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Mara from Spokane, Washington, and Cory from Pewaukee met in college at UW-Madison. “A mutual friend introduced us right before a football game, and I ended up inviting Cory to my birthday party the following week,” Mara says. “He was the only guy to show up in a group of 11 girls.” When Cory proposed, he enlisted the help of the same friend who introduced them. “We were supposed to have a girl’s day, but after we got our nails done, my friend made up some story about needing to go back to Bascom Hill on the UW campus.” Walking up the hill, Cory stepped out from behind the Abe Lincoln statue and asked Mara to marry him.
Cory and Mara planned a beautiful wedding with a church ceremony and a reception at the Historic Pritzlaff Building. “Since many of our guests were traveling from out of state and town, it was important to us that they have a great experience in Wisconsin. We wanted to add a lot of historic and Milwaukee elements, which is why we had hotel blocks at the Pfister and Intercontinental Hotels and chose the Pritzlaff as our venue.” The bridal suite, first look, and Sunday brunch also happened at the Pfister Hotel. “I was beyond happy with it,” Mara says. “The hotel offered such a historic and elegant place to host our wedding memories.”
Mara found her Liancarlo gown at White Dress Milwaukee and was beyond happy when working with them. “They listened to me, seemed to know me right off the bat, and were incredibly helpful. I felt like a princess while I was trying on dresses! I loved that I could customize my dress. I ended up changing the illusion neckline a little, and I extended the train a couple of feet. It truly felt one-of-a-kind.”
On the day of the wedding, Mara says she woke up with an incredible feeling of pure joy and happiness. “I felt like that the entire day. I honestly have no clue if something didn’t go according to plan because I was just so happy all day, and that feeling sticks out to me the most.” The wedding started with a traditional church ceremony that took place at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. “It was so beautiful that we really didn’t have to add other decorations.” An organist and cellist played music during the ceremony. “It sounded so grand and elegant,” Mara says. “I played cello growing up, so I knew I had to have a cellist!”
Following the ceremony, Cory and Mara provided transportation for their guests to the Pritzlaff Building. “We had Go Riteway vans for all of the guests between the ceremony, reception, and back. We also had a limo coach for the wedding party.” Because the bride and groom had already done a first look and taken a bunch of pictures before the ceremony, they were able to mingle with friends and family during cocktail hour. “We felt like it was a nice way to talk with our guests, and we didn’t feel like we missed greeting anyone.”
For dinner, the couple chose a duet plate of beef and chicken, served with mashed potatoes and root vegetables. In addition to a traditional wedding cake for dessert, there were also mini chocolate-dipped cheesecakes on sticks. “Cory’s favorite dessert is cheesecake, so we had to incorporate it somehow.” Mara, being a self-proclaimed snacker, knew she wanted to have something extra for guests to munch on, too. “We had a popcorn bar because it’s my and my dad’s favorite food. We also had Ian’s Pizza, as that was our go-to late-night food in college. We believe everyone should try mac ’n’ cheese pizza at least once in their life!”
In addition to cheesy pizza, Mara and Cory added plenty of other fun touches to their reception. There were champagne cocktails, a whiskey bar, photo booth, a Snap Chat geofilter, and a surprise guest — Bucky Badger. “I surprised Cory and everyone at the reception with Bucky,” Mara says. “The look on Cory’s face was priceless. It was so special to see Cory so excited. Only myself, my parents, and our vendors knew about Bucky. He was a hit and definitely got everyone on the dance floor!” Mara also thinks the Snap Chat geofilter was a big hit with the younger guests: “I was really glad we did that, because the next morning I went on Snap Chat and got to see shots of the wedding through others’ eyes. It was really fun to see.”
While Mara admits that she loves DIY projects, she didn’t actually do any to decorate the Pritzlaff. “We were lucky enough to have collected things over time to use — and we had such amazing vendors that already had awesome things to rent!” The couple worked with Relics Vintage Rentals to create a custom chalkboard seating chart, and Evenement Planning helped pull everything together. “Anne at Evenement was a lifesaver. I honestly think this was the best money spent. Anne got to know me so well; she seemed to understand my vision and knew exactly what I wanted at times when I was feeling overwhelmed. I trusted her 100% and she executed everything perfectly. Anne was calm through the entire process, which made me calm and allowed me enjoy my engagement.”
Mara’s advice for future brides is to be flexible and go with the flow. “So many unexpected things take place and you just have to go with it and trust that the day will work out. Also, stay humble and down to earth throughout the experience. At the end of the day, you’re married to the person you love, and that’s what a wedding is all about.
Wedding Consultant~Evenement Planning
Invitations & Save-the-Date~Paper Envy
Ceremony~Cathedral of St John’s the Evangelist
Bridal Suite & Sunday Brunch~The Pfister Hotel
Caterer~Lee John’s Catering
Cake~The Cake Lady
Flowers~Jane Kelly Floral
Videographer~Sikora Film Co
Gown~Liancarlo from White Dress Milwaukee
Formalwear~Groom: Nordstrom`Groomsmen: Men’s Wearhouse (Vera Wang)
Rings~Golden Karat Jewelers, Minocqua, WI.
Linens~Windy City Linens
Guest Seating Chart Chalkboard and writing~Relics Vintage Rentals
Late Night Snacks~Ian’s Pizza