“NOTHING IS WORTH MORE than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light.”
While this quote is attributed to the late artist Frida Kahlo, it could easily be attributed to Diana Marsh, the owner of Ann Arbor’s beloved jewelry and lifestyle boutique, Thistle & Bess, and her fiancé, Matt Finney, a freelance graphic designer and Harper Woods native.
“We laugh a lot, which is very important to us,” Marsh says. The soon-to-be-wed creative duo never takes themselves too seriously. “She said she would never deny me a slice (of pizza),” jokes Finney. And while they are all for “being silly” and devoting time to exploring new things around metro Detroit, they also love spending time at their home — “a cozy spot that reflects both of us,” Marsh says.
When Finney recently moved into Marsh’s Ann Arbor home, merging their opposing asthetics seemed, at first, to be impossible and quite a team effort. But with their shared love for design and the arts (early in their relationship, Finney and Marsh spent many a date in Detroit’s mural-filled alley, The Belt), the couple were able to seamlessly meld their styles and passions into a home that is all their own.
“Matt has a huge collection of very modern art,” Marsh says. “And my style is a little more vintage and antique, so it was difficult in the beginning to imagine that such modern pieces would fit in, but we worked really hard to look through his collection together to pick out pieces that we thought would work in the space … it ended up turning out wonderfully.”
They recently added two works by Detroit artist Ellen Rutt. “We kind of just said to each other that going forward we would try to work together to pick out pieces that speak to both of us.”
Working together is something the couple cherishes, even if it’s in their own non-traditionalist way. Engaged this past December, Finney proposed with a stunning black diamond engagement ring. The couple worked together to design the ring with one of Marsh’s favorite vendors, Sofia Zakia, a Montreal-based fine jewelry brand.
“Matt at first felt funny that he wasn’t surprising me by picking all these things out on his own,” Marsh says. “But we realized that a marriage is an equal partnership. So whether picking out things like an engagement ring or flowers for your wedding table, we approach everything as equal partners and really kind of back each other up and work together on all these things. We picked a black diamond, which was just a little bit different but felt very much like me.”
In another non-traditionalist move, Marsh also picked out her wedding band first. Another prize-worthy piece from Sofia Zakia, it features a design fittingly inspired by a Frida Kahlo painting. Finney did surprise Marsh with a custom engraving inside the wedding band.
“So we’ve had this small running relationship joke/saying,” Finney says.
“When something random or funny happens (like maybe eating pizza too often or when the cats would puke on the floor), I would always say, ‘This is your life now.’ It was a joking way of saying that this is what you’re signing up for. So having ‘This is our life now’ engraved on her ring was pretty fitting.” Finney says the saying will be on his band, too.
When it came to the proposal, Marsh says, “I knew he had the ring, but he tried to keep it somewhat of a surprise by not letting me know when the actual proposal was happening, so he tricked me into thinking that we were having dinner with his friends.” Instead, Finney had made reservations for them to have their aura photos taken at Detroit’s AURA AURA. He proposed outside of the building before their appointment.
The couple is planning an August wedding at the Shinola Hotel in Detroit. The location showcases their love of art (the hotel is home to an extensive collection curated by Library Street Collective), as well as their love for the city. It also features settings that play to their differing design styles.
But just as they collaborated on rings and decorating their home, the couple is set to have a summer nuptial that blends not only their eclectic styles but incorporates the talents of their friends, many of whom are in the wedding industry.
“It’s going to be a wedding of epic proportions. I would describe it as being as amazing as the ’92 U.S. Olympic Dream Team,” says Finney in reference to the iconic basketball team that featured a legendary roster of players, including the likes of Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Larry Bird. “Diana and I really do make a great team.”
Photography by Erin Schmidt
Want to share your proposal? Send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org for your chance to be featured in a future issue.