Detroit brass bands and barbecue at Leah & Stephen's musical wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015
 
Photos by: Northern Pearl Boutique Photography
Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride
Photos by Northern Pearl Boutique Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Leah, Adjunct Writing Instructor

Her offbeat partner: Stephen, Freelance Copy Editor

Date and location of wedding: Cass Community Church, North Rosedale Park Community House, Detroit, MI– June 21, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

Our primary goal was to have a really fun day with no stressing, no rushing, lots of good music, and a great party. Our second goal was to show some of our Detroit favorites to friends and family who don't get down here often either because of distance or because they don't know what's here.

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

We had the ceremony at a church a block from where Stephen lived in Detroit, got beer from our favorite brewery in town, brought in salad from a working farm in Detroit, and pie from a vendor we found at Eastern Market (where we went every Saturday).

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

We planned lots of music and events for the reception, including a ragtime piano and washboard player during cocktail hour, a renegade marching band, Detroit Party Marching Band, crashing the venue and announcing us, a last-minute raffle (orchestrated by my dad), a piñata for kids, a piñata for adults, and a New Orleans brass band, Gabriel Brass Band.

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Tell us about the ceremony:

Stephen's sister played selections by Dubussy and Satie on piano and my brothers played guitar and banjo as people were being seated. Stephen arranged a favorite song of mine, Ingrid Michaelson's "Snowfall," for my walk down the aisle and two Serge Gainsbourg songs, "La Javanaise" and "Elisa," for the processional and recessional, respectively. Those were played by a brass ensemble of our friends with my brother on guitar.

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

The ceremony was done by Stephen's pastor from when he was a teenager, and a couple of poet friends I met doing my MFA in Georgia read poems: "Summer Story" by Mary Oliver and a selection from "The Gardener" by Rabindrath Tagore.

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Between us we have eight nieces and nephews under five, so we had as many as would walk down the aisle wearing matching dresses and vests, waving ribbon wands.

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Our biggest challenge:

Part of our challenge was that we decided early on that we didn't want to divide our friends and family into "invited" and "not invited," so we had to keep costs down to keep our 250-person guest list under a reasonable budget. We did this through using a LOT of hands-on help from friends and family (Stephen's mom made the delicious caramel favors and my awesome mom catered the hors d'oeuvres), and also by keeping the catering reasonable and catering the booze ourselves.

I designed and printed all the paper stuff as well (signs, place cards, and programs, etc.). Also, we were lucky in that the musicians, who are friends, played for dinner and wine.

One wrinkle was that our poor bartender (a friend who was doing it for us for free) got in a car accident on his way to pick up the kegs. He was fine, and eventually he and the beer were able to make it, but because everybody at the reception began by drinking wine, at the end of the night we had a keg and a half of beer (out of three) left over. We gave the full keg to the marching band and took a couple growlers for ourselves on the honeymoon.

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

My favorite moment:

To save time between events, we did a first look before the ceremony so we could knock out the wedding party photos. It was the first we saw of each other that day and it was really wonderful to take a couple of minutes, before everything began, to sit together and pin on (crookedly) the boutonniere I made for Stephen.

For me, it was meaningful to have the women in my family with me on that day. I wore earrings that had been my great-grandmother's and, walking down the aisle, carried a little white bible that my nana (who was also my maid-of-honor) and her sisters had also carried when they married.

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

My funniest moment:

Stephen, when he plays with the Gabriel Brass Band, usually sings a verse on one of their songs. We thought the band was joking when they told him he was going to be singing with them that day. They weren't. So Stephen pulled me up with him and very romantically sang to me "Sheik of Araby (Without No Pants On)."

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Detroit Brass Band wedding from @offbeatbride

Vendors

  1. I'm so happy to see this lovely wedding, because it has so much in common with mine, which is 1.5 weeks away. We've got similar decor, similar flowers, a pinata, BBQ, etc. I keep feeling nervous that my wedding won't be pretty because it's so simple and casual, but I am loving the way your wedding looks and it's giving me some much-needed confidence!

    • Thanks! I was kind of worried about that too, as we were planning, but the details came together and in the end, it was busy and easy and lots of fun, and that was totally worth streamlining some of the more elaborate details we could have worried about.

  2. Congratulations! This wedding and reception sound amazing! So much fantastic music, what a great way to celebrate. Also, the bride, groom and entire wedding party look so great, love the floral dresses, you all even have such great hair.

  3. Your pictures are fantastic! I love the floral dresses and your hair.
    side note: I just ordered your exact shoes from Zappos 2 weeks ago; did they stay comfortable? I'm considering getting a 2nd pair of flats in case that kitten heel starts attacking me 🙂

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