A swanky downtown locale sets the scene for a city-chic celebration.

There’s something magical about cocktail hour. Bubble pouring, music floating through the air, everything–and everyone–glowing in anticipation of what’s next. What seems mystical is, in fact, a strategically-planned schedule executed by the talented team at Michelle Leo Events. Their leader, Michelle Cousins, shares her secrets for creating a wedding celebration that boasts cocktail-party festivity.











Head Downtown

Our little town of SLC is all grown up. With party options aplenty, downtown is a sure bet for the hottest cuisine, craft cocktails and ambient atmosphere. “Salt Lake City has a lot to offer brides and grooms, and Lake Effect offers a great central location within the heart of the city. In addition to its ideal locale, Lake Effect offers a striking backdrop with many opportunities for great dining and celebratory experiences,” Cousins says. Lake Effect accommodates parties of up to 500 people (over the age of 21) or can host smaller parties of 40 inside its main lounge.

“Additionally, Lake Effect features the largest liquor selection in the state alongside gourmet catering and bar packages that can accommodate a wide range of budgets.”

Choose Classic Fashion

The term ‘something blue’ first appeared in weddings in the late 1800s. The Knot explains, “It derives from he Old English rhyme, ‘Something Olde, Something Blue, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Show’–which names the good-luck objects (plus a sixpence to bring prosperity) a bride should include somewhere in her wedding outfit or carry with her on her wedding day.’

“The fashion here is classic and timeless,” Cousins explains. “The blue hues of the bridesmaids’ dresses highlight the softer tones within the overall color palette and design providing a unique juxtaposition of light and dark for dramatic emphasis.” 

For the guys? Custom-tailored suits are a must. “The men wore gray suits paired with brown shoes which worked naturally with the hues of the venue, tying in with the concrete floors and natural wooden accents.”

Mange Guests with Ease

The key to flawless party execution? Crowd flow. Any good planner worth her clipboard knows that moving guests from scene to new scene deserves some thought. “Lake Effect is a versatile location in the heart of the city offering different aspects that can be used for different tiers of the overall celebration,” Cousins says. “The wine room provides a mature provides a natural backdrop for the ceremony and reception. The outdoor patio is the perfect location for an intimate cocktail hour while the basement lounge provides an ideal setting for the reception and after-party.” 

Table Your Needs

Dress your table, as you would yourself: in layer. “Our overall goal here was to design something both masculine and feminine for an urban setting within the city,” Cousins says. “The table decor highlights the balanced mix. We pair bold and ethereal tones seen in the dark, wood table and mixed with the soft, light florals.” The team adds a pop of geometric pattern in the copper chargers that mimics the wine room’s shelving. The cake contributes as well. “Additional geometric details repeat in the cake design in the form of triangles.”

Go Big with Blooms

Today’s ceremony stage boasts arches with massive height, round shapes and asymmetrically placed florals. “This gorgeous floral installation serves to highlight the backdrop rather than distract,” says Cousins, describing the placement of the arch in front of an impressive wine rack. Textural blooms and greens–including furry bunny tails, bleached ferns, dried leaves, baby roses and ruffled parrot tulips–spill from the altar to the tabletops.


Planner: Michelle Leo Events | @michelleleoevents
Photography: Megan Robinson | @meganrobinsonphoto
Venue: Lake Effect | @lakeeffectslc
Suits: Beckett & Robb | @beckettrobb
Rentals: All Out Event Rental | @allouteventrental
Floral Design: Decoration, Inc. | @decorationinc
Cake: Carrie’s Cakes | @carriescakesut
Hair: Kali Chris | @kalichris
MUA: Kristen Packard | @kristenpackardartistry
Paper: Wells Makery, Colorado | @thewellsmakery