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Traditional Ballroom Wedding at Detroit’s Henry Ford Museum

This loving couple chose to be wed halfway between their two homes: Cleveland and Grand Rapids at the historic Henry Ford museum in Detroit. This intimate affair, captured by Lauren Gabrielle Photography oozed sophistication. Every detail from 3-tiered cake draped in lush florals from Sweet Heather Anne to mad libs on each table created a sense of comfort the bride and groom hoped for on their special day. See every detail here!

Colors
Seasons
Summer

From the beautiful Bride… I met my husband in a hospital in Cleveland. He was my clinical instructor, and I told him I wasn’t interested in dating anyone in the medical field. A few months later, I graduated and moved to Grand Rapids, but he managed to keep hold of my heart. After a year and a half of long distance dating, he completely knocked me off my feet with a surprise proposal. We chose to get married in Detroit, halfway between Grand Rapids and Cleveland, because that’s where the majority of my friends and family lived. Two weeks after getting engaged, we met up in Detroit and set out on a slew of appointments to find a venue and church.

We were just in awe as soon as we stepped foot into Lovett Hall and First Congregational Church. The Henry Ford Museum inspired the feel of our wedding. We both wanted something classic and traditional without being stuffy. I planned the wedding in a hectic 8 months, and I couldn’t have done it without some serious help. We hired a day of coordinator and it was one of the best choices I made. If there was anything amiss at the wedding, we had no idea because she made everything run smoothly. I’m not the craftiest person, and I’m so grateful for my dear friends that helped me make beautiful invitations, place cards and a website.

I’m eternally thankful for my childhood friend and wonderful photographer Lauren who captured the magic of our day. My husband was my calming voice of reason when I would get carried away on impractical elaborate ideas and my biggest supporter to get what needed to be done. Together we planned the biggest party of our lives and we were so thrilled to celebrate our marriage with the people we love.

Photography: Lauren Gabrielle Photography | Coordination: Beautiful Beginnings | Floral Design: Emanuela Candrianu | Wedding Dress: Justin Alexander | Cake: Sweet Heather Anne | Ceremony Venue: First Congregational Church Of Detroit | Reception Venue: Lovett Hall | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Hair And Makeup: 6 Salon | Bridal Salon: Antonio's Bridal | Photobooth: Strike A Pose

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Rustic Elegant Fall Farm Wedding

This Oscar De La Renta dress caught my attention from the start but I fell even more in love with this wedding, and this beautiful couple, after reading the Bride’s story and learning just how much thought, time and care went into creating their celebration with the help of VLD Events. Don’t miss both clips by 3rd Street Films and Beale & Wittig’s gorgeous gallery so you too can see every beautiful bit of this bash.

Colors
Seasons
Fall
Settings
Farm

From the Bride… Our traditional American wedding was held at Cornman Farms in Dexter, Michigan. I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan which is just 15 minutes outside of Dexter. It was important to me to get married close to where I grew up, surrounded by family and friends. My finance – now – husband’s family is mostly from Chicago, IL, so it was only a short four hour drive for them to join us!

When we started planning this wedding, our goal was for everything to be simple! We didn’t want to over-theme, or have too much color coordination. We just wanted the day to be a declaration and celebration of our love for each other. The wedding was a combination of neutrals, metallics, and greenery with chic and sophisticated decor in a rustic setting. Even though we were on an actual working farm, we decided to play up the natural beauty of the environment versus adding in haystacks, burlap, etc. We chose our venue because we wanted our guests to have plenty of space to walk around, explore, and enjoy themselves in a casual and beautiful environment. A farm venue allowed us to have a separate ceremony, cocktail, and reception site, yet kept everything within walking distance. We loved the contrast of having a formal event at a non-traditional non-formal space, and the farm venue provided the perfect backdrop for that.

Going with a clear-top tent was the best decision we made. In the tent, we had long, clean, wooden farm tables, with ivory table runners, and a collection of flowers, vases, brass candlestick holders, and green moss balls made by my mother. The chairs were my favorite. Instead of the chiavari chairs, we chose a woven bamboo chair. It gave a new texture and design element to the overall look. We also had absolutely beautiful lighting installed. Rows and rows of tiny twinkle lights set a magical tone to the entire tent, alongside three rustic chandeliers.

One of the most special touches to our wedding were the flowers. My mother is a floral designer, and she designed the entire concept. The flowers were a variety of whites, ivories, and greens – all different shapes and textures, including succulents, hydrangea, bells of ivory, and kale. We didn’t have formal arrangements, but kept each vase holding a single variety of flower. For vases, my mother, sister, and I collected both new and vintage (starting a month after I was engaged!), from garage sales, antique stores, and flea markets. We wanted an eclectic assortment. We also used my mother’s collection of ivory and white McCoy pottery that she displays at home. It was so special to have such a personal touch at every table!

We did a few DIY projects as well. My mother made a card box covered in beautiful green moss, and we spray painted some mason jars with copper and gold paint. For our favors we gave scratch off lottery tickets, along with pennies (to scratch) that had a heart stamped in them! We added a note that said ‘Wishing you love & riches, from the new Mr. & Mrs.’. My sister made a few signs for seating and the flowers. My groom also made the table numbers out of pieces of wood and copper numbers. He was very proud of them!

I added sleeves to my Oscar de la Renta dress, made out of the extra length from my dress. Loved how they turned out. I asked all my bridesmaids and maid of honor to wear a neutral colored dress – ivory, nude, metallics, patterns, anything was fine! I wanted them to feel comfortable, beautiful, and uniquely themselves. My mom wore pants, which was so her style. She’s just not a dress person, and we wanted her comfortable, so she wore dressy pants and looked beautiful! All the groomsmen wore black suits. Instead of spending money on renting a bad suit they would never see again, we just asked them to wear any black suit they had in their closet. Craig bought them all different gray/black/white bow ties from The Tie Bar (Chicago company).

The best part was that after all this careful planning… it rained. And it didn’t just sprinkle a little bit, it thundered and stormed, and turned the power off on half the lights in the tent. We made our official entrance to the tent under a sea of umbrella’s held by the gracious staff of Cornman Farms. They literally had everyone help with this – from Ari Weinzweig (one of the founding partners at Zingerman’s), all the servers – anyone that could hold an umbrella was helping out! But it didn’t ruin anything, in fact, it was absolutely magical – the sound of the raindrops on that tent, gazing up and not just seeing a dark sky, but seeing thousands of raindrops pouring down at you. We really enjoyed ourselves, and as my father mentioned in his speech, noting the Hindu tradition “We have a very old saying that we believe in, anything important that has to happen, and which is auspicious, it has to rain, and so, this is just like God is smiling up there, and he approves, and he is blessing this couple”.

Photography: Beale & Wittig | Videography: 3rd Street Films | Event Design: VLD Events | Floral Design: Dexter Flowers | Wedding Dress: Oscar De La Renta | Wedding Cake: Zingerman's Bakehouse | Catering: Shalimar | Food: Zingerman's Roadhouse | Hair And Makeup: Imagine 3 | Lighting: The Lighting Guy | Band: Brena Band | Favors: BKR Water Bottles | Favors: Birchbox | Officiant: James Robert | Transportation: Indian Trails | Wedding Venue: Zingerman's Cornman Farms | Bridal Boutique: Glamour Closet | Caroline's Bridesmaid Dress: En Creme | Ceremony Garland: Carol Jain | DIY Decorations: Carol Jain, Stephanie Metler, Jennifer Bennett | Dinner Chairs: Event Source | Event Coordination: Staci Kennedy Of Who's Got The Time | Giant Balloons: Hearts & Flowers | Groom's Tuxedo: Hugo Boss | Lauren's Bridesmaid Dress: BCBG | Lindsey's Bridesmaid Dress: ASOS | Linens: La Tavola | Maid Of Honor Dress: Eliza J (Embellished Jacquard Shift Dress) | Paper Products: Rock Paper Scissors | Tent: Special Events | Whiskey Barrels & Ceremony Pews: Fancy Fray | Wood Farm Tables: Fancy Fray

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Elegant Woodland Wedding Inspiration

Rustic elegance is what wedded dreams are made of, but add in beautiful berry tones and metallic accents and it’s got SMP written all over it. From gold place cards that double as menus, to floating macaroons that surround a beautiful Sweet Heather Anne cake all amid an autumn woodland, this inspiration from the lens of Sarah Dunn Photography is downright dreamy.

From Kaitlin ParishoThe vision for this shoot was a mix of both rustic and elegant details. These images are full of natural details, and pops of beautiful berry tones, aubergine and metallic accents. We had several amazing vendors participate in the shoot from all over the US, and I am proud to showcase their talents – some new to the industry and others well established.

We have several lovely and unique details that range from gold hand lettered place cards that double as menus when opened, to floating glass orbs filled with macarons that surround a beautiful cake all amid an autumn woodland.

I scouted all over SE Michigan for our location and when I stumbled across the towering pine forest in Wixom, MI where the light flooded so gracefully though the tree canopy I knew it would be perfect location. The photos that Sarah was able to capture are absolutely stunning and clearly show the talent she has. The day of our shoot was a chilly 30 degrees outside (Michigan weather is always keeping us on our toes), and, from the light filled images she captured, you would never be able to guess.

Sarah chose to shoot digitally but, more importantly, also with film. I adore the romantic look that film captures, and it’s not something you see all photographers using. Lastly, our models were a real-life couple named Colleen & Ryan, who were high school sweethearts and had dated for over 9 years before recently becoming engaged! It is visibly clear in the photographs how in love they are and how comfortable they were with each other and in front of the camera!

Photography: Sarah Dunn | Planning, Design/Concept, Florals: Kaitlin Parisho | Wedding Dress: The White Dress | Cake:Sweet Heather Anne | Favors: Riles & Co. | Letterpress: Chelsea Coy Designs | Linens : Luxe Event Linen| Paper: Layers Of Loveliness | Rentals: Rusted Rose Rentals | Ring Box: Chalk Concrete Jewerly | Signage: Paper & Honey

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South Manitou Island Anniversary Session

When an anniversary shoot involves a muted color palette and and a gorgeous bouquet full of wildflowers, you know it’s going to be sweet perfection. With the help of Weber Photography- Cory Weber, this couple looks like they’re having the absolute best.time.ever! And the backdrop of gorgeous Northern Michigan pairs perfectly with details of this shoot here.

From Weber PhotographyWeber Photography photographed Kate and Justin’s northern Michigan wedding 3 years ago and couldn’t be more thrilled to photograph their anniversary session on the far side of South Manitou Island in Northern Michigan. With the incredible talents of Tableau Events and BLOOM Floral Design, we took full advantage of the island’s breathtaking scenery and the best view in all of northern Michigan (no joke). As part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the island boasts dunes that roll on forever as Lake Michigan lays beyond.

Kate’s family owns one of two privately owned cabins on this island of the national park and so she spent summers growing up there. Given her family’s special connection and its stunning scenery Kate and Justin dreamed of having their wedding on the island too. Unfortunately, the island isn’t easily accessible and wasn’t logistically possible for their big day in 2011 but they knew that it would provide the perfect backdrop for an epic anniversary.

To celebrate their anniversary, the two enjoyed a romantic picnic as the sun set over the lake. BLOOM’s amazing creative direction, styling and floral design and Tableau Events’s gorgeous papery, props, and styling completed the special and intimate event. Kate wore an amazing flowy dress and Justin wore a suit with no tie that kept the evening feeling a little more casual. It was almost as if they were stranded on an island after going out on the town for a romantic evening.

Photography: Weber Photography- Cory Weber | Dress: J.Crew | Groom's Attire: J.Crew | Creative Direction, Styling And Floral Design: BLOOM | Film Scans: Richard Photo Lab | Papery, Props And Styling: Tableau Events

Rustic Chic Michigan Cabin Wedding

Would you believe me if I told you this piece of pretty was put together as Part Two of their Big Day? From their sweet City Hall nuptials to the sentimental cabin ceremony that followed, every moment is sure to bring a sincere smile. Overflowing with lasting love, every detail Tuan H. Bui captured is waiting for you in the gorgeous gallery, here!

Colors
Seasons
Summer

From the beautiful Bride… Elsie and I had the pleasure of having two weddings! Our big deal, giant party wedding we wanted to have at my family cabin in Northern Michigan. The spot we chose couldn’t have been more scenic or ideal. It’s a place I had been going since I was a child, and a place my father had been going since he was a child – so we’re talking about 80 years of history there.

But, Michigan does not recognize same-sex marriages, so we got legally married a month before in Chicago (where we live). We planned to treat the ceremony in Chicago as just “completing paperwork” – but when we got there, we were surprised by our photographer who showed up to capture what we didn’t realize would be such a moving day (How awesome is that!?). After waiting in a long line and a terrible government office basement, we were ushered into the judge’s chambers, where the judge picked up his “Ceremony for Same-Sex Couples” cheat sheet and officially married us. That morning, we picked flowers from our garden and tied a ribbon around so I had a bouquet. We were joined by my parents and my cousin and then had a few friends over to our house afterward. I cried during the ceremony, and Elsie, excited beyond control basically couldn’t stop giggling and smiling. After that day I thought, “Huh, maybe it can’t get better than this.” It was so simple, beautiful and emotional. But one month later was when we planned the “big event”.

In August, just about 100 of our friends and family made a trek to a remote spot in Northern Michigan to celebrate with us. We did nearly all planning and preparation ourselves and it was SUPER stressful. We did everything – menus, ceremony programs, escort cards (including finding sticks in the woods, sanding them, varnishing them and slicing slats in them to fit the escort cards). Our “welcome bags” featured all Michigan products and included our own personal recommendations of places to eat and things to see in this tiny town. (Our friends, mostly from New York, DC and San Francisco, kept asking about cabs, not really knowing what they were getting into). But the care and the planning we put into all of these details made everything so special and perfect in the end. Our rehearsal dinner was one of my favorite moments; we had one long giant table and white linens running down the deck of the cabin with fresh picked wildflowers from the property that our friends had foraged that day. My mom and step-mom made the food, and after dinner I convinced a solid number of our friends to go jump in the lake with me off the dock at sunset. It was beautiful and magical, and again I thought, “How could it get any better than this?”

On the big day, we stood under a ceremony canopy made from Elsie’s mother’s veil and her father’s Barong tagalog – a traditional shirt worn by Filipino men during special occasions like weddings. Both of her parents have passed, and so my 89-year-old grandmother, a seamstress her whole life, sewed the canopy together making it one of the most meaningful pieces of our big day. Two of our best friends – both musicians, played and sang “Here comes the Sun” as I walked down the aisle and other friends did surprise readings that fit the day perfectly. After the ceremony, Elsie and I walked down the aisle, married this time in front of all of our loved ones, and hopped on a John Deere gator decorated like a “Just Married” car for a quick round trip spin through the woods. Our food was made by one of our friends who is a Chef back in Chicago. The highlight was the whole roast pig that he stayed up tending to for 14 hours straight, but the entire menu was amazing and seasonal and from farms somewhere along the route from Chicago to Northern Michigan. My cousin made the wedding cake – a skilled and trained chef and baker himself. He made probably the best tasting wedding cake I’ve ever had.

While I could really go on and on about how perfect our day was, the one other moment I’ll mention is our “first look.” Tuan, our photographer, picked a trail that leads from our cabin to what was my great-grandfather’s cabin next door. That trail is lined with tall old pines – pines that were planted by my father and grandfather. And the first look photo that Tuan captured was just so breathtaking. The biggest surprise of that day was how quickly we got overwhelmed (in a good way) by the sheer fact that so many people came from so far to celebrate with us. Ever since August, I’ve just wanted to have that day, that weekend, all over again (crazy, right?). I not only got to marry the love of my life, but we did so surrounded by so much love and meaning – I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Photography: Tuan H. Bui | Coordination: Sincerely, Ginger | Floral Design: Sincerely, Ginger | Bakery: Cornwall Bakery

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Elegant Gold Infused Detroit Art Museum Wedding

Sometimes, a wedding is so lovely, it’s hard to find the right words to give it proper credit. Such as the case with today’s affair. A wedding that literally glows from the moment she dons her dress, to the very last dance. With a design by VLD Events, linens from La Tavola, photography by Jill Devries and a golden cake by Sweet Heather Anne, make sure to spend some time basking in the beauty.

Colors
Seasons
Fall

From the beautiful Bride… When we started planning our big day, we had a few themes in mind. We wanted a wedding that was respectful of the day and what it meant; we wanted a wedding that was personal, without being cliché; and above all, we wanted a wedding that was super fun and memorable for everyone. And all of this on a budget, of course. Detroit’s incredible art museum (the Detroit Institute of Art, or DIA) provided the perfect atmosphere for the event, and with the help of a rock star team of vendors, the day was everything we wanted and more (we are only slightly biased).

Wedding day festivities kicked off with the Bride (Erin) and 20 yoga-inclined wedding guests venturing to Yoga Shelter in Midtown Detroit for a morning vinyasa class. The bridal parties then hurried to the historic Westin Book Cadillac to get ready. The bridesmaids and bridesmen sipped on champagne (a gift from the Groom, Scott) while the maids had their hair and makeup done; Erin returned the favor with an 18-year-old scotch for the groomsmen.

One of our favorite moments of the day – the first look – took place outside of a cool, urban garden in Detroit. Those emotions, that moment – we’re so grateful to have all of that captured by our amazing photographers. Detroit’s fickle fall weather was even cooperative, and we were able to take pictures outside of the museum with the bridal party and as a couple in the fading afternoon light.

The ceremony was held in the DIA’s magical Rivera Court. The room’s walls are covered with floor-to-ceiling murals painted by Diego Rivera in the early 1930s. We added nothing to the room, which was already lined with beds of calla lilies, except for a hand-drawn map of the museum, courtesy of the talented Kristen Drozdowski. Weeks before the ceremony, we presented the vows we had written to our officiant, JR Roberts. Each of our vows began with a short anecdote, which we planned to share with the audience. The surprise of the day came when – while Scott was delivering his vows – it became apparent to Erin that we had both chosen the same anecdote. Perfect.

We closed the wedding with a “champagne box” ceremony: We each wrote two letters, one to read that morning and another to read in the future. All four letters went into the champagne box to open on our five-year anniversary, along with a bottle of bubbly. The idea is that marriage and our love was something to celebrate, all the time. We sealed the box with a champagne toast during the ceremony.

Guests exited the ceremony through the American Art gallery, and headed to cocktail hour in the DIA’s Woodward Lobby. Although the museum’s Modern and Impressionist Galleries were open for guests to explore, almost everyone headed right to one of two specialty bars: the first, a champagne bar complete with a bar cart, fruits, herbs, juices, and champagne flutes adorned with gold sugar rims; the other, a scotch bar with five different kinds of scotch, served with large “ice spheres,” and decorated with the Groom’s cake representing the “Old Well” at the Groom’s alma mater, UNC Chapel Hill. Guests snacked on fancy passed apps, but the highlight was cheesy bread delivered hot from local favorite, Jet’s Pizza. As a bittersweet touch, we also set out a memory vase to honor Erin’s grandfather, whose funeral was the day before the wedding. The memorial helped us recognize the important emotions from the day before without putting a damper on the joyous emotions of the wedding day.

Guests then moved upstairs to dinner in the DIA’s Great Hall. With its to-die-for ceiling, gorgeous armor displays, and beautifully tiled floors, we wanted to complement rather than compete with the already amazing space. Reception decor included clean ivory linens, creative flowers to bring it life, and subtle (as subtle as gold foil can be) print materials. We also slipped Rivera Court postcards behind each guest’s menu as a souvenir. Erin and Scott entered the reception to “Lose Yourself,” by Detroit’s own Eminem — and later had our first dance to “The Luckiest,” by Ben Folds. The couple joined the bridal party at a long banquet table decorated with seasonal flowers, an armor-colored table runner, pears, ribbons, and gold acorns – and sat at chairs adorned with greenery and flowers (one of our favorite design elements). A Midwest-sized dessert spread followed dinner, including Georgetown Cupcake (the couple lives in DC), the Pumpkin Maple Groom’s Cake, and Mexican Spiced Chocolate wedding cake — both from Sweet Heather Anne. According to most guests, the traditional speeches before dinner – father of the Bride, little sister/maid of honor, and twin brother/best man – were the highlight of the wedding. Late night snacks of Michigan cider and donuts from Yates Cider Mill came in a close second.

DJ Mary Ann Productions rocked Top 40 and Motown tunes all night, with only a brief interlude when the bride lip-synced “The Jackal” for her fellow West Wing fans (pictures intentionally excluded). After the party, Royal Transportation drove a crowd to Cliff Bell’s – an art deco jazz club downtown – for live jazz and cocktails. And finally, after the after party, a few guests (including the parents of the bride!) visited iconic rival coney dog restaurants: American and Lafayette Coney Islands.

Although we leaned heavily on our incredible vendors to keep everything elegant and polished, we still “DIY’d” a few items. The mother of the Bride made over 150 ice spheres for the scotch bar (in sets of three, no less). And the Bride took online calligraphy lessons through I Still Love Calligraphy, allowing her to calligraphy the invitations, day-of signage, and welcome bag tags.

If we could change anything, we wouldn’t. We’d just have the same party again and again.

Photography: Jill Devries | Floral Design: Katie Wachowiak | Wedding Dress: Galina For David's Bridal | Cupcakes: Georgetown Cupcakes | Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas | Bride's Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Badgley Mischka Via Rent The Runway | Lighting: The Lighting Guy | Ceremony Music: Panache Entertainment | Wedding Venue: Detroit Institute Of Arts | Bridesmaid Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Bridesmen Robes: Lands End | Cake Topper: Better Off Wed | Day Of Print Material: Smitten On Paper | Event Coordination: VLD Events | Groom's And Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux | Linens: La Tavola Via VLD Events | Map Illustration: Kristen Drozdowski | Planning And Design Consultant: VLD Events | Save The Dates: Simply Pressed Print Shop | Wedding & Groom's Cakes: Sweet Heather Anne | Wine Box: Mark & Graham

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