Before starting her senior year at Indiana University, Danae Rittmann went to watch the Indianapolis 500 with her friends. Among the group was Mitchell Parker. The pair saw each other again during “welcome week” at their shared university. Not long after, they were both at the same bar to celebrate the new school year. “After breaking away from our groups of friends, we spent the next few hours laughing and talking as if we had known each other for years,” reveals Danae. “At the end of the night, we both realized that something very special was already beginning to grow between us.”

Years later, while watching a fireworks show on the lawn of a planetarium in Chicago, Mitchell asked Danae to be his wife. The lovebirds decided to take a couple weeks to enjoy their engagement bliss before starting to plan the celebration. In addition to hiring an event consultant, the bride also looked to her recently married sister for advice. 

Danae and Mitchell selected a lovely estate in the suburbs of Indianapolis for their venue. “The aesthetic I was going for was a romantic, California vineyard. I wanted a sorbet palette with soft shades of blush, yellow, orange, and coral,” explains Danae. “To achieve the look, the design incorporated rustic wood elements, romantic lighting, and an abundance of colorful floral pieces.” 

Eschewing current trends, the bride and groom elected not to have a “first look” before their alfresco ceremony. “A moment that stands out to me is walking down the aisle to see my husband for the first time,” reminisces Danae. “Being more traditional in this aspect […] was really special for us.” The day was filled with personal touches. The bride painted the invitations, seating chart, and programs herself, and a live event artist painted a scene from the vow exchange in honor of Danae’s love of art. The mother of the bride surprised the newlyweds with a firework send-off as a nod to their engagement night. 

Though ultimately the tented reception looked beautiful, Danae does wish she had given more consideration to an indoor venue. “Unless you live in an area with a very predictable climate, worrying about the weather leading up to the event can be a big stress factor,” she admits. With the help of her planner, they changed the entire reception to be tented a month before the wedding, while still ensuring the design vision came to life.