As an event planner, naturally we are always looking ahead, but sometimes it is just as exciting to look back and reflect on the past. My husband Chris and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary on December 2, 2020 and looking back on it, our wedding was without a doubt the best day of our lives to date and we love reliving the wonderful memories we had.
Falling in love with the planning process is what sparked my passion to become a wedding planner as I wanted to give couples that same joy we felt on our special day. Without the experience and knowledge of the industry, we went into our day not knowing what we know now. Luckily, we had the guidance and support of our amazing wedding planners as this was a first for us. There's no denying so much has changed in the wedding industry over the last couple of years but when I'm pressed with the common question of "what would you change from your day" it's always such a tough one to answer. In my eyes as a bride who lived it, it was perfect and as a planner reflecting on it, it still is perfect. I like to switch perspective and look at it as "things we wouldn't have changed and new thing's that we've fallen in love with since entering the industry."
Things We Would Not Change
There wasn't even a second thought in our mind when choosing our venue. It was at the time, and continues to be, one of our favourite places to visit, The Henry Ford Museum. We didn't choose one we loved in the moment but instead chose it because our hearts were always drawn to it. It is rich in both history and character which speaks to our hearts and as soon as we stepped foot into the Lovett Hall Ballroom we knew it was meant to be. We both agreed we wanted to compliment the character, not cover it which allowed our overall aesthetic to be very classic and true to the venue itself, and one that we knew we'd love and appreciate for years to come. We connected with the staff immediately, they felt like family right from the beginning and what they had to offer as far as the beautiful venue itself, countless on-site photo locations, overall service, specialty culinary experience, in house décor and flow of the day was exactly what we were looking for.
Dream Team of Vendors
We could have not had the wedding of our dreams without the team of vendors who were right by our sides throughout the entire journey. While doing your research, finding vendors you are drawn to and suit your overall aesthetic is a great way to begin, but we built our dream team based on recommendations from our core vendors starting with our photographer. Our photographer led us to our planners and then our planners lead us to vendors they had worked closely together in the past. It was key to us when building our day that they already had great relationships, similar brand aesthetics, worked at our venue previously and made such an organic team. Together they not only brought our visions to life flawlessly but also had great communication throughout allowing us to put our trust fully into them and enjoy a stress-free planning process.
Having a First Look
Being a traditionalist, and at a time where first looks weren't very common, we didn't know what to think when it was suggested by our venue. Having a later ceremony, with a back-to-back cocktail hour and reception was already stepping outside of the normal for us in what we were used to in terms of previous weddings we had attended. Although it was a decision, we were unsure about it in the moment but looking back, we can wholeheartedly say it was one of the best decisions we made on our wedding day. Not only did it allow us to have such a special moment, just us two that we will treasure forever, but it also made our timeline flow so well allowed for more time together leading up to the ceremony. This allowed us to get all our bridal portraits, bridal party photos and family formals taken pre-ceremony so we could join cocktail hour with our guests.
Customizing our ceremony was something we knew we always wanted to do. From having a close family member officiate, to writing our ceremony script and creating our personal vows to one another, and walking down the aisle to classic violin renditions of our favourite modern-day songs it made our ceremony extra special. We also asked some of our closest friends and family members to submit short stories, excerpts or personal quotes about us to our officiant and we were able to hear them all for the first time at that moment. It was such a heartfelt and powerful way to start our forever and a moment we would never change.
Getting Married in Our Favourite Season
We always knew we wanted a winter wedding and the season set the tone for our vision right from the start. As a nod to the season, we chose winter details like my long sleeve lace gown, mixed winter greens, classic winter whites, gold accents, rich velvets, gold foil, seasonal specialty drinks, lots of candlelight and even the addition of a mistletoe. Because our venue was already dressed for the holidays it was a bonus!
A Mini Destination Weekend
When we think back to our wedding day, we look at it as a wedding weekend: an experience that both us and our guests were able to enjoy without it going by in a blink of an eye. Being a cross-border city and our love for all things Detroit we wanted our guests to live that entire special weekend with us. Choosing a Detroit historical venue–The Henry Ford Museum was the first piece of the puzzle, but then we also chose to have our guest stay at a historic hotel in town that complimented our venue, provided Detroit theme welcome bags upon arrival and had a full Detroit themed dessert station at our wedding including all of our local favourites.
Things We Have Fallen In Love With Since Becoming Planners
The guest list was without a doubt the most difficult aspect of planning in our opinion. While we chose to include all our loved ones and couldn't imagine our ballroom filled differently, we have grown fond of intimate celebrations. The pressure of having a big scale wedding has been lifted with our new normal and has proven that small can be even more meaningful and less overwhelming for couples not only in the planning process but on the day itself as well. With a smaller wedding, the stress of countless invitations, intricate seating assignments and feeling like you need to make your way entirely around the room is no longer there. Many couples are feeling more at ease and comfortable with this intimate feel and we are loving it!
Strong Focus on All Design Details
While we look back and still love every little detail put into our wedding day, we are enjoying the creativeness our couples are wanting for individual design elements. Statement seating charts, personalized menus, floral installations, upgraded linens and curated tabletop rentals and unique layouts are some of our recent favourites. So much goes into every element of a wedding recently, especially as we head in a more intimate direction. It allows you to get more design-focused and creative in the details you choose personalizing everything and allowing your day to be unique in every way. We love incorporating custom design elements into our couple's day.
I remember our wedding day vividly, and so thankful for the forever memories through our photography but we do not have any videography coverage from our day. It wasn't even a thought on our mind to seek video coverage, we knew but reliving those moments through our pictures would stand the test of time. However, moments like our heartfelt vows, family and friends' speeches and first dances would have been amazing to look back on. If we were to press rewind, we would have hired a videographer in a heartbeat.
Venue Reveal Photos
While walking into our fully dolled up ballroom was one of the most magical aspects of the day, soaking in what we had dreamed up together it wasn't a moment that we chose to have captured. Looking at the venue reveal photos of our couples always moves me and makes for such a great memory. I wish that was a tradition when we had wed.
Katie Gregg is the lead planner and founder of Katie Gregg Events & Co. Her wedding planning journey began two years ago, not long after saying ‘I do’ with her husband Chris; she discovered her passion for wedding planning and wedding media. Katie believes wedding planning is more than just staging and organizing an aesthetically beautiful event. It requires taking cues from a couple’s personal styles, incorporating details from their love story, and creating a thoughtful experience for them and their guests alike.
All photography courtesy of Amanda Dumouchelle
Bridal Gown: Hayley Paige
Event Planning: Ines & Marie
Florals: PassionFlower Sue
Invitations: Paper & Honey
Cake: Sweet Heather Anne
Hair & Makeup: Lena Shkreli & Company
Venue: The Henry Ford—Lovett Hall
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