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Savannah & James // Sanctuary on Penn Wedding

Celestial Inspired Sanctuary on Penn Wedding // Savannah & James

Savannah & James are already married, but wanted to celebrate and do it up big with their loved ones {and they kiiiiilled it}. They chose the Sanctuary on Penn in Indianapolis, one of the absolute coolest spots I’ve ever seen. It’s an old church converted into an event space, and it fit their vibe perfectly. Talk about a dream come true – from a stellar couple to a unique venue space and the most beautiful details – this wedding day was absolutely stunning! 

bride and groom lean noses together during photos at Sanctuary on PennGetting Ready

Savannah’s bridal look was one of my all-time favorites. She placed stars and a moon in her hair, to reflect the decor and details they planned, as well as sparkles. Honestly, Savannah had sparkles all over!! They looked amazing on her dress and her shoes – she looked beautiful. One of my favorite parts was the cape she had on. It helped create the look of a full veil, without actually having one. It was fun to play with her gauzy cape throughout their portraits!  

bride prepare for IN wedding daybride holds veil during prep for Sanctuary on Penn weddingbride and bridesmaids prepare for wedding daybridal party helps bride into wedding gownmother helps bride with back of wedding dressbride adjusts jewelry before Sanctuary on Penn weddingbridal party helps bride with shoes bride sits with wedding party before Sanctuary on Penn weddinggroom adjusts tie before IN wedding daygroom and groomsmen sit together before Sanctuary on Penn weddingIf you could do it all over, would you change anything?

Only being more helpful in the planning stages. Otherwise it went off without a hitch. – James

Only the tiniest of things. I tripped on my dress several times, so I may have changed my bustle a little. I would have picked a designated spot for my drink, I kept losing it! We could have practiced with the microphone for our ceremony. But truly, anything that wasn’t related to everyone’s experience just wasn’t that important. All day I felt gratitude that we decided to have this event, and that we did it exactly how we wanted to. -Savannah

Savannah & James met for a first look by one of the ivy covered walls at The Sanctuary on Penn. It was a beautiful little spot for them to meet up. It’s so clear to see how much they love each other when you look at them – and I feel honored to have documented that on their wedding day! 

bride approaches groom for first look at Sanctuary on Penngroom turns to see bride during first look at Sanctuary on Pennbride and groom kiss during first look in Indianapolis bride and groom smile during first look along ivy covered wall at Sanctuary on Pennbride and groom kiss by ivy covered wall

Most memorable moment from your wedding day?

I think that for me the most memorable moment would be the first look. I had been extremely careful to avoid even hearing about Savannah’s dress or other looks for the preceding months. So to finally get to see her, and see how HAPPY she was in her dress with her makeup and hair all done was spectacular. I just remember having to soak it all in and being so blown away. – James

I love to dance, and James is a slow song only kind of guy, which is fine by me. But near the end of the night when not a lot of people were left, James came out on the dance floor with me! Having him there rocking out with all our friends was like pure joy. I could not tear my eyes away from him. (If you are picturing this moment in your head the song playing was Every Time We Touch by Cascada.) – Savannah

bride and groom meet outside the Sanctuary on Penn for their first look newlyweds hug by ivy covered wall at Sanctuary on Penncouple meets on patio with ivy during  first look at the Sanctuary on Penn

Wedding Ceremony 

One of the coolest parts about Savannah & James is that they’re both incredibly creative people. Together, they created the moon backdrop that served as the centerpiece for the vow renewal. It was gorgeous! They placed other stars and moons around the room, creating a celestial effect that everyone loved. Before their ceremony, Savannah & James setup a ring warming station for their guests to participate in. I thought it was genius – not only did it keep the ceremony moving, but it provided an activity for everyone to do while they were mingling. Since Savannah & James were already married, the ceremony served as more of a vow renewal with James’ sister officiating the handfasting ceremony. 

family crest for IN wedding dayguests warm wedding rings for ceremonyguests warm wedding rings for ceremonyguests warm wedding rings for ceremonybride and groom take shot with wedding party at the Sanctuary on Pennbride and groom take shot with wedding party newlyweds laughs during portraits at Sanctuary on Pennbride and groom walk into ceremony at the Sanctuary on Pennbride and groom hold hands during ceremony by moon backdrop at the Sanctuary on Pennbride and groom hold hands during ceremony by moon backdrop at the Sanctuary on Pennbride and groom hold hands during ceremony by moon backdrop at the Sanctuary on Pennbride and groom hold hands during ceremony by moon backdrop at the Sanctuary on Pennbride reads vows during ceremony in Indianapolis groom reads vows to bride during wedding ceremony What were you most anxious or nervous about regarding your wedding day and how did it turn out?

Everything, but it went great. – James

I was nervous about the timeline, because I’m a recovering late person. Honestly, I made so many schedules that hardly anybody read (except Raven because she’s the best).  I know that wedding days usually run late in some way, so I tried to make peace with that ahead of time, but that anxiety crept in as we got ready and did photos. Then the ceremony went so quickly that we were early again! After that it didn’t matter, everyone was there, we all had food and drinks, and it was time to enjoy.  -Savannah

couple reads vows during ceremony under moon at the Sanctuary on Pennmoon display for wedding ceremony at the Sanctuary on Pennhand fasting ceremony for couple at the Sanctuary on Pennbride and groom kiss during wedding ceremony at the Sanctuary on Pennnewlyweds smile at each other walking up aisleIndianapolis Wedding Portraits

The Sanctuary on Penn provided us with so many beautiful options for portraits after their ceremony. I loved the textures everywhere you looked – including the wooden flooring. They also have a beautiful patio with stained glass windows and a staircase that made for some truly epic portraits for our newlyweds. 

bride stands with celestial jewelry details at the Sanctuary on Pennbride and groom hug by stained glass window at the Sanctuary on Pennbride stands with celestial jewelry details at the Sanctuary on Pennbridal portraits at  he Sanctuary on Penngroom follows bride up steps inside Sanctuary on Penngroom looks over staircase at bride inside the Sanctuary on Penngroom kisses bride's cheek during portraits inside the Sanctuary on Penn groom twirls bride by stained glass window at the Sanctuary on Pennbride prepares for the Sanctuary on Penn wedding day groom's peach tie for IN weddingbride and groom pose inside the Sanctuary on PennWhat did you love about your venue/wedding location?

The space was the perfect amount of rundown and overgrown. The floors were beautiful dark wood that creaked with every step. Some of the beautiful stained glass windows were overgrown with ivy that let this wonderful dappled green light in. The lights were dim and the plaster was cracked. The ancient red doors on the structure were a little off kilter and the paint was flaking. All of these elements added up to this wonderful kind of otherworldly atmosphere that I don’t think we could have achieved anywhere else. – James

I loved the beauty of the place because it felt like we didn’t have to fix it or dress it up, any décor we added was extra or personal to us and our theme. That saved us time, money and stress as well as creating this incredible ambiance for our day. It felt like we had stepped into this magical little pocket of the world where we could just focus on celebrating. 

The other thing that gave us that feeling was that The Sanctuary on Penn is an all-inclusive venue which I cannot recommend enough. Throughout the planning process and day of they went above and beyond to take care of us. So much got done without us even noticing! We wanted to host our friends and family and for them to be able to relax as well. This venue was able to do that for us, and for a great price! – Savannah

groom looks at bride's veil during portraits along ivy wall at Sanctuary on Pennbride and groom kiss by ivy wall at Sanctuary on Penngroom looks at bride's veilgroom kisses bride's cheek next to red doors at Sanctuary on Pennbride and groom stand with wedding party outside Sanctuary on Pennnewlyweds kiss while wedding party cheers around themSanctuary on Penn Wedding Reception 

If there’s something to know about Savannah & James, it’s that they can throw a wild party. Their reception was a great time! Everyone had a blast. I loved the little nerdy details that made it into their party – like naming their signature drinks after Howl’s Moving Castle. Savannah & James also did a fun scavenger hunt to find a bouquet instead of a toss. Their celebration was a great reminder to do what makes you happiest. 

bridesmaids help with bustle on bride's dressbride and groom kiss guest during wedding reception bride dances with husband during Indianapolis wedding receptionbride dances with husband during Indianapolis wedding receptionbride dances with husband during Indianapolis wedding receptionbride dances with husband during Indianapolis wedding receptionbride dances with husband during Indianapolis wedding receptionWhat advice would you give to other couples planning their wedding?

I was incredibly fortunate to have a partner who made planning this wedding their hobby. The amount of effort that she put in was astronomical. All I did was kick and scream along the way and that is probably not the best course to take. Trust each other. I’ll say that again; trust each other. All of the creative differences you may have actually lead to wedding that perfectly encapsulates the two of you even if the table cloths and window hangings don’t match. – James

Seek out wedding publications/creators that align with you! Constantly consuming content you cannot afford or that doesn’t reflect you will make you sad. Get as much advice from them as you can… soak it all in… and then (I cannot stress this enough) take what serves you and leave the rest. Some of the best advice I received was from online creators but I also heard so much crap over and over. Good advice: Get super real about money as soon as possible and factor everything in, then add an emergency fund. Advice that wasn’t for me: Buy linens instead of renting them. The best creators in my opinion are really open about everyone’s wedding being different, and doing what makes you happy. – Savannah

newlyweds cut wedding cake under handmade moonbride points at guest during cake cutting bride and groom cut wedding cakenewlyweds laugh during cake cutting at the Sanctuary on PennAny tips for future couples on how to prepare for their wedding photos?

I am incredibly anxious about being photographed. Raven put us at ease during the engagement shoot and that laid the groundwork for a wonderful, stress free wedding day. I trust her implicitly and I know that she crushed it. – James 

The idea that your wedding day, as a woman, is the best you will ever look in your entire life comes from a time when people were barely ever photographed, and has been sold to us to make money off our insecurities. Do what makes you feel hot, relaxed, and like yourself. Then pick a photographer who does the same, like Raven!

Also! When doing a family photos list, think about what you might want to order as a gift for each person, or have framed. Does dad want a pic with just the bride and groom, or all his brothers and sisters? both? Just his son? This might help decide what combinations to put on your list.  – Savannah

guests dance during Indianapolis wedding receptionguests dance during Indianapolis wedding receptionguests dance during Indianapolis wedding receptionguests dance during Indianapolis wedding receptionguests dance during Indianapolis wedding receptionguests dance during Indianapolis wedding reception with ribbon wandsguests dance during Indianapolis wedding reception with ribbon wandsguests dance during Indianapolis wedding receptionguests dance during Indianapolis wedding receptionguests dance during Indianapolis wedding receptionguests dance during Indianapolis wedding receptionguests dance during Indianapolis wedding receptionguests dance during Indianapolis wedding receptionguests dance during Indianapolis wedding receptionbride dances with wedding guests in Indianapolisbride dances with wedding guests in Indianapolisconga line during IN wedding reception bride dances with wedding guests in Indianapolisnighttime wedding portrays at the Sanctuary on Pennbridal party helps bride with shoes Congratulations again, Savannah & James! I absolutely loved celebrating with you!! 

Indianapolis Wedding Vendors

Planner/Coordinator: Evan Appleman 
Venue and Caterer: The Sanctuary on Penn 
Florist Lisa Schwier of Post Road English Garden
Cakes/Desserts: Laura Johnston of Bittersweet Indy
DJ/Band/Musicians: Don Masters
Videographer: Katy Cooper
Hair Stylist & Make-Up: Gina Valentine

Get In Touch to Plan Your Wedding Day

Raven is an Atlanta Wedding Photographer who captures real people on their totally unique and awesome wedding day, specializing in people who feel awkward in front of the camera. She travels throughout Georgia, including Athens, North Georgia, and beyond.

Get in touch!

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