Taylor and Nick both grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and met at the University of Iowa. “We were best friends before we fell in love and continue to be best friends.” Nick proposed on the one-year anniversary of the couple owning a home together. It was a week after his birthday, and Taylor had planned a surprise party that Friday night. “The day of the party arrived and Nick insisted on going out to lunch to celebrate the anniversary of us owning our first home together.” That’s when he proposed. “I eventually learned that Nick knew about the surprise party and planned the proposal around it. Instead of it being a surprise party for Nick, we arrived and surprised our closest friends and family with our engagement!”
Nick and Taylor knew they wanted an elegant wedding. “We didn’t have a set theme, but we used specific colors to tie everything together. Gold, rose gold, and blush pink made the whole day romantic, feminine, and soft.” Custom invitations went out from QBCheck Designs (“Laura was the best to work with!”) for a ceremony at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum and a reception at the Grain Exchange.
“The Villa Terrace is the most romantic venue in Milwaukee,” Taylor says. “Truly a hidden gem. The rooms, garden, terrace, and view were breathtaking. We booked this space a week after we got engaged because we knew it was the one!” Nick and Taylor didn’t want a particularly traditional wedding ceremony. “We asked Nick’s aunts to officiate our wedding. We also spent a lot of time looking for readings that expressed our relationship. It was fun to make it our own!”
One of Taylor’s favorite parts of the ceremony was the ring warming. “Before we exchanged rings, we had our parents pass the rings among the four of them. While they passed the rings to one another, they blessed them with love and positive thoughts. Now when we look at our wedding rings, we know we have the love and support of our parents forever.”
Then it was off to the Grain Exchange to celebrate. “The Bartolotta family took care of us from day one. We didn’t even look at other reception spaces because we knew nothing would compare!” Nick and Taylor loved reception planning with Bartolotta so much that they even made sure to choose a Bartolotta restaurant for their rehearsal dinner: “The Rumpus Room! We definitely wanted to stay with Bartolotta because they have the most amazing food in Milwaukee. We loved the Rumpus Room’s more relaxed, fun atmosphere.”
Walking into the Grain Exchange for their reception, Taylor says she was nearly speechless. “Everything was how I imagined it would be. The flowers, cake, lighting, china, DJ, linens — perfection.” Taylor says the flowers from Belle Fiori were jaw-dropping. “We loved working with Emily because she delivered exactly what we wanted. We said we wanted lush, full, big flowers, and she went above and beyond. I showed Emily countless Pinterest photos, but our wedding flowers were 100 times better than anything on Pinterest. They truly created magazine-worthy centerpieces, bouquets, and pieces throughout the space.” Roses, hydrangeas, and peonies were perfectly in keeping with the blush and ivory color scheme.
Cocktail hour and dinner were of course catered by Bartolotta. “Hands down the best wedding food I’ve ever had,” Taylor says. “Their menu has so many options, but they were also able to create anything we wanted, including our custom cookie bar.” During cocktail hour, Nick and Taylor chose mini sliders, Asian chicken skewers, and an antipasto table. Dinner was tomato soup and Caesar salad to start, then an option of Tuscan chicken, filet, or halibut. For a late-night snack, Bartolotta provided a mac n’ cheese bar and mini grilled cheese sandwiches.
Taylor says she’s “not really a DIY kind of girl,” but there were certainly some personal touches she added to the reception. “I had old family wedding photos on display, personalized napkins during cocktail hour, and to-go bags for the cookie bar. My sister-in-law designed the most perfect wedding monogram that was displayed throughout the room. My mom and I also designed a lot of things online. Together we created seating charts, hotel boxes, hotel door hangers, menu cards, bathroom baskets, and signage throughout the reception space. It was a lot of fun to make those things exactly how we wanted!”
Thanks in large part to the wonderful team at Bartolotta, Taylor says she found wedding planning to be “very stress-free and fun.” She goes on to say, “We took care of the big things first — venues, photographers, florist, dress — so toward the end, I only had to worry about the small details.” The big picture and small details certainly came together in the end for an elegant, unforgettable celebration of love.