Real Wedding: Michelle & Matt- A Prize Winning Wedding at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino

November 9, 2015

Matt and Michelle didn’t have a typical courtship, so it follows that their wedding was also anything but typical. Matt and Michelle won the Dream Wedding from Potawatomi Hotel & Casino: $20,000 toward their wedding, plus a Potawatomi ceremony and reception space, food and beverage package, wedding cake, floral, décor, and complimentary guest room. But let’s start at the beginning: Matt and Michelle met during Michelle’s freshman year at Ripon College in Spanish 201. The two were eventually partnered together for a group project, though they ended up remaining only casual acquaintances throughout college.

After graduating, Michelle went on to grad school at Eastern Illinois for a Master’s Degree in Historical Administration and Matt entered the Wisconsin National Guard. He became a Field Artillery Officer and was soon sent to Iraq for 15 months. “Over the next six years, I was deployed twice to Iraq while Michelle pursued her career goals. Thankfully, we live in an age of digital social networking. With the help of Facebook, she and I stayed in contact over the years.”

Fate eventually dropped the couple back in southern Wisconsin in early 2012. The two started dating — until a sudden change of fate: Matt found out he was once again being deployed. He would be leading his own unit of missile launchers in Afghanistan. “It was a great honor, but bittersweet. Just as Michelle and I were learning what a great team we could be, we’d be split apart. But Michelle’s feelings for me and faith never wavered. She stood by my side and supported me through the challenges of my deployment every day for 11 long months.”

In October 2013, Matt returned home to Michelle, now living in Chicago and working at the Field Museum. Two months later, Matt knew this was the woman he was destined to marry. The proposal came in April of 2014. “Matt was doing his best to keep the proposal a secret, but I had my suspicions,” says Michelle. “He went about the proposal in a very traditional way, asking my father before he asked me. But my dad isn’t exactly known as a crafty secret keeper — he pretty much gave it away to me right away. But I didn’t let Matt know that I was on to him, even though I was in total detective mode from that point on.”

The night of the proposal, Matt planned an elaborate date night — and tried on five different outfits before heading to dinner. Michelle remembers: “I spent the entire dinner expecting something to happen. It was the longest dinner of my life! As the end neared, I resigned myself to the fact that it wasn’t happening that night. I ordered my favorite chocolate torte and waited for it to satiate my emotional roller coaster.” That’s when it happened. Through her first bite of dessert, Michelle and Matt’s song started playing, and she looked over to see him down on one knee. “I think that most girls can understand that with the taste of rich chocolate in my mouth and the man I love on bended knee before me, it was one of the most magical moments of my life. What more could a girl ask for?”

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With such a journey of love behind them, Matt entered the couple to win a Dream Wedding by Potawatomi — and it’s no surprise they won! “At first we weren’t sure that a casino wedding reception was right for our personality. We were originally planning on a historic building downtown. But winning the Dream Wedding changed all of that! In the end, we can’t think of a better place to have had our wedding. The space was beautiful, very versatile, and our guests loved staying in the hotel. There was free valet parking for guests and the casino also runs an hourly shuttle to several other hotels in the area, giving our guests the option to select alternate accommodations.”

“At first I was worried that the modern design of the event space wouldn’t go well with my urban-vintage style,” says Michelle. “But floor-to-ceiling windows throughout and the patio deck allowed the Milwaukee skyline to be the major backdrop. It was very opulent and gave a grandiose feel. Neither of us really enjoy being the center of attention, so we were hoping to shift focus off of ourselves and just create a big party atmosphere for our loved ones to enjoy and celebrate in. Potawatomi really rolled out the red carpet for us.”
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Beyond just providing a gorgeous setting, Potawatomi also catered the event. The three dinner options: Mashed potato bar with bacon, bay shrimp, and cheese; mac n’ cheese station with braised short ribs, bacon, and lobster; and an omelet station with all the fixings. Matt and Michelle opted not to have assigned seating. “The floor plan incorporated tables of various sizes and heights throughout the space, leading to a less stationary atmosphere with guests traveling between stations, bars, tables, and the outdoor patio. It was a continuously flowing and evolving mass of fun. And obviously having an open bar was a hit!”

The cake, also by Potawatomi chefs, was “three tiers of deliciousness.” There was cheese cake with graham cracker crust and berries, double dark chocolate cake with raspberry and chocolate ganache, and traditional red velvet. Matt and Michelle also had a candy bar with take-away galvanized steel containers and a French pastry station with macaroons, cream puffs, eclairs, and passion cream tarts. As if that wasn’t delicious enough, at 10:00 the staff rolled out a nacho bar.

Check back next week for more beautiful moments from Matt and Michelle’s Dream Wedding!

Bachelor Party~Miller Park Suite at a Brewer Game
Bachelorette Party~Bar Hopping in the Wisconsin Dells
Bridal Registry~Target and Kohls
Wedding Consultant~Amanda Felsman of Tailored Engagements`Samantha Jacob, Catering Sales Manager for Potawatomi
Invitations~Save the Date – Dazzle`Wedding Invitations – Wedding Paper Divas
Ceremony Location~Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Milwaukee’s Fifth Ward
Reception Location~Potawatomi Hotel and Casino
Catering and Cake~Potawatomi Hotel and Casino
Flowers~Bobby at Marius Bell Floral and Events
Music~Sound by Design
Transportation~Vintage Trolley from Adonis Limos
Wedding Website~Appy Couple
Rentals~Canopies Events with Distinction
Photography~Jadon Good
Dress~James Clifford from Miss Ruby’s
Formal Wear~Men’s Wearhouse
Rings~Kesslers Diamonds
Honeymoon~Mackinac Island, Michigan


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