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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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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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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.

Koch-1117

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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