It’s a classic story of boy meets girl—with a twist: Boy falls in love with girl, boy asks girl to marry him among golden statues at Peterhof Park and Gardens in St. Petersburg, Russia, while on a cruise around the Baltic Sea.
Rewind to the backstory. Susan, a Traverse City native and executive assistant for the Traverse City Film Festival, first met Max in 2009 while he was volunteering for the film festival after he’d worked with Michael Moore on his film, Capitalism: A Love Story. “We met, we fell in love, and Max decided to move to Traverse City,” Susan says.
For their big day, Max and Susan needed a venue large enough to accommodate 260 guests. Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme, a 20-minute drive from Traverse City, proved the perfect location. “They were amazing!” Susan says. Grand Traverse Resort’s wedding team fulfilled all of the couple’s wishes with ease, exceeding expectations and allowing Max and Susan the fun day they planned.
The outdoor ceremony at Grand Traverse Resort’s tented Pavilion was lovely, integrating Jewish wedding traditions in honor of Max’s heritage. A string quartet, led by local musician Crispin Campbell, played as the wedding party walked down the aisle to stand beneath a chuppah (altar) decorated with lavender roses, blue delphinium, purple stock, bells of Ireland and green fuji mums. Max and Susan drank from the Kiddush cup (a Jewish ceremonial goblet), and a rabbi recited the seven blessings in Hebrew and English. After swearing “I do,” the wedding moved to the indoor Michigan Ballroom.
As guests sat down to the Grand Traverse Resort–catered dinner of chicken with garlic cream sauce, roast beef with Marsala sauce and mushroom risotto, their eyes were drawn to centerpieces holding the same stunning flowers seen in the bridal bouquets and chuppah garland at the ceremony. All were designed by Derek from Floral Underground in Traverse City, who, given free artistic rein by Susan, added green to offset the wedding’s navy blue, lavender and magenta color palette. Navy blue tablecloths overlaid with white lace set a classic backdrop for napkins folded in the shape of bow ties. To honor their shared love of film, Max and Susan made a donation to The Film Foundation in each of the guests’ names in lieu of favors.
The newlyweds slow-danced to Bruno Mars’s “Marry You,” before DJ Tom T from Detroit transformed the ballroom into a dance party that lasted well into the night. “We wanted to make this a really fun event for everyone, but still have it feel like a wedding,” Susan says. “We kept the energy going all night, and there was just this great, upbeat feeling!”