While volunteering at the same hospital coffee shop in Indianapolis, Leslie Stark and Jeremy Inlow became well acquainted and eventually began a relationship. Nearly two years later, Jeremy surprised Leslie with an engagement ring at a volunteer appreciation dinner. “We got up in front of the entire group and told our ‘love story,’ and before I knew it, he was down on one knee proposing!” she remembers. “He hired his photographer friend to get it on video, too, and both of our moms happened to be there to witness it.”

Considering the convenience of their attendees, as well as a large guest list, the couple decided to host their celebration in Indianapolis where they reside. They exchanged personalized vows at the groom’s childhood church, which holds sentimental value. “Jeremy’s father passed away when he was 16, so it was very important to us that we were married in the church Jeremy grew up in. He and his dad used to go to church together, just the two of them, so it was very special,” Leslie explains. They also recited prayers that are extremely important to the lovebirds during the service. “Jeremy and I have a passion for those recovering from addiction, so we incorporated that into the ceremony using specific prayers,” the bride tells.

Envisioning an Italian-inspired ambience for their soirée, the couple paid close attention to décor. “We really wanted our guests to feel like they were walking down the streets of an old town in Italy. We brought in bistro lighting, trees, amazing florals, [and] our cocktail and dinner music had a heavy influence of Italian restaurant music,” the bride reveals. Their florist utilized pergolas, potted trees, and soft-hued blooms to enhance the romantic atmosphere. “Our florist created a botanical palette with lots of texture and flowing elements, natural branches, and foliage to create intimate encounters with nature along with the overall feeling of ‘bringing the outdoors to life inside,’” Leslie explains of the unique Italian-inspired event. “I had never seen anything like this before – especially in Indiana,” the bride confides.

When asked to provide wedding advice to future brides and grooms, Leslie affirms that all engaged couples should remember what the occasion is really about. “I would suggest to just do what you want. Ultimately it’s your day, and while there is a ton of inspiration out there, your personality is unique to your day. Having a way to bring that to life is what makes the day really special.”