Allison & Ben’s Dazzling Wedding at the Zoo’s Peck Welcome Center

August 15, 2016

Ben and Allison met while attending Wisconsin Lutheran College. “I sat near him on the first day of an 8am calculus class,” Allison recalls. “For some reason when I walked into class and saw him, my heart stopped and I had no idea why.” On the night Ben proposed, he took Allison on a date downtown but wouldn’t tell her anything about it, except that she should be “prepared for an adventure.” She says: “With each stop I became more and more suspicious, especially when he bent down to tie his shoe on a street corner. I remember trying to ‘accidentally’ bump into his shorts pockets to feel if there was a ring box there.

”We walked the riverwalk, visited the art museum, and ate dinner at the Safe House. Ben finally led me to a gazebo by the river in Pere Marquette Park.” The gazebo was covered in candles and twinkle lights. As they approached, Allison saw her best friend (and future maid of honor) running away with a lighter in her hand. Ben proposed in the center of the gazebo, and Allison later discovered that her two best friends had been secretly following them around all day, snapping pictures.

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The ceremony was held at Grace Bible Church in West Allis. “It was the church I attended growing up, so it meant a great deal to me to be married there,” Allison says. “My dad walked me down the aisle to a beautiful instrumental version of ‘A Thousand Years,’ giving me what I describe as my perfect movie moment. I walked toward Ben, overcome with emotion, tears everywhere! The entire ceremony was beautiful and personal. We hand-picked our Bible verses and vows and put together a Unity Cross, which we now display in our home.”

After the ceremony, the party moved to the Peck Welcome Center at the Milwaukee County Zoo. The place holds special meaning for Ben, who had worked there for seven years. Allison loves sparkle, so she wanted the wedding reception to be “dripping with crystals and twinkling from sequins and candles. We wanted a classic and elegant wedding that would wow everyone, while throwing a fantastic party and ensuring our guests would have a fabulous time. Trying to balance both, we made one half of the reception an elegant dining area, and the other half a fun lounge and dance floor. Ben and I love movies so we named our guest tables after our favorite movies. Keeping with this subtle movie theme, we had a popcorn table, candy table, and photo booth.”
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“Walking into our reception for the first time and seeing all the work we put into it come together was a breathtaking experience. We had to stop for a second to take it all in. We had a fantastic hors d’oeuvres hour, mingling with our guests and greeting people for the first time as a married couple. I enjoyed the multiple times I lost Ben in the crowd — it gave me a chance to say ‘I should find my husband!’ over and over again.”

Much of the hard work Ben and Allison put into the day were DIY projects and labors of love. Allison designed all stationery items, including invites, programs, and table assignments. The couple put together their own guest book using Shutterfly. Ben created activity books for the kids. Allison’s mom really helped bring their dream to life, too. She made stands for holding the table numbers and other signage, pillow covers for the lounge area, the Swarovski crystal-covered cake topper, three flower girl dresses, and (best of all!) she made Allison’s wedding dress, which the two designed together.

Dinner was catered by Chef Jack’s. “Our guests still rave about the meal and everyone says it was the best wedding food they’ve ever had.” There were mini reubens with Guinness shooters, tequila lime shrimp, Brie and raspberry phyllos, Italian sausage mushrooms, chestnut rumaki, tomato pesto crostini, salads served in martini glasses, steak, chicken, veggies, and mashed potatoes.
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After dinner, a full dance floor was the goal — and they succeeded. Guests really took advantage of the photo booth, and at one point, everyone was treated to an Irish dancing performance. “Since I was an Irish dancer for about 14 years, this was extremely important to me,” Allison says. “Many of the performers were dancers I had taught in the past, and I loved having them there to share a part of the day with me. Quite a few wedding guests were also Irish dancers and they joined me in a bit of dancing after the performance. It was a highlight of the night.”

What moment sticks with Ben and Allison the most? “Honestly, the whole day is memorable. We truly enjoyed taking in every second and going through the roller coaster of emotions with each other. Whether it was just the two of us joking around while we were taking pictures, dancing together surrounded by our friends and family, whispering to each other about how we had no idea how we were supposed cut the cake, or simply squeezing each others hands during the ceremony, we had an unforgettable experience together — a day that was about us.”
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Invitations~Made by the Bride
Rehearsal Dinner~Matty’s Bar & Grill, New Berlin
Ceremony Location~Grace Bible Church, West Allis
Reception Location~Peck Welcome Center, Milwaukee County Zoo
Caterer/Bar~Chef Jack’s Catering
Cake Designer/Dessert~Brookfield Wedding Cakes
Flowers~Impressions by Esther
Music, Photobooth & Uplighting~Sound By Design
Transportation~Cheesehead Limousine
Photographer~Kristina Lorraine Photography
Dress~Made by Bride & Bride’s Mother
Formalwear~Squire Fine Men’s Apparel (Tuxedos)
Bridesmaids Dresses~Dessy Collection from Miss Ruby Boutique
Hair~Neroli Salon & Spa, Bayshore
Rentals (linens, tents, chairs etc.)~Canopies

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