Planning a South Bend wedding? A review of local vendors!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Let's be honest, wedding planning can be stressful. Like, really, really stressful. Even if you tend to be an organized do-it-your-selfer kind of person, it can be a pain to keep it all straight. I like to think of myself as the kind of person who can make and follow a to-do list to a t. But there were times that wedding planning felt a little like trying to organize a herd of cats. Or the Superbowl. But I digress. 

If you're planning a wedding in the South Bend, Indiana, area, there are some amazing vendors to choose from. Here's a little bit about each of the vendors I used in the hopes that this will help a bride or two from feeling slightly less stress throughout your process. 

Ceremony Venue: Church of Our Lady of Loretto, Saint Mary's College
Ever since I was a student at Saint Mary's, I knew I wanted to get married in this place, on this campus, surrounded by so many wonderful memories from college. As a teacher, I feel like it's only fitting that I tied in a place that focuses on education. Plus, the church is round on the inside, which I absolutely love! I'm not going as in-depth here since you have to be an alum in order to get married here, but this was the very first thing we booked! 

Reception Venue: Hilton Garden Inn, Saint Mary's College campus
I literally dreamed of having our reception here almost as quickly as we got engaged. But, our date changed once or twice, and we there was a tentative hold on our date, so I didn't know if we would be able to have the reception there. As luck would have it, though, the date opened, and we booked it immediately! Our coordinator at Hilton Garden in was Megan Lesar, and she was absolutely fantastic to work with! She was great about answering any questions we had, and always responded quickly. The room looked absolutely incredible when we walked in the night of the wedding -- literally, everything we had talked about was above and beyond my expectations. The food was INCREDIBLE there, as it's all made by the chefs at Bistro 933 (one of our favorite restaurants!)! Added bonus: Megan took care of moving all of our gifts to our room for us so that we didn't have to have family and friends stay after and help us after the ceremony was over! That might seem like a small detail, but I think it just proves how serious they take customer service from beginning to end. I seriously hope we get to attend a wedding here someday, because I really want to see it from the guest side of everything! 

Dresses and Suits: Wedding Belles Bridal, Stevensville, Michigan
I only looked at two different stores for my wedding dress, but after I went the first day, I knew I would find my dress at Wedding Belles. The atmosphere and the people there were simply the best! The store is owned and operated by Patty Sanders and her son Will. They, along with their very talented staff, were able to help us narrow down all of our options until we found the absolute perfect dresses and suits! Our entire bridal party (sans children) and our parents were all outfitted at Wedding Belles. If you go there, I highly recommend Juli for a consultant! She helped me to find my perfect dress and even came to our wedding (as a guest!) and helped me bustle it! Now THAT is customer service! 

Jewelry for bridesmaids and moms: Heather Furness, Stars and Sparkle Accessories, LaPorte, Indiana
I lucked out SO MUCH on the jewelry for the ladies in my bridal party. My friend and fellow Jazzercise instructor, Heather, makes AMAZING custom jewelry (check her out here!)! I spoke with her about the vision I had in my brain and sent her a few photos I had found off of various websites, and she put together the most perfect jewelry ever for me. Pictured above is what I gave the girls (each necklace had a little initial charm so each one was unique!)! She even wrapped and labeled the packages beautifully for me. I would recommend Heather to anyone -- I loved the jewelry so much, I had her make me a set too!

Hair, Jamie Yops and Angie, Studio C, South Bend, Indiana
Jamie has been my go to stylist for years now, and I knew I'd want her doing my hair on the wedding day. Not only were she and Angie incredibly talented, they kept the appointments moving and got us out early! I loved that all the looks went together but each one was different from the next. Jamie creates amazing up-dos, but also gives great haircuts and picks perfect hair colors, in the event that you need her for that too! 

Makeup, Camellia Cosmetics, Granger, Indiana
Camellia has been the leader in area makeup since they opened. Our wedding makeup didn't disappoint! They were pretty packed with makeup appointments the day of our wedding, so we did get bogged down a little toward the middle, but everyone looked incredible, so it was totally worth it! 

DJ and Uplighting: Shawn Saros at ProShow DJ, Mishawaka, Indiana
We loved ProShow as soon as we met with him, and Shawn came highly recommended to us from other couples we knew. Shawn was great when we met with him and really heard what we wanted for our wedding. He kept the dance floor packed the entire night, and even worked with us to make some special, individual touches to make our wedding just what we wanted. Additionally, Shawn is just an all around great guy. He came by Dan and I more than a few times to see if we needed anything (a drink, cake, anything!)! If we ever need a DJ again, Shawn will be our guy! He even recommended our first dance song, and we loved it! 

Photography: Kaity Fuja, OMG Photography
We received really great advice early on in the wedding planning process. We were told, "Splurge on the photographer, because 20 years from now, all you've have left from that day are those pictures and your memories." We knew we wanted amazing pictures to look back on. I've known Kaity since I was in high school (and we share a birthday!), so I knew I'd want Kaity to shoot our wedding. The woman is SUPER talented (as evidenced by the fact that she's shooting 22 (22!!!) weddings this year!)! We couldn't have asked for better memories from our day. I can't wait to show these pictures to people for the rest of our lives! 

Flowers, Polly McCarthy, Poppies Floral
There is good news and bad news when it came to our flowers. The good news is our flowers were absolutely incredible. The bad news is we got married on Mother's Day weekend... one of the two holidays a year when flower costs rise markedly (the other, of course, is Valentine's Day). So, our flowers were pricey. But they were beautiful, and Polly knows her stuff! Polly has a tremendous amount of experience under her belt, and showed us pictures of some of the most creative and beautiful displays I've ever seen! Our flowers absolutely fall into that category! The moral of the story is be careful what weekend you get married. :) 

Cake, Tammy, Ralph's Bakery, New Carlisle, Indiana
Let's be honest, I love a good cake. This was one of the parts of wedding planning I was MOST excited about! Cake and I are close personal friends, so we knew it had to be good. We tried cake at a few different places. One was just okay. One we really liked, but it was pricey for a wedding of our size. But the last one was just right! I'd had birthday cake from Ralph's before, and I kept remembering the delicious frosting and fillings. When we met with Tammy, it was literally love at first bite. We had a hard time deciding which cake was our favorite, so we had to get four different flavors! It was EXTREMELY reasonable and absolutely delicious! 

Groom's Cake, Brigitte Vegter, PawPaw, Michigan
Brigitte is married to James, one of Dan's groomsmen and she makes absolutely stunning cakes! Dan was desperately trying to get his Pontiac GTO done in time for our wedding, but it just wasn't in the cards for the wedding, and perfection can't be rushed. So, I reached out to Brigitte to ask her if she could make a GTO cake for Dan. And boy, did she come through! The cake looked absolutely amazing -- a black GTO complete with rice krispie wheels, light up headlights, and a Putt plate on the front with our wedding date plate on the back. It was incredible! And double bonus, it TASTED incredible too! I keep telling Brigitte she should go into business -- her cakes are too awesome not to!

Mini-honeymoon, Yelton Manor Bed and Breakfast, South Haven, Michigan
Dan and I planned to go away for a night before we had to readjust to normal life. We left on the Sunday after our wedding without a plan, and started driving toward South Haven. Neither of us had ever stayed at a Bed and Breakfast before, and after some intense car Googling, we found Yelton Manor Bed and Breakfast . Ohmigosh, I LOVE this place! We were the only guests in the Manor that night, and the owners Elaine and Robert were more than hospitable. Each room is filled with games and books galore, which, honestly, could have entertained us for weeks on end! Sunday evening, it was raining, and we sat on the covered porch for a good hour just listening to rain fall. So peaceful and wonderful! And breakfast the next morning was scrumptious, and featured many items from the gardens on the grounds. If you're ever looking for a B&B in South Haven, SUPER highly recommend this one! 


  1. Very true! Wedding planning is such a stressful task. When I got married we tried to arrange everything own my own but couldn’t do all alone. So we hired a planner who helped us in finding a perfect Wedding location in Chicago and arranging everything else. She was really very helpful.

    1. Couldn't agree more! It's fun, and it's supposed to be, but it's also really, really stressful! Hope your wedding turned out perfectly!


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