THE LUSH LIFE

Martha Stewart Weddings - - IN THIS ISSUE - Pho­to­graphs by Aaron De­le­sie Text by Cather­ine Dash

A Grand Rapids re­cep­tion full of per­sonal touches in­spired by Michi­gan—and the Mediter­ranean.

Luxe details and des­ti­na­tions dear to their hearts took cen­ter stage at this Grand Rapids cou­ple’s el­e­gant Mediter­ranean-meets-Michi­gan cel­e­bra­tion.

The big­gest sur­prise, when Cas­san­dra DeVos met Heath Thorndill dur­ing their ju­nior year at Michi­gan State Uni­ver­sity, was that their paths hadn’t crossed sooner. “We’re from the same area [in Grand Rapids, Michi­gan], we grad­u­ated the same year, and our high schools are only 20 min­utes away from each other,” says Cas­san­dra, an at­tor­ney. “The chances of our be­ing at the same party at some point were very high.”

And though they be­came fast friends once ac­quainted, their re­la­tion­ship didn’t take a ro­man­tic turn un­til two years later, dur­ing a trip to visit friends in Chicago (where the cou­ple now live), when they found them­selves alone at din­ner one night.“It was the first time we’d hung out one-on-one, and some­thing clicked,” says Heath, a con­struc­tion man­ager, who re­al­ized he’d met his match in Cas­san­dra. “She’s gor­geous and tons of fun, and she laughs at the in­ap­pro­pri­ate things I say.”

They dis­cov­ered a mu­tual love of travel, and their six-year courtship in­cluded trips to Italy’s Amalfi Coast and Ky­oto, Ja­pan, lead­ing up to their 2014 en­gage­ment, which be­gan when Heath pro­posed on a boat off the coast of Fiji.

Upon land­ing state­side, they launched into wed­ding plan­ning right away: “The first thing we did was get started on the dress,” says Cas­san­dra, whose mother, Pamella DeVos, is pres­i­dent and de­signer of the fash­ion la­bel Pamella Roland. “We flew to her show­room in New York and or­dered lace from Paris.” For the bride’s “some­thing blue,” Pamella stitched a piece of pale­blue fab­ric em­broi­dered with Cas­san­dra’s late grand­mother’s name onto the in­side of her gown, and Cas­san­dra also car­ried a rib­bon made from her mother’s wed­ding dress in her bou­quet.

On Septem­ber 19, 2015, the cou­ple ex­changed vows in front of 400 guests at the First (Park) Con­gre­ga­tional Church in Grand Rapids, the same church where both Cas­san­dra’s par­ents and pa­ter­nal grand­par­ents had been mar­ried. The re­cep­tion was held nearby at her par­ents’ Mediter­ranean-style home, where event de­signer David Stark crafted a spec­tac­u­lar cel­e­bra­tion that trans­ported guests to three very dif­fer­ent, very mean­ing­ful des­ti­na­tions: First, sig­na­ture cock­tails were sipped amid dé­cor evok­ing Michi­gan in the fall, in­clud­ing ap­ple branches and hang­ing lanterns. For din­ner, guests trav­eled to Italy in a tent be­decked with le­mon, olive, ju­niper, and cy­press trees, as well as other gar­den details in the style of the cou­ple’s fa­vorite restau­rant, Da Paolino, lo­cated on the is­land of Capri. The fi­nal ex­pe­ri­ence was a show­stop­ping dance space fea­tur­ing a faux-cob­ble­stone floor and an elab­o­rate Greek-vil­lage set mod­eled af­ter San­torini, the is­land where the new­ly­weds would be hon­ey­moon­ing later in the week. As guests danced into the wee hours of the morn­ing, a sim­u­lated sun faded into the San­torini back­drop, sig­nal­ing the end of their re­cep­tion and the start of the cou­ple’s next ad­ven­ture.

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