Click here to watch Jason and Kelly's Wedding Trailer
Here is another edition of our popular spotlight series, "Real Detroit Weddings," which will be an occasional, ongoing new sub-topic of the Detroit Wedding Examiner, our area's leading wedding column/blog. The purpose is to spotlight real couples who were married in the Metro-Detroit area, to get a glimpse at their real wedding choices and to inspire newly engaged brides (and grooms!) with ideas and advice for their own weddings. All of the following information was provided by our featured couple.
Jason and Kelly, married on September 19th, 2015. How did you first meet and fall in love?
Pizza, beer, mutual friends and a fourth of July party, isn't this how every love story begins? Jason and I first met at a friend's yearly Fourth of July celebration in Harrisville, MI. We hit it off immediately and got along so well. Unfortunately, I had a boyfriend at the time and Jason was living in Chicago so we remained friends and talked here and there on Facebook and saw each other when Jason came into town a few times. It wasn’t until 2009 when our friendship turned into much more. Jason had just moved back from Chicago to apply for his teaching degree. I was no longer in a relationship, it seemed like the stars finally aligned. I always had a big crush on Jason. I was drawn to his laid-back and super sweet personality. One night in particular is where it all changed. We were out with some mutual friends for a Red Wings playoff game. I knew I really liked this guy but he was a little shy so I didn’t see him making the first move. I did what any other girl in my position would have done...I went for what I wanted and the rest is history. We dated for 4 1⁄2 years before getting engaged.
How did the proposal go?
Jason proposed to me while we were on vacation with his family in Myrtle Beach. I couldn’t have asked for a better proposal... it was simple and sweet just like Jason. We were all upstairs hanging out before dinner and he asked me to take a walk with him. At first I said no because I needed to get ready and didn’t want to be late for dinner but he insisted. I didn’t think anything of it because I had mentioned to him earlier that we hadn’t really spend any alone time together so I figured he was trying to do just that. We walked down from the room and when we got to the beach I noticed a small table set up with flowers and champagne. I thought...is this for me! I turned around to ask Jason what was going and he was down on one knee. There was a storm coming in so it was really windy and I felt bad because he was freaking out about getting down to the beach before the storm hit but it made it even more perfect because there was no one else around us on the beach when he proposed....just the two of us..it was very romantic!
Gowanie Gulf Club
Gowanie Golf Club
What made you choose that location for your Ceremony and Reception?
We really wanted an outdoor setting for our ceremony. We were looking for something that had natural beauty that we didn’t have to spend a lot to decorate ourselves. It was really important to us to have our ceremony and reception in the same location. This made the day go really smoothly for us and our guests. Our reception location was one of the most important aspects of our wedding. We didn’t want the standard “four white walls” reception hall. We wanted it to be unique and since we were having our wedding local, we wanted to find a place that many of our guests haven’t been before. We visited a lot of venues but most of them we had already been to for some other event and it didn’t feel special to us. I really liked the idea of an outdoor wedding but with the unpredictable
Michigan weather I knew that wasn’t the best option. So instead we found the perfect place that had both an outdoor space for our cocktail hour and ceremony and an indoor space for our reception, best of both worlds! The outdoor covered wraparound porch was the selling point for us and our guests absolutely loved having the option to sit outside with a cocktail and enjoy the golf course scenery. Our reception had a very relaxed and romantic feel. As soon as we walked in I knew immediately this was the place and I am so glad we found the perfect venue.
Tell me everything you can about your Wedding Dress!
My wedding dress was designed by Mori Lee. It was a strapless A-line in ivory. I knew that I really wanted something with lace but didn’t really have any specific style in mind. I took my mom and my sister dress shopping with me and we went to 4 different bridal salons looking for the perfect dress. I must say I was a little disappointed at first, I tried on so many dresses and there wasn’t any dress that really stood out to me. I don’t know if I was putting too much pressure on myself to find “the one” or what. I finally tried on a dress that I felt the most happy in out of all the dresses but I still wasn’t convinced. My sister had picked out a dress for me that was the last one for me to try but I almost didn’t try it on because they say when you find the dress you shouldn’t try anymore on. She begged me to try it on so I did...and I am sooo glad I did because this was IT! I felt so incredibly beautiful in this dress and even know it was not the style I had originally wanted, it was beyond perfect. My dress cost $1325 (a little over budget but I knew it was so worth it).
What were your colors or what sort of look/feel were you going for with your overall wedding theme?
Our color palette consisted of navy, mint green, and gold. As far as a look/feel, we really wanted a romantic yet laidback sort of feel for our wedding. We didn’t want anything super fancy or too rustic but somewhere in between. I absolutely loved the end result and how everything tied together.
Describe how you went about coming up with the Bridesmaids dresses and what you were looking for?
My sister/MOH Lisa, my cousin/bridesmaid Taylor and I decided it would be best if we go look first to see if we could narrow down a few selections before asking all the girls their opinions (I definitely suggest doing this because you don’t want to have too many options) however, as we started looking we quickly realized that although one of us may have liked a strapless look, others didn’t feel comfortable in them, or vice versa. That is when I decided I think it would be really great to let the girls each choose their own style dress. I chose to go with floor length mint green dresses. Chose the designer and let the girls choose the style dress that they felt most comfortable in and would be most happy with.
What would you say were the 5 MOST important priorities during your planning process?
Reception Entertainment (DJ or Band)
What made you decide to have a Videographer for your wedding?
I will be honest, at first videography was not on our list of must haves. Simply because of our budget. We quickly realized as the planning process went along that we would regret not having a video to cherish for the rest of our lives. Pictures are great and something to always look back on or to display in your home but being able to see in action how the day went and being able to relive the moment over and over again is what ultimately made us change our minds. There are also a lot of moments that the bride and groom don’t get to see such as your bridal party walking down the aisle, grand entrances, and your first dance as a married couple. By having a videographer you are able to see every special part of the day that you may have missed. Just by seeing our wedding video trailer I know we made the best decision ever. We cannot wait to see our full video!
Describe something that you feel didn't go exactly as planned dealing with your Wedding (Ceremony and/or Reception):
We definitely had a few little hiccups the day of, my maid of honor lost her speech before the reception, the ceremony started 45 minutes later than it was supposed to, the wind was really crazy and made taking pictures a little less pleasant but our bridal party was amazing and went with the flow. But in the end those little things didn’t matter and we still enjoyed the day and were very thankful our day went as smoothly as it did.
Luckily we had a family member who was a former wedding planner who helped us out tremendously, not only on the day of but also the week leading up to the wedding. She was able to provide advice and point out little details that I had forgotten about. I remember
at one point while we were out taking pictures I looked at the guys and noticed they didn’t have their boutonnieres on and right as I was about to ask someone to go find them, I see my cousin come running with them in her hand. It is really important and helpful to either have a family member who knows what they are doing (someone who has maybe had some experience and doesn’t mind helping out) or a day of coordinator. I was fortunate enough to have both and I am so glad I did because I didn’t have to worry about any of the small details the day of, I was able to just relax and enjoy myself.
Describe what you felt your BEST decision was regarding the Wedding:
One of the best decisions we made regarding our wedding was doing a first look. More and more couples are opting for this and it really is a great idea. We were able to spend more time before the ceremony taking pictures, not only did we get a lot more pictures but we were also able to get to our reception quicker and our guests didn’t have to wait around as long and we didn’t feel as rushed. Another big reason we chose to do a first look was to be able to have that moment between just us. Of course it’s great to see your fiancés reaction when he sees you coming down the aisle for the first time but you are so nervous and everyone is looking at you and you just don’t get that intimacy. Our first look was such a special moment and one of my favorites of the entire day. I was so excited and anxious all morning I don’t think I could have waited any longer to see Jason and we shared such an intimate moment together. By seeing each other before the ceremony it also took a lot of nerves away and we were able to just relax, breathe, and enjoy our ceremony. Of course you should choose to do whatever is best for you as a couple.
Describe what you felt your WORST decision was (or biggest regret) regarding the Wedding:
One regret we had was not being able to talk to every guest and thank them for coming. Everything started a little later than planned and the entire night was a little off, we ran out of time going table to table. We did our best to catch each person either in the bar or on the dance floor but it would have been nice to have more time to visit with each table. We also wished we could have spent a little more time with each other. You don’t realize it when it’s all happening but you are usually being pulled in many different directions and don’t get to spend as much time with one another as you would think.
What advice could you give to a newly engaged Bride planning their wedding?
The most important thing to do before anything else is to set your budget. It can be really easy to want to jump into all of the fun parts of planning but unless you know your budget ahead of time you could end up feeling disappointed that you can’t have your dream Pinterest wedding. Once you have a budget set it is important to sit down together and make a list of your top priorities. Think about what is most important to the both of you and what will impact your day the most. This way you know what you can splurge on and what you can cut out from your budget. Also, remember to stay organized! This will help alleviate some of the stress and keep you on track with your budget. Lastly, take your time and have fun! The longer you have the less stressful it will be. We were engaged for 13 months and were able to get a lot of stuff done early and had time to save. Remember to have fun and enjoy the process! Your wedding day literally flies by so try to enjoy every part of the planning process. You may feel overwhelmed at times but do your best to soak in every moment because when it’s all over you will be surprised at how much you miss it, I know I was!
Here is your chance: Please feel free to tell us anything else you would like to say about your wedding! What made your day unique? What other advice do you have?
Our wedding day was absolutely perfect and was better than either of us could ever have imagined. It was so rewarding to see the end result of all of the planning and hard work that went into it by not only us but by our family and friends. We felt so blessed to have all of our favorite people in the world there to celebrate with us and we had a blast! I wouldn’t change it for the world. Something to remember, don’t overwhelm yourself with perfection or the small little details because most of the time you are the only one who will notice the little things and don’t lose sight of what is most important to you. Make sure to be present in every single moment because the day truly goes by in flash.
Photography: Weddings by Adrienne and Amber
Videography: Complete Video Solutions
DJ or Band: Jason from Pro DJ Services
Make-up and Hair: Hair was Brides on Location and Make-Up was The Lash Lounge
Tom Santilli has been in the Detroit wedding industry since 2002, and in that time has established himself as one of the top in his field. His company, Complete Video Solutions , was named as the #1 Best Wedding Videographer in Detroit by local brides and Channel 4 FIVE consecutive years and is currently inducted into TheKnot.com's "Vendor Hall of Fame." He also has won several awards for his wedding production, and is a member of WEVA (Wedding & Event Videographers Association.) As the Detroit Wedding Examiner, he has helped hundreds of brides with their weddings, with a local knowledge not found anywhere else. Being in the industry for so long, he is an expert in all areas of wedding planning, not just videography. He welcomes your questions, article suggestions, or feedback, and he can be reached