From custom scented candles and donut truck, to a classic getaway car, Alexandra Ayaub shared with SEEN several of the local vendors that made her wedding dreams a reality.
By Alexandra Ayaub
Photography by Sandra Floering
Birmingham residents Alexandra Mauro and Michael Ayaub got married at The Townsend Hotel on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. For all the details that went in to the big day, one factor was the most important: Keep it local. The couple wanted their day to be a celebration of all the things they love, and they looked no farther than their own community.
Venue: The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham
Since stepping foot in to The Townsend Hotel almost 20 years ago, I knew I would want to get married there someday. So when it was time to pick our venue, it was the first and only spot that we looked. We met with the events coordinator, Lizz, and hit it off right away. She understood our vision, and knew we wanted an elegant, classic affair, but with pizza and rap music. The Townsend Hotel is very “Great -Gatsby”-esque, and possesses a standard of elegance that was beyond anything we could have imagined for our wedding. We were treated like royalty, even at 2 a.m. after the reception, when staff delivered an extra pizza and two plates of mashed potatoes up to our room. Choosing The Townsend Hotel for our wedding was the best decision we made, besides getting married and committing to a lifetime together.
Flowers: Jeffrey Floral Architecture in Troy
The flowers were the only area of our wedding where I really struggled. I know nothing about flowers, other than I can get carnations for $2.99 at Trader Joe’s. I knew what I liked, but needed someone to tell me how to do it. I was at our venue for a meeting one day, when I looked around and noticed how beautiful and unique the flowers were around the lobby. They gave me Jeffrey’s information, and now I am his No. 1 fan. We met, and I knew I was in good hands. I showed him photos of what I liked, and within minutes, he told me he had this and just leave it up to him. I trusted him like an old Italian grandmother. He’s not a florist; he’s an artist. He creates the most unbelievable arrangements, full of creativity, originality and beauty. He created a perfect ambiance for the evening, wrapping baby blue hydrangeas and crisp white ranunculus around golden candelabras for centerpieces. Each arrangement was thoughtful and unique.
Hair/Makeup: Luigi Bruni Salon in Birmingham
I have been seeing Kevin Green, from Luigi Bruni Salon, for my hair color for a few years, and I knew it was love at first foil from the day we met. Kevin is truly an artist, and was one of the first people who truly made me feel beautiful — and that goes beyond hair. He is kind, funny, and unbelievably talented. My hair was the least stressful thing about the wedding, because I knew I could leave it in Kevin’s hands and he would create something beautiful. And he did! I truly think there is no one better in town to have by your side as you get ready for your wedding. He brings a beautiful energy, sees each woman as a beautiful individual, and he celebrates that through his work.
I usually hate having my makeup done, so I was nervous about getting it done for the big day. Katrina Malota, like Kevin, is an artist. She’s an icon, and she has the ability to take your features, and celebrate them through her mastery. She made each of my bridesmaids, my mother, and myself, feel so beautiful, while keeping each woman true to herself. She doesn’t use makeup as a disguise, but as an enhancer to bring out what she already sees in you.
The Candles: Detroit Rose
I’ve been filling my home with Detroit Rose’s luscious scents a while now, so when I had the idea of creating a custom candle to display on our tables, I knew exactly where to go. The owner, Deirdre Skiles, and I emailed back and forth, talking about the mood we wanted for the room, and how we could convey that through scent. She sent me a bunch of samples, and together we found the perfect mix: rose, amber, vetiver and cardamom. She even designed a beautiful custom label to bring it all together. Our custom candle filled the room with the sweet scent of rose and pure romance. It is one of my favorite things we did for the wedding, because now every time I light one in our home, I am reminded of the love and happiness of that day.
String Quartet: Rondo String Quartet in Troy
I knew when I walked down the aisle to Michael, I wanted doves to be released and Andrea Bocelli to
come down from the ceiling. Then I got a hold of a budget and decided a string quartet would be just as
beautiful. I searched high and low, but it was the Rondo String Quartet’s director, Lisa Saluk, who really sold me. She was organized, responsive and kind, especially in the last few weeks when I became a bit scattered. The quartet even learned “A Sky Full of Stars,” our favorite song by Coldplay, to walk down the aisle to.
Photographer: Sandra Floering of For The Love of It in Grand Rapids
I found Sandra and For The Love Of It on pure luck. I saw some wedding photos on Facebook, found a photographer and got in touch with him — only to find out he wasn’t available. But he recommended “For The Love of It” and I will forever be grateful. One look at Sandra’s portfolio (free of any prom-esque portraits) and my search was over. We Skyped a couple times, but didn’t meet in person until the morning of the wedding. I can’t put into words the energy and talent that encompasses Sandra and her husband, Grant. The duo made us feel comfortable, at ease, and most of the time we didn’t even notice they were snapping away. They somehow perfectly captured the happiness and love that surrounded us, and gave us a gift that we will cherish for the rest of our lives.
The Videographer: Bo Williams from AfterGlow Film & Photo in Mount Pleasant
We weren’t going to get a videographer. I researched and just found them too expensive for what you got. I didn’t just want a five minute trailer to remember the day, but more comprehensive footage because I knew most of the day would fly, and I wanted to be able to go back and remember. I enlisted the help of my Facebook friends to offer recommendations, and someone suggested AfterGlow Film & Photo. After chatting with Bo, the founder, we decided to go for it. His pricing was fair, his energy electric, and not only did he give us a trailer, but an hour-long feature that included quiet moments I didn’t even know he was filming. When I watched our trailer for the first time with tears streaming down my face, I knew that hiring not just a videographer, but Bo specifically, was some of the best money I ever spent.
The Getaway Car: Detroit Classic Car Rentals in Dearborn
I knew the second we started planning that I wanted us to ride away from the church in a classic car. I have a photo of my aunt and uncle —,who have been married for over 50 years —, on their wedding day, in the back of a classic car right after they said their “I do’s.” I wanted to replicate that moment and eventually stumbled on Detroit Classic Car Rentals. We were able to go out and look at the car, a 1959 gold Bentley, and I was in love. It was the perfect addition to our day, and I was so happy that Michael and I had a few quiet moments to ourselves after the ceremony to soak in the magnitude of the moment. Mike (not my Mike, a second Mike!), the owner, couldn’t have been any sweeter or easier to work with. He decorated the outside of the car with flowers and ribbon, making us feel like royalty.
Day-of -Coordinator: Andrea Solomon
I was happy to plan our wedding — wedding planners are expensive! But after hearing from multiple brides that a day-of-coordinator was key to a smooth and seamless wedding day, I went on the hunt and, found Andrea Solomon. We really wanted to be like guests at our wedding, and enjoy the day. We didn’t want to worry about if the tables would be set up correctly, or if the bus was going to be late, or if we left for pictures on time. Andrea handled every single. She got everyone to pictures on time, oversaw that the room was set up correctly, put out place cards, held my veil as I walked, even took all the gifts and cards up to the room, along with a pizza for later. She allowed the both of us to just enjoy the day, and not worry about a thing other than trying all three flavors of the cake.
The Men’s Suits: The Tux Shop in Birmingham
We had heard that “online” Tuxedo rentals were the way of the future, but we were adamant about working with someone local to get the perfect fit and look. The Tux Shop was the perfect place. They had a great selection, and helped fit the groom and groomsmen perfectly. We loved working with the owner, Jeff Nelson, directly. The tuxedos were handsome, well-kept and the process couldn’t have been smoother.
The Gown: Mira Couture in Chicago
I looked at a few places in Metro Detroit for a wedding dress, but couldn’t seem to find “the one.” I was
disheartened that I wouldn’t be able to get my dress locally, but I eventually fell in love with a Dalarnas gown from Mira Couture in Chicago. My gown was lightweight, comfortable and perfectly me.
Donut Truck: Petey’s Donuts
One of our favorite things about the fall is trips to cider mill — and most important — the donuts
and cider. We love visiting Petey’s Donut Truck at the farmer’s market in Birmingham each Sunday, so we thought this would be a great substitute for a traditional cocktail party. After the ceremony at Holy Name Catholic Church, guests were greeted by the delicious smell of Petey’s Donuts in the parking lot. It was a total hit! It was a gorgeous fall day, and everyone enjoyed their sweet treat before heading over to the reception.