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English Garden Wedding Inspiration in Michigan

This photo shoot from Blaine Siesser is straight out of a fairytale. Once upon a time, Cotswold Cottage, built in England 350 years ago, was relocated by the Ford family to the heart of Michigan and that’s where our happily ever after takes place. With a gorgeous gown from BHLDN, a sweet cake from Sweet Heather Anne and gorgeous English-inspired blossoms by New Creations Flower Company, this inspiration designed by Luna Soiree is a dream come true. Fall in love here.


From Blaine SiesserI had been dreaming of a doing a beautiful shoot in Tuscany or the French countryside for months and when I saw Cotswold Cottage in Greenfield Village I knew that I had found that European charm and feel right in the heart of Michigan. Cotswold Cottage was relocated from its original foundation in England where it was built 350 years ago by the Ford family. With our location as the cornerstone for the inspiration we really wanted rely on the refined taste of a proper English garden wedding as the heart of our vision.

Getting ready, our bride enjoyed a window floral installation by the amazingly talented Kate Schmidt of New Creations Flower Company. Sitting there I imagined she she would have sneaked views of the guests arriving and waited anxiously by candlelight in the historic cottage. In her gorgeous BHLDN gown and hair and make up done by the amazing Aferdita Qafa we were swooning. Outside Kaeli Garcia of Luna Soiree events had styled two tables. The reclaimed hardwood tabletops fit the feel of the cottage and when combined with the beautiful gilded dinnerware we alluded to a royal British vein. She chose linens, florals, and silks that were pinks, creams, and blushes to embrace the beauty of the garden and subtle neutral tones to match the amazing stonework of the property. Sweet Heather Anne made a clean elegant white cake and the most unbelievable macaroons we had ever seen. I wish we could share one of those with you too. Finally, Alisa Bobzien Design came up with an original invitation suite and paper products that featured the elegant feel of calligraphy and beauty of watercolors. We styled these photos with alluring old keys and broaches to add an overtone of history and lineage to the images. The fruit ladder which we brought in and styled with flowers was a charming detail we were completely in love with. The dove release is such a throwback to historical wedding traditions. Besides their symbol of devotion the image and movement of the white birds really connect to movement of our bride in her gown.

Me and the whole team were dying waiting for the film to get back and we are all so happy with the cohesiveness and beauty of the whole shoot.

Vault CTA

Photography: Blaine Siesser Photography | Event Design: Kaeli Garcia | Floral Design: New Creations Flower Company | Wedding Dress: BHLDN | Cake: Sweet Heather Anne | Invitations: Alisa Bobzein Design | Bride's Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Ring: Lo Jolla Fine Jewelers | Hair And Makeup: Aferdita Qafa | Venue: The Henry Ford | Accessories: Crowning Glory | Doves: Winged Occasions | Model: Jeff Bruins | Rentals: Event Source | Silk: Silk Willow

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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Dearborn, Michigan Wedding from Jeffrey Lewis Bennett Photography

This gorgeous wedding takes place in the town where I grew up. I spent my girlhood days daydreaming about all the beautiful soirees that happened at The Henry Ford, convinced they all embodied the romance of the history of the place. And today my dreams have finally been brought to fruition, as this sweet wedding, from Jeffrey Lewis Bennett Photography, has fulfilled them all. It’s filled with a certain kind of vintage romance that could only happen on these magical grounds. I’ll be living out my childhood fantasies in the gallery, and I’m sure I’ll see you in there!

From the stunning bride … Mark and I met on a walk though Lincoln Park in Chicago. We had an instant connection and four years later he proposed to me in my favorite place, the Lily Pad Pond in Lincoln Park. Although we love our home in Chicago, we are both from Michigan and wanted to have a wedding that celebrated our roots. I absolutely love flower gardens and it was my dream to be married outside in one. Lovett Hall at the Henry Ford was perfect because it allowed for an outdoor ceremony with a beautiful dance hall that Henry Ford built to teach his children ballroom dancing. The colors of the venue perfectly matched the look that we had wanted: soft and romantic. We especially loved their library where we had our Ketubah signing ceremony. Yas from Quill and Fox helped design a custom invitation just for us and it really set the theme for our event.

Because both Mark and I are quite studious, and I love family heirlooms we decided to collect vintage books, teacups and assorted vases to decorate our tables. Close family and friends helped to find the collection and by our wedding we had gathered over 300 pieces. I worked closely with our florist, Marena Boddy, from Viviano Flower Shop and she helped to make beautiful bouquets and arrangements with anemones, lisianthus, ranunculus, Queen Anne’s lace, succulents and beyond. I designed a stamp and other printed items with Sarah LaTarte from Good Creative, and for wedding favors, Mark and I hand-stamped Moleskine journals. With the help of our Mothers, we tied up each one as a little present and also used it as the place card. We recycled extra invitations to make name tags and other labels and asked guests to take all of the flowers and collected books and vases as an extra gift.

Before the ceremony we took a carriage ride through Greenfield Village and took pictures with our amazing photographer, Jeffrey Bennett (JLB Wedding) in the Cotswold’s English Garden. Shane Tincu videoed the event and my Father, Jerry Silecchia along with Mark Heckert, keyboardist from our wedding band, Intrigue edited the footage and made an incredible video for us. All of the hard work paid off because everything was so personal. We were so happy to have our family and friends celebrate our new lives together!


Photography: Jeffrey Lewis Bennett Photography | Cinematography: Shane Tincu Films, edited by Silecchia | Flowers: Viviano | Event Design: Heather Silecchia | Event Planning: Amy Cox at Lovett Hall | Ceremony Location: Ginger Meyer Garden at The Henry Ford | Reception Location: Lovett Hall at The Henry Ford | Invitations: Quill & Fox | Programs and other printed items: Good Creative | Shoes: Seychelles from Nordstrom | Dress Designer: Mikaella by Paloma Blanca | Bridesmaid Dress Designer: BHLDN, Neiman Marcus, + Maggy London | Men’s Ties: TopShop | Jewelry for bridesmaids: custom made by Dragonfly Designs | Band: Intrigue

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
The Henry Wedding from Widdis Photography

When you hear of a fantastic event featuring prima ballerinas, opera singers, grand pianists, and 12-piece bands, your mind doesn’t automatically jump to a wedding, at least outside of a fairy tale. But that is just some of the entertainment from this fabulous wedding. Set in my old Michigan stompin’ grounds, this affair, captured by Widdis Photography, seems like it should really be set in a magical land, far, far away. It truly is a fairy tale. You won’t want to miss the story below, and you definitely won’t want to miss all the extra magic in the gallery!

From LUCIA|PAUL Design … After their first meeting, Ankur was instantaneously taken with Mayssoun, owner of The Institute of Higher Learning. Even though Mayssoun was smitten with him as well, Ankur was a tutor on her staff, and she was not comfortable dating an employee.  So Ankur did the noble thing and quit… he knew deep down inside he didn’t want to allow this opportunity to pass him by. And thus the perfect love affair began.

Ankur, now a successful Attorney in New York City, and Mayssoun, who recently expanded her company from Ann Arbor to New York, are two of the busiest people you can imagine. Planning their wedding was quite the challenge, given that we only had three months to pull the entire three-day event together.  Even though Mayssoun is Middle Eastern, born in Lebanon, and Ankur is Indian, they didn’t want a traditional Indian or Arabic wedding. Instead, we, along with a crew of talented vendors, created their dream wedding that was inspired by their love for the French style.

The weekend was kicked off by two wedding ceremonies.  The first was a traditional Muslim ceremony held at Mayssoun’s family’s home.  While the ceremony itself was simple, it was rich in cultural and religious tradition for only immediate family members from both sides.  The first ceremony was followed by a cocktail hour at the Rattlesnake Club and a surprise civil ceremony, performed by the Honorable John Corbett O’Meara in front of 150 of their closest friends and family.  The civil ceremony was held in a garden overlooking the Detroit River.  Guests joined Mayssoun, clad in a gorgeous customized Chanel gown carrying a bouquet of lush white Calla Lilies, and Ankur as they were joined as husband and wife.  After the second ceremony, guests were invited inside the Rattlesnake Club for a delectable six-course menu, hand-selected by the bride and the groom.

The following day was the official wedding reception.  Preparations began first thing in the morning with a violinist and master pianist acting as an alarm clock to wake our bride from her slumber.  Throughout the day, Mayssoun and Ankur prepared for the main event, and midway through the day, they had to take a break from “getting ready” to join LUCIA|PAUL DESIGN and the entertainers in an hour-long rehearsal for the evenings festivities.

As guests arrived to The Henry, Dearborn, they entered through a hallway adorned with Boxwoods and custom frames which displayed the escort cards.  Once guests found their card, they proceeded into the cocktail hour where they nibbled on a selection of gourmet hors d’oeuvres and mingled between the custom linens and hundreds of Roses.

Guests were invited into the ballroom and were wowed as an opera singer performed while they found their tables and their seats.  The guests were awed by the experience of the custom Ice Sculptures, custom linens, a Live Event Artist, draping and production lighting, a stage wrapped with four foot tall Boxwood, over 15,000 cream colored roses and thousands of candles made the room completely breathtaking.

At the tables, which were custom built specifically for the wedding, guests were greeted by an eight page booklet, Le Programe Du Soir (The Program of the Evening) that included a poem written by Mayssoun for Ankur, The Men which is a beautiful poem by Khalil Gibran, and a thank you note for the guests from Mayssoun and Ankur

The Bride wore a custom, one of a kind Carolina Herrera Bridal Gown and veil, and a stunning Cartier Diamond necklace and earrings. Mayssoun carried a lush bouquet, which was inspired by a beautiful design that she had found in the pages of Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, filled with Phalaenopsis Orchids and a hand dyed braided ribbon that matched the boutonnière that was designed just for Ankur.

Once the guests were seated, the Bride and the Groom entered in the grandest of fashion, called An Operatic Zaffe.  Accompanied by four Prima Ballerinas and a male ballet dancer, they were escorted through the maze of strategically placed tables to the dance floor.  It was a true experience right out of a Degas painting.  Once the Grand Entrance concluded, the Ballerinas joined Mayssoun and Ankur on the dance floor for the first dance… all while accompanied by a 12-piece band, the Opera Singer and a Grand Pianist.  It was truly an event within the event.

Throughout the night and while guests dined on a six-course meal, they were reveled by an array of entertainers, which included Arabic Drummers and DJ, six ballroom dancers, the ballerinas, a 12-piece band, the Opera Singer and a Live Event Artist who painted the scene of the entire wedding.  Once guests completed their six-course meal, including the five-layer, all white meringue wedding cake, they were then invited to enter into the desert room, which donned over seven additional wedding cakes, a grooms cake adorned with chocolate shavings and curls and over 45 feet of table top with additional French inspired pastries and deserts.  Needless to say, no one left the wedding reception hungry.

After dinner and the extensive dessert, the entertainment ramped up rotating between the 12-piece band, the DJ and Arabic drummers.  For an entire two-hour time period, the dance floor was jammed packed with guests.  Mayssoun even took center stage and sang a solo with the band to her beloved Groom…the crowd went wild.

At the conclusion of the six-hour reception, guests were sure to not leave empty handed.  Mayssoun and Ankur presented each couple or guest with a special gift from Tiffany’s as a way to say thank you to all 250 of the guests who helped them celebrate their union.  However, just because the Reception was over didn’t mean the party was.  Guests who still had the energy, were invited to an after-party which included a full bar and afterglow while the DJ spun until 4 am.

The next morning, everyone was invited to a Brunch at Gulio & Son’s, where Mayssoun and Ankur took the time to personally talk with every singe guest and to thank them once again for making their wedding weekend such a memorable one.

The entire weekend and wedding celebration was truly one to remember.

Event Planner and Designer: LUCIA|PAUL DESIGN / Photographer: Widdis Photography / Reception Venue: The Henry, Autograph Collection / Stationery: Cartier / Brides Jewelry: Cartier / Ceremony Gown: Chanel / Reception Gown: Carolina Herrera / Wedding Ceremony: Rattlesnake Club / Videographer: AV7 Weddings / Hair: Figo Salon / Make-up: Jon Liekfelt of Priss Makeup / Opera Singer: Elena Repnikova / Ballerinas: Valentina / Lighting and Draping: The Lighting Guy / Band: Simone Vitale / Custom Linens: Nuage Designs and Gala Linens / DJ: DJ Rumzei / Ballroom Dancers: Fred Astaire / Live Event Artist: K.A. Von Hasenbalg / Rentals: Special Events Rental and Elite Rental / Florist: Bellasario Florist / Cake and Desert Tables: Sweet Dreams / Ice Sculptures: Ice Dreams Sculptures

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Real Wedding: Liz and Ken, VIII

Thank you so very much to Jessica Johnston for sending us today’s lovely featured wedding. If you aren’t already in love with Jessica’s work, you will be after checking out her website and her gorgeous blog. She is pure talent and we are so thrilled to work with her.

And of course, thank you so much to Liz and Ken for sharing your day with us!

Jessica Johnston real wedding

We have many more indoor weddings on the way!

Real Wedding: Liz and Ken, VII

A few more bits of eye candy from today’s featured wedding…

Jessica Johnston real wedding

all images by Jessica Johnston (who we LOOOVE!)

I LOVE the simple white cakes set against such a rich, elegant background. I think that is what originally appealed to me about this wedding…the complete decadence paired with the really understated details. The bride’s gorgeous gown with the simple, chic bolero. The perfect little girl with her sweet knit hat. The birdcage veil, the cobalt blue wine glasses, the everything. I just love how unbelievably luxurious and yet irresistably approachable this whole wedding is.

Real Wedding: Liz and Ken, VI

Sometimes it’s the smallest, most intimate weddings that are the most beautiful. For most of us, having this type of an affair is virtually impossible, but there are lessons to be learned that would apply to any wedding…

Jessica Johnston real wedding

all photographs were captured by the lovely and talented Jessica Johnston

First, create an ambiance that is warm and incredibly inviting. Classic candlesticks towering over simple but beautiful white florals, classic white linens, great food and really nice wine.

Make little touches that you would if you were hosting your own dinner party at home. Things like handwritten place cards, bottles of champagne or a even sparkling water stored on ice beside each table, a welcoming toast from the bride or groom.

Chanel Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. Classic, simple and totally beautiful. From your wedding attire to your vows, everything should be thoughtfully elegant. A harpist or spanish guitarist would be lovely and would make guests feel that they are attending something incredibly special.

Make time for each guest. It means so much to those who traveled near and far to get in a quick hug with the bride and groom. By really making an effort, you will ensure that guests are left feeling thrilled.

So much more to come!

Real Wedding: Liz and Ken, V

Now on to the gorgeous dinner that Liz and Ken hosted with their closest family members. The pure romance of the evening just fills every corner, from the lush white flowers to the classic taper candles…

Jessica Johnston real wedding

The photographs were sent to us by Jessica Johnston, who is in my opinion, one of the most talented photographers out there. Check out these engagement shots of Liz and Ken that Jessica is featuring on her blog today…

Jessica Johnston real wedding

To see the whole spread, check out Jessica’s Blog!

Real Wedding: Liz and Ken, IV

Today’s wedding is such a study in elegance. The bride’s chic but totally refined style is simply gorgeous and the entire affair seemed to follow suit…

Jessica Johnston real wedding

The affair was held at the Ritz Carlton in Dearborn with only close family members attending. I love the warmth and intimacy of the affair, from stealing kisses in an elevator to sharing a first dance beneath those stunning chandeliers. We have so much more eye candy on the way! The images were all captured by Jessica Johnston.

Real Wedding: Liz and Ken, III

If you are just now stopping by, we are gushing over Liz and Ken’s intimate wedding that the fabulously talented Jessica Johnston (and when I say talented, I literally mean that I get emails all the time from readers who rave about her). Here are a few more bits of eye candy from the simple, totally romantic ceremony…

Jessica Johnston real wedding

Doesn’t this kind of remind you of a movie? It’s just so visually stunning…classic bride and groom in ridiculously beautiful attire, a perfect chandelier glistening above, a little pup and a beautiful baby. Does it get any better? So, so much more to come!

Real Wedding: Liz and Ken, II

Today we are featuring perhaps the most intimate wedding we’ve ever shown on SMP…with a grand total of 15 people, Liz and Ken tied the knot at the Ritz Carlton among those they loved the most.  And yet even though most of you can’t pull such a small affair, it’s the grace and elegance of the style that I knew you would fall in love with.

Jessica Johnston

Jessica Johnston sent us the images that I have literally devoured with glee. Her photographs are shockingly gorgeous, the perfect combination of timeless beauty and a sweet but whimsical style.

The bride wore an off the rack dress she found at Nordstrom and the stunning bolero was designed by Badgley Mischka. And, she’s lovely…so classic, so grace Kelly. The entire wedding is just effortlessly beautiful, inspiring a simple and candidly gorgeous style. Love.

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Real Wedding: Liz and Ken

We feature a pretty incredible amount of outdoor weddings on SMP. Outdoor affairs have that elegance, but effortless charm that we love so much. But not every couple has the luxury of living in California or Hawaii or some other fabulous state where weather just isn’t a concern, right!

Well…we put our Little Black Book members to the task of finding the chicest, loveliest indoor affairs that they could get their hands on and over the last week, we’ve been given a wonderful little collection of the most beautiful, totally approachable indoor weddings and receptions. From lofts and restaurants, to intimate gatherings at the most exclusive hotels, over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be featuring (along with a sprinkling of stunning outdoor affairs) truly beautiful indoor weddings filled to the brim with charm and style.

The first was sent to us by the fabulously talented Jessica Johnston, whose photographs will honestly give you butterflies…

Jessica Johnston

Liz and Ken were married at the Ritz Carlton in Dearborn with an intimate setting of only 15 of their nearest and dearest. Two days later, they had a holiday party where more friends and family could join in the celebration.