Put a Little Vacation in Your Wedding - Lake Erie's Western Shoreline Has a Lot to Offer Brides
By Ashley Grimes and Donna Rangel
Have you and your fiancé been considering a destination wedding? But don't have the budget for the Caribbean? Have you begun to feel the pressure that comes with trying to manage the many details of planning a wedding and feel like you'd like to get away from it all? Why not consider a destination wedding at a not-so-far destination. We have a little bit of that island-feel right in our own backyard. Lake Erie's Western shoreline -- Sandusky, Huron, Port Clinton, the Lake Erie Islands -- is just a short drive away, yet you'll feel like you're miles away from Ohio and the Midwest. Nearly seven million people visit Sandusky and Erie County each year, solidifying its position as one of the most appealing vacation spots in the Midwest. From lakefront hotels and cottages to unspoiled natural coastlines, the Western shoreline of Lake Erie is Ohio's vacation destination.
Chances are if you grew up in this area you've been to Cedar Point in Sandusky. Many of us spent our high school "after-prom" at Cedar Point. Granted, Cedar Point is fun -- it's been voted the Best Amusement Park in the World seven years in a row -- but there's much more to this part of Ohio and the Lake Erie coast than roller coasters. We've scouted the area and come UP with six ways to incorporate a little vacation feel into your Midwest wedding.
1. Propose while on a weekend getaway at the Lake Erie Islands - With the beaches and beautiful views, any one of the islands would be a romantic place to pop the question. Named as a "Top 10 Undiscovered Place" in the 1992 issue of Vacations magazine, Kelleys Island is an island paradise for travelers. On the north side of the island Kelleys Island State Park has a wide sandy beach ideal for a day of swimming. The downtown area offers miniature golf and bike and golf cart rentals along with shops, eateries, pubs and seasonal live entertainment within steps of the waterfront. Middle Bass Island, where Lonz Winery was once located, is dominated by vineyards, old homes, summer cottages, beaches, marinas and the Kuehnle Wildlife Area protects a variety of plants and animals. South Bass Island (Put-in-Bay) with its ‘festive atmosphere‘ is popular for its abundant entertainment and shopping options. Rent wave runners, kayaks and power boats at South Bass Island State Park. Tour the Heineman Winery and sample wine made from native grapes grown on South Bass. Or ride the elevator up 352 feet to the top of the towering Perry Monument to view the panoramic vistas of Lake Erie and the islands.
Getting there…The Miller ferry offers auto and passenger trips to Put-in-Bay and Middle Bass Bay from Catawba every half hour in the summer. Want to get there faster? The Jet Express offers passenger transportation from Sandusky and Port Clinton to Put-in-Bay aboard hydro jet catamarans, offering the smoothest, fastest ride across Lake Erie. Traveling at speeds up to 40 mph, the Jet Express offers a 12.5 mile scenic tour.
2. The Bridal Party's Attire - The Brides World and The Tux World have been locally owned and operated for the past 42 years. "We can be set apart from other bridal shops because we are family owned and operated. Unlike the chain bridal shops we give personalized service to each and every bride," says owner Nancy Rossi. Their trained bridal consultants have years of experience helping brides chose a gown from the 100's of gowns they offer, with lines like Jasmine, Casablanca and Private Label. Their skilled alterations department will fit your gown flawlessly. "We offer brides a wide selection of gowns and all of the accessories to go with the dress -- shoes, jewelry, headpieces and veils," says Rossi. The shop also carries gowns for bridesmaids, flower girls, mother-of and guests.
While you're there have your groom and his guys fitted for