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Once Upon a Time in a Tent…

Posted on May 16, 2014 by Alysia Boynton-Fisher


I am not a romantic.  In fact, I am quite the opposite.  Growing up, I never wanted to be a princess. I wanted to be a detective and solve crimes or an attorney so I could argue with people and make them pay for their wrongdoings. I didn’t want to wear dresses and ribbons in my hair, much to my mother’s dismay.  I wanted to be one of the boys.  I could run as fast, kick as far, and climb as high.  I just couldn’t pee outside as easily!!  For us girls, it gets tricky.  I have never been a girly girl.  It wasn’t until college that I finally learned how to apply make-up.  I didn’t daydream about the kinds of things lots of girls do, like engagements, giant weddings, big white princess dresses, until everything changed, and then I did!!!!


During college I worked at a golf course in San Diego as a beverage cart girl.  I could make a mean bloody mary! I worked there for several years. After receiving my degree in public relations and marketing, I was offered a big girl job at that very golf course and became the Director of Marketing and Weddings.  I learned the in’s and out’s of wedding planning, wedding etiquette, and spent countless hours planning and setting up weddings. I helped brides envision and create their perfect day that they had been dreaming about all their lives and it was easy because we had a big blank canvas to work with, a big beautiful white tent.


Over the years while working at this golf course, I became very fond of a certain pro-shop boy.  We were friends from the start, never more, until I realized he was exactly what I was looking for.  The kind of boy you want to be with forever.  It all started with harmless flirting, a look here, a smile there, and then a dinner invitation.  Things blossomed. However, he was born and raised in Northern Michigan and was ready to return home.  After just a few fun months together, with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart,  I had to say goodbye.


Let’s just say that distance makes the heart grow fonder.  After two weeks of him being home, we decided that we just had to be together.  I can’t speak for him, but after thinking I had lost him forever, I knew that I never wanted to let him go.  We would see each other for a week and then go three months without and it was hard, so hard!!! I found myself working weddings late at night, watching the bride in her beautiful white dress, dance her first dance with the boy of her dreams, under the twinkle lights, and all of a sudden I wanted that too.


We decided that I was going to move to Traverse City. Before this born and raised San Diego girl was going to move anywhere, I had to check it out.  During our long distance adventures, I had never made it to Northern Michigan.  I had met him in St. Louis and he had come to me, but I never had been to see where he grew up.  It’s probably a good thing too.  If I would have visited for the first time in the winter, I would have turned around and caught the next plane right out of this frozen tundra.   I arrived in July and was in awe of this place that I had never even heard of.  I was in love with the boy and what was to be my new home.  It was while I was here, that the boy asked me to spend forever with him and of course I said YES.  Nothing made more sense to me than to get married at that same golf course where we met, where it all started, where I spent wedding after wedding, dreaming of me and this boy, dancing the night away, wearing a big white princess dress, in a big beautiful white tent.


It was everything I had never dreamed of! We celebrated with over three hundred of our loved ones and everything was perfect.  The food was delicious, the drinks were flowing, and we all danced the night away. It was the kind of wedding where we were begging for just one more song and then just one more song after that. The kind of wedding where you get back to your hotel and you could just pass out in your clothes, but we all know that the boy wasn’t going to let that happen!!!


Obviously,  it wouldn’t be practical to get married in the tent I was married in, way out in San Diego, but you can get married in a tent just as beautiful at Crystal Lake Golf Club.  It can be your blank canvas.  It can be anything and everything you have ever or never dreamed of.  The beginning of your story and it can begin the same as mine, Once upon a time in a tent…




Crystal Lake Wedding Coordinator: Liz Mahlich

Posted on May 9, 2014 by Liz Mahlich


Organized, dedicated, and empathetic are probably the best words to describe me. Although I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Michigan State University, my real passion is helping others. Whether it is sharing nutritional advice, motivating friends and family to try yoga, or coordinating a birthday party for one of my kids, I love to be helpful and creative. As a financial analyst for Michigan Department of Treasury in Lansing, I was more interested in the networking aspect of the job. I started a team building committee, coordinated fundraisers, and planned office parties. Anything to get me out of the cubicle!


In 2011, my husband was offered a promotion allowing us an opportunity to relocate to Traverse City, Michigan.  At the same time, I was able to become a stay at home mom for the first time.  After being a full time working mom,  this transition was a welcomed change. Having this opportunity in Northern Michigan, near one of the most beautiful areas in the nation, was just an added bonus. Summers are now spent camping out in Benzie County, enjoying Crystal Lake, participating in many of the local festivals, and just exploring downtown Traverse City.  We enjoy skiing in the winter and spending time in Bellaire at Shanty Creek Resort. I feel so blessed to have this special time with my kids, ages 6 and 8, who are growing so fast!


As much as I loved my new role as a Stay at Home Mom, I was craving an opportunity for a creative outlet and adult interaction.  We happened to live in the same subdivision as the Keillor Family, who managed Crystal Lake Golf Club. They were gearing up for their second wedding season, which was to be much busier than their first. Jamie Keillor was looking for an Events Coordinator to help her with all the details that go into planning each and every event.  I jumped at the opportunity to do what I was passionate about and to have a job that I truly loved each and every day.


As Crystal Lake Golf Club’s Events Coordinator, I am able to hone in on my creativity while helping brides and grooms with all the details to make their wedding day everything they had envisioned.  Before the ceremony and/or reception is even booked, I’m there to provide information about our venue and other area vendors. It’s my job to maintain strong relationships with area Caterers, DJs, Florists, Bakeries, and Hotels in order to feel confident in recommending their services to brides and grooms.  Many of our events are destination weddings, so our couples need all the information they can get about Benzie County and local vendors.  We work very hard at creating and maintaining our prefered vendors list, which is key to helping brides and grooms make informative decisions.


Once a wedding is booked, I’m there to work with the bride to help them coordinate all the details and answer any and all questions they may have to plan their wedding day.  Some brides I rarely hear from, while others I hear from weekly. A month or two before the wedding, I meet with the couple to help in anyway I can to make sure they are comfortable with the details of the event and that their details are carried out. Whether it is putting the bar list together, or giving advice on decorations, I’m happy to help in anyway I can.
The day of the event, Jamie and her staff are at the tent bright and early, making sure all tables, chairs, decorations and details are laid out. I arrive 2 hours prior to the event to prepare the bar staff and to check in with all the vendors to ensure the wedding and reception are coordinated seamlessly. As guests arrive, I make sure they have everything they need and direct them to their tables, gift table, and bar as needed. I love the special moment when the couple is announced into the reception as husband and wife to their onlooking friends and family ( I’ve been know to cry in the corner during the toasts)! It is magical to feel the love of a newly married couple and the support of their family and friends around them, sharing their special day. A beautiful and rewarding job indeed.

Family Photo Traverse City

Photo Courtesy of Alicia’s Eye

Real Northern Michigan Wedding: Sarah & Joe

September 14th, 2013

Posted on May 2, 2014 by Liz Mahlich


Northern Michigan holds a special place in many of our hearts, especially to those of Sarah Miller and Joe Martin. The couple vacationed in the Benzie area for many years, so it was the perfect destination to start their lives together.


Sarah and Joe wanted their guests to experience the beauty of Benzie County, starting with the small beach town of Frankfort. Guest rooms were reserved at Harbor Lights Resort, located on the shore of Lake Michigan.  The Rehearsal dinner was conveniently located in downtown Frankfort, at the Asian inspired restaurant, Fusion. Close family and friends shared a lovely meal, while preparing for the big day.

Wedding Dress

The morning of September 14th, 2013, began with a beautiful sunrise and the promise of gorgeous weather.  The ceremony was to be held on the resort’s beach and the wedding party and guests had the convenience of getting ready right in their rooms. Massaggio Salon from Traverse City graciously sent their stylist to the resort to style the bridal parties’ hair. Preparations for the day went on without a hitch!


Sarah and Joe shared their vows, officiated by Weddings Your Way, on Harbor Lights Resort’s beautiful beach, overlooking Lake Michigan and the Frankfort Light House. The weather was picture perfect and the views were breathtaking. A magical ceremony, which was then proceeded by a lovely reception.


Another special place in Benzie County is the Village of Beulah, which held Sarah and Joe’s reception venue.  The beautiful Crystal Lake Golf Club, was the perfect setting for the couple’s Northern Michigan themed reception. The classic white wedding tent with the natural backdrop of Crystal Lake with breathtaking sunset views, was a fabulous way to finish the couples magical day.  Crystal Lake Weddings staff ensured that every table was in place and all guests felt welcomed at the reception. Having an event coordinator and staff available at the reception venue assured that the bride and groom could enjoy their beautiful ceremony, while knowing their reception would be coordinated seamlessly. “…I didn’t have to worry about a thing knowing that you (Liz) were there! You made my day happen and I couldn’t thank you enough for it. Everything was perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing!” -Sarah Martin, Bride


As guest entered the reception tent, they were greeted with flawless decorations, carefully thought out by the bride. Elegant purple flower arrangements, designed by Victoria’s Floral Design, which encased white lanterns with turquoise candles, were the perfect amount of color to set off each table. Highlighting their love for Northern Michigan, the favors were maple candies and honey bears, from a local farmers market. Purple and turquoise lanterns floated through the air as guest mingled, while enjoying Black Star Farms wine.


Once the wedding party arrived, the reception was in full swing, and the catering staff from Chef’s Pride laid out a beautiful buffet dinner. Following dinner, a multi flavored cake, designed by Kingsley Cakes, was shared among guest. Northern Michigan DJs  provided fabulous music and entertainment to keep the guest happy and on the dance floor all night long.


Two Rings Photography was kind enough to share their beautiful photos of the evening with us. Even though they reside downstate, they love to come work and vacation in Northern Michigan whenever they have a chance.


We feel so blessed to have shared the Martin’s special day with them. It truly was a memorable Northern Michigan Wedding.