Real Wedding: Susan and Michael- A lovely garden wedding at Northwind Perennial Farm

January 30, 2016

Mike and Susan’s journey to finding each other was a long one. Mike had been married previously and Susan had been engaged once before. When they met online, they knew they had finally found their match. When Mike proposed, he faked Susan out, making her think the proposal was coming on her birthday. “But my brother, Will, was over for dinner one night and asked to take some pictures of us,” Susan says. While that was happening, Mike popped the question, and Will caught it all on camera.

The couple planned a traditional wedding with rustic-romantic flair at Northwind Perennial Farm in Burlington, Wisconsin. The property is a flower farm with gardens, green spaces, and numerous small buildings with a rustic barn feel. The gardens even have Koi Ponds throughout, and some of the barns have live animals. “We both love the outdoors, so it was perfect for us.”

Before the wedding, Susan and Mike did a first look at Susan’s parents’ pier in William’s Bay. Susan also did a first look with her dad in the back yard, facing Lake Geneva. “Both of these moments were really emotional,” Susan says. “Our photographer, Brook with Ideal Impressions, really captured all of the emotions and joy we felt that day and the beauty of Lake Geneva. She and her team created an incredible video of the day as well. I’m so glad we got a video; Mike and I watch it all the time.”

The ceremony was short and wonderfully sweet, with a mutual friend of Mike and Susan’s officiating a highly personalized ceremony. The couple wrote their own vows and had bagpiper Rob McWilliams close the ceremony, representing their Irish heritage. “ACA Entertainment did a great job helping us coordinate the musical entertainment for the day.”

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When it came time for the reception, Susan and Mike had outdoor seating so folks could enjoy the perfect fall weather. There were twinkle lights and cafe lights all over the place — “a magical feel,” they say. All of the food came from Tarts and Truffles Catering. Before dinner, there were delicious passed hors d’oeuvres. For dinner, there were food stations with carved beef tenderloin, crab cakes, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes with mix-ins, grilled vegetables, and corn on the cob.

For dessert, there were four different kinds of cupcakes: salted caramel, vanilla with raspberry filling, German chocolate, and carrot cake. “We also had light snacks, hot dogs, movie theater popcorn, and cotton candy — which I devoured,” Susan says. There were also two signature drinks: Moscow Mules for the groom and Prosecco for the bride.

Flowers played a huge part in the theme and venue décor — both naturally and from Susan and Mike’s florist, Renee from Frontier Flowers of Fontana. “She was really able to create my dream of a romantic, rustic, beautiful feel,” Susan says. “There were hanging flowers from a tree over the ‘altar,’ and Renee and her crew created an amazing ‘chandelier’ of manzanita branches, twinkle lights, flowers, and gold stars over the dance floor.”

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Adding to the overall vibe, Susan and Mike (with the help of family and friends) added a lot of DIY touches to their wedding day. They painted hardback books in gold and cream to use as centerpieces. Susan’s mom made mercury glass vases using gold spray paint and alcohol. The couple used metal grates and mini clothespins to hold the place cards in place on the grates, which leaned against bales of hay. The food stations had burlap banners scrawled with celebratory words, and Mike painted 10 wooden signs to direct guests to various events around the farm grounds.

Susan also made sure to bring in some vintage accoutrements. “We made a memoriam table for those who had gone before us, decorating a vintage table with vintage lace,” Susan says. “I love vintage things so much, we rented a red vintage truck to take pictures by. It was awesome! If you have a vision for something you desire on your wedding day, make cuts in other places to make room in your budget for what you’ve been dreaming of.”

Susan’s other advice for brides-to-be: “Do some DIY stuff, but let people help you. I got too involved with all the crafts and little décor ideas I’d seen on Pinterest.; I overwhelmed myself. And finally, on the wedding day itself, make time to dance and drink! It’s important to say hi to everyone, but make sure to enjoy your day. Mike and I enjoyed ours like crazy.”

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Pre-Wedding Celebration~ Bachelorette Party: Foulard, Saint Louis and Naples, Florida`Bachelor Party: Lake Geneva, WI
Bridal Registry~Crate and Barrel & Bed, Bath, and Beyond
Wedding Consultant~Jaffe Wojcik from Graceful Events`Patti Dulla
Invitations~Alexandra Ruzicka, Freelance Graphic Artist
Rehearsal Dinner~Hawk’s View in Lake Geneva, WI
Ceremony and Reception~Northwind Perennial Farm in Burlington, WI
Rental Company~Lakes Area Rental in Lake Geneva, WI
Cake and Caterer~Tarts and Truffles Catering in Hebron, IL
Flowers~Frontier Flowers of Fontana in Fontana, WI
Music/Entertainment~ACA Entertainment – Michael Walters Orchestra, Rob McWilliams, Bagpiper
Transportation~Y Drive Limo in Lake Geneva, WI
Photo and Video~Ideal Impressions in Lake Geneva, WI
Dress Designer~Maggie Sottero from Lorreta Bridal in Boutique Naples, FL
Formal Wear~Flemings in Lake Geneva, WI
Rings~M&D Hubbell Jewelers in Des Peres, MO
Honeymoon~Sandals Whitehouse, Jamaica

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