Cool wedding venues for any time of year

Nowadays, you don’t have to go to the chapel to get married. Around Calhoun County, you can go to the greenhouse, or the garden or the barn, or even on top of Fragrant Hill.
“The barn trend is at its peak right now of popularity,” says photographer Stephanie Parshall (

Parshall covers 25 weddings a year and more than half of them are in Southwest Michigan.

Her advice for couples looking for a venue:

  1. “This whole year has proven it can rain on your wedding day,” Parshall says. While it’s good to think of your wedding in the best-case scenario, have a back-up plan that you love just as much. 
  2. Communication is key. Clearly establish what the venue is providing and take nothing for granted, whether it’s the bartender or tablecloths. It’s also less stressful to pick a venue that replies quickly throughout the process.
  3. There is a difference between venue coordinator and event coordinator. Talk with your coordinator about what she or he will take care of. For instance, a venue coordinator will help with guest parking, but an event coordinator will focus on making sure the bridal party is where they’re supposed to be on the big day. Sometimes it will be one person doing both, but not often.
  4. As a photographer, Parshall doesn’t have any requests for what makes the best pictures. But she does like to spend time talking with the couple about what they love about the venue. That way, she knows what to emphasize in the photos.

Here are eight venues to check out around Calhoun County:

Dreamfield Acres, Marshall

Dawn and Don Worthington run this venue in a turn-of-the-century barn, but they can do more than provide space. The Worthingtons also have a photography business and music experience. One of the Dreamfield Acres bundles includes photography, video, DJ services and day of wedding coordination. That’s a chunk out of your to-do list right there!

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Green Gardens Community Farm, Battle Creek

“It’s really unique,” Parshall says. Green Gardens is a working farm (ask them about their candy carrots) but they also host events on the property and in the greenhouse.Between the rolling hills and fairy lights, farm living has never looked so romantic.


Greencrest Estate Bed and Breakfast, Battle Creek

No need for a destination wedding — Greencrest Estate feels like a secluded manor in the French countryside. According to Greencrest’s website, the venue has been recognized on the Oprah show.

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Heading up to Northern Michigan today to do a site visit for what’s sure to be a stunning August 2019 wedding overlooking Walloon Lake. We love the beginning phases of the planning process when we start dreaming & scheming with our couples, and the possibilities are endless! Also, still daydreaming about this shoot at @greencrestmanor from a couple weeks ago and counting the days till we get to see the film photos from @shanellphotographyllc ✨✨Floral design & Menus: @inesandmarieevents || Calligraphy: @cali.orourke || Tabletop rentals: @eventtheorymi || Linens & napkins: @latavolalinen || Cane back chairs: @fireflypremier || Bistro lights: @inesandmarieevents || Candles: @yummicandles #tablescape #tablesetting #floraldesign #flowersofinstagram #estatewedding

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PSA FOR ANYONE GETTING MARRIED: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The people that you surround yourself with on your wedding day set the vibe for the whole damn thing. Sooooo many times people ask me if having different genders or an unbalanced wedding party would be "bad." ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The only bad thing you could do is have someone next to you that it's 100% on your team. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ So throw the idea that you have to have all ladies, or all dudes, or exactly 6 people because your partner has 6 people, and all the rest out the window. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Choose your people because they make you feel loved. If someone doesn't make you feel that way, you don't need them. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #brideribe #almosttime #weddingseason #2018wedding #weddingday #weddingplanning #michigan #puremichigan #michiganwedding #weddingplanningtips #weddingplanningtime #thecountdown #thecountdownison #excited #bride #vines #greencrestmanor #battlecreek #wedding #weddinginspo #weddingvenue #weddingplanner #weddingflowers #outdoorwedding #intimatewedding

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One of the most beautiful ceremony sites in Michigan!

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Ivy Barn, Marshall

For a classic Midwestern barn wedding, check out Ivy Barn. The farm was built in the 1870s and recent renovations have retained the rustic charm while providing modern amenities. Ceremonies are held outside, while inside the barn is reception space.

Leila Arboretum, Battle Creek

Get close to nature by renting space at Leila Arboretum. There’s a pavilion located on the top of Fragrant Hill, named for the flowering trees that are on full display in the spring. It also gives a sweeping vista of fall color. Other sites include the fountain, Fantasy Forest, gazebo, the wildflower garden and more.

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Wow! What beauty and intrigue! Leila Arboretum is 85 acres of beautiful paved walkways, gardens and 2,500 marked trees and plants. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ These gardens are really fantastic as there are grand overlooks, lush spots to have a picnic and well, it's FREE! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Oh, and check out the fantasy forest for wizards, GROOT and so many more fantastic characters…if you dare! For pics, see the link in my bio, "Best Things to Do in Battle Creek!"⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #leilaarboretum #battlecreek #battlecreekmichigan #gardens #botanicalgardens #michigangardens #bluesky #flowers #Michigan #puremichigan #michigantravel #michiganstate #travelingmichigan #puremittenpride #lovemichigan #michiganders #exploremichigan #puremittigan #greatlakesstate #greatlakeslocals #michiganders #mittensmitten #onlyinmichigan #michigan_wanderlust #puremichiganders #naturalmichigan #awesomemitten

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Olde Farmhouse Barn, Marshall

With a red barn and white farmhouse, this wedding venue has a relaxed country feel.And no country wedding is complete without a great spread of food. Many customers praised the in-house catering at Olde Farmhouse Barn.

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Repeating positivity is life changing!! Whenever I need a boost of encouragement I repeat to myself “I have the same number of hours in a day as Beyonce” which I have my friend Sasha to thank for because if anyone is the real life Sasha-Fierce, it's definitely her! It makes be giggle a bit, but guys! It’s TRUE! *And then I transform into Sasha Fierce*…just kidding, but I do get the work done! Do you have a mantra? Share yours in the comments below!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Workshop: @parkplacedesign⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Venue: @olde_farmhouse_barn ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Dishes: @delicateddishes⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Rentals: @upstagekzoo⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Model: Angela⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Photography: @stephanieparshallphotography⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The Sasha: @tenzyfrenzy .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #floral #floraldesigns #weddingflowers #weddingdesign #weddinginspo #weddinginspiration #weddingbouquet #purple #weddingflower #weddingflorals #weddingflorist #bride #veil #weddingvenue #marshall #marshallmi #marshallmichigan #marshallwedding #theknotvenue #theknot #michiganweddingvenue #flowers

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Southern Exposure Herb Farm, Battle Creek

If flowers are your thing, check out Southern Exposure Herb Farm. The wedding takes place in an English garden, surrounded by aromatic plants, birds and the burbles of fountains.Southern Exposure also has Mi Suk Palmatier — according to Parshall, she is one of those rare people who are both event coordinator and a venue coordinator, to make sure everything runs beautifully. Palmatier has more than 20 years of experience.

Stone Barn, Sherwood

This barn near the village of Athens comes with a marvelous legend: Touching the hex symbols on the southern-facing wall brings good luck.But who needs luck when you’ve got a venue that can accommodate an inside ceremony? Mother Nature can send all the rain she likes, but your guests will be dry.If the weather plays nice, Stone Barn has an outdoor fire pit for people to gather around and make s’mores.

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Mr and Mrs Kahn! #kahntwaittosayidew

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