By Peggy O’Dell / Photography by Nathan Chanski

Amanda Abraham’s and Danny Harris’ love story almost didn’t happen. The St. Clair Shores couple was friends for seven years before Danny asked her out to a concert. She was just out of a bad relationship and not ready to date, so she told him she had plans. Later, she accepted a group text invitation to a barbecue for the same day as the concert. Unfortunately, Danny was also in the group text. For six months he wouldn’t talk to her. Eventually, she asked him out. And after years of being friends, two years of dating and two years of living together, Amanda knew they were meant to be together. “I told Danny if he ever proposed it had to be magic,” Amanda said.

Amanda and Danny were invited to game night at her parents’ house, and she was surprised they weren’t playing the usual board games. Instead, a family scavenger hunt was planned. She was teamed up with her sister Anna and headed out for a fun night. “When we were the only team at the first clue destination, I was like, cool we’re winning! No one else has been here yet,” laughed Amanda. “When the answer to the third clue was where we went on our first date, I knew something was up.”

The last clue took them to her favorite place, the family cabin in Holly, where her family was gathered. Her dad gave her roses and told her, “You win!” Danny was waiting by the lake, where he got down on one knee and recited her favorite poem. He proposed with a beautiful pear-shaped diamond ring and the wedding planning started the following week.

What Danny didn’t know was that Amanda had been collecting ideas for her wedding for years. She had Pinterest boards full of ideas for everything from flowers to cakes to dresses. Danny was the last piece of the puzzle.

“We knew we wanted every part of our wedding to be special and personal to us,” Amanda said. The couple chose to have an outside fall wedding at the cabin in Holly where they were engaged. With the location decided, they spent the next two years working to make their dream wedding a reality. Danny, a wood model maker for General Motors, designed and made 22 wood tables for the reception.

Amanda, a professional photographer and avid gardener, used her artist’s eye to choose the dried flowers she wanted for her wedding. She cut and dried the flowers from her garden, before making them into bouquets, hair pieces and other décor. She also sliced and dried hundreds of oranges so she could incorporate them into the décor as well. Amanda’s love of vintage things inspired her to add an “outdoor living room feel” to her reception. For two years the couple went to local garage and estate sales looking for cool old furniture pieces. With it they created little seating areas on the property, perfect for chatting and taking pictures, as well as giving the reception the vintage vibe Amanda loves.

When it came to seating their 165 guests, Amanda used the hens and chicks succulent plants first given to her by her grandma, Shirley O’Brien. The plants had multiplied so much that she was able to dig out everything she needed from her own garden. She planted them in two-inch pots, with tags giving the guest’s name and table number. Danny built an 8-foot wall structure with shelves to display them. “It worked out great. It was both a cool decoration and a seating chart,” Amanda said. Guests were encouraged to plant the succulents in their own yards to let the love continue to grow.

Throughout the planning, whenever they came across an obstacle, Danny always told Amanda to “trust the process,” it would all work out. She’s glad she did. Their October 2023 wedding was a perfect reflection of them as a couple and individuals, and she wouldn’t change a thing. “Traditions are great, but since Covid 19 and everyone having to reinvent the idea of what a wedding looks like, there are no rules,” said Amanda. “Make it fun and make it you! You only get one chance to do it.”

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