Assembling Your Attendants: How to Choose the Right Wedding Party for Your Big Day

Today’s LoveintheD post is a guest post from wedding blogger Jessica Socheski!

Picking the right people to be in your wedding party can result in a lot of drama and confusion. Many brides and grooms have questions about how to walk through the process and whom they should choose. Here are some important tips for finding the perfect family and friends to stand beside you at the altar.

How Many Should You Have?
One of the most frequently pondered questions when it comes to wedding parties is how to choose the right number. Fortunately, there is no magic combination to select. That choice is up to the couple alone. But there are some basic guidelines to help.

Balancing attendants can be done with a ratio of between 35 and 50 guests for every 1 bridesmaid. However, brides and grooms are free to pick a large or small wedding party, regardless of the guest list.

Another common concern is whether or not an even number of bridesmaids and groomsmen must be attained. While it can look nice to have at least similar numbers on each side of the altar, the best rule to follow is to have only those family and friends who you want by your side. This might mean a slightly lopsided look, but that is much better than asking an acquaintance to stand up with you just because he or she is the right height and an extra body.

Assembling Your Attendants 3Image Source:

Bridemen and Groomsmaids?
Many couples simply want their attendants to be the people they are closest to, the people who will stand in support of their marriage for many years to come. And sometimes, this means having attendants of both genders.

Mixed gender bridal parties and groom’s ladies with the groomsmen have become a growing trend as couples challenge the tradition of gals on one side and guys on the other. Despite families who raise their eyebrows or chuckle at these mixed wedding parties, the idea has really caught on because it allows a groom’s sister to stand up with him or a bride’s best guy friend to support her.

Of course, taking this unconventional route will involve some important decisions. For instance, are both the bride and groom comfortable with her best guy friend going to the bachelorette party and helping her get ready on the morning of the wedding? There is also a question of costume. Should your groom’s lady find a dress that matches the other groomsmen’s suites, or should she wear a pant suit herself? There is really no right or wrong answer. All these decisions are ultimately up to the couple and their attendants.

Assembling Your Attendants 2Image Source:

Furry Attendants
While we’re on the subject of alternative attendants, what about the four-legged kind? Many couples decide to include their canine or feline best friend as a part of the ceremony or during some other point of the big day. Some couples choose to incorporate their cats or dogs as a part of their wedding. The bride and groom can take a picture with their cat companion, and their dog can wear a bowtie while walking down the isle.

Many weddings also invite equine friends. A bride can take beautiful dress pictures on her horse or the couple can ride in a getaway carriage to the reception.

But before you tie the rings to Fido’s collar, make sure that your special pet is well trained and won’t be flustered by the excitement of the ceremony and many guests.

Saying Thanks
When it is all said and done, you and your fiancé will hopefully have assembled the perfect group of family and close friends that will be there throughout the engagement and through the rest of your lives together. Now comes the fun part of picking out the perfect gifts to show your appreciation for all their love and support.

Cool groomsmen gifts and bridal party presents don’t have to cost arm and a leg. However, they should be thoughtful tokens that take into account that your best gals and guys have purchased outfits and shoes for the day as well hosted a bridal shower, bachelor and bachelorette parties and perhaps even traveled from out of town for the occasion.

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 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,


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?

LoveintheD reader survey!

So the LoveintheD blog has been up and running for about four months now. I would like to learn more about YOU, the blog readers. Can you take three minutes to fill out this really short survey? By doing so, you will help me understand what it is you are looking for in the blog.

Created using SurveyMonkey.

Thank you for your time! Happy blog reading! Are you following LoveintheD on Twitter yet? If not, click here to start today.


Handmade weddings – Interview with Indie Detroit Wedding Ring

In February of this year, not one, but two Detroit area wedding blog/websites launched into the blogosphere! LoveintheD came online as a socially conscious Detroit wedding blog. And Indie Detroit Wedding Ring also launched as an online and event resource for brides and grooms in the Detroit area looking to use locally sourced handmade goods in their weddings!

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Angela from Indie Detroit Wedding Ring for coffee. We chatted about our love for weddings, ways to support one another, and, you know, other bloggy stuff!

Check out my interview with Angela below.

idwr fox

A Fox Wedding

How did the idea of the Indie Detroit Wedding Ring come about?

It all started at a craft show at the Loving Touch. Other vendors at the show asked me how I started to break into the wedding business with my company, Moving Beauty. We realized that while handmade weddings were popular here, it was really hard to find local vendors. Also, vendors had no where to promote themselves to engaged couples other than mainstream wedding sites, which may not be economical for small vendors. Thats when we first had the thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a wedding craft show?!” Shortly after that, Indie Detroit Wedding Ring was formed with two goals, to create an online resource and to host in-person events.

idwr image

Indie Detroit Wedding Ring is hosting a showcase on June 28, 7:30 p.m. at FLIP Hair Salon, 251 W. Nine Mile Rd, Ferndale, MI 48220. What should brides or grooms look forward to at the showcase on June 28?

We have hand picked a group of artists to give couples inspiration for their upcoming weddings. The IDWR team will also be on hand to meet soon-to-be brides and grooms and answer questions they might have as well as build the DIY wedding community here in metro Detroit.

 idwr necklace

Chain Chain Chained

Describe the kind of Detroit bride or groom who chooses to have a handmade/indie wedding.

The ideal IDWR couples are people who want a wedding rooted in the values of handmade goods, whether they make it themselves or purchase from area artists and makers. They want their wedding to be a true reflection of themselves and would rather spend their money on experiences and items to make their wedding more special and authentic, not flashier.

What are your three top reasons why handmade is the way to go for a Detroit wedding?

1. Detroit is filled with artists and makers who want to collaborate with brides and grooms to make their weddings special. Its a great, hard-working community to support.
2. Handmade weddings are a great way to show your individual personalities and your relationship. It’s a lot of fun for your guests to learn more about you as a couple.
3. Planning a handmade wedding means you become part of the DIY community, where you are exposed to so many economical ways to recycle and reuse.

Readers: What handmade elements are you thinking about including in your wedding? 

[photography] Michelle & Tony’s downtown engagement photoshoot

Can’t get enough of the Detroit engagement photos? This time, check out Michelle & Tony’s adorable engagement shoot in Hart Plaza and other spots on the Detroit River! Ryan Southen is the talented photographer behind the camera in these shots.

If you missed the LoveintheD post on Ryan’s wedding photography earlier this year, check it out!

Michelle_Tony 1

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Readers: Which one of the above is your favorite shot?

How to select the perfect wines for your wedding [Interview with Vino Dream]

I was so excited when Meg Pouncy contacted me about her wine business! One of the best things about blogging is that I’ve connected with amazing women who have started their own businesses. Meg owns Vino Dream, a wine pairing and event company in Detroit!

How did you get started as a sommelier and what is the story behind Vino Dream?

I was working in San Francisco as a designer and ended up working on design for a wine bar! That piqued my interest and I started learning about wine. I got a job in Pennsylvania, the fifth largest wine producer in the country at the time, and I started going to wine classes. Friends started calling me when they were having friends over, asking for advice about what wine should be paired with the meal they were about to prepare. More and more friends were calling for advice. Eventually I moved home to Detroit for family reasons and decided to start a business! While planning, I flew around the country to get to know the wine industry. I tried 320 wines! And interviewed people everywhere I went. I started Vino Dream using this new knowledge and experience.

Meg Pouncy pic

California vineyard

Tell me about your love for Detroit – why start your business in Detroit? What do you love about this city?

There is no other place I could imagine living at this point. I’ve lived on the East Coast and I’ve lived on the West Coast. Detroit is closest to my heart. There are amazing opportunities here! This is a chance of a lifetime to participate in the rebuilding and entrepreneurial energy that is captivating the city right now. There’s no better place to start a business; the support network is great. People embrace each other – literally. That doesn’t always happen in other cities.

Any tips for discovering unique Michigan or local wines to serve at a Detroit wedding?

Consider the whole experience! Many people think only about the champagne toast and then cake. Don’t serve a dry fruity wine right before a sweet frosted cake. Try a Michigan dessert wine or Canadian ice wine. Try something that will complement the cake. Think about serving different types of wine throughout the meal. Start with an appertis before the meal, and then serve another wine with the meal, followed by a dessert wine. Always look for balance when planning your wedding meal.

Let’s say I’m planning a summer backyard BBQ wedding. How should I go about selecting wine for my wedding?

Wine started out as a drink of the people, not something reserved for the rich or special occasions. Wine is for everyone. There are wines perfect for a backyard wedding! If you are grilling, there are wonderful wines that pair well with smoked meat or BBQ flavors. A Chiraz would be terrific with a grilled or seared steak. Remember to serve the wine at the right temperature. When Vino Dream caters weddings, we keep the bottles on ice until it’s close to serving time. We bring a thermometer to make sure the wine is the right temperature. If you are getting married outside and you’re having an informal reception, let your food and drinks speak to that relaxed feel!

What sorts of wine tastings and private events does Vino Dream put together?

For our pairing service, we would talk about your wedding menu and make pairing recommendations. For wedding venues that allow outside wine, Vino Dream is happy to source and serve the wine. I also do wine etiquette and Sommelier in a Day classes. I recommend those classes to individuals who are getting married and want well-rounded information about wine. You’ll leave feeling more comfortable about wine — and know how to hold the wine glass the right way, why and when to twirl, etc. I also hold Wines of Spain and Wines of Italy trainings. Finally, I do wine tasting events – for networking events or private parties.

Vino Dream wine tasting

I’m curious about the environmental impact of wine. Is there a way a bride or groom can be environmentally conscious in their wine selection process?

The wine industry is moving away from corked bottles to screw cap wines. Cork comes from trees and screw caps don’t exhaust the earth’s resources in that way. Gone are the days where wine with screw caps are only “cheapwines.” Now boxed wines are trending — boxes are easier to recycle than glass and are more efficient. You’ll also see some wines in tetrapaks. One of my favorite wines comes in a tetrapak! Another big push is toward organic wines. The extra bonus is that people who are allergic to the sulphites in many wines are able to drink organic wines.

Torrontes tetrapak


Readers: What wine(s) are you planning to serve at your wedding or upcoming event?

How to cleverly plan a Detroit wedding (Interview with Lynn Jovick)

Lynn Jovick is the Designer and Owner of Clever Bumblebee Creations. She is also on the board of directors for the Scarab Club, which was Mahima and Shane’s wedding venue in Detroit! I was thrilled to connect with Lynn through Mahima and Shane.

Lynn has a wealth of knowledge and experience planning weddings in Detroit, and we sat down to chat about weddings in Detroit! I love hearing people express how they became passionate about their “work.” It was amazing to see Lynn’s face light up when talking about the details of wedding design as we excitedly shared our love for all things wedding-related over coffee! I am also grateful for her ideas and advice for LoveintheD.

Check out the interview and photos (all taken by Lynn, except the first one, which was taken by a wedding guest)!

Scarab Club outside ceremony

What inspired you to get into the wedding/event business and how long have you been doing it?
I’ve been fully involved in the wedding planning and production industry for the past seven years. Being an interior designer in the years prior, clients would always ask me for my opinion on event and party design. Then I decided to take a floral design class and I was hooked! I loved working with the color and texture of flowers and it all came very naturally to me. My customer service background only complemented that talent if you can say that. And I love, love, love to see the outcome and final project unveiling, if you will. It’s like a work of art to me.

What is your favorite thing about wedding planning?
My favorite part of the wedding planning process is first, the consultation – brainstorming with the client about their special event, and coming up with a plan. And second, seeing it all come together and the look on the brides face when she sees her bouquet!

Cleverbumblebee photogrid

What is your biggest lesson learned about wedding planning?

I am not sure if this is a lesson, but something I feel strongly about. A budget is a budget, and any budget can be achieved honestly. You don’t have to oversell to a client to make their dream a reality, although a little convincing and a lot of experience with ideas is always a plus.

What do you love most about weddings in Detroit?
Having a wedding in Detroit proper opens so many doors to options: unique places, historic landmarks, diamonds in the rough, beautiful seasonal scenery, which yields wonderful memories, and amazing photography. One piece of advice: Don’t skimp on the photography!

Clever Bumblebee gourds

Any predictions for Detroit wedding trends in 2013?
More and more couples are becoming aware of the uniqueness and value of having a wedding in the city proper. I see that “trend,” if you will, becoming more apparent. Most couples getting married today are excited about bringing a historical twist to their event, be it an old family church, a favorite place to hang out, or something unique about the city to show their guests. Detroit has so much to offer in that sense. We have it all in the palm of our hand. For many couples, having a wedding in one of Detroit’s historic areas brings community and family back together to embrace the values of knowing your history and your families’ humble beginnings.

If you could give one piece of advice to Detroit brides & grooms who are just starting out in the wedding planning process, what would it be?
My advice to all my couples is to remember that your wedding is about you and sharing your interests and lives with your family and friends! This ties in to another “trend” in wedding planning: Most of my couples are in the position of paying for their own wedding. There are very few parental “handouts” anymore. Not that they shouldn’t have an influence on your day, but there are ways to incorporate both the old and the new. In fact, I encourage it! So this is your chance to throw the biggest party of your lives to date. I encourage you to share your families’ interests in subtle ways, and make you day uniquely yours. Your wedding day is a day that will be talked about for years to come.

Thank you, Lynn!

Readers: Any aspiring wedding planners out there? What do you love most about planning and design?

How to eat (and feed your guests) guilt-free

What’s the biggest portion of your wedding budget?

Wedding planning sites say that you should expect to spend about half your wedding budget on the reception venue and food. The cocktail hour, meals and open bar amounted to 42 percent of my wedding expenses, not including the cake and bubble tea.

Given the massive amount of money you are going to spend on food, let’s talk a little about the people who prepare and serve those delicious meals to your wedding guests, shall we?

Many of you might have worked in restaurants before (I have not), so you are probably already more familiar than I am with some of the problems that plague the restaurant industry. Do you remember if you were paid for sick days? Did (or do) you have an opportunity to advance? Were (or are) you paid adequately?



One way to eat and feed your wedding guests guilt-free is to contract with a gold or silver prize restaurant to cater your wedding! Alternatively, you could host your rehearsal dinner at one of these worker-friendly restaurants!

The Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) recently released its 2013 national diners’ guide. ROC gave gold and silver stars to restaurants with strong ratings for paying tipped workers $5 or more per hour, for paying non-tipped workers $9 or more per hour, for providing paid sick days, and for promoting employees internally.

Check out the ROC 2013 national diners’ guide!

ROC rated the following five Detroit restaurants as “high road” gold or silver star restaurants for treating their workers with respect!

Avalon International (gold)
Baked goods, sandwiches, coffee, and more!
I went to Avalon’s new bakehouse grand “bread-breaking” opening on Friday. Congratulations to Ann, Jackie & the whole team! Check out MLive’s photos of the huge space. Who knew mixing bowls could be so ginormous?

COLORS Detroit (gold)
Contact Dan Jones ( for catering menu (breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour, dessert options available)! 
Minimum of 25 people for catering/special event orders.
Can host rehearsal dinners, up to 60 people.

Le Petit Zinc (gold)
Catering services available! Can host rehearsal dinners for up to 30 people.

Russell Street Deli (gold)
Specializes in vegetarian/vegan meals and has catered weddings for up to 240 people! No minimum or maximum for catering orders.
Can host informal rehearsal dinners up to 40 people.

Seva Restaurant (silver)
Can host wedding buffet receptions in the restaurant for up to 80 people or cater off-site for up to 500 people!

Okay, okay. So I know that list is short. There are certainly restaurants that simply weren’t evaluated and rated by ROC.

…And you are probably wondering how you can apply ROC’s principles as you prowl the city for the best venue and best caterer that meets your budget. You could ask potential caterers: “How do you support your workers? Do you give your workers paid sick days?”

If you don’t feel prepared to ask questions like those, simply clip out the tip card below and hand it to your catering representative!

ethical eating ROC

Stay tuned for future LoveintheD posts highlighting caterers in Detroit that you might want to consider. Feel free to leave a comment with a suggested “high road” restaurant employer!

Do you have a personal story about the restaurant industry to share with LoveintheD?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day from LoveintheD!

Below is one of my favorite first year anniversary photos taken by Ryan Southen Photography. I am not sure what we’re doing for Valentine’s Day 2013 but in years past, we have had dinner at Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine, enjoyed a “home-cooked” lobster tail meal together at home (okay, okay, Sean picked up the already cooked meal from the store), and enjoyed spoken word poetry at the Max M. Fisher Music Center.

Yes, Valentine’s Day is a “Hallmark Holiday” of sorts.

But I have to admit – it is kind of nice to be able to use it as a reason to get dressed up and go out to dinner or just to spend quality at-home time with a significant other. I happen to be the one in this couple who needs to work on making more time to spend with my loved one, and I make sure Valentine’s Day is one of those days when (at least most of) the evening is set aside for Sean!

I found this unscientific online poll in which 66 percent of the participants believed that Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday, while 34 percent believed it is a romantic holiday. Where do you fall on that spectrum?

Valentines Day postPhoto credit: Ryan Southen Photography

Check back on LoveintheD on Monday for the next Real Wedding post!

Readers: What are you doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day?