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The Couple Exchanged Vows in The Bride’s Childhood Backyard in Holland, Michigan

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Tec Petaja

|Planning by 

Modern Day Collective

After matching on the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel in 2014, Alix Padnos of Midday Montage and Perry Leon would go out around downtown Manhattan on dates to new restaurants. Caught up in demanding work travel schedules, though, the two drifted apart but decided to remain friends instead.

Perry moved to Boston and Los Angeles for work but kept in touch with Alix over social media and the annual birthday wish. In 2017, they went out to dinner at Noho Star, which sparked their long-distance relationship. Over the next two years, they utilized redeye flights to fuel their bicoastal romance before Alix joined Perry out west. While vacationing in Michigan, he proposed in front of the Macatawa Lighthouse. They celebrated soon after with a party at Alix’s parents’ house.

Alix always knew she would want to one day marry in her hometown of Holland, Michigan, and embrace the inherent beauty of the milieu with her wedding day aesthetic. Modern Day Collective brought this vision to life with help from the talented stationery designer, Kelsey Kelley, and on-site paper goods artist, Alyssa Amez.

The weekend kicked off with an intimate dinner for family and their small wedding party. Guests gathered in their finest white attire at the Frederick Meijer Gardens’ Stuart and Barbara Padnos Rooftop—named in honor of the bride’s late grandparents. Alix’s cousin, Sara Padnos of Linen & Lime Co. created the event design, using the venue’s sculptures as inspiration for a modern and textural layout complete with botanical vases, chartreuse greenery, and ghost chairs. Cory Weber photographed the evening’s memories. The couple decided to add a pop of blue in their attire to stand out. The bride-to-be arrived in ruffled Maticevski pants and a top with a long train and paired it with teal Mach & Mach pumps for something blue. A Simone Rocha pearl clutch pulled the look together. The groom-to-be looked handsome in a Suitsupply white linen suit with a teal Hermès pocket square and navy Gucci loafers. 

Once everyone arrived in Michigan, the true festivities began with a tournament at the Macatawa Tennis Club with customized tennis balls and hats. Alix sported a Veronica Beard x L’Etoile Sport dress. Two pros conducted drills before everyone feasted at brunch.

Later that evening, the group returned for dinner on the lawn of the Saugatuck Channel with the flowing Kalamazoo River. Alix arrived in a strapless Oscar de la Renta floral silk gown and Stuart Weitzman block heels. Perry sported a Suitsupply tan linen suit with special nautical-themed Stubbs & Wootton needlepoint slippers. The indigo hues of the tablescape were complemented by bamboo, rattan, and terracotta textures. Alix changed into a vintage dress from Happy Isles to join guests on the beach for the night’s bonfire.

For her bridal look, Alix donned a strapless Oscar de la Renta gown adorned with wisteria vine embroidery. Her seamstress cut part of the matching veil to make complementary gloves. Alix also slipped on classic Manolo Blahnik pumps and wore her mother’s pearl earrings as her “something borrowed.” Lisa Perdue and Engedi Salon styled her hair half-up with loose curls and a natural yet sophisticated make-up look. She gifted each of her bridesmaids their very own Kayu embroidered clutch.

The groom was dapper in his Hugo Boss tuxedo and Jack Victor dinner jacket—topped off with cufflinks from Cartier—and Stubbs & Wootton smoking slippers. He gave his groomsmen Del Toro smoking slippers for the occasion.

Before the ceremony began on August 20, 2022, Alix and Perry snuck off for their first look. They stood by the lake underneath a strong willow tree and covertly shared their vows, just the two of them. Ever the musician, Perry, serenaded Alix with his rendition of John Legend’s “All of Me.”

After a few wedding party pictures with photographer Tec Petaja and videographer Thomas Tikos-Kadji, Alix and Perry met each other at the altar for a traditional Jewish ceremony with a modern twist. Guests found embroidered handkerchiefs on their seats for their “tears of joy.” For the Seven Blessings, the couple’s parents, siblings, and first cousins read a few sentences interpreting a blessing. “The interpretation could be a brief story, poem, reading passage, song, whatever!” Alix shares. 

The couple exchanged vows in Alix’s childhood backyard, which was elegantly decorated with shades of cream, brushed gold, and sage greens. The large sailcloth tent was erected with a natural wood floor and topped with capiz shell light fixtures and bouquets of dahlias, ranunculus, roses, orchids, and hydrangeas. 

Alix and Perry entered the reception as a married couple and shared a first dance to Ray LaMontagne’s “You Are the Best Thing” before the crowd joined them in the horah. Goldleaf Maison Margaux plates dotted tables ahead of the Farmhouse Deli–catered meal of fresh, local dishes. They cut into their Flourhouse Bakery cake and then were shocked when a 1,000-foot freighter boat passed by and let out several congratulatory blows for the newlyweds. “My cousin saw it coming ahead and contacted the captain through the marine radio,” Alix explains. Ground Control of Élan Artists kept spirits high with a setlist of classic Motown and pop hits.

Alix’s mother surprised everyone with an incredible Great Lakes Drone Company show that depicted wedding bells and the couple’s initials. Alix’s uncle, Dexter Phillip, perfected it with the ultimate soundtrack.

Afterward, guests traveled across the street to the yacht club, which had been transformed overnight into a boisterous nightclub with foil balloons, vivid fuchsias and galactic silvers, and disco ball planters. “The inspiration was Miami meets St. Tropez,” Alix notes. Guests sipped espresso martinis and tried homemade crepes and the couple’s favorite local cotton candy ice cream. Alix, slipped on a beaded Lee Grebenau number with her “Mrs. Leon” denim jacket, and Perry changed into a Ted Baker tuxedo. The bride and groom switched into Golden Goose shoes and relished dancing until the early morning hours with DJ Mike Anthony and saxophonist Lukas Jaro.

Video by Thomas Tikos-Kadji