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

Wedding Story: Nathan & Katelyn

Nathan & Katelyn were married in August in Petoskey.

Nathan & Katelyn were married in August in Petoskey.

Their Story
High school friends, Kirk and Jordan, came to visit me (Katelyn) and other friends at Michigan State and had brought Nathan along. He went to visit other friends in East Lansing for a while and I helped him find his way back to the group over the phone.  Our two friends, Kirk and Jordan were a part of our wedding, Kirk was a groomsman and Jordan played the guitar and sang during our ceremony!PTM Storyboard 3 Up

The Proposal
In the fall of 2012, I was living and working in Ann Arbor and had planned a tailgate for the Michigan vs. Michigan State football game on October 20, 2012. We had planned for Nate to drive over Friday night for pumpkin carving. When Nate didn’t answer his phone, I was worried, but he called later and said he had been caught up doing “errands.” Little did I know, he was busy preparing to pop the question, including calling my dad and step-dad for their pic 1 The next day, I was in full entertaining mode, paying little attention to Nate or anything but cooking! Nate came into the kitchen and told me he had gotten us t-shirts to wear for the day, and we should go get them from the truck and take our dog, Moose, outside before the game. As we walked to the truck, I remember Nate commenting on how nice of a day it was and how he probably didn’t need the coat that I hadn’t noticed he was wearing. We got to the trick where Nate pulled out two t-shirts, one MSU and one U of M. He then asked me which one I wanted, which of course replied the MSU shirt. Nate then said, “Well, there is something you need to see first.” He flipped the shirts over and on the back of the MSU shirt is said NO and the U of M shirt it said YES. I believe my first response was something to the point of “that’s not fair!” as he got down on one knee and unzipped his coat to reveal a shirt he also made saying “Katelyn, will you marry me?” Of course I said YES! Luckily, Nate had planned even further and got our friend Chris, to capture the whole thing with pictures from my apartment balcony.PTM Storyboard 3 Up B

Why They Chose To Marry In Northern Michigan
My family has vacationed in the Boyne/Petoskey area for years, which lead us to look up there. The location was so naturally beautiful and we wanted it to be a fun destination for our guests and ourselves to visit in the future!

Wedding Details

  • Between the ceremony and reception, our party bus got stuck in the sand in the parking area of the Petoskey State Park!
  • Our dog, Moose, was the ring bearerPTM Storyboard 2 Up

PTM Storyboard 3 Up B weqwWedding Ingredients
Ceremony: First Presbyterian Church of Petoskey
Reception Location: Stafford’s Perry Hotel – Rose Garden Veranda
Photographer: Heather Jowett
Flowers & Centerpieces: Petals of Charlevoix
Dress: Jasmine
Cake: Sweet Maria’s
Color Scheme: Coral, Navy and White/CreamPTM Storyboard 2 Up

“With our friends and family, we all had an amazing day at Stafford’s Perry Hotel! We just wish it could have been longer!”

-Submitted by

Wedding Feature: Daniel & Julia

Daniel & Julie were married in November of 2014

Daniel & Julia were married in November of 2014

Their Story
Julia and I worked together as nurses in Traverse City, but never dated. She went away to Michigan State University (MSU) to get her Masters Degree and I moved out to Seattle, WA. I came back to Michigan for my friends wedding at MSU and asked Julia to be my date. A year and a half later, I moved back to Michigan for her and a year after that we were engaged. We got engaged very romantically on New Year’s Day.PTM Storyboard 2 Up

DanielWhy They Chose To Marry In Northern Michigan
Northern Michigan is such a beautiful area and Stafford’s Perry Hotel fit our needs for a venue perfectly. Having most everyone stay at the Perry Hotel plus having the ceremony and reception there, allowed us to spend time with our family and friends all weekend. Lauren and Carolyn (both who work at Stafford’s Perry Hotel), really helped us get everything set and made sure our big day went smoothly. Wedding_AndersonBurns_141



Wedding_AndersonBurns_186Wedding Details

  • We named each of our tables after a National Park we had visited
  • Our rehearsal dinner was on Halloween and everyone came in costumeWedding_AndersonBurns_201Wedding_AndersonBurns_221

Wedding Ingredients
Ceremony & Reception Location: Stafford’s Perry Hotel
Photographer: Stephen Sayler, Kalamazoo, MI
Flowers & Centerpieces: Sky’s The Limit
Dress: Private Collection
Cake: Cupcakes from Stafford’s Perry Hotel
Color Scheme: Gold and blush

-Submitted by Daniel


Wedding Feature: Steve & Maggie

maggie and steve 2190

Steve & Maggie married in July in Downtown Petoskey.

Their Story
Steve and I met the first day at our new job 4 years ago. I sat next to Steve during orientation, not knowing how much that random decision would change my life. He had an instant crush, we became fast friends, then started dating shortly after that. Maggie and Steve 44

The Proposal
Steve recreated our first date telling me that it was for our 3 year anniversary. We went to dinner at the tapas restaurant we love and after we ordered and had started eating, Steve proposed and we were greeted with champagne afterwards. It was simple and perfect! Maggie and Steve 33

steveand maggie 2Why They Chose To Marry In Northern Michigan
We live in Madison. Steve is from Massachusetts and I am from South East Michigan, so we had no idea where to get married. We were thinking about doing some kind of destination wedding and my mom randomly thought about the beautiful hotel she had been to years ago. We looked at pictures and fell in love with the venue. I knew it would be perfect for the big day! We called Stafford’s Perry Hotel, a date was available for July and we booked it! steveand maggie

Wedding Ingredients
Ceremony & Reception Location: Stafford’s Perry Hotel – Rose Garden Veranda
Photographer: Chris Van Winkle Photography
Flowers & Centerpieces: Sky’s The Limit
Dress: A’Lamore Bridal in Barrington, IL
Cake: Sugar Bean Bakery
Color Scheme: Whites, greens and a splash of pinkMaggie and Steve 22

maggie and steve 1103-Submitted by Maggie

Wedding Feature: Rob & Melissa

Rob & Melissa married in August at Stafford's Bay View Inn in Petoskey.

Rob & Melissa married in August at Stafford’s Bay View Inn in Petoskey.

Their Story
Rob and I met during our time at Central Michigan University. During our freshman year, we were fortunate enough to live in the same dorm and on the same floor, yet we actually didn’t formally introduce ourselves to each other until the day before summer vacation! That coming fall, we lived across the hall from each other (funny how that works) and after becoming great friends, a relationship slowly started to blossom later that year and here we are now! PTM Storyboard 3 Up B

The Proposal
Rob proposed after a whirlwind day of events. At large, he initially brought me to the Detroit Institute of Arts (a museum I had been begging him to take me to for years, so this was a big surprise), Green Dot Stables (our favorite Detroit restaurant), and finally a Detroit Tigers game at night. PTM Storyboard 2 UpFollowing the game (which the Tigers won), I decided it would be great if I could capture some pictures of the Detroit skyline lit up at night. While I was snapping the pictures, I quickly turned around and urged Rob to look at the beautiful skyline when I suddenly noticed that he was down on one knee with a ring. At that point, he asked me to marry him and I of course said “yes!”Photo 3

Why They Chose To Marry In Northern Michigan
We chose northern Michigan as our wedding destination because it was such an ideal location for both of our families. Given that Rob’s hometown of Dearborn and my hometown of Iron River, lie nearly nine hours away from each other, we thought it would be a great compromise to have our wedding in the middle in such a beautiful area of Michigan.PTM Storyboard 2 Up Vertical111 As soon as Rob and I toured Stafford’s Bay View Inn, we immediately fell in love with the venue and knew that it would be the perfect setting to host our wedding with our closest family and friends.

PTM Storyboard 2 Up VerticalWedding Details
Since Rob is from the lower peninsula of Michigan and I am from the upper peninsula, we decided to integrate a “Pure Michigan” theme into our wedding to represent our love for the state of Michigan. Our fun details included:

  • Yooper Bars as our wedding favors
  • Die-cuts of the upper and lower peninsulas for our seating arrangements
  • Tables named after our favorite cities in Michigan
  • Custom made Michigan wedding shoes made by Katie Blauer
  • A Michigan inspired signature drink
  • State of Michigan cake topper
  • Postcard guestbook that represented our favorite cities in MichiganPhoto 2

Wedding Ingredients
Ceremony & Reception Location: Stafford’s Bay View Inn
Photographer: Nolee Photography
Flowers: Sky’s The Limit
Dress: Courtney by Maggie Sottero
Cake: Cakes by Colleen
Color Scheme: Plum, green and graynoleephotography-2101

-Submitted by Melissa