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real wedding sneak peek::tessa+brian’s saugatuck wedding


Last Saturday we had our first wedding in lovely Saugatuck, and Tessa+Brian couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous day for a beach wedding! They shared an intimate ceremony on Oval Beach with family and friends before heading over to Restaurant Toulouse in downtown Saugatuck where tables were covered in lovely royal blue satin linens and covered in lush centerpieces of pale blue hydrangeas and yellow mini callas, and warm candlelight!

A jazz quartet played throughout the night, and wait til you see the cake—it is one of my all-time favorites and it was an absolute work of art! We can’t wait to share more photos from their photographer, Duneland Photos!


The Venue:: Saugatuck holds special memories for Tess+Brian and Restaurant Toulouse was a beautiful backdrop for their wedding. They have a gorgeous outdoor veranda where guests enjoyed cocktail hour, and their dining area has a beautiful fireplace and a warm and intimate atmosphere that was perfect for this intimate celebration!

Thanks Tess+Brian for letting us join you on your special day, and I hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in Saugatuck!

Stella Event Design services:: Day-of Coordination+Decor Design

Wedding Coordinators:: Jessica Pennington & Brittany Johnson

real wedding sneak peek::jessica+justin tie the knot on Lake Michigan

beach_wedding_shadowland_ballroom_carouselLet me take you back to Saturday, June 19th. It was an incredibly beautiful weekend, and we had the pleasure of coordinating not one, but two fabulous beach weddings in St. Joseph! As you can imagine, both of our teams were very busy throughout the day ensuring that things went smoothly, so capturing our own snapshots was a futile cause.  We were so extremely excited to see the beauty above, by Jennifer Mayo Studios! Just a sneak peek, but fabulous nonetheless! After a beautiful beach ceremony, Jessica & Justin celebrated at The Veranda at the Whitcomb with an amazing meal by CK Catering, a rockin band (The Point’n Fingers Band), and so many wonderful family and friends!


The Favors::Jess+Justin embraced the idea of a beach wedding and chose a fun, tropical-inspired color palette of green, pink and orange. Their favors were drinks Koozees that said “thanks for spending the day with ‘Team J'” and they were adorable!

Table Numbers:: ‘Team J’ met at a Tom Petty concert, so each of their tables was named after a Tom Petty song, and was accompanied by the song lyrics. It was pretty impressive considering they had almost 20 tables, and it was such a cute and personal touch!

Jess+Justin, you were both so much fun to work with—thanks for letting us be a part of your wonderful wedding!

Stella Event Design services:: Basic Planning

Coordinated by:: Jessica Pennington & Brittany Johnson

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

venue::barker hall in michigan city

(lvl photography, claire+chris 5/08)

This picture caused quite a stir at the bridal expo and at least 20 couples asked me about this venue, so I thought I would post some information to point everyone in the right direction…

Barker Hall is part of Trinity Church and is located in Michigan City, Indiana. It’s an absolutely gorgeous wedding venue complete with a balcony on one end (where this picture was taken from) and a stage with a beautiful tapestry backdrop at the other. It’s beyond ideal if you’re planning on live music and their in-house catering is fabulous!

Check out the Barker Hall website here!

fave of 08::chapel love

I absolutely adore the quaint chapel on Morris Farms where Megan+Scott hosted their October nuptials! The building had so much charm and character, and it was absolutely adorable! Plus, there was an old fashioned school house on the same grounds that was a great spot for some unique post-wedding pics with the bride and groom!

Don’t forget to investigate your ceremony location, reception venue, or local area to locate some fun and unique places to snap some post-wedding pics! Grab your fiance and make a date day of exploring fun photo locations, and you’ll save a ton of time on your wedding day and have some amazing photos!

*Photos by Chad Bosma

a visit to mill creek barns

(Mill Creek Barns, opening May 2009)

Last weekend I had the chance to stop by Mill Creek barns, the new venue from the owners of the Blue Dress Barn. It was just as lovely as I thought it would be, even though it’s not fully completed just yet. I shot a little video with my Flip Video, so I’ll post that soon (that is, if I get the courage to hear my voice broadcast over the internet!) It has all of the beautiful details I expected, and I can’t wait to post pictures of the inside when it’s completed.

(outdoor ceremony location nestled between the barn and the woods)

There’s a beautiful ceremony area, TONS of natural light in the dance hall, and too much charm to mention. There’s also tons of opportunities to utilize the outdoor beauty including several french doors in the dance hall, several patios and bonfires to cozy up to at the end of the night.  Definitely look into Mill Creek if you’re seeking a beautiful venue with rustic elegance. It is so far from a cookie cutter hall, I guarantee you’ll love it! It’s opening in May of 2009, and I’m excited to have a couple tying the knot there on the 16th! I’ll update as our planning goes along, and as it nears completion you can expect more lovely pictures!

southwest michigan venue with a view::the veranda at the whitcomb

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting with Dave Krock, one of the owners of the Whitcomb building in downtown St. Joseph. They are opening their outdoor veranda to host events in 2009, and the view is absolutely gorgeous.

(views from The Veranda at The Whitcomb on the bluff)

For those of you unfamiliar with the local area, the downtown area of St. Joseph is on a bluff overlooking the lake and the river and it’s filled with quaint shops and delicious restaurants.The Veranda at The Whitcomb overlooks the lake, with a beautiful view of the lighthouse and river. It’s literally across the street from the Bandshell, which I’ve blogged about before, and is a wonderful ceremony location. The Veranda at The Whitcomb can seat up to 250 guests. As you can see from the picture below, the venue is open-air, but has ample covering in case of inclement weather. There are also beautiful gardens on the far side, perfect for a garden-style cocktail hour, bridal portraits, or mingling with guests.

(a community big band dance hosted at The Veranda at The Whitcomb)

The on-site catering and beverage service is provided by CK Catering. They recently revamped their website and included a ton of great pictures. They do beautiful presentations and are amazing to work with. The combination of CK Catering and The Veranda at The Whitcomb is one I’m very excited about, and I was thrilled to hear about some of their upcoming plans to expand the events area, which sound absolutely incredible. If you’re in the market for a reception location, you can check it out at the corner of Port Street and Ship Street!


megan+sott {10.11.08}

(Photos courtesy of Chad Bosma)

I apologize for the tardiness on this post, but I was so busy that day I didn’t get a chance to snap a single picture, and wanted to wait for pro pics to share! Saturday, October 11th marked the end of our 2008 wedding season, and we couldn’t have asked for a nice day, and a nicer couple! I’ve been working with Megan for the last couple of months to help her pull together all of the details for her wedding. Friday we began setup at the hall, and once things got started I left Becca, my assistant for the night, behind and headed to the rehearsal. The rehearsal (and ceremony) were at the absolutely beautiful Centre Meeting House on Morris Farms. It’s the cutest little wedding chapel I’ve ever seen!

Megan’s aunt Pat, who is the mayor of a local city, officiated over the ceremony and the 2 of us spent about an hour running everyone through the ceremony and making sure everyone was ready for the big day!

Afterwards, Megan+Scott headed to the rehearsal dinner and I headed back to the hall to finish the decor setup.

Saturday morning I headed to the rental company to pick up the table for the unity candle and a few linens for the reception hall. I arrived at the meeting house to setup a few things before the bridal party arrived. The Flower Cart dropped off some beautiful arrangements for the church and I proceeded to pass out all of the corsages, boutonnieres and bouquets. Megan chose small bouquets of roses for the mothers which I thought was a beautiful alternative to the usual corsages. Renaissance Strings provided absolutely beautiful ceremony music, and their ceremony was very sweet and personal. My favorite part was Megan’s grandfather reading “Blessing of the Hands,” which I will share in another post.

After the ceremony the bridal party headed out for pictures with Chad Bosma and I loaded up flowers from the ceremony and headed over to the reception where guests had already arrived and began to enjoy appetizers as Mark from Music Express provided dinner music. After dinner was served the dancing began, I sliced up the cake and everyone had a ball dancing and celebrating Megan+Scott!

Thanks again Megan+Scott for letting me be a part of your day!

southwest michigan wedding venue in martha stewart!

Check out the Fall edition of Martha Stewart Weddings to see Southwest Michigan’s very own Blue Dress Barn! The October 27, 2007 wedding of Kelly & Jeremy is featured, and this brides beautiful diy’s are something you just have to check out!

We’re coordinating several 2009 weddings at the Blue Dress Barn, and I’m excited for the rustic charm and beauty that it lends to a wedding. Each and every wedding I’ve seen at the Blue Dress has it’s own personal style and touch of creative flair—it definitely attracts the creative, unique and detail-oriented bride!

mill creek barns

Mill Creek Barns is the sister property of the Blue Dress Barn and is located in Watervliet, Michigan in Keeler Township. We planned several 2009 weddings at Mill Creek Barns and love the natural charm it has. There are fun details throughout the property including vintage items, original artwork, a beautiful outdoor ceremony area, and white paper lanterns above the dining area.


Brides getting married at Mill Creek may consider Day-of coordination services to help with set-up, coordinate the ceremony (and moving guests from the ceremony to cocktail hour), assisting vendors with deliveries, coordinating catering & bar services, and tearing down decor at the end of the night. Mill Creek brides have the opportunity to bring in their own catering, bar service and other vendors which can be a great budget-saver, but entails a bit more work for the bride and family! Stella Event Design can help design services that fit your budget and will allow you to enjoy your wedding! Full-service planning is also available to help you create the amazing rustic-chic wedding day you’ve envisioned, from start to finish!

What one Mill Creek bride says about working with Stella Event Design:

“Stella Event Design saved my sanity! There were parts of my wedding that I really wanted to have control over and othe parts that didn’t matter to me at all. Jessica at Stella Event Design was able to accomodate me with a “partial planning” package that fit perfectly with my needs. She is quick to respond to emails and phone calls and is flexible with times to meet in person. She is very familiar with the local area and its vendors and helped me stay on budget. When it comes to above and beyond, Jessica was awesome. She returned all of my rented items for me the next day as well as my alcohol that we didn’t use. I ordered wholesale flowers and she was able to put them together to create my centerpieces and they looked beautiful. I really can’t rave about her enough. She’s calm in chaos, super organized, and obviously loves her job! I would recommend her service to anyone.”

-Megan, Married 5.16.09, from Chicago, Illinois


All Photos by Two Pair Photography