Jennifer & Mike’s Laid-Back Milwaukee Wedding

May 12, 2016

For Jennifer and Mike, all it took was one night of chatting to feel a strong connection. Within a year of that happy chat, the two were dating, meeting families, and talking about a future together. Mike cemented that future when he proposed to Jennifer in July of 2014. Jennifer’s mother had passed away a few years back, so she had given Mike the stone from her mom’s wedding ring. “I knew it was coming,” Jennifer says. “And as any crazy fiancé-to-be, I assumed every move was a possible proposal… However, he still managed to completely surprise me.”

Both Mike and Jennifer have off from work on Mondays, so they were enjoying a lovely morning in their backyard oasis (complete with a koi pond, river, fire pit, hammock, and three-tiered garden). Mike went into the house to refill his coffee, then returned and said he had something to tell Jennifer. “Before I knew what was happening, he was telling me how much he loved me and wanted for us to get married. He didn’t even get to the ring before I was in tears and saying YES!”

For the ring’s stone setting, Mike went to David Liska. “The ring was exactly what I was envisioning, and actually ended up being the basis of our monogram,” Jennifer says. “We found a small scroll design that looked like ‘JM’ and played off of that for our monogram. David ended up handling not only our rings, but also a pendant Mike had made for me and cufflinks for himself.”

In preparation for the big day, Jennifer and Mike went to the Wonderful World of Weddings show, where they met a few of their vendors, including Something Borrowed. Jennifer says: “I always knew I wanted candelabras, and when I saw Something Borrowed had them on display at the show, I knew we would book with them. I loved how great they were at pulling together ideas. They were prompt in getting back to me and had great suggestions, too. In the end, the reception room’s décor was even better than I had pictured.”

Mike and Jennifer planned an elegant wedding at the Best Place Historic Pabst Brewery. They didn’t have a bridal party, therefore didn’t need to rehearse. So the night before the wedding, the couple enjoyed an intimate dinner with their immediate families, followed by a “come if you can” mixer at the Iron Horse Hotel. “We cut out many wedding traditions as they didn’t really fit into how we saw our wedding day and who we are as a couple.”

The next day at the Best Place, the two had a judge conduct a short and sweet ceremony with guests seated in a circle around them. Right after the ceremony came one of Jennifer’s favorite parts of the day: “Mike and I went downstairs to have a private moment together away from everything. It was perfect to be able to be happy with each other and spend a moment in time together. I recommend this to all couples.”

Moving into the reception, Jennifer was floored by the gorgeous décor — not only from Something Borrowed, but also from florist Creative Floral Designs. “Being a pretty low-key bride, I had one consultation with Judy from Creative Floral, and she was really able to not only understand the look I was going for, but was happy to work with my budget. She took what I wanted and changed it up a bit so that we could save money. It’s one thing to imagine what you think it will look like, but then to see it come to life and have it be everything you wanted and more was one of my favorite things about the wedding.”

Jennifer’s other favorite thing: The food. “We hired Chef Jack’s and they were beyond perfect. The food was out of this world. Mike is a huge fan of seafood, so we went with a duet plate of Chilean Seabass and Filet Mignon, plus a side of salad that all tasted fresh and delicious.” There were also passed hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour, Jennifer’s favorite being a mini reuben with a shot of Guinness. The bar was handled through Best Place: “We hosted an open bar during cocktail hour and then everything switched to cash bar.”

For dessert, the couple passed on a traditional wedding cake. “Chef Jack’s was right there with the perfect suggestion. They prepared for us a flaming baked orange Alaska — a hollowed out orange served in a champagne glass with ice cream inside. And they toasted the whipped cream by lighting it on fire! Not only was it the perfect and light ending to the meal, but it was also quite the conversation piece with the guests.”

To capture it all on camera, Jennifer and Mike worked with R & R Photographic Imaging, where one of the photographers is actually Jennifer’s brother-in-law. “We had an internal struggle with asking them to be our photographers — we wanted to make sure Mark was still present for the wedding. However, we worked it out and it was one of the best decisions we made. Mark and Danny knew exactly what we wanted and were respectful of us asking for ‘not too many staged pictures.’ They did a great job capturing the day and the photos are stunning!”

The photographers even snapped pictures of Mike and Jennifer with their 8-year-old Australian Shepherd, Hemi. Working out the logistics seemed tricky at first, but the Iron Horse Hotel (where the bride and groom were staying) saved the day. “Not only were they accommodating of having Hemi there, but they were able to take care of him while we were at the wedding — not something they guarantee, but if they have the staff they will see to it. We were able to get full family pictures with Hemi and then know that he was in great hands while we were enjoying our night.”

One thing Jennifer wishes she knew before the big day is just how hard it is to spend time with every one of your guests. “Even with a small wedding (we invited only 100 and had 91 in attendance) you still will not be able to spend as much time with everyone as you would like. Try to carve out time for those VIP guests, but make sure to get around to everyone.” Overall, Jennifer and Mike say they wouldn’t change a thing about their day — “everything was laid-back and perfect for us.”

Bridal Shows Attended~Wonderful World of Weddings
Invitations~Heather Duffey Art & Graphic Design
Rehearsal Dinner~Family dinner at The Brown Bottle and a “come if you can” mixer at the Iron Horse Hotel
Ceremony & Reception~Best Place at Historic Pabst Brewery – Great Hall
Cake & Catering~Chef Jack’s
Flowers~Creative Floral Designs
Music/Entertainment~All-Star Music
Photographer~R & R Photographic Imaging
Dress~Custom Gown- Monirose Bespoke Gowns
Men’s Formalwear~NL Suits in The Third Ward
Rings~David Liska
Party Rentals~Something Borrowed and More

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