Post # 1
So we are having trouble coming up with a good ceremony idea. FI and I are both U of M alums and dated all through undergrad, we live in Ann Arbor currently and so we want to get married in Ann Arbor.
We’ve booked our reception at the Michigan Union on campus in Ann Arbor and are having a winter wedding. We don’t want our guests to have to travel much between ceremony and reception in case there’s alot of snow or ice (which we actually hope for a nice fresh snowfall!). Though there are alot of beautiful churches in the immediate area, but we aren’t religious. We aren’t against a church ceremony, but feel a bit odd just randomly picking the “prettiest” one and hoping they will marry us.
One option is to book a different room at the Union for the ceremony and just move everyone to the reception within the same building. Great for guests since it’s winter and they wouldn’t need to go back outside…The problem is having time to get pictures in between. We don’t want to see each other before the wedding so we have to do pictures in between the ceremony and reception. Usually that’s where the cocktail hour comes into play for the guests, but the Union only allows a total of 4 hours of bar service (except not including dinner time, where they shut down the bar and serve wine). So if we did a cocktail hour we are limiting the fun dancing/drinking time we all get to enjoy together.
So, with that all said, one suggestion is a tented ceremony outdoors with heaters. There’s a great company who provides beautiful tents and are fully staffed year round and handle Detroit winter events frequently. We could possibly do a cocktail hour in the tent for our guests while we get pictures and then walk to the reception a few blocks away. Assuming it would be warm enough inside, what are your thoughts of an outdoor winter wedding in Ann Arbor? What would you think about it if you were a guest? Too much to deal with as a bride? LIke I said, the church is a backup, and we could send our guests to their hotels during pictures after the ceremony…maybe?
Post # 3
I dont think its a good idea, its going to be cold and possibly snow. It would be too risky for me. I would just let the guest go into the reception room and provide snacks and entertainment until you are done taking pics
Post # 4
whats wrong with having a coctail / mingeling hour in the union and then just the bridal party goes out side for pictures for a while comes back and has dinner.
Lots of bridal parties show up after the guests at the reception becuase they were doing pictures.
Post # 5
Yes, I agree… I live in Chicago and Feb is just too risky for weather in the mid-west so, I would personally not be ale to deal with the stress that a tent may provide. My couisin got married at the student union at another Big 10 university in the winter and had both the ceramony and reception there. It worked out great with having cocktail hr while the bridal party were were taking pictures. You don’t need to have booze at it. I say go with booking the two rooms at the student union.
Post # 6
I wouldn’t do it… I’d figure out a cocktail hour that didn’t include booze (oh, the horror!) and was just like a signature non-alcoholic drink (mulled cider? Hot cocoa/coffee bar? Trying to think of winter things), and use the inside space without booze.
Post # 7
I definitely think you should have an indoor ceremony in February. You could try somewhere like the Ann Arbor City Club that is normally ceremony and reception. Even if they have another wedding booked for that day, they might let you use them for just a ceremony if your ceremony is earlier or if the other couple is having the ceremony off-site at a church or something.
Post # 8
I am not sure if this is actually feasible but could you consider a nearby indoor location for the ceremony such as the Law/Business School, Museum of Art (conveniently across the street!), Graduate Library, or even the Michigan League (a little farther of a walk)? Perhaps these other options may allow you to do a ceremony and 1 hr cocktail and then guests can head on over to the union for the reception.
Although, if you actually break down 4 hours of bar service at the Union to include a cocktail hour and dinner wine service, you would have 1 hr cocktails, 2 hr dinner with wine service, and then 3 hours of open bar afterwards. That would actually nearly cover a 5 hr reception. The only problem I forsee is if your guests aren’t big wine drinkers :). I like this option the best only because it wouldn’t require guests to be outside as much.
In My Humble Opinion, tents with heaters are never warm enough, especially if you are sitting closer to the edges. I would be worried about unpredictable AA weather, particularly if it started to snow/hail around the time of your wedding. I actually attended a wedding held in a heated tent @ Cranbrook House and Gardens in Bloomfield Hills this past September and it was unseasonably cold at night. It was a beautiful wedding but all I could think about was how cold I was the entire time. That is unfortunately the first thing I think about when people talk about the wedding.
In the end, if you do choose to have your ceremony in a tent, definitely consider offering hot chocolate (spiked!), warm cider, or other hot drinks to help your guests stay warm.
Out of curiosity, where were you considering setting up the tent?
Post # 9
I think that outdoors, even with heaters, is a really really bad idea! February in Michigan is FREEZING with knee-high snow! If I was a guest I’d probably still try to go inside or just go sit in my car, and I wouldn’t feel very accomodated. I’m pretty sure all the guests would be saying, “Why the heck did they put us in an outdoor tent in February?! Did they really think the heaters would be enough?” You also really shouldn’t make them walk blocks in the snow or go back to their hotels while you take pictures.
Maybe instead of a cocktail hour it could be more like an appetizer hour…get the second room but just serve non-alcoholic beverages and appetizers during that hour. Or you could ask the venue how much it would cost to add on an extra hour for the bar – I’m sure it couldn’t cost much more than renting an outdoor tent with heaters and all that.
Post # 10
Thank you so much for the strong opinions!!! This is what I wanted to hear from you ladies, something that would hand the decision over on a silver platter!! Thanks for all your input, tent idea is a no go. And we checked out the Museum of Art (as angrylilazngrl suggested) today which is beautiful and across the street. THANK YOU!!!