Motor City Tour

Portraits and fun in Detroit.

Motor city at its best: in a classic Cadillac on a bright, sunny day.

Motor City at its best: in a classic 1969 Cadillac on a bright, sunny day. Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Perhaps one of the single best features of managing the day of our wedding was a very long break between our ceremony (1:30 pm) and our reception (cocktail hour at 6, with our arrival at 6:45). Although there were some naysayers (hi Mom!) about the long intermission, looking back, having the break to take pictures and relax helped keep me sane that day. Honestly, the last week before the wedding was a madhouse. I barely slept (turning in my prospectus at 3 am the day of the rehearsal, for example, was a bit insane — especially given that I never got a chance to defend it and probably won’t until August), and we were on the hook for a lot of the set-up. I got ready for the wedding in less than half an hour (confession: I didn’t even wash my hair!). Even though everything went smoothly once the wedding events started, I was on the verge of a break-down just hours before we met our families for the blessing. Alas, some might even say I crossed that line. But a break from all the festivities to hang out — with our photographer and with my brother and his wife — was just what we needed to keep sane.

What a wonderful day! Photos by Adam Sparkes.

What a wonderful day! Photos by Adam Sparkes.

Since we had the car and the weather, we decided our first stop should be to take advantage of and show off our super-Detroit wedding. One crucial part that made this long break work especially well was the huge number of things our guests could do while we gallivanted around. Checking in with our guests later, they were up to all sorts of things. Some explored Hamtramck, others shopped at a fabulous used bookstore, others took naps, and yet others found food or drinks. My mom hosted a wine and cheese reception for family members and family friends, and all in all, it really made for a great opportunity to see Detroit. Meanwhile, we had lots of fun with a Cadillac. Daniel and Lila also got in on the fun — and got what is perhaps one of the best photos from the entire day. If there weren’t so many great ones of Maki and me, I might even be jealous. Look at this fine-looking couple!

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

We also meandered through alleys, past graffiti, and explored the ruins of this once-great city. Maki’s father finds our interest in taking such pictures entirely perplexing, but I kind of love these pictures.

Photos by Adam Sparkes.

Photos by Adam Sparkes.

And more. Detroit, it turns out, is full of various places to take interesting pictures. Lots of scenic, memorable brick; lots of backdrop for unique photos.

Photos by Adam Sparkes.

Photos by Adam Sparkes.

Taking pictures in this area also put is in striking distance of the Atwater Brewery, and given that we had as much free time as we did, this gave us the perfect opportunity to take a break from photographs and have a beer. The camera was still rolling here and there, of course, but mostly, it was just a break to stand around and chat with our little group. As the people at the bar realized we had come in for a wedding, there was a nice toast to us.

Cheers! Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Cheers! Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Sigh, it was basically perfect.

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

And the icing on the cake? As we were leaving, one of the guys running the bar stopped us to hand us a 12-pack as a little present from the brewery. Our first wedding present of the day!

Various views from Atwater. Including our 12-pack of the Grand Circus IPA, which we enjoyed over the course of the next few weeks. Photos by Adam Sparkes.

Various views from Atwater. Including our 12-pack of the Grand Circus IPA, which we enjoyed over the course of the next few weeks. Photos by Adam Sparkes.

After we walked out, we were thrilled to see just how much spring was in bloom in the neighborhood. True story: the planning and execution of this wedding really made me fall in love with Detroit. Seriously, check this picture out:

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

And of course, perhaps my single favorite photo of the day. Does it get better than this?

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Adam, I should add, was an absolutely wonderful photographer, and I basically knew that from the day I met him. We met for coffee about a month out from the wedding and chatted for two hours. Seeing as I knew we’d be spending the day with him, I figured that was a good sign. Because what can you possibly find to talk about for that long? Not only was he friendly and pleasant, I did love his pictures, and wandering around Detroit with him helped display why his pictures are so good. He took ideas and ran with them. He constantly had an eye out for good lighting and interesting shots, unusual shadows, or just great pictures.

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

This is another of my favorites:

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

The style of pictures worked really perfectly for the sort of wedding we had envisioned: casual, fun, and urban. I mean, hey, the dress isn’t even a wedding dress (still available from Anthropologie, if you’re interested, and now, there’s even a fantastic blue version that I kind of want, even if I am out of the country and cannot get it and even through I basically already own it in ivory)! I felt relaxed the entire day. Adam was even game for taking the sort of shots I like to take. Oh hey, reflection!

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Shadows: also fun.

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

It doesn’t take long to find my own pictures that are similar. After we had traipsed around Detroit for a couple hours, we headed towards our reception venue, where we took a few more pictures near the Detroit Institute of Arts, across from the Scarab Club. The best of this bunch:

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

There, we met up with our siblings and add-ons for a few more pictures ahead of our reception. It was the perfect way to get the sort of wedding party pictures we thought it might be nice to have, even without an official wedding party.

Boys and girls. Photos by Adam Sparkes. I'm especially partial to the one with the open moths for the girls.

Boys and girls. Photos by Adam Sparkes. I’m especially partial to the bottom right corner. Photos by Adam Sparkes.

Believe it or not, there was not very much coordination for our dresses, other than hearty approval for the one Lydia had picked out, and a too-big dress for Ruth that turned into her wearing a back-up that she had worn to prom her senior year. Didn’t we look great?

IMG_5944

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Here we are all in a line.

IMG_5963

Right to left: Daniel, Lila, Thomas, Maki, me, Lydia, Roman, Ruth ,and Kevin. Photo by Adam Sparkes.

And now, to end on a fun note: afternoon karate kicks.

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Photo by Adam Sparkes.

In short, it was a perfect afternoon. From there, our siblings all crossed the street to the reception. Maki and I killed just a little more time, watching from the steps pictures behind us in the photo above as our guests arrived in taxis and our reception got underway. We took a nice breather, and Maki even fell asleep for about five minutes there. Those 10 minutes we had alone, I kid you not, gave me just the energy I needed to head over to the reception. Seriously, a perfect afternoon.

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2 thoughts on “Motor City Tour

  1. The pictures are so creative and beautiful at the same time!! I’m so glad we could share your big day. Debbie

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