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A Classic, Lake Michigan Wedding Anchored in Tradition

There’s something special about a traditional wedding. Each detail – like the couple’s sweet history with the location, the bride’s beautiful bouquet wrap crafted from her mother’s veil and grandmother’s gown, and the groom’s heirloom toasting goblets – overflows with love and thought. Grab a tissue because this elegant event captured by Laura Ann Miller Photography will pull on your heartstrings. See all the thoughtful details in our Vault!


From the Bride… Although Dan and I met and now reside in Missouri, there was never any doubt that we would marry in Wilmette, my beautiful hometown. Situated on Lake Michigan just north of Chicago, it’s a special place for us – even more so after Dan asked me to marry him there on my childhood beach. We hope to one day settle in Wilmette with a family of our own, so it only felt fitting to become husband and wife there, too.

Dan and I were together for seven years before we became engaged, so we had a long time to dream of our future wedding. Once our engagement was official, our vision for an elegant, romantic and traditional wedding came together quite easily, especially because I previously worked in the wedding industry and had filed away ideas for my own special day over the years. We knew we wanted a classic wedding that wouldn’t look too dated in the albums we one day show our children. Above all, it was important to us that the day feel personal and intimate; that drove all our decisions, from our venues to the decor to small details throughout the day.

We chose beautiful vintage venues with personal connections to my family. We married at my childhood church, and our reception followed at Michigan Shores Club, a historic social club in the neighborhood where I grew up. Michigan Shores is just steps away from the beach where Dan proposed, making it all the more special. The beautiful Tudor architecture of the club and the traditional-yet-intimate ambiance of both venues drove my design for our wedding day.

We chose a neutral and romantic color palette of blush, ivory and gold with black accents – a combination that both reflects our style and is a nod to our alma mater, Mizzou, where we fell in love. Our floral design was garden-inspired, with green garlands, large hydrangea blooms, and garden roses. To create an intimate ambiance and encourage conversation, we opted for long tables adorned with low floral arrangements and lots of candles to add warmth to the space. We also mixed in small, round tables with blush linens and high candelabra centerpieces for contrast.

I planned every detail of the wedding myself, and everything had a personal touch or meaning. I customized my strapless Tara Keely wedding gown to add removable, off-the-shoulder lace sleeves, which at the time was a look I wasn’t able to find in stores but one I envisioned for my wedding dress. I designed the wedding-day paper, signage, and bottle-coolers for our reception bars. My parents and I scoured antique shops for vintage vanity mirrors to use on our escort table and painted vintage frames for our displays. I sourced all the candles and tabletop decor for months. I wore Badgley Mischka shoes, and my bridesmaids wore Badgley Mischka dresses, a nod to my day job. I was also fortunate to work with wonderful vendors who brought my ideas to life, in particular our floral design by Kristin of Petals N’ Bloom and our gold thermography wedding invitation suite by Alicia of On Three Designs. I loved working with Alicia to design our invitations and incorporate personal details, like the vintage-inspired monogram and wedding map.

One of my favorite details that went unseen by most was my bouquet wrap. My mother made my bouquet wrap from pieces of my grandmother’s wedding dress and her own lace wedding veil. The finishing touch was my mother’s pin from our shared sorority – my something borrowed that day. Dan and I were also the latest in a long line of couples to toast with his family’s silver goblets; we loved continuing the tradition.

As much as we wanted a sophisticated and elegant wedding, we also wanted a fun wedding! Our DJ, Karin of Toast and Jam, played a huge role in creating a party atmosphere. Her music kept our dance floor going all night. The photo booth (complete with cardboard cut-outs of our beloved dog, Henry) was also a big hit, as were the festive sequin accents throughout. Seeing all the people I love having such an amazing time made all the hard work planning and coordinating on my own so worth it.

One of the best decisions we made was to have a long engagement, which allowed us to take our time with planning and to enjoy every step of the process. We also had plenty of time to relish being engaged and all the pre-wedding celebrations that come with it. My advice to brides is to give yourself the gift of time and enjoy the planning process.

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Photography: Laura Ann Miller Photography | Event Planning and Design: Ali Salter | Floral Design: Petals N' Bloom | Wedding Dress: JLM Couture | Invitations: On Three | Ceremony Venue: Saint Francis Xavier | Reception Venue: Michigan Shores Club | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Badgley Mischka | Makeup: Dominica Swanjnoski | Hair: Tamara Makeup + Hair Artistry | Calligraphy: KLG Calligraphy | DJ: Toast and Jam | Bridal Boutique: Volle's Bridal Boutique | Linens: CV Linens | Photo Booth: Big Hugs Photo Booth | Trolley: Village Trolley

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How an Easter Table Setting Can Inspire Your Wedding

Whether you’re a spring bride or not, you can certainly take style cues from this inspiration shoot designed around the prettiest pastels of the Easter season. A sense of soft romance was woven throughout thanks to Katherine Healy Brown of Clover Events and from the lush florals to the dipped naked cake, we’re ready to pin every detail. Thanks to Kristin La Voie Photography for the images we’ll be staring at all week long.

Katherine Healy Brown of Clover Events… Here in the Midwest, we endure a pretty brutal winter season. The days are short, cold, and dark, and with the lack of sunshine, cabin fever often sets in. With February approaching, I was looking forward to being outdoors and working with some springy colors. A greenhouse on the grounds of a historic mansion seemed like the ideal location. Come wind, snow, or rain, I knew Kristin La Voie would be the perfect photographer to capture the light and romantic feel we were all craving.

I asked the ladies at VEIL Event Design and Gather Vintage Tablescapes to dream up the perfect pastel table palette suited for an Easter weekend in Paris. We incorporated pops of subtle peach, light blue, soft lavender, and touches of the muddy, natural colors early springtime offers into the floral, invitations, and place cards.

The gorgeous naked cakes from Sugar Fixe were perfectly accented with gold flecks, and our chairs and linens provided by Classic Party Rentals rounded out our Parisian-inspired table. Our bride and groom looked flawless with the ever-so-talented beauty team consisting of Alyssa Kristin Bridal, Bianca Sansosti Artistry, and GEM Jewelry. We hope you enjoy these incredible images from Kristin La Voie Photography and the video from Robert Cawthorne Wedding Films!

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Photography: Kristin La Voie Photography | Videography: Robert Cawthorne Wedding Films | Event Planning: Clover Events | Floral Design: Veil Event Design | Wedding Dress: Alyssa Kristin | Jewelry: GEM Jewelry + Lifestyle | Hair + Makeup: Bianca Sansosti Artistry | Venue: Cheney Mansion | Cake + Desserts: Sugar Fixe | Female Model: Anna DeBlecourt | Linens: Classic Party Rentals | Male Model: Isaiah Perez | Tableware: Gather Vintage Tablescapes

Crafting an Open + Airy Bathroom Retreat without Changing the Footprint

One of my most favorite things about traveling is snagging a hotel with a big, huge, spa-like bathroom. And if I landed a room with a bath like this? I’d so never leave. Elizabeth Stamos Design crafted a master bath retreat that feels expansive and serene without changing the footprint. So no walls were knocked out in the making of this gem but a whole lot of goodies were added in. From floor to ceiling subway tile to modern sconces and a gorgeous rug, this bathroom beats all those hotel suites I thought I so loved.

When I first saw this bathroom I knew that this was going to be a fun project and great transformation. My clients had been living in their modern home for just a few years and were excited to get started on their dream bathroom and I was thrilled to help. When starting on a project I always take into context the style of the clients and the home. This house was previously renovated by an architect and had lots of sleek, modern details throughout. The bathroom needed to be an extension of that. We weren’t able to enlarge the overall footprint of the space, but reworked some details to make the bathroom feel more open and airy.

We eliminated a never used tub and replaced it with a spacious double master shower complete with modern fixtures (including handhelds to hose down their two adorable Westi’s-form and function). We ditched the old, stall-like shower and instead made custom walnut shelves to increase the storage in the space. The location of the vanity stayed the same, but we updated with a custom piece I designed that matched the shelving.

 Stylewise the goal was to create a really clean, modern bathroom that still had personality. To keep things bright we decided to keep all of the walls white. I knew with such a simple palette, I would have to add interest with layers of texture and material. I found a handmade elongated subway tile that we used in the shower and behind the vanity in a stacked installation. Its not as perfect as a machine made tile, but the imperfections add a casual warmth and texture to the space, which is important when working with a limited palette. The rich wood of the walnut vanity and shelving also helped add warmth and the grey hexagon tile added a fun modern shape.

I was really excited about the sconces behind the vanity. I fell in love with this Kate Spade for Circa lighting Double Swing Arm sconce and was so happy when my clients were on board to use it. We coordinated with a pair of simple RH Modern Sconces in the same antique bronze finish to pull it together. The grommet detailing of the RH medicine cabinets and sleek lines of the Kohler Purist faucet layered just the right amount of interest to finish it off.  

Photography: Eric Hausman | Custom Vanity and shelving: By Elizabeth Stamos Design | Double Swing Arm Sconce: Circa Lighting | Interior Design: Elizabeth Stamos Design | Medicine Cabinets: Restoration Hardware Rivet Medicine Cabinet (no longer available) | Single Sconce: RH Modern | Vases: World Market | Wall mounted faucets: Kohler Purist Line