Brian + Michael’s Oz themed wedding at the Michigan League in Ann Arbor was a day I won’t ever forget. I have known Brian most of my adult life. We met in college, where I got the chance to get to know him as a student in greek life and then I was so fortunate to get to work along side him in Student Life. When Brian asked if I would be interested in capturing his wedding day to Michael, I said “hell yes!”
Brian + Michael met in the most conventional way today…online. Thank God for online dating apps y’all. I have so many couples who have found their partner thanks to online apps! Their proposal is hands down one of my favorite stories because it is a true testament to who they are. They are both the most giving people I know. The love they have for the people that surround them is unsurmountable. So when they decided to invite everyone to their apartment on Super Bowl Sunday 2017 and jointly propose to each other, it was the perfect start to their wedding day journey. Their proposal is the true testament to how important community is.
That sense of community continued in to their wedding day. Where they ditched the getting ready in separate hotels and separate rooms. The couple rented a large hotel suite, invited all of their wedding party and all got ready in the same place. During this time is when Brian gifted Michael a pair of shoes for the day which were red sequined converse sneakers. They were essential Michaels ruby red slippers for his wedding day.
The pocket floral The University Flower Shop created for this day was incredible. It has quickly become one of my favorite wedding details ever.
After the first look we headed out for couple and bridal party photos. If you have never been to Ann Arbor, there are a ton of amazing places for photos.
This selfie image is actually one of my favorite images from the day. Brian + Michael were so great about sharing their day on social media for those who couldn’t make it. They made sure to save moments that meant a lot to them through out the day.
This bridal party though was hands down one of my favorites. Each of them brought so much fun to the day. Throwing away tradition of who stands where, who wear what and how many was amazing. We had so much fun dancing, singing and just generally having a good time celebrating the couple. Brian + Michael also stretched the theme in to the bridal party using the colors of the rainbow for their outfits! Each having matching converse shoes to the color they represented!
When I asked Brian + Michael their plan to incorporate the Oz theme into the day, I knew it was going to be amazing. Seeing the details in person really took it beyond what I thought! The ceremony and reception were held in the same room. The couple did this to duplicate the same experience Dorothy had with the technicolor change (black and white to full color). Absolutely genius! The aisle was a yellow brick road just like Dorothy follows on her journey to Oz. Their unity ceremony they used an hour glass just like in Oz. Which they filled with their favorite sand colors red for Michael and black for Brian.
With vintage copies of the original Wizard of Oz books, DVDs of the movies, colored napkins the works, friends and family continued into cocktail hour and the oz theme. The couple welcomed guests and took time to thank those who came personally. It was truly emotional for all of us who know them so well to be in attendance. While that occurred the team at the Michigan League transformed the room in to Oz.
From Brian because he explained it all the best “We went all out with color and fun! We continue to use white linens for the tables and white chivari chairs as our base. From there we used multicolored lights on the ceiling, multicolored napkins, bright colorful florals… from the University Floral Shop… and fun colorful centerpieces.”
“The centerpieces were mostly DIY… Each highlighted our favorite characters and variations of Wizard of OZ including Dorothy’s shoes, basket of lollipops, the Wicked Witch’s hat, props from Wicked the Musical, pieces from The Return to Oz and Glinda’s Crown and Wand. The bar area was lit green with a “Bell Out of Order” sign to imitate the Emerald City. “
“We decided to have donuts from our favorite Bakery… Mitten Raised Bakery… rather than have cake. Since they were fun, creative and colorful unto themselves we simply decided to display with multicolored napkins. Our gift table was pretty traditional but to add our theme into the mix we re-created a hot air balloon, similar to the Wizard’s, to hold any cards we received.”
Brian + Michael chose to serve the first breakfast dinner at the Michigan League. As a side note the dessert of donuts was a huge hit. They were delicious take it from me. Also they had coloring sheets and crayons at each place setting for guests! How cool is that!?
The DJ they hired for their wedding was also one of our friends from college. Ryan over at R&R Sound & Lighting played music the couple loved. From their top favorites to only artists who support the LGBTQ community. Ryan truly did an amazing job mixing great dance music with songs that meant a lot to the couple.
Brian + Michael truly had an amazing day. They had their struggles throughout their journey, so it isn’t to say it wasn’t easy for them. When asked what advice they had for other LGBTQ couples, this is what they shared:
“Be sure to celebrate you on your special day and surround yourself with those who truly love you and support you and do not allow conditional love or support be apart of your day. Unfortunately, like far too many couples, not all of our family members supported our marriage.
For us it was because we were gay and having a same sex wedding. That was a journey we went on during our planning that actually brought us closer together and cherish our supportive family and chosen family and friends even more.And on our special day, when we looked out at the faces of those gathered for our ceremony and those celebrating at our reception you knew that they were there for the right reasons; for love, for celebration and for us. It’s easier said than done, and there are a lot of layers. But for us, it was one day, and probably the only day, we got to think only about us.
We purposefully surrounded ourselves with unconditional joy and love and were able to not worry how anyone else may react to our relationship. It made it all the more special and perfect.”
I close by saying a massive thank you to Brian + Michael for choosing me to capture their wedding day. I can’t tell you what an honor it was to be a part of your day. Love y’all tons!
UPDATE on this post! Brian + Michael’s Oz Themed Wedding was recently published! The Knot Magazine Fall 2020 issue features a full page feature on the couples wedding day. You can read more about the story here!
A 2nd Update on this post! Brian + Michael were a Instagram Favorite Post for the week of June 1, 2020 with Wedding Day Magazine! For more on that you can read more here!