A Detroit Art Museum Wedding with Scottish and Samoan Influence
Meki and Ian
Scotsmen are known to tell a story, but when Ian Craig FaceTimed his dad from the departures terminal of JFK airport in September 2015, his tale was almost too good to believe. While vacationing in Manhattan, he'd met Meki Bracken, a lawyer from Washington, D.C., via Tinder. "It was love at first sight," says Ian, a financial-services executive. "Meki's photos were beautiful, but they didn't do her justice. She looked even better in person." At that date, which was coffee in Bryant Park, things went so well, the next day they took a leap and met in Savannah, Georgia—he was already heading there, and she'd always wanted to visit—for a few more days together. Then they both had traveling to do, so they went separate ways. But now, rather than returning to England, Ian was explaining to his father that he was going to D.C. instead, and wouldn't be home for a while. "I didn't want to leave her," he says.
Two days later, he surprised her in baggage claim as she returned home from her trip. "I had a lot to do, and I was grumpy and tired," Meki says. "And then I heard my name." Ian's grand gesture kicked off a whirlwind romance that continued in York, England, the following week, and on to a series of transatlantic trips. That December, he proposed in front of the fireplace in the unfurnished York home they had recently bought to renovate together. She said yes.
Soon after, planning began, and like everything else in their relationship, there was traveling involved. "My dad was adamant about [having the wedding in] Detroit, which is where I'm from," says Meki. They settled on an August 1, 2016, fête at the Detroit Institute of Arts, a soaring Beaux-Arts building she had visited on school trips as a child. "I fell in love with it when we saw it again," she says. During the ceremony, the couple acknowledged their unlikely journey and thanked the 170 guests who had made the trip from 14 different countries to share their day. "We started the ceremony looking at each other, but then we turned around to face the crowd," says Ian. Adds Meki, "We wanted people to know how touched we were that they came from so far." It was a fitting "ending" to a story that had really only just begun.
The Blushing Bride
The Sounds of Back Home
The Ceremony Spot
The ceremony was held in the museum's Rivera Court, named after the murals by Mexican artist Diego Rivera. The altar was modeled on a treelike installation the couple had admired at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
The newly married couple walked back up the aisle to a cello version of Rihanna's "We Found Love." Meki recalls: "I play the cello, and it's Ian's favorite instrument, so it was special to have something that was meaningful to both of us."
The Happy Couple
"It was love at first sight," says Ian of the moment he met Meki. "I remember getting out of the taxi and telling myself not to mess it up."Meki changed into a Pnina Tornai dress for the reception. Ian wore a traditional Scottish kilt by MacGregor & MacDuff throughout the celebration. It was cut from a contemporary New York City tartan to honor the place where he met his future bride.
The Bridal Party
The couple's bridal party included her lifelong friend, his three nieces, and both of their brothers. (Meki's brother is not pictured.)
All Over the World
Guests located the city they'd flown in from on a magnetic map, and the corresponding flag revealed their table number.
Tables were set for an elegant seasonal meal in the Great Hall. Travertine-marble walls and a soaring barrel-vaulted ceiling embellished with frescoes created a fittingly grand backdrop for dinner—and, later, dancing.
The Centerpiece Inspiration
"I had this vision of an outdoor wedding with lots of greenery, so I talked with the florist and we tried as much as we could to bring the outdoors inside with those greens and blues," says Meki. The table décor includes gilt vessels and mercury-glass votives, as well as centerpieces of succulents, dahlias, peonies, and garden roses.
Another Traditional Dance
Meki performed a siva, a traditional Samoan dance, as a nod to her family's heritage.
One Last Number
Ian's father, Philip Craig, dances at the cèilidh—a traditional Scottish social gathering—that the couple incorporated into their reception. This served as the wedding's last dance.
Guests enjoyed breakfast boxes filled with scones, jam, and English breakfast tea as tasty takeaway favors.
Location and catering, Detroit Institute of Arts
Event planning and design, Christie Yerks of Grit & Grace
Photography, Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography
Videography, East West Productions
Celebrant, Leigh Ann Phillips-Knope
Stationery, Cheree Berry Paper
Engagement ring and wedding bands, Bradleys Jewellers
Hair, Angela Stewart of Liquid Salon
Makeup, Ashley Tolliver
Lighting, The Lighting Guy
Transportation, The Detroit Bus Company
Photo station, SlowMotionStation.com