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Amanda and Ollie were traveling with friends in Antigua when they met — Amanda from Milwaukee, and Ollie from Eastbourne, England. Ollie struck up a conversation at the bar one night, and there was an immediate connection between the two. “On our last night, there was a group of us sitting around,” Amanda remembers. “Ollie reached out to hold my hand and looked at me. It was at that moment I knew there was no other hand I wanted to hold.” The couple did long-distance and face-timed every day while planning trips to see each other.
Amanda had booked a trip to England over Christmas and New Years, but before that was her birthday. She wished Ollie could be there, but knew it was quite the trip. “I’d had a very busy day and was looking forward to our face-time when I got home from work,” Amanda says. “I arrived home to the surprise that he was in my room, having flown all the way from England!” The two went out to dinner with Amanda’s family, as is tradition, then went back home for cake and presents. After all the gifts had been opened, Ollie got down on one knee and asked Amanda to marry him. “There was no better birthday present I could receive!”
Ollie and Amanda wanted a beautiful, timeless wedding, and ended up having the ceremony and reception at The Journeyman in Milwaukee, a Kimpton hotel. The two had their first American date at a Kimpton hotel in Chicago, so when they found out Kimpton was building a hotel in Milwaukee, it was perfect. “It was a long process to watch the hotel be built from the ground up. There were no menus, no pictures of the spaces. We just like Kimpton and knew it would offer a boutique space with modern elegance. What we didn’t know was that the name of the hotel would be The Journeyman. Ironically, that’s what Ollie’s job position would be called here in America — a journeyman linesman. At that point it really seemed like fate.”
In preparation for the big day, Amanda attended the Bridal Expo at the Sheraton in Brookfield, and she found her wedding dress at Bliss Bridal. On the day of the wedding, Amanda took part in an English tradition where the bride arrives 10–20 minutes late to the ceremony. “I tried to incorporate this by adding a song between the wedding party entrance and my entrance.” Amanda also stayed true to the old rhyme: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. “What most people omit,” Amanda says, “is the last line: ‘and a sixpence in your shoe.’ The sixpence is to bless the marriage with prosperity. Since the sixpence comes from England, Ollie made sure to get one for me.”
During cocktail hour, Amanda and Ollie chose His and Hers signature cocktails: a tequila sunrise (the first kind of drink they ever had together) and a mai tai. “We liked the idea of having two drinks that were fun and meaningful.” For hors d’oeuvres, there was an antipasti display that included hummus, feta, peppers, olives, roasted artichokes, and pita bread. There were also passed appetizers: seared scallops with tomato chutney, parmesan crisps with arugula, and a Moroccan chicken spiedini.
Dinner was a traditional plated meal with two options: filet of beef with portobello mushrooms, white truffle potato gratin, and red wine sauce — or sautéed lemon parmesan chicken with capers, garlic and parsley cream, fingerling potatoes, and roasted summer vegetables. There was a dessert bar with one very special touch. “I consulted the hotel staff and had them surprise Ollie with a traditional English dessert: banoffee pie. It’s his favorite dessert, and I wanted to incorporate a bit of his heritage into the wedding. We had nine different desserts in all, leaving people the option to choose what they like.”
To add even more unique touches to the wedding, Amanda did a handful of DIY projects. She made up almond favor bags for the guests — an Italian tradition, as Amanda’s mother is Sicilian. She also made the table numbers and framed photos of the herself and Ollie at the age corresponding to each table’s number. Amanda also tackled the name cards and wrote the seating chart on a mirror. To celebrate their parents’ and grandparents’ marriages, Amanda displayed their wedding photos in gold frames.
Amanda and Ollie enjoyed finding ways to incorporate their dear friends and family into the day. “I think finding even small parts for people to do, such as usher people into another room, place photos of grandparents, have dedication dances — it makes everyone feel special and part of the day,” Amanda says. “We included family who were deceased in the wedding, too. Ollie’s mother, Kim, passed away when he and his sister were very young. When going back through pictures, Ollie found one of his mother in a bridal magazine in England. We found out that her wedding colors were the same as mine, and she used roses in her bouquet, too. Everything once again felt like fate. We had a special verse and candle in honor of her.”
Overall, Amanda says her favorite things about the day were the first looks: “There is the first moment of seeing each other, that can be done before the ceremony and is more intimate and personal. But it was still just as exciting walking down the aisle, because that is the last walk you will be taking alone. We also did a ‘first look’ of the reception space. Seeing everything put together was amazing; we were able to have a quiet moment to take it all in and just feel completely happy. We made a promise to each other before the wedding that we would not let time slip by. So many couples spend half the wedding speaking with guests — we made sure to go around together to do this. If one of us got separated, the other came to find them. We wanted to really share this day, our wedding day, together.”
Bridal Shows~Bridal Expo at the Sheraton in Brookfield
Rehearsal Dinner~Catered by Ono Kine Grindz, Wauwatosa
Ceremony, Reception & Catering~The Journeyman Hotel, Milwaukee, WI
Cake~Peter Sciortino Bakery
Flowers~A Floral Affair Inc.
Music/Entertainment~Sound by Design
Transportation~THINKLimo by Carey Limo
Photographer~Buchs’ Photo (Bill and Laura Buchholz)
Bride’s Dress~Allure Bridal from Bliss Bridal, Brookfield
Men’s Formalwear~Groom: Ted Baker from Moss Brothers, London, England`Groomsmen: The Wedding Center, West Allis
Rings~Michael Werdiger and Kay’s Jewelers
Lighting~Sound by Design
Rental Items~Arena Americas Rentals, Barking Pony, Windy City Linen
Categorized in: Real Weddings