FAQs & other details

The Shelter

How does catering work?

You get to select who you want to cater your wedding.  You work with a licensed caterer to select the food and beverages you desire. If you are planning to use the pews in the Shelter instead of the area outside for your ceremony, your caterer will need to arrive and set up before the ceremony as the reception space is contiguous with the ceremony space and you will not want to hear that in the background.


Can I bring my own alcohol and serve it?

Beer and wine are permitted but no liquor is allowed. Your safety and the safety of our community are important to us.

It is important that all alcohol be served by a TipS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS) certified bartender.

You, the renter, need to obtain a Commercial General Liability Insurance policy with a Host Liquor Liability for the day of the event. The policy will need to be for an amount not less than $1 million combined single limit for body injury and property damage, and “Black Sheep Shelter” and “Jeff and Melissa Roessing”  must be named on the insurance as “additional insured.”  This is common practice these days and our insurance expects us to follow protocol. What times we live in!

Proof of insurance is due 60 days prior to your event (coincided with final payment).


Can I decorate The Shelter?

The Shelter has been designed as a minimalist, modern rustic space with very intentional use of flora on tables and pews. However, couples are welcome to bring and set up their own table arrangements and other décor. We only ask that no nails, staples or anything else that could damage any of the wood or other materials be used and that couples take down and clean up their décor after the wedding (before 10 am of the next day).

What about tables and chairs?

The rental comes with 20 Eight foot banquet tables and 130 metal chairs. Couples will need to provide linens. Couples can select other styles of tables and chairs if they so desire through a rental company.  Alpine Events at 616.396.7300 has a wide range of offerings.  

What if it rains?

Good question. We have two important things to share in regards to the weather. First, you need to know this is fundamentally an outdoor venue designed for those who want an experience their special day out of doors, in intimate relation to nature, and its wild disposition. In our opinion this provides an unmatched opportunity to enjoy the perfect evening outdoors, breathing in the fresh air with its garden scents and bedazzled by setting sunlight streaking through posts and illuminating leaves with halos. But nature occasionally brings rain or wind, heat or cold, and creatures that want to crash a party. We can’t control these variables. As farmers, we know this as well as anyone. If these variables cause you too much stress when you think about them or if you know yourself and risks scare you, this may not be the right fit for you. There are no refunds for disobedient weather. The Shelter is ideal for those who have been pining for an outdoor or garden wedding. Second, if you fall into the category of someone who has fantasized over an outdoor or garden wedding we are pleased to share that this outdoor venue comes with an added bonus- a roof! The Shelter is a 4,000 sq ft area under a galvanized roof where both ceremony and reception can go forth in dryness even if the skies are watering the good earth. We also have outfitted the northern and southern sidewalls with large burlap curtains that can be rolled down in case the wind wants to direct the rain inside.


Are engagement photos part of the package?

Certainly! After you book with Black Sheep Shelter let us know when you’d like to come and do a photo shoot with your photographer. 


Is smoking permitted on the premises?

We ask that guests desiring to smoke use the patio adjacent to the restrooms where they will find a cigarette-butt receptacle.  Cigarette-butts littering the property are not only an eye-sore, but can spread TMV (tobacco mosaic virus) to our solanaceous crops like tomatoes.


Are the restrooms handicap accessible?

We provide 2 ADA compliant handicap accessible restrooms. The property is flat but guests should be informed that this is an outdoor venue and people will need to walk through a field of grass to enter the venue space.


Do you have a parking lot?

The parking lot is an acre field on sandy soil that drains well. There are several lights for night time illumination and there are three reserved spots for handicap parking at the north end, closest to the venue.


How do people know where to park?

We will greet folks at the entrance on 62nd Street starting 45 minutes before the ceremony, directing folks where they need to go.


Are candles, fire kites, sparklers, or Chinese Lanterns allowed?

No candles, fire kites, sparklers, Chinese Lanterns or other potential fire causing ideas are permitted. We also do not allow glitter, confetti and other environmentally suspicious materials to be used. We encourage couples to adopt options that are more ecologically friendly, like flower petals or whole wild flowers, lavender buds, various herbs, leaves (can punch holes in leaves to make more decorative), or popular choices such as bubbles and birdseed.


May we bring pets or horses to the farm?

Our apologies, but outside animals, including dogs, are not allowed at the farm for various reasons. Thanks for understanding.


Can we walk in the gardens?

Please walk only on the paths or aisles that wind through the gardens. Many plants in the landscape cannot withstand foot traffic so this detail is very important.  We are excited for guests to explore and find the perfect places for their pictures. The 2 acre farm to the north will be open for the wedding party to explore and take pictures prior to the ceremony and reception but will be closed to other guests during the time of the events.


Can we use the house and its yard for pictures?

The brick farmhouse is where we live with our three children and need to do all the things families do in the day to day rhythms of life. We ask that guests stay within the areas demarcated in the rental agreement, avoiding the driveway, garage and the backyard of the house that is separated from the parking area by the split rail fence. However, the bridal party is free to take pictures around the house during the day. We simply ask that a spirit of flexibility and mutual understanding is maintained as kids may be bopping in and out of the house during the day, playing in the yard or doing farm chores.


Will there be Black Sheep Shelter staff on site during the event?

Yes, at least one staff member will be present throughout the day to help answer questions, tidy restrooms, direct parking, and ensure vendors are following property guidelines.


How do we reserve our date?

Email at theroessings@gmail.com or give us a call, 616-335-0797, to make sure your date is available. A non-refundable booking fee of half the day rental amount and a signed contract will reserve your date. The balance is due 60 days prior your special date (coincided with proof of insurance).           



Because we are Christians we desire to reflect God’s kindness to everyone, including those who we have significant differences with. We do not discriminate on the basis of religion, political affiliation, wealth/class, race, age, sex, sexual orientation, or any other identity factor.

We will do our best to make you feel welcome.