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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, wine, champagne, seltzer, and ciders are permitted but no liquor is allowed. Your safety and the safety of our community are important to us. No alcohol is allowed in bridal dressing rooms prior to event. It is required that all alcohol be served by a TipS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS), Tams, or Alcohol ServSafe certified bartender. 

What is Day of Event Insurance and am I required to get it?

You, the renter, are required to obtain a Commercial General Liability Insurance policy for the day of the event. If you plan to have a bar, you will also need to add a Host Liquor Liability clause to that policy. 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!

There are several options for how to obtain a policy but we've found the most cost effective and reliable way to obtain it is online via sites like:

Proof of insurance is due 60 days prior to your event.


Is a Security Deposit added onto the rental price?

We do not add a security deposit fee when you book your event. Instead, we require a credit card on file for Security Deposit purposes in the vent of payment default, damages, or violations of contract on the day of your event. We are not looking to make a charge for a violation and trust that you and your guests will respect the work we've put into this property. This is common practice (like a hotel requiring a credit card on file to book a room) and after your rental, the Security Deposit Authorization Form with card information is shredded.  

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, command hooks, 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 that evening after the event. Twine, metal hooks and zip ties all work well to decorate. 

What about tables and chairs? Do you set them up or do we?

The rental comes with 24 Eight foot banquet tables, 150 metal chairs, and several wooden farm tables (2 eight foot tables, 1 six foot and 1 three foot). Couples will need to provide linens. Couples can select other styles of tables and chairs if they so desire through a rental company. We will have all the tables and chairs cleaned and in the venue, ready for you on the day of your event. Your crew sets up the tables and chairs in the layout you've decided on from the 5 templates we provide or you can design your own layout!

What time can my crew arrive to start setting up?

10:30am is when the rental time starts. Sometimes people are eager to get started and arrive early but it's important to tell your set up team that 10:30am is the earliest they can arrive. In the mornings, we are doing a thorough clean up from the previous night's event and regularly providing tours or scheduling other visits. We are working hard to ensure everything is ready for your big day! Thank you for communicating this with your friends/family who will be helping with set up. 

You're a zero waste venue-what does that mean? 

We are committed to sustainability practices and believe it's possible to have an event but create very little waste! We've seen it done! We provide garbage bags and 3 receptacles which are located next to the shelter: 1 for compost, 1 for recycling, and 1 for landfill trash. We encourage renters to choose reusable or compostable plateware instead of disposable. Signage is provided to direct where items go (think bottles/cans in recycling, food or flower scraps in compost, etc) and we will change out bags throughout the event as they fill. At the end of the event, we will be responsible for compost. It gets added to our compost system on the north side of the property and eventually is utilized on our garden to grow the veggies and flowers you see! We can also take care of the recycle bin, unless you wish to do so. The landfill trash bag or bags go home with you/your crew. If guests do not adhere to the policy and throw their items in any bin they choose, we will not be sorting out compost or recycling from trash; instead, it will become part of the landfill trash bags that you will leave with. It is vital that you talk to your set up/tear down point person about this requirement so they are not surprised at the end of the night. If you have compostable plateware, it's helpful for a DJ/whoever is running sound to make an announcement as dinner begins so guests know which bin to place their items in. The more you compost and recycle, the less you have to pack up at the end of the night and the landfill is saved from several big bags of trash. It's a win-win! 

May we have our own DJ? Do you have a sound system?

Yes. You may choose to hire a DJ or you can appoint a family member/friend to run sound since we have 2 complete sound systems-one for the Shelter and one for the Glasshouse. You may opt to download a playlist and plug it into our sound system. All renters and their DJs are required to use Black Sheep Shelter's sound system and speakers in the Shelter for the ceremony and reception and also to follow Casco Township noise ordinance. On Fridays and Saturdays, music must be turned off at 10pm; Sunday's music end time is 8pm. DJ's are required to use Black Sheep Shelter's sound system in the Shelter but may set up their sound system in the Glasshouse. The first few dances (couple's first dance, father/daughter, mother/son) may take place in the Shelter; following that, all dancing will take place in the Glasshouse. Live bands for receptions are typically not permitted as the sound travels too far and the dB limit exceeds what's allowed in the noise ordinance. Live music for ceremonies must be acoustic in nature or be able to run their sound through the venue's speakers. Thank you for helping us to be considerate of our neighbors! 

Can we have a rehearsal? 

Yes. As weddings are held Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, all rehearsals are scheduled on Thursday evenings. We offer 4:30-5:30pm, 6-7pm, and 7:30-8:30pm time slots. These are reserved on a first come, first serve basis. The one hour reservation is included in the rental price, no extra charge. This is an opportunity for you and your wedding party to do a walk through and make any last minute plans. Note, the sound system will not be set up for this time and this time is not intended to host a rehearsal dinner. We do ask that you adhere to your reservation time and arrive onsite when your reservation time begins. Sometimes people are eager to arrive and will come 30 minutes to an hour early but this interrupts other rehearsals or work being done on-site.  Also, because there is one driveway in and out of the venue, arriving early doesn't work well with traffic flow. We appreciate your help in communicating the importance of sticking to your reserved arrival and departure times with anyone attending your rehearsal. 

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 closed 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?

There is an "event parking" sign at the end of the driveway directing people who arrive earlier in the day. As it gets closer to the ceremony time, we will be present in the parking area to greet and direct folks. 


Are fire kites, sparklers, or Chinese Lanterns allowed?

No 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. Fake flowers are not permitted loosely strewn on tables for decor or tossed for the send off but may be used in bouquets. We encourage couples to adopt options that are more ecologically friendly, like real flower petals or whole wild flowers, dried lavender, various herbs, or bubbles.


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 the wedding party and guests to explore and enjoy the 2 acre farm and find the perfect places for their pictures. 


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 or give us a call, 616-335-0797, to make sure your date is available and set up a tour. A non-refundable booking fee of half the day rental amount and a signed contract will reserve your date. The balance is due 6 months prior your special date.        



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.

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