Oh where to start with this one? How about with the killing me it’s so freaking fabulous venue designed by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright. Are all of you architecture buffs squealing yet? Now drape it in yellow chandeliers and whimsical bunches of paper lanterns, add some lovely florals whipped up by The Parsonage, and have it all captured by Heather Saunders Photography and I bet all of you wedding lovers are going to be squealing too. We have one fabulous little number on our hands and there is plenty to more to swoon over in the gallery.
From the Bride who also happens to be a FABULOUS wedding photographer… As veteran wedding photographers, Tommy and I had a unique perspective when it came to planning our own day. We had some big advantages, in that we already had established relationships with many of the best vendors in our area – so, we had a good idea of who we wanted to work with, and pretty much had our pick. We also had some pretty strong ideas of what kind of wedding we wanted to have. While my parents would have loved for us to have a big ballroom wedding with a band, we really wanted our wedding to feel more like a night out at an incredible restaurant. We opted to forgo a DJ, and instead amassed a collection of handheld vintage radios. A radio transmitter allowed us to pump an ipod playlist through them, and it was the perfect backdrop for the evening.
Since our wedding was basically a dinner party, the food was really important to us. We explored the idea of a strolling supper, but decided that since we weren’t doing a dance party, a seated, multi-course dinner would lend a bit more structure to the evening, and be a real treat for our guests. We interviewed several caterers before deciding to go with Forte Belanger – we wanted to work with a team that could WOW us with an innovative menu, accommodate some vegan friends, and source ingredients sustainably. They did just that. People are STILL talking about the amazing food at our wedding.
As soon as we found the Frank Lloyd Wright Palmer House, we knew it was the perfect location. It’s Ann Arbor’s only Frank Lloyd Wright home, and is beautifully maintained. It’s only recently been made available as a rental property, and we were actually the first (and possibly only) wedding to be held there. The property did present some interesting challenges in terms of staging an event – and we took a BIG gamble planning everything outdoors – but we were so lucky to have perfect weather, so it all worked out.
I knew from the begining that I wanted a short, 50’s-style dress, and I kept on coming back to dolly couture. I was incredibly nervous about ordering a dress sight-unseen online, but I just couldn’t find anything local that compared. So, I sent along my measurements, and 6 weeks later the dress arrived – and fit perfect right out of the box.
Limiting our guest list to just 60 of our closest friends and family really allowed us to splurge on the things that were important to us. We hired an incredible team of vendors that we trusted implicitly, and really let them do their thing. We had a gorgeous invitation suite designed by local letterpress artist Michelle Baker of Elevated Press. We gave Michelle a lot of creative leeway with our design and she totally NAILED it – the invite actually references the layout of the Palmer House with it’s geometric lines, and we were able to incorporate that triangle theme through much of our design. We had a local beekeeper friend harvest the cutest little jars of honey for our wedding favors. This also lent itself to a really cool display that added some visual interest. The amazing Liz from Parsonage Flowers was so much more than just our florist – she pretty much styled the entire wedding. During our initial meetings, I showed her some tearsheets of elements that appealed to me. Tom and I wanted to incorporate a midcentury/vintage feel, but without it becoming a parody of itself. I knew I wanted yellow to be prominent, and that I loved succulents and ranunculus. But beyond that, I was clueless about HOW to actually stage a beautiful wedding. And with the months leading up to our wedding being, well, wedding season – we were so crazy-busy that we really needed someone to go the extra mile in helping pull the design together. Liz was such a rockstar – sending me mockups of so many incredible ideas, sourcing the coolest vintage furniture pieces from god-knows-where, hunting for the perfect fabrics, sewing things together – just about every beautiful detail you see is thanks to her.
Of course, as photographers ourselves, choosing a photographer was a little tricky. We are so lucky to call some of the best photographers in the country friends – but in the end, we could only hire one. There is so much local talent right in southeast Michigan that almost immediately we ruled out flying someone in. Than it was just a matter of narrowing the field. We wanted to make sure we hired someone who really excelled at shooting the kind of wedding we were having – outdoors, lots of natural light. We wanted very organic imagery and knew we were less interested in posed photos. And of course, we wanted someone who was actually excited about the prospect of working with us (shooting for photographers can be tough!!). We’re so glad we went with Heather, who is not only a amazing photographer, but such a fun person to be around as well.
While our ceremony was fairly secular, it was important to me that we incorporate some Jewish traditions. Liz fashioned a beautiful ‘chuppah’ out of clustered paper lanterns. We created our own spin on the ketubah – asking our close friend to create a piece of art for us that we signed just prior to the ceremony. Tommy also broke the glass. The ceremony was officiated by our friend’s father, and featured a reading from Tom Robbins’ ‘Still Life with Woodpecker’. I walked up the aisle to Iron and Wine’s ‘Love and Some Verses’ played acoustically by a friend.
I loved every minute of being a bride! (Well, except for all the stress of planning – but, honestly, that all faded away the minute my wedding day began.) I will always remember standing with Tom during the ceremony, looking around at how amazing everything was, and bursting into the happiest tears (yep, I blubbered at my wedding!). After years in the wedding industry, it was such a treat to be on the other side of the wedding experience. And it’s so true what everyone says – it goes by in a blur (so make sure you hire a great photographer!!).
Wedding Photography: Heather Saunders Photography / Wedding Venue: Palmer House / Wedding Dress: Dolly Couture (Avilla Bay) / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman / Bride’s Hair Flower: Lo Boheme / Groom’s Suit: Vintage / Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan / Catering: Forte Belanger / Wedding Invitations & Paper Goods: Elevated Press / Calligraphy: Betsy Dunlap / Floral & Event Design: The Parsonage / Day Of Coordinator: Laura Davis Events / Makeup: Amber Kaczmarek / Hair: Patty Perone of Luigi Bruni Salon / Photo Booth: The Traveling Photo Booth / Tent & Event Rentals: Special Events Rental