I've been contemplating for a while what to say about Mike + Alisha's Ann Arbor wedding... and I don't know if I'll ever find the words to describe my happiness for them, so this will have to do. (Brace yourselves! It's a long post!) I have known Alisha for quite some time, see she was actually in OUR WEDDING over 10 years ago! So I'd guess I've known her for at least 12 years. My friendship with Alisha has always been a very easy friendship- and that's most likely due to Alisha being a pure ray of sunshine. She's just such a joy to be around and such an open sweet person- being her friend is the easiest thing in the world. I wish we had been able to hang out more over the last decade (she was battling baboons in Africa, so I don't hold some of the blame ;) ), but even though we haven't (and you still haven't met my children!) it's so easy to pick back up and feel like I have a kindred spirit in Alisha. But I think she causes everyone to feel that way- because people I'm telling you- she's that warm. Honestly.
Alisha has always been the most smiley person I've ever known- but it wasn't until I saw her with Mike that I saw her just absolutely beaming. I don't know Mike that well- but from what I have learned- he's a pretty cool guy. But before I got to know him a little- I just used Alisha as my official "Mike-o-meter". You know how when a friend finds THE guy and you're always like "eh-I-don't-know-him-so-imma-be-overly-cautious-on-enthusiasm-for-this"? That feeling dissipated when I saw her with him- when I saw the way they love each other. Alisha is head over heels for Mike and I could tell he was gone, too- and that sealed it for me. If this guy could make this girl shine any brighter- the way he does- then he must be the most amazing fit for her, and pretty awesome himself.
So I basically left their engagement shoot (see that here) just overjoyed for her, for them- and knew their wedding was going to be awesome even though I knew nothing of their plans for it yet, just because of their excitement and love for each other. Then I found out about their color scheme (basically a rainbow! Rainbow bridesmaid dresses, holla!) which is SO Alisha- and all the fun DIY things she and her Wedding Coordinator Extraordinaire, Chelsea, was doing with fabric (DIY wedding for THE WIN), letting her students attend her wedding, and bringing in their german heritage, housing their enormous reception (we're talking hundreds of people!) at German Park complete with our FauxtoBooth, their sweet sentimental family traditions- and even their love of U of M football made an appearance. It was a beautiful, super hot July day in Michigan- and PERFECT for her wedding. Their ceremony took place at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Ann Arbor and we took the party on out to German Park.
I have to admit- I bawled a few times at her wedding, and again editing her images, and again getting them ready for the blog, and I will most likely bawl again while inserting them here... but it was an awesome day- and I hope we captured the awesome well enough for you to remember forever! <3
At the last minute- Alisha decided to scrap the necklace above. Alisha's Dad is helping put the veil on- which is part of their traditions- and this moment gets me every time!
This is Alisha greeting her students after getting married- she's that cool. She invited her students to her wedding and was excited that they were there!
We headed up to the U of M campus' Law Quad for some photos- we used the same locations as we did for their engagement shoot (almost all of them), and if I heard correctly- I think Alisha's parents (who are awesome) wedding photos were taken at the Law Quad as well.
When you run into another bride and groom on your wedding day- you kinda have to get photos with them! These couples will share the same anniversary for years and years and years!
Beautiful sisters! No, they aren't quadruplets :D
From the Law Quad, we headed over to the University of Michigan Museum of Art to nab a few images with some pretty epic architecture.
Then we hit up the infamous graffiti alley in downtown Ann Arbor, where you run into many tourists. Which is what all the ruckus was about in the following images. Alandon found some tourists to take a couple shots with- and the rest of the wedding party may or may not have been egging him on. :P
And then the Pose-Off Competition began:
Our last stop before hitting up the reception at German Park was the arboretum by the University of Michigan hospital for a little "pretty". Those floral print shoes though.
One of thee coolest escort card setups I've seen!
Now check out this awesome DIY wedding decor! And a few words from their Coordinator, Chelsea:
"I have no formal education or training in the field so I'm sure it's a little weird that I happily took on designing a wedding with over 400 guests. Which looking back.... Was kind of crazy!!! I'm not sure if you heard how Alisha and I got hooked up but if not here's the story. September 14, 2013 I got married at a private lake club in Brighton. Mike's parents were two of our guests. My parents have lived around the block from the Hejkas for over 30 years. I grew up with Michael and we went to the same high school. I designed our own rustic/ outdoor wedding from the ground up, and decorated the whole thing with the help of just a few people for under $9,000. When Betty heard of Alisha's desire to have a rustic wedding she knew we had to meet. She and Michael came by to possibly purchase some of my old decor but instead she hired me as their "Wedding Planner Extraordinaire"! (Alisha's title)
After speaking with Alisha, we were able to come up with her colorful rustic/boho theme. I worked countless hours with Betty to shop, create, and decorate the German Park. A setting which was built to accommodate up to 5,000 guests. We certainly had our hands full trying to create fun yet inexpensive decor in the mass quantities needed to fill such a large space. To assist with that task, we hosted 2 crafting parties at Betty's home where we invited her close girlfriends and family members to assist in making some of the decor and save us some much needed time for other items.
It took a total of three days to set up all the decor. The bride and grooms family all came together with a handful of friends and helped on various tasks to complete the look. This was another way we were able to cut costs. We were able to pull it all off without having to hire an expensive crew which worked out great for the bottom line. All in all, I adored the final product and I think the guests appreciated the look as well as the time it took to pull that day off."
I would argue that Chelsea could very well have a future in wedding planning!
Another tradition is for Alisha's dad to show his kids the inside of his ring on their wedding day. I still don't know what it says, but for Alisha's reaction suggests it's pretty special!
Another U of M football reference- did you see all of them throughout the day?
Ceremony Venue: St. Francis of Assisi Reception Venue: German Park Wedding Coordinator: Chelsea Lones of Buddha Bargains Catering: Gary's Catering Bride and Groom Cake Artist: Mike's Aunt Bride's Gown: purchased from Elizabeth Bridal designed by Maggie Sottero Bridesmaid Dresses: David's Bridal Groom/Groomsmen attire: Men's Wearhouse Florist: Alisha's Grandma