This French Enchanted Garden-Themed Wedding Took Place at an Ivy-Covered Manor in Michigan

bride and groom walking in garden
Shanell Photography

Danielle and Sinclair met during a high school orchestra class, where he ultimately made his first move after thinking about her for weeks. Sinclair first set eyes on her a few weeks prior, on school picture day, but later, when he tried to introduce himself, she wasn't exactly interested. "I like to think it was playful, because I came back for more the next day," Sinclair reflects, noting that he chose a different method the second time around. "I approached her again in the locker room and said we should start over: I asked her to be my best friend. Thank goodness she agreed." That was in 2004—Sinclair called Danielle his best friend ever since.

By December of 2017, though, their relationship had turned romantic; Sinclair says that he knew right then and there that he would marry Danielle someday. The two made a decision to do just that at Greencrest Manor in December 2019, long before their official engagement. A year later, as Danielle planned a surprise birthday camping trip with friends in Michigan, Sinclair got wind of the plan and decided to surprise Danielle, instead, with a proposal. The day after his birthday, the duo took their dog, Jamo, for a walk along the beach and on a small dune overlooking the water, Sinclair got down on one knee.

With their venue choice sorted, the couple quickly invited 124 guests to Michigan's Greencrest Manor on October 9, 2021, where they brought their French-inspired enchanted garden event to life. "We wanted our guests to feel as if they just walked into a fairy tale—an enchanted garden full of romance and charm," the bride says.

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Enchanted Manor

building covered in vines
Shanell Photography

Danielle and Sinclair wanted a local-to-them venue with green space—and the ability to have their dog on-site. Greencrest Manor in Battle Creek, Michigan, offered that and more. "I had to double-check to make sure I was still looking at local venues because I couldn't believe somewhere like this existed in Michigan!" Danielle says, noting that they partnered with the venue's sister company, Modern Day Collective, for month-of coordination.

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Old-World Details

wedding suite with gold seal and colorful flowers
Shanell Photography

Sinclair and Danielle worked with Little Carabao Studio to craft their invitation suite, which included a custom crest printed in gold foil. "The envelopes were definitely the start of the show," Danielle says of their artful liners and intricate calligraphy. The suite was tied together with a blush silk ribbon and sealed with a gold wax stamp.

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Welcome Baskets

blue and white wedding welcome box
Shanell Photography

The bride owns an online gifting company, Pearvine, so it was only fitting for her to curate gift baskets for guests staying at the manor. "What better way to enjoy the scenery at Greencrest than with a picnic?" she says, which is why she filled each vessel a fresh baguette, cheese spread, a mini knife, custom-designed cookies of the couple's dog, Jamo, candles and matches, bottles of water, and a Turkish towel. For loved ones staying at a nearby hotel, Danielle added sparkling water, pears (a nod to the venue's pear trees), and popcorn.

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Getting Ready

bride getting ready for wedding
Shanell Photography

Danielle knew the "Elle" wedding dress by Milla Nova was the one when she couldn't stop comparing other ensembles to it. The A-line number featured a transparent lace bodice, tulle and horsehair hem, hand-beaded floral details, and a flowing train; the hand-beaded, asymmetrical lace sleeves fell romantically off the shoulders. She added a cape, also by Milla Nova, for the ceremony.

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Breathtaking Bounty

bride with colorful bouquet
Shanell Photography

The bride held a European-style bouquet cut straight from the venue's gardens. Featured blooms included cafe au lait dahlias, blue tweedia, blush lisianthus, blue delphiniums, lavender clematis, and pink-and-cream garden roses; the arrangement was finished with a mix of trailing ribbons.

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Dreamy Accessories

bride's wedding accessories
Shanell Photography

As for the finishing touches? Danielle wore three rose gold hair pins with opal and rhinestone accents, customized by Hair Comes the Bride. Lace ivory flats from Bella Belle completed the look.

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'Maids in Pastel

bride with bridesmaids
Shanell Photography

Bridesmaids donned different gowns in shades of blush pink, dusty blue, and French blue. "I wanted the girls to look great and complement each other, but not look identical," Danielle affirms. The result? A mix of gowns with different necklines, sleeves, and statement details like beading, embellishments, and lace.

  • How to Pull Off Mismatched Bridesmaids' Dresses
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First Look with Dad

bride with dad on stairs
Shanell Photography

Before seeing Sinclair for the first time, Danielle shared a first look with her father at the bottom of the venue's spiral staircase. "As soon as he saw me, he had a smile like I've never seen before," she says. "He lit up and I swear he was almost speechless for a moment. It was a special moment I'll hold dear to me forever."

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All Smiles

smiling groom
Shanell Photography

Sinclair wore a black tuxedo made by Enzo Custom; it featured peak satin lapels and a satin strip down the pant legs. A black bow tie (which he had to figure out how to tie on the morning of the wedding!), white suspenders, patent leather shoes, and a pocket square reinforced his formal attire.

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Classic Tuxedos

groom with groomsmen at wedding
Shanell Photography

Groomsmen donned tailored black tuxedos from Jos A. Bank with black bow ties and cummerbunds. Their boutonnières, made with white spray roses and eucalyptus, were finished with satin ribbon.

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A Warm Welcome

wedding sign near vintage table
Shanell Photography

As guests entered the ceremony space, they were greeted by a table that honored their loved ones; nearby, the found white parasols for shade and a welcome sign featuring the couple's custom family crest, which melds the pair's favorite memories and hobbies (a wand, for instance, nodded to their shared love of Harry Potter!).

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On the Aisle

wedding ceremony seating
Shanell Photography

Their ceremony took place on the venue's lawn overlooking the English gardens and a fountain. Since the space's natural beauty abounded, the couple embraced the landscape. They added natural wood farm chairs and floral boxes, featuring blush-and-cream blooms, along the aisle.

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String Trio

musicians at wedding
Shanell Photography

A string trio played an array of instrumental variations—including the "Potter Waltz" from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire during the prelude. The processional tune was a request from Danielle's mom ("Trumpet Voluntary"); Danielle walked down the aisle with her father to Christina Perri's "A Thousand Years."

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Saving the Vows for Later

Bride, groom, and father during wedding ceremony
Shanell Photography

Sinclair's brother, who was also his best man, officiated the service. (He escorted the couple's dog, Jamo, down the aisle, too!) As one of Danielle's maids of honor read "Union" by Robert Fulghum at the close of the ceremony, the pair suddenly realized that their officiant hadn't asked them to exchange vows. "It actually worked out even better though, because we were able to say them to each other in private—just the two of us," Danielle says, "I cried, he cried, we cried together, and it was the most precious and intimate moment we have ever had and I would do it the same way all over again."

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Picture-Perfect Ceremony

bride and groom during ceremony
Shanell Photography

Their altar was flanked by two oversized flower arrangements in tall stone urns.

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A Dip and a Kiss

bride and groom kissing on stone steps
Shanell Photography

The couple chose Queen's "You're My Best Friend" for the recessional. "We both love Queen, but also we used to (and still do) address each other as 'best friend,'" Danielle says.

  • What Kind of Music Should You Play During Your Ceremony?
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Signature Sips

wedding sign and bar
Shanell Photography

The entire grounds were open for guests to roam during the cocktail hour; celebrants found yard games, lounge areas, and sprawling gardens on their stroll. On the patio, a jazz trio entertained the crowd while passed appetizers and signature cocktails were served.

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The Outside In

wedding reception room with wooden tables and chairs
Shanell Photography

Inside The Celebration House, a building at the Greencrest Manor, a white ceiling, wood floors, and open-air doors offered a blank slate for the reception design. Up above, rafters were covered with sheer fabric and fairy lights. Two 16-foot-tall ficus trees were brought into the space to create the enchanted garden ambience the couple was hoping for. A mix of long and round tables were paired with cane-back wood chairs.

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Petals on a Pedestal

tall floral centerpieces on wedding reception table
Shanell Photography

Place settings included blush pink matte chargers, gold cutlery, and hemstitch cotton napkins. Rectangular tables were studded with golden candelabras and extra-tall floral arrangements.

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Compote Centerpieces

wedding tables with colorful flowers
Shanell Photography

Round guest tables featured vibrant centerpieces in stone urns and textured ivory linens. Most of the blooms seen in the centerpiece arrangements first made an appearance in the bride's bouquet.

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Personalized Menus

reception place settings with names
Shanell Photography

The envelope liners' illustration resurfaced on the dinner menus. The newlyweds worked with Little Carabao Studio to print the artwork on vellum; hand-calligraphed place cards were attached to the menu.

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Floral Chandelier

large floral chandelier for wedding
Shanell Photography

A chandelier hoop, positioned just over the dance floor, was a must-have, notes the duo.

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Reception Reveal

couple walking together at reception
Shanell Photography

Danielle and Sinclair set aside some time for a reception reveal, so they could take in all of the details untouched. They shed "tears of awe and joy" as they got their first glimpse. "It was the fairy-tale garden, black-tie event we had dreamed of—but we were standing right in it,"says the bride.

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Watercolor Signage

close up of wedding sign
Shanell Photography

The couple's custom crest—this time printed on a banner and draped with greenery vines—made another appearance during the reception.

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Champagne Tower for Two

champagne tower at wedding
Shanell Photography

Before guests entered the party space, Danielle and Sinclair poured out a Champagne tower for two and took a private spin on the dance floor.

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Ladies and Gentlemen

bride and groom entering reception
Shanell Photography

Danielle had time for a quick hairstyle change before she and Sinclair made their reception debut husband and wife. Guests clapped and cheered as Sinclair showed off his bride!

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To Us

bride during reception speeches
Shanell Photography

During dinner, the couple served a field green salad with crumbled goat cheese, dried cranberries, and toasted almonds, followed by vegan, vegetarian, beef, and fish entrée options for the main course. Come dessert, an assortment of small bites were offered; burger sliders and fries made the rounds later and were appreciated by guests who stayed late.

The couple's eight-piece band kept the party going all night long. "Our last song was a sing-a-long to 'As Long as You Love Me' by The Backstreet Boys," says Danielle. "Once that ended, our guests were bummed and started canting, 'encore.' The band was so great they played one more song—and that made for an unexpectedly great end to an amazing evening."

  • Expert Advice for Choosing a Crowd-Pleasing Wedding Menu
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Colorful Cake

colorful 3-tier wedding cake
Shanell Photography

Danielle and Sinclair gave their cake baker, Cakabakery, free rein. "We had no idea what it was going to look like until we saw it during our reception reveal," the bride says. The three-tiered raspberry champagne, key lime, and dark chocolate merlot confection featured blush-and-blue detailing with gold foil and was embellished with fresh flowers.

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Puppy Favor Station

dog-themed wedding favors
Shanell Photography

The couple set up a dog treat bar for guests to take "doggy bags" home to their pets. The bites were set up next to a wooden bookshelf display of mini lantern favors; some were hung from the branches of the reception's entryway arch, composed from tree branches, greenery, and fresh flowers.

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Sparkling Exit

bride and groom kissing under sparklers
Shanell Photography

Sinclair and Danielle concluded the evening with a sparkler exit and spent the following two weeks in Greece on their honeymoon. As for their best advice to couples currently planning a wedding? Find a way to take it all in. "Make sure to set time aside on your wedding day to step away, just the two of you, so you can reflect on all that you have built," Danielle says.

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groom kissing bride on forehead
Shanell Photography

Photography, Shanell Photography
Videography, Yours Truly Media
Venue, Greencrest Manor
Event Planning, Design, and Florals, Modern Day Collective
Invitations and Paper Products, Little Carabao Studio
Bride's Gown and Cape, Milla Nova
Bride's Accessories, Hair Comes the Bride
Bride's Shoes, Bella Belle Shoes
Bride's Hair, Brides by Sette
Bride's Makeup, Erick Gerson
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Adrianna Papell, Lulus, Azazie
Groom's Attire, Enzo Custom
Groomsmen's Attire, Jos A. Bank
Music, Bluewater Kings Band
Catering, Millennium Catering & Events
Cake, Cakabakery
Rentals, Special Occasions Event Rental & Design, Event Theory, Canopeum, Rentals by I Candy
Favors, Memorable Party Favors
Transportation, Affordable Limousine, B&W Charters
Lighting, Modern Day Collective
Welcome Gifts, Pearvine
Vow Books, Artisaire x Paula Lee Calligraphy

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