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French Inspired Garden Tea Party Wedding at Laurel Hall

It’s never lost on me how incredibly lucky I am to be able to share love stories like this one day in and day out. It’s a wonderful honor to showcase such an important day on our site, and when Autumn Keller is showering the soiree with gorgeous florals and Eric Houghtalen was behind the design helm I feel like we hit the wedding jackpot. And when Conforti Photography is behind the lens to capture it all, I know we have. See why here


From Eric HoughtalenI first encountered the newly engaged couple during our first meeting in March 2014. This was the first opportunity to discuss all the details, hopes and dreams for their special day. They brought with them a huge perfectly organized binder already full of ideas and inspirational photos. Witnessing Amanda and Leslie interact was like watching a fairytale storybook romance unfurl before my eyes. The room filled with the true love they had for one another. Ideas were discussed and the shear volume of excitement took over the quietness of my office. I’ll never forget how amazingly the three of us instantly clicked. The moment the meeting ended and they left my office, I said to my manager- without doubt or hesitation, ” Whatever it takes, I AM going to do this wedding and do it right!”

I was aware the girls were comparison shopping for everything including catering and my role as event planner. I wasn’t going to allow anyone to take this opportunity away from me. So after a couple months of numerous phone calls, number crunching and proposals, I got an email and phone call confirming they had selected me as their planner. I was so honored and overjoyed by their decision I could barely contain my emotions.

Once the initial contract formalities were complete, the real fun began. Of course the process had many challenges. First, Amanda was accepted to law school and moved from Indiana to Austin, TX. Thus our face to face meetings soon became hour long phone conversations and very long email threads. Second, Due to all the specify details, Scheduling trips home become very delicate and time sensitive. The girls had to fly or drive back to Indiana for the menu tastings, linen selections, decor shopping, floral and decor consultations, design work, dress fittings etc. The planning process definitely had it’s wealth of stress and plethora of freak out moments. I am glad we were all able to keep each other sane and no one got hurt along the way.

Lastly, as with any wedding the dreaded budget kept becoming a thorn in our sides. The biggest concern was how to achieve their goal without compromising the overall vision. Through my close relationship with vendors and their bargain shopping skills the wedding started to finally seemed logistical and on budget . After hundreds of hours and over 18 months of designing/planning the wedding weekend finally arrived.

Installation and Setup at Laurel Hall took two full days. I know everyone involved was taken back and overwhelmed by the shear beauty of the transformation of the venue. Specifically, the beautiful florals provided by Autumn brought some to tears and personally gave me goosebumps. The weather forecast was a slight concern but alas, all we had was high humidity, 88 degrees and a perfectly sunny sky. The romantic ceremony was set in the garden. The cocktail hour in the solarium was filled with the sounds of joy as the talented string duo continued playing custom arranged music. Guests gathered in the grand foyer for the announcing of the bridal party. As guests applauded and cheered, Amanda and Leslie made their entrance down the elaborate grand staircase. Guests were ushered into dinner and engulfed by the feminine and regal decor. Shades of pink linens and lighting including dusty rose, ballet slipper and blush instantly gave the room a romantic elegance. The table settings included vintage china, gold flatware and napkins rolled into a rose. Guests dined on the fine cuisine from Hoaglin Catering. Dinner was followed by the cake cutting, dessert boutique, many heartfelt toasts, dancing and a late night food station. Upon conclusion, the brides were treated to one last surprise – a pink sparkler send off and a 1938 Cadillac to wisp them away into the night.

From Autumn KellerThe girls came to me initially with a distinct vision; French Rococo Tea Party. The feminine feel that they wanted included dainty, gilded flourishes, touches of lace, floral china, shades of soft pinks and gentle blushes with hints of gold. The floral arrangements that we dreamed up we wanted to have a refined garden look; gentle, graceful and lush, almost reminiscent of a Watteau painting.

From The Brides…For a month, a mutual friend of ours had been adamant that we meet because “we’d be perfect for each other.” He couldn’t have been more right. We had an irresistible connection that made us hate to be away from one another. From the moment we started dating, we were inseparable and haven’t spent a night apart in 3 years.

I (Amanda) knew within the first week of meeting Leslie that she was who I wanted to spend forever with. The first time Leslie ever said out loud that she was going to marry me was at the grocery store about a month after we met: when we discovered that we both like to put hot dogs in our Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Leslie proposed in February of 2012 and we set our wedding date for the summer of 2014. We both wanted everything to be perfect, so we wanted LOTS of time to plan.

We’re both very girly and over-the-top, and we wanted our wedding to be the essence of femininity. Most brides have to be mindful of how girly their wedding gets; almost no one gets to have a wedding that is all pink, lace, and flowers! We really wanted people to come to our wedding and say “This is so them!”

Photography: Conforti Photography | Videography: Daniel Dodd | Floral Design: Autumn Keller | Wedding Dress: Demetrios | Wedding Dress: Poise Patch | Cake: Heavenly Sweets | Reception Venue: Laurel Hall | Bride's Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Bride's Shoes: Betsy Johnson | Rings: Distinctive Diamonds | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Etsy | Catering: Hoaglin | Hair And Makeup: Krystal Moore | DJ: EventOne DJ | Mens Attire: Express | China: Violet Vintage | Confections: Circle City Sweets | Cookies: Vanilla Bean Bakery | Earrings: Etsy | Event Designer : Eric Houghtalen | Headpiece: Demetrios | Linens: Linen Hero | Men's Ascots: Elegant Ascots | Photography - Assistance: Jackie Santana | Rentals: A Classic Party Rental | Strings: Hershberger Studio

Downton Abbey Styled Shoot from Stacy Able

To be honest, I feel like I’ve been living under a rock having NOT yet seen a full episode of Downton Abbey. Don’t get me wrong — I get the gist, but when amazing vendors like Stacy Able and Jama Finney start planning entire shoots around the show, you know you’re a officially out of the TV loop. Soooo, besides binge watching the last four seasons to play catch up, my week will be spent curled up in this gorgeous gallery of Downton-style pretty. Find it all here.


From Stacy Able… This wedding inspiration shoot took place on a rainy afternoon at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is proof you can pull together a sophisticated event just about anywhere even during Indiana’s infamous unpredictable weather. Stacy Able Photography, Detail + Design, and Cake Zen came up with the concept of the shoot. Inspiration was taken from Downton Abbey and Great Gatsby with a color palette of emerald green, gold, mints, blush, and ivory. The palette blended seamlessly with the 1920′s style gowns from Blue House Bridal and the classic tux from DC’s Tux.

The goal of this shoot was to reflect old world elegance in a clean, classic, and timeless way. To achieve that look, Stacy Able shot a majority of the images with medium formal film. Then by adding touches of elegance with vintage china, soft peach and pink florals, and gold jewelry from Gthrapp the end result was a modern wedding with touches of old world charm and sophistication. Fresh white Peonies from Claudia’s Florabunda and roses from Detail and Design formed a glamorous feel to the table, along with the heirloom lace linens and crystal. The chairs and centerpieces helped to pull the scene together, along with the many handmade desserts and open face sandwiches.

The invitations by Posh and Polish were the definition of vintage chic, utilizing floral details and elegant fonts topped off with lettering by Calligraphy with TLC. Modern studded Valentinos from Indianapolis’s Saks Fifth Avenue were utilized to give a tiny touch of mystery and opulence. The emerald wedding ring and heirloom gold jewelry pieces paid homage to the pantone color of the year and added the touch of sparkle every bride dreams of. This elegant shoot came together marvelously due to the synergy of Indianapolis finest wedding vendors.

Invitations: Nikki Pulfer | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Jewelry: Gthrapp Jewelers | Hair: Morgan Wright | Calligraphy: Calligraphy with TLC | Bridal Bouquet: Gina Martin | Cake + Co-Stylist: Jama Finney | Desserts: Bake Sweet | Lace Cape: Emily Riggs Bridal | Makeup: Leslie Hair and Makeup | Models: BMG Chicago | Photography - Assistance: Audra Stam | Photography/Concept/Stylist: Stacy Able Photography | Second Pair Shoes: Valentino

Emily Riggs is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here.
Indianapolis Wedding at The Rathskeller from Studio Rebekah Photography

I love this bride. I love her confidence. And I love that she knows exactly what she wants. I think that is so important when planning a wedding, to be you and do what makes you happy. Wear a red dress, don’t have a set color palette and book a fabulous biergarten like The Rathskeller for your venue. That’s exactly what these two did and there’s no doubt that the photos from Studio Rebekah Photography say it all. See the whole fun day right here in the gallery.


From the Bride… With both Colin and I being actors, I’m sure many people expected us to have a theatre or movie star-themed wedding, but much like the crazy inner workings of my mind, that just didn’t seem splendid enough! From the get-go, we only knew we wanted a few basic things: lots of friends and family, lots of laughter, lots of food and beverage, and lots of love. Having a lively, community-oriented celebration reminiscent of old world nuptials was the main image in our heads. (Oh, and the red dress, of course!) Honestly, being cocooned in a nest of our loved ones and making sure everyone would feel comfortable and have fun were our only true concerns. We figured the rest would fall into place.

Out of budgetary necessity, nearly the entire wedding took shape via DIY projects and group efforts that utilized the special talents and skills of our family and friends.

I designed our invitations, save-the-dates, menu cards, and program fans using basic computer programs. The mother of one of my childhood best friends owns a floral shop in Broad Ripple Village in Indianapolis called Bokay Florist. She did an AMAZING job on our flowers. My mom, mother-in-law, and I spent the months before searching thrift stores for various red, amber, and turquoise glass vases and jars to make colorful floral tablescapes. My bridal bouquet was constructed from various brooches – both new and heirloom – given to me by the women in my family. My grandma and great aunt assembled the entire bouquet and shipped it to the florist who added three yellow roses in memory of my maternal grandma.

Rebekah Albaugh of Studio Rebekah Photography was my brother’s wedding photographer in 2011. I was thrilled when my brother and sister-in-law surprised me by hiring her again as a gift to Colin and I on our wedding day! She did an absolutely amazing job on our stunning wedding photos. Literally everyone who sees them asks who our photographer was, and we promptly give them the referral.

DJ Greg Griffin is a good friend of mine from graduate school who studied theatrical lighting and sound. He provided all of our sound and DJ services as a wedding gift.

During the process, it was often difficult to explain our wedding “design” to vendors and the like. We never chose colors or had a formal rehearsal of the ceremony. Our first dance was a goofy, improvised routine of tomfoolery.

I searched high and low in Chicago and Indianapolis for the perfect venue. We wanted outdoors, not too formal, cheerful, big, a one-stop shop for both the ceremony and reception, and all on a budget-friendly tab. After what seemed like an eternity searching, my parents, maid of honor, and I visited The Rathskeller in Indianapolis. We booked the biergarten almost immediately. It had the perfect feel for our festive celebration. Not many weddings had been done in this space, so it felt like having a blank canvas for my less-than-traditional tendencies, which was great. It was perfect. Absolutely perfect. A gorgeous day under blue skies and a beautiful evening under the stars. I couldn’t have asked for a better backdrop for the best day ever.

Wedding Photography: Rebekah Albaugh from Studio Rebekah Photography | Wedding Venue: The Rathskeller in Indianapolis, Indiana | Floral Design: Bo Kay Florist | Pies: Boyden’s Bakery | DJ: Greg Griffin from P&M Sound | Wedding Stationery: Paper Source | Wedding Dress: Dame Couture | Bride’s Head Piece: Emilliner | Groom’s Attire: Nordstrom Rack