Kelley and Jimmy’s Black Tie Detroit Wedding
photography by Blaine Siesser
Brown graduates, Kelley and Jimmy moved from New York to Detroit and marked their new lives with an event that was as much a celebration of Detroit’s renaissance as it was their marriage. They enlisted the help of Kathy Byrum of Dream Wedding & Event Planners to help them show off Detroit to their many out-of-town guests with fabulous local vendors and a stunning ceremony at Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament and a show-stopping reception at The Detroit Institute of Arts. Dusty florals and greenery installations by Katie Wachowiak dressed the day and an epic cake by Sweet Heather Anne finished it off. Befitting to the theme, the couple and their guests danced the night away under Diego Rivera’s ultra-famous mural and Blaine Siesser was on hand to capture each moment of Kelly and Jimmy’s day.
What made the wedding special and unique?
When Jimmy and I had gotten engaged we had already made plans to move from New York to Detroit. Jimmy grew up in Detroit as did my parents and grandparents. We were so excited to be moving back during a time that has become known as the renaissance of one of America’s greatest cities and we’ve enjoyed spending time downtown exploring new restaurants and supporting local entrepreneurs. We knew we were going to have a lot of out of town guests so our biggest goal was to show off Detroit! I couldn’t imagine a better place to celebrate our new life together in our new city than the Detroit Institute of Art – a true gem of Detroit and rich with important history.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
I had the best dress shopping experience! I returned to New York where my little sister (and maid of honor) still lives and set up three appointments at different bridal boutiques for my mom, my sister and me to visit. I was nervous so before the day started I went to dry bar and got my hair done so I would feel confident trying on those dresses. Every appointment was different and special. Ultimately, I returned to the very first boutique we visited and bought the second dress I had ever tried on! I think I knew it was meant to be when the woman assisting me told me she had grown up in Michigan! The dress is Vera Wang’s Kathleen – a strapless mermaid gown with a hand-draped bodice and an inverted flange skirt. When my bridesmaids were asked what they thought my dress would look like, not one came close to guessing it right! And that’s what I loved about my dress, it was so unexpected for me but I felt like a total movie star on our big day.
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
We looked for little ways to add personal touches throughout the weekend. My favorite were the signature cocktail signs we had made with a sketch of our English Cream Retriever puppy, Wally, after whom we named our signature cocktail. On top of that, we had light-up cowboy hats for the dance floor as a nod to my having grown up in Texas. Our invitations had an olive branch emblem on them as a nod to Jimmy’s family’s Greek heritage. The song my dad chose for our father-daughter dance was One Shining Moment by Motown great Diana Ross. And finally, our gift bags were filled with special items from Detroit – a “Detroit vs. Everyone” branded water bottle, Detroit Tiger’s peanuts (Jimmy’s family has been season ticket holders for 30 years), a post card and visitors guide from the Detroit Institute of Arts, along with Sander chocolates.
What was the most memorable part of the day?
Gosh there were so many! From my first look with my dad, to dancing all night with the Diego Rivera mural surrounding all my friends and family, the moment I am always transported back to is when Jimmy and I exchanged our vows. Even though we were standing in front of 300 people, in that moment it felt like it was just the two of us in that church. It was incredibly emotional and I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on Jimmy’s face.
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
Jimmy and I met in college at Brown University. He played football and I was on the field hockey team so we bumped in to each other quite a bit in Brown’s athletic training room. At first, I don’t think he was interested in a relationship but I wore him down over time and we were dating by the time he graduated! We both moved to New York out of college and after a few years we moved in together. The weekend Jimmy proposed I should have known it was coming. My parents were visiting New York to celebrate Easter and we had a busy weekend lined up. First thing Saturday morning we were supposed to meet at Bridget’s Garden, a garden located in Madison Square Park, that was named after my mother’s sister and a very special place to our family. I didn’t think anything of it when we got there before everyone else because my family is always late. After a moment, Jimmy grabbed my hands and said, “You ready?” and I instantly knew what was coming. He dropped to one knee and proposed. Meanwhile, he had hired a photographer to capture the whole thing! On top of that, when I came out of shock and we crossed the street to where my family was waiting, we found my family, Jimmy’s family and a group of my closest friends from all over the country waiting with champagne! The rest of the weekend was one big celebration. My sister had organized a big dinner that night at Buddakan in the Meat Packing district followed by a Tex-Mex brunch (my favorite!) on Sunday. Jimmy knew I wanted family and friends to be a part of our engagement and he nailed it!
Kelley // Jimmy from Life in Rewind on Vimeo.
Photography: Blaine Siesser // Wedding Coordination: Kathy Byrum of Dream Wedding & Event Planners // Invitation Designer: Written Word Calligraphy and Design // Florist: Katie Wachowiak // Ceremony Venue: Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament // Reception Venue: The Detroit Institute of Arts // Dress: Vera Wang // Cake: Sweet Heather Anne // Shoes: Badgley Mischka // Bridesmaid Dresses & Clutches: BHLDN // Jewelry & Veil: Jules Joyner Designs // Bridesmaids’ Earrings: Kendra Scott // Rings: George Koueiter & Sons Jeweler // Hair & Makeup: Hair Erika Cortez and Makeup Tammy LoMedico // Videographer: PJ Brown of Life in Rewind // Live Music: Your Generation in Concert // Linens: Event Source // Grooms Apparel: Custom // Officiant: Reverand J.J. Mech // Rentals: Gerych’s Flowers, Events and Rentals // Ceremony Music: The Paris Project String Quartet