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creative entertainment::dueling pianos


At a recent wedding I attended in the Grand Rapids area I was introduced to something I had never seen before at the reception. As we entered the reception area two pianos were set up facing each other. There was no DJ or even a band, but  instead the bride and groom opted for dueling pianos! At first I was a little skeptical, thinking to myself  ‘piano music all night? I don’t know…’, but after I listened for a while and realized how amazing the pianists were I completely changed my mind.

They played some great classic songs with some fast and some slow. On top of their impressive piano skills their vocal skills were amazing as well! They had everyone on their feet all night! Also, on certain numbers a few guests joined in, playing the drums, saxophone and even at one point a trumpet! It was such a creative and fun element of entertainment to have at the reception. If you’re thinking of a great way to liven up your wedding reception, I highly suggest a dueling piano musical experience. Check out local venues, bars, and restaurants for potential entertainment as well as online for local pianists and you (and your guests) will be glad you did!

Posted by: Kelsey (Event Assistant)

alternative guest book ideas


A guest book is a great way for family and friends to share best wishes with you and congratulate you on your special day.  Usually filled with quotes of wisdom, loving words, and fun stories about, having a guest book is a great way to remember those who shared the wonderful moments with you on your wedding day!

As I was looking through pictures of some past Stella weddings, I saw a photo of a frame with the couple’s photo and a pen provided for people to write on the mat around the couples engagement photo. It was such a cute way to have all the people’s loving words in one place and could easily be hung somewhere for everyone to see. This got me thinking about other possible ideas for alternatives to the  traditional guest book.

  • ceramic cups, bowls, plates or vases that can be signed by guests and then later used by the couple
  • individual cards and envelopes that guest could write private messages in and stick them in a decorated basket or box for them to read later
  • signing a bottle of wine that will be drank at the wedding in a silver pen to keep the memory of that night
  • having a blank paged book and having either a photo booth or a Polaroid camera for them to take a picture and then write something next to the picture like a scrapbook style guest book
  • creating a paint by numbers canvas and invite guests to each paint a small section creating a unique wedding memento
  • supplying an old type writer and having guests type lovely words and contact information on note cards

These are just some of many ideas that you can take into consideration when planning a fun and creative way for guests to give their love, share fun stories, or congratulate the bride and groom!

Photo Sources (clockwise from top left) 1, 2, 3, 4

Posted by::Kelsey (event assistant)

detail your hair


I love that brides are opting to ditch the traditional veil, and are choosing alternate pieces that reflect their style. You can still look chic and stylish and still look like a bride without the bulk of a veil. Opt for a decorative hair accessory that compliments your wedding style and location. These looks can range from vintage & classic to modern & chic.

There are many options for sprucing up your hair on your big day. You can use flowers–real or fake, big or small–for that extra bit of detail. Ribbon, feathers, headbands, and jewels or pearls can also do the trick. Simply pin these accents alongside a fabulous up-do to emphasize its shape. Display a dramatic flower over one ear for a more exotic and beachside look. A hair accent is the perfect option for a wedding on the lake, as the traditional veil can quickly turn into a picture nightmare when paired with a gust of wind!

Still one for tradition and not quite ready to ditch the veil all together? Simply add a modern twist. Couple your veil with an accessory—a great looking clip to attach the veil or small, enhanced bobby pins to hold your hair for a hint of pizazz. Bring a little color into your white wedding with a small pop of color through these accessories, or keep it monochromatic white for a more classic look.

Don’t feel like you are obligated to wear the standard veil—look into alternate hair accessories that really make your personality shine, and give you confidence in walking down that aisle with an amazing look!

Photo Source

Posted by:: Gina (event assistant)

find your something blue on etsy


If you’re in the market for your “something blue” for you or your bridesmaids, then there is no better place to find fun, unique, and handmade pieces than at the stores of etsy. Yes, I’m a huge etsy fan, I’ll admit it!  The thing I love most about etsy is that not only is there an abundance of beautiful items to browse through, but there are items for every style and every price range.

Remember, when it comes to your wedding, you will have many events leading up to your big day that will be special, and worthy of some memorable new outfits & accessories—engagement parties, showers, bachelorette parties, engagement photos…

I think the glass chickadee pendant (above center) would be absolutely perfect for a garden party style bridal shower, and I imagine it paired with a ruffled white sundress with some some strappy silver sandales. The necklace (far left) is bold and elegant—perfect for a rehearsal dinner or bachelorette outing! And if you’re looking for a simple yet personal gift for your bridesmaids, consider one of these monogrammed wax seal pendants (far right) available in a variety of colors!

vintage broaches & sating roses-$142, chickadee glass pendant-$32,  turquoise wax seal pendant-$30,

pretty and practical wedding photo props

For their July 2009 wedding, Jessica+Bryan knew they would have some older guests who would need to be shielded from the sun, should it be a hot day. And of course, it was!  Pretty white paper parasols were given to guests who needed some extra protection from the sun, while Jess+Bryan tied the knot on the shore of Lake Michigan, and after the ceremony, the bride put her own parasol to use during wedding photos! Not only did it keep some of the sun off of the couple as they visited local beaches for their post-ceremony photos, but it also made for a lovely prop!

All photos by Brookelyn Photography

faves of 09::incorporating personal photos into your wedding


In 2009 we had a lot of couples utilize their engagement pictures and personal photos to personalize their weddings! From engagement photos gracing their card box, to custom guest books filled with engagement shots, to table numbers accented by pictures of the couple—2009 couples used photos to share their love with their friends and family and add a fun and personal touch to their receptions. Such a simple thing, but I love it!

My favorite photo-op of 2009? For their May wedding at Mill Creek barns, Megan+Greg named each table after an “adventure” they went on together (ie. a vacation or trip), complete with a picture of the couple in that spot! It was pretty impressive considering there were 20+ tables at their reception….I don’t know that my husband and I could come up with 25 of our own vacation spots, let alone have an adorable picture of each!

Megan+Greg’s wedding at Mill Creek Barns in Southwest Michigan

Photos by Two Pair Photography

faves of 09::simple floral centerpieces

This time of year it’s always fun to look back at the last season and think about everything that happened, and all of the wedding trends we loved! Last year we blogged a “Faves of 08” series, and I loved reflecting on everything so much, that it’s going to be a yearly tradition on the blog—so welcome to “Faves of 09!” We’ll be recapping our favorites of 2009 over the next few weeks!

Simple Floral Centerpieces

This year we had a lot of brides that embraced simple and clean designs for their centerpieces. Some utilized a simple gathering of wildflowers, others used several large blooms such as hydrangea, and even a clustering of 3 different flowers can make a simple, stunning and affordable option for centerpieces.

A green wedding tip: Re-use your flowers! If you’re using flowers on your pews, put them in vases for your cocktail table, to dress up your gift table, or add them to your centerpieces.  Use left over altar arrangements to dress up the bar at your reception. You’ll get more bang for your buck and will lower your impact on the environment by using less stems!

Centerpiece Photos (L-R): Two Pair Photography, Ben Pancoast Photography, Kelly Powers Photography

finding inpiration for your wedding style


When brides come to their consultations armed with “inspiration,” I love it!  Because while a bride may say, “I want a simple, modern look,” that can mean a lot of different things to different people. One brides ‘simple’ chandelier is another brides gaudy nightmare. This weekend I met with a super fun 2010 bride who brought her own inspiration ammunition—but what I loved about it was that there wasn’t a single image from a wedding in her pile of pictures. She brought photos of paintings, pieces of art, fabrics, book covers and patterns. It all fit together perfectly and helped her to describe the “feeling” she hoped to create for her day. And I got it. I left her consultation feeling confident that I had a grasp on the very special style she hoped to reflect at her wedding.

While you may see “inspiration boards” everywhere covered in pictures of centerpieces, linens, color combos and dresses, remember that our wedding inspiration can come from anywhere! Whether it be wedding pictures, a piece of art, an amazing swatch of fabric or the lyrics to a song—use whatever you can, to develop a clear vision for your wedding style!

photo sources: antique books, letter, veil, painting, plates

wedding details::diy napkins

DIY-wedding-napkinsMany brides struggle with how to “dress up” their guest tables, especially if specialty linens aren’t in their budget. Creating fun & colorful napkins can be a great way to add a splash of color to your table, and add a very custom look! Just make a trip to your local craft store or fabric store, pick out the perfect fabrics for your color palette, and get to cutting. You can finish your napkins in 1 of 2 ways—-cut a 3/4 inch “notch” in the corner of each square and hem them, or use pinking shears to “finish” the edges. Personally, I think if you have more than 50 guests, I would opt to use pinking shears, just to save my sanity!

We had a lovely September bride who created her own napkins in different graphic prints of purple and green and they were such an amazing accent to her tables! And your DIY cloth projects don’t have to stop at napkins—check out the DIY linen (top right) a bride created for her cake table! If you can hem an edge, you have endless possibilities to make your own napkins, runners, table clothes or overlays!

Photo sources: left, center, right

beautiful handcrafted details for your wedding


I love these adorable shabby chic wooden signs from Etsy seller My Primitive Boutique. I would love to see the name plaques  (left) hung from gorgeous metal hooks on an antiqued wood board to be presented as escort cards. And the wedding signs (right) are the perfect touch if you’re having an outdoor wedding or your venue is off the beaten path. We often put signs like this out for beautiful country weddings at Mill Creek Barns or The Blue Dress Barn—trust me, your guests will definitely appreciate being pointed in the right direction!

If you’re hoping to add some fun and unique touches to your wedding, Etsy is a must-visit site. With a plethora of talented artisans on-hand, it offers everything from fun & modern details to shabby chic accents for your wedding!