Reception Venue/Catering at Detroit Athletic Club | Photography by Holden Photo | Dress by Shona Joy Julia’s | Ring by Jennie Kwon Design | Hair by Simona Vigh | Suit by Bonobos | Jazz Band Ryan Freitas Band | Videography by Refracted Film
IN AN INTIMATE ceremony on July 10, 2021, Julia Griffin, owner of Willa Rose Floral in Detroit, and Josh Freed said “I do” surrounded by their closest family, friends, and of course — plenty of flowers. Much of the traditional wedding fanfare was absent from their ceremony and following reception, making it a day perfectly in line with the couple’s easygoing, laid-back nature.
Those themes were present even at their engagement earlier that year in April, when Josh proposed at their home, on the porch, as they enjoyed a drink together. “I don’t like big spectacles, so Josh definitely went with a very, very chill proposal,” Julia says. “It was just the most natural, smoothest moment,” Josh adds. “Sunday night, chilling on our porch. It was kind of perfect.”
They knew they didn’t want a lengthy engagement filled with wedding planning. Additionally, considering the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to not only look at their own availability, but also look for a time when it would be safe for their family and friends to gather together.
“Having a long, drawn-out process of planning — especially because I am in the wedding industry — I didn’t want that at all,” Julia says. “So we just waited until it felt safe COVID-wise.”
The couple wanted to hold their reception at the Detroit Athletic Club, and once they learned the DAC was able to host small gatherings, they quickly got to planning. “We planned [our wedding] in three weeks, and it was perfect,” Julia says. “There was not really any time to stress too much, which was lovely.”
Given that flowers are such a significant part of her life, Julia wanted to create the floral arrangements for the wedding. “As I was designing, I was thinking, ‘My closest friends and family get to enjoy these flowers,’ and it was an extremely moving experience,” she says. “Normally I have such strict guidelines from clients, so it was really fun to design only what I wanted.”
Surrounded by Julia’s own flower arrangements, the couple was married by their best friend in a brief ceremony, perfectly timed during a lull in the showers on the rainy summer day. They then met guests at the DAC for an evening of dinner and music on the rooftop.
“It was just a party with good friends, good food, good drinks and good music,” Julia says. The DAC provided a dinner of pizza and salad, along with plenty of appetizers and a full dessert table that included Julia’s special request, a Detroit classic Bumpy Cake. Guests dined and danced to live jazz music provided by Ryan Freitas Band.
“The music was pretty chill and we weren’t expecting to dance, but then at the end of the night we danced for two hours straight,” Julia says. “It was really fun because it was a band with no vocals or anything, and we were really getting down to jazz music. It was pretty funny.”
While their big day may seem unconventional with a jazz band instead of a DJ, and three weeks of planning instead of several months, they ensured that their wedding day mirrored their values, personalities, and the love they have for one another.
“[Couples] should always remember that it’s only about you and your partner,” Josh says. “It can be easy and tempting to stray from that, but as long as you keep that front and center during the planning and during the actual wedding day itself, it’s going to be the perfect day for you. We did it exactly the way that we wanted, and it ended up being perfect for everybody there, too.”
RECEPTION VENUE/CATERING: Detroit Athletic Club
PHOTOGRAPHER: Holden Photo
DRESS: Shona Joy
JULIA’S RING: Jennie Kwon Design
HAIR: Simona Vigh
JAZZ BAND: Ryan Freitas Band
VIDEOGRAPHER: Refracted Film