Where to get hitched: Wedding venues in Saugatuck

wedding venues in saugatuck

Planning a wedding? You’ll struggle to find a quainter, more scenic place to host the main event than here in Saugatuck. We’ve got a great selection of places to have your ceremony and reception. Here are six of our favorite wedding venues in Saugatuck.

6 great wedding venues in Saugatuck, MI

Saugatuck Center for the Arts

You may be familiar with Saugatuck Center for the Arts for the great events and exhibitions it hosts, but you may not have known that you can rent their spaces for events. Weddings in the center’s pavilion and rain garden are positively dreamy. Learn more about hosting your wedding at Saugatuck Center for the Arts within their wedding packet.

A Cut Above Event Center

This event center is set in a rural locale with gorgeous surroundings to accent its quaint, log cabin-inspired facilities. It’s a perfect setting for a rustic wedding, with room for up to 200 guests indoors, and higher capacities for outdoor events.

Laketown Golf & Conference Center

Host your ceremony and reception at Laketown Golf & Conference Center and you’ll have a variety of options to customize your special day. Indoors or out, your wedding will be a gorgeous affair.

Wickwood Inn 

For a smaller event with 20-30 guests, the picturesque Wickwood Inn is a great choice. If you need assistance finding an officiant, booking a photographer, or scheduling a horse and buggy driver, The Wickwood Inn is happy to help.

Apple Blossom Chapel & Gardens

The perfect garden wedding is well within reach when you host it at Apple Blossom Chapel & Gardens. Plan your day in the midst of the annual spring blossom for the most beautiful backdrop.

The Belvedere Inn & Restaurant

The Belvedere Inn & Restaurant is a one-stop wedding destination. When you plan your wedding with The Belvedere, you’ll be paired with a Special Events Coordinator who well help your special day come to fruition as everything you’ve ever dreamed of.

Experience Saugatuck on the water

saugatuck on the water

Saugatuck is well known for its prime location on the Lake Michigan lakeshore, and the town’s beaches are a key attraction to the area. But the waterfront lifestyle doesn’t stop with Lake Michigan. The Kalamazoo River winds through our town to reach the Great Lake, and it’s like one big playground for everyone in town. Here are some great ways to experience Saugatuck on the water.

How to enjoy Saugatuck on the water

Retro Boat Rentals

Cruise the Kalamazoo River in a sleek, retro runabout boat when you book through Retro Boat Rentals. These well kept vintage boats reflect the style of the late ’50s and early ’60s, and you’ll have a ton of fun motoring one around the river.

Donut Boat Rentals

These unique electric watercraft are designed for groups of friends to have a great time on the water. Ten people can sit casually around a central table, complete with cooler for drinks and snacks. As easy to drive as a golf cart, no prior boating experience is necessary to captain these vessels.

West Michigan Cycle Boat

For larger groups, this party barge is perfect. You’ve seen bar bikes before—the West Michigan Cycle Boat is the same concept, only on water. Peddle while you sip the drinks you brought along and have fun with friends. Rides on the cycle boat last 2 hours and, judging by the music and laughter we’ve heard from the shore,  they’re always a great time.

Star of Saugatuck

The Star of Saugatuck is a classic on-the-water experience that you have to try at least once. We recommend the sunset cruise, which takes you to Lake Michigan to experience why we call this side of the state the “sunset coast.”

The BARge

After a day of fun on the water, you’ll probably have an appetite. But you don’t have to go far to find good food and drink. The BARge is located on the shore of the Kalamazoo River and you can pull your boat right up to enjoy their offerings.

The Red Dock

The Red Dock is another great option for food and drink on the water. Relaxed vibes and good music await at this favorite Douglas restaurant. Park your dinghy along the dockside while you enjoy a cocktail and a delicious sandwich.

Film festival on tour to come to Saugatuck: Mountainfilm

For the third year, Saugatuck Center for the Arts is bringing the touring film festival Mountainfilm to Saugatuck—and this year is going to be better than ever. This documentary film festival showcases stories about environmental, cultural, climbing, political and social justice issues. The films are always beautiful, thought provoking and inspiring. This year, you can catch them amidst a number of fun events throughout Saugatuck and Douglas. Here’s everything you need to know about Mountainfilm.

Stay with Lakeshore Lodging on Mountainfilm weekend (March 22-24) and get a deal on tickets to the festival’s main events. Learn more here.

mountainfilm saugatuckMountainfilm Saugatuck takes place March 22 & 23, 2019

Here’s a taste of the events taking place throughout Saugatuck and Douglas over the two-day film festival. Purchase weekend passes and individual event tickets here. View the complete schedule with details here.

Friday

  • 10 am – Mountainfilm HQ opens at Saugatuck Center for the Arts. Pick up your passes and tickets at the Mountainfilm Saugatuck headquarters and check out event artist Erica Lang‘s exhibition and Woosah pop-up shop.
  • 6 pm – Cocktails, craft beers and appetizers at Saugatuck Center for the Arts.
  • 7 pm – “The Medley”: Showing of a selection of Mountainfilm shorts.
  • 9:30 pm – The official After Party. Enjoy live music, drinks and late-night food from local vendors.

Saturday

  • 10-11:30 am – Film screenings at Saugatuck Brewing Company and the Saugatuck Women’s Center. Enjoy a bloody mary bar at SBC and Uncommon Coffee Roasters coffee at the Women’s Center.
  • 12-1 pm – Artist demo by Erica Lang from Woosah. See how Lang makes her signature wood cuts.
  • 12-3 pm – Family programming at the Saugatuck-Douglas Library.
  • 3-4:30 pm – More film screenings at Saugatuck Brewing Company and the Saugatuck Women’s Center. Visit each location early for happy hour specials.
  • 6 pm – Cocktail hour at Saugatuck Center for the Arts.
  • 7 pm – Feature film (TBD) at Saugatuck Center for the Arts.

There’s sure to be plenty more going on this March weekend in Saugatuck, so keep an eye out for Mountainfilm related announcements as the festival approaches. Secure your tickets and lodging now—this festival is sure to sell out quick.

Spend New Year’s Eve in Saugatuck, Michigan

After a Christmas holiday spent with family, a New Year’s Eve celebration can be the perfect time to let loose and have a good time with friends. Spend New Year’s Eve in Saugatuck, Michigan and you’ll find great places to eat, drink and party–without the overwhelming crowds. Plus, after you’ve sufficiently rung in 2019, you can get a free ride home from the Interurban.

Visit Saugatuck for New Year’s Eve to take part in the fun activities. Get a Lakeshore Lodging vacation rental to return to when the night is over. Here’s what’s going on in town.

What are you doing for New Year’s Eve in Saugatuck, Michigan?

New Year’s Eve Dinner at The Kirby

A special 5-course dinner is on the menu at J. Paul’s at The Kirby for New Year’s Eve. $70 per person includes a delicious 5-course meal and a bubbly toast. Reservations are required.

New Year’s Eve Fireworks Display

Count down to midnight with the rest of town and celebrate 2019 with a gorgeous display of fireworks. Catch them in downtown Saugatuck when the clock strikes 12.

New Year’s Eve Celebration at The Dunes

Play bingo and celebrate the New Year well into the night at The Dunes Hotel & Resort.

Free rides from the Interurban

Don’t worry about driving to and from your Saugatuck/Douglas celebration destinations. From 6pm-2am, the Interurban will be offering free rides around town, so you can count on getting from A to B safe and sound.

Find your NYE home base

Saugatuck Townhome 7

Sleeps: 6, Bedrooms: 3, Bathrooms: 3.5

Located right downtown, this charming townhome is perfect for a New Year’s stay. Entertain your guests on the spacious main floor, and watch the fireworks from the living room balcony.

Roan and Black

Sleeps: 4, Bedrooms: 2, Bathrooms: 2

This stylish loft is perched above a contemporary art gallery. It’s a perfect spot to ring in the new year with the one you love.

Hoopdee Scootee Suite

Sleeps: 4, Bedrooms: 1, Bathrooms: 1.5

This centrally located apartment puts you in walking distance of the holiday festivities. It’ll be a cozy place to return to after a night celebrating 2019.

Celebrate friendship with a Friendsgiving vacation

friendsgiving vacation

Thanksgiving is typically thought of as an opportunity to reunite with family. But it can also be a chance to bring together your chosen family—the friends you’ve surrounded yourself with over the years. These are the people who will always pick up the phone when you need to talk at some early morning hour. Who will listen to your stories, remind you of your strength when you’re down, and make fun of you when you deserve it. Thanksgiving can be the perfect time to reconvene with them and serve a home-cooked meal to express your gratitude for their company on the roller coaster of life. Things change as time passes, but a Friendsgiving vacation could be a great way to celebrate that which doesn’t: the love and support of your dearest friends.

How to plan a Friendsgiving vacation

1. Figure out who’s coming

Send out some feelers for who would be interested and able to attend your Friendsgiving vacation. You’ll want an idea of how big your party is going to be before you start planning where to stay and what your menu will look like.

2. Determine where you’ll host

While many of your friends may live near you, others have moved far and wide. Choose a convenient place for everyone to travel to and make a vacation out of the event. Ideally, your location will have a variety of vacation rentals to choose from so you can find the one best suited to your group. It will also have some cool attractions so you can make a whole weekend vacation and have fun with your friends. We recommend Saugatuck—but we’re biased.

3. Select your vacation rental

Find a vacation rental that suits your group. Make sure it has enough sleeping arrangements for your guest list, a well-equipped kitchen, spacious dining table, and any special amenities you think will bring your Friendsgiving vacation to the next level. Decide if you want it to be close to any attractions you’ll want to take advantage of or if you’d rather it be tucked away and private for a weekend spent in.

3. Plan the menu

Will you do all the cooking? Or will it be a potluck? Get an idea of what you’d like to eat and coordinate how to execute the feast with your friends. Don’t forget to bring some tasty beverages to pair with your Friendsgiving meal, too.

4. Send the invite

Make it official with a nice invitation. Let your friends know where and when the dinner will take place. If you’re doing a potluck, you could have your friends RSVP with the dish they plan to bring. Once you receive the RSVPs, you can figure out how to balance out your meal. Sending paper invites may seem over-the-top, but it’s an easy way to add an extra layer of care and cuteness to the party.

5. Make a Friendsgiving playlist

Get on Spotify and start compiling songs to play during your gathering. Make a mix of light dining music and toss in some throwback songs that will send your friends down memory lane and maybe catch some laughs. Background music is a necessary component of a dinner party, and it will set a festive mood.

6. Arrive, set up, and let your Friendsgiving vacation take off

Once you’ve planned everything, the next step is just to show up and let your vacation take whatever shape it wants to take. You’ve got all the ingredients you need for a memorable, unique Thanksgiving spent expressing gratitude for the wonder of friendship.

How to survive a Michigan winter

how to survive a michigan winter

Things are about to get frigid here in the upper midwest. For some, that’s no big deal. Snow bunnies, skiers and snowboarders who love winter have a little more ease navigating the harsh season. For those of us who have a harder time embracing winter, the season can be long and unforgiving. But this winter doesn’t have to be like the others. With these tips and a little determination, you could walk away with a newfound appreciation for the season. Here’s our advice on how to survive a Michigan winter.

How to survive a Michigan winter

how to survive a michigan winter
how to survive a michigan winter
how to survive a michigan winter

Layer up

Get smart about keeping yourself warm. Buy some cozy sweaters and warm socks. Don’t write off long underwear either—those extra layers will help keep you toasty and comfortable. When you venture outside, make sure you’re equipped with a wind-resistant coat, a scarf, a good hat, and a pair of mittens. Prioritizing warmth is going to make moving through the winter world so much easier.

Get cozy

When you’re settled in the warmth of your home, get extra cozy. Swaddle yourself in soft fabrics, comfy clothes, and big throws. Hot tip: invest in some hot water bottles or a heated blanket to add an extra layer of warmth to your home life. A hot water bottle at your feet feels like you hired a litter of puppies to sleep on you. It’s that cozy. You’ll have a hard time resenting the frigid temperatures outdoors while you’re this snuggled up.

Invest in some hygge lighting solutions

Daylight is painfully brief in the winter months, but the dark can create a cozy feeling if you decorate your home with soft, warm lighting. Avoid turning on overhead lights if you don’t need them. Think candles, string lights, maybe even an oil lamp. Flickering flames give the feeling of being near a fireplace. The warmth you’ll feel from these simple lighting solutions will make you fall a little in love with the winter darkness.

Pamper yourself

Let’s face it: if you’re reading this, winter probably makes you feel like a big baby. So why not treat yourself like one? Give yourself the care, comfort and attention a mother would give an infant child. Devote time to pampering yourself with hot baths and an elaborate skin care routine. Invest in some sheet face masks, bath bombs, and some extra fluffy towels. Wrap yourself in an even fluffier bathrobe. You are worth it.

Moisturize, hydrate, humidify

Dry, scratchy skin is one of the worst side effects of winter. Fight it by slathering yourself with a good moisturizer on the daily. Stay good and hydrated with lots of H2O. And have a humidifier running at night. Give your houseplants the same treatment—they’re going to need it too.

On second thought, maybe don’t slather your houseplants in lotion.

Embrace the outdoors

You can’t hide from the realities of winter forever. As appealing as a winter hibernation sounds, especially after following all of the aforementioned tips, you will eventually need to leave your house. Finding ways to embrace the harsh winter landscape is going to make doing this a lot easier. Meet up with a friend and go snowshoeing or cross country skiing at a local park. There are plenty of fun winter activities to do here in Michigan that will leave you with a newfound appreciation of this season’s unique beauty.

Take a wintry vacation

Winter vacations usually look like a trip to someplace warm or to a destination ski resort. But small town Michigan has its share of appeal during this chilly time of year. Find a log cabin-style vacation rental with a fireplace and a view of a snow-covered woodland. Devote a vacation to winter appreciation and follow each of these tips while you get away from it all. Book a winter vacation here in Saugatuck. The months that remain between us and the spring thaw will become not only bearable, but maybe even a little enjoyable.

Experience the ultimate fall festival at Virtue Cider Apple Fest

virtue cider apple fest

Virtue Cider Apple Fest is an annual family friendly celebration of the harvest season. It takes place on the cider house’s gorgeous Fennville farm grounds. This year’s festival will be a day-long party complete with live music, apple-themed games, food and of course, cider.

“We are excited to have our 3rd Annual Apple Fest as a celebration of not only the apple harvest, but the wide variety of ciders that we make from the region’s incredible fruit,” said Kim Vavrick, communications manager at Virtue Cider.

Virtue Cider Apple Fest is October 20

virtue cider apple ciderThe festival will take place on October 20, 2018 from 12-9 p.m., and it will feature a host of fun, family friendly activities including live music and apple-themed games.

“In the past, Apple Fest has been a multi-day affair, but this year we are putting all the fun in one day to really throw a great harvest-time festival for all ages,” Vavrick said.

Kids and adults alike can take part in activities like Percheron-led cart rides, cider house tours, and hikes through the trails on the grounds. Play games like apple slingshot, guess the apple crate weight, apple basket holding contests (think stein holding contest, but with apple baskets), bobbing for apples, and a variety of handmade carnival-style games.

“Our animals will be celebrating as well, as we will have opportunities for guests to view and even interact with a few of our heritage breeds including our Icelandic sheep and Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs,” Vavrick said.

Food and drink at Virtue Cider Apple Fest

Throughout the day, guests of the festival can taste a variety of Virtue’s ciders, including selections from the Michigan Series, Lapinette, Percheron, The Mitten, Cherry Mitten, mulled cider and more. Guests can also sample food from a variety of area favorite vendors. A pig roast by ManBQue, candied apples from Farmhouse Deli, breads and donuts from Kismet Bakery, cheeses from Evergreen Lane Creamery, pies from Bang Bang pies and so much more.

“We have always had live music, and this year are excited to have a mini-music-fest of sorts featuring five bands from Michigan and Chicago,” Vavrick said.

The bands American Grizzly, The Family Gold, The Long Lost and Major Murphy will play sets throughout the day-long festival.

“It’s going to be busy and fun! It’s family-friendly and an all-day affair with neighbors and friends from far and wide, so guests can expect a boisterous day on the farm!” Vavrick said.

This is Why You’ll Love the Saugatuck Christmas Parade

saugatuck christmas

With the holiday season comes some of the best events in the entire calendar year. The Saugatuck Christmas Parade is no exception! Join in on the fun on Saturday, December 1, 2018 and see all the characters in costume. Per tradition, parade patrons are encouraged to dress up as their favorite character from the movie, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” The parade isn’t the only fun Christmas event going on around that time, though. Read on to learn more.

whootville saugatuck christmas parade
Image: SDABA

The Saugatuck Christmas Parade Headlines the Day

Don’t miss the main event! The parade begins at 1 p.m., as it does every year, on Butler Street in downtown Saugatuck. Get into costume and join the ranks! Characters like Cindy Lou Who, famed Mayor Augustus Maywho, the Grinch, and even his dog Max will all be in attendance marching in the parade. Watch as Mayor Augustus Maywho leads the way as parade marshall, and see all the elaborate costumes.

In addition to all the fun costumes, the women-only Peppermint Stick Brigade will be there in full red and gold garb to welcome in the holiday season. Along with them, the men-only Snow Shovel Drill Team performs their famed snow shovel drills to the crowd’s delight. Lastly, the Saugatuck High School Band marches, performing Christmas music to inaugurate the season. Oh, and don’t forget the best-dressed pets!

Other Fun Activities That Day

After the parade, families with children can enjoy Santa’s Workshop in downtown Saugatuck, starting at 11 a.m. It’s the perfect chance for the kiddos to see exactly where their toys come from and meet Santa. Kids crafts, music, tree decorating, and refreshments await you and your little ones! Throughout the afternoon, free carriage rides will leave from Coral Gables Annex and take you on a whimsical winter journey through town. That evening, a holiday tree lighting takes place at the Rose Garden on Butler Street in downtown Saugatuck. Come out and enjoy the hot chocolate and cookies and join in the holiday carols. It’s the perfect way to end a full day of holiday fun.

The perfect fall 3-day weekend adventure

fall 3-day weekend

You’re a month into the rush of school, work, and the usual fall hustle. You’re enjoying the autumnal vibes, but you’re busy, so it’s hard to bask in them completely. Graciously, there is a fall 3-day weekend coming up that is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of this gorgeous, ephemeral season. Columbus Day weekend is October 5-8, and there’s going to be plenty of fall events happening in Saugatuck to make the most of it.

Make the most of this fall 3-day weekend

Saugatuck Ghoul Fest

October 6, 2018 – 11am-5pm

Enjoy some spooky pre-Halloween family fun at this annual event. Here you’ll find the “Art of Halloween” one of a kind bazaar, coffin races, kid friendly activities, live music and more!

Annual Saugatuck/Douglas Gallery Stroll

October 6, 2018 – 4-6pm

Get a hearty dose of art when you attend the annual Saugatuck/Douglas Gallery Stroll. Area galleries join together for a weekend full of artist receptions, openings, demonstrations and live music.

Blue Coast Artists Fall Tour

October 6, 2018 – 10am; October 7, 2018 – 7pm

This tour of 10 studios between South Haven and Fennville is packed with great art. You’ll view handmade ceramics, jewelry, woodwork, glasswork and more.

Music in the Vineyard at Fenn Valley

October 6, 1-4pm

Enjoy the crisp fall air and the changing colors of the scenery at Fenn Valley’s vineyard for another Music in the Vineyard session. Solo jazz guitarist Randy Reszka will perform on this weekend, and it’s sure to be a treat. Order a glass of Fenn Valley’s signature wines, sit back, and take in the autumn atmosphere.

Eat Drink Saugatuck/Douglas Harvest Dinner

October 6, 2018 – 6-9pm

Head to Wade’s Bayou for this outdoor harvest dinner featuring selections made with ingredients from local farms. Each course will celebrate the harvest season and feature a delicious beverage pairing.

J. Petter Galleries Harvest Dinner

October 6, 2018 – 7-9pm

J. Petter Galleries’ Harvest Dinner will be a tented meal on the gallery’s lawn. Tastings from seven local restaurants will be available to try while artists paint en plein air.

Find the perfect place to stay

Lakeshore Lodging has cozy cabins and homes encircled with vibrant fall foliage available for rent for your fall vacation. Check them out here.

What’s happening this Halloween in Saugatuck 2018

halloween in saugatuck 2018

Halloweekend is coming up. You’ve got a plan for your costume, but where will you go to show it off? Whether you’re looking for kid friendly activities or you want to light up the night, you’ll find something fun to do this Halloween in Saugatuck 2018.

Celebrating Halloween in Saugatuck 2018

Glow in the Park

October 26, 2018 | 6-9 p.m. | Saugatuck Yacht Club

Get your glow on at this fun, family friendly annual kick off party for Halloween weekend. There will be music, food, drinks and plenty of opportunities to glow. Come in your own glowing gear and then enhance it with UV reactive face painting, black light areas, and a merchandise booth.

Halloween Family & Pet Parade

October 27, 2018 | 3:30-5 p.m. | Downtown Saugatuck

Saugatuck’s annual Halloween family & pet parade is always a fun event.  Partake in hot cocoa, cookies, costume contests, and candy at this beloved annual Saugatuck event. Costumed kids, adults, and pets alike are welcome to join in the fun.

Pre-Parade Halloween Dinner at The Kirby

October 27, 2018 | 5-10 p.m. | J. Paul’s at The Kirby

Fuel up for the famous Douglas Halloween Nighttime Parade for Adults with a delicious dinner at J. Paul’s restaurant at The Kirby. Enjoy a 3-course meal and a ghoulish cocktail for $44. This annual event sells out, so make your reservation ASAP!

Douglas Halloween Parade for Adults

October 27, 2018 | 9:30 p.m. | Line up at Beery Field

This energetic display of clever costumes kicks off when the darkness sets in. Adults march through the village of Douglas dressed in their Halloween best. Join in on the fun–line up begins at 9:30 p.m. at Beery Field in Douglas.

Halloween Bash at The Dunes

October 27, 2018 | Immediately following the parade | The Dunes Resort

For those looking to continue the party after the parade, head over to The Dunes Resort for a night of dancing and karaoke.

Free Rides on the Interurban

Oct 27-28, 2018  | 7 p.m.-2 a.m.

Stay safe with our favorite way to get around Saugatuck. The Interurban will take you where you need to go (within Douglas and Saugatuck township) for free on these Halloween weekend nights. Call 269-857-1418.

Featured Image: Douglas Halloween by Erin K. Wilkinson