COVID-conscious wedding planning in Detroit

groom beside bride holding bouquet flowers

Hey, ladies! It’s been quite some time since I’ve popped up to update this site, but it continues to attract readers in search of wedding inspiration, so I figured that we were due for some fresh content.

I was inspired earlier this week, when I spoke to a colleague who is in the throes of planning her January wedding. Wedding planning is HARD stuff to begin with, but I can’t recall a time when engaged couples in our area faced such a drastic level of uncertainty.

Major props to all of you who are managing the ever-fluctuating landscape of weddings in a COVID-conscious environment. This probably wasn’t the planning process that you’d been dreaming of or hoping for, but what’s most important is that HERE YOU ARE … engaged, excited and having found the perfect partner with whom you can weather life’s storms from here on out.

Let’s get to it. Highlighting some cool, new options that have become available in the Detroit area:

Bea’s Detroit “Tiny Wedding Program”

Image courtesy of Bea’s Detroit

In the heart of Detroit’s Eastern Market, Bea’s is a fresh, new space that houses a cafe, shop, available co-working and co-creating areas, and an outdoor rooftop. Launched just before COVID hit, the Bea behind Bea’s quickly pivoted, introducing the Tiny Wedding Program, aimed at events around 50 people (but able to accommodate up to 100).

Find out more about Bea’s weddings here.

The Whiskey Factory’s Minimonies

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Image courtesy of the Whiskey Factory

A micro ceremony is, naturally, a “minimony.” And the Whiskey Factory just outside of downtown Detroit is delivering big time for small events. Head over to Instagram and check out their Stories for a peek inside these tiny-scale events, that come complete with Detroit City Distillery cocktails, of course.

Find out more about The Whiskey Factory here.

J’Adore Detroit’s Quaran-tiny Wedding

Image courtesy of J’Adore Detroit

Through the end of this year, J’Adore’s glam loft space in Eastern Market is offering a thoughtfully dubbed “Quaran-tiny Wedding” package that allows up to eight guests, with charcuterie and drink packages available. Visit their Instagram account for the latest details!

Find out more about J’Adore Detroit here.

The Congregation’s Private Events

Image courtesy of The Congregation

It’s not unusual to be married in a church … but it is unusual to be married in a church-turned-cafe-and-bar, so we’re awarding a bonus point to The Congregation, one of the newest venues in Detroit. With a cozy indoor space and an inviting outdoor patio and grassy area, there’s plenty of options for crafting your unique wedding and reception. Full venue buyouts are available.

Find out more about The Congregation here.

Has inspiration struck yet?

If not, consider checking out PeerSpace, a site that I’m newly familiar with, which provides access to private spaces in the same way that you can rent a home or room via AirBnB. New locations are frequently added and in addition to more traditional venues, you can find gorgeous old homes and cool outdoor areas, too.

If you have additional suggestions, please leave a comment below!

Detroit Institute of Arts Wedding Inspiration

Planning a unique wedding amid the stately surroundings of the Detroit Institute of Arts may seem like a daunting task. How can you possibly improve upon the grandeur of one of nation’s best museums? From the glamorous Great Hall, to the mesmerizing Rivera Court and cozy Kresge Court, the DIA is chock-full of spaces to fit your vibe, if you’re willing to drop a few bucks. (Get a glimpse of rental fee and required caterer details here.)

Whether you’re aiming for a bright and airy or dark and moody fete, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite snaps from Detroit photography blogs (find direct links to each site within the image caption) to provide some inspiration.

And, if the below photos aren’t enough, you can find even more to look at at these links to amazing DIA weddings:

See our round-up of the best Detroit wedding venues – including the DIA – here.


Image result for dia detroit wedding

Source: (now Jess & Nate Studios)


Detroit Institute of Arts Wedding Reception, DIA Wedding Pictures

Source: Photography

Driving Distance from Detroit: Canadian Vineyard Weddings

Dudek Photography-24

Photo copyright: Dudek Photography // Ontario, Canada Wedding Photographer

When I think of “semi-destination” weddings planned by Detroit couples, my mind quickly jumps to Traverse City, with its lush lakeside vineyard settings, only four hours north.

But what if I told you there are several more gorgeous, vineyard settings much closer to home? The only hitch is that they involve a passport. I’m talking Canada, folks.

A few weeks ago, while weekending in Grand Bend, Ontario, where my husband’s family has a cottage, we made our first trek up the road to Dark Horse Estate Winery. I’d seen signage for the vineyard and winery, but my expectations were woefully low.

As soon as we neared the property,  I realized that I’d been much to quick to judge. A large building loomed, surrounded by row upon row of grapes. The setting, just far enough (a few miles) from Lake Huron to welcome its breeze, was gorgeous at first glance. It only got better as we parked and stepped inside. A vaulted ceiling tasting room anchored the main level, with soaring windows that overlook the vineyard and a large patio with a fireplace that I imagine is as cozy as it gets when cooler fall temperatures arrive.

We chatted with the winery staff, marveling at the beautiful building, tasting the wines, and not surprisingly learning that the venue was fully booked with weddings for the summer. With a capacity to seat up to 300 (and also offering smaller rooms for more intimate parties), it’s an obvious choice for Ontario couples looking for a property outside the larger cities of London, Toronto or Windsor.

For Michigan couples, it’s an escape that’s (for once!) totally new. Not Traverse City, not Ludington, not Garland Resort. From Detroit, it’s an approximately two-hour drive, which includes a border crossing at the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron. Wedding guests wanting to make a weekend of their travels can book a room or rental in the cheeky beach town of Grand Bend, just up the road, or about 20 minutes away in the equally charming village of Bayfield.

The Dark Horse Winery, meanwhile, serves as the main stage for your event. It’s interior is a mix of dark tones and big, airy spaces, accented with modern furnishings (think Restoration Hardware style) and well thought finishes.


Photo copyright: Love Knots Photography // Ontario, Canada Wedding Photographer

Between the stunning outdoor setting and the equally impressive architecture and design, the space seems perfectly suited for a modern wedding and is definitely worth checking out if you’re exploring new, out-of-town ideas for your big day.

Does two hours seem too far? Explore the Lake Erie North Shore wine trail, which is much closer to home (about an hour or so drive from Detroit, after crossing at the Detroit / Windsor tunnel border). Viewpoint Winery offers sweeping lake views from their venue, perched atop a bluff. Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery is also on the water, with more rustic vibes. Cooper’s Hawk offers a new restaurant and banquet areas as well as lots of green space.

So. All of this to say, if your guests carry passports (or can nab an enhanced driver’s license with enough notice),  your within-a-drive-from-Detroit wedding venue options just became much more varied … especially for those of us with a soft spot for good vino.


Dark Horse Estate Winery

Wine Country Ontario (for more wineries and links)

Grand Bend Lodging:

Oakwood Resort, Grand Bend, Ontario

Home and vacation rentals in Grand Bend, Ontario

Bayfield Lodging:

Little Inn of Bayfield, Bayfield, Ontario

The Ashwood Inn, Bayfield, Ontario


Photo copyright: Ikonica Photography // Toronto, Ontario Wedding Photography

Free Printable: Kids Coloring Page for Your Wedding Reception


Other than our nieces and nephews, we invited adults only to our wedding ceremony and reception, but even with only a handful of little ones in attendance, I wish I would have thought to offer a little to-do like this sweet custom coloring page at the reception.

{I should point out that we loaded up our ring bearers – our three- and four-year-old nephews – with customized Pottery Barn Kids backpacks filled with goodies to keep them occupied, which was helpful!}

Had we anticipated more children to be joining the festivities, I just love the idea of tying a ribbon around a handful of crayons – or including a mason jar full of colored pencils at each table – and placing these customized coloring pages at the seat of each child. It’s a simple and inexpensive way to add a little touch of fun.

This wedding cake themed coloring page is now up on the Etsy Shop for $4.99 and is on sale through September 4th for 30 percent off, as is the whole darn store! But we’re offering the non-customizable version in PDF format for blog readers for FREE 🙂

{If you’re interested in the customizable version, head over to Etsy to download a Microsoft Word document, where you can customize it with the bride and groom’s names and wedding date for your big day. Easy-peasy!}

What other creative solutions have you found for keeping kids busy at wedding receptions? WEDDING CAKE COLORING PAGE


Choosing a Signature Cocktail


The original Swizzle at Bermuda’s Swizzle Inn

Whether we would have opted for it of not (we wouldn’t have), our wedding reception bar package came with a “Signature Cocktail.”

Choose just one bevy to promote among our favorite people? That’s ridiculous. But our options were to select a winner or forgo the signature swig entirely.

Since we got engaged on the magical island of Bermuda, it only seemed fitting that we asked about the plausibility of recreating the Swizzle – an iconic Bermudian drink that mixes:

  • Orange juice
  • Pineapple juice
  • White rum
  • Dark rum
  • Grenadine
  • Bitters

into a delicious and dangerously alcohol-free-tasting sort of drink. In fact, we loved the drink so much during our trip (visit the Swizzle Inn if you go to Bermuda … where the tagline is “swizzle in and swagger out” for the most authentic blend) that we made up a big, ol’ batch of it for this year’s summer party, as evidenced in the photo below!

As much as I wasn’t inclined to offer a signature cocktail, I love the idea that we’ve stumbled on. If you can come up with a mix that has meaning, I suggest doing the same!


Our take on the Swizzle – big-batch style – at a summer party

Our wedding tasting


Oh, my, you guys.

It turns out that my favorite part of wedding planning this far (and predictably, in full) was our tasting for Planterra. Offered to wedded-couples-to-be, the tasting, which is held at Continental’s Innovation Center, takes place three times a year.

Not having done this wedding plan thing before, my expectations were “meh.” So, when we walked into a dimly lit room, filled with specialty linened tables, lush floral arrangements and a snaking garland that ran the length of our table, I was positively delighted.

Throughout our tasting of starters, salads, entrees and desserts, we sampled both the house wines and available upgrades. But most fun was the opportunity to chat with the other couples at our table; sharing details of what we loved or didn’t love and becoming Facebook friends, you know, all the critical things.

I snapped the photo above as we sat down, which I thought was worth sharing here in case any of you gals are also considering Planterra as a wedding or reception venue.

Funnily enough, another acquaintance of mine attended – and posted photos online of – her tasting through Meadowbrook, which occurred the next week. It looked slightly similar, and I’m sure she enjoyed it just as much.

Would love to hear about your tasting experiences, if you’re so inclined!

Faux Gold Foil Placecards


When it comes to wedding planning, I’m all about opportunities to save a few bucks. In other words, if it’s something that I can make, rather than buy, the odds are good that I’m going to give it a try.

That’s exactly what happened when I was searching online for gold foil placecards, recently.

In my mind, guests will enter the reception and find their placecard – organized alphabetically on a table – to locate their table.

I’ve been loving all of the gold-foil options on, but good Lord, the cost adds up quickly.

Instead, I crafted a simple placecard template using a faux gold foil look that printed out beautifully on cardstock and creates a larger, more luxurious feeling card than those sold at the craft or office store.

I’m pleased with how they’ve turned out, and I can’t wait to start printing out the finals (just waiting on the envelope tool that I’ve ordered for the cleanest, sharpest folds!). I’ll post more – or better – photos once it arrives!

If you’re interested in doing the same, I’ve listed my template in the Etsy shop for a cool $5. You simply download the PDF or Word file, type in four names and/or table numbers per sheet, and hit print. Voila! Beautiful  place cards for your next event, and all of those afterward, since you can use this as often and whenever you’d like (think: Thanksgiving dinners, NYE soirees, corporate events).

Purchase Faux Gold Foil Placecards on Etsy

Enjoy! 🙂

Gold Placecards

DIY Olive Leaf Design Table Numbers + Menu

DIY Free Print Olive Leaf Wedding Table Numbers

It’s Tuesday, and I’m celebrating the late-start of a new fall week with another printable freebie – a sweet and simple olive leaf design for 15 wedding reception tables. And just to tie those lovely place settings together, I’ve also added a matching menu card, which can be customized with your unique – and assuredly delicious – menu.

I love the thought of this season-less design printed on kraft paper, paired with milk glass candle holders and fresh greenery focused centerpieces.

To use the designs yourself, download and print the linked-to PDF on a paper of your choice (a cool mint green or gray paper would also look fabulous). Don’t mind the fact that the pages in the PDF are out of order … that’s my amateur fault … I promise that all the numbers are there 😉

Click Here to Open:

(Right click to “Save As” on your computer.)

NOTE: Table Numbers are sized for use on 5×7″ table numbers; menus are intended and sized for use on half of 8.5 x 10″ paper.

Love ’em? Shoot me a photo of the printables in use!