Chloe Henderson and Sterling Sharp have known each other since they were young kids, attending the same summer camps. “Our paths crossed again when we attended high schools very near each other and we both played softball and baseball competitively. We would see each other around at our tournaments and games,” Chloe remembers. It was a passion that panned out for Sterling, who is now a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. They began flirting over social media, finally exchanged numbers, and began dating on December 1, 2012.
“We had our first date at Noel Night festivities around the Detroit Institute of Arts,” Chloe says. “Noel Night is a celebration of Detroit’s diverse holiday traditions amid the state’s premier arts and cultural institutions.” They went to two proms together and dated through college and as Sterling got drafted to the MLB, all while keeping up the tradition begun on their first date of visiting museums across the country together.
“Seven years later, Sterling worked with my best friend to surprise me with a proposal at a Christmas party in her Detroit home on December 23, 2019,” Chloe shares. “As I opened my present during the gift exchange in front of our friends, I was shocked to turn around and find Sterling on one knee with our families behind him.”
The traditions that began on their first date—celebrating the holiday season, art, and culture—also led their wedding planning journey. “We wanted our wedding to celebrate our unique love story, Detroit, art, and the many ways that the stars aligned to bring us together,” Chloe says. “We chose to have a December [wedding], with dinner served under the stars, literally. After nearly a year-long postponement because of COVID, we got married on December 11, 2021, in downtown Detroit—where it all started for us. We always say December is our month and Detroit is our city. We love our city so much and it is really fitting that our biggest moments have been shared together there.”
It was to be “A Detroit Affair,” the bride says. “Elegant, modern-meets-old world, sophisticated, and celestial. Our numerous wedding details included custom star maps highlighting the various milestones in our relationship, a starburst cake topper, and a star ornament seating chart. These celestial details were also very much in keeping with a phrase we have always used to describe the extent of our love: To the moon and back.”
They carefully selected the vendor team to bring their vision to life. “We wanted our wedding to reflect the talent and creativity of musicians, artists, and vendors from our community,” Chloe says. “Like Detroit, our amazing team of vendors truly reflected a beautiful diversity of talent.”
Read on to see all the stellar details, planned by Ashley at Festoons and Flourishes and photographed by K.R. Moreno Photography.
The theme was established with the invitation suite, elegant in white and gold. “Our planner and stationer took inspiration from custom star maps that Sterling and I had previously gifted each other,” Chloe describes. “A map of the stars above Detroit from our first date was embossed in gold on the details card of our invitation suite, along with a gold star charm.”
I wanted all of my other details to add sparkle to the look.
Dress shopping with her mom, Chloe was hesitant to purchase someting from the very first salon she visited, but “I fell in love with my gown quickly. My mom and I just knew it was perfect for me,” she remembers. The silk Ines Di Santo sheath featured spaghetti straps and a detachable train. “It was the perfect mix of elegant lines; clean, modern details; and timeless style. I loved that it was both demure and vivacious.”
She continues, “Since my dress had such clean lines, I wanted all of my other details to add sparkle to the look.” She had two custom crystal-covered veils made by Erin Cole: a royal-length stunner and a blusher that she wore as a mini veil with her reception look.
“I incorporated some mementos related to my late grandma to hold close to me throughout the day,” Chloe says. “I had a charm with her picture in it wrapped around my bouquet, and I wore her heart-shaped aquamarine ring on my right hand. Having her ‘with me’ every single step of the way meant the world to me.”
“Sterling wanted a classic look with modern flair,” the bride says. “He had a custom-fitted black Dormeuil tuxedo with a double-breasted vest—black-on-black houndstooth—and custom white shirt with a French cuff. He incorporated two pairs of cufflinks that I had gifted him in the past by wearing one from each pair on either cuff: one was a love knot and the other was an infinity symbol.”
The ceremony took place at the couple’s church, the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, in Detroit. “Because the cathedral is breathtakingly beautiful, the altar was the only area to receive decoration,” Chloe describes. “It which was adorned with two extra-large floral arrangements in tall urns. The arrangements were lush and overgrown.” Pink and purple florals offset their foundational palette of white, gold, gray, and neutral shades.
The couple’s original wedding date was January 23, 2021, but they postponed to December due to COVID. “In honor of our original date, our ceremony was scheduled for 1:23 p.m.,” Chloe shares. “My father walked me down the aisle and it was a really wonderful moment for us to share. When the doors to the cathedral opened, I saw Sterling for the first time. It was such a magical moment that I will never forget.” She continues: “We kept our eyes on each other during my entire processional and it felt like we were the only two in the cathedral.”
Jumping the broom is a representation of how triumphant love is.
The couple carefully selected the specific traditional vows they exchanged—and saying them one one of Chloe’s most treasured memories. “Sharing our first kiss as husband and wife and then jumping the broom while holding hands was also a moment I really cherished,” she says. “We wanted to pay homage, as many Black couples do, to the tradition of jumping the broom. Many enslaved Black people would jump over a broom to marry since they could not legally wed. We wanted to incorporate jumping the broom as a way to pay homage to our culture, legacy, and ancestors’ ability to joyously formalize their unions. It is a representation of how triumphant love is.” And it wasn’t just any broom: The couple had the significant memento customized with brass, crystal, and pearl accents.
Bridesmaids wore one-shoulder emerald green gowns, with celestial earrings gifted from the bride; groomsmen donned single-breasted black tuxedos with black bow ties. “We wanted a timeless look for our wedding party. We wanted them to look and feel amazing.”
Chloe was in love with her crystal veil—but almost didn’t get to wear it. “There was a wind advisory in Detroit on our wedding day,” she remembers. “After I was finally dressed and done getting ready, I stepped outside on the balcony of our suite to take photos, and my royal-length veil flew off of my head onto the hotel roof. My jaw completely dropped, and I was so stressed at the thought of not having one of my favorite parts of my look.” She goes on: “Luckily it got caught on a pole on the neighboring roof of the hotel, and one of the photographers was able to climb over the wall to grab it quickly before the wind took it away further!”
The newlyweds rode from ceremony to reception in a vintage Packard. “It was our first private moment alone together as husband and wife, and is such a sweet memory for us,” they reflect.
We wanted our wedding to celebrate the many ways that the stars aligned to bring us together.
A custom Corinthian-column gazebo was erected in the lobby of the Detroit Institute of Arts. “The ceiling of the structure was painted black, with small lights showing through, giving the effect of a starry night,” Chloe describes. “From the ceiling, silver star ornaments were hung with printed paper tags with guest names and table numbers.” Their 176 guests interacted with the installation, walking under the canopy of stars to collect their ornament and find their seat.
“The dining tables were washed in a warm white light, giving them a lovely glow in the dark room, and the ceiling was turned into a planetarium with light projection for the effect of a starry night sky,” Chloe recalls. “The florals were various shades of true pink through dark eggplant. Some were a rusty terracotta pink to accent the color found in the floor and ceiling details of the DIA’s Great Hall.”
“Mirror-topped tables reflected the starry night ceiling—effectively, the ceiling was the ‘tablecloth’ on each table,” Chloe says. They used artificial white tapers and candelabras, as real candles are not allowed in the museum (a beautiful solution to a common venue hitch!). Atop a glass charger, individually calligraphed menus were embossed and foil printed with the star map of their wedding night.
“The cake was a five-tier work of art from Sweet Heather Anne, featuring white embossed details from the DIA ceiling, a gold hand-painted star map of the night Sterling proposed, and hand-placed florals emulating a Dutch masters painting,” Chloe says. “The 3D topper paid homage to the starlike structure held in the hand of Marshall Fredericks’ bronze ‘The Spirit of Detroit’ monument.”
Live musicians—the same musicians who had performed at Chloe’s parents wedding in 1994—performed their first dance song, “At Last” by Etta James. “Sharing our first dance in the beautiful Rivera Court, with Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry Murals surrounding us, was truly a dream come true,” Chloe remembers. “It felt like a full-circle moment in the DIA, from our first date to our wedding day.”
A DJ took over to get the dance party started. “He made sure to play songs we could ‘hustle’ to together as a group and celebrate into the night,” Chloe says. There were nods to baseball to cap off the evening. “A baseball signed by both the bride and groom—calligraphed with ‘Nice catch! You’re next!’—was used as a replacement for the traditional garter toss,” Chloe says. “And, ballpark snacks were a fun way to end the evening. Mini hot dogs, pretzel bites, and Cracker Jack boxes were passed out in ballpark concessions carriers, nodding to Sterling’s baseball career. They were a crowd favorite during dancing and made for a really fun experience for our guests.”
When it was all said and done, the newlyweds escaped to St. Lucia, where they spent their honeymoon unwinding, celebrating—and, of course, soaking up the starry nights.