In 2018, Brandon Curry proposed to Jenna Cook in a SEEN Magazine story. A year later, the couple threw their dream wedding near Traverse City. Go behind the scenes of their “casual, fun” big day.
By Eden Lichterman
Photography by Alicia Gbur
When Jenna and Brandon Curry started planning their big day, they were certain about one thing: They didn’t want a traditional wedding. No bridal shower, no bachelorette party, no big deals. “[We wanted it to be] more about us and less about everything else,” says Jenna, 34, who married Brandon, 39, last June in front of about 20 guests at Cherry Basket Farm in Omena, Michigan (about 25 miles north of Traverse City).
Doing things differently comes naturally to the couple, who met in 2016 on a blind date in Detroit. From the beginning, says Jenna, she knew Brandon was unlike any other guy she’d met. For one, he picked her up at her apartment and waited outside her door until she was ready. At the bar they went to, Jenna mentioned that the Detroit Symphony Orchestra was playing Beach Boys music that night. Before she knew it, Brandon, who works in real estate, had bought tickets for the show. “It was the best night ever,” says Jenna, a server at Honest John’s in Detroit who’s studying elementary education.
Fast forward to 2018: The couple had been dating for two years and lived in a Ferndale house that they transformed and documented on their blog For Richard or Poorer. When SEEN decided to feature a story about the couple’s home renovation that summer, Brandon — who’d picked out a vintage ring from Wachler Estate Collection in Birmingham based on pictures Jenna had posted to her Pinterest page — saw the article as the perfect opportunity to propose.
Jenna remembers being surprised that Brandon was so excited for the article to come out. After reading the story in SEEN’s August 2018 print issue, Jenna scanned the last page of the piece with the Blippar app, an augmented reality tool that offers additional content like photos and videos. What she found instead: a marriage-proposal message from Brandon. She looked over to see him down on one knee. “I was in complete shock,” she says.
After the proverbial question was popped, the couple went into planning mode. Their first decision: picking the rustic, 120-year-old Cherry Basket Farm for their wedding venue. Both Jenna and Brandon have family in the Traverse City area, so the destination was a no-brainer. “We wanted to get away,” Brandon adds. “And that was the perfect time of year.”
The couple also knew they wanted a small wedding. “It’s important to interact with everybody,” says Jenna. (A week later, she and Brandon celebrated again with more friends at Belle Isle Aquarium in Detroit, where they hosted a party with pizza, drinks, dessert and a DJ.)
On the day of the wedding, Jenna wore a spaghetti-strap silk gown with an eyelet top and a sash from Saja Wedding, a brand known for its nontraditional wedding dresses. Brandon wore J. Crew. While the couple spent the morning together — “I couldn’t imagine sleeping in a different place or not having breakfast with her,” says Brandon — they separated to get dressed. They saw each other for the first time outside a farmhouse at the wedding venue. “It felt like a half hour before I was able to turn my eyes around, even though it was probably only a minute or two,” says Brandon. “It was one of the most exciting moments of the wedding.”
The couple’s family played a big part in their big day. Jenna’s father walked her down the aisle, and her sister officiated the wedding. She also put her brother in charge of pressing play on “Pocketful of Rainbows” by Elvis Presley when she walked down the aisle, but he accidentally selected the wrong song. The couple laughed it off, and Jenna’s brother eventually put on the correct tune in time for her to meet Brandon at the altar. “I remember tearing up at that moment,” says Brandon.
After the ceremony, guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, music and a signature cocktail made from honey, whiskey and lemonade. There was also a sit-down dinner catered by Epicure Catering at Cherry Basket Farm. “Both of our dads did impromptu speeches that were really sweet,” says Jenna. All the parents left after dinner, so Brandon and Jenna had time to hang out with their siblings and friends. They sat around a bonfire and played yard games like corn hole.
When it came to the garden-party-themed décor, Jenna embraced the DIY ethos. She made the flower arrangements using hydrangeas, peonies, chamomile and roses she picked up from Trader Joe’s the morning of the wedding. She also designed the table arrangements: blue gingham napkins, silver utensils and gold straws for the drinks. She even made her own menu cards, complete with a floral pattern. “I didn’t want anyone to feel like, ‘Oh, this wedding is so fancy,’ because that’s not how we are,” she says.
Given their hands-on effort, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the wedding turned out just as the couple had planned. “It was casual, it was fun,” says Brandon. “It was just a big get-together with a lot of close friends and family celebrating the decision we made.”
Post-wedding, the Currys visited Mackinac Island for a few days. An official honeymoon was put on hold because they were in the midst of yet another major project: selling their house. One month before the wedding, one of Brandon’s clients expressed interest in buying the couple’s Ferndale home. While they had just finished redoing it, the pair decided they were willing to sell. Says Jenna, “There won’t be a third house.”
For now, the couple looks forward to finishing their new home in Bloomfield Hills and one day expanding their family. Until then, they’re basking in the newlywed glow. “I feel like we’re still dating,” says Jenna. “I always like to tell people that Brandon’s my forever boyfriend.”
Big Day Breakdown:
Date: June 6,2019
Venue: Cherry Basked Farm in Omena, MI
Caterer: Epicure Catering at Cherry Basket Farm
Cake: The couple opted out of cake; instead they served individual berry galettes with bourbon whipped cream
Entertainment: The pair made a playlist, which they blasted over a P.A. system borrowed from a friend
Bride’s dress: Saja Wedding
Bride’s shoes: Old Navy
Rings: Wachler Estate Collection
Groom’s Suit: J. Crew
Invitations: Rifle Paper Co. for Paper Source
Photographer: Alicia Gbur
Honeymoon destination: Mini-moon on Mackinac Island; official honeymoon TBD