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Planning an Ann Arbor Wedding in Any Season

We've broken down the year to help you plan your Ann Arbor wedding no matter when it is.

Spring

Weather: Ann Arbor stays pretty chilly in the springtime. You may even catch snow through the end of April. So if yours is a spring wedding, be prepared for anything weather related.
Best time of day to take photos: As it starts to get dark, the prime time for photos (that late-afternoon sun) gets pushed back from mid-afternoon to closer to 5 or 6 p.m.
Look out for: Graduations -- for a couple of weekends in May, University of Michigan (and Ann Arbor) will be packed with parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents -- you name it, everybody and their brother will be visiting the weekend of your wedding. Check the school's website or give them a call. Universities tend to plan graduation schedules a few years in advance. On the plus side of things: Most golf courses re-open in late March or early April.
Must-have: Cute rain photos. Okay, we don't want it to rain on your wedding day. But photo shoots during light showers can be fun when they include the right gear (and, of course, a good photographer). Think reflection shots in the puddles. If the forecast calls for a wet day, pick out some playful umbrellas for you, your sweetie and your wedding party -- as well as some wedding day rain boots for all the ladies.

Summer

Weather: By the time summer rolls around, you can finally skip the coat check. Outdoor weddings are all the rage in gardens and orchards.
Best time of day to take photos: Photographer Abby Rose of Abby Rose Photo says that early evening is the most beautiful time. "You get great light until around 8:30 p.m., so the best would be between 7 and 8 p.m."
Look out for: The Ann Arbor Art Fairs in mid-July. "You either love it or hate it," says Mandi Buckland of Element Event Design. This annual, four-day event takes over the streets of Ann Arbor and brings in more than a thousand artists. If you're an art-lover, this may be the absolute perfect time for your wedding. If not, you may find traffic unbearable.
Must-have: Sunflowers in your bouquet. Michigan is known for them, especially in the summertime.

Fall

Weather: One word -- foliage. Ann Arbor is gorgeous in the fall. You'll probably only need a light sweater through mid-October, but once Halloween rolls around, you'll have to bring out the jackets.
Best time of day to take photos: Like in the spring, it's important to pay attention to the time the sun sets. Late afternoon and early evening are still ideal for photos, so 4 to 6 p.m.
Look out for: Even though it's technically still summer when they move in, watch out for coeds and their parents in late August and early September. You may also want to skip any weekend game days that fall throughout the autumn season. Check the University of Michigan Wolverines home game calendar, as traffic on a game day can put a wrench in your wedding day timeline. "Not only is the traffic in downtown Ann Arbor affected, but the surrounding highways also see a constant stream of red taillights," Buckland says.
Must-have: Shots with the beautiful leaves in the background and also ones in front of Ann Arbor's brick, ivy-covered buildings. Take advantage of the season's rich colors (we're thinking dark greens, burnt oranges and dark shades of pink and plum) and incorporate them into your wedding day -- of course, you don't have to use them all at once.

Winter

Weather: Cold, cold, snow, ice and more cold. You'll definitely need a coat check for weddings during the long Ann Arbor winter.
Best time of day to take photos: It gets dark super-early in the winter, so if you want outdoor photos make sure to get them in before 4 p.m. And don't get discouraged by the snow. It's almost like a giant reflector because all the white bounces off and refracts light. It's more about whether or not you can stand the cold.
Look out for: Icy roads. Although most of Ann Arbor has great plow services, it's always harder to drive during inclement weather.
Must-have: Photos playing in the snow (whether for your engagement photo shoot or on your wedding day). We mean sleds, snowmen and, yes, snowball fights. We also recommend picking up some cozy wedding day accessories for yourself -- like pretty, heeled snow boots.

Special thanks to Mandi Buckland of Element Event Design (Northville) and Abby Rose from Abby Rose Photo (Ann Arbor)

-- Jaimie Dalessio