OFTEN TIMES, the best wedding venues are those with antiquity and ambiance — which Detroit has in spades. Take, for example, the Belle Isle Boat House, a 117-year-old building with 28-foot ceilings and windows that overlook the Detroit River. The iconic spot is the perfect backdrop for nuptials. “When you walk in, you’re immediately surrounded by gorgeous arches, dark wood pillars, and a grand, two-story balcony,” says photographer Jackie Palmer. “Go into the main ballroom, and you’ll find that it’s grandiose but inviting. It lets in a lot of soft, captivating light.”
Couples can either rent the entire boathouse or select from a variety of rooms, says events manager Ryan Abney. Options include a ceremony outside at the bandshell or inside the foyer, cocktail hour in the third-floor captain’s lounge, and a reception in the ballroom or dining room. All of the spaces can be used to suit each couple’s needs and aesthetic.
“Each room has its own character, and that’s what couples like most — they can use this space to make their wedding uniquely theirs,” Abney says.
Couples who get married at the Boat House become part of its history in more ways than one; the revenue from each wedding goes right back into paying for the restoration projects. The building has been in use since 1902, so it’s in need of repair. It’s an undertaking Abney began about three years ago, when she started working with Friends of Detroit Rowing, the organization that has a long-term lease on the boathouse. She knew opening the venue to weddings would bring in more money than what was raised from their annual fundraiser. Now, with the increase in revenue, they’re hoping to complete renovations in five years. “The progress we’ve made is the most rewarding feeling,” she says. “This venue is a true example of the resilience of Detroit. Couples who get married at the Belle Isle Boat House are forever part of our story as we inspire history.”
For more information, go to belleisleboathouse.com.
You don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort — especially on a day as (delightfully) busy as your wedding. Ally Shoes, which makes classic styles like pumps and stilettos in quintessential bridal shades, were created in collaboration with a shoe designer and podiatrist. “Our signature products are patent-pending, three-inch stiletto pumps,” says founder and CEO Samantha Dong. “They’re the epitome of chic yet scientifically engineered to alleviate pain.” Plus they offer three different widths — along with half sizes — so every bride can find her perfect fit.
For more information, go to ally.nyc.
How’s this for a two-stop shop? At Posie Atelier in Detroit, you can pick out your engagement ring and hire a florist in one fell swoop. Located in Parker’s Alley behind the Shinola Hotel, Posie Atelier was opened by Meg Stojcevski in December 2019. “I had been ‘floristing’ on the side for about 10 years and was noticed by Daniel Caudill, the creative director of Shinola,” she says. “When they were planning the hotel’s retail alley, he approached me to start a florist shop. I proposed a florist and fine jewelry shop, and he said, ‘Go ahead, just make it beautiful.’ ”
With her chic eye, she’s curated a gorgeous collection of jewelry designers who aren’t widely available in the Midwest. Think delicate, whimsical pieces by Jenni Kwon and statement, graphic pieces by Ariana Boussard-Reifel — who has since caught the attention of Beyonce, Zoe Kravitz, and the Kardashians.
Stojcevski’s unique style translates into floral design as well: she has a beautiful, whimsical touch and loves to incorporate flowers like ranunculus and garden roses into her arrangements. “I’m a chameleon, but my preferred aesthetic is whimsical blooms,” Stojcevski says. “I like to incorporate florals that no one else in town uses.”
For more information, go to posieatelier.com.
In the form of stud earrings or a necklace, pearls have long been a wedding-day staple. Today, though, you can easily give pearls an updated twist by wearing them in your hair. From Jennifer Behr’s statement headband to BaubleBar’s ’90s-inspired hair clips and Lele Sadoughi’s graphic barrette, these pearl hair accessories are equal parts classic and modern.
- Jennifer Behr “Birgitte” circlet, $298, available by special order, jenniferbehr.com.
- BaubleBar “Scarlett” set of two hair clips, $16, baublebar.com.
- Lele Sadoughi stacked stone barrette, $150, lelesadoughi.com.
One way to support local business? Register for wedding gifts at City Bird and Nest in Detroit. The sister stores offer the coolest collection of housewares from Michigan-based entrepreneurs that will fill your new home with special items that truly have meaning.
For more information, go to citybirddetroit.com.
To complete your bridal skincare regimen, add Tatcha’s new Silk Peony Melting Eye Cream into your lineup. Not only does it come in the most luxe packaging, but it will give you an instant, wide-eyed look for your big day. It contains pure silk and a trio of antioxidants to negate and blur the first signs of aging, and it will add the prettiest radiance to your eyes, no makeup needed. Bonus: it’s non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores!
Available for $60 at tatcha.com.
Whether you’re a health enthusiast, have food allergies, or just want to try something different for your wedding day, you can’t go wrong with Planthropie at your dessert table. The vegan cheese and dessert bar began as a popup in 2018 and opened its first brick-and-mortar store last fall in Birmingham. A self-described cheese addict, Planthropie owner Rua Francis Oshana hatched the idea for the business after her son was diagnosed with a dairy allergy. The concept was a hit. “We started with a series of collaborations throughout metro Detroit — one with Willis Show Bar, several with the Birmingham Farmers Market, which sold out every time, and then we were invited to do a chef’s table at the Detroit Foundation Hotel,” Oshana says. “We created a dessert concept for dinner, and it was phenomenal.”
For special events, you can choose from vegan cheese plates, dips, cakes, cupcakes, and truffles. They’ll even create a custom menu. Every vegan offering is also free of refined sugars and preservatives. Sweetness is added with maple syrup and dates; cheese is made from cashews. “I’m a lifelong artist,” Oshana says. “And this is art — it’s pure experimentation and creativity. I love imagining new flavors. It’s experiencing food as a fun and artistic experience.”
For more information, go to planthropie.com.
Planning a classic wedding? Set the tone with Draper James x Zola wedding stationery, which includes everything from save-the-dates and invitations to enclosure cards, menus, programs, and thank you notes in a variety of preppy designs. You’ll find navy and white gingham patterns, elegant florals, and basically anything you can picture Draper James’s chic mastermind, Reese Witherspoon, using.
For more information, go to zola.com.