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inspiration :: seating options for you and your bridal party

Your head table is an important part of your wedding reception. There are several options to consider. Think about what kind of interaction you want with your bridal party and take a look at these pros and cons:

Traditional Head Table

The traditional head table is featured at the front of the room. Typically, two or three rectangular tables are lined up next to each other. The bride and groom sit in the middle with members of the bridal party on each side.

Pros:

  • This option recognizes your bridal party as a significant part of your wedding. If you place a high value on the role of your bridal party in your wedding, this is one way to make them stand out.
  • A traditional head table fits within a traditional theme. If your wedding day vision includes time-honored customs, this is a great option.

Cons:

  • The layout reduces how many people you can talk to when seated.
  • Bridal party members are separated from their dates.
  • If you have a large bridal party, this option can look awkward or overwhelming.

 

King Arthur Table

The King Arthur style table can be at the front of the room or run down the middle of the room. Several rectangular tables are lined up next to each other with chairs on both sides. The bride and the groom sit in the middle, and members of the bridal party sit on both sides.

Pros:

  • This option honors the significance of the bridal party and allows them and the couple to interact freely with each other.
  • The bride and groom are more approachable to their guests.

Cons:

  • It can be harder for guests to see the bride and groom and recognize them as a focal point.
  • Privacy for the couple can be difficult.

 

Sweetheart Table

The sweetheart table is traditionally a smaller circular or square table at the front of the room. The bride and the groom sit at the table by themselves or are sometimes joined by the maid-of-honor and best man. The rest of the bridal party sits at a separate table or with the other guests.

Pros:

  • The bride and groom have more opportunities for private moments during the reception.
  • Members of the bridal party are able to sit with their dates and mingle with other guests.
  • A sweetheart table is romantic and sweet, making it ideal for similar themes.

Cons:

  • The bride and groom will have less interaction with their bridal party.
  • This option can sometimes come across as exclusive to guests.

Choose an option that will best fit your vision and your style as a couple. Leave a comment and share what option you think will work best for your reception!

 Posted By Kristen Larson, Event Assistant

hiring :: summer 2013 event planning internships

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It’s that time of year again—wedding season is around the corner and Stella Event Design is accepting applications for interns (Event Assistants) to assist us during our 2013 wedding season.

Who We’re Looking For :: We are seeking junior & senior level students pursuing a degree in a related field (hospitality & tourism, public relations, communications, etc.), who are excited about learning the ins-and-outs of event planning. Weddings can be a stressful and emotionally charged time for a bride & groom and their families—the ideal candidate is hard-working, friendly, calm under pressure, and a great communicator! Most of our events are located in the St. Joseph/Benton Harbor/Harbor Country area, which is approximately 45 minutes from Kalamazoo, 70 minutes from Grand Rapids, and 45 minutes from South Bend. You must be able to travel to Southwest Michigan for events on weekends.

What You’ll Do :: Event Assistants will assist with all day-of wedding tasks including: setting up decor at ceremony and reception sites, assisting vendors with deliveries (ie. cake, flowers, linens, rentals), assisting with ceremony management, assisting vendors as needed throughout the day, ensuring time lines are being followed, trouble shooting problems that arise, communicating with vendors & bridal parties, ensuring accuracy of layouts, and much more.  Event Assistants are always working alongside an experienced Event Planner or Coordinator who is there to direct & teach you! Some assistants will also have the opportunity to work in our office on a weekly basis. You will have the opportunity to assist us with various projects including: assisting with the design and execution of photo shoots, collaborating on design projects, contacting vendors, sitting in on client meetings, learning to create timelines, room layouts and other logistical pieces, and a variety of other tasks that go into the planning of our events. We highly recommend office hours to those who are available, and desire a well-rounded learning experience!

What You’ll Get :: This is an unpaid internship and must apply towards college credit. You will walk away from this internship with hands-on experience in event planning & execution unlike anything you can learn in a classroom. This internship puts you in the action, working with real clients, professional vendors and beautiful locations throughout West Michigan.

When You’ll Work :: Weddings are scheduled primarily on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Interns will be scheduled to work for a 10-16 week period (approximately May 4-September 16 or August 1-October 31) and will be scheduled to assist with weddings most weekends.  We know summers include family obligations and the occasional vacations, so we are happy to take schedules into consideration if given proper notice at start of season.

How to Apply :: If you’re interested in joining the Stella Event Design Team for our 2013 season, please email your cover letter and resume (.pdf format, please) to info@stellaeventdesign.com. We will be accepting applications through February 18 and will be conducting interviews in February and March! If you have additional questions, please email info@stellaeventdesign.com (no phone calls, please).

2012 – a fabulous year in review at stella event design

It’s crazy to say it out loud, but 2012 marked the end of 5 years (I can hardly believe it!) for Stella Event Design, and it was definitely a year full of beautiful details, sweet brides & grooms, new additions, big changes and tons of fun! Every year I’m thrilled to look back at how Stella has grown and changed, the new faces that joined us, and the new and exciting opportunities that presented themselves. So here’s a (lengthy) little recap of 2012:

HELLOS & GOODBYES

holden

In early 2012 we were thrilled to add Holden Alee  to Team Stella, as he came on board to work with us throughout the 2012 season, both with our weddings, as well as stepping up as the lead coordinator for the 2012 Lake Shore Wedding Walk. Area vendors & venues were quick to embrace Holden & his enthusiastic, fun-loving spirit, and we’re thrilled to have him as a permanent fixture — he’s a great fit with both our business and our brides!

2012 also marked the departure of long-time Stella Event Planner Brittany Johnson, who has been working with us remotely from Grand Rapids since wayyyy back in 2009! She started with us as an intern in 2009, and has been an Event Planner with Stella since 2010…she quickly became a much-loved fixture here in Southwest Michigan–her home away from home on many (many) weekends! But alas, we must say goodbye to our much-loved road warrior Brittany and wish her the best as she moves on to work at her alma mater in Grand Rapids. She’ll forever be an honorary member of Team Stella!britt1

This summer & fall we had an amazing group of summer & fall interns, that sadly, I never got around to introducing here on the website (I’m horrible, I know!) but with such a busy wedding season we were all hard at work, and sadly, neglecting our blogging here just a bit! But, they all deserve a huge round of applause for helping us complete our most successful wedding season yet, as we planned, coordinated and designed over 30 weddings.

A huge THANK YOU to Rachel (from GVSU), Sarah (from GVSU) and Kristen (from Spring Arbor) for all you did, ladies! And speaking of interns, we are currently hiring for our 2013 wedding season, so if you’re a Junior or Senior in a related field, send your resume & cover letter to jessica@stellaeventdesign.com! We’ll have a full post on that coming up soon!

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Team Stella 2012 (L-R): Sarah, Holden, Jessica, Mary, Brittany, Kristen & Rachel. Photo by Jennifer Mayo Studios

WEDDINGS, WEDDINGS, WEDDING!

We coordinated SO many beautiful weddings this summer, we can’t begin to thank all of our wonderful brides & grooms for putting their trust in us, to help them on such an important day! We were lucky to work at some of our favorite venues over and over, including a TON of weddings at Millcreek Barns and Blue Dress Barn, two of our favorite rustic venues, along with more tented weddings than we’ve done in the past! 2012 marked our most design-work to date, and we’re excited year after year to come up with new, exciting ideas for our brides, and offer more and more options. In 2012 we started offering rentals of the many vintage, rustic and unique decor items we’ve collected over the years, along with a growing collection of specialty linens, and, new for 2013—specialty glass chargers. We loved seeing so many of our decor pieces shown off in our 2012 weddings—we love that brides don’t have to scour websites & thrift shops, and we can help offer unique choices. So here are just a few shots of beautiful 2012…keep an eye out for many, many more 2012 weddings to be featured on the blog in the coming weeks…photos are starting to pour in from photographers and we’re excited to share them!

PRESS CLIPPINGS

2012 was an exciting year for us press-wise. Just last month, we were thrilled to find out that one of our 2011 weddings in Saugatuck was featured in The Knot Michigan, making it our first wedding to be featured in a statewide print magazine (and one of our favorite magazines, at that!). With pretty pictures from photography friend Ben Pancoast, it’s no surprise….we loved planning and designing this wedding, and also have to thank Modern Day Floral for delivering some stellar florals—as usual! We were also thrilled to be quoted in Michigan Meetings+Events magazine’s article about what meeting planners can learn from wedding planners. This Spring, we had a lovely orchard photo shoot with Bradley James Photography featured in WeddingDay Magazine, and this winter we had one of our 2012 weddings at Millcreek Barns featured on Style My Pretty’s LBB Blog.

the-knot-michigan-featured-wedding-saugatuck3RD ANNUAL WEDDING WALK & BRIDAL BIDS AUCTION

We coordinated our 3rd Annual Lake Shore Wedding Walk, which took place in September and was, by far, the most beautiful weather we’ve had for a Wedding Walk. We love that this event is perfectly tailored to helping brides discover everything our beautiful local area has to offer—it’s intimate, unique, and full of only the area’s best vendors! We had an amazing group of vendors who participated, and to top it all off, we introduced the 1st “Bridal Bids Auction” which raised over $9000 for the Michigan Chapter of Wish Upon A Wedding. As wedding planners, we have been so incredibly blessed to do what we love, and to be involved in such an amazing and supportive community of wedding professionals. One of our goals for 2012 was to give back, and the Bridal Bids was a great step towards finding ways that we can all come together and give back. A HUGE thank you to everyone who helped put this together, especially the folks at The Veranda at the Whitcomb, and to all of the amazing local vendors who contributed their services & goods to be auctioned. Check out this video of the professional auctioneer (who volunteered) and did an AMAZING job with the live portion of the auction—please ignore my laughing and shaky hands—I was so excited! Below he’s auctioning off a Saturday at The Veranda at The Whitcomb, which netted over $3000 and went for OVER the face-value price, thanks to some very generous and enthusiastic bidders (AKA brides!)

STELLA MOVES TO THE BOX FACTORY!

And lastly, one of the very biggest changes for Stella Event Design (and the source of TONS of excitement), was moving into our new studio space in The Box Factory. For 2 LONG months we (sort of) patiently waited for construction to be completed. And by patiently, I mean we stalked the progress almost daily— to the construction teams dismay—taking photos, measurements, and visiting again and again, just to remember what it looked like! But come December 1st we had a new, bright and shiny space to meet in, that is a perfect fit for our growing team, and allows easier access for our brides and grooms. While we always loved our first space on State Street in downtown St. Joseph, parking in the summer was a struggle–especially for our staff trying to come in on a daily basis–and we had outgrown our work space, as it only accommodated one person being in the office full time.  Our new space offers plenty of space for both myself and Holden to work in the office together with event assistants, which will allow us to work as a team more effectively. We also get the perk of having some pretty awesome 3rd floor neighbors, in the way of Jennifer Mayo Studios right next door, and Ben Pancoast Photography right down the hall. We’ll be hosting a joint open house in early February, so keep your eyes open for that post coming soon–everyone is invited! I have to say a HUGE thank you to our family & friends that pitched in with painting, and our 12 hour moving/assembly day…because we were determined to be completely moved into the space in ONE very long day. Thank you for putting up with our craziness! We’ll dedicate a whole post to this very soon, but here are a few before and afters of the new space…looking back, it was pretty incredible what they accomplished in 2 months, since we were 1 of about 15 new spaces completed:

BEFORE

AFTER

If you made it to the end of this post, I applaud you! Leave a comment and we’ll choose one lucky person to receive a FREE gift card to MISSNOWMRS.com, to kick off 2013! They’ll help you navigate the murky waters of changing your name & personal info once you get married and change your name! We’ll choose the winner on January 11th by random drawing and email the winner!

 

real wedding :: a blush and navy wedding on the lake shore

Meet Elizabeth and Justin, AKA our fabulous May 2012 bride and groom. These two are about the cutest, sweetest couple I’ve ever met. Any one who brings ME a glass of orange juice to our meetings (I don’t drink coffee) is pretty super in my book! Elizabeth is a pediatrician in training, in Chicago so she was one busy bride-to-be, and we had the pleasure of coming on board to help plan and design their lovely May wedding in St. Joseph. Their must haves included an elegant, romantic, but non-stuffy affair that was fun & personal. A lovely color palette of navy and blush pink was featured, with lush florals in shades of pink and white. I just love the texture of the crinkle taffeta navy linens on the guest tables…they softened up the dense navy color and added some beautiful shimmer and dimension to the table tops!

I loved getting to know this couple, and when I heard that they had spent the majority of their relationship travelling 100’s and 1000s of miles to see each other, I knew we had to celebrate the end of their commuting relationship! So in lieu of a guest book, we had a custom hand-drawn map made, that highlighted all of the places they had lived, and travelled to see each other, with a key that explained the meaning of each location to guests. Guest signed and left messages, and it’s an awesome keepsake for Liz+Justin to showcase in their home together!

Elizabeth & Justin, thank you again for letting us be part of your special day—we had so much planning with you (and drinking Orange Juice with you) and we wish you many, many more happy days! Lovely photographs are courtesy of the fabulous Leda at LVL Photography! One more, just because I can’t help myself…

real wedding :: heather+johns wedding video

One of my favorite things about this wedding was the ribbons we incorporated throughout the day, specifically at the ceremony. The shades of coral, fuschia and teal were so colorful and happy, and I loved the way they blew in the breeze and added color to the monochromatic white chairs…just beautiful!

Check out Heather+John’s wedding day at The Veranda at The Whitcomb and on Lake Michigan, captured on video by AllStar Productions.

Heather + John from All Star Productions on Vimeo.

15 reasons we know you’ll love the Lake Shore Wedding Walk!

If you follow us on Facebook (you should–we’re tons of fun!)  you’ve definitely heard us chattering– for months–about the Lake Shore Wedding Walk! It’s a unique (really fun) bridal event that takes place in St. Joseph on Sunday, September 16th from 1-4:30 and we’re proud to both plan the event and participate in it! We would love for all of our readers to come visit us, so use promo code STELLABLOG for free tickets when you register online! You can find all of the details on this event at www.lakeshoreweddingwalk.com but I PROMISE YOU, you don’t want to miss this event! So go check out the website, buy your tickets, and we hope to see your smiling face there!

Just for fun, here are our “15 THINGS WE THINK YOU’LL LOVE ABOUT THE WEDDING WALK!!”

1. Local wine tastings. Wine! Enough said:-) There will be 6 local wines featured this year!

2. Beautiful tables designed by Stella Event Design and our fave local florists, including some super-snazzy specialty linens you will ooh and aaah over!

3. Food. Food, Food, Food at all 3 venues!

4. Bid on over $11,000 worth of amazing wedding services at the Bridal Bids Auction, with proceeds benefitting Wish Upon a Wedding Michigan!

5. Hop in a photo booth (with your family & friends) and get snap-happy!

6. Ride the trolley through St. Joseph and fall in love with it (we know you will!)

7. Have we mentioned the wine & food?

8. You can meet with 35+ amazing local vendors who are eager to chat with you!

9. The atmosphere is relaxed, fun and low-pressure!

10. Visit 3 of the areas most beautiful venues!

11. Take a ballroom dance class at the Heritage Center and feel confident for your 1st dance!

12. We just received this years bridal swag bags and we think they’re pretty awesome. They include some fun & tasty treats you’ll love.

13. Eat some cupcakes!

14. Again, did we mention the wine?!

15. We’ll have all of our unique decor rentals on-site from Simply Stella Events

 

it’s WEDDING WALK season!

Aside from it being the peak of wedding season, which is our favorite (and most busy) time of year…we’re also very excited that it’s once again getting to be WEDDING WALK season, when we work to plan this years Lake Shore Wedding Walk! The Lake Shore Wedding Walk is unlike any other bridal event and is one you definitely don’t want to miss, if you’re planning a destination wedding along the lake shore! This year the event will take place on Sunday, September 16th from 1-4:30 and will once again be hosted by 3 of St. Joseph’s most beautiful lake shore venues — The Veranda at the Whitcomb, Shadowland Ballroom, and The Heritage Center.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT?

Every venue features a unique group of vendors including caterers, bakeries, photographers, wedding planners, florists, cupcakeries, unique decor rentals, hotels, transportation options, lighting, unique favors, handmade items and so much more! We are proud to say that we hand-pick every vendor that participates, to ensure that they are of the highest quality, and will offer you nothing but the best for your destination wedding. Unlike traditional bridal shows & expos, the Lake Shore Wedding Walk is designed to be a relaxed, fun & interactive experience for you to enjoy with your fiancee, bridal party, friends and family. Enjoy food samples, beautifully designed tables capes, interactive events, and more, as you overlook Lake Michigan and explore St. Joseph.

We have some really fun things in store for this years event including:

  • local wine tastings
  • interactive fashion shows at both the Veranda at the Whitcomb and Shadowland Ballroom
  • a huge variety of the areas most talented vendors
  • a “handcrafted marketplace” featuring unique handmade items for your wedding
  • The “Bridal Bids” Auction to support Wish Upon a Wedding

HOW DOES IT WORK?

First, you’ll want to REGISTER ONLINE. Now through August 16th use promo code STELLABLOG to receive a complimentary bridal passport! On the day of the event, you can register at any of the 3 venues, where you’ll be given a passport that outlines the activities & vendors at every venue. Follow the signs, or hop on the trolley, to travel from venue to venue and enjoy your day as you explore the event & the city of St. Joseph. It’s that simple! At 4:00, make your way back to the Veranda at the Whitcomb for the “Bridal Bids” Auction to benefit Wish Upon a Wedding!

BRIDAL BIDS AUCTION

Starting at 4:30 at The Veranda at the Whitcomb, we’ll be hosting the “Bridal Bids” Auction, which will feature live & silent auction items that can be purchased for your wedding. Items to be auctioned off can be viewed HERE and include venue rentals, wedding planning packages, photo sessions, gift certificates, bridal gift baskets, and more! New items will be added up until the event, so be sure to check back often. You will receive a complete list of auction items when you register, and can visit vendor booths & venues to bid on items. All proceeds from the Bridal Bids Auction will benefit the Michigan chapter of Wish Upon a Wedding, the nation’s first non-profit dedicated to providing wedding wishes to couples facing terminal illness & other life altering circumstances. It’s a great opportunity to receive fantastic deals for your wedding, while helping an amazing cause!

We can’t wait to see you all here! You can check out the Stella Event Design booth at The Veranda at the Whitcomb, and we’ll be auctioning off some services at the Bridal Bids Auction as well, so we hope you’ll join us in making this the best Lake Shore Wedding Walk yet!

 

hiring :: 2012 event planning internships

logoblog0000 copyIt’s that time of year again—wedding season is around the corner and Stella Event Design is accepting applications for interns (Event Assistants) to assist us during our 2012 wedding season.

Who We’re Looking For :: We are seeking junior & senior level students pursuing a degree in a related field (hospitality & tourism, public relations, communications, etc.), who are excited about learning the ins-and-outs of event planning. Weddings can be a stressful and emotionally charged time for a bride & groom and their families—the ideal candidate is hard-working, friendly, calm under pressure, and a great communicator! Most of our events are located in the St. Joseph/Benton Harbor/Harbor Country area, which is approximately 45 minutes from Kalamazoo, 70 minutes from Grand Rapids, and 45 minutes from South Bend. You must be able to travel to Southwest Michigan for events on weekends.

What You’ll Do :: Event Assistants will assist with all day-of wedding tasks including: setting up decor at ceremony and reception sites, assisting vendors with deliveries (ie. cake, flowers, linens, rentals), assisting with ceremony management, assisting vendors as needed throughout the day, ensuring time lines are being followed, trouble shooting problems that arise, communicating with vendors & bridal parties, ensuring accuracy of layouts, and much more.  Event Assistants are always working alongside an experienced Event Planner or Coordinator who is there to direct & teach you! Some assistants will also have the opportunity to work in our office on a weekly basis. You will have the opportunity to assist us with various projects including: assisting with the design and execution of photo shoots, collaborating on design projects, contacting vendors, sitting in on client meetings, learning to create timelines, room layouts and other logistical pieces, and a variety of other tasks that go into the planning of our events. We highly recommend office hours to those who are available, and desire a well-rounded learning experience!

What You’ll Get :: This is an unpaid internship and must apply towards college credit. You will walk away from this internship with hands-on experience in event planning & execution unlike anything you can learn in a classroom. This internship puts you in the action, working with real clients, professional vendors and beautiful locations throughout West Michigan.

When You’ll Work :: Weddings are scheduled primarily on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Interns will be scheduled to work for a 10-12 week period (approximately May 15-August 15 or August 1-October 15) and will be scheduled to assist with weddings most weekends.  We know summers include family obligations and the occasional vacations, so we are happy to take schedules into consideration if given proper notice at start of season.

How to Apply :: If you’re interested in joining the Stella Event Design Team for our 2012 season, please email your cover letter and resume (.pdf format, please) to intern@stellaeventdesign.com. We will be accepting applications through February and will be conducting interviews in February and March! If you have additional questions, please email intern@stellaeventdesign.com (no phone calls, please).

behind the scenes :: wish upon a wedding michigan

Every once in a while, we love to give everyone a “behind the scenes” look at what we’re up to at Stella Event Design. Aside from being in full swing of planning a whole season full of fabulous 2012 events, we have also had the pleasure of assisting with Wish Upon A Wedding, a non-profit that has given us the perfect opportunity to give back. Wish Upon A Wedding is the worlds first non-profit organization dedicated to providing weddings to individuals facing terminal illness and other life altering circumstances, regardless of sexual orientation. The goal of the organization is to pull together wedding vendors to help grant weddings to couples facing terminal illness, who wouldn’t otherwise have the time or opportunity to do so, because of long-term illness, treatments and hospital time. We get to work together to help them have this one very important day that they deserve.

I (Jessica) have had the pleasure of serving on the founding board for the Michigan Chapter and assisting as PR & Media chair for the last year or so.  The last two weeks, leading up to the launch of our chapter, I’ve had the privilege of speaking with newspapers, radio stations and even got to make my first on-camera appearance (nerve-wracking!) on Fox 17, to share the news about Wish Upon a Wedding and the launch of the Michigan chapter. Last week we got to see everything come to fruition as the Launch Party took place at The Crofoot in Detroit, and we officially launched the Michigan chapter.

Wish Upon A Wedding Michigan Board Members

The launch party took place on Tuesday, so Brittany, Kayla and myself hit the road to Pontiac and took part in a very exciting night that was filled with amazing event professionals, a gorgeous venue, incredible band, lots of information about the organization and getting people involved, and lots of Pure Michigan inspired goodness! We were so thrilled to get to be a part of such an amazing organization and such an exciting night. Now that the Michigan chapter has launched, we will officially begin taking applications and start to grant wishes.

Jessica, Kayla & Brittany at the launch party

You can find more info on the organization at www.wishuponawedding.org, including ways you can be involved, how businesses can sign up to become wish granters and you can watch videos of some of the wishes that have already been granted around the country (grab some tissues, you’ll need them!)

See more photos of the launch party here! All photos are courtesy of JLB Wedding who was the official photographer of the night and did a fantastic job!

 

ask the planners :: answers to your wedding planning questions

Starting soon, we’ll be featuring our very first video blog series (yes, you get to see our smiling faces) called “Ask the Planners,” which will feature us answering wedding-related questions from brides, grooms, family or friends! This time of year with lots of you newly engaged, it’s the perfect time for us to help out by answering some of your burning questions— from budget issues, to DIY projects, etiquette concerns, vendor issues, design questions, and more!
So SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS on our Facebook page, and each week we’ll answer them here via video blog. Your location doesn’t matter and you can ask anything—no question is too big or too small. We can’t wait to hear from you!

SUBMIT A QUESTION