Monica & Zack

Gatsby takes Detroit

State Savings Bank
Photographer: KR Moreno Photo

“I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.” - The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

M&Z's wedding was a weekend full of high-touch hospitality and fun themed moments. Inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby, each detail of each weekend event was meticulously planned out to continuously nod back to our couple, nod back to the city, and nod back to Gatsby and Daisy's love story. Beginning with an intimate rehearsal dinner at the historic Detroit Music Hall, followed by a rooftop welcome party overlooking the city, guests kicked off the weekend celebrations with a bang (and a few cocktails). The wedding day itself included a ceremony held in one of the oldest cathedrals in Detroit, followed by a reception at a vacant bank in downtown, where guests gained access to the 'speakeasy'-inspired reception via a secret bookcase that only opened if you had the password (found in the ceremony programs). Prohibition-era cocktails flowed, decor wowed, flappers surprised guests from the crowd, and the evening was finished off by transporting all of the guests from the 1920s to the 1980s, for a seriously cool afterparty that would make Madonna proud.

Filmmaker: The Smiths

M&Z's wedding weekend commenced with a beautiful private dinner held at the historic Music Hall for the Performing Arts in downtown Detroit.
Embracing the 1920s theme for the weekend, Art Deco love-inspired movie posters met guests as they walked up to the venue, a beautiful introduction to an evening full of candlelight, champagne filled crystal, Art Deco design, and rooftop fires overlooking the city.

As the weekend was inspired mainly by the F. Scott Ftizgerald classic, The Great Gatsby, we wanted to beckon guests to the city...and what better way than to change the light at the top of the Penobscot Building (an Art Deco skyscraper in the heart of downtown) green for the weekend…a nod to the infamous light at the end of the dock (iykyk).

When you want to invite guests to an epic bring the party to them.
Designed by the amazing Grey & Cake, these black and gold save the dates and boxed invitations were the perfect first impression for M&Z's incredible Gatsby-inspired wedding.
Oversized square invitations printed backwards and upside-down were read by reflecting the text in a mirror set inside the card. Along with textural embossing, gold foil, letterpress, wax seals, gold tinsel, Art Deco illustrations, and coded messages hidden in the Detroit skyline, these works of art set the stage for a glitzy and glamorous weekend of celebration.

Sainte Anne de Detroit, a spectacular and grand gothic revival cathedral is host to one of the oldest parishes in the city of Detroit, built as the city developed when French colonists arrived on the bank of the Detroit River in 1701.
Decorated in pastel frescos and window after window of stained glass, M&Z said their vows under a canopy of gilded stars with 300 of their nearest and dearest filling the antique wooden pews.
Although the church building has been rebuilt and reimagined again and again over the past 300 years, the cathedral was the perfect location for these two to host their wedding ceremony, a celebration of love for each other and love for the city itself.

As we wanted to truly create an immersive speak easy experience, when guests arrived at the State Savings Bank, an abandoned bank building in downtown Detroit dating back to the early 1900s, we fooled them by creating a faux entrance to the reception.
The lobby of the building was designed to resemble an Art Deco hotel lobby, complete with genuine 1920s antiques, furniture, radio, and newspapers.
As guests 'checked-in' to the hotel with the secret password (a password only found in the ceremony program), they were passed individual keys that listed their name and eventual table number. From here, guests showed their keys to our bouncers, who gave guests entry into the reception through a faux bookcase blocking the doorways.

M&Z's wedding reception dinner was a completely immersive experience into the grand world of Gatsby.
Designed with Gatsby's famed house parties in mind, every detail was meticulously put together to be the party to end all parties.
From the three 17’ gold tinsel chandeliers hanging from the 30’+ ceilings, to the rows upon rows of black velvet chairs, over a thousand glittering candles, the sexiest black and gold stationery you ever did see, and a 5' tall cake…guests wined and dined the evening away in glitzy prohibition-style glamor.

After dinner, as guests were gathering around the dance floor, watching our Bride and Groom's first dance as husband and wife, we arranged for twelve incredible professional dancers (all dressed in 1920s costume), disperse through the crowd. As Fergie's 'A Little Party Never Killed Nobody' began to blare over the speakers and M&Z left the dance floor, a singular spot light was projected and one couple came out of the crowd to begin a choreographed routine, inspired by the popular dances of the Art Deco period. Slowly, more and more couples would appear, culminating in a large group of dancers performing for the guests. 
As the song began its final chorus, the lights flickered low with dancers pulling the Bride, Groom, and as many guests as they could to the dance floor, getting the crowd ready for the next portion of the event.
And that, my how to start a party. 

As the Gatsby portion of evening drew to a close, we wanted to send guests home with a fun way to remember the night. Primarily, we wanted to focus on Michigan-made products…but also have the aesthetic flare of the black and gold that would be cohesive with their overall design.
Each custom logoed bag included mini Vernors cans, custom sugar cookies, the most amazing butter pretzels you will ever eat, an oversized embossed/foiled thank you card, a custom pack of black plastic playing cards, and my favorite…mini hangover tins filled with items such as Pepto, Advil, and Liquid IV.

After whisking guests away into the 1920’s Art Deco period for their wedding reception, at midnight, we switched up M&Z’s after party for a full 1980s takeover.
While guests danced, our creative team transformed the front of the State Savings Bank into an 80/90’s paradise full of bright colors, neon everything, Saved by the Bell-inspired signage and a DJ on the turn tables spinning everyone’s favorite tracks late into the night.
Other 80s-palooza details included white leather furniture, mountains of clear acrylic, a rainbow light up dance floor, a glow stick bar, never-ending cosmopolitans, and a full 80’s and 90’s nostalgic candy buffet…guests were happy to get in touch with their inner wild child and dance into the night listening to some of the best retro music of all time.