Melissa & Matt’s Elegant Birchwood Wedding at Windwood of Watertown

June 14, 2017

Melissa and Matt got engaged at Melissa’s annual New Year’s Eve party. The evening started with cards and games — then, suddenly, it was 11:45. “I immediately stopped the game and started preparing the hats, horns, sparklers, and champagne for midnight,” Melissa says. Her dad told her he had to show her something in the basement, and Melissa obliged, but felt a little panicked that everything wouldn’t be ready for the big moment.

Heading back upstairs, Melissa’s sister intercepted her, snapping some pics of Melissa with the family kids. “Now I was getting really concerned for midnight,” she says. “At that moment, my now-husband grabbed my hand and led me into the living room.” Turning the corner, Melissa found rose petals and candles arranged in the shape of a heart. “Matt led me to the middle of the heart, got down on one knee, and proposed right there in front of my family and friends!” Melissa cried the “happiest tears I’ve ever cried” and yelled “Yes!”

Matt and Melissa planned an elegant yet outdoorsy wedding with a ceremony at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lake Mills and a reception at Windwood of Watertown. The two celebrated their wedding day with a uniquely large bridal party: 11 groomsmen, 11 bridesmaids, 2 junior bridesmaids, 2 attendants, 1 “ring security,” 1 usher, 6 ceremony attendants, as well as kids who greeted guests, handed out programs, and let guests know where to sit. Melissa says her favorite part of the ceremony was saying “I do” to her husband, along with the beautiful vocal ensembles made up of members of the bridal party. “Another thing that meant a lot to me was having 18 roses in a vase on the altar in memory of the close family members that were joining us from heaven that day.”

For cocktail hour at Windwood, there were passed appetizers: bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, sausage-stuffed mushrooms, and sweet and sour meatballs. There were also two signature drinks: The Matt (Coors Light on tap) and The Melissa (Brandy Old Fashioned). The main course was a duo plate of beef tenderloin steak and mushroom chicken, served with green beans almondine and new potatoes. “The meal was amazing! The head chef at Windwood is second to none. In fact, as we went to each table to greet guests after we ate, people at every single table complimented the meal!”

The sit-down dinner consisted of long tables decorated with birch logs, votive candles, and flowers. “We didn’t have a traditional head table because our wedding party was just too big! Wedding party members sat with their families or dates at tables close to ours.” Birchwood was used as an accent throughout the space to carry out the natural theme — everything from the cake decor to the DIY photo booth. “The photo booth had a birch tree backdrop and tons of props! We didn’t rent a traditional photo booth because there wasn’t space for one. Instead, we had a camera on a tripod and framed instructions explaining how to use the auto timer. People seemed to really enjoy taking their own pictures and had no issue using the camera themselves.”


Other fun touches included an ice cream sundae bar, which featured “just about every kind of topping we could think of! It was big hit with our guests, especially the kids.” Also a hit with the kids: When Melissa and Matt decided to plant an Aaron Rodgers place card among the 285 others, as a joke. “Some of the kids thought Aaron was really coming! They kept watching out the window to see when his limo would pull up. We had to break the bad news to them, and there was some big disappointment — but once we got them all back on the dance floor, the night was saved!”

Bride's favorite moment - the first dance

Overall, Melissa says Windwood really made the evening amazing. “Jamie at Windwood is extremely experienced, informative, helpful, and darn good at what she does. She helped make the day fantastic!” Her favorite thing she and Matt planned for their wedding was all of the personal touches, especially all of the people they involved in the day. “Family and friends are so important to us, and it was such a blessing that so many of them could be involved in our big day!”

Invitations~Designed by the Bride and Sara at Leader Printing,Lake Mills
Rehearsal Dinner~The Fireside, Fort Atkinson
Ceremony~St. Paul Lutheran Church, Lake Mills
Reception & Catering~Windwood of Watertown
Flowers~Stoughton Floral, Stoughton
Music/Entertainment~Dance 2 This Entertainment, Melvin Fields, DJ (Beloit)
Transportation~Watertown School District
Photographer~Jazzy Photo, Fort Atkinson
Gown~David’s Bridal
Formalwear~The Men’s Warehouse
Rings~The Diamond Center, Janesville and Countryside Jewelry, Lake Mills
Party Rental Company~General Rental, Watertown

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