Sarah & Daryl’s Travel-Themed Wedding at the Milwaukee Marriott West

November 17, 2016

Sarah (from Slinger, Wisconsin) and Daryl (from Liverpool, England) met in the summer of 2011 while they were camp counselors in Pennsylvania. Sarah, the camp nurse, caught Daryl’s eye the first day of camp, and he kept thinking up excuses like knee pain or allergies to come see her. By the end of the summer, he’d won her over. The two were engaged at Christmastime in 2014 when Daryl surprised Sarah by flying in from England. With the help of Sarah’s younger sister Laura, Daryl spelled out “Marry Me” in Christmas lights at Sarah’s apartment and hid in her bedroom until she got home. When Sarah flicked on the lights, that was Daryl’s cue to get down on one knee.

Sarah and Daryl’s wedding embraced a travel theme, inspired by all the traveling the two had done to be together. The reception tables were topped with vintage luggage, globes, and maps, the name cards were modeled after UK Airmail letters, and the favors were fun-size English chocolates. “The overall vibe was very free flowing and natural,” Sarah says.

To prep for the big day, she attended two bridal shows: The Wonderful World of Weddings at State Fair Park and the Bridal Fair of Washington County. Sarah found her dress at Stone Manor Bridal and the bridesmaids’ at Amelishan Bridal. The belt she bought from an Etsy vendor, and her seamstress at Stone Manor Bridal attached it to the dress.

The ceremony was deeply rooted in Sarah’s family and childhood: “Getting ready in my mom’s kitchen and having the ceremony in the church that I grew up in was really special to me. It also gave me the chance to really show Daryl and his family where I come from. I think that was my favorite part of the entire process — combining our families and seeing how well they all clicked.”

One of Sarah’s most memorable moments happened at the ceremony, too. “My dad handed me off to Daryl, Daryl took my arm to lead me to the pastor, and he never let go. For the entire first half of the ceremony, Daryl held me close to him, arm in arm. I will never forget how we started out marriage side by side, hand in hand and nervous as ever — but we got through it together.”

For the reception, Sarah and Daryl chose the Milwaukee Marriott West. “When I started looking for venues, the Marriott was under construction,” says Sarah. “I was hesitant to book them, but I’m so glad I did! The space is amazing after the renovation — if I could model a future home off of it, I would. Ashley, the wedding planner at the Marriott, used the space to the max. She helped us arrange the tables and create a lounge space so that we used the entire ballroom without having it feel empty. She also personally set up all the decorations in the foyer for cocktail hour, and she made sure Daryl and I were the first to see the decorated ballroom.”

Not only was the space gorgeous, but Sarah will tell you the Marriott’s food was delicious. “We chose to start with appetizers with butler service. Guests could try coconut shrimp, spanakopita, Greek antipasto skewers, and Wisconsin cheese and brat skewers. Then for the mains, guests had the choice of grilled salmon, peppercorn chicken, and roasted vegetable en croute. To round out the night, they served mini quesadillas (my favorite!) and hamburgers (Daryl’s choice).”

For dessert, there was cake from Audra’s House of Cakes: “I can’t say enough good things about it!  She makes the most delicious, always-fresh cakes I have ever tasted. Audra has such passion and talent, and made me feel every step of the way like she wanted my vision to come to life without causing me any stress on the day.”

When all was said and done, Sarah does have some advice for future brides. “I wish I would have started with a solid vision of what I wanted the day to look like before I jumped into planning. I was trying to ignore things on my ‘must have’ list to create a more unique event. I wasted a lot of time looking at camps, barns, and country locations for the reception, when really I knew I needed a location with good hotel accommodations for my out of town guests.” Moral of the story: When wedding planning, check off all the big boxes first, and trust that the unique details will fall into place.

Bridal Shows~Bridal Fair of Washington County and the Wonderful World of Weddings at State Fair Park
Invitations~Dani Lou Designs
Rehearsal Dinner~Timmer’s Resort on Big Cedar Lake in West Bend
Ceremony Location~St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Slinger
Reception & Catering~Milwaukee Marriott West
Cake~Audra’s House of Cakes
Floral~Gaby Bras Floral Design
Music/Entertainment~Milwaukee Airwaves
Transportation, Photography, Videography~Vital Image
Dress~Essense of Australia from Stone Manor Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses~Bill Levkof from Amelishan Bridal
Formalwear~Wedding House in Liverpool, England
Rings~Ernest Jones (a UK jewler)

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