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Detroit Opera House Wedding // Bride's Perspective

Updated: Mar 6, 2020

On September 1, 2019 my amazing husband and I tied the knot at the beautiful Detroit Opera House in downtown Detroit. We were surrounded by almost 200 of our closest friends and family. We had guests travel to the Detroit Opera House from 18 different states and 3 countries. To say we felt loved on our wedding day would be an understatement. Our wedding day was the most magical day of my life.

I woke up at the Shinola Hotel with my momma on my wedding day. We selected this location because of it’s close proximity to our wedding venue, our guests, and because of its ambiance.


Katie Getting Her Wedding Dress on at Shinola Hotel in Detroit before her Wedding at The Detroit Opera House.

My girls strolled in around 9 a.m. and we enjoyed coffee, bagels, and fruit on the cozy couch in the room. The girls definitely kept me calm and distracted. The only hiccup we ran into was the weather didn’t want to cooperate, so we ultimately had to make a decision to move the reception inside.

I didn’t hire a wedding coordinator because I’m a corporate event planner and knew I was able to handle the planning. I was very particular on the vendors we selected and made sure everyone had the full run of show. Everyone was able to function without me being there. However, I put my maid of honor as our ‘emergency contact and official decision maker’ who ultimately made the call to move the reception inside – which looking back, was 100% the right call and the event turned out even better because of it. If you’re planning your own wedding, I think it’s critical to have someone other than your self make game time decisions. You’ll be so overwhelmed that your head won’t be in the right place – plus, let someone else deal with it. It’s your wedding day. It will be perfect no matter what.

After the decision was made, we continued getting glammed up, shed a few tears, laughed a lot and then of course, scrambled at the end to put all the final touches on. I was able to do a first look with my brides’ maids and my dad. Both were very special moments. I think as soon as I saw my dad crying when he saw me in my dress for the first time is when things really started to set in that I was getting married – like, SOON! It was important for my dad to see me in my dress before John did because he was the first man I’ve ever loved. Ladies, we owe it to our dads on our wedding day.

At this point it was time to go see my soon to be husband for our first look! I walked with our photographer Ashley (from Matt and Ashley Photography) to the David Whitney Building. I couldn’t run to him fast enough. I was so relieved to see John! At first we were both skeptical about doing a first look because it’s ‘untraditional’ but it ended up being our favorite moment of the entire day. When you’re faced with the most important things in life all you want is to be comforted by your significant other. Not being able to talk to him, hold him, or kiss him all day killed me. We’re so glad we were able to see each other before walking down the aisle. We were able to get all our wedding party photos done before the ceremony even started which was great. I highly recommend this route if you want to get to your groom and start the party.


Katie + John's First Look before their Wedding Ceremony at the Detroit Opera House.

Since we did a ‘first look’ I wanted to add an element of surprise, so I added a party skirt to my dress with a long dramatic train! I had my maids of honor help me with putting my skirt on in a separate room. It allowed me to provide them with a special moment, too.

The ceremony was at the top of the grand staircase in the lobby. It was very dramatic – just how I liked it! Our dear family friend who happens to be a priest from Ireland officiated our ceremony. It was personal, funny and everything in between. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the house – mine included.

After the ceremony we went straight to a quiet space where we could just sit and reflect on what just happened. Our server brought us a plate of food and a glass of champagne. We thought about joining the cocktail hour but we really just wanted to enjoy a bit of time together. Looking back, this was critical. We were able to relax and really take in what just happened. Plus, our server brought us a glass of champagne and some food from the cocktail hour.

Our grand entrance was so much fun! Everyone was screaming and chanting for us. You feel like a million bucks. We navigated our way through our crazy group of family and friends to cut our cake. Let me tell you, cutting the first slice of a cake isn’t easy and when your wedding cake in front of 200 people it seems a thousand times harder! We struggled cutting a slice and ultimately end up taking the serving paddle and scraping frosting off and just ate that. The next time you and your future hubby have cake – practice cutting it together to prevent the struggle we encountered.

We opted for a strolling dinner instead of plated or buffet. We didn’t do a seating chart either. It was confusing for people who are only use to traditional weddings, but people quickly figured it out. We wanted it to be social. Sometimes when you’re stuck at a table with a predetermined group of people it can be hard to keep the energy flowing. It was beautiful seeing our families mix with one another.

Once dinner concluded Bluewater Kings Band kicked off the night with good music. Having a band really sets the tone for the entire evening. They played a variety of hits and the dance floor was packed the entire night. I did later find out that my husband walked around the reception space and told everyone ‘the bride wants everyone on the dance floor.’ ….and everyone listened. It’s amazing what kind of power you have on your wedding day.


Katie + John's First Dance at The Detroit Opera House.

At the end of the day, do what makes you happy. It can be traditional, or not. It should reflect you and your fiancé’s personality. Be true to you and your guests are guaranteed to have a memorable night. It’s not always about what you see on Instagram or the movies. Every wedding is unique and special in its own way.

We’ve been so blessed to relive our wedding day over and over again through the videos 97 Films put together. We’re so grateful to have worked with incredible vendors on our special day. Although it was the most amazing day of our life, we’re so grateful we never have to do it again.

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