The Russell Industrial Center makes for an industrial chic wedding in Detroit.
Alex Bonda and Dana Schostak met as students at the University of Michigan. “We met second semester of my freshman year. He was a sophomore. We’ve been together ever since,” says Dana, 26, who works for a custom furniture company. “As cliché as it sounds, we knew right away. There was an immediate connection and we stayed together through everything.”
She and Alex, 28, who works in insurance, live in Greenwich Village in New York City, but plan to move home to Birmingham this summer.
After dating for seven years, they decided to tie the knot in Detroit — in a wedding that was as unique and memorable as they are.
“We wanted our wedding to be somewhere different — not your typical ballroom venue,” Dana says. “We searched all over Detroit and didn’t find anything that really stood out to us.”
Then, Dana’s parents took them to the Russell Industrial Center, near Eastern Market in Detroit. “At first we thought they were kidding!” Dana says. “From the outside, it looks pretty rundown, with broken glass everywhere; but on the inside, there was this giant, open space that felt like the perfect blank canvas. We saw so much possibility and the perfect opportunity to make our wedding exactly what we wanted.”
Alex and Dana’s was the first wedding ever held at the Russell Industrial Center. By working with some of Detroit’s most sought-after wedding experts, wedding planner Dee Dee Hoffman and Jon Gerych, who did the flowers and decor, they transformed a huge, empty warehouse into a magical and elegant affair.
On Saturday, March 5, 2016, a custom monogrammed wall made of succulents greeted guests. Jaw-dropping floral arrangements adorned the chuppah and aisle ways, and hung from the ceiling.
“The inspiration for this wedding came from Elise Schostak, the mother of the bride — an artist herself — and, of course, Dana,” Gerych says. “We wanted to blend the feel of the city and the art and culture — taking cement, brick and iron and softening it with fabric, lighting, texture and florals.”
Gerych created three different elements in the space for guests to experience. The first was the organic succulent wall for the entrance. Then guests walked through to the ceremony space, “soft, elegant, chiffon and filmy to give the romantic feeling of a wedding without hiding the integrity of the building,” Gerych says.
The third element was cocktail hour and dinner, which was more industrial with wood and iron tables, linens, candles and four different styles of chairs.
“With most weddings in a ballroom, we try to hide the existing room with décor,” Gerych says. “In this case, we didn’t want to hide the integrity of the building.”
Guests flocked to the dance floor, which had been transformed into the double of a chic NYC nightclub with incredible lighting by Star Trax and live music from Fifty Amp Fuse.
Wining and Dining
Cocktail hour featured Crispy Rice Spicy Tuna (Dana’s personal favorite), custom “B” branded sliders, Detroit Reuben Croquettes, and a one-of-a-kind rare wine and whiskey bar put together by the bride’s father, David Schostak, who collected wines from his kids’ birth years. He worked with Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon of Plum Market and friends of his to track down wines from Alex’s birth year as well.
Triffon poured at the wine bar, which only featured vintages from 1989 and 1990 — the years Alex and Dana were born.
Dinner included the option of chicken piccata with broccoli-roasted tomato and mashed potatoes, vegan Moroccan chickpea cake with lemongrass-coconut reduction or seared halibut.
After dancing, guests snacked on the couple’s favorite candies at the custom candy bar, Domino’s thin-crust pizza (the couple’s secret favorite) and New York Bagels (Breakfast with the Bondas).
“Our wedding was everything we could have hoped for,” Dana says. “Every piece was done to perfection, and it truly was a night to remember. None of it would have been possible without my mom, Elise, and all of the amazing partners we worked with.” NS
Event Space: Russell Industrial Center
Decor/Flowers: Jon Gerych
Fenton: (810) 629-5995;
Birmingham: (248) 723-5650
Party Planner: Dee Dee Hoffman
Videographer: Visi Productions
Band: Fifty Amp Fuse
(313) 529-5893, fiftyampfuse.com
Caterer: Forte Belanger
Hair/Makeup: Salon 6,
Sound/Lighting: Star Trax
Bride’s Dress: Pronovias
Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo
Grooms Tuxedo: John Varvatos
Cake: Iversen’s Bakery
Photography: Laurie Tennent