Samantha and Zachary’s Wedding at Freedom Hill

Our Real Detroit Wedding: September 7, 2019

I have already recommended Mike Staff Productions to everyone I know planning a wedding. I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for. While I think that’s true in this instance, I feel like I got so much more! Mike Staff is not going to be the cheapest photographer you can find, but the quality and customer service is so worth the price tag! We prioritized photography for our wedding and a video was important to me as well. The fact that you guys had backup photographers and videographers on call, really reassured me in our decision. Our original backup photographer actually ended up having a family emergency and couldn’t make it, so they had Jennifer come instead, and we loved her! There was also a mishap at the beginning with our original DJ, but they were up front about it and had us select a different one. We very much appreciated their transparency and it just reconfirmed that we could trust them with our event. We could not be happier!

Happy Bride, Samantha

Our Love Story

We met at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture on September 2, 2012. We actually ended up going to an architecture retreat together (in the same car) during the first week of school. We didn’t start dating until the summer after our sophomore year. It was a struggle, but we managed to help each other through all 4 years and through our master’s year.

In July after graduating with our Master’s degrees, we went on a family vacation to Traverse City with my family (the Rosses). My sister is always the one to set up family photos, so she hired a photographer to take some nice family pictures on the beach of the property we rented. Little did I know, this was all orchestrated by her and Zac so that they could have the surprise proposal documented. We had one photo set up with me behind 2 of my nieces (who were holding “Will you” signs). And when I turned around, he was kneeling with a sign that said “marry me?” It was the biggest surprise of my life, and the best thing was that I didn’t have to call my family afterward because they were all a part of it!

Our Wedding Video

I watch my brother’s wedding highlight video every year on their anniversary and I happy cry every time! I knew there were going to be so many moments that I would either miss or not be a part of the day of and I wanted to be able to look back and remember the whole day. Sometimes brides are so busy mingling and thanking guests, that they don’t have time to enjoy the party they put together. I wanted to do both, and now I can relive those moments as many times as I want. Plus, it meant so much to me to have relatives captured for future viewing, especially our grandmothers. I hope to show this video to my kids in the future.

Our Wedding Photos

Oh my goodness. Madison, our wedding photographer was phenomenal! She was so genuine and excited for us on the day of our wedding, and the fact that I got to communicate with her beforehand really helped calm my nerves and made me feel at ease about the whole process. Her and Jennifer worked seamlessly with each other and they both got shots that I didn’t even notice on the day of. They were also so amazing with the kids! We have many adorable pictures of them walking down the aisle, posing, and just having fun. Most of which I didn’t get to see on the day of. I’m so grateful for these memories we get to keep and share with others.

Our Wedding DJ

Our professional wedding DJ, David, did such a great job that we had people on the dance floor all night long. So I can’t think of a specific song that had everyone on the dance floor (other than the electric slide of course). But he did manage to find one of the obscure songs that I asked for and played it at just the right moment. My sisters and I have love the song “Orange Colored Sky” by Natalie Cole since we were little. It had to be her version though. He played it for us that night and the three of us danced and sang the entire song on the dance floor (just the three of us alone). That was the most special song for us to be played because it took us right back to our childhood.

You and Me by Lifehouse was our first dance song. Not a very long story to this, but Zac is the hopeless romantic in our relationship. This song was the first one we slow danced to together, and he set it up in a pavilion in a park at night. That was also the moment in which we said “I love you” for the first time to each other.

Our Wedding Vision

I have always been obsessed with Disney, ever since I can remember. At first we were going to do a full on Disney themed wedding.

Instead, we had a few subtle hints of Disney and just focused on both of our favorite color: purple. Purple with some natural/neutral tones with greenery and wood. It all ended up coming together in the end, which I’m thankful for. Zac really likes the rustic, woodsy themes, so I made sure to incorporate that into the decor. But also some modernity with the geometric terrariums. Now, for the venue. Since we’re both architects, the space itself was important to us. We were between two locations but ended up choosing Freedom Hill because of the uniqueness of the interior. The food and bar were also a plus because that is what we prioritized (Along with photography) over everything else.

Favorite Wedding Memory

The first look, hands down, was my favorite part of the day. I was having a lot of anxiety before that moment, but as soon as I saw Zac, it all melted away. I wanted to ensure that everyone had fun at the wedding and that everything ran smoothly, but as soon as we got to our first look, I was able to just relax and enjoy the day.

Samantha & Zachary’s Wedding Vendor’s

  • Wedding Dress: Jenna in White
  • Bakery: Mannino’s Bakery
  • Ceremony and Reception Venue: Freedom Hill Banquet Center
  • Mike Staff Productions: Wedding DJ, Photography and Videography