A Playful Wedding at A Historical American Home in Michigan

Nikki and Kiff

Tec Petaja

In the middle of December 2012, Nikki and Kiff found love in an unexpected place: a CrossFit gym in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Kiff noticed Nikki right away, and began flirting with her as she attempted her first CrossFit workout ever. By the end of the class, he was enamored. He asked her when she usually comes to the gym and she replied, "the same time—9:30 a.m." What she didn't mention was that she hated the workout and didn't really plan on returning at all.

For the next two months, Kiff (now a lawyer) rearranged his law school schedule to attend every 9:30 a.m. class in hopes of seeing Nikki (a pediatric resident) again. Just when he was about to give up, in mid-March 2013, Nikki returned to the gym for that same morning class, and Kiff was finally able to ask her out.

After a year of dating, Kiff took Nikki on a weekend trip to Chicago, and proposed on Valentine's Day in the Ritz Carlton hotel. When they returned home, there was another surprise—he had arranged an engagement party with their families.

As they started planning the wedding, the couple chose Kiff's family home, the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, as their venue. They wanted a Michigan wedding, and the home provided the perfect lakeside spot for 290 guests to join the couple on May 9, 2015, and celebrate their whirlwind romance.

Watch Nikki and Kiff's Wedding Video

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The Location

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Renowned architect Albert Kahn built the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House for Henry Ford's son, Edsel, his wife, and their four children in 1927. Located on the shore of Lake St. Clair and filled with family history (it's where the groom's grandfather grew up), this English Cotswold mansion was a striking venue for Nikki and Kiff's spring wedding.

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The Style

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On the last day of a shopping trip in New York City, Nikki tried on a silk Carolina Herrera A-line with a full tulle skirt and knew it was the one. The morning of their wedding, Kiff surprised Nikki with what one of her bridesmaids deemed the necklace from Pretty Woman, which she wore with a diamond bracelet and diamond earrings.

Kiff donned a royal blue custom suit by Trunk Club, a pink Hermes tie, and brown Paul Stuart shoes.

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The Bridal Bouquet

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Nikki carried a bouquet of ranunculus, peonies, bleeding hearts, passion vines, forget-me-nots, and delphinium made by Saipua.

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The Bridesmaids

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The ultimate theme of the day was loud flowers and loud shoes—and Nikki got the latter with her eight bridesmaids' pink Aquazurra stilettos, which popped against their gray Jenny Yoo strapless dresses.

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The Groomsmen

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The eight groomsmen matched Kiff in their royal blue Trunk Club suits and pink Hermes ties. They later entered the ceremony to "Gridiron Heroes"—the Detroit Lions' fight song.

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The Ceremony Location

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Situated on the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House property facing Lake St. Clair, the couple wed surrounded by friends, family, and flowers. Garlands of ivy hung from the ceiling of the ceremony tent while pots of foxglove lined the aisle, giving the illusion of a beautifully-filled greenhouse.

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The Itinerary

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Itineraries with times of each event and a map were displayed throughout the venue in order to help guests navigate themselves around the property.

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Walk Our Story

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Nikki and Kiff designed the walkway to the ceremony to show the story of their relationship—from that first CrossFit class to their engagement—through framed pictures and written descriptions. Guests loved seeing how the couple's whirlwind romance has blossomed and were eager to witness the start of their new chapter as husband and wife once they reached the end.

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The Bride's Entrance

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Watching Nikki enter the ceremony with her father to Pachelbel's "Canon in D" left Kiff speechless. "She looked absolutely beautiful," he says. "I couldn't believe that I was lucky enough to marry her."

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The Ceremony

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"The vows were my favorite moment during the ceremony," says Nikki. "I'll never forget feeling the magnitude of that moment." After the couple exchanged traditional vows, several friends and family members read stories and poems including "So Much Happiness" by Naomi Shihab Nye and a love letter by Bob Marley.

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The Portraits

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After enjoying glasses of wine in their first few moments as newlyweds, Nikki and Kiff took portraits on the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House's lawn following the ceremony.

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The Music

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Mel Ball and Colours, a live jazz band, played throughout the cocktail hour and reception. Later, DJ Graffiti played current hits for the guests to dance to during the after-party.

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The Reception

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Saipua created a large wreath of peonies, tulips, delphinium, and passion vine that hung above the installed wooden dance floor. The reception tent was filled with the scent of pine and flowers and covered in blue-and-white-patterned fabric—including the bride and groom's upholstered Anthropologie chairs, which now sit in their kitchen.

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The Table

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Round and rectangular tables were set and covered in plain white or blue-and-white patterned linens to evoke a sense of carefree playfulness.

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The Centerpieces

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Royal blue candlesticks and vases of ranunculus, bearded irises, lilacs, peonies, mock orange, and passion vine created by Saipua added pops of color against wooden tables and white linens.

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Alternating Centerpieces

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Other tables were anchored by large arrangements of flowering white branches.

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The Place Cards

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Guests found their seats thanks to small round tags with their names printed, resting atop the champagne flutes at each place setting.

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The Place Settings

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Each place setting featured a menu with a floral watercolor design that was tucked in a monogrammed hemstitch napkin and set upon a clear charger. Guests were served sea bass and chicken stuffed with sundried tomato and pesto, potato au gratin, and fresh vegetables.

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The First Dance

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After they met at that first CrossFit class, "Hey Pretty Girl" by Kip Moore played during Kiff's car ride home. It became their song once they started dating, and was naturally the perfect choice for their first dance.

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The Cake

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With the help of Sweet Heather Anne, Nikki designed a Detroit Lions-themed groom's cake for Kiff, complete with football players wearing their wedding date as jersey numbers. The sign next to it read, "Kiff, I love you more than you love Lions football. Love, Nikki."

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Tec Petaja

Photography, Tec Petaja
Location, Edsel and Eleanor Ford House
Event planning and design, VLD Events
Catering, Continental Catering and Events
Flowers, Saipua
Videography, Two Penny Productions
Stationery and Calligraphy, Rock Paper Scissors
Cake, Sweet Heather Anne
Music, Mel Ball and Colours (cocktail hour/reception), DJ Grafitti (after-party)
Rentals and Tenting, Partytime-HDO Productions
Bride's gown and veil, Carolina Herrera
Hair and Makeup, Jon Lieckfelt
Bridesmaids' dresses, Jenny Yoo
Bridesmaids' shoes, Aquazzura
Groom's suit, Trunk Club
Groom's accessories, Hermes (tie); Paul Stuart (shoes)
Lighting, The Lighting Guy
Transportation, Carey International
Chairs, Anthropologie

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