Real Weddings

Katie & Nick’s Blooming Wedding: Two Floral Industry Pros Say I Do

May 25, 2017
Floral Professionals Katie and Nick marry at Calvary Presbyterian Church

Katie and Nick’s wedding was all about the flowers: “We’re retail and wholesale florists — that’s how we met!” Katie owns Alfa Flower & Wedding Shop in Wauwatosa, a flourishing florist boutique that creates custom designs for about 125–150 weddings each year.

For the flowers at their elegant Wisconsin City Club wedding, Katie and Nick went for a burgundy and peach color palette with a variety of foliage and touches of blue and green. The overall theme was fall romance with rich color and lots of dimension. “Because both Nick and I have a floral background, we just went with what we liked and put it all together,” Katie says.


Katie’s favorite flowers made it into the mix: “Green cymbidium orchids. I even have a tattoo of one! I also chose burgundy dahlias, hanging amaranthus, and hearts garden roses and spray roses. My favorite flower next to the green orchids are Juliet garden roses, which are peach — so amazing!” For texture, Nick and Katie worked in scabiosa pods — round, ball-like flowers. Katie’s daughters wore light blue dresses and the groomsmen wore navy blue, so touches of blue were incorporated as well.

Foliage was abundant. “The flowers were draping a bit, but not cascading,” Katie says. “My bouquet and the bouquets for my attendants were large and full, and the centerpieces lush. Each piece was made up in a different style, but all of them flowed nicely. They were all lower, since we prefer lower arrangements over tall.”

Bride poses with flower girls

Large bridal bouquet with red and peach roses

Katie’s advice to future brides about their wedding flowers: “Remember that the type of flower is what a budget can be derived from, not just the size of the bouquets. The best way to stretch your dollar when it comes to florals is to repurpose ceremony flowers at the reception. Also, focus on what’s more important for the bridal and bridesmaids bouquets and centerpieces and use less-expensive flowers elsewhere — but still tasteful and coordinating.”

Invitations DCoLovenotes
Rehearsal Dinner Water Street Brewery
Ceremony Calvary Prespyterian Church
Reception & Catering Wisconsin City Club
Desserts Gigi’s Cupcakes for cake, Simmas Bakery for the mini pastries, Spokandy for the truffles and Yummschkes for the mini cupcakes
Flowers Alfa Flower & Wedding Shop
Music/Entertainment ACA Entertainment
Transportation Wisconsin Club
Photographer Accent Photography
Rings Kesslers and Diamond Showcase
Fashion, Stylized Shoots

A Romantic Wedding by Candlelight at Terrace 167

May 19, 2017
Wedding at Terrace 167 in Richfield Wisconsin

A Romantic Wedding by Candlelight at Terrace 167

When choosing wedding décor, the first rule is to work with your space. If that space gives you a grand, gorgeous fireplace to play with, like the one in this photo shoot at Terrace 167 in Richfield, Wisconsin, it’s easy to dress up the mantle for a romantic focal point and photo backdrop. The addition of florals and greenery from Feisty Flowers, airy swaths of fabric, and candles sets a dreamy scene.

Fireplace setting with floral accents

The golden glow and verdant theme is carried throughout the décor, with the addition of rental items from Arena Americas and Vintique Rentals. A table lined with an abundance of glass geodesic candle holders and sprigs of flora offer some modern romanticism, inviting guests to share in a magical meal. A three-tier wedding cake from Sweet Perfections Bake Shoppe is frosted with simple texture and accented with leaves and blooms. Donning a soft, romantic gown from Amelishan Bridal, the bride herself completes the lovely picture.Bride and groom marry at Terrace 167

Wedding Planner With This Ring (Andrea Livermore)
Venue Terrace 167
Photographer Kallidoscope Photography (Kalli Matthies)
Wardrobe Amelishan Bridal (Shannon Marquardt)
Florist Feisty Flowers (Jaclyn Millonzi)
Cake Sweet Perfections Bake Shoppe (Ken & Peggy Heil)
Printed Items PureJoyInk (Allie Lofy)
Hair/Makeup Legacy Salon
Rental Items Arena Americas & Vintique Rentals

Real Weddings

Allison and Brendon’s Elegant Wedding at Davians

May 10, 2017
Allison and Brandon marry outside at Davian's

Allison and Brendon were walking around Holy Hill on a beautiful fall day when Brendon proposed. “I was surprised he was wearing such a heavy jacket because it wasn’t that cold out,” Allison remembers. “Turns out, he was wearing that jacket because he had the ring in the inside pocket!” The two planned an elegant wedding at Davians, with a black and white color scheme with pops of red. Allison found her dress at Stone Manor Bridal where she instantly knew “the one” when she saw it.

Click on any image to enlarge

The two had an outdoor ceremony in the Davians gazebo, and the weather was beautiful. At the reception, Davians took care of everything. “They handled all the decorations and did an amazing job. It took so much stress out of planning! The staff at Davians are definitely experienced in hosting events like weddings. Everything from rentals like chairs and linens to a delicious catered dinner, Davians provides it all. We would recommend them to anyone!”

Beautiful floral arbor for ceremony entrance

Click on any image to enlarge

Looking back, Allison says she can’t pinpoint a favorite moment of the day — just an overall feeling of happiness. “The whole day was just so perfect. It was the best feeling.” Her advice to future brides: “Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s easy to get caught up in the planning and think that the little details are so important. But when you step back, they really aren’t. My advice is to keep things simple.”

Click on any image to enlarge

Wedding Reception dancing at Davian's

Rehearsal Dinner Jose’s Blue Sombrero, Brookfield, WI
Ceremony, Reception & Catering Davians
Cake Sweet Spot, Whitewater, WI
Florist Jess Fleur Fun
Transportation Blackline Limousines
Photographer Nikki Winter Photography
Gown Stone Manor Bridal
Real Weddings

Alex and Matthew’s Rat Pack Wedding at the Tripoli Shrine

May 1, 2017

Alex and Matthew met unofficially on LinkedIn, then again in person when Matthew recognized and approached Alex after church one day. When the two got engaged, it was after a screening of “How to be Single.” Alex and her sisters were about to leave the theater when one called, “No wait! Bloopers!” Suddenly a new movie popped up: “There was Matthew on the big screen! He had made a movie of our love and journey together.” Near the end of the movie, the rest of Alex and Matthew’s families poured into the theater and watched as Matthew proposed. Then it was off to celebrate at a local restaurant, where all of Alex and Matthew’s friends were waiting with a surprise engagement party!

Click on any image to enlarge.

Matthew and Alex planned a Rat Pack-style wedding with a feel of Old Hollywood glam. To prep for the big day, Alex attended the Wonderful World of Weddings bridal show at the State Fair Grounds. The ceremony took place in Alex and Matthew’s church with a reception at the Tripoli Shrine Center. Because Alex’s father is a pastor, she always dreamed of having him officiate the ceremony — and on that day, her dream came true. “We also wrote our own vows. Matthew threw in a few quotes from The Eagles, which was his late father’s favorite music group,” Alex says. “I surprised Matthew and sang my vows — the song ‘To Make You Feel My Love.’”
Alex and Matthew marry at Our Saviors Lutheran


Wedding party at Our Saviors Lutheran Milwaukee

Then it was off to party at the Tripoli Shrine! Alex and Matthew rented the upstairs billiard room and set up a cigar bar for cocktail hour. Downstairs, there was a big band playing Rat Pack tunes. For their Grand March, Matthew and Alex had the crazy-hilarious idea of riding in on the Shriners’ mini cars — and the Shriners made it happen. The bride and groom rode into their reception on the back of two mini cars, to the surprise and delight of their guests.

Then a delicious duck dinner was catered by the Tripoli Shrine. “We took a risk ordering everyone the duck, but even the non-duck-lovers were raving about how amazing it was! One guest even said there was an empty spot next to him, where the servers placed an extra plate of food. He ate his dish and proceeded to eat the extra one as well, because it was that amazing.” Alex and Matthew have nothing but wonderful things to say about the catering staff at the Shrine. “They were so kind, it made us cry! They went above and beyond to make the day special.”

Click on any image to enlarge.


For dessert, Alex surprised Matthew with a groom’s cake in honor of his late father, Larry. “The cake was a baseball and bat, which was his father’s favorite sport, with the number 13 and the quote ‘Take it to the limit.’ Surrounding the cake were pictures of Matthew’s father. When we unveiled the cake to Matthew and his sisters, it was a very touching and heartfelt moment. Larry was there!” In addition to the special groom’s cake, Alex opted for a dessert buffet. Alex’s mom gathered her friends together and they baked, baked, and baked some more to make Alex’s sweet vision come true.

Alex’s mom helped a lot with other homemade and DIY projects for the wedding, too. She made a special lollipop centerpiece for the kid’s table, sewed the flower girls’ fairy costumes, and crafted the flower girls’ baskets so they looked like castles. “The girls were so excited when they heard they could keep their baskets!” As for Alex, she took on the making of all the invitations, after seeing ones she loved on Etsy that were out of her budget. “I probably bought the whole midwest out of gold glitter paper,” Alex laughs. “Actually I did — I checked every JoAnn Fabric and they had it backordered until September because of me.”

Click on any image to enlarge.


To capture the day, Matthew and Alex worked with Artist Group Photography & Video. “They are a husband and wife duo and strive to make you feel like a VIP from your engagement photos to your wedding day. Their communication was spot on and their follow-through on everything was a comfort. They got us our pictures immediately and made us feel like they were shooting for Vogue magazine.”

Bride and groom outside in Milwaukee WI

Alex says her favorite thing about her and Matthew’s wedding were all of the surprises. “From singing my vows to the mini cars for the Grand March — but the best surprise was at the end of the night. My brother and a good friend of ours are Shriners, so they opened up their basement clubhouse for our guests. Right when everyone thought all the surprises were over, a new part of the building opened up. The Shriners do amazing things for the community, so I hope your wedding brought some attention to that.”

Bridal Shows Attended Wonderful World of Weddings
Reception Location Tripoli Shrine Center
Photography Artist Group
Cake Eat Cake
Ceremony Location Our Saviors Lutheran
Flowers Shorewood Florist
DJ & Photobooth Sound By Design
Linen Rentals Ruby Designs
Wedding Coordinator Events With a Ring
Gown Custom Dress by Caroline Hayden, Minneapolis
Formal Wear Custom Suits from Nas Laine
Bridesmaids RenzRags on Etsy
Real Weddings

Emily & Nate’s Summery Lake Country Wedding

April 21, 2017

Nate from Glendale and Emily from Pewaukee met while at Cardinal Stritch University. The two got engaged in December of 2014, after their annual trip through downtown Milwaukee to look at the Christmas lights. Nate said he had one more stop on the list before capping off the night with dessert. “When Nate pulled up to the lakefront near the art museum, I knew something was up,” Emily says. They’d walked along this stretch on their first date. Nate proposed, Emily said yes, and then it was off to County Clare for a sweet treat. “All of our friends and family were waiting to celebrate.”

Emily and Nate planned an elegant, but rustic wedding with a church ceremony followed by a reception at Rustic Manor 1848 in Hartland. In anticipation of the big day, Emily attended the Wonderful World of Weddings show at the State Fair grounds, as well as a wedding show at the Grain Exchange in downtown Milwaukee. She found her lace gown at Miss Ruby’s and the bridesmaids lavender dresses at Amelishan.

The wedding ceremony included a Catholic mass at St. Anthony on the Lake. The bride and groom met before mass, standing just around the corner from each other, but out of sight. “We met to share a prayer,” Emily says. “It was a moment that calmed my nerves and helped me truly enjoy the sacrament. The entire mass was planned specifically to portray our love of service, not only to each other but also to our community. Three priests from different parts of our lives presided over the ceremony. Songs and readings were selected very carefully. We sat in the first pew of church in order to feel more like part of the congregation. Nate’s favorite part of the ceremony was the exchanging of rings.”

At the reception, the rustic, elegant vibe took center stage. “The most enjoyable part was showing up at the reception venue and seeing how beautiful the hall looked,” Emily says. “It was incredible to see how my friends and family took my vision and made it happen. The room was filled with birch tree branches, burlap, and lace. Outside, there were yard games.” To capture it all in pictures, Nate and Emily worked with Timmie at Cream City Weddings.

Emily and Nate at Rustic Manor 1848


Dinner was catered by Saz’s and featured down-home favorites like BBQ ribs, fried chicken, mac n’ cheese, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob. Emily’s grandma even made her an apron to wear, so she wouldn’t get sauce on her wedding dress. “To this day, guests still compliment us, saying it’s the best wedding food they’ve ever eaten!” Drinks were kept simple: wine, Miller Lite, and Riverwest Stein (Emily’s favorite). Nate and Emily have nothing but great things to say about working with Saz’s. “Michelle from Saz’s was the biggest help throughout the planning process. Her expertise and suggestions were greatly appreciated. She took the time to get to know us as a couple — what we wanted our day to look and feel like — and helped make that happen.”

For dessert: a pie bar! Emily’s Uncle Ken owns a bakery and provided all of the sweets. Guests were treated to five different types of mini pies. For their pie cutting, instead of the traditional cake cutting, the happy couple sliced into a Door County cherry pie (Nate’s favorite). “Uncle Ken even surprised us with delicious chocolate chip cookies in addition to the pies. It was a big hit!” As a late-night snack, the couple served three different types of popcorn. “Not much was eaten — everyone was so full from dinner! We donated the rest to St. Ben’s meal program.”

To decorate the space, Emily’s mom took on several DIY projects. “I’m not very crafty,” Emily says. But her mom tied together birch tree branches, painted handle holders, and tied ribbons to mason jars to fashion the centerpieces. Nate designed the ceremony programs. The Maid of Honor’s mom hand painted a pallet to outline the schedule of events, and the Maid of Honor herself made book table numbers that said: Leave a message for Nate and Emily to read on their __ year wedding anniversary. “We can’t wait to read the messages!” Emily says.

Bridal Shows Attended Wonderful World of Weddings and
Wedding Show at the Grain Exchange
Invitations Designed by Groom's Sister Jessica Salas
Rehearsal Dinner People’s Park in Wauksha
Ceremony St. Anthony on the Lake Parish Pewaukee, WI
Reception Rustic Manor 1848 Hartland, WI
Caterer Saz’s
Cake Roman Blas and Ken Kempka from Over the Rainbow Cakes
Flowers Lynn Laufenberg
Music/Entertainment Smoov Music
Transportation 1921 Ford
Photographer Cream City Weddings
Gown Wtoo by Waters from Miss Ruby-A Bridal Boutique
Bridesmaids Gowns Bill Levkoff from Amelishan Bridal
Formalwear Men’s Wearhouse
Rings Kesslers

SPF: Three little letters with huge benefits

April 20, 2017

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. With 3.5 million cases in over two million people diagnosed annually, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Awareness is the first step in treating and preventing skin cancer.

Be informed. Be proactive. Be protected.
You’re a pro when it comes to protecting against sun damage – You’ve got sunscreen on your key chain, in your lip balm, and all over your skin. But you could still have plenty of sun damage left over from your youth (the memories of iodine and baby oil are not distant enough). The accumulation of damage isn’t just skin deep – UV radiation alters the actual DNA of your skin cells, resulting in lines, wrinkles, discoloration, and even cancer. But here’s a ray of (UV-free) light: You can reverse the damage. Using SPF daily will stop the process of additional damage and start to reverse, to some extent, what you’ve already accumulated. Additionally, incorporating the following products into your daily regimen will help obliterate the signs of a sun-filled past.

Light the way with Vitamin A
Reduce wrinkles, fade brown spots, and smooth roughness with this power- packed skin supplement. Vitamin A exfoliates, making skin smooth and even- toned; repairs the cellular structure of the epidermis, optimizing your UV protection; and decreases clustering of melanin granules, reducing brown spots or pigmentation. A dynamic anti-aging and clarifying treatment helps minimize fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and blemishes and helps increase new cellular regeneration without Proven to effectively increase new cellular regeneration typical redness or peeling.

“C” clearly now the pigment is gone
Vitamin C is an essential component in the body’s production of collagen and a potent antioxidant that can help rejuvenate aged and photodamaged skin. As levels of vitamin C in the skin decline with age, replenishing levels directly in the skin can help combat collagen degradation and oxidative stress. Results from clinical trials show that when applied topically, vitamin C  promotes collagen formation and mitigates the effects of free radicals,helping to maintain firm and youthful skin. Radical lipid-based Vitamin C works more effectively to brighten, lift and tighten while imparting antioxidant protection, regenerates healthy collagen for maximum resilience, fights free radical damage more efficiently.

Protect and Serve
To use SPF is a no brainer – we know, you have it on your key chain, in your lip balm, in spray form, balm form, and lotion form. But do you have it in an all-in-one magical product that also adapts to your skin color and helps hydrate and tone the skin? We didn’t think so. Outsmart the signs of aging with a broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection, it’s the smart way to care for your skin.

Written by: Chris Zajdel from Skiin SPF Article


Real Weddings

Samantha & Kyle’s Tented Lakefront Wedding at the Milwaukee War Memorial

April 10, 2017

Samantha and Kyle ran in the same friend group for years before really hitting it off one night after college; they’ve been together ever since. A closet romantic, Kyle proposed to Samantha on their third Valentine’s Day together. “Each Valentine’s Day, he’s gotten me one rose for each year,” Samantha says. “I was expecting three roses that year, but I hadn’t received them that day.” That night, the two cooked Mexican food for dinner and Samantha had only taken a few bites when Kyle asked if she was finished. “He asked if he could give me my gift. I closed my eyes and was waiting for him to say ‘open’ and give me three roses. But Kyle was down on one knee and proposed.”

The couple planned a romantic, glamorous wedding, with a church ceremony and a tented lakefront reception at the Milwaukee County War Memorial. Samantha found her dress at Gigi of Mequon. Her favorite part of the ceremony was walking down the aisle toward Kyle, and one of her favorite moments of the entire day was walking into the reception. “Kyle and I walked in together and it was just breathtaking. It was so fun to see how beautiful everything turned out. We chose not to have any side walls on the tent, so we could see the lake. The day couldn’t have been more beautiful — 75 degrees and sunny, with an orange and pink sunset. It was perfect.”

Bride's flowing veil in front of St. Matthew's Parish

Relics Vintage Rentals and Coqui Paperie provided all of the decorative rentals to outfit the tent, and DIY projects brought the ambiance together. “I can’t really take credit,” Samantha admits. “My mom bought 45 vintage frames and spray painted them gold, then had her friend (who’s a graphic designer) make the table number inserts for each. My friend Katy made the flower girl’s tutu — it was the most adorable thing! My friend Liz has a talent for hand lettering and wrote my entire menu on a glass mirror that belonged to Kyle’s grandmother. It looked so elegant! She also wrote all the chalkboards by hand.”

Dinner was served buffet style and catered by Zilli Hospitality Group. For entrées, there was carved tenderloin in a bourbon shallot cream sauce and seared chicken in a garlic cream sauce. On the side, horseradish potatoes, garlic green beans with tomatoes and crispy onions, and both a caesar salad and fruit salad. “Zilli’s food was incredible, and the bar was fully staffed, which ensured nobody was waiting for a drink — a huge request of ours.”

After dinner, the dance floor was packed the entire night. “We went 30 minutes past midnight because everyone was having the most amazing time — the DJ didn’t want to go home either!” The three words Samantha would use to describe her and Kyle’s wedding overall: “Gorgeous, entertaining, memorable.”

Wedding Consultant Jamie Deplaris, Simply Elegant Group
Invitations Wedding Paper Divas
Rehearsal Dinner Di Carlos Trattoria—Oak Creek, WI
Ceremony St. Matthew’s Parish—Oak Creek, WI
Reception Milwaukee County War Memorial
Catering Zilli Hospitality Group
Cake Sweet Nothings
Flowers Country Flower Shop– Cudahy, WI
Music/Entertainment Premiere Entertainment- Waukesha, WI
Transportation Blackline Limousine
Photographer HMS Photography
Gown Designer Paloma Blanca
Bridal Salon Gigi of Mequon
Bridesmaids Gowns BHLDN—Jenny Yoo
Formalwear Vera Wang from Men’s Wearhouse
Rings Groom wore his grandfather’s ring
Bride's ring is from Blue Nile
Linens Zilli Hospitality
Tents/Chairs Top Choice Rentals—Kenosha, WI
Rentals Relics Vintage Rentals & Coqui Papery
Chalkboard Signage Purejoyink
Real Weddings

Lindsey & Nick’s Nautical Wedding at the Milwaukee Yacht Club

March 30, 2017
Lindsey and Nick marry downtown at the Milwaukee Yacht Club

Lindsey and Nick met through work and were friends a few years before they started dating. Nick proposed when the two were in Door County for a friend’s wedding. “We stayed the next day to hike and explore around Peninsula State Park with another couple,” Lindsey remembers. “It was a gorgeous day in June. Nick started saying all these lovely things, and at this point I was pretty sure I knew what was happening — he bent down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Our friends were in on it and took pictures, which I really appreciated. We celebrated afterward with ice cream at Wilson’s!”

Lindsey and her bridesmaids

Nick and Lindsey planned a nautical-themed wedding at the Milwaukee Yacht Club — “but a simple, not too over-the-top version!” The couple’s condo overlooks Lake Michigan and Nick owns a sailboat, so water and boats are a big part of their lives. “The Milwaukee Yacht Club made perfect sense to celebrate our wedding. We loved the fact that our condo building was part of the skyline behind us, as well as being able to be outside by the water. We can’t thank the Yacht Club enough for their excellent service and attentiveness, the delicious food, and of course the great views! They were laid back and calm through the planning process and assured us our day would go smoothly — and they were right!”

Lindsey found her dress at White Dress Bridal Boutique: “White Dress is a gorgeous space and everyone who helped me was amazing. I tried my dress on during my first weekend of dress shopping and absolutely fell in love. It was simple, elegant, and felt regal to me. I also found a beautiful headpiece at White Dress that I put on for the reception after removing my veil — loved it!”

Lindsey and Nick on the pier by the Milwaukee Yacht Club

When the big day arrived, the weather was chancy at best. “It was a rainy, dark-sky day — but just in time for our ceremony, it stopped raining and the sun came out! We got extremely lucky.” Nick and Lindsey wrote the ceremony themselves and had one of Nick’s childhood friends officiate. Cocktail hour was also held outside, at the Yacht Club’s tiki bar, then the reception moved indoors. “It was really important to us to have everything in one spot to make things easier for our guests.”


Dinner and the open bar were catered by the Yacht Club. “The food was wonderful! Guests are still telling us it was some of the best they’ve ever had. We offered wine-braised filet mignon, chicken Marsala, and vegan stir fry. We had an open bar all night, which we’re sure assisted in everyone’s excellent dance moves!” For dessert, Lindsey and Nick served Milwaukee’s own Purple Door ice cream, along with a candy buffet. “Both were a hit!”


For décor around the reception, Lindsey stuck with a navy, teal, and stripe theme. “We borrowed navy and white striped table cloths from a kind friend, and that really carried our theme. We chose to have a sweethearts table, which turned out to be some of the only real time we got to talk together that day!” Lindsey wishes that she and Nick had considered hiring a wedding planner. “We managed, but it might have made the whole process less stressful.”

Lindsey says she’s not exactly crafty, so DIY projects weren’t high on her list of priorities. But one of her favorite decorations was a banner, handmade by her cousin. “It was strips of fabric from my late grandpa’s plaid pants, my grandma’s beautiful wedding dress, and ribbons from my cousin’s wedding bouquet,” Lindsey says. “It adorned a table with pictures of family members who had passed. It was so special to have something so meaningful and beautiful at our wedding.”

Lindsey and Nick on the pier at the Milwaukee Yacht ClubIn the end, Lindsey is most thankful for that simple act of nature: the sun coming out during her and Nick’s wedding ceremony. “We were so grateful to be able to celebrate outside for our ceremony and cocktail hour. I’ll always remember how happy I was in that moment to marry my best friend outside in the sun near the water with all of our loved ones looking on.”

Rehearsal Dinner Braise
Ceremony, Reception and Catering Milwaukee Yacht Club
Dessert Purple Door Ice Cream
Flowers Welke's
Music/Entertainment Sound By Design
Photographer Studio KH
Videographer Olson Design and Photography
Gown Lea-Ann Belter from White Dress Bridal Boutique
Formalwear Tom James
Rings Engagement Ring: The Jewelry Mechanic
Wedding Bands: Powers Jewelry
Rentals Area rentals

Real Weddings

Taylor & Nick’s Romantic Wedding at the Villa Terrace & Grain Exchange

March 22, 2017
Taylor and Nick marry at Villa Terrace with a reception at the Grain Exchange in Milwaukee

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!”

Bride and Groom shoes

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.”

Gorgeous wedding view at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum

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.
Gold table settings at the Grain Exchange

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.

Invitations QBCheck Designs
Rehearsal Dinner Rumpus Room
Ceremony Location Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum
Reception Location Grain Exchange
Caterer Bartolotta's Catering
Cake Designer/Desserts The Cake Lady
Flowers Belle Fiori
Music/Entertainment Sound by Design
Photographer Yazy Jo Photography
Videographer Watermark Studios
Wedding Gown Sophia Tolli from FiFi’s in Elmhurst, Illinois
Bridesmaids Sorella Vita from VIP Occasions in Elmhurst, Illinois
Formalwear Men’s Wearhouse
Rentals BBJ and Canopies
Stylized Shoots

A Rustic Camp Wedding in the Woods of Wisconsin

March 20, 2017
bride and groom marry in the woods

Summer camp’s woodsy setting, signature treats, and leisure activities enjoy a rustic-chic makeover in this gorgeous outdoor wedding shoot at Camp Dewan in Burlington, Wisconsin. Crimson florals and leafy greens adorn the bride’s romantic up-do and lend their verdant polish to a handmade wooden teepee and a camp canoe. A simple picnic table is dressed to the nines: a lace tablecloth, tall candles, and mismatched vintage place settings, as paper lanterns and string lights set the scene aglow. After the sun goes down, s’mores around the campfire are a must. Blankets are on hand to cozy up with your sweets – and your sweetie.






rustic table setting in the woods

Photo and Video Katie Guth Photography
Planner Weddings with a Twist
Venue Camp Dewan
Florist Bank of Flowers
Dress Ti Adora from Bucci's Bridal
Formalwear DuBois Formalwear
Hair & Makeup Dana Welch
Rentals Relic's Vintage Rentals
Stationery Coqui Papery & Gifts
S'mores Bar Cover it with Class
Linens Windy City Linen