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Cristy Lee, an automotive expert and the host of HGTV’s Steal This House, married her longtime boyfriend, John Hawkins, in a unique ceremony.
The pair, who share a love of cars and motorcycles, tied the knot on November 18, 2023, at Packard Proving Grounds, a historic site in Shelby Township, Michigan. The 17-acre site was established by Detroit’s Packard Motor Car Company in 1927, and is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
"We took one look at the Packard Proving Grounds and we were like, 'This is it. This is the place. This is perfect for us,'" Cristy, 39, told People in a story published on Friday, January 19. "It just oozed automobilia and history and had this amazing retro, eclectic car vibe." Cristy added that she and John "fell in love with it on the spot."
The car enthusiasts said “I do” surrounded by “automotive themed” decor. Vintage thumb oilers stood in as table card holders, and a retro Craftsman toolbox as the card box. Two black and white motorcycle helmets representing the newlyweds were also on display.
The groom’s 1950 Chevy 3100 even served as a statement piece in the event’s reception hall, according to People.
While the couple decided to go all out on their wedding’s design, the duo described their traditional vow exchange as "short and sweet.”
The straightforward ceremony, which was attended by 160 people and officiated by a friend of the couple, gave the duo more time to “share the day” with their guests, Cristy told the outlet.
After the pair said “I do,” attendees were given the opportunity to browse a collection of vintage Packard cars parked inside the property’s water tank building.
The ceremony was a labor of love for Cristy and John — especially Christy, as she battled a health crisis throughout the planning of their special day.
John proposed to Cristy during the 2022 holiday season after eight months of dating, and they booked the venue in early 2023. However, just days after the couple pinned down a date for their wedding, Cristy was diagnosed with two autoimmune disorders, Graves’ disease and thyroid eye disease. The designer admitted she did a lot of her wedding planning from bed.
"We considered postponing but then we decided, 'We’re doing this. We’re going to do this wedding regardless of how I look or if I feel well enough. We’re making it happen,'" she told the outlet. "Nothing was going to take this day away from me. I thought, 'This is my day!'"
Despite the wedding’s industrial theme, the ceremony was warm and filled with love from family and friends.
"We couldn’t have done it without them,” Cristy gushed to People. “The outpouring of love and help from the people who are most important to us was just incredible. Everything I went through with my health just puts life into a totally different perspective. In the end, what’s most important is the people close to you."
Cristy called watching the “fruits of [her] labor” fall into place for the unique event “so rewarding."
In addition to Steal This House, Cristy is known for appearing on Motor Trend's All Girls Garage, and for hosting the 2021 USA reality series Celebrity IOU: Joyride. She will serve as a challenge host on HGTV’s upcoming competition series Battle on the Mountain, which premieres on January 22. John currently works as a senior business process engineer at General Motors.