TRADITIONAL PARTY - Nikki was feted in celebration of her 18th Birthday by Family and Friends in downtown Detroit, at the Courtyard Marriott, across the street from the Renaissance Center. The weather outside was cool and drizzly, but the atmosphere inside was warm and festive.
Black and Gold were the theme colors and they were sprinkled in combination on the paper goods (invitations, itinerary, menu), linens (table cloths, napkins, seat slipcovers) and food (special order cake and appetizers).

THE EVENING - The evening’s itinerary consisted of The Grand Entrance, The Blessing, The Dinner, 18 Roses Dance, 18 Candles Cake, Cake Cutting and the dancing. There were many touching, memorable moments: the Celebrant’s dance with her Dad, as her Mom looked on with tearful pride; the slide show made by her sister of her growing-up years; the Celebrant’s funny gestures during her grand entrance; the many jokes shared by close family and friends. Family and friends had traveled to downtown Detroit to be a part of this day. They hailed from Chicago, Texas, England (U.K.) and Canada.
It was a wonderful party, hosted by loving parents, for a beautiful girl, to celebrate a milestone in her life, and the love and good wishes were palpable in the atmosphere. Congrats and Happy Birthday!

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CARVED HEARTS - The Bride and Groom fun and creative. They wanted their day to be entertaining for everyone and included small touches so their guests could relax, enjoy, and of course, party. At their reception, guests were guided to sign wooden hearts that were slid into a glass frame, in lieu of a sign in book. They were then directed to pick up their escort cards and upon entering the dining room, were asked to fill out “Date Night” ideas on Popsicle sticks. A candy table was set up after dinner and guests were invited to fill mini burlap bags with stamped with the saying “Love is Sweet.” Gifts to the Bridesmaids included sterling silver necklace with an infinity pendant to represent all of the friendship, love and support they have given.

BIRCH TREE CAKE - To emphasize their love of the outdoors, the Bride and Groom had a cake made to look like birch logs from a tree. They had their names in a heart put in the middle as if it was carved in the tree. (Too cute!) Accompanying the cake were cupcakes in chocolate, vanilla and raspberry.

FAMILY CENTERPIECES - The Bride and Groom had an Uncle help in creating centerpieces for each table. Flat pieces of stump acted as the tray and small branches were cut, sanded, and engraved with the table numbers. The tray also held two mason jars: one for a candle and a larger one for flowers.

LOVELY RAIN - It rained intermittently in the afternoon. Their spirits couldn’t be dampened by the rain even if their post-wedding photo session could have been longer. Big smiles were presented for most of the photos, but there is one photo of the Bride, looking at the Groom, with a small contented smile, and that is my favorite. It is the tell tale sign of true happiness.

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WE ALMOST USED A PROP RING - Her ring had been sent to get customized and sized, and we weren’t sure we would have it for this session. He surprised her, by expediting the process and having it ready, when I asked her if she wanted to wear a stand-in I had brought. (Such a nice guy!)

HAPPINESS REIGNS - These two terrific people are one of the happiest couples I have had the chance to meet and photograph. There is always a smile or joke forming, and the session we had was so much fun!
When I asked them to use the chalk boards to write a comment about each other, I got “Beauty” and the “Beast”. I couldn’t stop laughing when they showed me who the words matched up to. It was a testament to their playful relationship.

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COURTSHIP AND LOVE - Nicole had started a journal, of their courtship, when Michael was deployed overseas. It was her wedding day gift to Michael. Her thoughts (ideas and dreams) as they waited to be together again, were documented on papers (sometimes in collage form) with humor and affection. The groom was presented with this memento before the ceremony started.

PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES - We had a chance to take photos before the ceremony of the bride and groom, separately. But, after the ceremony, when we did the portrait session, it was something different: so much better. While they smiled for the cameras before the wedding (each person sequestered in their own rooms) the smiles they gave us after the ceremony were totally remarkable. You can see it in the photos. They were better versions of themselves when they were together.

HONOR AND DUTY - Michael’s brothers from the Marines, stood as an honor guard, as the couple exited the church. A special message from Michael’s best friend was sent via Skype because he was still stationed overseas. He had planned on being Michael’s Best Man before duty to his country had intervened. He wanted to be a part of the special day and his message was received shortly after dinner. It was a reminder of the personal sacrifices personnel in the military make, for the well-being of our country.

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THE COUPLE - Abby and Chad are one of those couples that look so right together. They complement each other so well and have known each other for a long time. Their ease with each other even had Abby teasing Chad at the engagement session as we walked to the parking lot. (The relationships where everyone is at ease are the best!)

PALETTE OF BLACK AND WHITE - Abby's likes things are simple but refined. She chose a strapless gown with a jeweled waist and a pair of kitten heels paired with an ivory pashmina scarf for warmth. Her bridesmaids wore black halter-style dresses from David's Bridal. Black ribbons accented the reception chairs, wedding cake and take-aways for the guests.

THE PRETZELS - The pretzels were made by Abby's Grandma and they are from a traditional German family recipe. They were the take-away each guest received at the reception. They were packaged in cellophane, a black ribbon and with a 'Thank You' message. They were also present for snacks along with fruit and sandwiches when the Bride and her Girls were getting ready.

EN ROUTE - On their way from the Church to the Reception, the bridal party and immediate family made a pit stop to The Village Tap (a small local pub in Manchester, Michigan). The group brought a silver trophy cup, of some significance, to drink from and they started the celebration in style.

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GOLD & BLACK & JAZZ - The Bride was described affectionately by her Dad as the type of person who sings at the "top of her lungs". So it's only fitting that the theme she chose for her wedding was Black, Gold and Gatsby.

THE BRIDE - To accent her lace overlay dress, the bride wore Badgley Mischka open-toe silk pumps in cream and an antique broach, with a blue stone, on her garter. Tucked into her bouquet were two sparkling hearts. Her Bridesmaids wore noir infinity dresses accented with sparkling gold or black heels.

MARRIED LIFE - After the ceremony, the Bride and Groom slipped away for some photos. Being November, it was chilly. While setting up a photo, the Groom casually slipped his jacket off and wrapped his Bride in it to keep her warm. 

EVENING FESTIVITIES - The Bridal Party stepped out of the Reception at the end of the evening to light heart-shaped paper lanterns and share a special wish with the new Mr. & Mrs......Then, they went inside for more food and fun!

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