Milwaukee Wedding at Sanger House Gardens and the Grain Exchange

March 24, 2023

A whimsical Wisconsin summer wedding

How They Met

Michelle and Gregory were introduced by a mutual friend when they were students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They were classmates in a biology lecture and began going on long walks after class. Shortly thereafter, they fell in love.

The Engagement

One day, Michelle and Gregory were taking a walk along the river at Hubbard Park in Shorewood when they stumbled into a field of blue spring ephemeral flowers. Greg got down on one knee in the middle of the field and asked Michelle if she would marry him. The happy couple kept their engagement a total secret for a couple of days so they could enjoy the moment between the two of them before sharing the news with their family and friends.

The Dress

After trying on about 20 dresses, Michelle finally found the one: a classic blush satin gown with a figure-hugging silhouette. She loved the designs of Ines Di Santo, so she attended a trunk show at Ultimate Bride Chicago. She even had her shoes designed by James Ciccotti to match her dream dress, which made her feel like a princess.

The Ceremony

Michelle and Gregory held their intimate wedding ceremony at Sanger House Gardens in Brewer’s Hill, an incredibly beautiful venue full of rich textures and gorgeous, lush plants all around. In addition to sharing the special moment with their closest family and friends, they invited seven family members and friends to bless our new marriage. The couple modernized an old Jewish tradition by asking the witnesses to write their own blessings. They also got to know their officiant, Rabbi Ike Serotta, over the course of the six months leading up to our ceremony.

The Reception

The couple and their guests had a blast at the reception, which was held at The Grain Exchange in Downtown Milwaukee. The venue and decor were “over the top beautiful,” as Michelle describes. Their florist Jamie crafted classic yet whimsical floral arrangements that included delicate fairy lights that twinkled as the sun set.

The nine-piece band, Front of House, kept the dance floor alive until closing time. Every guest brought a miraculous energy to the party, which made the couple happy to see. Michelle and Greg even partook in a traditional hora dance, where they were lifted in chairs and spun around.

The Food and Drinks

Ever since Michelle and Greg moved to Milwaukee, they have dined at Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro to celebrate nearly every anniversary and birthday. Naturally, they knew early on that they wanted Bartolotta’s to cater their wedding dinner. They met with Maria Bartolotta, Director of Catering, for the tasting, and she was a highlight of the entire planning process. The food was, of course, astoundingly delicious. The menu included seared salmon on a bed of asparagus with celery root and potato puree covered in champagne beurre blanc and filet mignon in a cognac cream sauce over garlic pureed potatoes with grilled broccoli rabe.

The Cake

For dessert, Simma’s Bakery created mini cake bites and a custom two-tier cake. The wedding cake’s design was inspired by Michelle’s blush gown and was filled with raspberry buttercream and white chocolate ganache.

The Decorations

Michelle and Greg painted the cake toppers themselves: the couple in their wedding outfits, plus their dog Baxter! They also constructed their own chuppah, the Jewish wedding arch under which they were married, from copper pipe. The canopy was a tablecloth handed down through Greg’s family.

The wedding invitations and other signage were inspired by the couple’s proposal with blue flowers printed on them.

The Favorite Moment

The couple describes the first look as an incredibly romantic moment. “It is beyond words to have that private moment where our nerves, anticipation, and love all coalesced as our eyes finally met. We both kept tearing up,” Michelle says.

The Honeymoon

The newlyweds honeymooned in Door County the day after their wedding. They plan to embark on a longer trip when Greg completes his master’s degree.

Words of Wisdom from the Bride

“Give up control on the actual wedding day – you don’t have it anyways. Take it all in and remember to breathe!”

Wisconsin Wedding Vendors:

Wedding Vendor Service Website Instagram
Wedding Consultant Jane Himmel Weddings and Special Events @weddings.janehimmel
Makeup Artist The Bridal Beauty Team – Kate Johnson @bridalartistryteam
Hair Stylist The Bridal Beauty Team – Kate Johnson @bridalartistryteam
Invitations Erickson Design – Peggy Lambert @ericksondesignchicago
Ceremony & Reception Venue Sanger House Gardens & The Grain Exchange @sangerhousegardens, @grainexchange
Catering/Bartending Service Bartolotta Catering @bartolottas
Cake/Desserts Simma’s Bakery @simmas_bakery
Flowers Jaimer’s Floral @jaimersfloral
Music/Entertainment Front of House Band @frontofhouseband
Photographer Gerber Scarpelli Weddings – Nick Gerber and Belen Aquino @gerberscarpelliweddings
Videographer Salem Media Productions @salem_media_productions
Wedding Gown Designer Dress by Ines Di Santo, Veil by Victoria Sdoukos Couture
Bridal Boutique Ultimate Bride Chicago @ultimatebridechicago
Formalwear Spier & Mackay @spiermackay
Rings Custom from Greg’s grandparents’ bands
Rentals Arena Rentals, Gertrude and Evelyn Vintage Rentals, David Charles Productions @arena_americas, @gertrude_evelyn, @davidcharlespro