Vanessa and Sean marry in Downtown Milwaukee

PB Rewards Spotlight: Vanessa & Sean’s Milwaukee Wedding at the Historic Grain Exchange

January 26, 2021

Congratulations to Sean and Vanessa, married in October of 2019 and winners of our Premier Bride Rewards!

Vanessa and Sean won the chance to have the spotlight shine on their love story, right here on the Premier Bride blog. Watch for our next issue of Premier Bride to see what new rewards could be yours in 2021!

From Meeting to “Marry me?”

When Vanessa and Sean met, she knew it was a set-up even though he did not. “My friend had been talking to Sean for a couple weeks and didn’t have the heart to tell him she had a boyfriend because he was so nice,” Vanessa recalls. One day, Vanessa’s friend texted Sean while they were out at a bar, inviting him to meet up. Before he arrived Vanessa’s friends positioned themselves at the bar so that Sean would be forced to sit on the end, next to Vanessa. “Once we started talking, we hit it off right away,” she says. “We knew it was the start of something good.”

When Sean proposed, it was under the guise of not yet having Vanessa’s father’s blessing. “At the time, Sean had a job where he was travelling a lot, so he used that as an excuse as to why my dad would say no.” But the day before a planned trip to Jamaica, Sean landed a new job that would keep him in town. “He seemed excited, and said he would talk to my dad again once we got home.”

But Sean had other plans. On their second-to-last day in Jamaica, the two had a private dinner in a gazebo right on the ocean. Sean surprised Vanessa by proposing then and there. “My dad had, in fact, given his blessing. Sean had kept it a secret the whole time.”

A Fairytale Wedding

Sean and Vanessa planned an October 2019 wedding—whimsical and romantic. The ceremony would be held at Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church with a reception to follow at the Grain Exchange in downtown Milwaukee. “We had a beautiful setting. We wanted our guests to feel like they were in the middle of a fairytale, because that’s what our lives have felt like since we met.”

The happy couple worked with Janelle Meyer-Brown of Evenement Planning to help bring their wedding day vision to life. “Janelle was incredible. I don’t know what we would have done without her. She’s not only super easy to work with, she is creative and always has the most amazing ideas.”


Something Old Into Something New

While Vanessa and Sean didn’t opt for many DIY projects, there was one particularly heartfelt touch: “I feel it’s worth mentioning Sean’s bow tie,” Vanessa explains. “Sean’s mom passed away when he was 15. I surprised him that morning with a bow tie and pocket square made from the material of his mom’s wedding dress. He had no clue until we exchanged cards on our wedding morning.”

At First Sight

For their Old St. Mary’s ceremony, the church was completely filled with loved ones. “It’s hard to pick a favorite part,” they say. But in the end, both Vanessa and Sean agree that seeing each other for the first time was the most memorable part of the ceremony. Vanessa wore a Hayley Paige gown.

“I had pictured that moment in my head for a year and a half,” Sean says. “It was better in that moment than I had ever imagined before. I knew there were 250 other people in the room, but I could not contain myself,” he remembers. “I remember needing to pull myself together because my contacts were getting blurry and I couldn’t see her anymore.”

Photo Break

Following the ceremony, Vanessa and Sean took a photo detour to the lakefront near the Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World. “It was a beautiful day and the lighting was absolutely perfect. Our videographers and photographers are so creative and have a great eye. They made a simple backdrop stunning with the natural sky and beautiful city skyline.”


A Grain Exchange Reception

Sean and Vanessa’s reception followed what their planner called a “New York” schedule of events. “This meant that instead of sitting down for dinner and waiting for each course to be cleaned and served, we danced and partied between courses while the plates were picked up and the next course was served. We think it really brought up the overall energy of the entire reception.”

Dinner & Drinks by Bartolotta & Below Zero

All food and drink came courtesy of Bartolotta Catering. In fact, Vanessa and Sean even chose a Bartolotta restaurant for their rehearsal dinner: Bacchus. “The food was amazing and the atrium room is beautiful!” At the wedding, hors d’oeuvres were passed and dinner began with a Caesar salad. Next came the guests’s choice of filet mignon, Tuscan chicken, or salmon. Late-night food included sliders, pulled pork sandwiches, and fries.

For a fun touch during cocktail hour, Vanessa and Sean commissioned an ice sculpture and double drink luge by Art Below Zero. “On one side, we had a bride’s drink—a Cosmopolitan. On the other side, we had a groom’s drink—a Tom Collins.” It’s no wonder the newlyweds describe their wedding in these three words: romantic, energetic, and fun.

Wedding Consultant Evenement Planning
Make-up and Hair Style by R
Invitations Coqui Paperie
Rehearsal Dinner Bacchus – A Bartolotta Restaurant
Ceremony Old St. Mary Church
Reception and Bartending The Grain Exchange
Catering Bartolottas
Cake Dina Menzl-Russo
Flowers Impressions by Esther Fleming
Entertainment and Photo Booth Musicbox Entertainment
Officiant Father Donald Thimm
Transportation Milwaukee Trolley from DMI Limousine Service
Photographer The McCartney’s Photography
Videographer Character D Films
Wedding Dress Designer Hayley Paige from Bella Bianca Bridal Couture, Oak Brook
Bridesmaids Gowns Bella Bridesmaids,Wauwautosa
Formalwear Men’s Wearhouse
Custom Bowtie Topknot Bowties
Linens BBJ Linens
Chairs Canopies
Rings Vincent’s Jewelers, St. Louis, MO
Custom Bar Bartique Bars
Ice Scupture/Luge Art Below Zero
Personalized Macarons Woops!