Planning A Wedding How To Share Your Big Day
This year, MLive plans to spotlight some Michigan weddings. If you are planning to get married in the coming months or you were married in the past year, let us know if you want to share your celebration. Details here.
When she met Sidney, he was living in Southeast Michigan, serving as an elder in a church in the same denomination.
They had countless Facebook friends and friends-of-friends in common. She grew up in Inkster, and has relatives in Southeast Michigan. Sidney has relatives in Grand Rapids.
“We kept finding all these connections,” TaLawnda said. “It was more and more confirmation that our paths were meant to cross, even though it was in an unconventional way.”
Within 10 months of their first phone call, they became engaged at Grand Haven State Park.
Sidney, a sales rep with AT& T, relocated to Grand Rapids. He continued working in ministry, becoming an elder in TaLawnda’s church.
After their wedding June 28, 2014, they settled into a home on Grand Rapids’ Southeast Side.
They both love to travel. In the past year, they have visited Mexico twice, Niagara Falls, Toronto, New York and a number of other places.
Close to home, they like to visit local parks. And the Grand Rapids Art Museum — which is special to them for more than one reason now.
“Whenever I go there, even when I go there for art, I relive the moment,” TaLawnda said.
Dr. TaLawnda and the Rev. Sidney Bragg were married June 28, 2014, at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
Where they saved
From The Bride And Groom:
About the Venue
My mother is an artist and has always included art in my life, so when Alex and I visited the GRAM we knew it was the right fit. Between the significance of art in my life and the modern, simplicity of the GRAM we fell in love with it. Read more on our venue page
About the Dress
It was simple and modern, just like our venue. I knew what I wanted when I went looking, so when I tried my dress on I knew it was the one. It is a timeless dress.
About our traditions/fun activities
After our first look and bridal party photos, we got to spend time with just our bridal party goofing around and having fun.
Both my sister and I have a diamond from my Grandmas ring, so we have made it a tradition to celebrate this with a fun photo.
About working with Brenda Hoffman Photography
Brenda was amazing. She was so organized and really took into consideration our wants and needs. Having her take our pictures was a blast. She went above and beyond at our wedding.
Most memorable moments
Advice for other couples
The Ballroom At Mckay
The historic Grand Rapids landmark, McKay Towers, recently revitalized the former its second floor into The Ballroom at McKay.
The Ballroom is a formal event space that provides a one-of-a-kind wedding experience.
Nicole Weichelt, venue coordinator for The Ballroom, said, The Ballroom is grand, yet intimate, and all details are customizable. From its floor plan, to caterers, to bar offerings. The Ballroom includes touches not found at other venues. include floor length linens in over 30 colors, wood mahogany chairs, and a large parquet dance floor.
The Ballrooms seated dinner capacity is 200 guests and there are a wide variety of parking options, hotels, and amazing photo opportunities surrounding McKay Tower.
Weichelts advice for the big day is to take time to enjoy each other and be in the moment by including the little things, such as: A first look, sweetheart table seating during a reception, and personally thanking guests for being part of their big day.
For more information on hosting your wedding at The Ballroom at McKay, visit the venues website.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park offers a variety of venues for weddings of all sizes.
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Grand Rapids Public Museum
Imagine your wedding ceremony or reception in a classy museum! Your guests can take a stroll through The Streets of Old Grand Rapids exhibit and enjoy a memorable ride on the carousel. The three story Galleria has a spectacular riverfront view of the lights and splendor of downtown Grand Rapidsand all within walking distance of downtown hotels. Both indoor and outdoor ceremony locations are available, can accommodate up to 275 guests.
Bissell Tree House John Ball Zoo
Situated at one of the highest points in Grand Rapids, celebrate your wedding day overlooking the citys beautiful skyline. The unique ambiance of this space at the John Ball Zoo will knock the socks off your guests. You will surely be pleased with all the options offered here like having a full meal catered for your guests or just doing drinks on the wrap around deck. This woodsy yet romantic setting makes the Bissell Tree House the most beautiful backdrop for your wedding photos.
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Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
The Amway is one of the oldest and most glamorous wedding venues! It is right downtown on the River and is a hotel as well so guests can stay right at the venue! Elegant ballrooms boast rich and lavish decor and the largest room can hold up to 1,000 guests!! You can have a wedding reception, rehearsal dinner and Sunday brunch all at the same venue while giving each event its own distinct feel, from urban contemporary to ballroom formal to outdoor bistro. You and your guests are sure to be impressed with the food, service and amenities that the Amway offers!
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Spanning more than 158 acres theFrederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park on Beltline Ave NE has several places to set up a reception. Choose the gardens, tropical conservatory, moon-viewing deck, waterfall, piazza, greenhouse or grand room common areas. Flowers and Michigans native plants will enhance your wedding photos and videos. Your guests will enjoy free parking and complimentary admission to the gardens, so theyll have something to do while youre taking pictures.
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Your Dedicated Wedding Photographer
Congratulations! Youve found your soul-mate, your best friend. Now the fun part begins! Picking a wedding photographer is one of the most important parts of wedding planning. Not only do you want to find someone with experience, but you need to find someone you connect with as well. Youre spending a good portion of your wedding day with your , so you should be sure that you not only love their work, but you also love their personality! Its my goal to make sure every aspect of your wedding is captured perfectly and the best way to ensure that happens is to be with you every step along the way before and during your special day.
- 8 hours of wedding coverage
- Professional retouching
Best Venues For Your Grand Rapids Wedding
The city of Grand Rapids paved its way into our hearts after we executed one of our all-time favorite cover shoots there. it didn’t take much for us to fall in love with the spirited city on the Grand River. So when our guest blogger Taylor Kraai pitched the idea of exploring some of the fan-favorite venues in the city, we couldn’t resist. Plus, we trusted Taylor’s opinion because we knew she had great tasteshe was the first Grand Rapids wedding we featured on our new website. She gave us her top five picks and threw in a few honorable mentions for good measure.
City Flats Hotel
City Flat Hotel | www.cityflatshotel.com | 83 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 If you want your guests to say WOW then this is the venue for you!! The guests walk up a grand staircase and turn the corner to a jaw dropping room its embellished with high vaulted ceilings, marble pillars, and elegant woodwork. Not only does this venue offer onsite catering it can host your ceremony too! The package also includes beautiful Mahogany Chiavari chairs, colored lighting of your choice, silver charges, and all of your flatware and glassware for 200 guests. Also the ballroom is connected to the hotel which will be convenient for your guests after a long night of dancing! They recently added on the Parlour where you can get your hair and makeup done and an extra event space so your guests can enjoy a wonderful cocktail hour. You cant beat this one stop shop!
Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
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Noto’s Old World Dining
For a wedding venue that delivers grand style and casual – yet breathtaking – elegance, Noto’s Old World Italian Dining and Banquet Facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a top-notch option. From the opulent spiral staircase perfect for a “first look” to the vintage exposed brick banquet hall and the spacious ballrooms with chandeliers and granite flooring, Noto’s projects vintage glamour at every turn.
Noto’s has 11 different event spaces couples can browse through, and the maximum capacity is 2,000 wedding guests. Whether your event has 10 guests or 700, there is a good chance that a space within Noto’s can be configured to fit every style and budget.
Visit Their Website
The Ballroom At Cityflatshotel
The Ballroom at CityFlatsHotel located within CityFlatsHotel is a one-stop shop when it comes to your wedding day.
Katrina Scott, ballroom and events manager forthe Ballroom at CityFlatsHotel says, Our boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids offers in-house The Parlour Blow Dry Bar + Full Service Salon for hair and makeup needs, a location for the ceremony and reception with a cocktail hour space, event spaces for rehearsal dinners and post-wedding brunches, and of course hotel rooms.
The Ballroom can host up to 200 guests for your special day while the Event Room can accommodate up to 150. Additionally, CityFlatsHotel is connected to the city-owned Monroe Center Parking Ramp giving your guests the option to keep their cars in a covered parking ramp for easy access to-and-from wedding festivities.
Scott advises the happy couple to soak it all in on their wedding day, The day goes by so quickly. Really take the time to live in the moment. Trust that your vendors are in control and just enjoy your day!
Visit CityFlatsHotels website for more information on having your wedding at The Ballroom.
The Ballroom at McKay was once the Grand Rapids National Bank.
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Wedding And Reception Venue
Finding the perfect wedding venue is the first step in the wedding planning process. It can feel overwhelming to find a venue you actually like that you can afford that isnt already booked!! The venue sets the tone for your wedding day and is the most expensive piece of the puzzle. Grand Rapids offers a wide variety of venues to accommodate your personal taste, budget and interests.
The setting for your ceremony and reception should be as meaningful as the vows you recite. Are you a traditionalist who wants to marry in a sacred worship space and host your reception in a grand ballroom? Would you like to walk down the aisle in a greenhouse, warehouse or museum? Is your ideal reception site a restaurant, country club, banquet center, ballroom or treehouse?
Grand Rapids Wedding Photographer
Grand Rapids offers that big city feeling that many on the west side of the state often look for. It is on the Grand River about 30 miles east of Lake Michigan. Grand Rapids is a city in Michigan with a population of 195,355. Grand Rapids is in Kent County and is one of the best places to live in Michigan. Living in Grand Rapids offers residents a dense suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In Grand Rapids there are a lot of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Many families and young professionals live in Grand Rapids and residents tend to have moderate political views.
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Wedding At The Gramgrand Rapids Mi
Congratulations Hahyoon and Andrew! This cute couple, with their cute families, cute friends, just cut cute cute. The day was so fun with warm smiling faces all around.These two met through church while they were in college. They knew each other two years before they actually started dating. After about four years together, they started planning a wedding. Andrew surprised Hahyoon at home one day when he wasn’t supposed to be there, with a ring! It was private, quiet, and perfect. They celebrated with wine and string cheese.If you missed their adorable engagement session in Gaslight Village, please check it out here:www.lookatthebiggerpicture.com/blog/hahyoonandandrewSome plans changed for us on the big day, due to a boisterous parade right where the ceremony was supposed to be- with loud generators- so we all adjusted to a new plan, still at the GRAM, which was truly amazing. Nothing could spoil the bigger meaning of this day for Hahyoon and Andrew.
What a beautiful day to celebrate! I am honored that I got to document it. Enjoy the preview!
Bissell Tree House At John Ball Zoo
Why not have your reception at the wildest place in town! The Bissell Tree House is situated on one of Grand Rapids highest points and is inside of the John Ball Zoo. It can be casual or elegant, but always unique. Guest arrive in style as they ride the funicular up to the top of the hill ~ sure to be a crowd pleaser!!. The banquet hall is a modern design which can hold approx 180 guests with windows floor to ceiling showcasing the spectacular views of downtown. There is a wrap around deck where you can have your ceremony or cocktail hour outside in the treetops.
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Bissell Tree House At The John Ball Zoo
The Bissell Tree House located on one of the highest points in Grand Rapids at John Ball Zoo provides up to 180 wedding guests with a unique feel of both nature and city. In addition to a beautiful, intimate wooded setting, the Bissell Tree House offers stunning views of Grand Rapids skyline.
A wedding at the Bissell Tree House is a memorable experience from start to finish. Skye Thebo, one of three rental and event coordinators for John Ball Zoo said guests arrive at the Bissell Tree House via the zoo funicular, which adds an extra special touch to the event. Thebo added, And the best part is that booking our venue goes directly into supporting our non-profit zoo!
Visit the John Ball Zoos website to see what the Bissell Tree House has to offer, and for contact information in order to speak with an event coordinator.
The Downtown Market will open an additional venue this fall, The Garden Room, which will be connected to its Greenhouse.
Michigan Weddings: Blending Art And Fairytales At The Grand Rapids Art Museum
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A love of art is one of many interests that TaLawnda and Sidney Bragg share. So when they looked for a spot for their wedding, they checked out the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
The familiar place suddenly looked different in the bride’s eyes.
“I could just see myself walking down that glass staircase in my wedding gown,” TaLawnda said.
They changed their wedding date so they could book the museum for their big day.
The Braggs met through an online dating site, blackpeoplemeet.com. They quickly found out they share so many interests, friends and connections, they wondered why they had never met before.
TaLawnda, an internal medicine physician with Spectrum Health Medical Group, has belonged to Renaissance Church of God in Christ in Grand Rapids for 15 years.
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Grand Rapids Art Museum Wedding
Briana and Pedros wedding at the Grand Rapids Art Museum was one of a kind. They had a super cool venue with breathtaking modern architecture, an enormous wedding party with twenty-eight bridesmaids and groomsmen, a striking black-and-white dress code for the wedding party and all the guests, the largest cake Ive ever photographed, the wildest first dance Ive ever shot, and an epic sparkler exit on the front steps of the GRAM at the end of the night.
The day began with Briana getting ready in the Frey Boardroom, a very unique space with floor to ceiling windows covered in large metal louvers.Once the bride was dressed, we walked down the hallway to the Miller Veranda, a covered, open air space overlooking a courtyard on one side and a downtown street on the other. The roof above us meant that the natural light was coming in from a beautiful side angle for these portraits.
University Club Of Grand Rapids
The University Club of Grand Rapids is a banquet hall on the 10th floor of a private club. The University Club offers panoramic city views, and offers several rooms to fit your wedding needs. The venue doesnt have a room rental fee, or set up and tear down fees, however you do have to go through their catering services. The venue prefers plated meals, but does offer a buffet option, it is more expensive and has a time limit of one hour. The venue holds up to 300 guests and also includes free parking.
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Brandon & Kara // Gram Wedding
Oh, My! Where do I begin with this wedding? Kara did not miss one single detail of her downtown Grand Rapids Art Museum Wedding! I always love photographing details so it was so fun to see what special touches she dreamt up for her wedding day. I have not seen the delicate rose gold detail paired with a marble swirl at any previous wedding so how fun to see how Kara and Brandon had these elements woven throughout the entire wedding.
So many have commented on that they loved how fresh and modern this wedding was. The playful touches of the confetti and the guys shoe game was quite strong with a change after the wedding. I always thought the girls considered this, but Brandon is one stylish guy so this didnt surprise me. I loved the fun touches! Dont get me started on the donut wall. If you take a second look it highlights the first letter of their last name. I overheard many guests raving about this surprise. You know I had one as welljust to taste! ha
Take a peek at this Beautiful wedding full of the prettiest details, gorgeous florals and amazing venue! Kara and Brandon suit each other well and are so sweet together. Their bridal party was full of energy and were up for anything! My favorite! We even swung by to grab a few shots of Brandon and Karas adorable pup. How could we possibly leave him out on the biggest day of their life? No way!