1. Go with a blue-green colorway which will look striking against the water.
2. Bring a color wheel to your booking appointment to even better coordinate your wedding palette against the ever-changing lake conditions. Algae blooms are at peak color in late summer/early fall—a vibrant, glowing green. Looking for a softer, romantic look? Try spring, when blooms evoke the more muted tones of split pea soup.
3. Ditch the bridal-white princess dress and opt instead for a green mermaid look. Consider adding custom lace and sequin details suggestive of gills and scales. Guests will soon forget the piles of rotting fish heaped on the shoreline when they see a fairytale mermaid make her way down the aisle!
4. Extend the theme through your seating chart. Name each table after an algae such as “Cyanobacteria,” “Dinoflagellates” or “Diatoms.” Share fun facts about each harmful algae bloom (HAB) on a custom printed table mat, and invite guests to take one on their way out as a memento of your special day.
5. Create a tasting table featuring invasive species delicacies from your lake, such as the gnarly-mouthed sea lamprey, a crowd favorite around Lake Erie. It will feel good to know that you played a part in their management. Bon appetite!
6. Add a Great Lakes-themed cake topper. For a unique showstopper, make the best of the spinywater fleas’ natural tendency to cling together as a gelatinous blob. Wow your guests with the towering heights of the “meringue.” The more tiers the better!
7. Be sure to add invasive flora to your bouquet to give it a Great Lakes flair. Show your florist photos of your mother’s bouquet so she can design a similar one, but swap out the baby’s breath and roses with cascading streams of Eurasian Milfoil. So romantic!
8. Don’t forget the groom! Consider pinning an invasive zebra mussel shell to his lapel to add an elegant, nautical-themed boutonniere. It will show your guests that he too cares about the Great Lakes. What a catch!
9. Top a reception entrance table with an object that reinforces the Great Lakes theme. An old barnacle-covered oil drum, discarded tire, or hypodermic needle, are all inexpensive and dramatic DIY showstoppers that evoke authentic, old-world charm. Swoon!
10. Make sure to entertain your guests with some Great Lakes-themed games. We recommend “Truth or Dare.” Dare suggestions: “take a selfie with a dead fish,” “jump in the water,” and “do a shot of the least lethal water you can find!” Let's party!
11. Work with your neighboring factory farm to create a delicious and affordable dinner entrée. While they may only offer beef or pork options, most will throw in milk for free. They feel bad that no one can drink the local water because of all the pig and cow shit they dump into the lake through agricultural runoff, so you can cross those expensive pallets of Dasani off your list. Got milk?! When you've got guilty farmers around, yes, why yes, you do!
12. Hop on board a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Environmental Sample Processor boat for a once in a lifetime honeymoon cruise. Not only will you be the first to know exactly how toxic the algae blooms are, newlyweds are encouraged to keep one sample as a forever keepsake of their special day. (Fingers crossed that the NOAA still exists by the time you book your wedding!)