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real wedding sneak peek::a southwest michigan beach wedding

It’s hard to believe that it’s already July…and it’s also hard to believe we’ve planned 7 weddings in the last 2 months, and have yet to blog about any of them! We’ve been patiently waiting for a sneak peek of some of the photos (because let’s face it, we love to share beautiful photos to show off beautiful weddings), and now that they’re starting to roll in from the fabulous photographers we’ve had the pleasure of working with, we’ll be posting “sneak peeks” from some of our May & June weddings this week. I’m so excited to share some of the details of these fabulous events!

First up, is a lovely beach wedding photographed by Haylee Dixon Photography. Jenny+Spencer had a beautiful ceremony on Lake Michigan on June 19th, and we had the privilege of providing day-of coordination services to help them to relax and enjoy their wedding day.


An evening affair:: Jenny+Spencer changed things up by opting for an evening ceremony on the beach, and I have to say I love the beach in the evening—the beach empties out around dinnertime and with cooler temps, it’s more comfortable for guests! The ceremony was followed by a reception of delicious h’ors doeuvres and dancing at the Heritage Center.

Stella Event Design services:: Day-of Coordination

Coordinated by:: Mary Beth George

real wedding::katy+ken at the basilica of the sacred heart at notre dame

In August, we coordinated the lovely wedding of Katy+Ken, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame. The ceremony was held at the beautiful basilica at Notre Dame, and if you’ve never seen it before, the basilica (and the whole campus) is absolutely beautiful. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I think rainy wedding days can be just as good as the bright and sunny days—I think umbrellas can add a really fun accessory to pictures, especially if you’ve got some big ones to cover your group. Ben and Dan had it covered with some great umbrellas to keep the bridal party dry and happy!

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The reception was held at the Heritage Center in St. Joseph, and one of my favorite parts of the night was the couples creative changes to the traditional bouquet+garter toss. Katy threw her bouquet off of the balcony, which is always fun, and Ken switched things up by serenading Katy in lieu of a garter toss, and he did a fantastic job singing along with the Matt Reed Band (who were rocking the whole night, they were amazing!)

Photos by Ben Pancoast Photography


  • Megan+Greg at Mill Creek Barns in Watervliet, Southwest Michigan
  • Lisa+Bart at the Blue Dress Barn in Millburg, Southwest Michigan
  • Yana+Brannon at Shadowland Pavilion and The Heritage Center in St. Joseph, Michigan
  • Kate+Mitch at Shadowland Pavilion and The Heritage Center in St. Joseph, Michigan
  • Stefanie+Jim at Santaniello’s and Weko Beach in Bridgman, Michigan

real wedding::a southwest michigan wedding at shadowland pavilion and the heritage center

Yana+Brannon were married at Shadowland Pavilion in St. Joseph on Sunday, June 27th with a reception following at the Heritage Center. We started planning this wedding about 8 months ago, and right from the start they knew they wanted to make this an entire weekend their guests could enjoy, since they were all coming in from out of town. The weekend festivities started on Saturday with a “day at the beach” for friends and family, complete with wave runners & refreshments. Guests were then invited to enjoy dinner on the rooftop patios & lounge at Port 412 downtown.




On Sunday morning the atmosphere was created, draping the pavilion with hundreds of yards of bright pink fabric, and filling the area with orchids. I absolutely love the look of a chuppah, and this one is one of my all-time favorites! Guests were shuttled to the ceremony site and greeted with glasses of sparkling champagne with raspberries. A string quartet announced the brides processional and after a jewish reformed ceremony, guests proceeded to cocktail hour at the Heritage Center. I absolutely love the way the Heritage Center turned out—-chocolate and cerise linens, submerged orchid centerpieces, a vodka ice luge, and pink uplighting on all of the walls. Chocolate martini’s and grapefruit kiss martinis (pink and brown) were served during cocktail hour. Even the food  followed the color scheme with salmon gateau and shrimp cocktail among the appetizers. A delicious meal was served by the Bistro while the band, Me & The Boys, fired up the dinner music! This is the second time I’ve worked with Me & The Boys and they do an absolutely phenomenal job!

The night was full of Jewish & Russian traditions, and you could tell how excited this couples family and friends all were to be together and celebrating with Yana+Brannon, it was truly a joy-filled celebration! Thank you so much to Yana+Brannon for allowing our team to be a part of your big day, and I hope you’re enjoying your honeymoon in Greece!

*All of the beautiful photos are courtesy of the lovely Cindy Corstange of The Open Shutter! You can check out more pictures at Cindy’s blog post!


  • Megan+Greg at Mill Creek Barns in Watervliet, Southwest Michigan
  • Lisa+Bart at the Blue Dress Barn in Millburg, Southwest Michigan
  • Jess+Bryan‘s beach wedding at The Veranda at the Whitcomb in St. Joseph, Michigan
  • Kate+Mitch at Shadowland Pavilion and The Heritage Center in St. Joseph, Michigan
  • Stefanie+Jim at Santaniello’s and Weko Beach in Bridgman, Michigan

real wedding:: kate+mitch at shadowland pavilion on silver beach


What can I say, this was a fun wedding! Kate+Mitch booked our day of & design services almost 18 months ago, so I’ve had a lot of time to get to know this awesome couple and their family, which makes a wedding all the more special to be a part of. Kate chose an elegant color palette of sage & brown and incorporated small details throughout every aspect of the ceremony and reception. The ceremony was held at Shadowland Pavilion on Silver Beach and the decorations there were simple and clean with white chairs, an arch made by the groom, and a small aisle formed by tin buckets of hydrangeas. Guests were provided with cold water for the hot day, and their programs were fans which is always appreciated by guests at an outdoor ceremony!


Kate and her mom ordered bulk flowers of hydrangeas, hypericum berries and lemon leaves and we created simple centerpieces for all of the tables which were accented by small damask overlays in brown and sage. I love doing floral arrangements when we get the chance, and we’ve gotten to do several weddings this summer so far! The bouquets for the gals were created by Beikmann Associates and they were absolutely beautiful! Kate & Mitch offered Mojitos as their signature drink and used the lime theme in several other places including 2 large glass vases of limes at the bar, and limes used to display their escort cards! The beautiful wedding cake was created by Dee’s Specialty Cakes, and it was delicious as always! Dee’s also created the sailing inspired groom’s cake (I especially liked the sign Kate made to go next to it that said, “Mitch, will you be my first mate?” Too cute). Each table was named after a landmark location in Chicago that was special to the couple, and table numbers had a picture of each location. They also incorporated their love for the windy city (where they both live) by capping off the night to “Sweet Home Chicago.”


Throughout the day, beautiful moments were captured by Jen of JK Photography and her 2nd shooter, Dustin Francis. To see all of the amazing pictures from the day, check out Jen’s blog! She’s always got fabulous eye candy to check out, so if you haven’t tied the knot yet, it’s a great place for inspiration!

The  dance floor was packed all night and everyone kept dancing thanks to the band, Drop35. They did a wonderful job of keeping guests on the dance floor, and the whole place was packed right until midnight! At the end of the night we passed out sparklers so that guests could light their way out! Kate & Mitch, thank you so much for letting us be a part of your day, and for being so much fun to work with—have a great time on your honeymoon in Florida!


  • Megan+Greg at Mill Creek Barns in Watervliet, Southwest Michigan
  • Lisa+Bart at the Blue Dress Barn in Millburg, Southwest Michigan
  • Jess+Bryan‘s beach wedding at The Veranda at the Whitcomb in St. Joseph, Michigan
  • Yana+Brannon at Shadowland Pavilion and The Heritage Center in St. Joseph, Michigan
  • Stefanie+Jim at Santaniello’s and Weko Beach in Bridgman, Michigan

real wedding::mitch+kate at the heritage center & shadowland pavilion


Here’s just a quick sneak peek at the fabulous wedding of Mitch+Kate on Saturday! This couple is just too sweet (and fun) and I have way too much to say about this wedding, so that needs to be a whole post of its own! Look for a photo preview soon from Jen at JK Photography and stay tuned tomorrow for all of the details on their sage and brown wedding with so many amazing details and personal touches—loved it!

Check out the full post on their wedding details & pics here!

*photos by JK Photography

real wedding::a sneak peek of yana+brannon at the heritage center

Sunday we got to work with a great group of vendors to pull together Yana & Brannon’s wedding in St. Joseph! This is one of 5 full service weddings this summer and we’ve been working with them since October to put together a chic & swanky event for them! While we wait for the pro pics from the awesome Cindy Corstange of The Open Shutter, here is a sneak peek of the reception (tables are pre-centerpieces!) None of my ceremony pics did the beautiful venue justice, so I’ll wait for pro pics to show that one off & we’ll share all of the details of the day!


(all photos by Intern Brittany, Stella Event Design)


Full Service Event Planning::Stella Event Design

Ceremony::Shadowland Pavilion, St. Joseph

Reception::The Heritage, St. Joseph

Photography::The Open Shutter (Cindy Corstange)

Videography::Captured Productions

Catering::Bistro at the Boulevard, St. Joseph

Bar Service::With A Twist (Sue Luther)

Ceremony draping, Custom lighting & Linens::MichaelAngelo’s

Band::Me & The Boys

Stationery::La Stellina Studio (Tara Berghuis), Grand Rapids


the perfect venue for your 2010 wedding in southwest michigan


I love that Southwest Michigan has some amazing wedding venues. From barns to vineyards to elegant historical buildings, the lake shore area has a lot to offer to brides looking to plan an amazing Michigan wedding. However, just a word to the wise that these venues fill up fast. If you’re a 2010 bride, now is the time to secure that dream venue! So get out there, make some visits, and find that special place that will make your wedding day everything you’ve hoped for!

If you need some help finding your perfect Michigan wedding venue, feel free to contact us, we love to help brides and grooms find wedding location in St. Joseph, New Buffalo, Saugatuck, South Haven, Holland, Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Muskegon, Leeland, and beyond!

**Blue Dress Barn Photo By Monika Caban Photo, Heritage Center by Stella Event Design, Veranda @ The Whitcomb by Zdanis Photography, MillCreek by Stella Event Design

sw michigan wedding venue::the heritage center


(All Photos by Stella Event Design)

The Heritage Center (not so long ago, known as the Priscilla U. Byrns Heritage Center) is on Main Street in downtown St. Joseph. If you’re looking for an elegant venue, its greek revival architecture offers beautiful floor-to-ceiling columns (both inside and out) as well as a 2nd story balcony, chandeliers, beautiful murals, and huge windows. I may be a bit biased since I had my own wedding here, but this is a gorgeous location for a mid-size wedding!

Shepherd Hall, the main ball room, can comfortably sit 220 guests banquet style. I’ve seen it set up for many weddings, from 50 guests up, and this is the maximum I would suggest to leave ample room for a dance floor! (optimal space would be at 160-200 guests!)

The Heritage allows outside catering, as well as bringing in your own bartenders and beverages. It’s within walking distance of the downtown shops, restaurants, and the lovely Boulevard Inn overlooking Lake Michigan.

Joyce, the events director is extremely helpful, and is available most weekdays from 9-4 to answer your questions! The building is also open Saturdays 9-12 and Sundays 12-4 throughout the summer and fall to stop in and check it out! If you’re stopping by on Saturday I’d suggest stopping in before 11:00–the rooms will be set up, but you can avoid any run-ins with the wedding itself!