Leaders and Best
Let’s just start by saying that this not your typical wedding. Granted there was a ceremony followed by a reception so we’ve got that part taken care of; it’s really the location that makes this wedding unique. By “Leaders and Best” can anyone guess?
Here’s your hint:
“Hail! to the victors valiant
Hail! to the conqu’ring heroes
Hail! Hail! To Michigan
The leaders and best!”
That’s right…Shandra and Michael not only held their wedding reception in the suites of the University of Michigan’s football stadium (a.k.a. “The Big House”) but they also got married on the 50 yard line. Shandra’s walk down the aisle started with coming out of the tunnel—that’s cool. Now I know it isn’t uncommon for people to get married at sports venues (Home plate a Fenway Park is a pretty big one) but this was certainly a first for us and a wild experience for any die-hard Michigan football fan! But of course it begged the question—why there?
Shandra explained that both she and Michael were undergraduates at the University of Michigan—although they didn’t know each other—and were big fans with season tickets back then. So it wasn’t until the 2010 season when they met at an Alumni tailgate party that this thing called love started between them. Shandra said that they looked at a few different places to have their wedding before and after visiting the Stadium but nothing else could compare with the wedding they could have at the Big House. She knew that they were going to have a big wedding and that she “justified” the size by using the location. And what a location it was…and the weather was perfect!
So what about this cake? Shandra and Michael didn’t want the location to take over the concept and the scheme…too much “football.” It’s still a wedding after all. They wanted class and elegance (not the tailgate party so many of their guests thought it would be!). So when they came in to design their cake, Shandra came prepared with a copy of their invitation and pictures of her dress hoping that they could be used as inspiration. So we went with it!
With their large guest count we designed a 5-tiered buttercream-iced cake to serve around 230 people with an extra large middle tier. This tier would have the main element of decoration, which was a piped version of the scrollwork fashioned at the top of their invitation. The other four tiers were designed from her wedding dress with vertical swirls of white beads, which adorned the skirt of her dress. The finishing touch on our end was the base of the cake. We always place our custom cakes on boards called “cake drums” that we cover in fondant and finish off with a ribbon—it gives the cake a completed look. In the case of this cake, and because of the size, we covered two drums in silver (their main color) with a white and silver ribbon.
We never get to see our cakes cut up like this so it was nice to see how they look plated! With a 300+ guest count (they had some extra side cakes) they really decided to have fun mixing up the flavors—this photo being chiffon cake with vanilla bean pastry cream and blackberry preserves. They also had coconut cake with a lemon curd and rum buttercream (a very popular flavor), chocolate cake with raspberry preserves and raspberry buttercream, and buttermilk cake with lemon buttercream and raspberry preserves.
When Rachel and I went to deliver the cake we got to put on their adorable custom made topper (from Etsy.com). It was their way of playing off the location, and having some fun without having a “Michigan/football” wedding. Our other favorite detail we saw was instead of having a guest book to sign, they had footballs to autograph! Everywhere in the room you could see the subtle hint of Michigan colors without it being over-the-top and remaining completely elegant.
Don’t worry though…they most definitely played up the fact that they were getting married in the Big House. The wedding party photos were taken in the locker rooms as well as signing their marriage license. Their other group photos were taken on the field in football formation. And my favorite—thought up by a groomsman—is the classic winning team “Gatorade dump” on the coach (in this case, Michael). Check out some of these photos and details, they’re amazing…especially as a sports fan!
Congratulations Shandra and Michael and thank you for letting us share your wedding with the world! And thank you Czap Studios for sharing these gorgeous photos.