Intimate, Outdoor Villa Terrace Wedding

February 24, 2016

Jennie and Chris both grew up in Whitefish Bay and were classmates in high school, though they never hung out or dated. The two eventually reconnected online, and the rest is history. When Chris proposed, he took Jennie out to his lakeside cottage under the guise of wanting to go fishing. The two stopped for dinner on the lake, then went out on the boat. Next came the fireworks. “I looked and said ‘Those look like they’re on your pier… Those <i>are</i> on your pier!’ I was still clueless,” Jennie says. Chris got down on one knee and said “I love you” as he slipped the ring on her finger. “He was so nervous, he couldn’t even mutter ‘Will you marry me?’” Jennie says.

The couple planned a dream wedding — or, as close to a dream wedding as they could. “In an ideal world, I would have gotten married in a villa in Italy with all of our closest family and friends around us,” Jennie says. “Fortunately for us, Milwaukee has the next-best thing — the Villa Terrace.” While planning, Chris and Jennie kept four goals in mind: having the ceremony and reception outdoors, a color scheme of black and white with pops of floral color, lots of candles and flowers, and somehow involving their dog Dude.

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Jennie designed the event details herself, but Janelle at Evenement Planning helped with vendor and day-of coordination. “I loved working with her,” says Jennie. “She gets things done. She even came out to our house the day before the wedding when I was totally losing my mind. Whatever you need, she does and does it so well.” Jennie’s mom also played a big part in bringing everything together: “I couldn’t have lived without my mom by my side. I wanted her to be as involved as she wanted to be; it was a really special bonding experience.”

Jennie found her gorgeous dress by Modern Trousseau at Zita Bridal Salon. “They treat you like a true bride there,” she says. “The owner, Cynthia, opened up shop for me on Sunday to accommodate our schedule. Maria, the tailor, is a miracle worker. I added a black sash to the dress and Maria added straps. No sparkle or bling, just pure classic perfection.”

As an art grad and designer, Jennie made her own wedding invitations: “I went crazy with them and designed all my own stationary, then had Boxcar Press in New York create printing plates for me. I knew I wanted to incorporate something unique from the Villa Terrace into the invitation. Since our ceremony was to be at the fountain in the courtyard, I created a design that mimicked the stonework around the fountain and ironwork details — all symbolic elements in tribute to this incredible venue.”

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For the wedding day itself, Chris and Jennie followed a rather unique format, starting the day with a private ceremony and sit-down dinner for only their immediate families and the wedding party. “It was really important for us to spend time with those closest to us. We then opened it up to a cocktail reception for about 100 more of our family and friends to join in the celebration.”

During the ceremony, Jennie says she wasn’t nervous, just that overwhelmed feeling. “It was very emotional seeing all the parts I had carefully planned all come to life. My rock was Chris who kept me grounded, calm, and reminded me to keep smiling. The day was for us and about us, and we’re not used to that. All of these beautiful things were for us — what!?”

For their intimate dinner, guests enjoyed a family-style panzanella salad, sautéed shrimp and scallops with risotto, and flank steak with spaetzle. Dessert was a passion fruit pavlova. At the larger reception, there were passed appetizers and a dessert table filled with trifles and truffles.

One of the coolest things to happen during Chris and Jennie’s wedding was a Thunderbirds fly-over. When Janelle, the wedding coordinator, found out that their wedding day was a practice day for the T-Birds, she called Jennie’s mom to voice her concern. “Little did she know, the Thunderbirds are one of my favorite things. They give me goosebumps,” Jennie says. “My friends, knowing my love for them, asked if I’d planned my wedding around the fly-over. Though I didn’t, I sure am glad about the happy coincidence!”

Jennie’s advice for future brides is twofold. First, to consider an unplugged wedding, meaning guests are asked to not use phones or cameras. “This is one thing I wish we would have done,” she says. “There are many photos with guests holding up their cellphones, taking photos and observing things through phones. It really ruins the whole vibe and I was disappointed to see this in photos.”
Jennie’s also advises brides to remain mindful of their grooms on their wedding day. “You’re the bell of the ball and will be pulled in many directions,” she says. “While there are many guests to greet, take your time and make sure you stay with your groom. It’s tougher to do than you might think.” In the end, Jennie says she wouldn’t have changed a thing about her wedding day. “I want to do it all over again — always with the same man.”

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Rehearsal Dinner~Pizza Man
Ceremony & Reception Location~Villa Terrace
Caterer~Gracious Events
Cake Designer~Dina Menzl Russo
Day-of Coordination~evenement Planning
Flowers~Esther Fleming
Music/Entertainment~Sound by Design
Ceremony music~Racine Strings`Rebecca Schultz, Violinist & Marie Sinco, Cellist
Photographer~Heather Cook Elliot
Videographer~Nick Miller
Dress Designer~Modern Trousseau from Zita Bridal Salon
Formal Wear~Custom Made Suit by Oleg Yusufov
Rings~A Trio Jewelry
Honeymoon~Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort in St. Lucia

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