Filter by Category:

a fall wedding on lake michigan!

Is it just me, or was Saturday the most beautiful day for an outdoor wedding ever?! Look at that amazing water! I may be a little biased because it was my last outdoor wedding of the year, and I was so absolutely thrilled that we shook off the rain from the week before and came out with a gorgeous day for a wedding on the shores of Lake Michigan! While we patiently wait for the pro pics from the talented Kelly Powers, here are a few I snapped of the ceremony and the little details we put together for this special day! I’m always so happy to see the end results of our full-service weddings and how it all pulls together…they are some of my favorites!

The Setup:

Beth and I arrived at the beach at 11:00 to setup chairs and put the final touches on the ceremony setup. Kelly was so fun to work with, and really gave me a lot of room to flex my creativity on this wedding which was a lot of fun, and it was so awesome to see her love everything we put together for her! We wanted to keep things simple and natural since we had such a gorgeous backdrop, so we did some simple gerber daisy and dune grass arrangements on the chairs, made a focal point at the front using driftwood and dune grass, and lined the back of the chairs with more dune grass, which is hard to see in pictures (sorry!) All of the gorgeous flowers were provided by Crystal Springs Florist.

Even though Kelly chose a fall palette of dark reds, oranges, yellows and greens, she fell in love with a bright pink bouquet, so we made the entire ceremony area bright and cheery using pink, and incorporated her fall color palette into the reception. The pink really popped on the beach, and I loved that there were sailboats all over in the background! At 3:00 Kelly+Russ said ‘I do’ in front of 54 of their closest friends and family, accompanied by beautiful harp tunes provided by Carl Payne (by the way, harp music is just perfect for the beach!) The ceremony was conducted by Kelly’s brother in law and was very personal and touching!

Some details:

Monogram: we based all of our printed materials off of a monogram created by April at Blu Sky Designs and we couldn’t have been happier with it! We incorporated it into the table numbers, favor tags, and even dropped the flowers into the menu cards!

Favors: Caramel apples from Kilwins were wrapped up with orange and green ribbon and raffia and set out on cake plates for guests to take home. These were a huge hit and I ate mine today—so delicious! Kelly also bought adorable light house ornaments for each family (you can see it in the box in the lower left pic) which was a really cute idea in honor of their beach wedding!

Kids’ favors: Small tin buckets filled with Legos (the couples favorite toy). Each bucket contained the pieces to make one car, and the couple put it together ahead of time and took a picture (rolled up in the scroll of paper) so the kids could see what they were making! The kids LOVED this, and had so much fun sitting at their table and making their Lego cars!

Cake: Cupcakes! There were cupcakes covered in large daisies in red, orange and yellow and they were delicious!

My pictures don’t do this beautiful wedding justice, and there are so many other fabulous things from this wedding I just can’t wait to share (but I will) so more to come! Thanks Kelly+Russ for being an absolutely AMAZING couple to work with! I was so happy to help create and share this special day with you both!

Don’t forget to comment here by midnight tonight for a chance to win the gift certificate!

press::stella event design in shore bride magazine

A month or two ago, I was contacted by Shore Magazine BRIDE to contribute to an article on post-wedding tasks.  Contibute? Me?! Yes, please! I love to write, and I love helping out brides, so I was very excited to lend some help! I’ve been anxiously awaiting the magazine to come out, and today I finally got a copy in my hot little hands! Sorry about the grainy image, but the pages are glossy and my scanner was not liking it at all!


(click to enlarge)

If you haven’t checked it out before, this magazine is great, and you can get it at most of the local retailers in downtown St. Joseph as well as Northwest Indiana and the Chicago area. It features everything wedding-related and fabulous along the lake shore and they always offer some beautiful pictures and inspiration for the local area!

So, to keep with the topic of post-wedding tasks, next week we’ll have a series of giveaways (yes, free stuff!) to help you with your post-wedding to-do list! We’ve got some great prizes lined up, so make sure to check in next week!

southwest michigan beach wedding

Outdoor weddings are some of my favorites–but with the beautiful outdoors also comes a certain expected level of uncertainty—you just can’t control mother nature! (but you can prepare for her!)

The picture above is Rocky Gap Beach. It’s a quaint little beach perfect for weddings because it’s a little off the beaten path and much quieter than the local city beaches (so you won’t have someone in a bikini in the background of your ceremony pics). It’s also more natural with no manmade facilities, making for gorgeous photos. This is also the cute little beach where my next full-service couple, Kelly+Russ, will be saying ‘I do’ next weekend! Imagine my surprise when I saw this picture yesterday in our local paper!

The accompanying article explained that local beaches were overrun with debris after last weekends monsoon of rain! (for those of you not local, we received about 11 inches of rain in a non-stop rush from friday-sunday).  As you can imagine, I had to get to that beach immediately to assess the damage! On my way, I was running through my schedule in my head, figuring I’d be raking up junk a couple hours a night next week in preparation, and thinking about how we could angle the setup to avoid debris showing up in pictures!

Imagine my surprise when I arrive at my lovely little beach, and find it to be spotless! It’s just a few miles down from the beach shown in the article, but seems to have weathered the storm without a scratch! So, I have to give a little ‘thanks’ to the wedding angels today—because my week was very close to becoming a lot more exciting!

Stay tuned next week for more on Kelly+Russ’ upcoming nuptials—I’m so excited about this wedding, and it is going to be amazing, with SO MANY personal touches!

foundry hall: a unique southwest michigan wedding venue

In July, I coordinated decor design+setup for Tracy+David at their fabulous venue, Foundry Hall in South Haven. If you’re looking for a unique venue, Foundry Hall has a lot to offer! I don’t normally say this, but I think their lobby was actually one of my favorite places! The retro black+white tiles, dramatic red walls and glitzy chandelier (not to mention the gorgeous piano!) make for a beautiful backdrop and a fantastic area for guest to mingle!

It also has a separate bar with a small lounge area and room for guests to sit and talk over drinks. The main room is expansive and the open ceiling allows for endless options (we hung beautiful paper lanterns!). There is also a stage area perfect for your bridal party, and a backstage bridal room to freshen up “behind the scenes.”

(nearby Van Buren beach)

It’s also in a fantastic location, in the lake town of South Haven, just blocks from quaint shops, beaches and parks, perfect for pictures. South Haven is another perfect location for Chicago brides planning a destination wedding along the lake shore! Check out the Foundry Hall website for information on rental rates, more pictures, and specifics on the rooms and amenities!

All photos are by JK Photography

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!

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!

southwest michigan wedding photographer::ben pancoast photography

Ben has been shooting weddings all over the country this summer, so I asked him to share some of his personal favorites from different weddings this season! Take a look at this beautiful eye candy, and check out his website and blog for more!

(click to enlarge)

I am in love with the rich colors of fall, so I think my favorite is the bride on the right with the golden leaves! I love fall colors, and I can’t wait until it’s here! I love when brides and grooms take a “photo walk” to find amazing locations for their post-ceremony photos like parks, beaches, or even off-beat places like cool alleys or industiral locations. Do you have any special locations lined up for your wedding photos?

southwest michigan wedding photographer::ben pancoast photography

(photo via

Ben shot one of my weddings in April and we had a wonderful time! Not only were the pictures great, but the couple absolutely loved working with him! Here is a little info on this Southwest Michigan native…

How would you describe your style?
Style is a tricky thing—lots of photographers love to say they are one thing or another, but I find it’s important to be versatile and willing to work with each bride to capture what is important to her. As far as a visual style goes, I gravitate towards clean, modern portraiture and candid documentary style moments. Currently, I’m enjoying playing with color in my images.

How did you get into photography?
I’ve always enjoyed photography as a hobby, but never really considered it a career option until I got a job working with a photographer shooting homes for magazines. Eventually I began working as a freelance photojournalist for newspapers, and went on to Columbia College in Chicago where I got my bachelor’s degree in photography with an emphasis in Photojournalism. After graduating, I found my skill set was a natural fit for wedding photography and have been enjoying shooting them ever since!

What is your favorite moment during a wedding? Do you have a favorite image to capture?
I love to shoot fun bridal portraits, but my favorite part of the day would have to be the preparations before the ceremony! The anticipation, nerves, the details—it’s just so much fun to be a part of the excitement as the day builds up to that life-changing moment when the bride and groom finally exchange vows!

What inspires your photography?
When I’m shooting a wedding I think the locations are really what inspire me. I love the challenge of coming up with surprising images in unexpected places. It’s easy to shoot something beautiful on a beach or in a vineyard, but what about the basement of the church where a bride is preparing? What about the alley behind the church, an underpass down the road, or the parking lot at the reception venue? I love finding a locations’ artistic potential and then pushing it to the limit!

What are you doing when you’re not snapping wedding pics?
When I’m not shooting pictures I’m working on my computer with the pictures I’ve already taken! One thing many people don’t realize is how much time photographers spend working on images after they have been taken. Even when an image is shot correctly it must be sorted, converted, backed up, prepped for printing, then you design the album. A typical wedding may only take 1 day to shoot, but that same wedding will require many, many days of work on the back end!

Thanks Ben! For more pictures of his weddings, information on booking and availability, visit Ben’s website and blog…And stay tuned later today for his photo feature!