Why I’ve been a bit of a slacker as a blogger lately…

You may have seen that there was a big time gap in between blog posts this summer/early fall. I just wanted to let you, the LoveintheD blog readers, know that it’s not because I don’t care about the blog! I do. I really really do.

Some of you know this already, but for the many of you who do not:

This summer I decided to run for office! In January, I was asked by my friend and mentor, Rashida Tlaib, to run for State Representative in House District 6 (Detroit, River Rouge and Ecorse). After six months of meetings, reflecting, writing and of course, a few list-making processes, I finally decided to go for it. I realized I can use my organizing, advocacy, and coalition building skills while serving the residents of District 6 and working to improve the well-being of our communities. The campaign has already been an amazing journey and learning opportunity. I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support and encouragement from friends, colleagues, family members… and people I have met at neighborhood meetings and community events. Most importantly, I am excited about continuing to make a positive impact. Check out the campaign facebook page here. The primary election is August 5, 2014.

Okay, that’s the update! No more will be posted about the campaign here on this blog, so that I can keep it to its true and original purpose. With that said…

Are you interested in being my LoveintheD co-blogger? I am looking for someone who is passionate about socially conscious weddings, reliable, a good writer, and loves and lives in Detroit. If you are interested, please email me at loveintheD@gmail.com with your story, why you are interested, and a short writing sample. Please note that it might take me some time to get back to you.

Thank you for your patience and happy blog reading,


[engaged in the D] Agnes and Ken – Engaged in Corktown

I was so excited to hear from Agnes, the photographer from the LoveintheD + Peacock Room vintage wedding photoshoot, recently! She and Ken recently became engaged.

Below is the proposal story, as told by Ken:

From the beginning of our relationship, Agnes has been showing me around the city. I’ve lived in and around Detroit most of my life, but I never fully appreciated it. On top of that, she’s an artist (a photographer); she sees the world through a different lens. And, through her lens, I’ve seen things I’ve never seen before. There’s beauty all around Detroit, and I’ve been missing out. I’m grateful to her for opening my eyes.

One of her great loves is for the graffiti around the city (something we now share). So, when thinking of a way to propose to her, her love for the city and her love of graffiti led to the grand idea of “tagging” my proposal to her somewhere downtown. There was, however, one minor problem: I have NO artistic ability. None. Whatsoever. So, to approach this seemingly insurmountable problem, I did what any left-brain person would do: I researched, organized and planned my way through it. After all of that, one cold Fall night, after the bars had closed, I went downtown and sacrificed a night of sleep to try to impress my girlfriend enough to say “yes”. She would NOT have been impressed with how ridiculous I looked (ski mask, thermal gear, miner’s light, the whole nine yards).


The result of all of this work can be found in a 40-foot strip in the parking lot just south of Mercury Burger Bar in Corktown. Corktown was where we had our second date, and many dates since. Good restaurants, good vibe, up and coming. It’s a microcosm of all of the good that’s going on in the city. If we’re not in our home towns, that’s likely where you’ll find us. Now, my heart was in the right place, but I did vandalize that parking lot.

So, in trying to make things right, I reached out to the owner of the lot, who is also the owner of Slows Bar-B-Q and told him what I had done. I expected a harsh reprimand, but what I got was graciousness. He was more concerned about Agnes’s answer to my proposal than he was about his lot. Needless to say, through that act of kindness, Slows Bar-B-Q has won itself two patrons for life.

By the way, she said yes.
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

[engaged in the D] Meet Sarah and Nick, rooftop wedding couple!

Apologies for the long long long gap in between blog posts. There is a reason why, I promise! Anyway, here is a great post for you. Sarah and Nick are planning their Detroit wedding for next year, and LoveintheD was able to interview them about their planning process! Sarah is also blogging about all the steps in her planning process – check it out here.

Sarah and Nick, tell us about your engagement! How long have you known each other? How did the proposal take place?

We met when we were 16 while camping in Port Huron and found out we lived only a few miles from each other. We became instant friends, and continued to keep in contact throughout college. It wasn’t until we were 21 that we started dating, and found out that we’d secretly liked each other the whole time. Two and a half years later I convinced him to conquer one of his greatest fears and go skydiving with me. He is currently attending medical school in the Caribbean so we had to plan it during one of his breaks between semesters. This poor guy flew home all day Thursday and Friday, and less than 24 hours after landing was sent on another plane to jump out of.

We strapped in, ascended, and leapt from 10,000 feet in the air – and had the most exhilarating experience! Nick had jumped first, and when he landed was struggling to take the ring out of his pocket. His harness made it impossible, and he wasn’t able to ask me when I landed. 
Once we broke free of our harnesses, Nick asked to take a little walk to the top of the hill next to the field. I’d assumed it was because he needed to walk off his adrenaline rush. It wasn’t until he started babbling at the top while holding my hands that I knew – and he dropped to one knee with the ring of my dreams. I said yes and pulled him back up to kiss me!
It’s hard to believe that the day we went skydiving, it wasn’t jumping out of a plane which was the most exciting.


Why did you decide to get married in Detroit? What does Detroit mean to you?

Location was actually a difficult decision for us. With him currently in medical school, we could be anywhere in the country next year. It came down to the decision of having either a small wedding with our guests traveling to us, or a bigger wedding with us traveling to our guests. Family and friends are the most important things to us, and we decided to keep it where they are. And that’s exactly what Detroit means to us – family and friends.

How has supporting local businesses factored into your process of exploring vendors so far? What have been some challenges?

Local businesses have been a huge part of planning for us. When exploring vendors, it seems local businesses are the only ones that have something truly unique to offer! We have yet to book with anyone yet though as we are still hashing out venue details, so I can’t speak to challenges quite yet. But here are our considerations:

  • Nick and I have some weird/unique hopes for what our wedding will be, so we have been searching for vendors that can help us along with that. Him and I are both big nerds, so for the shower (themed all things geek) we’ve found someone who actually lives down the street from my parents who makes amazing and elaborate cakes.
  • We’re also looking into a student videographer who has amazing talent but still needs to build their portfolio for life after graduation. We’ll be reaching out to CCS as well as other local colleges to help our search.
For music, we have our hearts set on a live band (but have yet to pick one). We’ve started countless Google and YouTube searches for local bands and, once we have the location/date set, will be reaching out to a few.
  • The ceremony/reception venues up for consideration (and are currently speaking with) are rooftops in Downtown Detroit. We’re hoping an indoor ceremony in the building, with the reception on the rooftop. Our song since we were 16 has been “Rooftops” by LostProphets, so we have hearts set on making that dance a magical moment.

What other socially conscious elements are you hoping to incorporate into your Detroit wedding?

Neither Nick nor myself are religious people, so we are looking for an officiant who will take the focus away from religion and bring it to the promise between the two of us. We will also have my gay friend standing in our wedding, so it’s important the officiant supports that lifestyle as well. We also do not care about the gender, race, religion, etc. of our vendors – so long as the quality and price align with what we want, we will support any business.

Hooray for blogging! How did you decide to start a blog about your wedding process and how is it going so far? Any update on your venue search?

There were multiple reasons I decided to start a blog! First, I wanted some way to document this whole process; as I’ve heard over and over about how much effort it takes and how quickly it flies by. Second, I realized that Nick and I would not be having your typical church-hall wedding and thought my planning experiences could help anyone going through the same thing. Third (tacking on to the second point), since we would not be having a typical wedding, I knew we wouldn’t be having typical vendors. My blog could help them gain some business for the future, and I loved the idea of being able to help them out. Lastly, blogging is a great way to connect with a close-knit community and I’ve always wanted to be a part of that.

And so far, I think it’s going pretty well! I only have 10 subscribers so far, but I’ve caught on really quickly with the design capabilities and the voice I want to have. I’ll admit, my posts are pretty long and no-good for our Twitter-snippet information processing these days, but I’m proud of them. I try to incorporate pictures, memes, and gifs anywhere I can – all of which are my favorite part of any blog.

So what’s the update on the venue search?

The choices are now down to the Detroit Opera House or Music Hall. Both offer theater weddings and the rooftop reception we want. After tomorrow I will have met with both, and we will start the comparison process to see which is our best fit.

For anyone else looking at rooftops, we’ve checked out a bunch and found most won’t accept the wedding business. One was residents only, one was corporate only, one didn’t take private weekend events, one even specifically didn’t allow weddings.

[engaged in the D] How I made my own lace wedding dress

Welcome guest blogger Katherine back to LoveintheD! To read her first guest post, click here. Curious about how Katherine made her own wedding dress for her Detroit wedding? Read on for her dress story!

When I told people about my intentions to make my own wedding dress, despite never having made any kind of dress ever in my life, they thought I was a little nuts. They said totally logical things like “I would be scared!” and “what will you do if it doesn’t work?” and “that sounds stressful and complicated!”

“I just don’t want you to be in a panic a week before the wedding because you have nothing to wear…” said my sweet, and extremely reasonable, fiancee.

• •

Despite it being a very large project, I can honestly say that the wedding dress was the least stressful of my many DIY projects for the wedding (aside: just because you’ve seen other people screen print, that does not mean you are ready to screen print your wedding invites). One of the reasons it was so low-stress is that I started very early. Another is that my wedding dress was never going to be exactly “traditional.” So go ahead and get that big white cake of a dress out of your head right now.

I actually didn’t set out to make my own wedding dress, and first found a seller on Etsy who made dresses that I thought might fit my criteria (eco-friendly, not white, dripping with sentimentality, LACE, budget-friendly) but one night while pursuing my options and dreaming I suddenly thought: “Wait. I can do that!”

Wedding dress1

Left: Dress base made of a slip and a loose skirt dyed green / Right: Early sample layout for dress that was ultimately abandoned as too busy 

My dress (much like the ones I liked on Etsy) uses a slip as a base, which eliminated a lot (though not all) of the complicated fitting process. I also relied heavily on trusted friends with more experience than me to consult me. Garment creation is often more complicated than it looks on the outside, so it was great to be able to call friends and ask: “Will this work?” Sometimes, the answer was: “Not exactly…” and I had to modify my plan slightly.

I did not use a pattern. Instead, I collected the pieces (shout out to Amy at Smallcraft for helping me get lace!) the dress would be made of and worked on the layout by pinning them together over and over again.

By far the most tedious portion was the lace sewing. Most lace needs to be sewn by hand in order to avoid unattractive bunching. I actually love hand-sewing, so this wasn’t a huge problem for me. I also found that a lot of wedding planning feels rushed, so it was great (for me) to have some forced downtime making slow and steady progress. It felt very romantic! However, if you are thinking of doing this yourself, be forewarned that I probably clocked at least 50 hours with a needle and thread in my hand.

wedding dress 2

My finished dress pictured with my partner Chelsea’s dress

Readers: Have you ever sewn your own clothing? Would you consider making your own wedding dress?

Local letterpress love from Salt & Cedar

Last week I had the privilege of interviewing Leon of Salt and Cedar, one of Detroit’s fine letterpress companies! I knew that Salt and Cedar produced quality letterpress but did not know anything about their event space used to host locally sourced dinner events.

Read on and take a look at some wedding invitations!

About Salt and Cedar

Salt and Cedar recently celebrated its one year anniversary, but Leon has been involved in paper-making, binding, distributing, and letterpress for two decades. He loves that with letterpress printing, “we have control over all aspects of production.”

Leon wanted to incubate a business in Eastern Market where he and his partner have lived since arriving to Detroit in 2010. One of his favorite things about living in Eastern Market is finding great local produce on Saturdays. Leon says it “feels wonderful to be part of a community of merchants” that have been here for decades. The print shop was imagined as a space for collaboration and it has grown tremendously over one year.

So what is letterpress all about?

Letterpress presents an opportunity for “deep engagement with hands-on processes as a designer.” Letterpress designers are not governed by pre-established fonts because the letterpress uses movable type and each letter is set by hand. Designers control the quality of the paper. The charm of letterpress may come from the “practically sculptural” metal type and tactile nature of letterpress. Sean and I had letterpress invitations for our 2011 wedding (click here to read Sean’s blog post about the process of designing the invitations) and can testify to the amazing creations that can result from letterpress!

salt and cedar 2

salt and cedar 1

What is the role of the kitchen at Salt and Cedar?

At the back of the letterepress print shop, Salt and Cedar developed a market studio kitchen, which hosts five to six dinners each month. Leon is “interested in the power of the dinner table” in cultivating community and loves to work with the farmers selling at Eastern Market, artists, and papermakers.

salt and cedar dinner

Weddings in Detroit

Let’s say you’re a bride or groom exploring the idea of letterpress wedding invitations. If you contact Salt and Cedar, you’ll enter a collaborative process for design. You can view 30-40 invitation projects and an incredible font selection. You can discuss the quality of paper you would like and personalize, personalize, personalize. As a couple, you have creative control. Leon “can really cultivate an invitation or packet of materials that is distinctive to your tastes, ethics, and aesthetics, similar to a custom built bicycle.” After you choose which paper you prefer, you can choose the ink color, perhaps based on the flower arrangements and other details of the wedding Salt and Cedar will actually hand mix your batch of ink in front of you, and allow you to take the metal plates as keepsakes!

stamphere2Photo credit: Miranda Clark

stamphere5Photo credit: Miranda Clark

salt and cedar letters

Photo credit: Renee Sandoval

Salt and Cedar is teaming up with Trinosophes to host a Detroit wedding in October at the Trinosophes space on Gratiot. From custom cocktail drinks and thirty roasted organic chickens to letterpress wedding invitations, this wedding is chock-full of local Detroit goodness.

Leon has noticed that couples wish to be more and more involved and hands-on in all aspects of the wedding invitations and printed materials. Engaged couples want to be involved in the process!

Detroit’s “image repertoire”

Leon notes that Detroit has an incredibly powerful and provocative image repertoire — from the landscape to antique maps of the city to old photographs of Detroit homes, Salt and Cedar has spent some time looking at Detroit images. One Salt and Cedar customer wanted to use a photo of their parents dancing when they were teenagers, so Salt and Cedar created a black and white line drawing based on that photo. Whatever image emerges as a priority, Salt and Cedar will find a way to translate via metal onto your invitations.

Readers: Are you a fan of letterpress printing? What has your experience been with designing wedding invitations?

Organic Detroit wedding cakes by Good Cakes and Bakes

So I missed Jazzin’ on Jefferson this summer because I was out of town, but Jazzin’ on Jefferson (a must-visit summer festival in Detroit) is where my friend Tierney met April Anderson of Good Cakes and Bakes! About a month later, Sean and I met April at the East English Village 100th Anniversary Party.

Of course we ordered a red velvet cupcake (one of my faves), and it was delicious!! And get this … Good Cakes and Bakes uses local organic ingredients whenever possible and is based right here in Detroit. I knew there must be a spot on LoveintheD for this local socially conscious wedding vendor! Last week I had the joy of interviewing April. Read on for the details!

Good Cakes and Bakes - April

April Anderson has been baking since she was nine or ten years old. She used to bake for everybody in the family! When she was ten years old, she hadn’t purchased a Mother’s Day gift for her mother, so instead she made her a cake and got a great response from her family members. April found her passion in baking and says “people can never be sad when you have baked goods!”

In 2008, she decided to take a cake decorating class and later made a birthday cake for her niece. After that, people began to offer to pay her for her cakes. A year later, she decided to go to school for pastry art. She found the perfect program at Macomb Community College, which is the only college in Michigan which offers a specific pastry art degree. Skip ahead to June 2013. April left her day job and has now been running Good Cakes and Bakes full time for a few months!

What does Good Cakes and Bakes have to offer a Detroit wedding?

Good Cakes and Bakes has cupcakes, cookies, sheet cakes, cake pops, brownies, pies, French pastries like danishes and croissants… you name it. As April says, she can “do anything that requires sugar and butter!”

April has baked cakes and cake pops for several Detroit weddings. She also has a September wedding for which she will bake a cake along with more than 100 “cakes in a jar.” I had no idea what a cake in a jar was (here’s a link to a cakes in jars Pinterest page but be forewarned that mouth-watering is likely to ensue), so April explained that she bakes a cake in a wide-mouthed jar and then puts icing on the cake along with decorations such as wedding monograms.

Say you’re a bride or groom interested in Good Cakes and Bakes for your wedding. Two months or more before the wedding, you would set up a tasting appointment for which April would make samples with three different fillings and icings. Together you will develop an image for the cake or you can give April a sense of what you want and she will make it happen!

Good Cakes and Bakes - wedding cake

How is Good Cakes and Bakes socially conscious?

Whatever April can purchase locally, she does. The eggs used in Good Cakes and Bakes cakes are from Beaver Farm in Southwest Detroit. She purchases fruits and vegetables at Eastern Market. For red velvet cakes and cupcakes, she does not use red dye. Instead, she uses beet juice! April’s interest in organic cakes began because of her wife, who “eats organic everything!” April realized she could really taste the difference. She began using unbleached organic flour. She does not use ingredients that include hormones or steroids.

Detroit themed wedding cake, anyone?

If April could do any Detroit-themed cake, she would love to make a Motown record cake. If she was into three dimensional cakes (she isn’t so much), she would like to say she would make a car cake.

I asked April if she has observed any trends in the wedding cake business in Detroit. Cupcakes and dessert tables are where it’s at, people!

Big news!

Guess what? Good Cakes and Bakes is going to have a storefront on Livernois Avenue, the Avenue of Fashion in Detroit! Good Cakes and Bakes is among the winners of the Revolve Detroit “Art + Retail on the Ave” competition, and will team up with Local Social Ice Cream on a storefront opening on September 20! April found out about the competition when she had her pop up earlier this summer and local residents encouraged her to apply.

Congratulations, Good Cakes and Bakes!


Detroit’s future – Vote on Tuesday August 6!

I apologize for the lack of blog posts over the past few weeks. I know this isn’t a great excuse, but life has just been a little hectic lately. In a good way!

As you know, I started this blog because I love Detroit and wanted to provide inspiration for brides and grooms to pursue socially conscious choices in their wedding planning and to highlight responsible vendors based in the city. Some of you know that I am not a wedding planner and was not a do-it-yourself bride. I got into blogging because I care about our city and have a social justice orientation to things :-)

You care about the future of Detroit as well. Tuesday’s primary election can be a historic one and your vote can help make the difference. Yes, the bankruptcy might happen. Yes, the emergency manager is in place. In my view, resident voices are more important now than ever before. In addition to the mayoral race, we will be voting for city council members by district for the first time in 95 years. This is our opportunity to elect candidates that will best represent the values, concerns, and visions of our neighborhood residents. The new city council will help shape what Detroit’s future looks like and set the bar for what a district-based city council can achieve.

Click here to read the League of Women Voters Detroit voter guide to learn about the candidates and make your decision! Then go vote on Tuesday, August 6.


I filled out my absentee ballot last night and am excited to turn it in today. Will you vote on Tuesday?

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. To check out your sample ballot and find your polling location, click here. Detroiters across the city will be voting on Tuesday, August 6. Will you?

P.S. Congratulations to Melissa & Chris who were recently married in Detroit!! Check out their Engaged in the D guest blog posts here and here.

Meet Dana & Joe – Engaged in the D

I am excited to introduce a new guest LoveintheD blogger – Dana! She and Joe were engaged on June 8 and have started to plan their Detroit wedding. Dana is also a Detroit blogger: check out the Miss Detroit blog!


Dana shares the engagement story:

For months, I had been pestering Joe about getting engaged, or at least getting a hint for when he was planning to do it. He kept putting me off, telling me he couldn’t afford it now and it would happen when the time was right. Even our friends kept telling me that he was trying hard to save his money and that I needed to be patient. They did such a great job at convincing me that it wouldn’t happen for another year or two, so I began to settle down. Little did I know, they were all in on the planning…

The week leading up to Saturday, June 8th, Joe kept asking if I would go for a walk with him on the Dequindre Cut when I got off of work at my weekend retail job, where I was schedule to work Saturday afternoon. Since I knew I would be on my feet for six straight hours, I was not committing to this walk he had been trying to plan.

The day of June 8th, Joe begged me to call into work and take the afternoon off to spend with him, but I insisted on going.  When I arrived home that evening, Joe asked again if I wanted to go for a walk on the Dequindre Cut, and I finally relented. We began a nice stroll where Joe kept mentioning the murals along our walk. We approached one that he said was his favorite, and knowing that I was brainstorming for blog posts on Miss Detroit, asked if he could take my photo in front of this mural.

Once I was standing in front of the mural and had turned around to face him, I saw Joe with his phone out, as though he was going to take my picture, but there was a white box in his hand. I realized he was recording the moment, when he kept his phone up and got down on one knee. I was shocked as I heard the words I’d been longing to hear exit his mouth: “Will you marry me?”

Of course, I said yes! Afterward, he instructed me to call my parents, who were waiting to hear from me and planning to have dinner with us. Joe also mentioned that after dinner we would be meeting our friends for drinks at the Old Miami. It still puts a big smile on my face to think about this amazing evening he surprised me with!

We are still in the process of setting a date; because we love Detroit so much, location rather than date is more important to us. We want to provide our guests with a uniquely Detroit wedding experience that will exemplify our love for the city and each other.

Readers: Share your Detroit engagement stories in the comments section!

Psssst. Are you following LoveintheD on Twitter? Check out the twitter feed.


[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.


Forging wedding bands, forging a new path together (Part Two)

Today’s Engaged in the D blog post is by Christopher Holt, who is engaged to Melissa Damaschke. Check out Part One here and read about their engagement story here.

Jewelry is delicate and precious. However, I’ve come to admire the brute force that goes into its making. It’s a bit like childbirth: there’s grunting, careful monitoring, blood, placenta, the force of contractions and labor, the smacking of a newborn bum, crying and all that, but in the end you have this precious delicate life. Minus the blood and a few other things there is an element of brutality in making jewelry.


How do you think the ring gets that nice round shape? You hammer the sucker. You hammer it into that ring-like shape and hammer the ends as close together as possible. Did they get out of line with each other? Put the metal in the vice and tap the sides ’till they’re even with each other. Then repeat. Then you solder the ends together. Now this piece of metal that once looked like, well just a piece of tiny metal, is starting to look more and more like an actual ring. I’ve seen ultrasound images of fetuses in the womb and thought, “Ok. Where the hell is the baby?”  Not until later does the freakish cluster of cells become recognizably human.  Up to this point, one might ask, “Ok. Where the hell is the ring?”

We  now arrive at the point where Melissa took my ring-fetus and hammered it into a ring-baby.

Our Mistress of Metallurgy introduced us to this thick metal rod that was tapered to a point. It was a little shorter than my forearm. Using her demonstration ring, she slid it ‘round the tapered the end and wedged it a few inches onto the rod.  Ring sizes were engraved up and down this tool. She demonstrated what we had to do and Melissa was first.


With the grace of a ballet dancer, the muscle of a valkyrie, and the focus of a laser-beam, Melissa hammered my ring into existence. She slid it off the rod and I slid it onto my finger. I shook my hand wildly to see if it would fall off. It flew across the store. This act was repeated about four times before the ring fit my finger comfortably.

Upon my turn, I raised the tool with my left hand and the hammer with my right.  Like the Greek god Hephaestus, I brought my hammer down upon the ring not once, not twice, but several times. Many, many times in fact.


Until finally, the gold and silver that were once divorced, were once again united in a perfect, perpetual circle, soldered together by the suave hunk that is marrying Melissa Damaschke.

We spent the next 10-20 minutes sanding and polishing the rings giving them a slightly grey finish. (Neither of us wanted anything too shiny or glossy).  Julie permitted us to use the photo set-up she has to take the picture you see here.  When all was said and done we were there for about five hours with a break for lunch.  We can’t thank Julie Sanford of Studio JSD enough for her patient guidance, talent, and encouragement.  If there are any couples considering doing such an activity together for their rings, we highly recommend doing it.

And we didn’t have to forge our rings in Mordor.


Readers: What do you think of the idea of making rings for one another as an engaged couple? How would you design your own unique ring?