dance songs, mix up the genres and eras… good music is timeless. Here are Tom’s favorite Dance Floor Filling tracks!
1. “Respect” by Aretha Franklin

2. “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” by  The Four Tops

3. “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey

4. “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO (Featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock)

5. “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson

6. “Yeah!” by Usher Featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris

7. “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC

8. “Love Shack” by The B-52’s

9. “Stayin’ Alive” by Bee Gees

10. “Mustang Sally” by  The Commitments

11. “Jump Around” by House Of Pain

12. “Bust A Move” by Young MC

Stafford's Bay View Inn Wedding Reception - RJ Scott Photography

Stafford’s Bay View Inn Wedding Reception – RJ Scott Photography

Who is ready to dance? These are very popular songs amongst our wedding couples at Stafford’s. Did your song make the list?

Pluister Entertainment, Inc
Phone: 231-348-8185
Email: info@plu-ent.com
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Announcing Stafford’s Annual Wedding Show: Sunday, January 19, 2014

You won’t want to miss our Annual Wedding Show set for Sunday, January 19, 2014 at Stafford’s Bay View Inn in Petoskey, MI.

Stafford's Wedding Show

Participating Vendors

  • Ceremony and Receptions
    Stafford’s Bay View Inn, Crooked River Lodge and Perry Hotel
  • Officiants
    Edwin & Glad Remaly
  • Disc Jockeys
    Pluister Entertainment Inc.
    Sound Productions
  • Rentals and Attire
    Taylor Rental
  • Photographers
    Andrew Williamson Photography
    Chris Van Winkle Photography
    Paul Retherford Photography
    Photography by Paquette
    Pure North Photography
    VT Frenchtouch Photography
    Weber Photography
  • Florists
    Sky’s the Limit
  • Bakeries
    Bella E Dolce
    Cakes by Colleen
    Simply Sweet by Jessica
    Sugar Bean, LLC
  • Transportation Services
    Mackinaw Trolley Company
  • Photo Booth Services
    Northern Michigan ShutterBooth
  • Event Design
  • Magazines
    Michigan Wedding Guide

View more details as they become available here.

Paul Retherford Photography

Paul Retherford Photography