This out-of-town couple created an incredible Detroit wedding experience, despite planning their day from the East Coast.
Alexandra and Timothy Kistner live and work in Boston. He's a former Obama Administration official now in his second year of law school at Boston University, and she's a researcher in the education division of the American Institutes for Research in nearby Waltham.
Their March 16 nuptials was even recorded in the pages of The New York Times -- all the more noteworthy, considering they were held in the Motor City, at the Colony Club downtown.
(Scroll down for photographs and memories of the Kistners' stunningly elegant wedding at the Colony Club.)
Alexandra, who grew up in Detroit suburb Huntington Woods, said having family in the area made the Michigan locale enticing, but it was the Colony Club's timeless elegance and urban vibe that sealed the deal.
"We picked the Colony Club simply because it was stunning," she told The Huffington Post. "Walking into the first floor, it has a very Art Deco feel with amazing peacocks on the ceilings, and then you head up to the Grand Ballroom and there are these amazing balconies overlooking an ornate, but not over the top, ballroom."
The Kistners asked 125 guests to witness their vows, ministered by Kimi Riegel of the Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield, "the church I grew up attending and where my parents are still active members," Alexandra said. "We chose all the readings ourselves and it was not traditionally religious."
The ceremony was followed by a cocktail hour and reception.
Kistner said she'd advise all Detroiters at heart to think about returning to the Motor City for their dream wedding -- and the affordability is another great perk.
"To be able to get married in a venue as stunning as the Colony Club would have certainly broken the bank if we had decided to get married in DC or Boston, but in Detroit we were able to get high quality vendors without paying the premium you are often subjected to in other big cities," she said.
"It's always great to show the important people in your life your roots, and having them visit the place you are from is a great way to do that."
We've collected stunning images from wedding photographer Adam Sparkes, plus Adam and Alexandra's memories of her wedding. Enjoy!
Alexandra & Timothy Kistner's Detroit Wedding
<a href="http://www.breakfastwithadam.com/tim-alex-married-detroit-michigan-wedding-photography/#success" target="_blank"></a>"Walking into the first floor, it has a very Art Deco feel with amazing peacocks on the ceilings, and then you head up to the Grand Ballroom and there are these amazing balconies overlooking an ornate, but not over the top, ballroom." All photographs courtesy of <a href="http://www.breakfastwithadam.com/tim-alex-married-detroit-michigan-wedding-photography/#success" target="_blank">Adam Sparkes Photography.</a>
Says Adam Sparkes, wedding photographer: "Alex and Tim have the kind of connection that you can see in quick glances and silent smiles. They're very in love.. and in this very romantic way. Or, at least, that's my read on it." PS: This was also Adam's favorite pic he took from the evening!
How They Met
"We met on New Years Eve 2008 just after Tim moved to DC following the Obama campaign to begin working in the administration. I had become friends with one of his college roommates a couple of years earlier when we both moved to the city for jobs after college and he introduced us when we were all at a New Years Eve party together."
"He planned a celebration dinner for the Saturday after I finished my last graduate school final. It was a beautiful late April night and he suggested we walk down to the National Mall to watch the sun set behind the Washington monument after dinner. Sitting on a bench in front of the National Gallery, he asked me to marry him."
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Proposal
Timothy actually proposed to Alexandra on the date of her parents' wedding anniversary. "He had called my parents earlier that week to let them know he was going to ask. My dad immediately told everyone he worked with, at which point my mom made him de-friend me on Facebook, fearing someone would say something on his wall and give it away before Tim proposed. I realized my dad de-friended me that afternoon when I went to wish him a happy anniversary on his wall and we were no longer friends! I was very confused.."
"I knew he was the one when I realized how easy our conversations were, how naturally joking around with him came, and how much we had in common in not only our interests, but also our upbringing and vision for the future."
"I bought the dress at Moni's Bridal in Farmington. The dress is by Casablanca, style 1827."
"During the day, I was very calm, but filled with a kind of vibrating, nervous energy."
"I have two very vivid memories of the evening. The first one is standing in the bride's room with my dad after the ceremony started, all the bridesmaids went up to the ballroom and it was just the two of us left. We were making small talk about Wes Welker leaving the New England Patriots to keep both of us from getting choked up before he walked me down the aisle."
"The other vivid memory is holding Tim's hands as we said our vows. As soon as I started talking, I began getting choked up, but I wanted to get through my vows without crying. Tim squeezed my hands tighter when he heard my voice start to waver and I was able to take a deep breath and remain composed enough to make it through them all."
"Once the evening arrived, at the ceremony itself I was filled with both relief and joy, very much a sense of 'at last.'"
"Moving into the reception I was simply happy, having fun, enjoying being with so many people that I love and so happy to be married to Tim."
City As Muse
Adam Sparkes, photographer: "First, of all I L-O-V-E shooting in Detroit. It has an eclectic ambiance that is impossible to substitute anywhere else I take pictures."
The Wedding of Her Dreams
"I would recommend all of our vendors and pretty much all of them were local:" Flowers: Petit Fleur in Ferndale Hair & Makeup: Posh Studio in Milford DJ: Kurt Colone of Mike Staff in Troy Cake: Holiday Market in Royal Oak Ceremony Musicians: Fantasy Strings Photographer: Adam Sparkes Day-Of Coordinator: Jill Rickard of Simplicity Day of Event Coordination
Image To Remember
"I am incredibly happy with our photos, everyone else has been over the top complimentary, and Adam was a great guy to work with."
"I loved my hair and makeup, the people who worked with us were both friendly and professional. All our hair and makeup remained flawless throughout the night and look great in the photos. One of my bridesmaids who has been in five other weddings said they were by far the best beauty pros she had ever had make her up for a wedding."
Piece of Cake
"I still dream about our cake. The next morning I was wishing we had leftovers, but alas, there were none. We had marble with chocolate ganache and white with raspberry jam; both were amazing... The flowers were absolutely beautiful and I loved my bouquet more than I ever imagined. Corrina was easy to work with via email, which was key since I was doing nearly all of the planning from afar."
Detroit Wedding City
"I would definitely recommend other people to get married in Detroit. It's a great chance to introduce people who have never and maybe would never visit the city. We had so many people who told us they had a great time going to the Motown Museum or to Eastern Market or Greektown -- as well as a great value."
Adam: "It was a really fun job, and a blueprint for how to have a great Detroit wedding."
Alive in the Moment
Adam: "Clearly, this event was very elegant and well-planned, but there wasn't an ounce of tension or micromanagement from the couple or their parents' on the day of. They simply showed up and went with the flow. When people are truly LIVING in the moment, there isn't anything left for me to fake ... no convincing for me to do."
Fall In Love Again
Adam: "I always say that the best thing a client can do for themselves on the wedding day is show up and let themselves become completely absorbed in event. Fall in love again. And, in spite of anything that may go wrong, have fun."