Hello from Alison and Bryan of VLD Events, a husband and wife wedding planning team based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We absolutely love A2 and are so grateful to have been in business here the last 8 years, showcasing what makes this city so vibrant and great.
Approximately 90% of our clients come into Michigan from out of state to get married, many of them to Ann Arbor. They either grew up here or went to school here, and they want to come back and show off what makes this city so special. We can’t say we blame them.
Ann Arbor has such great energy. It’s one of those towns that can feel big and small at the same time. It is a city filled with entrepreneurs, artists, and small business owners. It is a city that has a lot of fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is a great place to bring guests for a weekend of fun because everything is easily walkable or accessible — and don’t get us started on the food.
Most people who come in aren’t just planning a wedding, they are planning full weekend experiences filled with Friday night rehearsal dinners and welcome parties, and Sunday brunches too. Ann Arbor is one of the top cities in the Midwest for dining.
When hosting dinners in Ann Arbor, we always recommend Mani Osteria, a place where Mario Batali himself recently visited and couldn’t stop talking about it. We recommend our friends at Grange Kitchen & Bar, a farm to table restaurant known for its passion for food and casual approach to fine dining. We love the back patio at Aventura, a tapas place with cafe lights and a great vibe. Pacific Rim and West End Grill are truly special choices for an intimate gathering.
For drinks, we also go to Grange (don’t forget to sit at the bar upstairs and order a G-G-Ginger). We’ll head to The Last Word, where everyone is great but we especially recommend Gian Carlo, a bartender who is nationally known. And we love Ann Arbor Distilling Co. as well as Bill’s Beer Garden, an open air courtyard with nearby food trucks.
In addition to many of the aforementioned, the best spaces for rehearsal dinners and welcome parties are definitely the Ann Arbor Art Center, the Tap Room at Arbor Brewing Company, and the bubble room at Vinology. Unless you are able to hire a professional planner the whole weekend, we typically recommend keeping rehearsal dinners simple and at a restaurant. If you’re doing it yourself, you will feel exhausted before the wedding even begins.
As for the big day itself? Our favorite places to host weddings happen to be the type of spaces where you can bring everything in and make it your own. Each event is an opportunity to showcase who you are and what you love. We’ve planned a ton of events in spaces like Misty Farm and Valley, Cornman Farms, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Michigan League, and the Michigan Theater, and all have been perfect blank canvases to have the wedding of your dreams.
Concerned about the 11pm cut-off time at outdoor events? Host an afterparty. Our clients head to the Alley Bar, Live, Ravens Club, Rush Street (ask for Andy), and any of the breweries (there are several and they are all great).
In the morning, host a casual brunch farewell with mimosas and bloody Mary’s to take the hangover away. Sava’s and Eve are great spaces for that, and if the weather is great they can leave from there and explore the town by day. Make sure they hit up places like Nickels Arcade, State Street, the Diag, the Arb, Kerrytown, Main Street, grab a sandwich at Zingerman’s, and go float on the Huron River.
Enjoy Ann Arbor! We most certainly do.
***Photo courtesy of Abby Rose Photography***