Sleeping Bear Dunes/Northport Wedding : Coreene & Jason


I always refer to Coreene as a Renaissance woman. She is a stylist, talent agent, photographer, yoga instructor, makeup artist, jewelry designer,excellent cook and baker, and a blacksmith!

She is amazing!

When she met Jason they just clicked.  Jason is an electrician and multi talented too.

Coreene felt like he was “home” on the third date; No pretenses or being uncomfortable..he and she share hearts.

Coreene and Jason are great together!

It was a true honor photographing their wedding.The day was filled with true celebration. Magic + Sunshine= The perfect wedding.

I had to ask Coreene for advice for any potential brides out there, after all, she usually coordinates or photographs weddings for other couples and her wedding was both beautiful and so much fun!

Here are her tips and words of great wisdom:


Who helped  & what I did to save $ –

I’m a professional stylist so the decor & overall look of the wedding was very important to me. About 9 months before our wedding, I created a style board. I printed all the decor idea photos I had collected and laid them out to see my overall vision. I grouped photos by decor style and choose the group I liked best. This was extremely helpful in the planning process because I didn’t spend hours getting lost in the thousands of images on Pinterest. I had a plan, I stuck to it, and I got the job done.

One way I saved a lot of money was by doing trade work with my vendors. Being a professional photographer, I have a valuable service to offer and I’m very fortunate for that. I traded my photo work for desserts, a juggler as cocktail hour entertainment, a friend to run the ipod dj station, my day planner and the design of my wedding invitations by a local graphic designer. These trades saved me around $3000. No matter what skills you can offer, it never hurts to ask if a vendor is interested in a trade!

The week prior to the wedding, I took the week off to prep & cook food (yes, I made my own wedding food) & finish my decorations. I was fortunate to have a lot of help with these tasks from my mother, my sister Christine, my matrons of honor Cheryle & Danielle, and my good friend Nicole. Being a do-it-yourselfer (and being a professional stylist doesn’t hurt either), I saved over $5000 on my food and decorations by doing them myself.  I didn’t buy vases, I painted the inside of spaghetti and jelly jars I had collected over the winter. I didn’t buy flowers, I picked 2 buckets of wild flowers the day before the wedding.

I don’t recommend that everyone make their own wedding food. But if you love to cook, can compile a simple yet elegant menu, and are a planner/organizer by nature, you can easily save $3000-5000 by purchasing and pre-prepping your own food. I also hired 2 chefs from a local catering company to cook the food I had pre-prepped the day of the wedding and my friend’s teenagers as servers for a family style dinner service.

Another big piece of advice is to hire a day planner!

They will your point person on the day of the wedding to put out any fires, keep tabs on vendors, etc. Having a day planner relieved so much worry and stress. Knowing that the day of the wedding I could just relax and let Tara handle everything was a blessing. If you have a friend or family member who is a task master and extremely organized, this would be a good person to ask to be your day planner. Tell them it can be their wedding gift to you and it will save you even more money & lots of stress!

My biggest piece of advice, and I can’t stress this enough, is something I tell all my brides when things go wrong at their wedding. At the end of the day, all that matters is you’re married. If the cake falls overs, the flowers wilt, and the band stinks, it doesn’t matter.

At a certain point, you have to let go and just enjoy your day!”


Congratulations Coreene & Jason!



Ceremony: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park; Glen Haven, MI
Venue: Private Location in Northport, MI
Cupcakes: Charissa’s Custom Cupcakes; Charissa Kaschel
Desserts: Nicole Enger
Cake: Oryana
Caterer: The Bride
Day of Chefs: Graystone Catering
Decorations: The Bride
Flowers: wild flowers picked the day before wedding
Dress: Vue Design; Grand Rapids, MI (redesign of Grandmother’s wedding dress)
Hair: Jodi @ Salon Verve in Traverse City
Invitation Design: Betsy Lindeman
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