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hiring :: 2014 event assistant internships

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 2014 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.


Stella Event Design team photos through the years!

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 12-16 week period (approximately May 4-September 16 or August 1-October 31) and will be scheduled to assist with weddings several weekends each month.  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 2014 season, please email your cover letter and resume (.pdf format, please) to We will be accepting applications through March 1st and will be conducting interviews in February and March! If you have additional questions, please email (no phone calls, please).

planning tips :: getting the most out of bridal shows

Happy Monday friends! And a warm welcome to all of you newly engaged readers who may be popping in for the first time.

It’s that time of year–everywhere you look there is a bridal show or expo popping up! If you’re newly engaged, it can be so tempting (and exciting) to visit them all. But if you don’t have every weekend free, you’ll probably need to narrow down the choices. Here are some of our best tips for choosing which bridal show is the best fit for you and how to make the most out of your time when you get there!

Location Considerations

Where are you tying the knot? Attend bridal shows that are in the area where your wedding will be located. If you’re a bride in Chicago planning a wedding in West Michigan, consider attending shows in the area so that you can meet vendors that service the area where your wedding will take place. You’ll cut down on things like travel & hotel fees, and get to meet businesses familiar with the area and your venue which will benefit you in the long run!

Research & Pre-Screen

Do some research beforehand. If you know you’re in the market for a photographer, visit the bridal show websites and see which ones have some vendors you are interested in. That way you can come to the show already knowing which vendors may fit your style, and focus your time on those! Some vendors will also offer discounts for booking AT the show so doing some research ahead of time will ensure you don’t make an uninformed decision on the spot just for a discount!

Style & Budget

There are tons of wedding shows out there for every budget and every style of wedding. From those that focus on high-end affairs to others that focus on DIY & budget-friendly, pic a show that caters to what you have in mind. Same goes for style–if you’re eclectic, focus on the small, indie shows that cater to brides looking for ultra-local vendors, offbeat providers and unique inspiration!

Avoid Info Overload

As a wedding vendor I can tell you that businesses all want to get their hands on your contact details. And it’s not a bad thing…they just want to be able to follow up with you after the show, provide you with more info, extend offers to you and answer questions. Bridal shows are hectic, so they can’t spend a lot of time with everyone at the show. That being said, beware of the WAY you give your info out. If you take away only one tip here, let it be this: Set up an email address that is ONLY for wedding-related information. That way you can put your email address on every contest entry and inquiry form without fear that you’ll be getting emails from 100+ wedding-related businesses long after you’ve tied the knot!

Bridal shows can be a great way to meet vendors you have already researched, check out samples, and get excited about your engagement—so gather up your bridesmaids and get out there and have some fun!


a venue tour & photo shoot at hidden vineyard wedding barn

How time flies! Back in October we were invited out to Hidden Vineyard Wedding Barn in Berrien Springs to set up a Spring-inspired wedding shoot. We’ve been to the venue a few times to finish and we’re happy to get to share a little tour of the space and let you have a peak at what it has to offer. Plus, we have some pretty eye candy, so be sure to read on to the photo shoot at the bottom! Lovely photos by the very talented Ben Pancoast Photography, who is always so much fun to work with, even when we’re wrapping up a shoot at 11pm!

So let’s start with a little virtual tour of the exterior: The back of the property features picturesque scenery that includes a giant pond and views of the rolling country side and vineyards. The balcony at the back has great views and your ceremony could be hosted in the back of the barn, or under their beautiful old Catalpa tree that sits on one side of the barn. Lots of space and lots of options!
2014-01-08_0001 They did a great job with the interior of this venue. The upper level features the main entertainment space…the guest areas, restrooms and catering prep room. The lower level features a lounge area, brides room, grooms area, and another set of restrooms. (Clockwise  below: brides room, mirror collection in the brides room, lounge area that sits outside of the bridal room, upstairs women’s restroom, and the grooms area)
2014-01-08_0002The main area of the barn fits about 150 comfortable, and the covered deck area can be used for additional seating if you like. We did several layouts for our shoot, utilizing a mixture of long and round tables, which I think works really nicely in this space. Hidden Vineyard Wedding Barn does not have in-house vendors, so you have the flexibility of bringing in your own catering, bar service, alcohol, etc, which is always nice. Beloe (upper left) you’ll see the view from the barn out onto the deck that overlooks the property. There is a lot of room for a cocktail hour on the deck, or in the yard just below the deck!
2014-01-08_0003Now moving on to the pretty stuff. We picked this pretty blue that pops alongside the wood of the barn, accented with a pale yellow napkin, threw in some of our brick brown rattan chargers and used a fun and textural mix of flowers including: hydrangea, astilbe, scabiosa pods, freesia, succulents, roses, snapdragons, tulips, craspedia, ranunculus and Queen Anne’s Lace.


The lovely cake was provided by C’est La Vie Cakes, who are always such a pleasure to work with! We shot in the evening, during the same time that weddings usually take place and wrapped up around 11:00 when they usually end, so I’ll leave you with a night shot of the barn as we welcome one of Southwest Michigan’s newest wedding venues onto the scene. Thanks for inviting us out to design your pretty space!
The Team
Venue: Hidden Vineyard Wedding Barn
Photography: Ben Pancoast
Design & Floral: Stella Event Design
Cake: C’est La Vie Cakes
Linens & Rattan Chargers: Stella Event Design
Place Settings: CK Catering

real michigan wedding :: a california rustic wedding in saugatuck

Katy was one of my favorite kinds of brides. She came in with a big-picture idea –she wanted the wedding to feel organic, rustic–but not too rustic–and wanted to incorporate the color purple. And then she let us really run wild with the design and present a concept that was so much fun to put together. The color palette for this September was a twist on traditional fall colors, featuring persimmon, eggplant, mossy green and pops of soft blue. We also mixed in some pops of gold!
We dubbed Katy’s wedding day style “California rustic”— organic and contemporary elements tied together with some rustic accents. There were no plain-jane vases here—wood serving trays, gold-dipped bottles, galvanized zinc cylinders, clay terrariums and glossy white vases all made an appearance in this eclectic design scheme.

I just love Katy’s gorgeous dress–it was absolutely perfect on her! Ladies, if you have a chance to buy a dress with pockets, let me assure you that you will not regret it!

The reception was held at the lovely Saugatuck Center for the Arts, which is one of our favorite venues. It’s centrally located right in downtown Saugatuck, and offers the entire building/grounds for events. The outdoor rain garden was used for cocktail hour, dinner was held in the pavilion, and the night was wrapped up with dancing in the lobby, which features 3 huge glass garage doors, so even the indoor space can feel like it’s outside! We utilized the contemporary red soft seating normally used throughout the building to create lounge areas, both in the front lobby for those who wanted to be near the action, and in one of the galleries, where guests could escape for a quiet escape to chat.
I love mixing up linens and I was so glad that Katy was open to mixing and matching colors, solids and patterns! All in all we had 7 different linens that made appearances at this wedding, The dessert table featured a ribbon banner of eggplant and blue and showcased a small cake and an assortment of delicious pies from Crane’s. We brought in some warm tones via gold chiavari chairs, brick brown rattan chargers, gold-dipped vases, and some centerpieces even included brassy metal pine cones.
Katy+Jeff, thank you so much for inviting us to be a part of our special day, and for trusting us with the look and feel of your wedding. We can’t begin to tell you how much we enjoyed bringing your vision to life!
Vendors: Reception venue: Saugatuck Center for the Arts, Catering: Christine Ferris, Photographer: The Compass Points Here, DJ: friend of the bride, Bar service: Beverage Specialists by Liquor Locker, Tent: Taylor Rental of Holland, Chiavari Chairs:, Floral: Crystal Springs, Pies: Crane’s, Centerpiece containers & props: Stella Event Design, Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental via Stella Event Design

Stella Event Design Services Provided: Design, Day-of Coordination, Linens & Decor Rentals

real michigan wedding :: stephanie+marshall’s millcreek barn wedding

Talk about photogenic–Stephanie and Marshall are SUCH a cute couple! They were absolutely head over heels in love with each other and so calm about everything. It made working with them on their special day at Millcreek Barns a real treat! 2013 was an amazing year for dresses—we saw so many amazing gowns at our events and Stephanie’s was no exception—it’s just gorgeous! Enjoy the lovely photos below from our friends at 430 Studios!


They chose Mill Creek Barn as their venue, and it was a picture perfect day. One of our favorite things about Millcreek is that there are so many amazing photo opportunities right on the property–there’s no need to drive around–you can change on site in the adorable bridal cottage, roam the property for photos, and be ready to go for your ceremony!


The décor, in varying shades of soft pink, was romantic and slightly vintage in style. Mill Creek has a rustic elegance about it, and this wedding definitely highlighted that beautifully.


Stephanie’s accessories were absolutely stunning from the blush gems to the shoes. And speaking of the shoes–these amazing & shimmery Jimmy Choo’s are definitely our favorite glam shoe of the season!


Stephanie+Marshall, thank you so much for letting us be a part of your day—it was lovely, you are lovely, and we are so glad you let us be a part of it!


Vendors: Ceremony & Reception Venue: Millcreek Barns, Photographer: 430 Studios, Floral: Beikmann Associates, Catering: CK Catering, Cake: Dee’s Specialty Cakes, DJ: AllStar Productions, Hair & Makeup: Julie Strating, Ruffled Burlap Runners: Stella Event Design, Bar Service: Beverage Specialists by Liquor Locker

Stella Event Design Services Provided: Day-of Coordination, Decor Rentals

real wedding :: jamie+kevin’s romantic vineyard wedding in southwest michigan

From the first time we met with Jamie and Kevin, we knew that it was going to be a real treat planning and designing a vineyard wedding for this sweet couple. They envisioned a romantic, vintage-inspired celebration with shades of pink, yellow and grey, with pops of light blue. Our design incorporated custom table runners, a variety of eclectic mix-and-match centerpieces, custom wine bottle table numbers, lots of candlelight and many unique details.  The crafty bride took our design plan and ran with it, incorporating some DIY projects of her own that made the day especially unique & personal to them. Enjoy the beautiful photos captured by the always-amazing 430 Studios!


The wedding ceremony was absolutely gorgeous. Jamie arrived in a vintage car, which drove her to the aisle with her dad. The aisle was accented by vintage doors, hanging jars of baby’s breath and draped ribbons, all of which lead to a beautiful stone gazebo accented with suspended flowers hung with ribbon. It was the perfect way to frame such a lovely couple.


I loved their sweetheart table, which was playful and fun featuring a gorgeous linen from La Tavola that was reminiscent of the brides dress, and was framed by a colorful ribbon banner made by the bride! The light up monogram letters accented the dance floor and were made by the brides father (I love that!) Ladies, don’t underestimate what your dads are able to do for you—we have seen so many amazing creations come from crafty & handy fathers!
We just love the detail on these delicious homemade pies provided by Piggott’s Farm Market as part of the dessert table!
This may be one of my favorite ring-shots to date, and Jamie’s dress was just so beautiful—it was absolutely perfect for her! Jamie+Kevin, thank you again for letting us be a part of your special day–we can’t tell you how much we enjoyed working on your beautiful day with you!
Vendors: Ceremony, Reception venue & caterer: Willow Harbor Vineyards, Photography: 430 Studios, Vintage Car: Magnum Limo, Pies: Piggott’s Farm Market, Floral: Crystal Springs Florist

Stella Event Design services provided: Design, Day-of Coordination & Decor Rentals


2013 lake shore wedding walk — 12 reasons we know you’ll love it!

If you follow us on Facebook (you should–we’re tons of fun!)  you’ve definitely heard us chattering about the Lake Shore Wedding Walk and sharing some coupon codes for free tickets! It’s a unique (really fun) bridal event that takes place in St. Joseph on Sunday, September 15th from 1-4:00 and we’re proud to both plan the event and participate in it! We would love for all of you 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 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!


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 other fab local florists, including some super-snazzy specialty linens you will ‘ooh’ and ‘aaah’ over!

3. Food. Food, Food–at all 3 venues!

4. Bid on over $8,000 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. Meet professional, amazing, fun, and super talented local vendors to create your wedding day Dream Team.

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

10. Visit 3 of the areas most beautiful venues!

11. Eat some cupcakes!

12. Did we mention the food and wine?


floral services for your 2014 wedding in southwest michigan

Happy Monday! We’re fresh off of working a beautiful wedding this weekend at Millcreek Barns, and we’re in the mood for an announcement! After years of dreaming, months of planning, and more recently–weeks of hard work on a new workspace–we are thrilled to officially announce that we will be offering in-house, full service floral design to our clients! Please excuse all of the exclamation points in this post, but we’re pretty excited! Last week we visited one of our wholesalers to pick up some Spring blooms to play with, and here are a few little pretties we whipped up for fun…a big thank you to our office neighbor Ben Pancoast Photography for snapping some pretty pics for us!

southwest michigan florist

We’ll be sharing many more details about our floral services next month, when we launch our shiny new website as part of our re-branding project, but we just couldn’t wait to share!

So why add floral services, you may ask? Well, after years of offering design services, it was a natural evolution for us. We’ve been picking out the blooms, the containers, linens, lighting and every other visual aspect of weddings for our design clients, and the one area we lacked control over the vision we had was the actual creation of the floral pieces. Now don’t get me wrong, I can’t say enough good things about the florists we’ve worked with over the years–they’re beyond amazing and they’ve done a wonderful job for us–but we’re very excited about how simple this will make the design process for our wonderful brides. So after years of “playing” with flowers, acting as florist for our friends & family and taking an amazing floral design course in Chicago, we’re very excited to take the next step of offering this service to our brides!

We’re offering services in 2013 on a very limited basis, as our planning schedule is already full, but we’ll be offering it throughout 2014, for any Stella Event Design clients who are wanting to add our floral services to their planning & design services. We’re SO excited about how easy and seamless this will make the design process for our brides, and the creativity and control it will give us to ensure things are perfect for our brides.  And for brides who are interested in utilizing our planning & design services, but already have a florist secured—no worries—we’re still happy to work with any and all area florists to make your day perfect! So stay tuned, you’ll be seeing a lot of pretty florals popping up on the blog from here on out.

A special thanks to our office neighbor & wedding photographer Ben Pancoast for the pretty pictures he snapped for us!


inspiration :: some weddings are for the birds (literally)

One of the popular trends for the 2013 season is the bird themed wedding. Birds have a long-standing tradition of being seen as symbols of love, with many species such as the lovebird mating for life. If you’re considering incorporating birds into your design here are a few ideas to help you get started!

Wedding Wear:

  • Jewelry: There are many jewelry designers who create beautiful, bird themed necklaces and bracelets which can be a beautiful addition to you and your bridesmaids wedding day style (and can make great gifts for your bridesmaids as well).
  • Headbands/Headpieces: From a simple white or peacock feather headband to a more ornate, avant-garde look, there are many different headbands or hairpieces that can customized as part of your style.


Invitations and Save-the-Dates:

  • Many designers for invitations and save-the-dates are offering bird-themed designs. There is everything from more rustic looks with traditional lovebirds and birdcages to elegant designs featuring swans or silhouetted flocks of birds. No matter what your taste in design is, you will likely be able to find a designer who has a look or can create a look that fits your style perfectly.

Photo by Studio 6-23

Design Elements:

  • Bird Cages: Bird cages can be incredibly versatile as far as design is concerned. If you are considering an outdoor wedding in a wooded area they can be hung tastefully from branches. In a reception space they can make one-of-a-kind elements for centerpieces.
  • Chair Backings: If you have a more rustic style for your wedding, consider having love birds silhouettes as your chair backings for either your wedding or reception space. 
  • Gifts for Guests: Birds can be incorporated into your favors for your guests as well. One idea from Etsy is to use Muslin bags featuring birds. These can be a fun, creative,  customizable addition to your style.


  • Cake: There are some beautiful cake designs that are bird themed. You can incorporate silhouettes of birds, bird cages, or branches to create a one of a kind cake style that fits your overall theme.
  • Cake Topper: An alternative to a completely bird themed cake is to go with a more traditional cake design and have a bird themed cake topper.
  • Cupcake Flags: If you’re having cupcakes at your wedding, you can incorporate birds by creating cupcake flags which feature a bird silhouette. It’s a simple way to tie in your dessert to the rest of your theme without it being too ornate or time consuming.

12 unique guest book ideas

A guest book can be one of the treasured keepsakes from your wedding–and one of the few tangible things you walk away with on your wedding day, aside from your photos (and your fabulous new husband, of course!). It provides a way, years down the road, to remember all your guests and the memories you created together on one of the most special days of your life. But for todays weddings,  guest books are no longer restrained to a physical book; there are many unique, creative, and fun alternatives  you can use to make your guest book something to treasure.

Make It Something for Your Home: a guest book doesn’t have to be something you put in a box somewhere and forget about until you move. It can be a functional part of the decor in your first home together. Check out these unique, home decor inspired guest book ideas for a little inspiration:

  • The Guest Book Quilt: If you, a family member, or a friend loves to quilt, a wedding guest book quilt may be a great option for you. For this guest book, you can either have precut pieces of fabric, or, if you have the time and space, a completely finished quilt guests can either sign their names on and/or write messages to you as couple. This idea isn’t limited to only a quilt. You could also do this with a tablecloth or runner.
  • The Photo Frame Guest Book: Another thing you could do is have a photo of you as a couple, possibly a favorite engagement photo, printed and matted with a white or black frame. You can then set it up on an easel for guests to sign with black or silver pens or fine tipped permanent markers. Later, you can have it framed and hung in your home.
  • A Ceramic Guest Book: If you find a ceramic piece you both like, such as a platter or vase, you can have your guests sign it with permanent markers. Later you can bake it in your oven at home to keep the ink in tact.
  • An Art Piece Guest Book: There are many ideas on for guests books that can double as art pieces for your home. One of the more popular ideas is the thumbprint tree guest book. This guest book is created by having a tree with many, curving branches painted onto a white canvas. Guests then put their thumbprints unto the tree using different colored paints and sign their names in black ink either over top of the leaf or underneath it. Pictured above, a long-distance couple had a custom map of all the places they lived during their courtship, which guests signed to later be hung in their home!
  • A Scrapbook or Photo Album Guest Book: If you have a lot of photos of you as a couple, you can create a photo album or simple scrapbook with plenty of room around the photos for your guests to sign their names or write short messages and/or pieces of advice.
  • A Favorite Game as a Guest Book: If you have a love for board games or table games one option you have is to use a favorite game as your guest book. One way this can be done is to take a game like Jenga and have each of your guests sign their names and/or write a short message on the blocks.
  • A Piece of Furniture as a Guest Book: Bring refurbished pieces of furniture such as a small bench or a rocking chair for guests to sign, and then utilize it in your home!

Make It Something Unique to You: You can find a way to make a guest book as unique as you are as a couple. It can be something that represents your interests, who you are as a couple, or an idea that inspires you.

172 and 173

A vintage book rebound as a guest book with custom nameplate. Photos by Lamb + Lark

  • A Time Capsule Guest Book: Create a time capsule guest book with the help of your guests. Have each guest write down a piece of advice and place it into a box the couple planned to open on their five year anniversary. Another similar idea is to use wine bottles instead and have guests write words of encouragement on bottles that can then be opened on your five, ten, and fifteen year anniversaries.
  • A Hollowed out Guest Book: You can create a unique wedding guest book by hollowing out a heart shape in a vintage book and having each guest sign a heart shaped piece of paper that they tied together with raffia and kept in the book.
  • A Wish Tree Guest Book: Another popular trend for non traditional guest books is to do a wish tree where guests write their best wishes for the couple on pieces of paper and then hang them from a tree. A variation of this is to do a wishing well where well wishes or signatures are placed on the smooth wishing stones.
  • Cards as a Guest Book: Place cards out for people to write in instead of a traditional books. These cards can be either opened after the reception or saved for as special occasion such as a first anniversary.

Vintage post card guest book — photos by Lamb + Lark

You Can Make Your Guest Book Interactive: Your guest book doesn’t have to be something where your guests just stand in line to sign a book. It can be a fun, interactive way to have your guests get the chance to interact with each other.

  • The Photobooth Guest Book: If you are having a photobooth at your wedding you have a great opportunity for your guests to have a great time while creating an incredibly unique guest book for you to cherish for years. What you can do is have your guests go through the photobooth, and then you have them take one set of their photos and place the other set in a book for you. You can have plenty of space for them to write fun messages, memories, or even just sign their names, and you can kill two birds—a favor and a guest book entry–with one stone!