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Kara and Luke grew up in Union Grove, Wisconsin, where they were high school sweethearts. Now, they are husband and wife. The couple got engaged during a family vacation (with both of their families) in Sedona, Arizona. “My whole life, I kept telling Luke I wanted to get engaged on top of a mountain. He made that dream come true!” Luke took Kara hiking at Cathedral Rock and proposed at the very top.
Both being “obsessed with the ocean,” Luke and Kara planned a nontraditional event: A destination wedding in California with their closest family and friends, followed by a reception back home in Milwaukee. “California fits our personalities perfectly. Not only did we want to get married there, we also wanted a theme to match.” The couple went for a west coast twist on the beach vibe, choosing succulents and driftwood for décor over seashells and sand.
To prep for the wedding, Kara attended a bridal show, though she found her dress at Bliss Bridal. The couple’s rings came from Robert Haack and Harry C Grinberg Jewelers. Luke ventured to Huntington Beach, California, for his bachelor party; he and the guys spent the day surfing. For her bachelorette party, Kara and the girls enjoyed the Pfister Spa (“Amazing,” she says), followed by dinner at Kasana and dancing in downtown Milwaukee.
On the day of the destination wedding, Kara says there was “lots of nervous excitement.” The ceremony was held at sunset on the beach, where Kara’s dad walked her down the aisle (one of her favorite memories) and the couple wrote their own vows. For DIY projects, Kara made welcome bags, an events schedule, and the bridal party’s boutonnieres and bouquets.
Back in Milwaukee, Luke and Kara threw a waterfront reception at the Pilot House Discovery World. “We picked this venue because of its beautiful view of the city — plus, we felt it fit with our theme. Everything went as planned. All of the vendors did a fabulous job, making our dream reception come true. The only downside was that the night went by so fast.”
Instead of a sit-down dinner, Kara and Luke opted for small plates and a lot of different seating options so that guests could easily mix and mingle. Some of the small plates included mini burgers, fritas in cones, crab cakes, mini grilled cheese & tomato soup, and chicken lettuce wraps. For dessert: “We aren’t huge cake lovers, so we went with a two-tier Danish cake along with a traditional Danish groom’s cake. We also had a huge variety of Kringle.” For a late-night snack: pizza.
Milwaukee’s Sound by Design handled the music and photo booth. “The highlight was having a dance-off,” says Kara. “Lots of laughing! And everyone had a blast with the photo booth. To top it off, they made a photo album with all of the photos as a keepsake for us.”
Kara’s advice to future brides: “The little details pay off in the end. I’m so happy I took the time to do some DIY projects; I was able to add my own personal touch. Overall, enjoy the entire wedding process. You might get stressed out or overwhelmed, but try to make the best of it. Your special day comes and goes so quickly.”
Bachelorette Party~Milwaukee – Spa day at the Pfister Well Spa (amazing spa). Then dinner at Kasana and ended the night with drinks/dancing downtown.
Bachelor Party~Huntington Beach – Spent the day surfing. Then dinner at Federal Bar and went to a Laugh Factory comedy club in Long Beach.
Bridal Registry~Crate & Barrel, Macey’s, and Williams & Sonoma
Invitations~ Huntington Beach: Wedding Paper Divas`Milwaukee: Karl H. Schnabel Co., Inc. (great small town company)
Rehearsal Dinner~Huntington Beach: Mario’s Mexican Restaurant
Ceremony Location~On the beach, Huntington Beach, CA
Reception Location~Pilot House Discovery World, Milwaukee
Caterer~ Huntington Beach: Sandy’s Restaurant (right on the beach – beautiful view)`Milwaukee: Bartolotta’s Catering
Cake Designer~O&H Bakery in Racine
Flowers~ Huntington Beach: Little Hill Floral Designs`Milwaukee: Belle Fiori
Music/Entertainment~Sound by Design
Transportation~Huntington Beach: Pedi Taxi’s (lots of fun and something different)
Dress Designer~Wtoo Emerson from Bliss Bridal
Formal Wear~Bachrach Suite with Hugo Boss shirt & tie
Rings~Hers: Robert Haack`His: Harry C Glinberg Jewelers
Categorized in: Real Weddings