Real Wedding

Monica + Stephen Wedding | May 4th

How They Met

The Bride // Stephen and I have known each other for many years, as we grew up around the block from each other.  His brother, David, was in my grade at school and we were friends. Steve was always the cute, sometimes ornery, older brother.  I went to high school at NDA, Steve & David both went to SFS. David and I had a lot of the same friends, so we were frequently at each other's houses.  Coincidentally, I ended up going to the same college as Steve, Ohio University. When I was a freshman, he was a senior. He was convinced by our parents to show the newbie around campus so I wouldn't get lost.  He, begrudgingly, met me in the middle of campus, pointed to where things were and then gave me his number in case I wanted to come to any fraternity parties. I think I went to a few, but we barely interacted. It wasn't until we both moved back home and had started our careers that we reconnected.  Steve was at home to help take care of his mom, who had recently had surgery. She wasn't feeling very well and he needed some advice on how to help her. So he did the one thing you should never, look to Facebook (or the internet) for medical advice. I was working as a nurse (on night shift) and happened to be off that night and on Facebook to answer the call.  We kept in touch casually, bonding over things we love: Detroit Tigers, Ohio University & Toledo. I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship and as soon as that relationship status changed-- he started pursuing me and asking me if I wanted to hang out or go out with him. Eventually, I gave in and the rest is history.  

Steve and I had been dating for about 6 years before he proposed.  Of course, I had been annoying him about it long before that and was convinced that it was never going to happen.  We did all these great things, like flying in a hot air balloon, taking trips to Mexico, which all seemed like great times to propose. Every time I would come back from these events my friends would ask... "so, did it happen??" "are you engaged yet?"  The answer was always a disappointing no.  

In June of 2018, my brother, aunt and I planned a birthday trip to Niagara Falls, Canada for my mom's 60th birthday, to surprise her with the real birthday gift, a trip to Alaska with her sisters.  Little did I know, the surprise was really on me. After we arrived, we went to take in the sights, get a bite to eat, etc. We had a short window remaining from the time we got back to the hotel to when we had to arrive for the night-time boat cruise into the falls we had planned.  My sister in law kept asking me what I was planning on wearing to a boat cruise because she was going to wear a dress. I thought to myself, why is she going to wear a dress when we are going to probably get soaked on this boat? I planned to just throw on a hoodie, but after talking with her and feeling like I needed to be slightly better dressed--- threw on a tunic.  As we got down to the boat, the weather got significantly colder and I realized quickly that I needed to dress warmer. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and I purchased a rain suit (jacket and pants) that they were selling near the boat site. After completing the boat cruise, there was a huge fireworks display. People were beginning to exit the boat, Steve said: "let's stay here and wait for the crowd to get off and then we will go."  This didn't surprise me at all, as Steve usually says stuff like this avoid crowds. The fireworks completed, the boat was empty besides my family. I turned to Steve and said, "Ok, are you ready to go?" He said "sure, but I have one thing to ask you first." Being impatient and a brat, I responded: "Ok, what?" He then got down on one knee and asked me if I would marry him. I was completely taken aback & in shock, as this was the last thing I had considered planning this trip for my mom, but of course, I said yes.

Their Wedding

The Bride // I had never been the girl to envision what my wedding one day would be like, but I knew I wanted 2 things: to get married in the Catholic Church and that wanted our wedding to feel soft, light, and romantic. 

Since I am in school getting my Masters of Nursing, there are very few breaks in my schedule that would allow time for us to get married.  We were worried about our closest friends not being able to make it around the holidays, so we opted for our date in May. I wanted a color that wasn't the popular blush pink, which is how I arrived at wisteria and eucalyptus.  Colors both soft, light, airy, and romantic.

Our parish was unable to host the wedding as it was also First Communion the weekend we had chosen to get married.  As we were considering alternative churches to get married at, we figured it was best to find a church that didn't have a school associated with it.  The Historic Church of St. Patrick seemed like a great fit, and as a bonus, is one of the most architecturally stunning churches in the area. From its gorgeous stained-glass windows, grand doors, marble floor with clover in-lays, it was the perfect historic location as we celebrated the sacrament of marriage.

We toured numerous reception sites, but we chose Heather Downs Country Club based on the amenities, kindness & dedication of their staff.  We left there feeling that they were going to do whatever it took to make our day as we had wished and without any worries. It's safe to say that they exceeded our expectations and we couldn't have been happier with their focus on detail, kindness, and attentiveness.

I basically found all other vendors after getting sucked into the black hole of Instagram. As I began looking through photos and trying to get ideas of what I liked and didn't like, I noticed that I loved the work of the same people over and over and over.  Their work consistently melded with my vision of soft, light and romantic.  

I was blessed to have this dream team all available on our wedding day: Jenny at GardenView Flowers in Grand Rapids, Amanda Collins with AC Photography, Kelly of Upper Case Designs, Helen, Abbey & Melanie who provided hair and makeup from Amy Lewis & Co., Mike Baginski from Decorative Sound, Glass City Cupcakes, Renaissance Hotel, Total Image Limousine, & Childers Limousine.

At my first meeting with Amanda, she recommended Cassandra Clair with Event Prep as a wedding coordinator and I am SO happy she did.  Cassandra was an absolute dream to work with. If there is one piece of advice I can give from my wedding day experience, it is to hire a wedding coordinator.  Or really, just hire Cassandra. LOL. She kept everything together, she knew all the detailed things to ask that I didn't even think of, she helped to create a seamless timeline for the day, and was the point person at the wedding & ceremony so that we (and our families) could truly be in the moment and enjoy the day with those around us.  

The floral designs from GardenView Flowers were absolutely stunning.  When I walked into our reception for the first time, I was completely blown away with how beautiful all the centerpieces and floral arrangements looked and smelled.

Amanda and her assistant, Elise, were so sweet.  They were able to capture all the special moments and details.  They did such a great job of being present but also behind the scenes.  The images they captured are something we will always look back on and treasure.  We can't wait to show them to our family in the future.    

Kelly from Uppercase Designs is a quick, creative genius!  With little detail from me, she came up signage that perfectly matched our theme while being elegant, classy, and a little cheeky.  She was so easy to work with and had such quick turn-around.

The morning of was so relaxing as Helen, Abbey, and Melanie pampered all the girls & moms in the morning with hair and makeup at the Renaissance Hotel.  They obliged all our requests and made us look and feel beautiful.

Mike from Decorative Sound kept the reception flowing and the dance floor full all night.  He knew exactly how to read and play the crowd. He went above and beyond to always make sure that we had our drink of choice in hand.  

The cake and cupcakes from Glass City Cupcakes were delicious. As someone with a serious sweet tooth who cut out sweets for 6 months prior to the wedding, this was the one thing I was really looking forward to... and they made it worth waiting for.  The cake was almost so beautiful that I didn't even want to cut it! Steve made sure that I got more than my fair share of cake... 

I can honestly say that our wedding day was PERFECT.  It wouldn't have been possible without the dream team of vendors we had and we couldn't be more grateful and thankful for them.


Wedding Professionals

Ceremony Venue // Historic Church of St. Patrick

Reception Venue // Heather Downs Country Club

Wedding Planner + Coordination // Event Prep

Photographer // AC Photography

Jeweler // Kay Jewelers

Florals // GardenView Flowers

DJ // Decorative Sound

Bridal Attire // 2B Bridal

Menswear // Men’s Wearhouse

Invitations + Stationery // Minted | Uppercase Designs

Cake + Desserts // Glass City Cupcakes

Hair + Make-Up // Makeup by Amy Lewis & Co.

Transportation // Total Image Limousine | Childers Transportation 

Rehearsal Dinner // Manhattan’s