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Glamorous Estate Wedding in Rochester Michigan

Estate venues bring gravity and opulence to your special day. Especially if it’s the 110-room mansion of Matilda Dodge Wilson whose husband, yes, founded Dodge. The automotive industry is etched into the fabric of Detroit, so if you’re going to incorporate it, this is one classy way to do it. There’s a full gallery of lavish details like florals from Flourish Event Design, all through the lens of Blaine Siesser Photography.


From Blaine Siesser PhotographyOpen air ceremony; Natural ivy chuppah; flowers in stained mason jars; Succulent boutonnieres bound in rustic rope twine; antique books on table as center pieces; classic glass bottle sodas; guest book: well wishes written on polaroid selfies, clothes-pinned to rope; vintage suitcase holds guest place cards on flowers – another for “dancing shoes”; all African-American Jazz band, afternoon in classic tuxedos, evening in fun, sequined shirts and dresses; burlap table coverings and “love” pennant; hora, breaking the glass, chuppah.

Flourish event design did all print work, floral work (including chuppah), and general design work.

Photography: Blaine Siesser Photography | Videography: 3rd Street Films | Bakery: Pinwheel Bakery | Ceremony Venue: Meadow Brook Hall And Gardens | Make-up: Jenny Hill, Lead Makeup Artist At Nars Cosmetics | Hair: Jackie Hill | Band: Gentlemen Of Leisure | Band: Gentlemen Of Leisure | Officiant: Miriam Jerris | Transportation: Aristocat Transportation | Event Design, Florals, Print Work: Flourish Event Design | Hotel - Getting Ready Shots: Royal Park Hotel - Presidential Suite | Rentals: Special Events Rental

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Rochester Wedding at the Harro East Ballroom by T & S Hughes Photography

Every detail counts…And that’s obvious in this wedding by T&S Hughes Photography. My favorite weddings are all about the delicate, personal touches that embody the story of the bride and groom. With prohibition style mason jars, vintage fabrics from the bride’s great grandparent’s collection, splashes of lace and so many more … my heart could literally burst! Thankfully, there are even more details to swoon over in the gallery.

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From the Bride… I loved the bouquets! My mom made them herself out of old fabrics from the Great Depression era that my great grandparents had given her, fabric from my baby room and fabrics from a flower girl dress I wore in a wedding when I was younger. There was also lace from my mother’s wedding dress, as well as the finishing touch — my “something borrowed,” which was a brooch my grandmother wore to my mom’s wedding.

I was so pleased with both venues, as I felt they really worked for our day and created the relaxed and vintage tone we were hoping for. The church is a little local church in Pittsford, New York, called St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran church. It was old clapboard with white picket fences and big red doors — very typical American for our English visitors to enjoy!  The church also hosted our “English Cream Tea” reception.  Our evening reception was in Harro East Ballroom in the city of Rochester, New York.  It was a lovely old theater auditorium from the 1920-30s with big tall ceilings and huge windows! The reception hostess there is lovely to work with as well, and everyone has commented on how delicious the buffet was! Alex and I would highly recommend them both.

My main hope was to go with a feel for our day that truly represented Alex and I as a couple. Alex and I wanted a relaxed and unique wedding day. We both really like eclectic and vintage style things and really enjoy going to antique shops! The typewriter, birdcage and old picture frame with our photos pinned in were all ideas that I found on Pinterest. The suitcases were pieces that I had used in my room growing up and are something that very much represents Alex and I, as we like to travel and are living abroad in England. The heart-shaped map cutouts were a tiny detail that I really loved, as I spent time picking out maps of places we’d both been to. The centerpieces were a work in progress and developed over time out of old wine bottles, jars and swirly, feather pieces. I felt that I really wanted to display details of Alex and me in our wedding decor, which we used with the American and English themes running throughout the day as well. We enjoyed putting it all together, and it was never work — it was fun and so many people helped us out along the way!

Wedding Photography: T & S Hughes Photography / Ceremony: St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pittsford, New York / Reception: Harro East Ballroom in Rochester, New York / Fabric Rose Bouquets: DIY by the Mother of the Bride / Wedding Dress: Tusneem Bridal / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Various of Their Own Choosing / Men’s Suits: T.M. Lewin / Rings + Necklace: Tiffany & Co.

Meadow Brook Wedding from The Gown Shop + Nicole Ladonne + 3rd Street Films

I can’t imagine this Michigan bride ever not looking gorgeous, but on her wedding day, with that fantastic veil, the stunning gown from The Gown Shop, and her face filled with love and anticipation, she was absolutely breathtaking. Which, in turn, carried on to the rest of the luxe, white affair, captured by Nicole Ladonne Photography. And after reading her eloquent story, there was no doubt in my mind that this bride was just as pretty inside, as she was out. Don’t forget about the gallery of images for more!

I wasn’t quite done with this stunning couple, and I knew you wouldn’t be either, and lucky for us, 3rd Street Films has sent over a fantastic highlight film to extend our viewing pleasure!

If you can, imagine the feeling of a late summer afternoon, when a gusty breeze billows in with perfect timing, cooling and soothing your sun kissed skin. You feel rejuvenated, yet relaxed; the sensation is heavenly. That would be the best way for me to describe how our love feels. And that is exactly what I wanted our wedding to feel like, too.

One of the most helpful things that Eddie and I did to kickoff our wedding planning was to sit down and figure out, together, what exactly we envisioned for our big day. For Eddie, who is of Chaldean descent, it was important to incorporate Middle Eastern music and dancing into the reception entertainment. As for me, I’m very sentimental, so the color palette and the décor were the perfect opportunity for us to, in a way, tell our story. Collectively, we agreed that we wanted to allocate a significant portion of our budget to the cuisine and the cocktails, and if possible, to find a venue with the option for an indoor/outdoor reception, since Michigan is known for it’s comfortable and colorful autumn season.

We were married at the National Shrine of the Little Flower Catholic Church on historical Woodward Avenue in Royal Oak, Michigan. Eddie and I attended mass there on one of our very first dates, and it soon became our home parish. Also, we were blessed to have our wedding officiated by one of Eddie’s childhood friends, who grew up to become an ordained Catholic priest. To attempt to compete with the lavish interiors and the opulent finishes of the church would have been impossible, so we kept the décor to simple white arrangements (an assortment of hydrangeas, lilies of the valley, white roses, and calla lilies) that flanked the altar. Our ceremony was rich with tradition, yet completely personal, and I will cherish it always.

A considerable amount of our guests were from out of town, so we had our hearts set on finding a unique-to-Michigan venue. Meadow Brook Hall was the second spot that we visited, and I loved the look of excitement on Eddie’s face when we stepped out onto the terrace, where we would later host our cocktail reception; it reminded him of the University of Virginia’s campus, his undergraduate alma mater. The mansion, too, was warm and welcoming for our cocktail hour, during which docents provided guests with tours as they enjoyed Southern and Mediterranean influenced hors d’oeuvres. I like to think that dinner and dancing were held under the stars, but in reality, they were just a short chassé away from the mansion beneath a dreamy, white, canopy tent. The billowy draping was the perfect nod to our South Beach reception theme, along with our floral designer’s white-hot creations, some perfectly positioned lounge seating, and Mother Nature’s subtle breeze. Guests danced the night away to a mixture of live Chaldean songs, and the D.J.’s medley of chart toppers and quintessential, Miami house music.

As for the attire, we kept things tailored and traditional. I worked with Stacy Fork from Michigan’s newest wedding gem, The Gown Shop Ann Arbor, to customize my Modern Trousseau Mika gown. A simple, Thai silk bodice met with layers of gauzy silk chiffon, just below the hips, to create cascading tiers that sort of floated along with a romantic subtly. The groom and groomsmen donned Calvin Klein tuxedos with a modern fit, and a traditional bow tie, while the bridesmaids looked elegant in a ballet pink, fit and flare gown, accented with rose gold jewelry. Our flower girl was adorable in a custom, floor length tutu.

My advice for the soon-to-be-newlyweds would be to remain focused on the must-haves, get creative with the details, never underestimate the power of candles, and to truly not sweat the small stuff. In the end, it truly is about the love you share with your beloved, and that is the best décor, detail, and accessory of all.

Photography: Nicole Ladonne Photography / Cinematography: 3rd Street Films / Flowers: Bill Hamilton Designs / Event Design: Bill Hamilton Designs & Affordable Elegance / Event Planning: the Bride / Ceremony Location: National Shrine of the Little Flower Catholic Church / Reception Location: Meadow Brook Hall & Gardens / Invitations: DIY by the Bride / Shoes: Badgley Mischka, Humbie II / Dress: Modern Trousseau via The Gown Shop / Bride’s Earrings: Haute Bride via The Gown Shop / Veil: Haute Bride via The Gown Shop / Tuxedo: Calvin Klein / Bridesmaids Dresses: Impression / Wedding Cake: Le Cakery Bake Shop / Band: The Bells Band / Officiant: Fr. Tony Marques / Hair: Janice Preuett / Make-up: Jeff Marti

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
From Inspiration to Reality, VI

So if you’re wondering why we are so obsessed with our From Inspiration to Reality feature, I thought I’d shed a little light. For one, it gives the really talented vendors in our book an opportunity to shine. To design with total creative freedom. To get back to their roots and have a day of pure fun, of pure style. Second, it gives our brides such incredible ideas that they can translate into their own wedding. Real, solid, practical ideas from color palettes to style tips. From DIY projects to rental inspirations. We want you to view each shoot as a platform that is overflowing with steal worthy ideas.

And for those of you that are dying to see one of these adventures transformed into a real wedding…lots and lots of logistics to work out. But I am thrilled to say that we are indeed working it out!

wedding inspiration

image by Aruna B. Photography, you can see the rest of the gorgeous images right here in the gallery.

Here are the steal-worthy ideas…

-The Black and Gold color palette. INSANELY chic. Total glam. Such a great palette for a high fashion, modern wedding.

-Choose a space that is somewhat of a blank canvas. This loft in New York would be perfect. A modern restaurant, an art gallery, a simple but chic hotel would all make perfect canvases for this look.

-High gloss vessels. Yep, scour flea markets for centerpiece vessels (from candle holders to vases) and spray paint them with a super high gloss paint. For an even glossier finish, you can use an oil based paint for metal and wood. You’ll actually save a bundle by creating centerpieces that are more structural than flower-heavy.

-Create a photo frame wall. You can do this inside or out and have SUCH a great little spot for your guests. Mix and match ornate frames to achieve this look. This particular look was created with a few old frames and some gold spray paint. Total DIY.

-Accent with funky but chic details…a black birdcage, gold votives, black or gold branches, gold tassels stitched on the edges of black napkins. Think high glam, high drama detailing.

-If you are already renting china, think about renting a super glossy black style. Of course, this isn’t terribly budget friendly but it will totally change the look and style of the tables. If you are using provided china, just make sure that the other details, which can be DIY-ed are dramatic. A simple black linen (or overlay to save $$), black napkins with gold cord wraps, inexpensive gold chargers.

-Use black satin ribbon in abundance. Wrap your bouquets with it, hang your picture frames with it, wrap cylindrical vases with it.

That is a really good start to designing a wedding that is as chic and as totally doable as this one. Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas too, in the comments below.

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
From Inspiration to Reality, V

If you are as obsessed as I am with the From Inspiration to Reality feature that we are doing today, you’ll be really happy about this next little tidbit. Ryan Koral, owner and creative genius behind Epic Motion, was on hand to capture the entire day on film. And it’s awesome. Seriously awesome. To see the whole gorgeous day unfold and really see the the creativity and thoughtfulness that went into the look is, well…pretty kick ass. I have a new crush on Ryan and his really great video. And I’m pretty sure that you will too.

Click here to see all the images from this shoot in the gallery

These people are ALL talent and I am so beyond thrilled that they decided to share their genius with us here at SMP. Coming up next, we have the design translated with super easy tips as to how to turn the look into a real wedding. A wedding that your friends will be REALLY jealous of.

Rentals: Special Events Rental / Flowers , Table Design and Dessert Buffet: Aisha Holly | Dooby Design Group / Stationery: Molly Myers • Paisley Quill / Calligraphy: Jessica Larbes • Penned & Pretty / Photography: Aruna Mall • Aruna B. Photography / Videography: Ryan Koral • Epic Motion / Venue: The Royal Park Hotel • Kristen Hickey / Hair & Make-up: Angela Valentine & Jennifer Jaroma • Salon U2 / Cake: Papa Joe’s Market/La Sala Banquet • Sue Helzer / Dress: Amsale • Donated by V2V / Model: Andrea Walker

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Epic Motion
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These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here