[real wedding] Michael and Barbara’s Wedding at Fort Street Presbyterian Church

LoveintheD co-blogger Shannon made this great blog post possible!

We love real wedding posts as much as our readers – and we know you’ll enjoy reading about Michael and Barbara’s 2010 wedding at Fort Street Presbyterian Church. If you were married in Detroit, please send us an e-mail and you could be featured on LoveintheD!



Why did you decide to get married in Detroit?

Michael and I had our first date in Detroit – we went to a Tigers game and Hockeytown Café. So we wanted to incorporate Detroit into our wedding. We both enjoy spending time there. Detroit has so much history and I’m passionate about its future.

Tell us about Fort Street Presbyterian Church.

It’s one of the oldest churches in Detroit. The interior is beautiful with dark walnut and stained glass windows. We worked with their wedding coordinator, which made the whole process easier. There’s a parking lot across the street so our guests didn’t have to worry about parking. The only downside was that there was no air conditioning.



Can you describe your wedding?

We didn’t decorate very much in the church – it’s so beautiful that we didn’t want to distract from the existing décor. The music was performed by the church organist. One of my favorite memories is that my niece – she was three at the time – was our flower girl and she got confused about when to walk down the aisle. We all got out of sync with the music, but it was cute and funny. Another problem we had was that some of the roads were blocked on the morning of our wedding. A film was being shot in the area, but thankfully, everything was clear by the time our guests arrived.

The Details:

Venue: Fort Street Presbyterian Church

Florist: Gerald’s Florist, Madison Heights

Dress: Maria’s Bridal

Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal

Rehearsal Dinner: Angelina Bistro, Detroit 



How did you and Michael meet?

Michael is actually the brother of one of my longtime friends. He’s a little bit older, so I had never met him until after I graduated college. When we saw each other, there were sparks!

Do you have any advice for others who are planning their Detroit wedding?

Have fun and take advantage of all the cool places to take photos. And, if you’re planning a summer wedding, be sure you have air conditioning!


Readers: What other historic Detroit churches would you recommend as wedding venues?

[real wedding] Philip and Clare’s Wedding at the Detroit Athletic Club

Real wedding posts are the big favorite at LoveintheD, and we’re excited to share details about Philip and Clare Baker’s 2009 wedding at the Detroit Athletic Club. Read on for LoveintheD co-blogger Shannon’s interview with Clare Baker, the bride!

If you were married in Detroit, please send us an e-mail and you could be featured on LoveintheD!

Why did you decide to get married in Detroit?
I grew up in this area and I feel a special attachment to Detroit. My dad has been a member of the Detroit Athletic Club since I was a child. We went there all the time for different activities and events. The DAC was a great value for us, because we were able to have our ceremony and reception in the same place. They took care of all the catering and table arrangements for us, and our guests stayed at the DAC hotel.



Tell us about the DAC as a wedding venue.
We loved the atmosphere of the DAC; it’s very classy. We had our wedding on the second floor and used all three rooms. We had our ceremony in one room, cake cutting and hors d’oeuvres in the second room, and dancing and dinner in the third. Plus, their wedding coordinator made planning so much easier.

How did you and Philip meet?
Philip is from the United Kingdom and we met while I was studying abroad. We had a long distance relationship for many years, and in 2009 he moved to the United States on a wedding visa. We had three months to plan our entire wedding!



Are there any other unique details you can share?
My sister-in-law’s father passed away from cancer, so instead of purchasing gifts or trinkets for each guest, we made a charitable donation to the American Cancer Society.

Do you have any advice for others who are planning their Detroit wedding?
Explore the many different venues Detroit has to offer and find out what fits your personality. And, use your personal contacts to keep your costs down. We had friends and acquaintances that helped us with music and photography.


The Details:
Venue: The Detroit Athletic Club
Photographer: Ryan Koehler
Dress: The Wedding Shoppe
Catering: The Detroit Athletic Club


Readers: Have you considered making a contribution to a cause in lieu of wedding favors?

Detroit wedding party photos with the Joneses

I am excited to share wedding photos from the May 2013 wedding of Chris and Melissa Jones! Chris and Sean went to high school together and I remember Sean telling me how happy Chris sounded when he first started dating Melissa. We met Melissa at our wedding in 2011 and their relationship has continued to grow. We are thrilled for this beautiful couple.

Take a look at the fun and creative wedding party photos at various Detroit hotspots and murals. Images were captured by 11-4 Productions. Enjoy!















Chris and SeanChris (the groom) and my husband Sean





Jones_0514The bride’s nephew danced up a storm at the wedding reception!

Readers: What is your favorite Detroit spot at which to take wedding party photos? 

[real wedding] Marsha and David’s wedding at Zion Congregational Church of God in Christ

It has been a long time since the last real wedding post on LoveintheD, and according to the reader survey, these are your favorite posts! I’ll do my best to include more real wedding posts. I encourage you to submit your own real Detroit wedding or encourage your friends to do so!

I am thrilled that my neighbors Marsha Battle Cusic and David Philpot have shared their beautiful Detroit wedding with LoveintheD!

Marsha and David were married in February 2012 at the historic Zion Congregational Church of God in Christ. Marsha, aka Marsha Music, is a writer, and her family’s story is an important link in the history of the old Hastings Street and Black Bottom in Detroit. Sean and I have come to know Marsha through living in the neighborhood that is now called Lafayette Park. Take a look at the wedding photos below!


Tell me about your love for Detroit.

I am a writer, and I write about Detroit in my blog Marsha Music. In 2012, I was awarded with a Kresge Fellowship in the Literary Arts, and I most recently performed my One Woman Show at ArtX 2013 – about Hastings Street, Black Bottom and my father’s role in Detroit’s music history.  In my blog, Marsha Music, I call myself a “primordial Detroiter”, for the importance of the history of this city resonates with me. My husband David is an artist – a master staff-maker; we met when he came to Detroit from Chicago for an exhibition of his work at the N’namdi Center for Contemporary Arts.  George N’namdi was his Best Man. Since our marriage, Philpot (as he is known) now resides here in Detroit, and has become a pillar of the arts community.

Marsha_David ceremony flowers


The details:
Venue: Historic Zion Congregational Church of God in Christ (COGIC)
Best Man: George N’namdi / Matron of Honor: Andrea Battle Kelly
Photographers: Mark Brown, Xiang Cclc, Charlene Usury
Gown Designer: Traditional West African ceremonial robes called Grand Bubas; the groom’s was acquired in West Africa, the bride’s was purchased at the African World Festival in Detroit.
Ringmaker: Nate Muccioli, Muccioli Studio Gallery in Bricktown
Food: Faithful Servant Catering, Sheryl Redmond
Cake:  Faithful Servant Catering, Jason Redmond
Flowers:  In lieu of flowers, staffs created by David Philpot (at altar, church’s arrangement)
Music:  John Derrick Davis, vibraphonist; Sharrone Thompson and Jeremiah Hall, vocalists
Officiant: Pastor James Hall
Wedding Planner: Lillian Herndon
Wedding Director: Athalia Cargyle
Church Liason: First Lady Brenda Hall
Honeymoon: The Inn on Ferry Street

Marsha_David ceremony

Marsha_David ceremonysmile

Marsha_David kiss

Marsha_David laughing

How did you incorporate Detroit into your wedding?

Our marriage was held at my maternal family’s church,  the historic Zion Congregational Church of God in Christ (COGIC), at 2135 Mack Avenue. This church was founded prior to the Great Depression, by the Elder I.W. Winans, patriarch of the singing Winans family. Having the wedding there was a statement honoring this church, which is replete with the history of important elements of Detroit life and culture.

Due to the sudden serious illness of a family member, we decided to have the wedding asap – in three weeks! Guests were notified by word of mouth, phone, and even Facebook. Our “village” pulled it all together and God blessed us with a beautiful wedding.  Our guests were family, church members, Lafayette Park neighbors – and mostly, friends from the arts community in Detroit.

Three photographers in the arts community offered to capture our wedding day. They are all known for their vibrant photos of Detroit and Detroiters.  Philpot and I decided that I would not carry flowers, but would instead we would both carry his majestic staffs during the processional and ceremony. Our honeymoon weekend was at the marvelous Inn On Ferry Street, in Midtown, Detroit. We were honored that we “represented” the D.

Our “village” pulled it all together and God blessed us with a beautiful wedding.  Although Philpots’ three children were unable attend from out of town, due to the late notice, our guests were family, church members, Lafayette Park neighbors – and mostly, friends from the arts community in Detroit. The ceremony was a reflection of the wonderful diversity of both my own family, and our guests.

Marsha_David staffs

Marsha_David ring

Marsha_David family photo

Marsha_David cake2

What was your favorite moment of the wedding?

When I came down the aisle and saw so many of our family and friends, who had come despite such a “last-minute” invitation; and when my husband exclaimed, “I do, I do, I do!”.

Marsha_David with wedding party

Marsha_David toast

What words of advice do you have for those planning their own Detroit weddings? 

Don’t let stress, money worries and the inter-familial push-and-pull of the wedding events cause you to falter – it will all work out, in the beautiful end.


[real wedding] Ana and Joel’s sustainable Belle Isle wedding

When I first started LoveintheD, a friend said I absolutely must talk with Ana and Joel about their socially conscious wedding! After interviewing them, it was absolutely clear why! Ana and Joel had three themes for their July 4, 2009 wedding: community, sustainability, and health.

Sean and I may have had our first date on the same day that Ana and Joel met! Ana and Joel were both at the Detroit Festival of the Arts. Ana had just come back to the Detroit area, and hadn’t seen many bike commuters. She saw Joel on his bike and knew that he was a fellow bike commuter! He noticed her too. They began talking and found a million things in common.

ana_joel ana

ana_joel joel

Tell me about your love for Detroit.

Joel: We are passionate about spending our money in Detroit. A wedding is a major capital investment, so we made a commitment that we wanted to get married in Detroit and use Detroit vendors as much as we could. I work in sustainability and am excited about Detroit being a hotbed for a more sustainable, greener society.

Ana: My dad had a big presence in Detroit as an advertising photographer who was really involved in his community. My father was known by many people in the city and had a very deep love and commitment to the city. After coming back from the west coast, I knew this is the place where I want to spend the rest of my life.

ana_joel ceremony father

ana_joel ceremony

The details:

Venue: Belle Isle
Photographer: Lance Havelka
Flowers: Mother’s friend (bamboo stalks)
DJ: Brian Gillespie
Videography: Rand Shackleton
Officiants: Richard Andres and Deb Lentz
Food: Prepared by Canape Cart 
Chairs and tables: C&N Rentals

ana_joel just married

How did you incorporate Detroit into your wedding?

We chose Belle Isle because it is the nature area of the city. We go to Belle Isle to swim in the summer, to cross-country ski in the winter, to bike, and to participate in the Motor City Triathlon. Our out of town guests stayed at the Double Tree Hotel. We created tour maps, which included cool places like Lafayette Coney Island, the Heidelberg Project, Mexicantown, iconic downtown buildings, and community gardens. We gave out Detroit goodie bags. We wanted to make sure people left with a good impression of the city.

Tell us about the bike ride!

We go on a 1000-mile bike tour every summer. You read that right. After the ceremony, we held a bike processional! We rode a tandem and about fifty of our guests followed us around the fountain on Belle Isle!

ana_joel prebike

ana_joel biking

ana_joel bike bell

ana_joel bikewave

Sustainability is a big part of your lives. How did that translate into your wedding meal?

All our food at the wedding was grown within 100 miles of Detroit. Most of the food was grown much closer. The meat was purchased from an Eastern Market farmer. Brother Nature provided the greens. The Canapé Cart was excited about preparing our meal using local food! Instead of a wedding cake, our baker friends brought fruit pies.

What was your favorite moment of the wedding?

Joel: Our vows were special — we wrote them ourselves. We asked the community to support us.

Ana: My dad had a stroke and was paralyzed on one side. Yet he actually walked me down the aisle. That took everyone’s breath away. The moment when he got up out of his wheelchair was pretty awesome. The bike processional was also very cool. We did a salsa number for our first dance. That was fun! The food was incredible! Food is a big part of our lives and that was important. I had a lot of favorite moments!

ana_joel casino

ana_joel table number

ana_joel dinner

ana_joel pies

What words of advice do you have for those planning their own Detroit weddings?

Joel: Determine your highest priority and put a lot of energy and effort into making that element really good. Recognize what you can let go of a little bit. You can’t control everything! If food quality is important to you, find a venue that doesn’t require you to use their kitchen. If you have to use the in-house kitchen, you can’t really tell the venue to use a certain caterer.

Ana: You can make an impact on your local economy because you’re probably spending so much money! One thing that was really hard was narrowing down the guest list. You don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. Have you shared a meal with them in the last year? Do you want them in your life in the next ten years? Use those questions to help you decide.

ana_joel dance

ana_joel couple photo

[real wedding] Alicia and Lee’s Unitarian Universalist wedding

Today’s LoveintheD real wedding post is short and sweet.

In 2009, Sean and I attended the wedding of our friends Alicia and Lee. We became friends when Sean and I began attending services at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit at the time Alicia was on the board. Alicia and Lee had an intimate winter wedding… and the Christmas Eve candles were still up in the church. It was beautiful! One of the highlights was the yummy dessert bar. Another highlight was the way the officiant spoke about Alicia and Lee’s hope that the marriages of same sex couples would someday soon be legally recognized across the country.

Alicia_Lee from pews2

From Alicia:

As a mature couple, we opted for a small, do-it-yourself (DIY) type wedding. We were surrounded by our family and friends with a style that was all our own. By having a small DYI service and reception, we were able to have the wedding we wanted; we avoided expectations of others…

The details:
Venue: First Unitarian Universalist Church (service) and old Victorian house (reception)
Officiant: Reverend Drew Johnston
Flowers: Eastern Market vendors
Reception: Dessert theme with sweets, treats, and warm drinks
Music: Recorded music from the 1980s
Photographer: William Townley of TVisuals (Lee’s uncle
Tailor: Area Code 313 Blu
Hair: Curl Up & Dye

Alicia_Lee married2

Tell me about your love for Detroit.

Like love, my affection for the city changes and grows over the years. The city allowed me to become my own person, taught me to stand on my own, and taught me that I can be the change I want to see in life.

Having a wedding in Detroit meant we could have a wedding that reflect us, our style and our love of independence, reinvention, and reclamation.  Our officiant, Rev Johnston, made the ceremony that reflected us as individuals and as a couple while including our guests.  The ceremony was something I will never forget.

How did you incorporate Detroit into your wedding? What socially or environmentally conscious choices did you make during the wedding planning process?

Our tailor provided us with a custom designed dress and a custom designed tuxedo. Our wedding was in Detroit in a historic church building known for social justice work. For the reception, we used local retail, shops and services. The dessert reception featured sweets from various local bakeries. We recycled where we could. The wedding planning was all-volunteer and our wedding incorporated many DIY elements.

Alicia_Lee desserts2

Alicia_Lee children

What was your favorite moment of the wedding?

One of my favorite moments was seeing all the candlelight in sanctuary and the snow falling during the reception. Also, I really enjoyed the late evening festivities with few good friends sharing wine and scotch.

What words of advice do you have for those planning their own Detroit weddings?

DIY weddings are very possible! Having your style of wedding is also possible. Not every wedding has to be “by the book.” Design a wedding that reflects you, your spouse, and your future together!

[real wedding] Heather & Guy’s wedding: food, bikes, and invites

Heather Earnley and Guy Samuels unleashed their creative minds on their October 2012 wedding weekend with the ceremony, dance party reception, and bike ride on different days. I love the multicultural combination of Detroit and Hamtramck caterers that Heather and Guy booked for their wedding. The photos of the bike ride and the printed materials that the bride designed herself show how this couple was able to make their wedding uniquely their own!

Originally, Heather and Guy were to be married a few weeks before the reception weekend. But when they learned that Guy’s father would be able to come into town from Miami, they decided to have the wedding ceremony during the same weekend so he could be present for everything.  Heather said: “That made everything a little more chaotic, but I wouldn’t change a thing to be able to share that with Guy’s father!”

Heather_Guy portrait

Venues: Ceremony at Belle Isle Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory  / Reception dance party at Northern Lights Lounge   / Post-bike-tour dinner: Motor City Brewing Works
DJ: Craig Gonzales
Catering: Jamaica Jamaica, Royal Kabob, Jacques Taco Truck, Sgt. Pepperoni’s, and Franklin Cider Mill
Invitations: Toboggan Run Stationery (run by the bride!)
Rings: Engagement ring by Ericia Bartels, bride’s wedding ring by Melle Finelli, groom’s ring by Minter and Richter Designs
Hair: Red

Tell me about your love for Detroit.

There is so much hidden culture and cool quirks about Detroit, that it always feels like an inside secret. 

How did you give your wedding guests a “Detroit experience?”

Most of our family do not hang out in Detroit, and only about half of our friends do, so we wanted to have a few events that introduced everyone to the great things that we do all the time, and are unique to Detroit.  We wanted to sort of use our wedding as a showcase to spoil our friends and family with cool experiences.  We wanted to use some of our favorite local restaurants for our food instead of hiring a caterer.   It was also important to us that we had an organized bike ride.  Biking is such a great way to see the city and much more immediate than riding around in a car.  A lot of people who did the ride had never ever heard of the Cut or knew about the new murals in Eastern Market and stuff, so it was great to introduce that.

Guy and I love to ride our bikes through the city, and we wanted to share that with our friends and family.  Plus, we had a fair amount of people coming in from out of town and we wanted to make the trip memorable. We wanted to showcase the Riverwalk, the Dequindre Cut, the new Eastern Market graffiti, Belle Isle, and the Heidelberg Project.

Wheelhouse Detroit is a company that rents bikes right on the Riverwalk, which was perfect for all our out of town guests.  I mapped out a route that was about 16 miles, that included all of the sights we wanted to highlight, and I felt was an easy, fun distance.  Everyone had a great time, despite the rain that threatened to cancel the ride, and the sun came out by the end and all was well.

Heather_Guy Pre Bike

Heather_Guy Bike Ride

Heather_Guy Biking near Heidelberg

You had quite a lot of caterers! Tell me about the food.

Guy’s one request in all of the planning was he wanted Jamaican food to celebrate his heritage.  We ordered Patties (both veggie and meat) and chicken wings from Jamaica Jamaica, a Jamaican Restaurant in Detroit.  We also ordered a fatoush salad from our favorite Middle Eastern place in Hamtramck, Royal Kabob.  I have had a major obsession with tacos for years and so having a Taco Cart come and serve tacos and enchiladas was a natural choice.  The Jacques Tacos Truck was a hit, as was the fatoush and jerk chicken. We had pizzas delivered by Sgt. Pepperoni as a late night snack as well.  And for dessert we had cider and doughnuts from the Franklin Cider Mill.

Heather_Guy Taco Truck

What was your favorite part of the wedding planning process?

Designing all of the stationery was definitely my favorite part of the planning.  It was such a fun challenge to create a beautiful invitation that perfectly conveyed the spirit of our celebration.  And then to expand that vision into a whole suite of cards was awesome.  My other favorite moment was when Guy and I were choosing our Vows for the ceremony.  We were both on our laptops, drinking a glass of wine and laughing over all of the saucy ones that we kept finding that were not what we were looking for, but so funny and inappropriate.  I enjoyed all of the planning process, but that night was probably my favorite.

Heather_Guy Formal Invites

Heather_Guy Save the Date Thank You

What words of advice do you have for those planning their own Detroit weddings?

I would say: Don’t be afraid to find creative solutions! Weddings have a magical effect on people and friends and family will come out and support your ideas or your vision, so don’t be afraid to do what you want.


[real wedding] Christyn and Ismael’s Detroit wedding

Christyn and Ismael planned their Detroit wedding with almost 200 guests in just five weeks! How in the world did they do that? Read on to find out about their June 2012 wedding at two beautiful Catholic churches in the city. Enjoy the images by Tessa Bird Photography!

Christyn said that getting married in Detroit was a no-brainer: “We couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else.  We met here, we live here, we go to church here, we work here, we play here. This is home. Ismael and I met next door to St. Anne’s over 13 years ago.   It was as if we were coming full circle.”

Christyn_Ismael churchescombined

Christyn_Ismael laughing

Christyn_Ismael hair

Venues: Ceremony at St. Leo’s Catholic Church  / Reception at St. Anne’s Catholic Church Hall
Rehearsal Dinner: Polish Village Café
Catering: Canapé Cart   http://www.canapecart.com/
Cake: Supreme Bakery, 5401 Proctor St, Detroit, MI 48210
Flowers: Eastern Market (centerpieces) and friend of family (bouquet/corsage)
Favors:  Made by Ismael
Music: Ceremony – Coleman Ward (Detroit School of Performing Arts) & Suzanne Camino / DJ – Dexter Dubois
Photographer: Tessa Bird Photography
Makeup: Rita Leigl of Green Room Spa
Hair: Ezelli Salon http://ezellisalon.mobi/
Event Planner: Melinda Anderson of Swoon Rental and MeMe Designs
Invitations: Artist Loralei Byatt
Linens: Lyndsey’s Linen

Christyn_Ismael church inside

Christyn_Ismael flowergirls

How did you incorporate Detroit into your wedding?

We probably were a bit more limited or should we say, flexible, since we planned the wedding in 5 weeks! Not a shotgun wedding…just making sure our VIPs were in the country to attend. Looking back, that seems unbelievable, but it turned out perfectly….at least in our eyes.  We had just under 200 people and were so glad to have them share in our Detroit wedding.

With the short notice we didn’t get to prepare for our out of town guests as much as we would have liked but we had a few opportunities to show off the city. We were able to secure rooms at a hotel on the riverwalk, which gave guests a great place to walk and view the city. We had our rehearsal dinner at Polish Village Café, I hear the wedding after party was at Green Dot Stables just a couple blocks from the hall… although we didn’t make it! And our Green Acres home was open the day after for our out of town guests.

Christyn_Ismael hugging guest

Christyn_Ismael embrace

Christyn_Ismael walking

What socially or environmentally conscious choices did you make during the wedding planning process?

The hall we used was completely bare bones, so we found a caterer that could really work with us to brainstorm. This gave us the benefit of taking home food.  I’m not so sure the take out containers were eco-friendly, but the food did not go to waste! We had out of town guests over to our house the day after, so that was helpful.

Ismael created favors from recycled pop and beer caps.  He punched out sayings with the date imposed over the invitation background, making a magnet that was placed at each place setting.

We’ve always admired our friend and artist Loralei Byatt’s photography. She was generous to work with us to design our invitation with an image of a bright purple flower, Spiderwort (!), from her garden.

What was your favorite moment of the wedding?

Standing on the altar with Ismael by my side and all our friends and family there with us. We could not stop smiling.

The music. We both love music and dancing, so everything from Brenda Fassie as we entered, Sade as our first dance, the father-daughter waltz, or the last song – Fedde Le Grand’s Put Your Hands Up For Detroit…..I love this city!!  They all made the day memorable!

Hearing our guests say: “It was like an old fashioned wedding!” “…The best wedding food we’ve ever had!” and “You both never stopped smiling!” Perfect!

Christyn_Ismael combined cake bouquet magnets

Christyn_Ismael outside church

Christyn_Ismael sitting

What words of advice do you have for those planning their own Detroit weddings?

Look for nontraditional spaces: There is a wide range of options for weddings in Detroit – something to suit every budget. While there are plenty of beautiful hotels and conference halls, there are also many museums, church halls, public buildings, parks, galleries, and random spaces that could host your wedding.

Don’t break the bank: There are options. Short notice gives you great negotiating ability.  We bought all our own liquor and drinks. We skipped a large wedding party and had opted for flowers bought the morning of the wedding at Eastern Market.

Get off of Pinterest. Kidding! A little. It stressed me out.

[real wedding] SiRui and Jesse’s Gem Theatre wedding

I am excited to share SiRui and Jesse’s Gem Theatre wedding from September 2012. I met SiRui a few years ago through a mutual friend and remember when she asked about the best spots in Detroit for engagement photos. It’s a good thing when folks living outside the city ask questions out of a genuine desire for answers and local knowledge. Check out the lovely images by Special Moments below.

…And how much do you love SiRui’s red gown??

SiRui_Jesse RenCen

SiRui_Jesse invitation

SiRui_Jesse dress with detroit

SiRui_Jesse bride and mom

Tell me about your love for Detroit.

We really enjoy the times we’ve spent in Detroit. It’s a fun and friendly city with a tragic beauty about it.  It’s rich in history and potential.  Jesse and I picked the Gem Theatre in Detroit because we wanted somewhere memorable for our wedding, not just some generic banquet hall.


SiRui_Jesse Fisher Building2

Venue: The Gem Theatre
Photographer: Special Moments 
Gown: Designed by Moonlight Bridal, purchased at B-Ella Bridal
Jewelry: Reaver Diamond Company
Flowers: Bill Hamilton Designs (LGBT-owned)
Cake: Mid East Bakery 
Music/Video: Mike Staff Productions 
Makeup & Hair: Imagine Three
Wedding coordinator: Luna Soiree 
Officiant: Lindsey Anderson (Detroit)
Guest accomodations: Marriott in Renaissance Center


SiRui_Jesse namecards


How did you incorporate Detroit into your wedding? What socially or environmentally conscious choices did you make during the wedding planning process?

Our theme for the guest welcome bags in the hotel was “Favorite things from Michigan.” We included Better Made potato chips, tortilla chips from the Ann Arbor Tortilla Factory, Faygo, chocolate-covered cherries from Cherry Republic and caramel corn from Kilwins. Even the welcome card was from the printer Gwen Frostic.
We are big supporters of marriage equality.  Our guests name cards were done in different colors and arranged like a rainbow.  Many of our friend identify themselves as “bears” we had custom-made bear cake toppers.

SiRui_Jesse firstdance

What was your favorite moment of the wedding?

My favorite moment of the wedding was walking down the aisle. My Dad was incredibly supportive. It really meant a lot to me! Also when we were introduced as newlyweds at the reception.


What words of advice do you have for those planning their own Detroit weddings?

Definitely go visit the places that you may be interested in for your wedding. While you’re there find somewhere that’s not wedding related to explore. It keeps you sane by creating a date like moment with you and your future spouse. Also there are lots of amazing things happening in Detroit that if you don’t live in the city you get a chance to be a part of.


[real wedding] Ashley & Raimi’s wedding at the Wright Museum!

Have you ever seen a photograph that captured happiness so simply, so clearly?

If you look at even just one of the photos below taken by photojournalist Marcus Parham, you will realize that Ashley Whitfield and Prof. Raimi Gbadamosi had a blast at their December 2012 wedding at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History! Ashley and Raimi met when they were involved in social justice issues in London. She’s a youth worker and curator; he’s an artist.

Ashley and I met during college at the University of Michigan. Doesn’t she look radiant? I love that Riana, one of the bridesmaids and another college friend, was a flower maiden! :-)

Ashley_Raimi ceiling

Tell me about your love for Detroit.

I have an affinity for Detroit for many reasons. It has helped to raise my community – some of my most dear family and friends. Detroit is a center for radical histories and contemporary social justice struggles. And I love the culture that seeps through it all from gator shoes to Dilla!

Ashley_Raimi groom pic

Ashley_Raimi candle_favors

Ashley_Raimi couple

Ashley_Raimi bridesmaids_Riana

The details

Venue: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History 
Photographer: Marcus Parham, photojournalist
Gown: Runaway Bride budget friendly sample dress store
Catering: Jackson’s Five Star Catering
Cake: Holiday Market, plus a dessert table with peach cobbler and cheesecake
Flowers: Goodness Gracious Flowers
Favors: Art pieces created by the groom!
DJ: DJ Sicari
Ring: Sculpted by Mark Woods

Make-up: Shalonda A
Hair: Meatta B
Officiant: Hon. William G. Lipscomb, Jr (Ashley’s uncle)

Ashley_Raimi ceremony

Ashley_Raimi couple1

How did you incorporate Detroit into your wedding?

I was fortunate to have my wedding at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History a national but also local gem. The Wright Museum is an essential part of Detroit’s landscape. Also, I requested a set of some of my all time favorite music: Detroit Ghetto Techno (DJ Snowflake & DJ Assault). Finally, our lovely guests were some of my favorite Detroiters.

What socially or environmentally conscious choices did you make during the wedding planning process?

I was determined to stick to a modest budget. We donated flowers to a nursing home after the wedding. I felt uncomfortable with the history of certain “traditional” wedding elements such as the wedding veil, so I did not wear a veil, toss a bouquet or have my groom find a garter belt! All accessories (except my shoes) were family heirlooms: my mother’s headpiece and great-grandmother’s earrings. Finally, I asked my friends to select their own dresses.

Ashley_Raimi bride laughing

Ashley_Raimi bride and bridesmaids

What was your favorite moment of the wedding?

My four favorite moments were: (1) Dancing with lifelong friends to some of my all time favorite music: Detroit Ghetto Techno! (2) Seeing one of my best buddies, Riana Anderson, walking down the aisle as the flower maiden (she always teased about wanting to be a flower girl). (3) Our first dance to Wayne Shorter’s Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 from the album Alegria. (4) Being ‘sprayed’ with money, a fun Nigerian custom.

Ashley_Raimi cake

Ashley_Raimi first dance

Ashley_Raimi dancing

Ashley_Raimi embrace

What words of advice do you have for those planning their own Detroit weddings? 

Relax and enjoy the process. Allow space for the incidental. Many of my most memorable details emerged organically!