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Wedding Highlight – Chelsea and Jeff

December 13th, 2017 monamieevents Real Weddings, Uncategorized No comments

Ease and sophistication just ooooooze from everything Chelsea and Jeff do and touch.  These two, cool under pressure (and why wouldn’t they be, they are ER doctors) are the most relaxed and calm couple.  From their first meeting, over breakfast, following an overnight shift at the hospital, they just looked at one another, turned to me said, “yes, we would love to work with you as our planner.  Please send us a contract.”  Every meeting or call after, was just as decisive.  Whether it was a menu choice, their 🙂 charger decision, or who to select for entertainment, everything was done the goal of creating a weekend for their guests filled with mystique of West Baden Springs Hotel.

 

West Baden Springs Hotel, part of the French Lick Resort, appears, almost like a mirage in the southern Indiana hills, and Chelsea and Jeff wanted their guests to enjoy the weekend in the hotel’s luxurious surroundings.  Though fall, the weather certainly gave one last taste of summer, which allowed guests, and the bridal party, an opportunity to enjoy the grounds and lush gardens.

The historic architecture of the space inspired the invitation suite and paperie for Chelsea and Jeff’s weekend.  The stunning art-deco invitation with gold foil provided a welcome hint of the destination retreat guests were about to experience.  Chelsea wanted a touch of royal blue in her wedding, so it too was infused, in small elements throughout the stationery suite.

Chelsea and Jeff’s ceremony took place in the iconic dome atrium of West Baden.  This romantic space, though large in scale, felt like an entirely private and intimate chapel.  After a sweet moment together on the guestroom balconies before the ceremony, guests could be seen using their own balconies to quietly peer onto the ceremony, then cheer for the newlyweds as they were pronounced husband and wife.

 

Jeff’s sister performed the service which included readings from Winnie the Pooh and whimsical song selections from Mary Poppins.

Chelsea and Jeff wanted to enjoy the entire spirit of the French Lick resort, so took a trolley ride over between the two hotels (West Baden and French Lick) for a quick photo session and captured some moments in their iconic gardens.

 

Following cocktails on the veranda, guests entered the original lobby of the hotel which was transformed into a private ballroom for the evening.  This area glittered with regal elegance.  Chelsea’s vision of classic romanticism had come true, her whimsical additional of royal blue was included on the tables with the addition of stunning glass charger, and the fragrant bowls of soft creme floral were a focalpoint on the metallic gold linens.

 

After Chelsea and Jeff enjoyed a moment of seeing the room first (and practicing their first dance) they welcomed their guests for dinner including the (now 100 year old) tradition of tomato juice served to their guests.  The juice was actually invented at French Lick Resort in 1917.

 

Chelsea and Jeff are gracious and loving to one another, and it is so beautiful to witness.  I loved the photo (above) of them from the moment I saw it, and I was thrilled to receive it this week as their Christmas card photo.  May they have a lifetime of first look butterflies and romantic first dances! xoxo

 

Merci Beaucoup:  to Jessica Strickland Photography for the above images.  Also to: BBJ Linen, Events By Design, French Lick Resort / West Baden Springs Hotel, JW Salon, Mike Donaldson / TLW Entertainment

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Wedding Highlight – Erica and Grant

August 22nd, 2017 monamieevents Real Weddings, Uncategorized No comments

Their wedding ceremony was hosted in the century old Columbia Club as family and friends watched from both the Lobby level and the balcony above.     Grant and Erica were surrounded by lush flowers (jaw dropping!) and a bridal party wearing gold looked like beautiful Grecian Goddesses.

Their service included grandparents reading Biblical passages and really whimsical musical choices.  (I LOVE when couples include personal music!)  In their case they used Beyoncé and Kanye.  Kanye actually was to honor Grant’s mother, and a candle was lit in her memory at the altar.

The service included Grant’s Father as his Best Man, which I thought was such an amazing tribute to their relationship.  I loved the words from Rev. Fuquay and the really personal song selections they chose. It was a really emotional service for two truly beautiful and thoughtful people.

Following the ceremony, the celebration continued at Conrad.  Here decadent linens, glittering candles, gilded flateware and chargers all accented the pretty and soft florals.  Candelabras of roses, hydrangeas and orchids were softly lit in amber tones to create a very glamorous ballroom.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention their cake — ohhhh my the cake!  It was a showstopper in its elegance and beauty which was designed around the invitation!  (and… it was my personal favorite:  Lemon Orange Almond) 😉 !!

Once the formality of the speeches and dinner ended, the fun fun fun began!  There was dancing, sooo much dancing, started out by Kanye of course 🙂  (including a dinosaur hitting the dance floor) and as if dancing wasn’t enough, there was a surprise entertainment component.  A very fun sketch artist who captured the guests’ “best side” 😉

Thank you Erica and Grant for allowing me to be create your celebration.  It truly was an honor to help your families bring something totally that was totally yours together and while entirely regal, was entirely the FUN you both are!  xoxo

 

(for a bit of fun, LOOK at how Erica’s shoes picked up the sunlight!)  🙂

Merci Beaucoup:  to Ian Borgerhoff Photography for the above images.  Also to: Atmospheres Indy, BBJ Linen, Columbia Club, Classic Cakes, Conrad Indianapolis, Events By Design, Jim Cerone, Krandel Newton, La Dolce, LGi Linen, Something Wonderful

 

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Wedding Highlight – Ashley and Brett

July 25th, 2017 monamieevents Real Weddings, Uncategorized No comments

It’s Christmas in July, and working with this family it felt like I am the one lucky enough to be opening the gifts.  Ashley and Brett’s love story is best told through their wedding Christmas Carol (video) from Eyenamics Wedding Video Story Ashley and Brett.  This video  is undoubtedly the most emotional I’ve had for a wedding…. and so was their weekend.  Emotional, loving and entirely full of happy tears.

 

Ashley had been a bridesmaid of mine in previous weddings, so it was delightful to reconnect this time for her own celebration.  She wanted her wedding to center on family, family, family (and Christmas!)  We made sure it did.

The ceremony included involving Brett’s sons and was very emotional.  It took place at the base of the West Baden Springs Hotel’s enormous tree, and Ashley got ready for her wedding day while carolers strolled through the grand atrium.  The serenity of their voices calmed any nerves a would-be bride might have.

Each balcony of this historical property is adorned with garland and holiday decor, so Ashley (wisely) took full advantage of the grandeur of the space. Her only request:  that she have gardenias included in her bouquet and centerpieces. It’s Christmas, ask and ye shall receive 🙂  (the true present was the fragrance — it was sooo luxurious!)

Little details of Ashley and Brett’s day included personalized ornaments and a children’s area that made Santa’s workshop seem like child’s play, (the kids even got to make their own stuffed animals while decorating cookies!) Ashley and Brett thought of everything and wanted their wedding celebration to truly be a relaxing retreat before the holiday weekend.  They wanted their new family to celebrate with family from around the country in one of nation’s most beautiful locations and enjoy all the Christmas magic it offered. (…and let’s be honest, the West Baden Springs Hotel is stunning anytime, but there’s just a little something extraordinary about it during the holidays.) It was truly an honor to help create this for the new family.

 

Following the ceremony Ashley and Brett wanted time alone as a family with their sons.  Tears flowed and there was just so much happy…. just as Christmas, and weddings, and love stories should ALL have.  This one has it in spades.  Thank you for allowing me to experience it all with you.  (and to help watch your kids grow up… being at the same school as mine is an extra bonus! xoxo)

 

 

Merci Beaucoup:  to Baby Grace Photography for the above images and Eyenamics for the wedding video that you seriously NEED to watch (and don’t say I didn’t warn you about needing tissues).  Also to: BBJ Linen, LaDolce Salon, French Lick Resort / West Baden Springs Hotel

 

( to Jennifer from Baby Grace Photography.  This is not the first wedding these women have been in of mine, nor the first Jennifer’s shot together of them with me.  Each time she somehow captures “the walk” right before the ceremony.  It’s always a very special time during the weekend, and this quick snap of the camera means so much.  It’s like a Christmas present from Jennifer to me, Thank you.)

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Wedding Highlight – Caitlin and Ethan

July 21st, 2017 monamieevents Real Weddings, Uncategorized No comments

The MOMENT I met Caitlin (and her mom) I thought “if I am not lucky enough to work with this family, I am going to go away the first weekend in June, because I will have such social media envy over this wedding.  😉  They are fantastic, and I need to work with them!”  Fortunately, by the end of lunch we were a team.  Now, we’re family.

 

Caitlin and Ethan are entirely adorable (and always touching: whether it’s a sweet hand hold, a loving brush on the arm, or kissing). They are a very emotional couple.  I love that in people.  Caitlin clearly gets it from her family.  Her dad is a big teddy bear of a man, and every professional on their wedding team wanted to create the day as much for Caitlin and Ethan as they did for her amazing parents.  The ceremony and reception were hosted at their estate in Southern Indiana, and their family worked tirelessly to prepare the impeccable property.  This Disney loving bride’s home could best be described as stepping into the Walt Disney World resort’s Wilderness Lodge.  It’s a warm, rustic retreat filled with collectibles from their travels.  Caitlin’s parents are the first to greet you with warm smiles and huge and their dogs are right along side for a quick pet.

Caitlin’s vision for the wedding was to create an evening of fantastic food (from around the world) and decor that felt natural and authentic in the estate’s landscape.  Together with the team, we worked to ensure this was met, even scouring through one of their barns to find old chandeliers to hang above the dinner tables and their family canoe (a family favorite) to use in the decor. Guests arrived to the property and immediately the magic and romance began.  Large fancifal tents greated their family and friends.  Butlers with cooling summer treats (lemonade and one of Disney’s iconic treats, Dole Whip) welcomed guests into the ceremony tent.

The ceremony space was a haven from the heat of the June sun.  Tucked into trees and mismatched antique chairs, the ceremony began with Ethan’s entrance to bagpipers, the bridal party’s prelude (which of course included a touch of Disney music) and Caitlin escorted by her father.  They also were able to read their programs which included photos of the engagement session (taken around the property), history of the couple and an in-depth description of the menu for the evening’s events.

Following the service, guests enjoyed cocktails on a patio outside before dinner inside the magnificent tent. Here the soft color palette Caitlin selected worked with the landscape perfectly.  It was truly one of my favorite events to create.  David from the Empty Vase and I had so much fun working with Caitlin and her mom to make this magic.  It was fun to use the familiy’s personal items in tandem with fresh florals and luxurious details to create the dining space.  It was soft and feminine, but if you look very closely, you’ll see evidence of antlers collected on various hunts around the US and Canada by the men in the family.  (I kept hearing my inner Gaston sing “I use antlers in all of my decorating…..” — I’m sure this is nothing like he ever imagined) 😉

 

The family’s iconic Elk statue was moved in front of the tent (and dressed for the occasion), and their canoe was used to create a focal point above the parents’ tables.

The bridal table was a long romantic tablescape adorned with soft velvet linen under 4 low hanging chadeliers.  The lighting was actually found in a family storage barn and restored for the celebration.  Eight chandeliers flanked the space and created a conopy of soft rustic elegance as guests came into the space.  A local artist surprised Caitlin and Ethan and used inspiration from their paperie to create the signs on the couple’s chairs setting their seats apart.  One other whimsical element in the floral was the imaginative use of grasses to compliment the greenery.

 

The dinner service (and ohhh the Food!!) was second to none. They love to travel, and one of their favorite events each year is Epcot’s Food and Wine festival.  So much so, their menu, in part, was themed from this annual event.  One of the beers for the evening was even brought in from Walt Disney World specifically, and can only otherwise be found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Caitlin isn’t alone in her love of Disney.  Ethan loves Star Wars, so she wanted to surprise him with a few things too including this groom’s cake which included a letter from Lucas Films.

 

As night fell over the estate, guests enjoyed late night snacks, cigars and dancing (soooo much dancing!) took place under a magical canopy of lighting created to look like the moon shining through the trees.

The evening went far too quickly (don’t they all?!) but in Caitlin’s case particularly so.  I first met her around Thanksgiving, and had about 6 months to plan this extraordinary celebration.  After spending nearly every day for 2 weeks building the tent on their property, their entire extended family now feels like my own.  (Admittedly, with this group, you feel like family after just 5 minutes.)  They have my heart, and I know we’ll all be making a trip down to the parks together again soon. xoxo 

 

Merci to Jennifer Driscoll Photography for capturing these photos and moments in time. If you would like to see the video by Eyenamics from this event, (which — oh I encourage you to do!)  Caitlin and Ethan’s wedding story film  Also to: A Classic,  Antique Limo, Artist Stephanie Carignan, Jan Aldridge Clark,  BBJ Linen, Classic Cakes, The Empty Vase, Empyrean Events & Catering, Evans Audio Visual,  The Impalas / TLW Entertainment, Pink Poppy Ink, Something Wonderful, Violet Vintage

 

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Wedding Highlight – Nikki & Weston

August 29th, 2016 monamieevents Real Weddings, Uncategorized No comments

Nikki and Weston Farm Wedding

 

There is something magical that happens when a bride sees the space she’s going to host her wedding in for the first time and she knows it’s the right place.  It’s like when she puts on her gown for the first time.  All is right with the world.  For Nikki and Weston, that moment occured they stepped foot onto Trader’s Point Creamery a little tabby cat ran up to the veterinarian bride.   Even on the cold December day I looked at Nikki and knew it was the perfect location for their summer wedding.

I was so excited to create Nikki and Weston’s wedding.  This was my second wedding with Weston’s wedding.  My first was his sister’s (you know her as crazy talented Nikki from Pomp&Polish, the graphic designer, I trust implicitly.) and I have come to love their entire family over the years.  Now, we were in the wedding planning mode once again and I was so excited to bring a new vision to life for their family.  Nikki and Weston’s wedding needed to be planned mostly via email because Nikki was finishing schooling in Grenada (yep, you read that right, the stunning island country) while Weston was in Seattle.  So – through emails, conference calls and photos I had a job to do and had the help of some amazing wedding professionals!

 

The invitation and paperie set the mood from the start. Pomp& Polish created this and I must confess – she blew my mind! Animals, wood, and rose gold *(to match the unbelievable engagement ring Weston had created) all were used to tell the story in this truly second-to-none suite.  It truly was the most fanciful, yet formal invitation suite I had seen in my career, and it translated so beautifully on the wedding day.  The same animals that were seen on the accomodations card peaking around the floral print, were also seen as the table names and favor tags.  It was formal yet approachable.  It was whimsical but not childish.  It was a keepsake.  Scratch that.  It IS a keepsake.

Paperie Farm Wedding

Nikki and Weston chose the creamery because of the working farm, and wanted guests to enjoy the farm.  They wanted their family and friends to see as many aspects of the land as possible and for the ceremony to take place near the animals.  We utilized the space in a non-traditional way, and actually held the ceremony in the round, near one of the large trees, so guests could enjoy the shade on the warm summer day.  The bridal party meandered through the field and the florals all looked like the party picked their abundant bouquets from the gardens as they walked.

 

Bridesmaids Walking

 

Trader's Point Creamery Ceremony

Following the ceremony guests enjoyed the farm and the organic foods the creamery is known for serving.  Lemonade, truffle popcorn and fresh cheeses welcomed the guests.Cocktail hour Farm Wedding

As guests entered the red barn for dinner, they were welcomed once again with Nikki and Weston’s love of animals. Each guest was given an animal as their table assignment.  Long family style seating and eclectic heirloom china were used befitting of this “family dinner” style evening.  No two place settings were the same and guests commented on the vibrant hues of plates and glassware which complimented the field flowers.  To honor Weston’s Scottish heritage plenty of thistle were used throughout the event, along with peony to honor their childhood home, Indiana. The cakes dripped with decadence, literally.  It was nearly impossible to decide which flavor to have — so many guests had more than one flavor.  (I might have a hard time deciding too) 😉

View More: http://jessicastrickland.pass.us/nikkiwestonwedding Trader's Point Creamery Red BarnView Barn Wedding DetailsTrader's Point Creamery Long TablesTrader's Point Creamery TablescapeCake Station

The flowers were vibrant, summery and truly looked as though they were plucked from creamery’s vast fields.  I can not say enough about Nikki’s bouquet. It was truly a show stopper.  She was truly a knock out. Weston was beaming all day!

Summer Field BouquetView More: http://jessicastrickland.pass.us/nikkiwestonwedding

One of my favorite moments of the day was immediately after their ceremony.  As Nikki and Weston were leaving the ceremony space and heading toward the reception barn, the same tabby cat that had welcomed them on their initial site visit came up to Nikki for a cuddle!

Nikki and Weston following the ceremony

Nikki, Weston and their families are incredible people.  They are so trusting of their professional team and allowed us to play and bring their personalities to life with this fun, family friendly, farm wedding!  Their love for one another is so evident and it was amazing to witness throughout the wedding process and especially on the wedding day.  There was SO MUCH LOVE all weekend and so many smiles! Happiness everywhere!  It was just incredible and I’m so honored I got to share another wedding with this fantastic (and talented — and smart!) family!

Family photo

Nikki and Weston waited so long to be in the same city – and I’m so thrilled that their wedding day arrived.  Nikki’s schooling was complete and she could move to Seattle and finally, they could be together — and sit on the same couch – forever 🙂  Congratulations you two! I’m so thrilled for you both, I’ve known you a long time and I could not be more excited to be part of your wedding.

White Couch Photo Summer Bride and Groom

 

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Merci to Jessica Strickland Photography for capturing these images and these moments for Nikki, Weston and all of us to relish! Also to: A Classic Party Rental, Trader’s Point Creamery, LGi Linens, Classic Cakes, Violet Vintage, LaDolce Salon, Jupiter & Juno, and Weston’s sister – Nikki Pulfer from Pomp&Polish – the paperie that was created as a labor of love and was knocked out of the park.

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Wedding Highlight – Casey & Nick

March 16th, 2016 monamieevents Real Weddings, Uncategorized No comments

Let is Snow

The moment I met Casey I wanted to help her create the wedding of her dreams. I thought, if she doesn’t select me as her wedding planner, I will have “planner envy” for whomever she selects.  Then she said the magic words.  She said words every wedding professional loves to hear “I trust you.” Casey and Nick first learned of my work from “blog stalking” (she used that term – which I love) her photographer, Jessica Strickland’s website.  I knew then we were in for a real treat. Jessica and I have created some beauties together.  This would be no different.

Casey and Nick are adorable.  Inside and out.  They are very good to one another – and even more kind to other people.  Casey’s parents are among the warmest I’ve had the pleasure of working with in over 15 years.  I truly wanted their daughter’s wedding to be everything they wished for and more.  It was.  They asked for a winter wedding – and, they had a truly winter wonderland.

 

Hayley Paige Wedding Gown Dori Collage

Casey is a stunning girl and her gown is nothing less than exquisite!  It certainly set the tone for a beautiful wedding. It sparkled in every light and flowed beautifully as she walked, danced and joyfully met Nick at the end of the aisle for their first look.

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The words “I trust you.” go a long way in the event world.  It means your event team can not only create what you want, but give you more than you ever imagined. If you want an icy white wedding, your team will create something unique, fun, engaging and very special for you, your new husband and your guests. Your dad will cry.  Heck, play it right, your planner might too. 😉  (I don’t do that often – but on this one, yep, I did….)

Winter Wonderland Wedding Ceremony

Casey is a school teacher and Nick is a pilot.  Most weeknights they’re not together, so on this very special night it was all about togetherness, family and total JOY! Their ceremony included poems, readings and I their guests caught it — a fun whimsical homage to their beloved dog Delilah during the musical prelude.  🙂

Ceremony Collage Winter Wedding

(look at those cute little naked toes on the flower girl) 😉

 

The ceremony decor set the tone for the evening.  Guests walked into the winter scene of white woodland trees.  The ushers actually had a difficult time having guests be seated on time as friends and family took in breathtaking which lay before them. No cameras allowed for the ceremony, but before the ceremony, no one – and I mean no one – would put them way for a quick picture of the scene as they walked into the room.  Those poor ushers.  😉

Winter Wedding Couple

The altar continued the winter forest and allowed a serene setting for the couple to say their vows and ultimately sign their marriage license in front of their guests following readings and prayers.

Winter Wedding Ceremony

The reception details were thoughtful and edited.  Each table had refined decisions from which linen and charger were placed to the different centerpiece and shape table.  Together the room looked cohesive and clean like a freshly fallen snow on a winter’s evening.

Winter Wonderland Wedding Reception

 

The details were everywhere… glass sparkled, beaded linens glistened and snowflake ornament menu cards danced as they hung from the chairs all creating a wonderland enveloping Casey and Nick’s guests as they entered the ballroom.

Winter ondderfuland TablescapesDetails Winter Wonderland Details Winter Woderland Details Winter Wonderland Details Winter Wonderland

 

Casey, Nick and their bridal party enjoyed cocktails and were introduced into the ballroom onto a sparkling dance floor (Casey’s big request of the wedding) and Nick asked Casey to the dance floor for their first dance.

Wedding Party Navy Gowns

At this point in the event, the surprise of the night truly began. I encouraged Casey’s parents to come closer to the dance floor so they could see the first dance. (They were adorably seated with their grand daughter the flower girl in an area where she could play and have room to run around, and I wanted to make sure they as the first dance in all of its glory) Parents of the Bride

As it began to snow – yes SNOW – on Casey and Nick – Casey’s parents were overwhelmed with emotions.  I admit, in my mind I knew what it was going to look like, but to hear the guests gasp, GASP, and to see Casey’s parents so emotional made me cry as well.  It was really special to have so much trust from a family and to pull off a surprise like that for her parents and all of the guests meant a lot to me. It was wonderful to stand there and blot tears right next to her parents.

First Dance - Let it Snow

 

Dinner service, as always, from the Crowne Plaza, was flawless.  The dancing and photo booth were incredibly fun.  Following dinner, the cake display – which was almost – almost – too pretty to cut was a fun treat for guests to enjoy throughout the night as they sampled different flavors. Guests were so excited when we made it snow again for the last dance of the night.

Winter Wedding Cakes

Last Dance Let it Snow

I can’t thank Casey enough for the words “I trust you” — other than to say “thank you” — it truly was an honor helping you and your family create your wedding weekend.  It allowed me to give you the professional team beyond your wildest dreams and for each of us to give you everything you wanted and more.  When you cried at the end of the night asking for it not to be over — that’s EXACTLY what we want couples to say.  Years ago I had a very special bride say “This is not the end of our relationship, it’s just the beginning.”  Casey, with you, I know that is also true.

Hayley Page Dori Wedding Gown Bride

My heartfelt Congratulations to you and Nick.  Wherever you are flying on any given day, I am thinking of you both.  Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of this extraordinary wedding and part of your lives. Wedding Couple Winter Wedding Altar

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Merci to this team who made a dream night possible! A Classic Party Rental, Brian Whitis, Calligraphy with TLC / Jupiter and Juno, Crowne Plaza Hotel at Union Station, BBJ Linen, Classic Cakes of Carmel, Evans AV, IndyVisual, Rev. Iseminger, Jenna Giles, Jessica Strickland Photography (all of the images you see here are hers)  La Dolce Salon, LGi, Marie Gabriel Couture, McNamara Flowers – Carmel, Picture Yourself, Tom’s Trees

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2014 Top Memories

December 31st, 2014 monamieevents Real Weddings, Uncategorized No comments

2014 was an amazing year full of families who openly welcomed Mon Amie Events, Inc into their lives  to plan their weddings and events.  Some of these couples actually were siblings of others I’ve assisted in the past and it was wonderful to help another family member down the same aisle. Others were new families who were warm and hospitable from the moment we first met.  Regardless of how long I have known them, each of these families are forever part of my family – because they have made me part of theirs.

As I look back on this incredibly memorable year I wanted to reflect on a few event images that really resonated with me.  In the wedding industry certain photographs become iconic.  There are some over the last 15 years that just “stick” – clients, professionals and fellow industry colleagues know “that wedding” from a particular photograph, but in actuality another image may be the moment that most resonates in my memory and my mind’s eye from the day.  They are the quiet moments, the memories and the emotional parts of the day that I most remember as the couple’s planner, the family’s advocate and the observer on the day.

Here now are my 14 favorite “unsung” images of 2014.

 

(I’ve placed them in the order of the wedding day as they would have taken place – rehearsal –> wedding morning –> reception)

no one is looking

“No One’s Looking” – During the rehearsal Lauren and Michael clearly thought no one was looking and couldn’t help but steal a quick and intimate kiss. I love the look, the passion and love this image projects.  (…and that it was captured from across the room!)

 

The staircase

“The Staircase” — I love this quiet moment as Curtis and his bride Sara head out to take photos the morning of their wedding.

Conversation

“Deep Conversation” — Only Shelby and her beautiful niece know what they were conversing about while the girls were getting ready, but his moment is one of my favorites from this May wedding.

Love Letters

“Love Letters” – Many couples exchange letters before seeing one another – and I do everything possible to ensure this moment is captured on film.  If nothing more so to have THIS moment on film so Graham’s wife, Grace, can see it.  I think he looks so handsome as he is reading her words and she deserves to see how happy she is clearly making him.  I think the mood is beautifully captured here in black and white.

waiting

“Anticipation” — Matt can not contain his smile as we’re walking to go see his bride, Abby, for their first look.  What absolute joy is expressed everywhere  – it’s a magical part of the day!

Final Prep

“Final Prep” – In the overall room decor and awe inspiring room shots that we all admire in the event industry, I fear too often people fail to notice the dozens of hands it took to make the amazing details happen.  I love this image of one of the staff piping butter before a wedding onto the bread plates.  Every member of the team taking such pride in their work for the happy couple.

Here Comes the Bride

“Here Comes Our Friend!” – I love this sweet moment during the bridal processional as one Grace’s bridesmaids quickly looks at the other bridesmaids as if to say “look there’s our friend … getting married!”  You can see the other bridesmaids behind her beaming at Grace coming down the aisle, but I love this quick glance as if to say “is this real?!” She looks so happy, giddy and proud!

Grandparents in love

“Mimi and Papa” – This June Mimi and Papa hosted their granddaughter, Lauren’s wedding on their farm in Southern Indiana.  They were gracious, hospitable, warm and so in love with Lauren, and one another.  I love this moment taken during the ceremony as Lauren and her husband Tom said their vows on the family farm.

 

First Dance Connection

“Connection”  – Tom and Lauren didn’t tell anyone what their first dance song was, except the band. So when they came out and lit up the dance floor – it was amazing!  I love the way Tom’s looking at Lauren.  They’re clearly having fun, making a connection and about to have a great night – which is what a wedding is all about!

We Did It

“We’re Married!”  – If you think this smile on David’s face during their first dance was a quickly stolen moment, or a laugh perfectly captured, you’d be wrong.  He laughed, smiled and looked into Kelesey’s eyes all.night.long!  It was fantastic!  Tiffany Stoner, one of the photographers commented in her career she had never seen a groom so in love.  They were so easy to photograph together because they radiated joy.

Candlelit Dance

“Candlelight” – In her father’s memory Lauren’s traditional father – daughter dance consisted of several influential men in her life dancing with Lauren to the classic “In My Life” while all of the guests encircled the dance floor holding candles which remained lit the remainder of the evening. The last person to dance with her was her brother (pictured) and as the song ended, the guests spontaneously raised their candles to the sky above.  How this photo was taken with the tears flowing behind the camera were possible is still beyond compression.

Mom's Pride

“Momma is So Proud”  – I love Sheila.  Everyone who meets her does.  How can you look at this woman and not?  She’s clearly beaming with pride at her son during a stolen moment on the dancefloor!

Taking it all in

“Taking it all in.”  – Brian enjoying his Scotch. Brian just savored the day, and his Scotch.  He relished in the entire experience of being a groom.  He loved hosting the wedding in his family’s beautiful lodge, looking at his stunning bride, greeting his guests and just being the groom.  Brian really is the prefect gentlemen and this photo captured the mood, and his spirit perfectly!

opening presents

 

“Opening Presents” – There is nothing like the magic of opening gifts – the anticipation and joy!  Just like the gift of a new year.  Thank you for this gift of 2014.  Here’s to the gift of 2015 –  Cheers!

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Special Thanks to: Conforti Photography, Jennifer Driscoll Photography, Nathaniel Edmunds Photography and Jessica Strickland Photography for capturing a year full of intimate memories!  I have loved seeing 2014 through your camera. 

(of note, all of 2014 weddings weren’t yet available for consideration for this blog.)

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12 Days of Christmas

December 12th, 2014 monamieevents Real Weddings, Uncategorized No comments

The 12 Days of Christmas – Mon Amie Events, Inc Style:

 

2014 has been an amazing year, so as I reflect back on this year during this time of great Thanksgiving and joy, I thought I would share with you a 12 Days of Christmas style list of a few fun facts from 2014:

Mon Amie Events Christmas Tree

 

 

12 – Different Cake Flavors were used by couples. (If you’re asking me to reveal a favorite  — ohh SUCH a hard choice — lemon / orange / almond OR almond pound with truffle filling.  tie. it’s a tie.)

Cake Flavors

11 – Flower Girls walked down the aisle over the course of the year in front of their sisters, aunts, cousins and friends.  … well some crawled or were carried — but all made it (eventually) 😉

 

flower girls

10 – The length (in minutes) of the surprise fireworks show at the conclusion of a June reception.

barn wedding fireworks

9 – The  song actually says “9 Ladies Dancing” – and this is true!  9 is the largest number of bridesmaids this season.  (they were stunning, graceful, intelligent and kind – every single one of them.  No wonder she had 9 of them!)

9 ladies dancing

8 – Times the Mail Lady (yep, my “mailman” is a lady) came to my door saying I have the prettiest mail on the block as the rsvps rolled in all year — or glitter rolled all over her.  (Little did she know what we would look like after the glitter dance floor!)

(8 was actually the clients who had their RSVPs return to me – to the delight of my mail lady – and me.  It’s actually one of my favorite parts of the planning process!)

glitter wedding invitations

7 – Colors of lighting gels for an October wedding.  This lighting design actually made a set up member at the JW ask for a “Ruby Linen like that one over there.” I then had to explain all of the linens were the same color – it was just the magic of lighting!

Reception Long Table

6 – The number of times Monique Lhuillier made an appearance.  🙂  She was the most popular designer selected by Mon Amie Events, Inc brides.  (not counting bridesmaids or even the time I wore one of her dresses)

Bridal Couple Standing

5 – Couples who said their vows in a non-secular location.  Whether it was in a museum, resort or a private estate – brides this year didn’t always say “I Do!” in traditional locations!

ceremony locations - barn

4 – Number of hours it took the installers to place one of the most intricate decor pieces of the year.  I.do.not.know.how.they.managed.it.  Thank you will never be enough.

 Dancing West Baden Spring Hotel Atrium Wedding

3 – Siblings of another client!  It’s amazing that families invite me into their lives so openly and warmly and it’s even more humbling when years later (*though once this year it was only a few months later) we get to do it all over again!!!!  I’ve known one of my families this year for over a decade – it’s amazing to see their family grow, just as they’ve seen mine.  Thank you so much for welcoming me into your lives.

parents of the bride

2 – Mothers of the bride this year with the same birthday as me!  Amazing huh?  These two women are amazing, strong and were wonderful to work with all year.  So are their daughters!  Most be something about the birthday 😉

birthday moms

1 – One Amazing year.  Thank you to all of my staff, interns and the event professionals who created special memories that will last a lifetime, the clients and their families who continue to welcome me into their lives so warmly and to my own family who has tasted more than their fair share of 12 flavors of cake over the year to help make all of this possible.  Happy Holidays!

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Special Thanks to: Conforti Photography, Jennifer Driscoll Photography, Nathaniel Edmunds Photography and Jessica Strickland Photography for capturing a year full of laughs, tears and memories!  I have loved seeing my Saturday nights through your lenses. 

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Wedding Highlight – Grace and Graham

October 16th, 2014 monamieevents Real Weddings, Uncategorized No comments

Fall Bridal Couple

Few people can say they met their future spouse at Indiana University’s Little 500 week long festivities.  I can say that.  Add Grace and Graham to the list.  The minute I met them and they told me that, I knew we were destined to work together on their upscale Hoosier Homecoming wedding celebration!

Our similarities didn’t stop there!  Grace’s mom, Debbie, and I share a birthday – what’s not to love about us Leos right 😉 , as a child Grace worked as a youth interpreter at Conner Prairie *(if you know me outside the event world, you know I adore those kids from 1836!) 😉 and Grace and Graham wanted to infuse a bit of IU Hoosier Hospitality into their wedding day.  This bride was meant to be mine!

Ensuring the wedding held the upscale, formal feeling their parents wanted, but give the whimsical, fresh and youthful touch this alumni couple deserved, needed a creative touch and constant level of mediation.  On her wedding day, Grace gave me the sweetest note, including the sentiment that she and her mom would not still be best friends if it weren’t for me keeping things in check during the planning process.  Grace, I’d do anything for you two – I really, really love your family!

Grace and Graham initially wanted a “red and white with poppy” wedding, and while  “candy cane stripes” might be appealing for a certain team’s basketball pants, a wedding palette admittedly needs more dimension.  The other interesting caveat, Grace.does.not.like.red.roses.  Helping her navigate a “red and white” wedding without this staple bloom, allowed additional colors to come into the palette and a very elegant wedding color story emerged.  Red, poppy, cinnamon, brick, garnet, fuchsia, merlot, terra cotta, and of course, “cream and crimson” 😉

Bridal Party

Grace and Graham selected the stately Indiana Landmarks Center for the ceremony and the grand JW Marriott for the reception celebration.  The juxtaposition between these two locations allowed for this warm fall palette to shine beautifully.  The Landmarks Center has a warm autumnal feeling, and Grace and Graham’s wedding seemed to be written for this space perfectly.

Indiana Landmarks Center

The ceremony highlighted a sunburst of fall color, robust organ music and readings from family – including Graham’s mom and Grace’s grandmother.  Before the ceremony Graham asked me the “protocol” on a “church kiss” – Graham — I approve – this one was perfect –  show the world you love her!  😉

Indiana Landmarks Center Ceremony

The day started in the JW’s presidential suite.  Grace and “her Goddesses” – as they were nicknamed at some point during the day (because of their stunning Grecian inspired gowns) got ready.  Grace, you are your namesake!  Elegant, calm, kind, thoughtful – and so are all of your friends. It was delightful to witness your bridal party all day.  The first hint of the wedding’s Indiana University infusion was actually in the guests’ welcome bags – a crimson pashmina wrap for the chilly October weekend.  The second Grace and Graham’s big request – “the cups.”  Anyone who attends IU knows of the cups that every bar and a certain (delicious!!) breadstiX location has and their famous shaped cup.  Grace included these cups on the bar once the late night snack emerged.  However, the bridal party was given a sneak preview to them while they got ready – in IU Red of course!

Wedding Favors

Grace and Graham spent the morning writing letters to one another.  I love when couples do this, they are always so emotional, heartfelt and real. Wedding Day Love Letter

Grace then spent time with her girls and dressed in her beautiful shoes and elegant Monique Lhuillier gown.  The details of this gown perfectly matched her skin tone, hair and stunning engagement ring.

Bridal Details

The bridal party was then ready to depart for an afternoon around the Circle City for photographs.  They joyfully spent the day taking pictures, sharing stories and catching up.  It had been just over a year since graduation, so Grace and Graham’s wedding was truly a Hoosier Homecoming!

Indianapolis Wedding Bridal Party 2014-10-16_0011 BridalParty_GG-71

The details for this wedding were in the color palette.  The flowers were magnificent.  At the ceremony, through the altar piece, and the bridal party flowers, the guests got a hint of what was to come at the reception.  Not only were the colors vibrant and rich, but the choice of flowers daring and unique. (remember, no red roses for this bride — apparently, Grace isn’t a friend of the TV show “The Bachelor” — or so I’ve been told….)  Instead, Grace received a cornucopia of floral including dahlia, orchids, anemones, berries, roses, coxcomb and even kale in her flowers.  They were rich, opulent and textural!

Fall Bridal Party Flowers

This shows the depth of color in JUST Grace’s bouquet!  Wow – what a lucky girl — no red roses for this bride!

Fall Bridal Bouquet Close Up

The ballroom for the JW was lit in a golden almost haunting glow.  Specialty lighting effects created an amber and pink aura that immediately drew the guests deep into the large ballroom. Shadows across the linens in various shades of orange, reds and pink created a warm autumn sunset for the guests as the entered the room for dinner.

JW Marriott Indianapolis

 

Guests took several minutes to be seated as they meandered the space taking in the details that lay before them.  Long royal tables flanked the  dancefloor, while intimate square and round tables mixed together in the space to create smaller eating groupings.  The large tables had massive centerpieces dripping with candles, creating height and impact in the large ballroom, while the round tables had lush, low centerpieces perfect for conversation.

Large fall centerpieces

 Fall Wedding Detail FlowersFall Wedding Details

The room was very warm, rich and welcoming.  It was more than Debbie and Grace could have imagined. It was a homecoming!

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The ballroom was filled with family, friends and alumni and the Indiana traditions didn’t end with the color palette. Grace and Graham surprised their guests with a late night snack of Mother Bear’s Pizza, a groom’s cake (red velvet of course!) along with premiering the red cups at this time.  The bar tenders also changed into IU T-shirts for the rest of the evening.  This, along with the band, Rod Tuffcurls and the Benchpress, (a huge Bloomington staple) were perfect for this crowd. Following the band, they had a DJ to ensure the party went late into the evening!  There was no stopping this fun dancing crowd!  The dance floor was just as packed at midnight as it was at 9:30.

Rod Tuffcurls2014-10-16_0015

It was an evening that was the perfect mix of formality and frivolity. In one evening we heard every genre of music from Pachebel’s Canon to Disney Frozen’s “Let it Go”!

first dance and toast

Grace and Graham wanted a wedding celebration that was truly a youthful, fun and energetic “party” while her parents wanted the formality and regal feeling befitting of a wedding.  Together this was achieved.  It was truly a “homecoming” – and isn’t that what the fall is all about?

I thoroughly adored my time with these families.  They are gracious, kind and welcoming,  I was honored to work with them, and more honored to call them now, my lifelong friends.

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For Grace and Graham I wish a lifetime of happiness and love – and remember on behalf of your & family,  “we’re all for you” 😉

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Merci Beaucoup:  to Conforti Photography for the above images (and IndyVisual for the wide room shot).  Also to: A Classic Party Rental, Bella’s Bridesmaids, Classic Cakes, Empty Vase, Indiana Landmarks Center, JW Marriott, LGi Linens, Markey’s AV, Mike Donaldson, Pink Poppy Ink, Rod Tuffcurls and the Benchpress

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Wedding Highlight – Lauren and Michael

September 29th, 2014 monamieevents Real Weddings, Uncategorized 2 Comments

Lauren and Michael West Baden Dancing

Anyone who knows me outside the event world knows I call the West Baden Springs Hotel in the French Lick Resort “Mecca” – many who know me inside the wedding world know it too.  I love the rolling countryside of the Southern Indiana hills as you approach.  I love the iconic yellow brick beacon that appears like a mirage out of the countryside.  I love the stunning architecture that sweeps stories into the sky.  I love the attention to detail in each space from the library, to the dining room, to the spa, to each guestroom.  Above all, I love the guest service.  I love West Baden.  I make no secret about it.

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When Lauren first called and told me she was getting married in Mecca I knew we were destined to work together.  She and my son share a birthday, she adores roller coasters, she’s a Florida State Seminole (I think I was one in another life – because although I am an IU Hoosier, I – due to many family ties, cheer for the ‘Noles during football season – much to my Notre Dame loving husband’s dismay) and, Lauren always knew she would get married at West Baden.  So when we first met on a fireworks cruise at Walt Disney World, we instantly clicked.

West Baden Details

In fact, Lauren first wanted a black, white and gold wedding.  Just after we began working together, I designed a cover shoot for a magazine at West Baden, and inspired by the touches of deep crimson throughout the hotel, I used gold and red in the photo shoot.  Suddenly, Lauren wanted to change her colors to gold, garnet and black for the reception and for the ceremony we would maintain white and gold palette.

West Baden Ceremony and Reception

Knowing West Baden’s gardens and enchanted spaces as well as she does, I was not the least bit surprised Lauren requested photos outside of this idyllic location on their stunning summer day.  It was perfect outside – a lovely breeze, perfect shade and look what Mother Nature gave them for these perfect photos!

Vera Wang West Baden Wedding

The look of the wedding began with the paperie all created by pomp&polish.  Nikki Pulfer from pomp&polish designed the save the date and invitations after being inspired by the medallion in the atrium’s grand dome. She then created a suite to highlight West Baden’s architecture, even including intricate details from the tiles of the floors, all of which were later used on the wedding day paper suite.  The main medallion would hold the largest surprise for the guests –  it would be used as the design for the 36ft dance floor. To complete the look she used a beautiful foil stamping technique and gold calligraphy that gave the invitations a sheen and regal elegance.

West Baden Wedding Invitation Suite

Lauren and Michael may have hosted their wedding in a grand and opulent hotel, but don’t let the size of their wedding allow you to think it was anything less than an intimate occasion. It was definitely a family affair  filled with love, laughter and plenty of family stories to tell.  Lauren and Michael wanted their guests to enjoy a wedding weekend to retreat, relax and indulge in celebration in one of Lauren’ favorite childhood destinations.  During her wedding trailer video, she talked about how she had long envisioned her wedding taking place at West Baden, and it was a joy to see her guests revel in seeing her dream become a reality.

West Baden Springs Hotel Grand Atrium

The ethereal ceremony took place in the grand lobby surrounded in cream, snowy white and soft dewy flowers.  Dainty flower girls floated down the aisle with adorable crowns, ring bearers – dressed as “security guards” complete with ear pieces and sun glasses arrived just before the ring itself and the service started with an atmosphere of sheer joy!   As Lauren, escorted by her mom and brother came down the aisle, the mood was light and celebratory! Lauren walked into the ceremony through an crystal and organza curtain (a surprise to her!) and glided up the aisle in her Vera Wang gown.  The ceremony, led by their hometown pastor, included prayers from her parents’ ceremony and ended with steamers of flutter fetti as the couple was announced husband and wife!

Flower Girls and Ceremony Aisle West Baden Wedding Ceremony

Personal touches in the ceremony were everywhere.  From the prayers and songs selected during the vows, to the heart sewn into Lauren’s gown in honor of her late father ~ this truly was an intimate family wedding.

Vera Wang Wedding Gown

Family and friends enjoyed cocktails  along the porte cochere where carriages have brought hotel guests for over 100 years.  Finally, dripping with anticipation,  the guests were allowed to see  main 200′ diameter atrium for the first time.  The sun-drenched dome radiated with sunlight as guests were seated for dinner. Before them hung a ring  of monogrammed banners and a custom dance floor stretched the expanse of the ceiling’s medallion.  Soft gold linens and deep crimson florals perfectly suited Lauren and Michael’s subtle nod to Florida State and West Baden’s color palette.

West Baden Wedding Atrium

The details were everywhere! Gold chargers and gold rimmed china set off the garnet and gold foil stamped menu cards.  Children even had their own coloring page of the ceiling’s medallion to occupy them during the evening. A cake (almost) too beautiful to eat stood stately in front of the grand fireplace that once burned 14′ logs. Hand painted table numbers which were so detailed one guest even asked to take it home – (an unexpected requested from an elderly man, I must admit)  😉 and robust red flowers in low containers, so guests could converse easily and marvel at the banners overhead. West Baden Wedding Details

As Lauren and Michael entered the room, the atrium filled with joy and happy.  SO MUCH HAPPY!  Lauren and Michael stepped onto their dance floor as she looked like a living cartoon princess and it was truly magical! (look how she even holds her dress in this photo below!! JUST like Cinderella – it really was breathtaking!) One of my favorite moments was watching their first dance and noticing the flower girls all seated along the side of the floor watching with such wishful expressions as the sun began to set in the Southern Indiana sky.  😉

 Dancing West Baden Spring Hotel Atrium Wedding

Lauren and Michael wanted every detail to be preserved so they even had a painter capture the day for them during the event.  In the ballroom he quietly painted the entire event as it unfolded. Guests could be seen going over throughout the night checking in on the work in progress.

Interactive wedding painter

Two of the highlights of the day were actually surprises to Lauren and happened during the reception. Lauren’s traditional father – daughter dance consisted of several influential men in her life dancing with Lauren to the classic “In My Life” while all of the guests encircled the dance floor holding candles which remained lit the remainder of the evening.

Father Daughter Dance Candlelight West Baden Springs Hotel Atrium

Later, to the couple’s surprise,  Lauren’s siblings serenaded them followed by a second “first dance” by their (incredibly talented) friend at midnight to start the second dance set.  From here guests danced until the wee hours of the morning with a new array of treats including childhood favorites reminiscent of ones from amusement parks and state fairs – yum! (I mean who doesn’t want funnel cakes, french fries and burgers after midnight?!?) 😉

West Baden 2nd Dance Set

The dance floor was FULL the entire night due to an incredible band, fun atmosphere and a great group of people!  They were dancers!  It was really refreshing and fun to see the West Baden Springs Hotel Atrium, normally so known for it’s opulent charm and quiet serenity, be so full of life and vivacious spirit!

Dancing West Baden Atrium

I adored working with the entire family!  They are so warm and welcoming and have always treated my entire family as if we’ve known them forever. Above all, they always respected every professional on the team’s ideas with an open mind, and because of that, I think got a wedding beyond their wildest imagination!  I love when couples do that – when they know any planner and any professional will only put forward ideas to help make their wedding vision grow and expand. Lauren and Michael trusted their entire team and because of that, their entire team pushed the creative envelope.

Lauren and Michel – On behalf of your team, thank you for letting us be part of that team.  It was an honor to “cook” something up for you 😉  The love you showed during this moment of the rehearsal really shows the compassion and love you share for one another.  It was beautiful to witness this throughout the planning process and the weekend of your wedding.  (I’m glad Nate caught on film what we all saw throughout the planning.)

Mon Amie Events, Inc rehearsal

After telling her dad years earlier at Thanksgiving Dinner that she would be married at West Baden, Lauren always knew this day would come.  It was a privilege to help make her vision become a reality.  I hope this is everything she imagined and more.  It really was a labor of love for me as a planner to help this beautiful couple in one of my favorite locations – Mecca.  Now Lauren and Michael have a reason to call West Baden Mecca too.

West Baden Springs Hotel Wedding Atrium Custom Dancefloor

 

Meci Beaucoup:  to Nathaniel Edmunds Photography for all of the above images and to Nothernlight Filmwork for the trailer video used in the blog above.  Also to; BMG, Calligraphy with TLC, Chicago Catz, French Lick Resort Floral Design, JW Salon, LGi, Makeup by Sparkle, pomp&polish, llc, TLW Entertainment, West Baden Springs Hotel

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West Baden Springs Hotel Driveway

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