Ali Bressler, a registered dietitian, first met veterinarian Alex Schechter when they were both studying at the University of Michigan. “We knew each other since we were freshmen,” says Ali, “but started dating senior year after being set up by one of my bridesmaids.” Like most college sweethearts, dated for some years, even weathering a long distance relationship (for four years while he was going to veterinary school) until they eventually moved to New York.
One night, while they were walking their dog in the West Village, Alex took out a sweatshirt he had made for their dog that read, “Official Schechter Family” and got down on one knee. “We then went into the next door bar to have a glass of champagne, where my family and Alex’s family, who flew in from Michigan, were waiting to surprise me,” Ali remembers. Later that night, after a celebratory dinner, Alex and Ali took a bottle of wine back to the dog park to relive the special moment.
When thinking of where to get married, the couple knew they wanted to do it in Ann Arbor, the place where they first met. “Zingerman’s Cornman Farms was the first place we looked at and immediately fell in love with their beautiful property,” she says. “We loved the idea of a rustic yet elegant barn wedding. Corman Farms had a great blank slate that, when customized with our own tenting, flooring and decor, was really just the perfect combination.”
The couple set the date for October 14th, 2017, and hired event planners Alison and Bryan Destination Weddings to help with their big day. “They were able to take our very abstract vision and translate it into a wedding that was more beautiful and personal than I could have ever dreamed,” says Ali. “They also flawlessly pulled it off in a day of monsoon-like rain, and even had everyone saying the rain made it better.”
When looking for her dress, Ali was lucky and found “the one” on her first try. “I wore a Ramona Keveza ballgown that was one of the first dresses I tried on,” she explains. “My sister Lindsay, who has impeccable fashion-taste, not surprisingly picked it out. I had never seen another dress like it and its ivory tone gave it a rustic feel that fit our wedding venue and theme perfectly.” Ali kept her jewelry and makeup to a minimum. “My husband bought me tear drop earrings set in rose gold from the same place where he bought my wedding and engagement ring,” she says. Meanwhile, the groom chose a navy tuxedo with silver dog bone cufflinks, and bridesmaids wore various styles of TwoBirds dresses in Rose Water. “Our attendants wore ‘upscale’ cocktail attire with anything from gowns to knee-length dresses,” she says. “By the end of the night, all of the gowns were tied up to avoid the rain puddles—including mine!”
The day of the ceremony, the couple and their guests gathered under a clear top tent that felt like a greenhouse, with green and cream decor and the sound of rain drops falling at the top. Guests were offered spiced apple cider as they were welcomed into the tent by music from a violist. “The ceremony was short yet incredibly personal with an ‘about the couple’ speech given by our good friend,” Ali explains. “We wrote our own vows and were married under a stunning chuppah designed by Alison and Bryan and the incredibly talented florist, Katie Wachowiak.”
After the ceremony was over, guests were served a dinner of mostly in season ingredients that included braised short rib, whipped sweet potatoes, and butternut squash ravioli. “Our cake was a gluten-free lemon cake with hazelnut buttercream done by Zingerman’s,” she adds. The band, North Star from Elan Artists, had everyone on their feet all night by playing a mix of Motown and current hits, while the bride and groom chose “Feels Like Home” by Diana Krall and Bryan Adams for their first dance as husband and wife.
Once the reception wrapped, everyone moved into a barn with a more club-like feel and kept the party going by dancing to DJ Paul Martindale. When guests and the newlyweds couldn’t dance anymore, school buses with packages of caramel corn on each seat drove everyone to the after-after party at the couple’s college bar, Scorekeepers, where late-night pizza was ready and waiting. A fitting end at the place where it all started.