CARI CUCKSEY laughingly refers to Holly Vault as her “venue empire,” but that description isn’t too far off. Since moving to Holly four years ago (a town she describes as a “Norman Rockwell painting mixed with a Hallmark movie,”) she and her husband, Cash, have acquired quite the eclectic mix of historic buildings, renovating them and turning them into event spaces, a bed and breakfast, and most recently, a wedding chapel. (Her passion for old things isn’t surprising: her HGTV reality show, Cash & Cari, follows her as she organizes estate sales and digs through homes in search of antique treasures.)
The building that started it all was an 1860s-era bank (hence the name Holly Vault), located in the heart of the downtown. They gave it an industrial, rustic vibe, and many couples use it for wedding receptions. The second was a Victorian home, now dubbed the Holly Vault Crossing House. It has eight bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and a lovely garden that’s perfect for hosting intimate wedding ceremonies. The third and most recently opened acquisition is the Holly Vault Chapel, an early 1900s-era church located less than a half-mile from the main event space.
“The bones were already there,” Cucksey says of the chapel. “There are tall ceilings with pressed tin tiles that add a gorgeous vintage feel, and windows that let in a lot of light. I really wanted to create an all-white backdrop — there’s something about a crisp, clean look for a wedding ceremony that’s so beautiful.”
They ripped out the carpet to find a beautiful oak floor underneath and re-stained the pews to match. They brought out the charm of the chapel itself, adding elegant details like white chandeliers that hang from the ceiling. As with every old building, though, it wasn’t without its challenges. “When we found the pressed tin tiles, we realized there must have been a fire in the building at some point, because some of them were stained with soot,” Cucksey says. “There was also a gaping hole in the roof.”
You’d never know that now. The Cuckseys have created a chic, intimate space that can hold about 250 people, and they’re currently adding a bridal suite and renovating the downstairs. But if you think the chapel has completed their empire, you’d be wrong: next up on the list is a former high school that they’re converting into another event venue. “It’s going to be a really cool, Great Gatsby-inspired space with big windows, skylights,” she says. “I love a good before and after story.”
To learn more, visit hollyvault.com.
A Scent to Remember
We love the idea of picking out a new wedding-day perfume, as it will transport you right back to that special event each time you wear it. For a truly memorable scent, Head to Le Labo in Detroit. The perfumery, which recently opened on Woodward Avenue is known not only for unique, luxurious fragrances, but also for custom bottles. They’ll turn your scent into a true keepsake by putting your wedding date and location on the label.
To find your signature scent, go to lelabofragrances.com.
Diamonds of the Future
A study from The Millennials Impact Project found that 70 percent of millennials would consider buying a lab-grown diamond. Whether they’re greener and more environmentally friendly than mined diamonds is something that’s still debated, but even so, this trend seems to be gaining speed each year. We reached out to Michelle Graff, editor-in-chief of Natural Jeweler, to get the low-down on lab-grown. Here, she answers all of our (and probably your) burning questions.
Metro Detroit Weddings: What exactly are lab-grown diamonds?
Michelle Graff: Lab-grown diamonds have the same physical, optical, and chemical properties as mined, or natural, diamonds. In other words, they are diamonds, period. The difference is their origins — lab-grown diamonds are grown in factories, while natural diamonds are mined from the earth.
MDW: Can you detect a physical difference between lab-grown and mined diamonds?
MG: By you, do you mean me, or the average consumer? In both cases, the answer is no. In order to separate mined diamonds from lab-grown diamonds, you have to send them to a grading laboratory that has specialized equipment. There’s no way anyone can tell them apart by sight.
MDW: Where can you buy lab-grown diamonds?
MG: They’re sold both by jewelry stores and online, direct to consumer. In the case of buying any jewelry, I recommend going to a local, reputable jeweler, instead of whatever company comes up first in Google.
A Monique Lhuillier gown might not be in your bridal budget, but Monique Lhuillier flowers could be. The designer has teamed up with online floral retailer, The Bouqs Co., to create a capsule collection of four beautiful arrangements to fit any bride’s aesthetic. Each one includes bridal and bridesmaid bouquets, centerpieces, corsages, and boutonnieres. There’s Jardin, a vibrant bouquet of pink and peach roses, white aster, blue delphinium, and blush spray roses; Opulence, a glamorous bouquet of calla lilies, deep red photinia, and red roses; Sincere, an understated bouquet of white spray roses, snapdragons, gypsophila, and dusty miller; and Embrace, a timeless bouquet of white hydrangeas, mother of pearl roses, and silver dollar eucalyptus. Prices start at $399.
To find your perfect bouquet, visit bouqs.com.
Sourcing the Experts
Paper Source is a well-known destination for wedding invitations and paper goods, but did you know they also offer free one-on-one wedding consultations? Because they’ve been in the biz for a while (since 1983, to be exact) they know the wedding-planning process can be daunting. Every Saturday, you can stop by your local Paper Source store for a weekly open house, where you’ll get hooked up with a specialist to answer your laundry list of questions. Or maybe you just need someone to help you de-stress — either way; they’re there for you!
For more information, visit papersource.com.
Setting the Scene
For wedding brunches, bridal showers, engagement parties (and the list goes on), try Table + Teaspoon, a new tabletop service based in San Francisco. You can choose from up to six styles of settings, have them delivered to your home or event location, use them, and then send them back. (You don’t even have to wash them before returning!) They ship nationwide, but recommend ordering online at least seven days before the big event.
To set the scene, go to tableandteaspoon.com.
Chic Soap Boxes
Handcrafted in Lebanon with elegant engravings and gorgeous fragrances, the Tasting Box from Senteurs d’Orient is the perfect gift for bridal showers, mothers-in-law, and bridesmaids. Each box includes nine miniature soaps: orange blossom, almond exfoliant, honey, jasmine, amber, tuberose, rose, oriental, and cedar. It comes wrapped in a beautiful ribbon, along with a note you can personalize. Priced at $38.50, it’s a gift with meaning, too: a portion of product sales benefit the brand’s Senteurs Women Initiative, which helps educate women in the Middle East.
To learn more, visit senteursdorient.com.
Ready to Wear Boxes
The traditional way to buy a wedding dress is the months-long, made-to-order way: going to a showroom, trying on gowns, selecting “the one” and having it custom created. But for brides who want instant gratification (maybe you’re having a short engagement?) the options for buying gowns on the web are becoming more plentiful. Watters is the latest designer to offer direct-to-consumer dresses. Its new line, By Watters, includes light, breezy dresses for elopements and seaside ceremonies, long-sleeved gowns for weddings in chilly weather, minimalist sheaths for modern brides, strapless A-line dresses for timeless brides, and everything in between. The best part? Prices start at $250.
For your dream dress, go to watters.com.