South Bend Wedding by Melissa Hayes Photography
December 7, 2011

Up next is this gorgeous Indiana outdoor fete filled to the brim with gorgeous mercury glass, amazing floral displays, and loads of unique, personal touches. We're loving that the couple created a guest book out of rocks collected from Lake Michigan, one of their favorite places. Each and every element was captured perfectly by Melissa Hayes Photography and there's an entire gallery full of even more gorgeous images just waiting to inspire you.





Click here to see the entire gallery of images!

From the Bride...Justin and I knew that we wanted a wedding that was elegant and romantic but also laid back and tied to our love of the outdoors.  And since one of our favorite things to do together is to cook (and then eat), we wanted the food to be outstanding.  The Carriage House in South Bend, Indiana, where we were both born and raised, provided the perfect mix of beautiful gardens and excellent food.  The restaurant itself is housed in a historic church built in 1851 and is surrounded by a backyard garden containing organic herbs, fruits, vegetables, and flowers that were used extensively in preparing our menu.  As luck would have it, even the garden arches covered in bridal veil clematis began blooming the week of our wedding, making a spectacular backdrop for our outdoor ceremony.

More than anything, we wanted our wedding to be a joyful celebration.  With the vision of a great party in mind, we greeted our guests with a blueberry cocktail as they entered the gardens.  Keeping the ceremony simple and intimate was very important to us, so we chose my sister and Justin’s brother to make up our small wedding party and had one of my oldest and dearest friends open the day with a poem by Robert Frost.  After the ceremony, our guests enjoyed wine and pizza straight from a wood-fired oven served on two long, tables on the alfresco patio.  They were then lead into a tent where we served more delicious food, wedding cake, and some amazing blueberry crisps. Our fabulous band, featuring local musician Darryl Buchanan, kept everyone on the dance floor all night with Motown and R&B favorites.

We wanted our décor to compliment and not overshadow the natural beauty of the gardens, so we chose flowers in shades of white and cream and succulents to line the tables.  We also used as much mercury glass as I could get my hands on to create a warm glow both inside and outside of the tent.  Our fabulous florist, Polly McCarthy – a creative genius and the mother of one of our good friends – even placed real oak trees covered in hanging candles inside the tent to create a magical outdoor vibe.  We added a personal touch to our programs and napkins by using the monogram of our names and “9.10.11” wedding date designed by the lovely Maggie Campbell of Campbell Raw Press in Brooklyn, New York for our invitations.  In lieu of a guest book, our friends and family signed rocks that Justin and I collected from Lake Michigan, one of favorite places.  For favors, we created custom tote bags to greet out-of-town guests and handed out ribbon-tied bags of Garrett’s caramel corn – a family favorite from Chicago where I used to live.

Finally, we ended a perfect evening by exiting through rows of sparklers.  We owe a special thanks to all of the talented people we had an opportunity to work with in creating an unforgettable evening!  It was an absolute joy to work with our photographer Melissa Hayes and her husband, Casey.  Melissa’s images capture how every element of the wedding reflected Justin and me as a couple.  Above all else, we are truly blessed by the love and support of our families and friends who traveled from across the country to celebrate with us.  There are no words to describe how much that meant to us.

Wedding Photography: Melissa Hayes Photography / Venue: The Carriage House / Officiant: Kerri Hoffman / Floral Design: Polly McCarthy of Poppie’s / Lighting + Sound: ProShowDJ / Band: Darryl Buchanan / Wedding Cake: Cakewalk / Invitations: Campbell Raw Press