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a venue tour & photo shoot at hidden vineyard wedding barn

How time flies! Back in October we were invited out to Hidden Vineyard Wedding Barn in Berrien Springs to set up a Spring-inspired wedding shoot. We’ve been to the venue a few times to finish and we’re happy to get to share a little tour of the space and let you have a peak at what it has to offer. Plus, we have some pretty eye candy, so be sure to read on to the photo shoot at the bottom! Lovely photos by the very talented Ben Pancoast Photography, who is always so much fun to work with, even when we’re wrapping up a shoot at 11pm!

So let’s start with a little virtual tour of the exterior: The back of the property features picturesque scenery that includes a giant pond and views of the rolling country side and vineyards. The balcony at the back has great views and your ceremony could be hosted in the back of the barn, or under their beautiful old Catalpa tree that sits on one side of the barn. Lots of space and lots of options!
2014-01-08_0001 They did a great job with the interior of this venue. The upper level features the main entertainment space…the guest areas, restrooms and catering prep room. The lower level features a lounge area, brides room, grooms area, and another set of restrooms. (Clockwise  below: brides room, mirror collection in the brides room, lounge area that sits outside of the bridal room, upstairs women’s restroom, and the grooms area)
2014-01-08_0002The main area of the barn fits about 150 comfortable, and the covered deck area can be used for additional seating if you like. We did several layouts for our shoot, utilizing a mixture of long and round tables, which I think works really nicely in this space. Hidden Vineyard Wedding Barn does not have in-house vendors, so you have the flexibility of bringing in your own catering, bar service, alcohol, etc, which is always nice. Beloe (upper left) you’ll see the view from the barn out onto the deck that overlooks the property. There is a lot of room for a cocktail hour on the deck, or in the yard just below the deck!
2014-01-08_0003Now moving on to the pretty stuff. We picked this pretty blue that pops alongside the wood of the barn, accented with a pale yellow napkin, threw in some of our brick brown rattan chargers and used a fun and textural mix of flowers including: hydrangea, astilbe, scabiosa pods, freesia, succulents, roses, snapdragons, tulips, craspedia, ranunculus and Queen Anne’s Lace.


The lovely cake was provided by C’est La Vie Cakes, who are always such a pleasure to work with! We shot in the evening, during the same time that weddings usually take place and wrapped up around 11:00 when they usually end, so I’ll leave you with a night shot of the barn as we welcome one of Southwest Michigan’s newest wedding venues onto the scene. Thanks for inviting us out to design your pretty space!
The Team
Venue: Hidden Vineyard Wedding Barn
Photography: Ben Pancoast
Design & Floral: Stella Event Design
Cake: C’est La Vie Cakes
Linens & Rattan Chargers: Stella Event Design
Place Settings: CK Catering

real wedding :: a sweet tented wedding in south haven

Kristen is one of those people who just exudes happiness, and constantly has a giant smile on her face. I was lucky enough to spend an entire day with her early in our planning, driving all over the county, looking at beach properties, resorts and barns, to find the perfect location for her intimate wedding. She wanted the entire weekend to be relaxed, fun, and centered around spending as much time with their family and friends as possible. To achieve this, she couldn’t have chosen a better location—Kristen & Jason hosted their wedding at Sun ‘n Sand Resort in South Haven, which allowed every one of their guests to stay on site, and be a part of the entire weekends activities, from a welcome dinner & bonfire, to the day after brunch.

south haven wedding


The ceremony took place on the grounds, with the aisle lined in vintage sap buckets filled with mounds of baby’s breath, and a canopy swagged in simple burlap. The kids were some of the cutest I’ve seen, with my very favorite being the “flag bearer” in his adorable seer sucker suit–helped here by one of the flower girls who took a liking to the flag over her flowers.


The reception was tented next to the properties pond, looking out over an expansive yard and fields. Each table was different, and I especially loved the runners on the tables, which were made from fabric collected by the bride–every one was different, and was perfectly paired with centerpieces that were composed of mixed milk glass vases & votives, vintage milk bottles (embossed with the grooms last name, Spriggs!) and an assortment of blue, white and yellow blooms. The table numbers were hand made by the bride!
sizelove7Guests were called to dinner by the sounds of a bagpiper, and during the reception guests enjoyed a traditional pig roast provided by CK Catering, a lemonade stand, and the eclectic sounds of The Michaels, a fun musical duo that played a little bit of everything! Kristen & Jason, thank you again for letting us be a part of your special day—we were so thrilled to be able to witness your beautiful wedding day, filled with love, family & fun!

Thanks to our friends at 430Studios for the lovely Photos!

photo shoot :: a nautical-inspired wedding tablescape

Way back in June—when wedding season was in full swing and life was much to busy to blog anything—we participated in the InFrame Bride Magazine tablescape photo shoot challenge, where 5 Michigan wedding planners are asked to design their version of a given tablescape theme. It’s not a competition, just a chance for all of us to show some unique ideas, and our personal approach to our theme! The overall theme was “the seasons” and being on the lake shore, we chose Summer so that we could show off beautiful Lake Michigan! We can design our tables absolutely any way we like, so photo shoots like this are always more difficult to design than weddings, because we have SO many choices…there’s no bride to keep in mind, and we’re not designing it to reflect someones personality, so the sky really is the limit on what approach we take with these photo shoot designs!
michigan beach wedding inframe bride magazineFor our design, we decided to take a unique approach to a “nautical-theme”…while avoid the usual nautical look of stripes, navy, and anchors everywhere. Our vision for this table was having it look as though it were recovered from a ship wreck, without being kitchy or themey. A romantic table that looked fitting right along the lake, with nods to items you’d find from an old washed up ship wreck….woods, metals, lots of organic and earthy materials, and of course little nautical details such as the ship wheel, chest, glass baubles, fishnet and rope. More than anything, we wanted it to feel romantic, like you’d just LOVE to sit at this table on a romantic summer night.

michigan beach wedding inframe bride magazine table setting

michigan beach wedding inframe bride magazinemichigan beach wedding inframe bride magazine cake sign The fun thing about photo shoots is that you can create your table anywhere, using anything. You don’t have to worry about the practicality of replicating your table 20+ times for a 150 person wedding, or if someone could actually eat a meal at your table, teetering atop a sand dune. So yes, you guessed it, we hauled our table, our cake, 10 lb (not joking) linen, and every other detail up and over dunes, to get it to our ideal spot over looking Lake Michigan and the light house. It was grueling and something I don’t hope to do again, but it was well worth it—who wouldn’t want this view from their sweetheart table! With so many vendors involved, we had to set the date for our shoot weeks in advance, and we were horrified to find it down pouring the entire day. It rained buckets up until about 30 minutes prior to our shoot, and started raining again about 30 minutes after finishing! While we did have a backup location, we were SO thankful we got to truly create our dream shoot in the ideal spot— right out on the beach!
michigan beach wedding inframe bride magazine table A ton of amazing vendors made this possible, and helped bring our vision to life. A huge thank you to Ben+Mindy From Studio 6.23 for shooting this for us, and being so much fun to work with! Jennifer Ederer and her team at Modern Day Floral were tasked with bringing our floral dreams to life, and like always, they nailed it with this one! The gorgeous water-inspired cake with it’s soft gradient of dark to light was provided by the very talented Dee Appelman of Dee’s Specialty Cakes and that adorable custom sign was created by Steffany Segar of Steff’s Shabby Signs! We also have to give a huge thank you to 2011 intern Kayla Weems, who helped dream up this design, had her hand in some of the hand-made details, and assisted me in setting up this crazy table! This went to print in the 2011/2012 issue of InFrame Bride Magazine, so if you see the magazine, be sure to pick it up—there’s a ton of amazing photos to check out and lots of inspiration!

All photos by Studio 6.23

real wedding :: video :: a fall wedding at the veranda at the whitcomb

Laura and Joe tied the knot in October, on a beautiful fall day in Southwest Michigan. I (Jessica) designed their wedding, and Brittany coordinated it…I’ve been so excited to see the photos and video of their special day! The ceremony took place at St. Johns Catholic Parish with a reception at The Veranda at the Whitcomb in downtown St. Joseph. They had a gorgeous fall color palette of oranges, reds and yellows, with a pop of plum. We’ll post more about details later, but here is a fabulous video sneak peek from Jason at Highway 61 Films:

Joseph + Laura Wedding Trailer from Highway 61 Films – Jason Monroe on Vimeo.

real wedding::kate+kyles diy michigan farm wedding

Kate+Kyle’s wedding may have been one of the most hand-crafted affairs we’ve seen all summer. From the beautiful floral arrangements to the hand-lettered chalkboards to the fresh-made blueberry mint lemonade, this lovely bride had her hands in just about every detail of her beautiful Michigan wedding! The adorable hand-painted wooden cake topper…made by the bride! The delicious jars of jam given to guests…she made those, too! Even all of the ceremony flowers were lovingly arranged by the bride and her mother.
Kate+Kyles gorgeous wedding day took place at a friends farm in Three Oaks, Michigan, just outside of Harbor Country, which is an absolutely gorgeous area for a wedding!  Guests arrived and were greeted with homemade blueberry mint lemonade (delicious!) and the couple tied the knot on the lawn, with cocktail hour following in the barn. The bride and her bridesmaids carried adorable paper bouquets that were just adorable (etsy of course). Between the ceremony and the reception guests snapped polaroids of one another and used them to create a guest book for the couple.  The event was casual and intimate with open-seating (check out the adorable sign below) and a delicious tapas-style meal, provided by Cravings Catering in Southwest Michigan.

The delicious cupcakes were crafted by Froehlich’s bakery in Three Oaks and dancing went on for hours thanks to DJ John Correll! Kate+Kyle, we had an amazing time helping you bring together all of your gorgeous details—thank you for letting us be part of your special day and we wish you many more beautiful days to come!

Lovely photos by Belle & Beau

real wedding::tanya+jason’s st. joseph beach wedding

This summer was filled with beach ceremonies for us—ceremonies on the waters of Lake Michigan are some of our favorites and always some of the most beautiful!  One of those beautiful beach ceremonies was planned for Tanya+Jason on July 6th. They tied the knot right by the water, surrounded by their closest friends and family. Tanya+Jason planned their wedding in just a few months from out of state, and we helped them pull together everything they needed for their beach wedding ceremony—an officiant,  fantastic guitarist, photographer, bridal bouquet & ceremony decor, rentals, a trolley and a nearby restaurant for an intimate dinner reception after wards. They could not have asked for a more beautiful day for a Lake Michigan wedding, and we couldn’t have asked for a nicer couple to work with!

I think my very favorite thing about this wedding was the fact that despite threats of rain, we made it through the ceremony without a drop. Tanya walked through the dunes down on to the beach, said I Do, wandered the beach (and pier) for photos and just as they hopped back onto the trolley, the skies opened up.  The shot above was just before the storm rolled in.  We couldn’t have asked for more perfect timing!

Photography by Southwest Michigan wedding photographer Ben Pancoast

real wedding sneak peek::lisa+justin

Last Saturday, we had the pleasure of seeing another of our full-service weddings come to fruition this summer as we watched Justin+Lisa tied the knot in St. Joseph! Lisa had a beautiful and unique vision, and I was so happy with how it all turned out! Like many couples we work with, Lisa+Justin originally contemplated having a destination wedding in Mexico, but wanted to be surrounded by many of their family and friends who would not be able to travel, so opted to have their destination wedding in Southwest Michigan!

From the beautiful coral garden roses and pearlized shell napkin rings (hand crafted by the bride) to the oversized paper lanterns, elegant silver chiavari chairs and gorgeous La Tavola linens, I loved how this wedding reflected the brides Caribbean beach-chic syle.


Due to scattered showers, we moved the beach ceremony inside to the Krasl Art Center, which was stunning with a mahogany chuppah draped in white fabric and a gorgeous orchid & crystal chandelier by Beikmann Associates Floral! At the reception, Drop35 kept people dancing all night long as guests enjoyed the beautiful evening weather at the Veranda at the Whitcomb—an open-air, lake-view venue in downtown St. Joseph!

pappas_ collage 2

All of these gorgeous photos were captured by St. Joseph wedding photographer Ben Pancoast. We had a stellar group of vendos working on this wedding and also have to say thank you to CK Catering, ‘Lil Fox bartending, Davone Simon (cake), Pro Show lighting and All Star Productions video!

Lisa+Justin, thank you for letting us help you plan a beautiful destination wedding in SW Michigan and many wishes for years and years of happiness!

real wedding::caitlin+nathan tie the knot in st. joseph

Back in March, we were contacted by BRIDES magazine to share our ideas on planning an intimate and unique wedding reception hosted at an art gallery, on a budget of $10,000. It was a lot of fun to brainstorm and design, as we’d never planned a wedding in an art gallery! Then, of all things, a few months after we turned in our ideas to the magazine (and just before the story actually came out) we were approached by a fun & funky couple, who wanted to plan an intimate wedding reception at our local Krasl Art Gallery! Enter Caitlin+Nate and their fun and fabulous wedding 4th of July weekend…

All of their lovely photos were captured by Genevieve McKeiver Photogaphy, and you can visit her blog to see many more!


real wedding::50’s inspired garden party at mill creek barns (part 2)

Megan+ Will’s beautiful wood rings were made by a Chicago artisan, and Megan’s was set with Moissanite, a diamond alternative. After learning that Megan & Will had spent 2 years in Africa, I wasn’t surprised that they had opted for a conflict-free diamond alternative. You can also find eco-friendly conflict-free rings at!

When Megan and I met for her first consultation she told me that she wanted her wedding to be more like a fun, family gathering than a traditional wedding reception. They wanted people to have time to enjoy and interact with one another, visit with them, and have a great time. So, after the ceremony, while the couple took photos around the beautiful property of Mill Creek Barns, we set out lawn games for the guests to enjoy: croquet, bocce ball, corn hole/bag toss and my favorite–super size Jenga! People enjoyed the games both before and after dinner and it was a fun way for everyone to enjoy the beautiful day! Giving guests a little extra entertainment during cocktail hour also allowed them to enjoy their photos without worrying about getting back too quickly! After a delicious meal by CK Catering, a beautiful (and yummy) cake by Cocoa Bean, guests enjoyed dancing, a colorful candy bar, and at dusk, we fired up the bonfire for guests to enjoy some s’mores! All photos were captured by photographer Ben Pancoast!


real wedding::50’s inspired garden party at mill creek barns (part 1)

Megan+Will tied the knot on Sunday, June 27th at Mill Creek Barns. When we arrived to setup at noon we were quickly greeted by an onslaught of rain that lasted for at least an hour. But by the time the bride arrived, the groomsmen were getting dressed, and the final touches were getting put on, the skies cleared and gave way to a beautiful clear sky for their 3:00 ceremony! I love those kind of days!

Megan chose a 50’s garden party as the inspiration for her wedding design, and it was a great fit with the venue, and a fun change of pace from traditional wedding decor! The color combo of Red & Turquoise was just fabulous, and all of the little details she incorporated really tied the whole design together! When you choose to do something very stylistic for your wedding (such as an era-inspired wedding) you really have to go for it, and Megan went all out, from the clothing and flower choices to the accessories, centerpieces and fabrics, and it was stunning.

One thing that made this wedding so special was the fact that the bride and her family and friends were extremely involved in the planning, as well as the creation of many of the DIY Details. See all of the details of the DIY loveliness below!


The Dress::Megan bought her dress on Ebay and added her personal flair with some custom alterations. As you can see, it was absolutely beautiful and very unique.

The Flowers::Megan made a stop at A New Leaf in Chicago, before heading to Michigan, and created her bridesmaids bouquets out of vintage carnations, zinnias, hypericum berries and artichoke. Her bouquet was a beautiful combo of lambs ear, peonies and hydrangea.

Centerpieces:: The beautiful paper flowers were made by the brides mom and a slew of her friends recruited to help! They were placed in vintage soda bottles, and milk glass vases that Megan had collected, and we incorporated vintage broaches, necklaces and candy dishes amongst the tables!

Escort flags:: I loved these, and of course, they were hand-crafted by the bride! Very unique, colorful, and a perfect complement to the colorful candy buffet!

I’ll be honest, I pretty much loved everything about this wedding, and when it came down to sharing photos from Ben Pancoast Photography, it was hard to choose! So look for Part 2 later today!