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Kelly and Nic met at work. It was Kelly’s first job out of college, and she was still bartending part-time in Grafton. One day, Nic mentioned he would be in the Grafton area that weekend, and Kelly invited him to stop by the place where she bartended. “The weather was pretty terrible that night,” she says, “So I assumed he wouldn’t be coming in – but he did! He came alone and we had a great conversation. A few days later we hung out again, and within a month or so we started dating.”
Nic had planned to propose Kelly on St. Patrick’s Day – her favorite holiday. He planned to have a lovely arrangement made of traditional Irish blooms (bells of Ireland, Calla Lilies, and thistles) and to cook up a homemade lunch of Guinness stew and corned beef sandwiches. But a week before the holiday, the perfect moment presented itself. The couple was having a long conversation about the big stuff: life, love, their dreams, their goals. “Suddenly the dryer buzzer went off and Nic asked if I would grab the laundry,” Kelly says. “I went downstairs (a little annoyed) and when I came back up with the laundry basket in hand, Nic was down on one knee. He pulled out the ring and asked me to marry him. I was completely surprised!” To celebrate, Nic still gave Kelly the perfect St. Patrick’s Day he had planned.
For the wedding, the couple really wanted to keep it small and intimate with just close friends and family. They looked at a few different venues, but ultimately decided there’s no place like home – so Nic and Kelly had their wedding at their home in Fox Point. The couple wrote their own ceremony, and Kelly’s stepdad officiated the ceremony under a beautiful Northern Catalpa tree in the front yard. To make the ceremony even more special, Nic’s seven-year-old son, Nolan, was the best man. “We wanted to include him in the ceremony,” Kelly says, “so he held the rings for us and I said some special words just from me to him.”
The reception followed, also at Nic and Kelly’s house; it was mostly held in the driveway, backyard, and on the deck. “We had tables lining the driveway, the bar was in the backyard, and a live band – the Gypsy Kitchen – was set up on the deck (they were awesome!).” To keep things really personal, the couple included some DIY touches: Kelly painted mason jars in purple, green, and white, then added burlap and ribbon to the outside. “They were all a little different but used the same colors and ribbon,” she says. “Our florist from Blooming Perfection provided the flowers for the centerpieces.” Nic and Kelly also canned their own homemade barbeque sauce as a gift for each guest. And of course, having an outdoor wedding at home meant a lot of yard work and planting beforehand.
One of the most amazing parts of Kelly and Nic’s reception has got to be the food. The couple wanted “simple, local, delicious summer food,” so they hired Dan Nowak, owner of Tall Guy and a Grill catering. “He was so amazing to work with. He took our unique venue and was able to cater beautiful food and even did all of the grilling on site!” So what did Dan cook up? (Foodies, get ready to drool!) During cocktail hour, there were bacon-wrapped scallops and caprese skewers. For dinner: Grass-fed beef sliders stuffed with local pepper jack cheese on pretzel buns, beef tenderloin with blue cheese and butter, veggie lasagna with cream sauce, a trio of rushing waters salmon, pasta salad with local cheddar cheese curds, and a smashed red potato bar with all the toppings.
Since the wedding was at their home, Nic and Kelly were able to have an open bar to their liking. The couple had largemason jar dispensers filled with lemonade, iced tea, and water. They then purchased beer, wine, and spirits from a local liquor store, and Tall Guy and a Grill provided bartenders. “I could not have lived without our cater!” Kelly says. Beyond bartenders, Dan was able to work with his contacts to provide tables, chairs, linens, and more – so much easier than having to hire a separate vendor.
For dessert, Nic and Kelly had a wedding cake that was a gift from Kelly’s aunt, Irene Tio. “She doesn’t bake professionally, but she’s made many cakes for family and friends and does an amazing job! We had three tiers and lace frosting.” The layers were filled with homemade peach and raspberry jam.
Another vendor Kelly and Nic say they couldn’t have done without was their photographers, Mark and Danny from R&R Photographic Imaging. “They were amazing. They captured each moment and had such great personalities – our entire wedding party raved about the experience. We felt like Mark and Danny understood what we wanted and we felt that they were truly excited to be a part of our day. They felt like friends, and with our small, intimate wedding, that’s exactly what we wanted.”
Overall, what made Nic and Kelly’s wedding day so special is the way they broke from tradition. Kelly sums it up: “My mother walked me down the aisle. Our best man was Nic’s seven-year-old son. My stepdad was the officiant. We wrote our own ceremony. We had a small wedding party. The bridesmaids picked out their own dresses based on color. Both the ceremony and reception were at our house. We gifted homemade barbeque sauce. We didn’t do the typical dances or bouquet/garter toss. We stuck with what we wanted the whole time and didn’t allow ourselves to feel pressured to do anything that didn’t feel right to us.”
Kelly’s advice to all brides-to-be is to “do what you want.” Your wedding day is, in the end, all about you and your husband, so aim to please yourselves first. Kelly also is a huge fan of the “first look.” “Those few moments before all eyes are on you – just let his eyes be on you,” she says. “Give yourselves that moment together to just breathe and take it all in. Plus, the photos are so worth it!” More practical advice from Nic and Kelly: Hire the right vendors. Take your time in making decisions, and trust your instincts. Finally, think outside the box! “Try to incorporate what means a lot to both of you. Those will be the moments you’ll remember and cherish forever.”
Bachelor Party~Charter Fishing in Port Washington and a night on the town.
Bachelorette Party~Pure Romance Party then a night out in Downtown Milwaukee with a Party Bus
Registery~Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s
Bridal Shows Attended~Waukesha Expo
Rehearsal Dinner~Harvey’s in Mequon
Ceremony & Reception Location~Bride & Groom’s Home in Fox Point
Caterer~Tall Guy and a Grill
Cake Designer~Bride’s Aunt, Irene Tio
Transportation~Luxury cars provided through Radisson Milwaukee North Shore
Photographer~R&R Photographic Imaging
Dress Designer~Sweetheart from Brides N’ Belles in Reedsburg, WI
Formal Wear~Groom’s Suit from Jos A Bank, groomsmen wore there own clothing
Rings~Armbruster’s in Cedarburg
Honeymoon~Catcha Falling Star in Negril, Jamaica
Categorized in: Real Weddings