My Wedding In//Michigan City & LaPorte, IN

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WeddingDay
Date
April 16, 2013
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From the sandy shores of Lake Michigan to a big red barn in the country, LaPorte and Michigan City will wow you with charm and romance. 
Our guide to all things LaPorte County will help you create a perfect day with perfect memories.  Explore the unexpected and revel in the traditions these two towns have to offer.
 
The only problem with getting married in Michigan City/LaPorte is sifting through the possibilities: they’re as abundant as the sand on the lake. Do you want a beach wedding, a vintage ceremony in an historic mansion or an ultra-modern affair at an art gallery or casino?
 
The area itself is varied. You can pick blueberries or apples in a nearby orchard or stop by a farmers market for fresh vegetables or cheese. 
 
Washington Park is the setting for an annual super boat grand prix hosted by the LaPorte County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. The park is also the home of the Old Lighthouse Museum. The 1858 structure has eight rooms chronicling shipwrecks and other Lake Michigan historical tidbits. 
 
Mt. Baldy is a 123-foot sand dune that is part of the 15,000 acre Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore – one of the most breathtaking stretches of sand and water in the United States. You can hike, fly a kite, catch the waves or pack a romantic picnic there. The wildlife is amazing too.
 
Did you know that some of the candy you might put out for your wedding guests is made in LaPorte? American Licorice, one of the oldest candy companies in the United States, makes Red Vines, Sour Punch straws, Super Ropes and Snaps.
 
Don’t forget Lighthouse Place with 120 stores such as Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, Coach and Calvin Klein. 
 
Both cities are chocked full of wedding vendors, some who have been helping area brides for many generations.  This guide will help you uncover some of the hidden treasures of the area.
 
 
 
 
 

PHOTOGRAPHY

Lady & The Lens Photography
222 W. 4th Street, Michigan City IN
 
Photographer Holly Russell and her team will go to extreme lengths to get the shot she has in mind: whether that means stopping traffic on the street, hanging over a railing, climbing rocks or scraping gum off the bottom of your high heel, she’s up to the challenge. She’s also not afraid to get dirty. She has a knack for taking a space and making her vision come to life. This is not a job for her – it is a calling.
 
Serene Images Photography
 
Heather Sanderson began shooting weddings in 2010 in order to chase her dream. She is a fan of natural shots, capturing who you really are – maybe an emotional moment between the groom and his brother or a tiny little meltdown by the tiny little flower girl.
 
Amy Straka Photography
 
Although she studied journalism in college, Amy opted to pick up the camera instead of chasing down stories. She calls Michigan City and LaPorte a beachside getaway and a country locale all at the same time. She wants your wedding album to bring back how the cake tasted and exactly how it felt to see your fiancé become your husband, not just evoke comments like “that’s pretty.” Amy believes in the permanency of professional photography as heirlooms to pass down to your children.
 
 
 
 
 

FLoRAL

Wright’s Flowers & Gifts
5424 N. Johnson Road, Michigan City IN
 
Ryan Huff, floral designer, knows that there’s a lot more to a floral bouquet than a picture on Pinterest. Wright’s, in business since 1948, understands that flowers tell a story and Ryan wants the floral canvas to be as individual as each bride. Factors: the bridesmaids’ dresses; the time of year; the available flowers, the flowers that hold up the best for several hours and into the next day and the flower that best represents the bride. His favorite flower? The calla lily.
 
Thode Floral & Gifts
1609 Lincolnway, LaPorte IN
 
Jessica Grant, floral designer, is fun-loving, vivacious and described by brides as very patient—she wants them to have a good time and not just look at photos and price lists. Her own wedding bouquet was runner up in The Knot’s “Best of the Bunch” contest. Her favorite flower – the Anemone. This LaPorte florist has been in business since 1926.
 
 
 
 
 

SAlON/SPA

Spa Blu at the Blue Chip Casino Hotel & Spa
777 Blue Chip Drive, Michigan City IN
 
Doesn’t a milk and honey wrap sound relaxing before your wedding? Spa Blu is a luxurious 10,000 square foot spa and fitness center with everything a bridal party and their guests could want – hair, makeup, manicure, pedicure, massages, facial...the list goes on and on. Have your bridesmaids meet you at the “transformation suite” for a hair and makeup party with hors d’oeuvres and general pampering. 
 
 
 
 
 

 

VENUES

The Allure
301 B. Street, LaPorte IN
 
Close your eyes and imagine Cary Grant coming down the stairway holding a martini in this remodeled 1920’s vintage location. It even has an intact gym floor from back in the day when it was a school! There are three levels, making it convenient to have the ceremony and reception in one spot. The grand ballroom is aptly named.
 
Blue Chip Casino Hotel & Spa
777 Blue Chip Drive, Michigan City IN
 
Just an hour from Chicago, the Blue Chip offers complimentary valet parking, a wedding cake included in the package and has its own wedding planner. The property has a hotel, spa, five restaurants, various-sized rooms for bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, bachelor or bachelorette parties, ceremonies and receptions (25-600 people).  There’s no luck involved in a wedding at Blue Chip. 
 
The Red Barn Experience
4555 W. Johnson Road, LaPorte IN
 
Wedding Planner Ashley Thunder Carson’s father remodeled a barn on his property  (one of the oldest farms in NW Indiana) for her wedding. Today, the barn is a wedding venue so popular it’s already getting booked for 2014. It’s only available May to October when the warm winds are a’blowin.
 
Barker Mansion
613 Washington Street, Michigan City IN
 
This turn of the century 38-room mansion built by railroad industrialist John H. Barker is the ultimate spot for an intimate celebration of up to about 70. You can luxuriate in its art, original furniture, and ornate woodwork. A garden wedding at the Barker is as romantic as it gets. 
 
Lubeznik Center for the Arts
101 W. Second Street, Michigan City IN
 
An evening wedding reception in a stunning gallery surrounded by contemporary works of art sounds more like a society gala in Chicago, but it’s in Michigan City, just steps from Lake Michigan. The Lubeznik Center for the Arts is a sophisticated, elegant choice with a completely different feel in the daytime and at night. And you don’t need to add much to the décor-just a simple table arrangement. 
 
The Way by Virtuous Events
907 Franklin Street, Michigan City IN
 
One of Michigan City’s hottest venues, this historic church and theater has a two-story domed ballroom with a huge dance floor. The building, graced by architecture from the 1860s, also offers two intimate, secluded outdoor brick courtyards and space for sipping your favorite cocktail. Tasha Raylene of Virtuous Events recently took over this elegant venue. 
 
Beach Walk Resort Community
202 Beachwalk Lane, Michigan City IN
 
Just north of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Sheridan Beach is one of the most picturesque beaches on Lake Michigan. This resort community makes it a breeze for you to have a ceremony and reception as close to the lake as possible without being on a boat.  Skip the high heels and put on some flip flops – or better yet, go sans shoes.
 
 
 
 
 

FASHION/JEWELRY

Engstrom Jewelers
820 Lincolnway, LaPorte IN
 
Everyone loves a beautiful, lustrous diamond, but it’s not easy picking out the right ring that will last a lifetime – and fit within your budget. You can custom design your own ring or find a vintage piece at this jeweler, who also has a location in Valparaiso.
 
Louie’s Tux Shop
4335 Franklin Street, Lake Park Center, Michigan City IN
 
Choosing tuxes can be confusing. Did you know that the groom’s shirt and vest should always be the lightest color so that he stands out? An online feature at Louie’s allow you to enter sizes and make changes at “My Wedding at a Glance.” 
 
Judee’s
1104 Indiana Avenue, LaPorte IN
 
Owner Judee Gartland opened her business in 1983 to provide designer dresses for special occasions. Located in a Victorian Mansion, mothers of the bride appreciate the special attention they get finding a special dress that no one else will be wearing.
 
 
 
 
 

CATERING/CAKES

Great Lakes Catering
701 Washington Street, Michigan City IN
 
Owner Ed Kis has a name that goes over well with the brides! Great Lakes is known for its prime rib served at different levels of doneness. The business has been voted the best caterer by the local newspaper 12 years in a row and has a Chicago office for Windy City brides.
 
Spire Catering
299 W. Johnson Road, LaPorte IN
 
Chef Brad Hinsley studied in Florence, Italy before opening his catering business six years ago. He makes everything from scratch – nothing frozen, nothing packaged, nothing processed.  Spire specializes in providing custom meals for those with dietary restrictions such as diabetes or food allergies. Spire recently prepared a 100 percent vegetarian wedding reception with an entrée of acorn squash flan with roasted vegetable strudel.  Check out his new first of its kind restaurant: Spire Farm to Fork in the Legacy Hill Golf Club.
 
Sharon Sawaya’s Cakes
 
Sharon Sawaya has been making wedding cakes for 35 years, starting with one simple bridal shower cake for a friend. A mother of 7, she sometimes gets up at 3 a.m. to start baking before babysitting her grandson.  She said cakes, like clothes, have trends. They have evolved from classic stacked cakes to crazy designs back to the simple but elegant. She doesn’t do fondant because she doesn’t like the taste, but her butter cream frosting is smooth as silk. 
 
 
 
 
 

PLANNING

Ashley Thunder Events
 
Ashley Thunder Carson (she’s named after an American Indian Chief) loves DIY brides and loves a challenge. She and her mom (DIY gals) recently made a centerpiece based on something they saw in a magazine. Using fresh orchids and matching lampshades from various places, they created a rustic “club vibe” feel using submersible lights. Talk about the wow factor!

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