THEY RAN IN SIMILAR CIRCLES and had similar friends for years. They both attended art school and volunteered at the now closed Selma Cafe. Yet it wasn’t until 2012 that Heather Leavitt, owner and designer behind Sweet Heather Anne Bakery in Ann Arbor, and Brad Wicklund finally crossed paths — if only briefly.
“The first time we met was at a small business meeting at Pot & Box in Ann Arbor … I was starting a gelato business, and I had invited her to come to a gelato event,” Wicklund says. “I connected with her right away and wanted to get to know her better. My hope was that she would come to this event and I’d ask her out.”
“But I didn’t show!” laughs Leavitt, who was planning on attending but had a last-minute change of plans.
Two years passed before Brad and Heather would meet again. Deciding to join Tinder, the popular mobile app for meeting new people, Brad was matched to Heather just a half hour after joining.
“When we matched, I noticed we had a ton of friends in common,” Leavitt says. “He said we knew each other, but I was sitting there thinking, ‘I don’t remember this person, so I probably shouldn’t go on this date’… But once I saw him, I remembered who he was … and the date went way better than I expected.”
So much better that the Ann Arbor-based couple were engaged this past June.
“We talked about it first, rather than it being a surprise proposal,” Wicklund says. However, where and when he would propose were a surprise, and one Heather inadvertently thwarted a few times.
“I knew she didn’t want something really big and with a lot of fanfare … so I started thinking of important places in our history where we could do the proposal,” he says.
His first thought was to propose at the Ann Arbor Distilling Co., the former location of Pot & Box, where the couple had first met. “Heather doesn’t really drink spirits,” Wicklund says. “So rather than push her into this idea of mine, I’ll come up with something else. So my next thought was to propose in front of it. We would just go for a walk in that area and we would end up in front of the distillery. When I tried that, she kept interrogating me on why we were walking that way.”
“It was not on the way to where we were going,” she adds with a laugh.
“I was like, OK, we are not doing this either,” Wicklund laughs. “My third idea was to do it at the house that we had been living in … That’s where we had our second date and our first kiss.”
After a quiet dinner at home, the couple went out for a drink and dessert at one of their favorite local restaurants. “We came home and I asked her in the entryway of our house,” Wicklund says. “It was about finding the right moment without putting too much emphasis on a certain place or time.”
The couple are planning an intimate ceremony and reception at the Sunset Cove Bed & Breakfast in Pinckney in June, an event they hope feels more like an art project, something they both embrace.
“Being a wedding vendor, I see events being put together all the time, but I don’t see the actual wedding part,” says Leavitt, whose breathtaking cake designs are inspired by her background in sculpture and a visit to Italy during college. “I just don’t feel very bound to tradition. This is a really fun opportunity to make it our own, take what we want from whatever traditions there are and bring in some fun surprises.”
Having designed countless wedding cakes for others, when it comes to her own, Wicklund says Heather “can’t make up her mind!”
“I can’t,” she says. “I’m still trying to figure it out, but I know there will be plenty of cake and desserts!”
She did, however, decide on her florist right away. “Most people want to make sure their venue is available — Heather wanted to make sure her florist was,” Wicklund says.
“When I do my work, a lot of it is just because I love what I am doing, and [Sue McLeary from Passionflower in Ann Arbor] has that similar vigor,” Leavitt says. “I just knew I would want to work with her. I actually asked her before even booking our venue if she would be available!”
For Brad and Heather, working with their favorite local vendors and artists has been one of the most rewarding aspects of wedding planning.
“I’m really thankful to everyone that supports Sweet Heather Anne and allows me to make a living creating art,” Leavitt says, “and Brad and I want to use our wedding as an opportunity to give other artists that we love the creative freedom to do what they do best.”
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