Timeless Michigan Wedding at the City Opera House

December 28, 2016 | gabby


From a venue that’s been involved with the bride’s family for decades to the watercolored stationary suite crafted by the groom’s mother, every inch of Alicia and Paul’s wedding was timeless and personal! Dan Stewart Photography captured the couple’s sentimental first look and portraits among Michigan’s natural scenery, after which they had a gorgeous church ceremony that paid homage to their Scottish and Jewish heritages. The couple chose to have their totally elegant reception at the historic City Opera House, complete with a big band jazz orchestra and a live watercolor artist!

The Couple:

Alicia and Paul

The Wedding:

Central United Methodist Church & City Opera House, Traverse City, Michigan


Deciding to get married in the bride’s Northern Michigan hometown meant that most of the couple’s loved ones had to travel several hours by plane and car to celebrate with them. Reflecting their guests’ efforts and central role in their lives, it was important to Paul and Alicia that their family and friends knew how much their presence on that special day meant to them. As a result, the couple’s goal was to plan a wedding that was both timeless and elegant, but also welcoming and intimate.



Paul’s mother helped make the couple’s dream invitation suite a reality. The Save the Date, the RSVP card, and the invitation’s envelope liner all featured watercolors that the mother of the groom painted. The paintings featured the reception venue, as well as iconic Northern Michigan sights. Combined with dark wine envelopes, cream cards, and gold accents, the invitation suite was unique, personal, and a wonderful expression of family coming together to craft the wedding celebration.









During their “first look” the bride and groom exchanged pins; the groom wore his on the vest of his wedding suit, and the bride attached hers to her bouquet. The pins related to the couple’s first dance, which was to a waltz titled “Married Life,” off of the soundtrack to Disney’s animated film “Up.” For the bride and groom, the pins represented the start of a lifetime of adventures together.
















During the marriage ceremony, which took place in the historic Methodist Church attended by the bride’s family, time seemed to stand still. For Alicia, after walking down the aisle with her father, no one but she and Paul seemed to exist! The couple exchanged vows using traditional religious wordings, but they also incorporated aspects of both their Scottish and Jewish heritages in a combined Hand Fasting and Seven Blessings rite. Each member of their wedding party— made up of their best friends and siblings— read one blessing while the couple’s hands were wrapped in ribbons. The ribbons now hang over the couple’s mantel at home.




Alicia and Paul held their reception in Traverse City’s historic City Opera House, built in 1892. Besides its beauty and ability to evoke the early-twentieth century elegance that the couple were aiming for, the building also has special meaning for the bride’s family. As a child, Alicia took ballet lessons in a studio which was located above the opera house and had recitals in the ballroom, while the rest of the family members have spent many summers watching movies together in the same space during Traverse City’s annual film festival.





As stressful as planning can be, try to enjoy it as much as possible! The wedding celebration itself is over so quickly, it is nice to also remember the moments spent working on projects during the months and weeks leading up to the big day. Paul and Alicia spent many weeknights and weekends together pouring over big band jazz playlists, setting-up a website with recommended sights-to-see, and picking out the perfect ceremony readings— in retrospect, all of that shared work and anticipation was a special part of the marriage process. The two long weekends that Aliciaand her mother had together as they shopped for both the bride’s and mother-of-the-bride’s dresses is also something that each will always cherish.


First Dance: Up Soundtrack – Married Life


We had a live watercolor artist capturing our wedding reception at the City Opera House. The paintings she produced have been such a special way to remember the day!



The Wedding Team:

Photography – Dan Stewart Photography
Event Coordination – Sincerely Ginger
Ceremony Venue – Traverse City Central United Methodist Church
Reception Venue – City Opera House
Floral Design – Field of Flowers North
Catering – Catering by Kelly’s
Cake – Grand Traverse Pie Company
Live Music – Big Band Beat
Hair Styling – Pavlova Salon
Wedding Dress – Anne Barge via Solutions Bridal
Bridal Accessories – Maria Elena
Bridesmaids’ Apparel – J. Crew
Groom’s Apparel – Brooks Brothers
Groomsmen’s Apparel – Men’s Warehouse
Rings – Trumpet & Horn
Rentals – GJs Rentals
Transportation – By The Bay Transportation
Live Watercolor Artist – Lisa Flahive Fine Art


Congratulations to Alicia and Paul, and a huge thanks to Junebug member Dan Stewart Photography for sharing their wedding with us. Want more Michigan wedding inspiration? Then you’ve got to see this overwhelmingly lush Michigan wedding at the Planterra Conservatory!


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  1. Stunning! So natural and gorgeous.

  2. I wanna appreciate the photographer who captures every moment naturally. Really amazing work.. I loved it.

  3. I have been put in charge of a lot of little thing s for my brothers wedding. I think it would be quite nice to know what little things I am forgetting to get and do for there wedding. I think the main thing you reminded me was that I need to start looking at more decor options for the venue.

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