Wedding Feature: Andrew & Rachel

untitled4Their Story
I occasionally help out in an art gallery on the weekends in Bloomington, IL. Marlene, the women who works there was always keen on setting me up with someone. In walks Andrew and his dad one day when I’m not working. Marlene shares some details about Andrew, that he’s handsome, originally from Michigan and works at Illinois State University. I was interested so I did a little detective work and sent him an email asking him out for a drink at the local Irish Pub here in town. Lucky for me, he responded and we’ve been together ever since! 2222untitled432432r3

The Proposal
Since my family has a summer place in Petoskey and his family has one in Traverse City, Northern Michigan has always held a special place in our hearts. After Christmas, we went on a ski trip to Boyne Mountain and then walked by Stafford’s Perry Hotel around midnight, in the snow, where he proposed. He always knew how much that hotel was a backdrop to my summer, so that made it all the more special. We sat on the beautiful porch in the quiet snow until 2 in the morning and danced in the Rose Garden where we knew we would have our ceremony. untitleduntitled6

Why They Chose To Marry In Northern Michigan
As I mentioned before, Northern Michigan has always been close to our hearts. The beautiful weather, the scenery, the food, the people. There is always something going on, and if you want, there can be nothing going on because it’s a great place to relax and leisurely spend your time. Whether you’re looking for Petoskey stones on the beach, or sharing a bottle of wine at a local restaurant, Northern Michigan is an ideal destination spot for couples and families.untitled9PTM Storyboard 3 Up B

Wedding Details

  • We set out a Polaroid camera and props to let people use Little Traverse Bay as the background.
  • We had a guestbook oar that we had people sign with well wishes, that’s hanging in our living room now.
  • We used smooth stones from the Northern Michigan area for our escort cards.
  • We gave out welcome bags with Petoskey postcards, local brew, pamphlets about the area, homemade lavender eye pillows, Michigan cherry cookies made by the groom’s mom, Michigan potato chips and a mixed CD.
  • Instead of a unity candle or sand, we stuck with a nautical theme and tied a “Chord of Three Strands,” with one representing the bride, another the groom and the third God.
  • We were so happy with our venue decision and all the help Debbie and Evan from the Sales Office offered us every step of the way! They were incredibly attentive and made our day easy!untitled 234444untitled10

Wedding Ingredients
Ceremony & Reception Location: Stafford’s Perry Hotel – Rose Garden Veranda
Photographer: Stephanie N. Baker
Flowers & Centerpieces: Bloom
Dress: No clue! Off the rack and less than $600!
Cake: Sugar Bean
Color Scheme: Blushes and Vintage Ivory
DJ: DJ Mikey from Traverse City

– Submitted by Rachel untitled7

Have A Seat! Part 2: How Will They Get There

You’ve said your “I do’s”, kissed, and made your way back down the aisle as the crowd cheers and snaps photos… Your photographer steals you away for some photos and your guests mingle during the cocktail hour. Before you know it, it’s time to get all your guests seated for dinner and toasts. Have you thought about how you will direct your guests to their tables? The goal is to make it a simple and direct process, so that guests don’t feel lost!

There are many ways to successfully accomplish this task and even more ways to be creative and make it your own!

Let’s clear up a couple things first…


Escort Cards – Escort cards are displayed at the entrance of the reception area. They will include the guests’ name and table assignment. The guests will take the escort card with them, so that they know which table to look for.

Paul Retherford Wedding Photography Perry Hotel Becky AJ _0101

Place Cards – Place cards are set on each table and used to assign seats for the guests. They will include the guests’ name, and may also include the meal choice, if you decided on a plated dinner with different entrée choices.

Megan Keith -0207-XLSeating Chart – A seating chart is displayed at the entrance of the reception area. The seating chart will include all guests’ names and table assignments. Some seating charts will also include a layout of the tables to point the guests in the right direction.

When pairing the options above, consider the following the combinations.

  • Escort Cards + Place Cards
  • Seating Chart + Place Cards
  • Escort Cards Only OR Seating Chart Only
    *Allows guests to choose their seats. These options works fine if the dinner is buffet style or if all guest are receiving the same plated meal for dinner.

*Helpful hint: It’s best to display these seating assignments/cards in alphabetical order by last name. This makes it much easier for guests to quickly find their name!


A lot of couples these days are combining their guests wedding favors with their escort/place cards, which works out great! It’s fun to see the personalities and creativity that come out in the special touches they put into their wedding day.

For more wedding inspiration, take a look at our Pinterest Boards!

Have A Seat! Part 1: Choosing The Perfect Layout


An important topic of conversation as your wedding day approaches is to discuss the seating options for your bridal party, your parents and yourselves – of course!

The best part about planning a wedding these days is that almost anything is possible and it’s fun to change things up and try something different! We love working with our engaged couples and discussing ideas of how to make their wedding day uniquely special to them and their guests.

Long Traditional Head Table 


An option for couples that like the idea of sitting with their bridal party and having their head table as a focal point of the room. Typically set up with long banquet tables.


*Our couples that have booked their reception in the H.O. Rose Room at the Perry Hotel have the “unique” opportunity to use our banquets as an elevated head table. This option provides a private table for the couple, while being seated with their bridal party on both sides.

Captain’s Table 


Large square/rectangle table set up using banquet tables facing each other. The couple typically sit in the middle of the table, facing out to the rest of the room. The bridal party then sits around the table facing the couple.

Sweetheart Table


A small table (typically a half moon table) solely for the couple. This option allows for them to create a smaller focal point and dress it up extra special for the two of them. Some couples enjoy the “together time” they get to have when seated at their very own table for two!

Family Table 


The couple also have the option to share their dinner/head table with both sets of parents. Either using banquet tables or a round table.

A few things for the couple to take into consideration for when planning seating arrangements for the bridal parents, their parents and themselves:

  • Will the dates and significant others of the bridal party be sitting with the couple at the head table or will they be assigned to separate tables during dinner?
  • If there is a large bridal party with dates and significant others, the couple might consider having multiple “round head tables” at the front of the room, so that the bridal party members can sit with their dates and still be close to the couple (who might be at a sweetheart table, for example).
  • If the majority of the bridal party are single, the couple can choose to seat all bridal party members together at their own table or with other friends and family.
  • Another option would be to have the couple sit with the Maid of Honor and Best Man (and their dates, if preferred). Then, the rest of the bridal party at surrounding tables.


There are lots of options and variations for seating arrangements! View more inspiration on our Pinterest page.

Table Number Designs

There are so many small details that go into making a wedding memorable and unique to the couple. One of these details is table numbers. Just because they are essential for guests to find their table, doesn’t mean they have to be boring! In fact, it’s a great way for couples to add their personal flair to the wedding design.

When deciding what direction to go with the design of your table numbers, keep in mind the overall look and feel that you want to create. If all of the details follow the same theme, your wedding will be a perfect representation of your vision and is sure to wow your guests! Here are two of our favorite approaches.

The Classic Approach: To keep things simple, most couples stick with numbering or lettering their tables. This option can be personalized with colors & patterns, unique fonts, and shaped cards.

Personal & Creative Touches: Instead of using numbers or letters, a unique way for the couples to differentiate their tables is by naming them. There are hundreds of ways table name cards can be personalized, but here are a few examples to think about.

    • Years: Pick memorable years in the couples life and include pictures and stories of the significance to that date.
    • Memories: For a more personal feel, the tables can each be themed around a special memory of the couple
    • Cities and Landmarks: This is a fun idea for the couple who enjoy traveling to showcase their favorite destinations.

      Michael-Rob0281 noleephotography-1565

SarahDan0233-2139472881-OOnce you’ve figured out how you would like your table numbers designed, the next step is to figure out a display piece.

            View More: 2013_08_02_Michelle_Aaron-178-2788160068-O I_1707

The great thing about the table number display is you can pretty much do anything you want with it! Vintage picture frames, wooden stumps, embellished stands, or a simple photo holder are among the most popular display options that couples choose.

*Helpful hint – Make sure the table numbers are elevated enough for guests to easily find their assigned table.


Now that we’ve given you several ideas for the table numbers and displays, it’s time to get crafting and create a one-of-a-kind table number display for your wedding!

Find more wedding inspiration on our Pinterest Boards!

Meet Our New Event Services Manager: Evan Chestnutt

EvanWe are thrilled to welcome Evan Chestnutt to our sales team as our Event Services Manager! Evan joined our team in March of this year, and will be working closely with our Director of Sales and events at Stafford’s Perry Hotel.

Evan was born in Kailua, Hawaii. Moved to Reno, Nevada, where her brother was born and then onto San Diego, California, which became “home”. Evan and her brother grew up playing sports and following in their parents foot-steps of living an active and busy lifestyle. Her brother plays ice hockey for the National and American hockey league – hence her love for ice hockey! She grew up skating with a synchronized ice-skating team and playing volleyball. Her love of volleyball has continued to grow; she still plays and has had a couple opportunities to coach.

She graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Communications. She was also very involved in the new-student orientation programs. After graduation, she moved to Boston, MA to follow her dream of moving to the East Coast, experiencing seasons and exploring the beautiful historic city. She fell in love with her husband, John – originally from Maryland.

Her husband accepted a job offer to work for Honeywell in Boyne City in October 2013. Evan and her parents came to visit for the Thanksgiving holiday in 2013 and John proposed on the boat dock in downtown Petoskey. She moved to Petoskey on New Years 2014 and began working part-time with a local wedding designer, Tableau Events, as well as part-time with the YMCA of Northern Michigan. She quickly fell in love with the community and all it has to offer to locals and tourists alike.

“I am most looking forward to getting to know the engaged couples and helping them bring their special day to life! I love to organize, I love details and I love events revolving around families & friends. I just got married last summer to my wonderful husband and it was truly the best day of my life… as they say, “A day we will never forget!” I am determined and passionate about making sure our couples experience that same joy!”

Welcome to the team, Evan!

You Make Us Blush!

2015BOW_VendorProfile_Gold_120x120We are pleased to announce we have been selected as a 2015 winner in The Knot Best of Weddings, an award representing the highest-rated wedding professionals as reviewed by real couples, their families and wedding guests on The Knot. This is the 5th year Stafford’s has been selected for The Knot Best of Weddings.

In 2015, only 2% of the 250,000 local wedding professionals listed on have received this distinguished accolade. The Knot Best of Weddings provides a by-couples, for-couples guide to the top wedding professionals across the country. To determine the winners, The Knot assessed a sample of almost one million real reviews across the various vendor categories—venues, musicians, florists, photographers, caterers and more—that a bride or groom would want in order to inspire, plan and pull off their own unique wedding.

We are so excited to have received this honor,” Sales Director Angela Whitener said. “We always knew we had something very special here in Petoskey, but now this solidifies it!”

Ready to hear what our couples say? Read a few of the testimonials below!Petoskey, MI Wedding Photography - Sam & Brant - © Dan Stewart Photography

Dream Wedding
When I told people I was getting married during winter in Northern Michigan they though I was crazy! Stafford’s Perry Hotel provided the perfect environment for a winter wedding, it was beautiful and more than I ever could have imagined. The staff was amazing, the venue gorgeous, the food was to die for and the staff beyond accommodating. The majority of my wedding guests had to travel four hours in the snow to attend my wedding and every single one has told me it was the best wedding they’ve ever been to!

Petoskey, MI Wedding Photography - Sam & Brant - © Dan Stewart Photography

Image courtesy of Dan Stewart Photography

Stafford’s Perry Hotel is the BEST!!!
My husband and I picked out Stafford’s Perry Hotel for its amazing views initially and then discovered how amazing their whole staff was in the process! Our wedding planning had to be done through e-mails and over the phone, since we are from the Detroit area. All of the ladies (Angie, Debbie, Lauren, Rachel) were my angels! They helped troubleshoot any bumps in the road throughout the planning process and a couple big bumps on the actual wedding day! Carolyn and her staff that run the dining room were exceptional also! We had prepared our centerpieces and decorations in advance. My sister and I had discussed the set up with Carolyn/Angie and the staff briefly and when I walked in and saw everything set up, I seriously had tears in my eyes because it was so beautiful! I couldn’t have asked for anything more! I have nothing but high praise for all of the staff at Stafford’s Perry Hotel. I would encourage anyone looking to have an up north wedding to use Stafford’s Perry Hotel. If I had to choose and plan everything all over again, I would choose Stafford’s Perry Hotel! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Fairytale Wedding
We fell in love with the location and the venue upon visiting it a year ago. We had heard great things about the service and hospitality from locals as well as friends and family…as a result we had high expectations for the weekend. The only thing in question was the weather (as we all know Memorial weekend in Northern Michigan can be hit or miss). We were completely blown away by the level of service and hospitality provided by the Stafford’s Perry Hotel. There was no stone unturned and it was truly a magical experience. From the moment we checked in to the very last dance, we were awestruck in how perfect everything came together. Working with the the Perry Hotel was seamless and the staff was very accommodating and professional. The location, the Rose Garden Veranda, overlooking the bay could not have been more ideal. Timing was impeccable, the food was incredible, and the weather was in our favor (75 and sunny). All of our guests said this was the best wedding they have ever been to, and coming from a very large ethnic family, that says a lot! We can’t say enough about how wonderful are experience was at the Stafford’s Perry Hotel and hold them in the highest regard.

noleephotography-1838AMAZING – Perfect Service, Perfect Staff, Perfect
I cannot say enough about the service and staff at Stafford’s Bay View Inn. From start to finish they made our special day better than we even expected. We did not have to worry about ONE thing not going right. All of our guests raved and raved about everything, from the quaintness of the Inn, to the hospitality, to the food. Very accommodating and totally exceeded all of our expectations.

Pure Michigan
I absolutely cannot say enough good things about the Bay View Inn. We had a small destination wedding (IN to MI) and the event and hospitality ladies were so amazing to work with! Everything ran so smoothly and they were so accommodating, which made for a very calm bride! The venue is gorgeous, the service the best I have ever experienced, and the food was so good that my hubby and I have decided to come back for the Sunday brunch alone! Be sure to read and write in the journal(s) in your room, and take a walk down by the beach and through the lovely memorial garden.

Interested in planning your next special event? Contact our wedding professionals.

Wedding Feature: Dan and Joanne

Dan & Joanne married in July of 2014 in downtown Petoskey.

Dan & Joanne married in July of 2014 in downtown Petoskey.

Their Story
Dan and I were introduced by mutual friends. We went on one date and because of our busy schedules and traveling, we were not able to go out again for almost three weeks! After our second date, we definitely knew there would be a third. We were engaged within nine months.JD 2

The Proposal
Dan took me back to the restaurant where we had our first date. It was a cold, rainy night in November. Dan got down on one knee right outside the restaurant in the exact place where I first saw him. I was cold and wet, but I had never been happier.JoanneDan0075

Why They Chose To Marry In Northern Michigan
I grew up in northern Michigan and always knew I wanted to get married there. I had enjoyed visiting Petoskey as a child and loved the Perry Hotel. As soon as we saw the Rose Garden Veranda, we knew it was the perfect place for our wedding.jd 5

jd 6

Wedding Details
The weather was absolutely beautiful on our wedding day and the flowers on the veranda were amazing. It was truly our dream wedding!

JD 3

JD one

Wedding Ingredients
Ceremony & Reception Location: Stafford’s Perry Hotel – Rose Garden Veranda
Photographer: Cory Weber Photography
Flowers & Centerpieces: Nature’s Garden
Dress: Gina’s in Milford, MI
Cake: Cupcakes from Sweet Maria’s
Color Scheme: Light blue and shades of pink

JD 4

– Submitted by Joanne