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kelly & zoltan’s wedding at shadowland pavilion in st. joseph

On Friday, the weather forecast looked bleak for this weekends outdoor wedding, but luckily, it was an amazingly beautiful August day! No professional pics yet, so you’ll have to suffer through my personal snapshots, which don’t do this beautiful event justice!

Kelly+Zoltans’ wedding weekend started with setting up decor at the DANK Haus reception hall, a German heritage club in Benton Harbor. Kelly chose a beautiful palette of emerald green, fuschia and crystal accents. We worked with Kelly to create a simple and bright decor design, including green table runners, glass floating bowls filled with shells and pink mini gerbers, and swarovski scatter crystals.

Saturday morning I arrived at Shadowland Pavilion to meet the rental company for delivery of white wooden chairs for the 2:00 ceremony. We set up the 200 white chairs to face the river and lighthouse, with a beautiful scuplture acting as the backdrop for the altar area!

I also got the chance to meet up and chat with 3 clients that are getting married at Shadowland in 2009! If you’re getting married in an outdoor public location, you can learn a lot by stopping by to see your site in action (if you can do so without intruding on the event) which you can at Shadowland! It will give you ideas on setup, logistical issues that may arise (like where you need to place your chairs for shade!) and little issues that could arise (like leftover decorations and sidewalk chalk left from the ceremony the night before!) So if you’re tying the knot somewhere like Shadowland, head there and check it out, and you’ll be happy you did!

Q: can we ask for money?

Today I thought I’d answer some frequently asked questions about invitations, etiquette and gift requests!

Q: We would like money in lieu of gifts—is it okay to indicate this on the invitation?
A: You should never mention gifts in your invitations. While it’s perfectly fine to include registry information with shower invitaitons, your wedding invitations are not the place to include registry information, or outline any specific requests for gifts. My best advice is to spread the word via family and friends that you are in the market for cash instead of presents. Also, registering for fewer items will be a huge clue to guests! So if you’re looking for cash to fix up your new house (or buy one!) pass the word to you parents so they can answer any inquiries about gifts!

Q:Do we have to list our parents on our invitations?
A:This is completely up to you—but if your parents are contributing to the cost of your wedding, my best advice is to ask them! Some parents will be fine with throwing the old-time traditions to the wind—while some may be surprisingly offended by being left out! Sit down and discuss it with your parents so that you’ll all be happy!

Q: How many stores do I need to register at?
A: There is no magic number here, but a good rule of thumb is to make sure you offer options that will appeal to all of your guests! If you’ve got guests coming from different areas of the country, make sure you’re not excluding your relatives in the South by choosing a retailer that only services the midwest! If you’ve got a favorite regional retailer, make sure you also include a national chain, or another retailer that will appeal to other regions! And, more importantly than where you register, make sure you register for a variety of items in a variety of price ranges to meet all of your guests’ shopping needs (and yours! You’ll be surprised how handy those tiny kitchen gadgets can be!)

If you’ve got wedding-related questions you’d like to see answered, feel free to email us at info {at} Stellaeventdesign {dot} com. We’d love to hear from you!

welcome mary beth!

It’s the big announcement we’ve all been waiting for! Well, I’ve been waiting for it, and I am so excited to welcome our 2009 Event Assistant, Beth George! Beth will be assisting with our full-service 2009 weddings along the lake shore and I am so excited to have her join Stella Event Design. She’s dynamic, energetic and so driven, and she will be one more way we offer our clients amazing service on their special day!

Beth is a Southwest Michigan native, and currently lives in Grand Rapids. She’ll be working with us to assist with events from New Buffalo to Grand Haven, and will also be a great point-of-contact and resource for our brides further North along the lake shore! Here’s a quick Q+A to get to know her!

What is your favorite aspect of weddings?
I find that what I become most excited about when attending weddings is how all of the aspects of the wedding are brought together through the use of color, shapes, accents, style, etc.  I am a very visual person and I am constantly looking for individuality from wedding to wedding.  However, just being able to be a part of such a extraordinary event is always very special to me.

What are your favorite wedding websites or blogs?
When I was engaged I found that The Knot was a great site to get information and ideas.  It also sent me reminders about things when I was preparing for my own wedding which would just enhance my excitement for my special day! is a new site to me, but I enjoyed the wedding tips and cake blog!  However, it wasn’t until I visited the Stella Event Design website that I experienced wedding blogs and realized how helpful they truly were! (Sidenote from Jessica: I swear I didn’t bribe her! Thanks for the love, and soon you’ll be addicted to so many more wonderful wedding blogs! )

What are you most excited about for 2009 wedding season?
I am so looking forward to meeting new brides and partnering with them to make their wedding day memorable.  I believe there are few pivotal moments in a person’s life, one of them being the day that they marry their best friend.  I look forward to being able to offer my skills and abilities to the families who I will be working with in 2009.  Personally, I am just excited for the season in general.  Weddings are a special time when friends and family have an opportunity to come together and enjoy each other!  This will be a tremendous thing for me to experience people in their true element!

If you could have a whole wedding cake (just for you) what is your dream flavor?
As much as I would like to seem as if I have somewhat expensive taste, for me it doesn’t get much better than a store bought confetti cake with white frosting!  Although, I had a wonderful 4 layer cake at my wedding and I did enjoy the strawberry flavor!

Beth will be assisting with the remainder of our 2008 weddings and will be coming on full-time in 2009! I am so excited to have her join Stella Event Design—Welcome Beth!

a wonderful week

Photography Week is officially over! Thanks to our photographers who took time out of their busy schedules (during wedding season!) to answer the Q+A’s and get me their pictures—you guys are wonderful!

Don’t forget to check out their websites and blogs!

LVL Photography     Website   Blog
Ben Pancoast Photography    Website   Blog
Monika Photo    Website   Blog

We’ve got a lot of fun posts planned for next week (including an exciting announcement!) so stay tuned!

southwest michigan wedding photographer:: monika photo

(click to enlarge)

This lovely 08.08.08 wedding took place on the beaches of Beverly Shores near Michigan City. I love the natural beauty of the location, and how it’s captured in such naturally beautiful photos! Beach weddings are some of my favorites, and they always have such a wonderfully relaxed mood about them! So check out these lovely photos, and for lots more head over to Monika’s website and blog. She shoots lots of beautiful outdoor weddings, so you’ll find a wealth of beautiful locations to browse through!

Southwest Michigan Wedding Photographer::MONIKA PHOTO

There are so many great vendors out there, and it would take me a lifetime to meet them all if I waited until the first time I got to work with them! When I started to reach out to local vendors in the area to get to know those I hadn’t worked with, Monika was one of the first to respond and was willing to meet me for lunch and “talk weddings.” So here is a little Q+A so you, too, can get to know Monika Caban of St. Josephs’ MONIKA PHOTO!

How did you get into Photography?
I was born into a photographer’s family, and the gift of art was always part of my life. I was sketching from a young age and began learning photography when I was old enough to understand the camera. My family traveled extensively in Europe and documenting our trips was always a joy for me. From the beautiful scenery of the Mediterranean, to the grand architecture of Italy, there was so much to admire and to capture. I was deeply influenced by all of the beauty I saw when I was young and there was nothing I wanted more than to be a photographer.

What inspires your photography?
As a photographer, there is a constant need to learn from the old masters, as well as the great photographers of today. One of the joys for me is to attend seminars and conventions to see the new advances in technology, to meet new photographers, learn from them and to be inspired. Photography today is changing very fast, and it’s very exciting and demanding at the same time. It is a challenge that keeps my mind sharp.

How would you describe your style?
As far as style, I do not describe my work in words. Photographs should speak for themselves. If my work touches somebody on a deeper level, then you can say they like my style. I can tell you how I approach the wedding—I like to approach it as an unobtrusive observer, and the only time I direct the shoot is during the portraits.

What is your favorite moment during a wedding? Do you have a favorite image to capture?
The time between the ceremony and the reception, when a young couple is alone for the first time as husband and wife is my favorite time of the wedding. It is a very emotional moment and very private. These are the memorable moments when love and passion is expressed. From these images I create an art piece that looks amazing as a large canvas print. What is better than having your own wedding image as a piece of art on your wall, to always remind you of the love you share?

I do my best work when people are comfortable with me, trust me and are free to express their emotions. I do not want the wedding to be about pictures—I want pictures to document the event. I want the family to celebrate this big day and have the best party of their lives. I want to see laughter, hugs, kisses and tears—and when they see my pictures, I want them to cry again.

Thanks Monika! For more pictures of this lovely wedding and more, check out the MONIKA PHOTO website blog! Come back later today for Monika’s featured wedding on the beaches of Beverly Shores in Michigan City!

photography resource: wedfog

I first heard about WedFog when Monika Caban, a photographer here in St. Joseph had mentioned she was writing an article for the website.  I was intrigued and had to check it out! WedFog is an online resource where you can search for local photographers, look through pictures (categorized, which is great!) and read articles written by Photographers from around the country!

(Top L:Cindy Patrick, R:Danseni Studios, Bottom L:Happily Ever After, R:Dual Shot)

I looked through some pictures, and used the handy search option where I chose to look through only “beach” pictures—ahd here are just a few (of the hundreds) that came up!

Each picture has its photographers info, including a website link, so if you see something you like you can check them out! And, I just had to post this next picture. It’s another one that came up under my “beach” search, and I couldn’t stop looking at it! What is that deer doing on the beach—and why is she letting it eat her bouquet?! She doesn’t look too upset, so she must have gotten a great deal on her flowers! Stay tuned tomorrow for our next featured local photographer, MONIKA PHOTO!

(Bob Summers)

christmas in july

I’m a mail fanatic (as in, I practically run to the mailbox, and I skip back to the house when I get something “good”). By good, I mean anything not a bill, not junk, and DEFINITELY wedding related! Yesterday was like Christmas for me! I got 3 fabulous packages, c/o 3 fabulous ladies!

The first, was a cd of pictures from the wedding of Claire+Chris, courtesy of the always fabulous Leda of LVL Photography. I can’t say enough good things about working with her in May, and she has been such a sweet heart in passing along pictures for this blog! Thanks Leda!

The second package was a cd of pictures from Kelly of Kelly Powers Photography. A month or so ago, she was nice enough to meet me in St. Joe to get to know each other, talk weddings, and we squeezed in a little photo shoot! I am usually not a fan of getting my picture taken, but Kelly made me feel completely comfortable, and I felt like a celebrity getting my picture taken all over downtown St. Joe.

This is one of my favorites—taken outside the Chocolate Cafe, which I refer to as my “corporate headquarters,” since this is my favorite place to meet new and old clients! Many a wedding has been planned over a bowl of soup and a good hot chocolate at the Chocolate Cafe! (and of course, that’s where Kelly and I met up, too!) Thanks Kelly, it was such a pleasure meeting you, and I’m looking forward to our wedding together in September!

Lastly, I received my first of 3 books I recently ordered, thanks to the wonderful suggestion of Liene of The Smart Planner and Blue Orchid Designs. If you’re involved with weddings, you simply have to stop over at The Smart Planner for all of Liene’s wonderful advice, articles, and book recommendations for small business owners! So thanks to Liene for the suggestion, and thanks to Amazon for the speedy delivery!

chapel envy

I’ve got serious chapel envy over the amazing Leaf Chapel in Japan, designed by Klein Dytham. How people even dream up such amazing pieces of modern architecture astounds me!

The chapel is formed from 2 separate pieces, meant to look like leaves that have fallen from the sky and gently landed on the ground. Even the supports of the structure emulate the veins of a leaf, becoming thinner as they run away from the stem. The retractable cover of the chapel is perforated with over 4000 holes, to resemble the pattern of a brides veil! Each of these tiny holes has a lens attached, and light filters through to create a beautiful lace pattern. As the groom lifts the bride’s veil, the lacey top retracts, to reveal the beautiful pond and scenery outside! Just beautiful.

pretty in {orange and pink}

What a fabulous color combo! It reminds me of orange and raspberry sherbet (delicious)! We’re assisting Tracy+David with their Friday wedding as we create a beautiful pink+orange design concept…I absolutely can’t wait to see how it all pulls together! Here’s a little sneak peek at some of the design elements!