For years, Chris McCrumb and his wife, Stephanie, were both employed by a Traverse City area church—Chris as the executive director and Stephanie as the director of communications.
“We both helped plan church events,” says Chris. “We love to play host and hostess and do all the stuff behind the scenes in setting the stage for an event to happen. Stephanie is a graphic designer by schooling and a true artist. She has a knack for interior design and all kinds of artistic things. She also helped a friend of hers with her wedding planning business.”
Last November, the McCrumbs decided to take the plunge and go into business for themselves. They purchased a facility that for 18 years had been known as Frog Pond Village, a popular wedding venue near the Interlochen Center for the Arts that was only open from May through October.
Now known as BlueBridge Event Center, the McCrumbs have changed things up quite a bit. “Our plan is to make it much more than a wedding venue,” Chris says. “We plan to run it yearround for corporate events, parties, celebrations, trainings, retreats and other ‘connecting events’ for families, companies and other groups.”
There are three event spaces—two large, wooden buildings and a tented deck. One building can accommodate up to 300 guests for a seated dinner and up to 350 for a cocktail party. The other building can host up to 160 guests seated and up to 200 standing. Off each is a covered patio. The tented deck is available during spring, summer and fall, and can accommodate up to 60 guests seated and up to 80 standing.
“Both buildings have a rustic elegance to them,” says McCrumb.
BlueBridge opened in April. The McCrumbs have made major renovations and improvements, including remodeled catering prep areas, bathrooms, new state-of-the-art sound, lighting and audio-visual technology, and new seating. More minor renovations are planned.
The venue is located in Grawn about eight miles south of Traverse City off of U.S. 31 near the Interlochen Golf Course. Situated on 10 wooded acres near Ellis Lake in a pine forest, the property is landscaped with gardens, walking paths, small ponds with fountains and small bridges, a park area with a gazebo, a vineyard and picnic areas, and several fire pits.
Says McCrumb, “When you come here, you get a very woodsy, Northern Michigan atmosphere.”
Groups can use BlueBridge’s preferred caterer, Grandview Catering, or can provide their own.