As an officiant, I’ve seen a fair number of the local wedding venues and I often get asked about the best place to have a wedding, so I thought I’d share my favorite local spots, in no particular order.
Grand Ledge Opera House – Grand Ledge
Located on the southern bank of the Grand River this venue offers two large halls, one upstairs and one down, to accommodate your celebration. I’ve actually performed wedding ceremonies on both floors of the venue and in 3 different locations on the grounds outdoors as well (on the terrace, in the gazebo and on the river). The staff is professional and flexible, able to adapt to inclement weather on the day of your ceremony, so you can plan that perfect outdoor wedding and know that you’ll be covered in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.
This venue works with several excellent area caterers allowing you to choose the right menu for your guests. The parking lot is a little small but there are a few other lots nearby if your guest list is large. There’s a very spacious private meeting room upstairs for a Bride’s room and a rather tiny one downstairs. This venue provides a sound system for music and voice outdoors.
I’ve performed several ceremonies here over the years and have yet to hear a single complaint about this venue (except maybe about the acoustics in the Grand Hall).
Woldumar Nature Center – Lansing
If you’re looking for a rustic, natural setting for your Lansing wedding that’s a step up from your own backyard or a pavilion at a local park, consider the many amenities available at the local Nature Center. Fenner doesn’t rent space for weddings (though you’re welcome to use their outdoor spaces for small ceremonies at no charge) but Woldumar does. There are several spaces here for outdoor ceremonies, depending on the size of your guest list, and the barn is available for an indoor reception.
This venue doesn’t offer many amenities, so you’ll have to bring in your own caterer and linens but they do have “twinkle lighting” and a sound system available. Because it’s off the beaten path, a late-night dance party is not going to bother the neighbors out here and alcohol can be served (but not sold) on the premises.
If you’re not looking for an all-in-one venue and rustic is your style, this venue deserves a long look!
Eagle Eye / Hawk Hollow – Bath
Two different facilities under the same management and just down the road from each other. Eagle Eye Golf Club offers a dedicated outdoor ceremony space under a grand pergola just off the main banquet room. Hawk Hollow Golf Club offers both an outdoor ceremony option (I’ve performed weddings both on the grounds and on the steps to the porch) as well as the lovely Hawk Hollow Chapel just across the street.
Golf carts are available to transport your wedding party and any mobility challenged guests from the Chapel to the reception. I always have outstanding experiences with the staff here, they are detail-oriented and eager to help.
These are full-service venues, so you don’t need to worry about hiring caterers or renting linens though you can bring in your own DJ/band, cake, and decorator. The largest banquet room can hold 500 guests making it perfect for your big beautiful celebration!
If you’re looking for a place that does everything for you, leaving you free to enjoy your special day, you cannot go wrong with these two venues.
Country Mill – Charlotte
Due to the owner’s refusal to serve couples, I no longer suggest or support this venue.
I lived in Charlotte for 14 years and my family visited The Country Mill many times every autumn, creating lots of happy memories. Now that they’ve started to host weddings, this is one of my favorite venues! The outdoor “Orchard Wedding” ceremony site is simple and lovely and the indoor reception area is spacious enough to provide ample space for an indoor ceremony if you prefer (or for a bad weather back up plan). While the website boasts that this is a “full-service facility”, you’ll want to make sure they can cover everything you need. They also allow you to hire your own caterers and DJs, but that may be because they can’t actually provide those services (it is an orchard, after all, not a restaurant). One fun amenity here is personalized wine labels for their very own selection of fruit wines and hard cider. They offer wine tastings every day they are open so you can choose your favorite for your reception and/or to offer as take-home gifts for your guests. I love the idea of having your wedding at a venue that you and your family can visit and enjoy over and over again for years. Besides, what other venue in the area provides fresh donuts (in season)?! Yum!
English Inn – Eaton Rapids
Even if you’re not getting married, go to The English Inn. I’m serious. It’s too fantastic to miss!
If you are getting married, this is a fabulous full-service facility with gorgeous grounds, delicious food, and excellent staff all steeped in local history and overflowing with amenities. If you visit, ask for a tour to learn about the history of the home (it was built in the late ’20s by the then president of Oldsmobile) and see all of the amazing rooms for both banqueting and lodging. Many of the couples I’ve married here have taken advantage of wedding packages that include overnight rooms for themselves, family and friends and I’ve never heard one word of complaint. Most of them can’t wait to come back for their anniversaries!
The most popular ceremony spot is down under the pergola on the banks of the Grand River, but I’ve done several indoor ceremonies here and even one on the back steps when the breeze off the river was unseasonably cold but the sun was warm. The service here is excellent and the staff really seems dedicated to making sure everyone has an excellent time. It’s full-service, so all food and drink is provided on-site, though you may bring in your own cake. Also, unless you specifically rent the entire Inn for your event, it will remain open to the public so we’ll often get spontaneous applause and congratulations from strangers as we move from location to location through the Inn. Most of my couples love that about this venue. In fact, I’ll often find myself talking to couples who were married here and love coming to dinner on weekends to see other couples experience the same joy. How fun!
The largest hall can hold 200 guests and I’ve performed ceremonies here for groups as small as 10, so whether you want a full weekend event or a quiet elegant celebration, this could easily be the right venue for you.