Ottawa County Parks Foundation – February 2021 Newsletter
True Love is Alive and Well in Ottawa County Parks!
by Bobbi Jones Sabine
Outdoor venues have been a growing trend for proposals and weddings, and Ottawa County Parks have provided the backdrop for many memorable moments.
Alex and Nikota Dombrowski got married at Grand Ravines County Park in September 2019. The couple met at Special Olympics and now both work at Meijer. They are regular park users and love Stearn’s Creek and Pigeon Creek County Parks.
Josh and Eden Gromer got engaged at North Beach County Park on Christmas Eve, 2011, at sunset. “Yes, we were freezing!” says Eden. As kids, they both went there all the time with their families, and actually went there for their first date, followed by ice cream at Miss Lisa’s. They also got married there in June 2012!
Lynnae and Sabir Randall got married at Spring Grove County Park in October 2010. Lynnae says “We picked that park because it was simply beautiful, almost fairytale-like…White chairs were set up in front of the gorgeous vine-covered pergola. Fall mums were placed around the event, and we made the beautiful walk down the stairs, over the bridge, and headed towards the pergola. The park was easy to find, and we had plenty of parking. Overall it was perfect.”
Brandon and Ashley Marecek got married at North Beach County Park. “Many of our dates included a walk on the beach, and Ashley wanted a beach wedding,” said Brandon. They rented the pavilion for their mid-day ceremony and anxiously watched the sky over Lake Michigan as a thunderstorm drew nearer and nearer. “We finished the ceremony just before the skies opened up and poured,” said Brandon, “but there was another couple there to get married right after us, and the bride was obviously very worried about the rain. We had already taken down our arch, but all the groomsmen from both parties scrambled to reassemble the arch under the pavilion, and we invited them to use the space under the shelter.”
Kristen and Dorian DeHaven got engaged at Rosy Mound County Park in 2007. Kristen says,”I grew up in Grand Haven and my husband is from out of state. When we were in college, they were redoing the park, so whenever we visited my parents, I loved going there. I thought all the updates were breathtaking, so he chose proposing there because he saw it as my favorite place.” Kirsten’s mother Karen McCracken chimed in: “This is a beautiful love story! Dorian had all of us helping on the proposal plan. The whole thing was a surprise for Kirsten. We had a surprise engagement party that evening. It was an amazing day.”
Misty and Dan Karle renewed their vows in August 2015, at Connor Bayou County Park. Misty says, “Connor Bayou was a beautiful setting because we both love the outdoors, and my husband Dan fell in love with the cabin. All woodsy and such. I liked the small intimate space for the reception and it ended up raining right after our ceremony, so we all got to take cover inside and still had the porch to be outside if we wanted. The cabin and the water were great places for pictures.”
Brittany and Brendan Kaiser got married in October 2018 in the garden at Pine Bend County Park, under the trellis next to the historic Weaver House. They decorated with pumpkins and straw bales to celebrate the season.
Lizz and Brian Timmer got married on the hill at Pigeon Creek County Park in 2006. Lizz says, “Since our ceremony was quite tiny, 12-14 people (that included photographer, bride, groom, and pastor), having some chairs on a hill at the park kept things nice and simple. We originally picked Kirk Park, but we were more of a ‘woodsy’ couple than a beach couple. The hill next to the lodge had a nice view of woods and dunes.”
Caroline and Bob Flavin got engaged at Hemlock Crossing County Park in May 2020. “It was where we had one of our first walks as boyfriend and girlfriend,” says Caroline. “I had mentioned once how it was a romantic spot…we took several other walks there…we hugged, kissed and reminisced, so he thought it was an appropriate location to propose!”
Judi and Jim Nienhouse got married at Connor Bayou County Park in 2017. Judi says:”Absolutely beautiful area, rustic and welcoming! Beautiful setting…actually my dream home has always been a log cabin!”
David and Lisa Forrest got married at Connor Bayou County Park in June 2014. Lisa says, “We really wanted a place that had a cozy outdoor feel but could accommodate a larger wedding party, because we had over 150 people. I remember being scared because they hadn’t even finished the park yet when we looked at it, but I could see how lovely it was going to turn out, and decided to risk it and booked it anyway. We had an amazing handfasting ceremony on the water [a traditional Celtic ritual]…We go back every year on our anniversary and have a picnic there!”
Amanda and John Masar got married at Grand Ravines County Park. “I have wanted to get married outside since I watched Runaway Bride, when she was walking through the leaves,” says Amanda. “I thought the park would be perfect…and if it rained, we could use the cabin…outside was perfect that day! They say rain is good luck: it rained for about five seconds during our ceremony and then the clouds moved for a blue sky. It was perfect!”
Allison Roelofs and Caleb Schout got engaged on the beach at the Kirk County Park dog park on November 8, 2020. Their golden retriever Nilla was right in the middle of the event and seems to approve.
Ottawa County Parks are waiting for you and your special moments! To learn more, please visit their website at www.miottawa.org/parks.
Looking for a unique gift idea. Make an honorary donation to the Ottawa County Parks Foundation.
Recipient’s of honorary donations receive a letter from the Foundation acknowledging that you made a gift in their honor.
Donations can be made online or mailed. Include the honoraria’s name and contact information in the comment section of the online form for credit card donations.
*The amount of the gift is not identified to the honorary unless the donor request it.
12524 Stanton Street West Olive, MI 49460
Looking for a unique date, Pigeon Creek has a lot of options:
Cross country ski trails, lighted and groomed for both traditional and skate skiing