A Modern At Home Wedding in Michigan :: Alyssa & Matt

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Photography by Kendra Stanley-Mills.

Trust me when I tell you this is the ultimate modern take on the traditional dream wedding in your parents’ backyard. The bride’s parents’ Michigan property really did come with everything – including a gorgeous getting ready space in her parents’ light-filled home, a lush green backyard for their Jewish ceremony (officiated by the same rabbi who married her parents!), and a front yard with enough space for their stylish green and  white reception… oh, and did I mention the lake, oh-so-right for sunset shots? Plus, it was the ideal backdrop for the bride’s chic look, in a Pronovias short sleeved gown with keyhole back and a tiny, elegant train. And it has to be said, we like a bride who knows good shoes (you had us at ‘white and spiked’, Mr Louboutin!)

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; modern black and white stationery suite;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; sapphire ring in blue box;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; white spiked louboutins;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; botanical ketubah;

Did you include any traditions in your wedding? We signed a traditional Jewish wedding contract, a ketubah, before the ceremony. I also did something old (my grandmother’s diamond bracelet), new (my wedding dress), borrowed (a ring borrowed from my mother-in-law), and blue (my best friend gave me a handkerchief with a sweet message and our wedding date.)

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; brie and bridesmaid walking down staircase;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; bride and bridesmaid crying;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; modern white wedding gown; short sleeved wedding gown;

Why did you choose this location for your wedding? We wanted to have our wedding some place meaningful and somewhere where we could create our event space from scratch. There was no better place than my parents’ house!

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; first look; first look in garden; outdoor first look;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; first look; first look in garden; outdoor first look;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; bride and groom in garden; bride and groom after ceremony; bride in modern white dress with veil;

Bride Alyssa tells us “we served prosecco and meat and cheese appetizers before our ceremony. We wanted everyone to be happy waiting for the ceremony and there’s not better way to do than with food and booze!”

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; trays of champagne;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; antiasto; paper cups of antipasto;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; guests excited before ceremony starts;

The Ceremony

Your ceremony in three words. Emotional, intimate, exciting.

How did you go about planning your ceremony? My husband and I knew we wanted to write our own vows; I also knew I wanted to be married by my childhood rabbi. Since my husband didn’t grow up Jewish we discussed what we both wanted in a ceremony and what we were comfortable with and then met with the rabbi to discuss what readings made sense.

Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? My childhood rabbi officiated the ceremony. He also married my parents 33 years earlier!

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding;

Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We stood under a traditional chuppah, drank from a kiddish cup, and lit a candle.

What were your ceremony readings? We read traditional Jewish wedding readings.

What were your vows like? We wrote our own vows. Fortunately, some good friends gave us the tip of reading our vows to each other in private a few days before the weeding. It was really special and made us even more excited for the wedding. Plus, during the ceremony I couldn’t stop crying so I can’t even imagine what it would’ve been like had we not read the vows before!

What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? When Matt leaned in to kiss me after he read his vows and realized it wasn’t time yet. Everyone laughed and it was a really cute moment.

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; outdoor ceremony; glass smash;

What was your ceremony music? We had a string quartet. For the Attendant and Groom’s Processional, they played Vivaldi’s Spring, and for the Bride’s Processional, Handel’s Hornpipe from Water. And for the Recessional the quartet played Hail to the Victors the University of Michigan fight song – because that’s where Matt and I met, and we are die hard Michigan fans!

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; bride in modern white dress and veil; first look in garden;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; bouquet of greenery with white florals;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; bride and groom shoes shot; groom in brown prada laceups; bride in white spiked louboutins;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; bride and groom in garden; bride and groom after ceremony; bride in modern white dress with veil;

The Reception

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? The idea of having a super elegant dinner party with all of our friends and family. All white, modern, and cool.

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; lakeside reception; tented reception; white adirondack chairs

Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Be true to your vision, but be flexible and listen to the professionals. I had a vision for our reception centerpieces that was completely price prohibitive and our florist creative a tablescape better than anything I imagined.

What other advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Get a wedding planner if you can! Ours was a life saver.

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; modern simple seating chart; black and white seating chart;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; modern white and green reception; tented reception; gold tiffany chairs with white cushions; single white flowers in glass vases; individual white pot plants; hanging greenery; modern black and white table numbers;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; modern white and green reception; tented reception; gold tiffany chairs with white cushions; single white flowers in glass vases; individual white pot plants; hanging greenery; modern black and white table numbers;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; modern white and green reception; tented reception; gold tiffany chairs with white cushions; single white flowers in glass vases; individual white pot plants; hanging greenery; modern black and white table numbers;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; modern white and green reception; tented reception; gold tiffany chairs with white cushions; single white flowers in glass vases; individual white pot plants; hanging greenery; modern black and white table numbers;

What was your wedding menu? We served green salad and bread, then a choice of either Chilean Sea Bass with charmoula yogurt and tomato salsa over couscous, or roast beef tenderloin with red wine current reduction over sun-dried rice pilaf.

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; modern white and green reception; tented reception; gold tiffany chairs with white cushions; single white flowers in glass vases; individual white pot plants; hanging greenery; modern black and white table numbers;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; modern white and green reception; tented reception; gold tiffany chairs with white cushions; single white flowers in glass vases; individual white pot plants; hanging greenery; modern black and white table numbers; modern black and white dessert bar signage;

What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We didn’t have a wedding cake – we had mini Dairy Queen blizzards! Matt and I had a love affair with Dairy Queen in college and many of our friends and family know it’s a personal favorite. We also had some baked goods for people if they didn’t want the blizzards.

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; modern white and green reception; tented reception; gold tiffany chairs with white cushions; single white flowers in glass vases; individual white pot plants; hanging greenery; modern black and white table numbers; individual icecreams at wedding reception; dairy queen blizzards;

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I wish we would have had a photographer or designated friend/ family member taking pictures at the rehearsal. We hosted a wedding kick-off for all of your guests the night before the wedding and I wish we had more pictures from that event!

What was the best advice you received as a bride? The best advice I received is that the wedding is about more than the bride and the groom. It’s really about two families coming together and working together through lots of opinions. It was great advice and helped me keep things in perspective when things got stressful.

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; modern white and green reception; tented reception; gold tiffany chairs with white cushions; single white flowers in glass vases; individual white pot plants; hanging greenery; modern black and white table numbers; hanging greenery;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; modern white and green reception; tented reception; gold tiffany chairs with white cushions; single white flowers in glass vases; individual white pot plants; hanging greenery; modern black and white table numbers; guests toasting; susnet reception;

Overall, how would you describe your reception? Fun! And couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful evening.

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; modern wedding gown with cut out back; gown with keyhole back; couple hugging by lake; couple hugging at sunset;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding; modern wedding gown with cut out back; gown with keyhole back; couple hugging by lake; couple hugging at sunset;

KENDRA STANLEY MILLS; grand rapids wedding; michigan wedding; at home wedding;

Colors

Style

Al Fresco

Season

Spring

Location

Midwest

Vendor Credits

Photography: Kendra Stanley-Mills / Venue: Private Residence in Grand Rapids, Michigan / Event Planning & Design: Kenley Event Design / Floral Design: Overgrowth Floral / Dress: Pronovias / Veil: Bride Alyssa says “$15 from a quinceanera store!” / Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Jewelry: Pearl earrings, gold bracelet and sapphire ring, combination of bride’s own, and borrowed from relatives / Bridesmaid Dresses: Shoshanna / Suit, Tie: Burberry / Shirt: Thomas Mason for JCrew / Shoes: Prada / Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux / Stationery: Shine Wedding Invitations / Hair: Alisha Prusinski at Aesthetica Image Group / Makeup: Sue Sytsma / Rentals: The Rental Co. / Officiant: Rabbi Albert M. Lewis / Cake, Dessert: Dairy Queen

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