Ask the Right Questions, Coordinators/Planners

Ask The Right Questions | Wedding Coordinator

June 14, 2018
Questions to Ask your Wedding Coordinator

Wedding Coordinators can alleviate the inescapable stress of planning a wedding. While a budget-conscious bride may hesitate because it is an item to add to the budget, a wedding coordinator may be able to maximize a budget by knowing the industry and utilizing existing connections to vendors. Be sure to ask the following questions when selecting a Wedding Coordinator!

How far in advance should I book your services?
Can I see a proposed ‘Wedding Planning Timeline’?
Do you offer packages? If so, what do they include?
Do you offer ‘day of the wedding’ assistance?
Are your fees based on an hourly rate, a flat rate, or on the total cost of the wedding?
Can I see examples of weddings you have coordinated?
Will you be able to work with the coordinator and staff at my reception location?
Can you provide me with special rates when working with certain vendors?
Do you have a cancellation policy?
Is a deposit required? If so, when and how much?

Photos Courtesy of Weddings With a Twist

Pro Tips from Wedding Coordinators:

“The most important thing to look for in a wedding planner is someone you can connect with and feel comfortable with. You will be working very closely with them and they will play a very important role in your wedding, so it should be someone that you get along with, that shares and understands your vision for your wedding day, and that you can completely trust. When my clients know they can trust me to handle their day just the way they want it, I can tell how much pressure that takes off of them and how much more at ease they are on their wedding day. I truly think it makes a difference in how much they can enjoy themselves. Plus when you find someone who’s personality clicks with yours, you often end up making a new friend in the process!

Aside from that, I think experience is also very important, especially depending on the complexity of the event and the venue(s). Each wedding requires different strengths and it’s important to find someone with expertise that compliments your needs. In addition, if you are planning anything out of the ordinary that will require coordination, it’s a great idea to ask about that right away to make sure it is in fact something the planner can accommodate. I think people often get caught up in just asking for a price quote right away and while I understand it’s important to save money and stay within budget, finding the right planner should be of more importance that just the cost alone.”

-Krista Dentice, Owner and Wedding Planner, Weddings With a Twist

Photos Courtesy of Ambrosia Events

“Getting engaged comes with a lot of joyous emotions, but soon after you will be faced with checklists and an array of decisions to make. That is why some brides choose to enlist the help of a wedding planner, like us at Ambrosia Events. But before you make a decision on a planner, here are some things to consider. Have an idea of the date you would want the wedding to take place, the number of guest you will potentially host, ideas of venues/locations, and your wedding budget. Ask questions that pertain to your vision, make your points clear and let them know what is the most important thing for you. If you have a set budget, make sure you are heard and work with a planner that will stick to your limit. Here at Ambrosia Events we work with any budget and work closely with the couples to ensure their needs are met, because for us the most important thing is to provide services that our clients will be always happy with.”

-Oscar Sanchez, President and Lead Consultant, Ambrosia Events

Photos Courtesy of Mia’s Wedding & Event Planning

“The bottom line is this… Enjoying your wedding and every moment that surrounds your wedding is easy when you work with a wedding planner. Shouldn’t you be able to have a beautiful, stress-free time on one of the biggest days of your life? My name is Maria Diaz-Steponitis and I am so happy to be doing what I love!!!  Who doesn’t love…LOVE !!!!! Finding a wedding planner is easy, finding the right wedding planner that’s a perfect fit, not so easy.  But if you ask the right questions and go with your heart, everything will fall into place.  Also, look for wedding planners in the surrounding area of your wedding location.  They are more familiar with local vendors and are better equipped in the planning phase.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions and check-out their social media presence (instagram, twitter, facebook, website).  By doing so and learning more about them through their social media presence, you will have a better understanding of what they can do. My advice is to interview a few wedding planners–don’t just settle on the first person you meet.  Schedule a face-to-face meeting, never hire someone whom you have not meet.  And the biggest advise I can give is……ENJOY EVERY MOMENT because Love is incredible.”

-Maria Diaz-Steponitis, CMM, CWP, Owner / Event Planner, Mia’s Wedding & Event Planning

Recommended Wedding Coordinators/Consultants:

Ambrosia Events
E Events
événement: event design and consulting
Mia’s Wedding & Event Planning
Timeless Events LLC
Vital Image Wedding Studios
Weddings With a Twist

 

Behind the Lens, Galleries, Local Spotlight, Photography & Video

Behind the Lens with
Lightly Gypsy Photography

June 13, 2018
Behind the Lens interview with a wedding photographer

Interview with the Experts | Photography | Behind the Lens

Finding the right photographer to capture your day is such an important element in your planning process, so we created “Behind the Lens” to give you a more in-depth look at each of our photographers! We will be running a new post each month, so be sure to check back in!
Take a look below to get to know Marie from Lightly Gypsy

How did you know you wanted to be a photographer? How did you go about starting out?

I never really wanted to be a photographer – I always wanted to be a doctor. But, as we know, life has a great way of herding you toward your true callings. I got my first “good” camera after the birth of my son. I was going through a tough divorce, and needed something to keep me busy. My friend, Gretchen, who is a beyond-amazing photographer kept encouraging me as I learned different tricks. Eventually my random shoots turned into paid shoots, and I shot my first two weddings for friends.

How long have you been in the business?

I have been taking pictures professionally for about 7 years now. I did take a year off to rebrand and contemplate my career as a photographer while I was finishing my masters in education (I am a full-time teacher also), but I was still shooting and learning during that time.

What are the qualities that make a successful wedding photographer?

I am currently planning my own destination wedding in Colorado, and I have to say communication, personality, and attention to detail are what I most paid attention to while selecting a photographer for my own wedding. Another strong quality I bring to the table, in addition to those, is that I have experience as a florist and wedding planner also. I have been in the wedding industry for over 17 years and have seen just about everything – nothing can shake me on your big day!

Why do you love photographing weddings and engagements?

I love being around people and dig meeting new people. The energy of the day is intoxicating, from nerves to elation. From a writer’s perspective, I love blogging about the memories of the day, and the excitement level is so high that I get a lot of good material. There are also the quiet moments for introspection.  I think I was supposed to say something like “watching people in love,” but as any of my current and former bosses can attest to, I rarely say what I am supposed to, and just what I really think.

How has your photography (style) changed since you started?

Oh gosh. You know, in Napoleon Dynamite (this might show my age and weird humor), Deb has Glamour Shots by Deb? Yeah. That was me in the beginning. Imagine soft contrast and hazy images with awkward posing. I had a tendency to blow out highlights and overexpose in so many ways. I was so proud of what I was doing, and still am, though. We all start somewhere. Now that I have better control of the technical components of photography, I describe my style as “posh Hobbit” or “adventure glam.” I look for amazing natural light, call you to adventure in nature, and create crisp, clean images. I also really dig sun flares and using the sun for dramatic effect.

When choosing their photographer, what should a couple look for?

Here is my process because I am a strange Type-A creative:

  • Hop on Pinterest and start creating boards that showcase pictures you love.
  • Take a week break.
  • Go look at the pictures and narrow it down to your top 10.
  • Using different sites, like Premier Bride (I used one for CO), find photographers who match your style.
  • Email your choices with the following information:
  • Your Name
  • Fiance’s Name
  • Your vision for your day (theme, style, aesthetic, etc.)
  • Venue(s) for Ceremony/Reception (or general location)
  • Wedding Date
  • Timing of wedding day events – just a rough estimate
  • Questions:
  • What is the pricing for the packages?
  • What is included in the packages?
  • Can I get a sample of a full wedding gallery to look at?
  • As you get responses, gather them into a spreadsheet. Rank the quality of their pictures on their website. If you need a copy of the one I use with my brides, just let me know! I am a nerd for spreadsheets. And color-coding. When you are done, black out the ranking column. Eliminate any that are not in your budget, unless you would be willing to pay extra to get the pictures.
  • Take a week off.
  • Re-visit web sites, and re-rank the images.
  • Contact the top 3-5 photographers again, and ask to set up a phone-call or in-person meeting. Take notes when you chat!
  • If you feel good about it, pick your top one, get that contract signed, and pay your retainer!

I should have made a flow chart for that, probably.

The reason I recommend you take breaks, is to eliminate impulsive choices and really allow yourself to think about it. Not everyone needs that, and not every step is necessary. Always do what works best for you!

Is there anything you wish couples would ask?

Not really…I talk a lot, so I usually share whatever I feel is necessary.

How do you assist in keeping the wedding day running smoothly? Do you work hand in hand with the other vendors?

I am really adaptable and can make any situation even more fun. I have a great teacher-voice, and if I see something floundering or not going well, I do not hesitate to step in, delegate, and get things moving. I always chat with vendors when time allows (sometimes we are all so busy it’s more of the head nod from across the room), and make sure that I am working well with other professionals to make your day awesome.

As I mentioned, I have over 17 years of experience in the wedding industry. I am here to help make the process smooth.  

What is a typical wedding day routine for you?

I sleep in as late as I can – I am not much of a morning person, and I purposely do not schedule other shoots the day of a wedding.

After that, I re-prep all my equipment from the night before, go through my shoot list, triple-check my equipment, then get ready to head out the door.

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Blank Canvas, Downtown, Planning, Real Weddings, Rustic/Vintage Style

Kendra & Eric’s Fun, Heartfelt Wedding at Turner Hall Ballroom

June 12, 2018

Kendra met Eric when he approached her at a bar in the Chicago loop and told her he thought she was cute. “I had never met anyone with that much charisma and confidence,” she says. Their engagement wasn’t a total surprise, rather something the two planned together. Eric and Kendra went ring shopping one day and came home with the perfect one – which Eric proceeded to keep hidden in a dresser drawer for three weeks. “We were about to leave for a trip,” Kendra explains. “So I felt like it was either going to happen before the trip, or on the trip. After giving him plenty of signals that a public proposal would be ‘the worst,’ he proposed to me in our apartment. We were packing for our trip, and he was wearing his Michigan State PJs. It was perfect because it was just the two of us — and now those pants I hate mean so much more to me!”

At the ceremony, the bride and groom read the vows they wrote themselves while Kendra’s Uncle Kevin officiated. “I think it made our ceremony special and unique to share with our family and friends in our own words why we were marrying each other,” Kendra says. “Eric and I are not super sappy people, so this also gave us an opportunity to add some laughs.” When the two were pronounced “husband and wife,” Eric went in for a dip kiss. “He almost dropped me, which made for a pretty exciting ending,” laughs Kendra. “Never a dull moment with that guy.”

Though they now live in Chicago, Eric and Kendra planned a Milwaukee wedding weekend, with a rehearsal dinner at the beautiful Harbor House and a wedding ceremony and reception at Turner Hall Ballroom. “Our venue was a little old and rough around the edges, so the flowers and décor had a bit of a rustic feel — but not rustic in the sense of burlap and mason jars. It was clean and simple.” The floral arrangements came from Belle Fiori: “Emily from Belle Fiori was awesome,” Kendra says. “From our first meeting, she understood exactly what my floral vision was. I felt like I was in good hands and didn’t need to stress about it at all.”

Kendra and Eric also made sure the entire wedding day never had a dull moment. “We wanted people to feel like they were at an amazing party that never stopped, where you went from one thing to the next. We had a live band, which was amazing — we rarely left the dance floor. We had food stations around the room, allowing guests to get up, walk around, and mingle. We had speeches and first dances during dinner, then quickly opened up the dance floor to the guests.”

Dinner was catered by Saz’s: “The food was great. Everyone felt sufficiently full and satisfied. With the food stations, there was a lot of variety, and the Saz’s staff did an amazing job. Katie at Saz’s was awesome. She helped us customize our menu based on what we wanted to spend — without sparing any details or yummy items. She was easygoing and patient, which put us at ease and made us feel confident that she and Saz’s would deliver.”

To add a special touch to the day, Kendra’s dad, a cabinetmaker by trade, crafted some of the décor for the hall. “I had him help make the name cards out of wood,” Kendra says. “They turned out really cool. He stained them and then I wrote each person’s name with a paint pen. He also made the table numbers, which we filled in with white paint. Finally, he made a custom sign welcoming our guests to our wedding, and a mantel that we were married in front of. They were all gorgeous pieces and added a nice personal touch to the day.”

Even with all the delicious food, the packed dance floor, the gorgeous flowers, and handmade touches, Kendra says the most memorable moment of the day was a simple one: “After I walked down the aisle and stood across from Eric, he quietly said to me, ‘Look around’ — and I did. The love in the room was electric. Everyone we cared so much about was there to share in our day. It’s an amazing feeling to have that much support for your future, with this person you’ve picked standing in front of you. I’m so glad Eric told me to take that moment, because I’ll remember it forever.”

Invitations Bayview Printing Co.
Rehearsal Dinner Dinner for immediate family at Harbor House and a welcome reception at Onesto
Ceremony & Reception Turner Hall Ballroom
Caterer Saz’s Catering
Dessert Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches from Purple Door
Flowers Belle Fiori
Music/Entertainment Bluewater Kings
Photographer Aneta Wisniewska Photography
Hair Kate Kent
Make-up Meg Dionne
Party Rentals A la Crate

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Ballroom, Classic Style, Real Weddings, West

Bridget & Kyle’s Elegant Wedding at the Delafield Hotel

June 3, 2018
Bridget and Kyle marry at the Delafield Hotel

Bridget and Kyle’s relationship started off as a high school friendship. When they each followed their older siblings to college at the University of Minnesota, that’s when it felt like fate; the two haven’t left each other’s side since! To pop the question, Kyle planned a daytime date a week after Bridget’s birthday.

During a walk along their favorite bridge, Kyle surprised Bridget with a letter taped to the bridge banister. The note ended, “If this letter doesn’t prove my love for you, turning around will.” Kyle was down on one knee, and a photographer immediately started snapping pictures. “I blurted out YES before he even said anything,” Bridget laughs. “It was one of the best moments of my life, next to saying ‘I do.’”

Kyle and Bridget planned an elegant April wedding in Lake Country, with a rehearsal dinner at Oconomowoc Lake Club, a traditional Catholic ceremony at St. Jerome’s church, and a classy reception at the Delafield Hotel. The bridesmaids wore taupe dresses and carried cream flowers. Décor was accented with black and white, to match the Delafield Hotel. The bride and groom agree that their favorite part of the ceremony was their first look, as Bridget walked down the aisle with her dad.

Between the ceremony and reception, the happy couple had pictures taken in the church, on the party bus, and at a nearby restaurant on the lake. Their photographers, Indian Summer Photography, proved to be a wonderful team. “We first met Rhonda during our complimentary engagement session,” Bridget says. “She was calm, sweet, honest, and gave feedback based on what our tastes and desires were for the pictures. Rhonda turned what can sometimes feel awkward into something that was hilarious and fun.”

“On the day itself, Rhonda and her assistant, Kejt, were incredibly professional and prompt. They adhered to the schedule and kept our large group on track the entire day! They had some awesome ideas for picture opportunities — especially considering the not-so-fun weather we had. We would work with Indian Summer again in a heartbeat!”

From cocktail hour to the late-night after party to hotel accommodations, the Delafield Hotel handled it all beautifully. “The venue is a perfect mix of charming, contemporary, warm, and elegant, and it’s in the perfect location. Not to mention how fun it was that we had the opportunity to ‘buy out’ the hotel so that all 38 rooms would be occupied by our guests. We have stayed in many hotels, and I have never seen rooms as beautiful, luxurious, and spacious as this.”

Cocktail hour started in the hotel’s Cushing Room, where guests enjoyed butler-passed Old Fashioned cocktails and domestic and European cheeses. The staff at the hotel also helped with setting up the reception room. “They are such can-do people who handled the finishing touches, including lighting candles, displaying the dessert table, and setting up the beautiful linens and chair covers. They made our vision perfect.”

For dinner, there was house-made bread and butter, a seasonal mixed green salad, horseradish-crusted salmon with braised red cabbage and browned butter, pan-seared chicken breast with lemon and thyme, and sweet potato cakes with quinoa, roasted apples, and Brussels sprouts. “Dinner was delicious, the speeches were wonderful, and we made it to every guest table by the time dinner was complete.”

The hotel also catered four flavors of cupcake for dessert: chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream, white cake with European buttercream, carrot cake with cream cheese buttercream, and red velvet cake with cream cheese buttercream. As a late-night snack, Kyle and Bridget chose a nacho & fracho bar, complete with house-made tortilla chips and fries with all the fixings.

At the end of the night, the Delafield Hotel helped clean up and box all of the décor, and guests kept the party going until 2:30 AM at I.D., the restaurant and bar connected to the hotel. Kim, the on-site coordinator at the hotel, offered invaluable service. “Kim made the preparation for the wedding seamless,” Bridget says. “You would have thought we were her only bride and groom, because she gave us her full, undivided attention. We had the pleasure of working with her for one year during our engagement, and there wasn’t a single time that she didn’t respond within a few hours, know the answer, or make me feel like her top priority.”

To top it all off, Bridget and Kyle stayed in the Delafield Hotel honeymoon suite following the reception. “It was absolutely beautiful. We will definitely be spending our anniversaries there for a staycation! We were welcomed with cupcakes, champagne, and a handwritten note from Kim. We love details, and there wasn’t one that they missed that weekend. Thank you, Delafield Hotel, for a truly magical evening!”

Make-up Artist Amanda Mudrets
Hair Stylist Geneviève Berghouse and Molly Loizzo
Invitations Sister-in-Law, Rachel Moore (graphic designer)
Rehearsal Dinner Oconomowoc Lake Club
Ceremony Location St. Jerome Catholic Church, Oconomowoc, WI
Reception, Catering, Bartending, Cake Delafield Hotel, Delafield, WI
Chalkboard/Custom Signage Artist Taylor Dirkes Calligraphy
Flowers Bloom Floral and Event Design
Music/Entertainment Xcite Entertainment
Transportation Cruise-a-Palooza
Photographer Indian Summer Photography
Travel/Honeymoon Service The Scott Resort and Spa
Videographer Tina Polve and Alex Buban
Gown Mikaella from The Wedding Shoppe, Inc. (St. Paul, MN)
Formalwear Men’s Wearhouse, Wauwatosa, WI
Rings Brookfield Diamonds

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Fall, Orange, Real Weddings, Rustic/Vintage Style, Washington County

Kaitlyn & Matthew’s Rustic Country Wedding at Terrace 167

May 25, 2018
Kaitlyn and Matthew Get Married at Terrace 167 in Richfield

Kaitlyn and Matthew’s families had been friends for years before the two of them got together. Matthew proposed to Kaitlyn at the pub his family owns. “Matthew had his best friend call me over to the bar to tell me how they were switching soda products from Pepsi to Coca-Cola,” Kaitlyn says.” The friend claimed the Coca-Cola rep had left a couple samples, then he pulled out two glass bottles from beneath the bar and set them in front of Kaitlyn. “One said ‘Kaitlyn Marie’ on it — the other ‘Will you Marry Me.’” Shocked, Kaitlyn spun around to see Matthew down on one knee with a ring. “Of course I said yes!”

The happy couple planned a fall wedding with a country-rustic theme. Kaitlyn attended the Wonderful World of Weddings show for inspiration. The bridesmaids all wore fall colors, the men wore dark tan dress pants with white button-up shirts and suspenders. The boys and flower girls donned cowboy boots. For the ceremony, Matthew and Kaitlyn had a traditional Lutheran service, exchanging rings and “I do’s” in a church.

Kaitlyn says the best part of the ceremony was when the pastor likened marriage to how a softball is made. “Softball is Matthew’s favorite sport, and I enjoy going along and watching him play. It’s become a big thing for us.” As the pastor said, to make a softball, there are two pieces of fabric, stitched together to form one — just like two lives coming together in marriage.

Then it was time to celebrate! The reception was held at Terrace 167 in Richfield. The bride and groom say their favorite part was the last-minute grand entrance. “We thought about doing a grand entrance and decided against it. Then about 20 minutes before the time we were supposed to walk in, we decided we wanted to do one. Our wedding planner was able to pull it off! It was amazing and made it that much more special.”

Dinner was served buffet-style, with Salisbury Steaks, Chicken Souvlaki, and Chicken Scaloppini. There was rice, Greek potatoes, mashed potatoes, vegetables, fruit, and salad on the side. The full bar was tended by Terrace 167. For dessert, Kaitlyn and Matthew chose an assortment of mini brownies, cheesecakes, cupcakes, and cherry, pumpkin, and apple pies. They also had a small, two-tier wedding cake for the traditional cake-cutting.

To decorate the space, Kaitlyn and Matthew tackled many DIY projects, with the help of family and friends. They made all of the centerpieces, including candles and table runners. They bought and arranged all of the flowers, with the help of their wedding planner and her team. Kaitlyn’s aunt made the head table covering and decorations, plus all of the bouquets of flowers for the bridesmaids, flower girl baskets, boutonnieres, corsages, flowers on the pews at church, and more. Kaitlyn even painted her pair of Toms wedding shoes.

Looking back, Kaitlyn says the moment that sticks with her most is the last song of the night. “Everyone gathered on the dance floor and danced in a circle around us, as Matthew and I danced together in the middle. It was great to see everyone having a good time and feel all the love and support from our amazing friends and family.”

Bridal Shows Attended Wonderful Worlds of Weddings, Bridal Fair at Terrace 167
Make-up & Hair Hair Formations, Hubertus
Rehearsal Dinner Loggers Pub, Richfield WI
Ceremony Shepherd of the Hills, Hubertus WI
Reception Terrace 167, Richfield WI
Caterer Prime Minister, Thiensville, WI
Cake Designer/Dessert Aggie’s Bakery, West Allis, WI
Music/Entertainment Edge Entertainment, West Bend, WI
Transportation Terrace Express
Photographer Jamie Gellings Media
Gown David’s Bridal
Formalwear Men's Wearhouse
Rings JM Jeweler, Slinger, WI
Rentals Holy Hill Art Farm

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Behind the Lens, Local Spotlight, Planning

Behind the Lens with
Kara Reese Photography

May 16, 2018
Behind the Lens interview with a wedding photographer

Interview with the Experts | Photography | Behind the Lens

Finding the right photographer to capture your day is such an important element in your planning process, so we created “Behind the Lens” to give you a more in-depth look at each of our photographers! We will be running a new post each month, so be sure to check back in!
Take a look below to get to know Kara Reese Photography….

Newly married kissing under veil

How did you know you wanted to be a photographer? How did you go about starting out?

Like many photographers, I had a love for art and photography that began in my childhood and teenage years. In high school, I always elected to take Photo as part of my class roster. I loved the smell of the darkroom and seeing my photographs come to life before my eyes as the prints went through each chemical bath. However, I never in a million years thought I’d be able to turn photography into a full time career. I actually spent a year in school at UW-Stevens Point on track to become an Elementary Education teacher. But midway through my second semester, I had a change of heart, and really felt led to pursue my photography business more seriously. I dropped out, and never looked back! I’ve been full time since 2014 and feel incredibly blessed to have a job that I adore and that provides for my family.

How long have you been in the business?

Since 2009

What are the qualities that make a successful wedding photographer?

A successful wedding photographer is someone who obviously has passion for what they do, but more importantly – a passion for making their clients happy. Great photography is nothing when it comes to business if it’s not paired with outstanding customer service.

Why do you love photographing weddings and engagements?

It’s the start of a new chapter. Weddings and engagements are infinitely happy times! Sure, wedding planning can be stressful – but above everything else it’s a wonderful celebration. I love being surrounded by the positivity and love that weddings bring.

Fall Wedding photography

How has your photography (style) changed since you started?

It’s become more refined and natural. There’s a lot of pressure to do everything you can to create your own shooting and editing style when you first start out. There’s some truth to that, but I found that I really just needed to focus on what I *liked* instead of what would make me different. From there, my personality was able to start to shine through – and now, not only do I love my photographs, but they showcase my style and personality naturally, and that sets me apart.

When choosing their photographer, what should a couple look for?

Someone who is friendly, caring, and above all client-focused. I treat my clients’ wedding days as an event that’s even bigger and more important than my own wedding day was. I completely dedicate myself to each client – not because I have to, but because I want to! I care deeply about their happiness and want to give them photographs that they’ll look back and smile at for decades to come.

Is there anything you wish couples would ask?

I wish more couples would ask my opinion on how to display their artwork from their wedding and engagement photos. We are living in a digital age, but there is something to be said for printed, heirloom-quality artwork. Computers, phones, and other digital media is constantly changing – but I bet your Grandma has a print or album from her wedding day somewhere.

How do you assist in keeping the wedding day running smoothly? Do you work hand in hand with the other vendors?

If my clients choose to hire a Wedding Planner or Day-of-Coordinator, I work closely with them to make sure everything is running smoothly. If my clients don’t hire either – oftentimes I will step in as a Coordinator and keep everyone on track with regards to their timeline (while simultaneously making sure I’m getting the photographs I need to!)

Groom hugs his bride outside

What is a typical wedding day routine for you?

The night before a wedding, I spend a few hours prepping my gear. I charge every battery I own, clean off lenses, take inventory of all my gear to make sure I’m not missing anything, reformat and line up CF cards so I can easily pop in new ones as they fill up with photos, make sure I have a printed copy of the couples’ timeline with important addresses and must-have photo lists, and finally pack my bags and set them by the front door. The morning of a wedding day is pretty relaxed since I do all the prep the night before. I eat a good breakfast, have a couple cups of coffee, get dressed and head out the door!

 

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Blank Canvas, Downtown, Milwaukee, Modern/Industrial, Pastel, Real Weddings

Casey & Michael’s Modern Industrial Wedding at South Second

May 14, 2018
Casey and Mike marry at The Atrium in Shorewood with a reception at South Second Milwaukee

Casey and Michael met as first-year teachers at a charter school on the south side of Milwaukee. “We both had taken over classrooms mid-year and taught down the hall from one another.” On Casey’s first day, Michael gave her a tour of the school. They became instant friends, had their first date a few months later, and the rest is history! The two got engaged when Michael surprised Casey with a trip to New Orleans. “We were walking along the Mississippi River, watching the steamboats go by,” Casey says. “Michael started talking kinda funny. I remember being confused like, ‘What is he talking about?’ All of a sudden, he was down on one knee.”

Michael and Casey planned a modern, industrial wedding with a ceremony at the Atrium in Shorewood and a reception at South Second in Walker’s Point. Casey found her dress at Miss Ruby’s Bridal Boutique: “Shopping for my dress was such an amazing experience! The stylists at Miss Ruby’s are honest, helpful, kind, and patient. They helped pull so many dresses and allowed me to take my time. I found my dream dress because of this boutique!”

One of Casey’s favorite things they planned for the wedding was the ceremony. “It was unique and intimate and I loved it,” she says. Before walking down the aisle, Casey had a surprise note from Michael — on the bottom of her shoes! “I’ll never forget our photographer asking me to turn my shoes around, then seeing Michael’s handwriting on the bottom! He wrote, ‘Of all the walks, this will be my favorite. Today we will walk, tonight we will dance.’”

As the nerves kicked in, Casey’s dad had just the trick: “My family and I love Disney. When my dad and I were in the elevator on our way up to the ceremony, he opened his suit coat, and inside he had a Mickey Mouse pin. He said I didn’t have to be nervous; Mickey was for good luck.” Any anxious feelings evaporated for Casey when she locked eyes with Michael. “He held my hand through the entire ceremony.”

Michael’s Uncle Sean officiated and the seats were arranged in a circle, with the bride and groom exchanging their vows in the center, rose petals on the ground. At one point, Uncle Sean read marriage advice from Casey’s third-grade students — “oh how we all laughed!” Other unique readings included “Apache Wedding Tribe Blessing,” “I Carry Your Heart With Me” by E.E. Cummings, and “Union” by Robert Fulghum.

For the reception, the party moved to South Second in Walker’s Point, catered by Saz’s. “Michelle at South Second is a rock star. Throughout the entire wedding planning process, she was there to answer our questions. She is incredibly patient, honest, and helpful. The night of the wedding, I was never without a glass of champagne. Michelle and the staff working our wedding were incredible.”

As for the reception on the whole: “It was full of joy!” Casey says. “We had a cocktail hour to kick off the celebration with live jazz music, hors d’oeuvres, and drinks. The speeches by my dad, my sister, Michael’s brother, dad, and my mom were incredible. We laughed, we cried, and felt overwhelmed with gratitude to have such supportive family in our lives. The rest of the night was full of dancing!”

When asked the one thing she wished she knew while planning for the big day, Casey’s reply was simple: “I wish I would have reminded myself more often that, no matter what, it will be the perfect day!”

Rehearsal Dinner Belair Cantina Food Catered to Camp Bar in Shorewood
Ceremony The Atrium in Shorewood
Reception South Second
Catering Saz’s
Cake Designer Sweet Tooth Bakery
Donuts Metro Market
Flowers Milwaukee Flower Company
Music/Entertainment Sound by Design
Myles Hayes Music
Photographer Kyle Kelley Photography
Brandon Whitley Photography
Videographer Champagne Studios
Gown Miss Ruby Bridal Salon
Rings A Trio Jewelry Design

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Ask the Right Questions, Flowers, Planning

Ask The Right Questions | Flowers

May 11, 2018

Flowers are an essential piece of your wedding! A great florist will work with your budget to provide floral options and styles suited to your taste. Your floral arrangements can be a great way to reflect your personal style or a theme or motif that is present in your wedding. Be sure to ask the following questions when selecting a Florist!

How can we maximize our floral budget?
How far in advance must I book your services?
Do you offer delivery? Is there a charge?
Will you set up at the ceremony and reception sites?
Can you move the flowers from the ceremony to reception?
Do you provide other kinds of decor?
Do you offer rental of decor?
Do you offer packages? What do they include?
For planning purposes, are you familiar with the layout at my ceremony/reception venue?
What is your cancellation policy?

Floral by Bank of Flowers | Photos by Nikki Kate Photography | Hair by Lexi Lee Hairstyling
Makeup by Melody Sopa Artistry | Gowns by Miss Ruby’s Bridal Boutique | Calligraphy by Four Things Paper

You will need to consider bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, aisle decor, alter arrangements, and cake table arrangements, as well as any arrangements for the welcome table, food stations, cocktail tables, and any other element you wish to enhance with flowers!

Bouquets: 
Bride’s bouquet• Bridesmaids’ bouquets• Flower girl’s bouquet or basket of petals• Toss bouquet

Boutonnieres & Corsages:
• Groomsmen’s boutonniere• Ring bearer’s boutonniere• Mother of the bride’s corsage• Mother of the groom’s corsage• Grandmothers’ corsages • Father of the bride’s boutonniere • Father of the groom’s boutonniere• Grandfathers’ boutonnieres• Officiant’s boutonniere• Ushers’ boutonnieres

Decor & Arrangements:
• Dining table centerpieces• Aisle decor• Alter arrangements• Place card table arrangement• Cake table arrangement• Food station table arrangements• Bar arrangements• Cocktail table arrangements

Recommended Area Florists:
Alfa Flower and Wedding Shop
Bank of Flowers
Belle Fiori
Creative Floral by Something Borrowed
Fantasy Flowers
Feisty Flowers
Lamm Gardens
Waukesha Floral & Greenhouse

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Country and Private Clubs, Fall, Real Weddings, Washington County

Jacqueline & Mark’s Magical Outdoor Wedding at West Bend Country Club

May 4, 2018
Jacqueline and Mark get married at West Bend Country Club

Jacqueline and Mark’s road to “I do” spans decades. The two started dating when they were teenagers, after being introduced under a trio of birch trees at Jacqueline’s parents’ lake house on Silver Lake, back in 1976. “We were engaged when I was 19,” Jacqueline says, but the two youngsters ended up going their separate ways.

33 years later, Mark and Jacqueline reconnected — and three years later, Jacqueline asked Mark to marry her. One night while out to dinner, she had the server present Mark with a small, watch-sized box. “While he was opening the present, I professed my love for him and told him I couldn’t imagine my life again without him. The box had a wedding band in it — you can’t ask someone to marry you without a ring, right?!”

Jacqueline and Mark were married in 2017 under the same birch trees where they met 41 years ago to the day. Jacqueline’s favorite moment: “Mark saw me come around the corner of the house and he had tears running down his cheeks — at 58 years old — for this day that should have happened 41 years perviously.” This touching, intimate ceremony was followed by a larger one with all of the wedding guests, held on the patio of the West Bend Country Club.

On the day of the wedding, Jacqueline wore two dresses — one she found at Always a Bride in Grafton, and her mother’s dress from her marriage in 1958. “I know my parents loved Mark, and what better way to honor them than by dressing like they did 60 years ago. I wore my mother’s dress and Mark dressed in a tux that was tailored to look just like the one my dad wore.” After the ceremony, Jacqueline surprised Mark with a new dress and bouquet.

From the ceremony, the party moved right into the reception, which was also held at the West Bend Country Club. “The entire day was magical,” Jacqueline muses. “We had all of the photos taken at West Bend Country Club — on the lake, on the golf course, and in the country club — no extra stops. April, the wedding planner at the club, coordinated everything from the linens to the champagne. She made all the details come through perfectly.”

West Bend Country Club also catered dinner and cocktail hour. There was a social hour following the ceremony on the outdoor patio, with hors-d’oeuvres served on silver platters. Guests were then treated to a delicious sit-down meal, and for dessert, a cake with tiers of fresh red roses from Audra’s House of Cakes. “From the taste-testing to the hug we exchanged on our wedding day, Audra exceeded our expectations! The cake was delicious and beautifully decorated and displayed.”

One of Jacqueline’s favorite DIY touches was the dried rose petals used in celebration following the country club ceremony. “During the three years leading up to Mark and I getting married, he gave me flowers or roses every other week,” she says. “When our wedding planner told us we couldn’t toss rice or bird seed at the Country Club, she suggested rose petals — and the lightbulb went off.” Jacqueline had saved and dried Mark’s roses from the past three years. She put them in decorative bags for guests to throw. The photos from that celebratory moment are priceless.

Wedding Consultant Brian Kelm Productions
Dance Lessons Brookfield Ballroom
Make-up Artist Body Velvet, West Bend
Bachelor/Bachelorette party Pedal Tavern
Hair Stylist Jaime Alternate Image, West Bend
Rehearsal Dinner West Bend Country Club
Ceremony Location Lakeside at Our Home and West Bend County Club
Reception & Catering West Bend Country Club
Cake Designer/Dessert Audra's House of Cakes
Flowers Kewaskum Floral
Music/Entertainment Brian Kelm Productions
Photographer Tia Lee Photography
Travel/Honeymoon Service Amabassador World Travel, Brookfield
Gown Always a Bride, Grafton
Formalwear Men's Wearhouse
Rings Kessler
Party Rentals Equipment Rentals, Inc West Bend Party Rentals

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Downtown, Pastel, Real Weddings, Romantic, Rustic/Vintage Style, Summer

Danielle & Nick’s Romantic, Rustic Wedding at Black Swan MKE

April 20, 2018
Danielle and Nick marry at the Black Swan MKE in a rustic romantic ceremony

Danielle from Long Island and Nick from Milwaukee met at a wedding in Seattle. “My college teammate married Nick’s good childhood friend,” Danielle says. “They had a hunch we would hit it off, so they sat us at the same table.” The hunch was dead on! Nick and Danielle got engaged during a trip to Northern Minnesota. A lover of the Great Lakes, Nick popped the question on the banks of Lake Superior.

The couple planned a romantic and rustic wedding at Black Swan MKE in the Third Ward. Danielle found her dress at Miss Ruby Bridal Boutique. The groomsmen donned light navy suits with blush pink ties, and the bridesmaids were dressed in shades of blush, champagne, and dusty rose.

Danielle’s brother, Bobby, performed the ceremony under a beautiful birch chuppah. “Four years earlier, I’d performed Bobby’s ceremony in New York,” Danielle explains. “We wrote and recited our own vows and had my sister-in-law and Nick’s long-time childhood friend speak as part of the ceremony. It was personal and sweet.” Following the “I do’s,” the bride and groom exited to Béyonce’s “Love on Top” to get the party started.

To decorate the Black Swan space, Danielle and Nick incorporated elements with a natural feel. “The linens were a mix of tan, café, and hunter green. “Peter from Black Swan made planning the space effortless. He was down to earth and made sure we felt like our night was truly special.”