A Unique Wedding in an Old Flower-Filled Detroit House

Photo: Heather Saunders

Combining their love of art and nature, this couple had a unique and unconventional ceremony amidst a floral installation.

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Kristen & Steve

Heather Saunders

Kristen Drozdowski, a graphic designer and hand letterer, met Steven Emshwiller while working at VGKids, a screen printing shop in Ypsilanti, Michigan. "I was in the art department and he was one of the head printers. We became friends when we started collaborating on projects together, and realized we both really loved each other!" explains Kristen. After three years of dating, they were engaged. Steven continues to work at VGKids as a co-owner, while Kristen now has her own paper goods business, Worthwhile Paper. "Steve prints my paper goods and helps me with my business – we're kind of a design and print dream team," she says. Together, they manage their creative businesses, allowing for collaboration both at work and at home, with their young son, Henry.

Other than design, Kristen and Steven also share a love for autumn. Upon visiting Tahquamenon Falls in the Michigan Upper Peninsula, Steven had surprised Kristen with a proposal by a huge waterfall, surrounded by countless colorful trees. Being adventure seekers, Steven asked Kristen if she would go on a lifetime of adventure with him—and of course, she said yes!

During their engagement, a friend presented them with a unique opportunity to get married at The Flower House in Detroit (a special art installation where florists transform an empty, old house into a magical, floral fantasy) and they knew the timing was right—even with only six weeks to plan. On October 15, 2015, the pair exchanged vows in front of 15 close family members. A week later, they held a charming, DIY backyard reception of 80 guests, and continued celebrating their next big adventure as husband and wife.

Watch Kristen and Steven's Wedding Film

02 of 19

The Engagement Ring

Heather Saunders

Steven proposed to Kristen with a vintage ring. "It was sunny and the leaves were all super colorful, which matches the warm red in my ring," says Kristen proudly of the fire opal Steve picked out for her.

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The Stationery

Heather Saunders

Working as a team, Kristen hand lettered and illustrated the wedding stationery, incorporating floral elements into her pretty, simple design. The stationery was screen printed by Steven on natural colored paper with metallic gold and white inks, and packaged in a Kraft paper envelope, with hand-lettered addresses.

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A Unique Location

Heather Saunders

The Flower House is an inspirational space where art and nature meet, breathing back life into an abandoned house with beautiful, fresh flowers. Its creator, Lisa Waud of Pot and Box, presented the idea to Kristen and Steve who automatically jumped at the exciting opportunity, working with the Flower House's coordinator, Kim Trombley, to ensure that their wedding was a success.

The Flower House provided the intimate and surreal feel that Kristen and Steven wanted. "Having it at there was definitely special. We feel so lucky that this opportunity came to us at the perfect moment—we were already engaged with no concrete plans. It's like it was meant to be."

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Pre-Ceremony Portraits

Heather Saunders

Unlike a traditional first look, the couple opted to not see each other before the ceremony, but did take portraits together before guests arrived thanks to strategic placement. Kristen stood on the lower level of the Flower House while Steven was on the top floor, keeping their reveal a surprise.

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The Style

Heather Saunders

Kristen's BHLDN ceremony dress was the unconventional style she was looking for. "I was a ballerina when I was little and this dress reminded me of a ballet dress. I originally envisioned a strapless dress, but when I saw this illusion neckline with the lace, it won me over," she says. She accessorized her look with shoes from David's Bridal, and a floral crown customized with blushing bride protea, privet berry, and seeded eucalyptus created by Liz Andre-Stotz from Parsonage Events.

Both the bride and groom sported glasses from SEE eyewear, and Steven wore a suit and tie from Men's Warehouse, with Aldo shoes.

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The Bridal Bouquet

Heather Saunders

"Aside from their visual beauty, we love that flowers are fleeting moments. We love watching the process of flowers blooming and how it reflects the cycles of nature," Kristen says. Parsonage Events created the stunning bridal bouquet using dahlias, astilbe, Juliet garden roses, garden spray roses, blushing bride protea, hydrangea, pepper berry, privet berry, scabiosa, zinnias, seeded eucalyptus, and smoke bush.

08 of 19

The Ceremony

Optical Amusements

Moments after the last flower was installed in the Flower House, Kristen and Steven's ceremony started. "The energy was serene and emotional, and felt like a secret, magical place that existed in our dreams. It was more amazing than we could have even imagined. We love knowing that our wedding was so unique and that it was a one-time-only experience to have our ceremony at," the bride says. Surrounded by fresh plants and close family members, Kristen and Steven exchanged vows and heartfelt letters that they had prepared for each other.

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The Music

Heather Saunders

Kristen's brother played a version of Pachelbel's "Canon in D" on the harp as she walked down the aisle with her father. "We needed music that required no electricity, so my brother suggested a harp and improvised during our rehearsal," says Kristen.

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A Family Portrait

Heather Saunders

The happy couple and their son, Henry, who was 16-months-old at the time, took photos amongst the vibrant floral installation.

Following the ceremony, guests headed over to Two James Distillery for cocktail hour, and enjoyed drinks like Moscow Mules while eating tacos from El Guapo.

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The Reception

Optical Amusements

The following Saturday, the couple held a laid back, tented reception in Kristen's parents' backyard in Canton, Michigan. Eighty guests joined them in the celebration, which was designed in a gold and neutral color palette, accented with greenery and crystals.

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The Escort Cards

Optical Amusements

The bride created geometric, gem-shaped escort cards with names penned in gold metallic ink. Amethyst crystals from World of Rocks were attached to cards and doubled as favors for guests, along with succulent plants.

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The Centerpieces

Optical Amusements

Potted succulents and floral arrangements of blush roses, café au lait dahlia, hydrangea, peach stock, white lisianthus, Queen Anne's lace, white astilbe, seeded eucalyptus, bupleurum, and scabiosa pods were created by Pot & Box and decorated the tables, along with hand-lettered table numbers by Worthwhile Paper. Steven's proposal to Kristen for "a lifetime of adventure" became a tagline for the wedding, and was echoed throughout with signage created by the bold duo.

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DIY Touches

Optical Amusements

Bubble wands and disposable cameras were fun extras for guests to enjoy, and provided the couple with an assortment of candid, silly pictures of the night.

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The Place Settings/Menu

Optical Amusements

The reception menu (hand lettered and printed by Kristen) outlined the dinner, which was prepared by EAT from Ann Arbor, and featured a variety of delicious, predominantly vegetarian dishes.

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The Cake

Optical Amusements

Sweet Heather Anne created a stunning, four-tiered cake decorated with fresh flowers from Pot & Box for added elegance, and featured both lemon damson plum and caramel praline crunch flavors. The couple used an engraved cake server belonging to Kristen's parents to serve their guests.

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The First Dance

Optical Amusements

The newlyweds had their first dance to "Wedding Bell" by Beach House. "Dancing my heart out on the dance floor to a dance playlist that Steve made was just so fun!" exclaims Kristen.

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A Sweet Surprise

Optical Amusements

Kristen and her father danced to the Disney song "Dreams are the Flowers that Bloom in Your Heart" which she recalls as a surprise. "This was the first song I had a dance recital to, and my dad told me he shed tears watching me up on stage. I thought it was so cute that my mom surprised me with this song!" The laughter and dancing continued as Kristen shared moments with other guests, including a dance with her grandfather. Even Kristen's parents' dog, Macie, joined in on the celebrations.

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Optical Amusements

Photography, Heather Saunders Photography; Optical Amusements Photography
Location, Flower House (ceremony); Two James Distillery (cocktail hour)
Event planning, Kim Trombley of Flower House
Catering, El Guapo (cocktail hour); EAT from Ann Arbor (reception)
Flowers, Parsonage Events (bridal bouquet & flower crown); Pot & Box (reception)
Videography, Optical Amusements
Stationery and Calligraphy, Worthwhile Paper; VGKids
Cake, Sweet Heather Anne
Rentals, Canton Canopy Rental
Bride's gown, BHLDN (ceremony dress); American Apparel (reception)
Bride's accessories, David's Bridal (shoes); SEE eyewear (glasses)
Hair, Tricho Salon and Spa
Groom's suit, Men's Warehouse
Groom's accessories, Aldo (shoes); SEE eyewear (glasses)
Wedding Bands, Star Jewelers
Rock Crystals, World of Rocks

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