LO­CAL LOVE

Four Mil­wau­kee cou­ples of­fer ad­vice on what worked – and didn’t – for their de­light­ful, yet very dif­fer­ent wed­ding days.

Milwaukee Weddings - - Content - By Mag­gie Gins­berg

Four cou­ples share de­tails from their big day – venues, cater­ers, best mo­ments, big misses, ad­vice and more.

HOW THEY MET: When Luke heard An­drea give tes­ti­mony at Madi­son's St. Paul Univer­sity Catholic Cen­ter church re­treat, he knew he had to get to know her and in­vited her out for cof­fee. They hit it off im­me­di­ately – (“My face hurt be­cause I couldn’t stop smil­ing,” says An­drea) – and a year-and-a-half later, they were en­gaged.

WHAT THEY WORE: Wtoo by Wat­ters for her, Gen­er­a­tion Tux suit rental with Tie Bar bowtie for him.

VENUES: Old St. Mary’s Church and Dis­cov­ery World

CATERER: Bar­tolotta Cater­ing

AD­VICE: Flow­ers and dec­o­ra­tions are great, says An­drea, but “at the end of the day, this is the first day of our mar­riage.”

FA­VORITE DE­TAIL: They were close with Fa­ther Tom, who once roomed with Luke, and Fa­ther Eric from their own St. Paul’s. Their “flo­ral ge­nius,” Es­ther of Im­pres­sions by Es­ther Flem­ing, is also “the best kept se­cret,” wow­ing them from her silk pro­to­types to fi­nal, gor­geous ex­e­cu­tion.

FA­VORITE MO­MENT: For An­drea, it was best friend and brides­maid Maria play­ing gui­tar and singing Sara Bareilles’ “I Choose You” for the first dance. For Luke, it was his mom singing “Ave Maria,” just as she had at her own wed­ding, and see­ing An­drea walk in the church for the first time. “I kind of sobbed,” he says.

ONE DE­TAIL THAT DIDN’T QUITE WORK OUT: They say every­thing, in fact, worked out as planned. Luke adds, “I think the day went as well as it did be­cause we spent a whole year pre­par­ing. We had tons of dif­fer­ent be­liefs within the group but peo­ple re­spected that, they could see in our eyes and hearts when I saw her, what this day meant.”

VENUE: The rooftop cer­e­mony and din­ner at Braise in Walker’s Point was the pin­na­cle of a three-day Mil­wau­kee wed­ding week­end cel­e­bra­tion. The men also gath­ered for fresh cuts, shaves and shoe shines at Bay View’s Stag Bar­ber Shop the morn­ing of the cer­e­mony, hosted gath­er­ings at Pas­tiche Bistro and Tay­lor’s Bar, and hosted a Mil­wau­kee River pon­toon ride, among other fes­tiv­i­ties.

CATERER: Braise

HOW THEY MET: Through each other’s re­spec­tive exboyfriends, who were very good friends at the time, dur­ing house par­ties and through the Mil­wau­kee bar scene more than 20 years ago.

FA­VORITE DE­TAIL: Too many to choose, they say, but a fa­vorite pri­vate de­tail were the Bos­ton ter­rier cuff­links they each wore on Sun­day in a nod to their beloved 7-yearold dog (and ring-bearer), Jake.

BEST MO­MENT: For Jim, it was hear­ing Romel read his emo­tional, funny and sweet hand­writ­ten vows aloud. For Romel, it was look­ing into the crowd of fam­ily and friends gath­ered as wit­nesses.

ONE DE­TAIL THAT DIDN’T QUITE WORK OUT: In ad­di­tion to want­ing more time with each guest, the cou­ple wishes they’d made one big thank-you speech. Oth­er­wise, “I thought we pulled it off,” says Romel, in large part be­cause over the past 20 years, so many of their friends have mar­ried and shared their own wed­ding ex­pe­ri­ences. “We were very or­ga­nized and had a lot of sup­port from our friends.”

BEST AD­VICE FOR OTH­ERS: Cre­ate a Mi­crosoft Ex­cel spread­sheet to doc­u­ment your ideas and keep you on track with your plans, along with de­tailed records of which ven­dors you’ve paid and how much, which guests are at­tend­ing and what gifts they gave so you can per­son­al­ize thank-you cards.

WHAT THEY WORE: Head-to-toe J. Crew for Jim (right), cus­tom suit from New York City’s My­suit Tai­lor for Romel. Romel added 99-year-old Grandma Grace’s embroidered vin­tage hand­ker­chief for a pocket square.

ONE DE­TAIL THAT DIDN’T PAN OUT: “Hon­estly, there was noth­ing I would do dif­fer­ently,” says Alyssa, who didn’t try to make it per­fect any­way. “We de­cided it was go­ing to end up how it ended up – and it was phe­nom­e­nal. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

WHAT THEY WORE: A non­tra­di­tional, no-frills and glam-free dress by An­thro­polo­gie’s BHLDN for her, Men’s Ware­house navy suit for him.

HOW THEY MET: On an in­tra­mu­ral dodge­ball team sopho­more year at Uw-mil­wau­kee in 2008, where they played the re­main­ing three years.

VENUE: Best Place at the His­toric Pabst Brew­ery. Be­sides the cou­ple’s shared de­vo­tion to beer, “The most im­por­tant thing is that the his­tory be­tween us is com­pletely in Mil­wau­kee,” says Alyssa. They in­cor­po­rated Brew City de­tails ev­ery­where they could, and Best Place was so per­fect that it was the only venue they vis­ited.

CATERER: Mader’s, which al­lowed the self-de­scribed food­ies to “keep ties with beer” while in­dulging in Ger­man fare like spaet­zle and giant pret­zels with mus­tard and cheese.

BEST AD­VICE FOR OTH­ERS: “Stay or­ga­nized, have fun and don’t get caught up in those mi­nor de­tails,” says Alyssa. “It’s gonna be a beau­ti­ful day no mat­ter what hap­pens.”

FA­VORITE DE­TAIL: How seam­lessly all the ven­dors worked to­gether. “I can’t ex­press how much we loved them all,” says Alyssa. “Kim from Pabst and Mary from Mader’s were like a magic duo.” Alyssa de­signed all of the paper works her­self in the bo­hemian style and neu­tral palate that per­me­ated the wed­ding. She and her Diy-fo­cused dad built the al­tar pieces and hand-painted all the signs.

FA­VORITE MO­MENT: At the end of the night, all of the re­main­ing guests gath­ered in a cir­cle, held hands or draped arms and swayed as Alyssa and Will, in the cen­ter, en­joyed their last dance to Billy Joel’s “Pi­ano Man.”

HOW THEY MET: Four years af­ter meet­ing at the Indy 500, Nick and El­iz­a­beth reunited at a mu­tual friend’s birth­day party in Chicago on Valen­tine’s Day 2013. Although they took their time dat­ing and even­tu­ally mov­ing in to­gether, when they fi­nally de­cided to marry they planned the en­tire wed­ding in just three short weeks.

VENUES: North Point Light­house at Lake Park and the in­ti­mate back bar at Hin­ter­land.

CATERER: Hin­ter­land, Nick’s for­mer em­ployer and a fre­quent date-night spot.

ONE DE­TAIL THAT DIDN’T WORK OUT: El­iz­a­beth mis­spelled her fu­ture hus­band’s last name on an info sheet the cou­ple sent out ahead of the wed­ding. “Peo­ple were like, ‘Good thing you’re not tak­ing his name!’” she says, laugh­ing. The cou­ple also for­got to write vows un­til the last minute in Pfister ho­tel rooms. “Nick to­tally got his vows on­line and I could just tell,” El­iz­a­beth says.

FA­VORITE DE­TAIL: De­spite the dis­tance for many and ex­tremely short no­tice for all, the vast ma­jor­ity of Nick and El­iz­a­beth’s fa­vorite peo­ple were there to sup­port them – es­pe­cially her late fa­ther’s mother. A friend played her dad’s old gui­tar as El­iz­a­beth walked down the aisle.

FREE AD­VICE FOR ANY WOULD-BE “BRIDEZILLAS”: Less than a month to plan a wed­ding? No prob­lem. “I’m not say­ing it was the eas­i­est three weeks of my life be­cause it was re­ally dif­fi­cult work­ing full-time and plan­ning a wed­ding. But the day of, it’s like, ‘Who cares if ev­ery last de­tail isn’t re­solved? It re­ally doesn’t mat­ter,’” says El­iz­a­beth. ◆

BY

LUKE & AN­DREA Au­gust 26 MAG­GIE GINS­BERG

JIM & ROMEL Septem­ber 3

WILL & ALYSSA April 9

NICK & EL­IZ­A­BETH Au­gust 6

● FA­VORITE MO­MENT: Tak­ing a bor­rowed, clas­sic Bri­tish MG for a spin around the block im­me­di­ately af­ter the cer­e­mony, which was “re­ally fun” and made for great pic­tures.

WHAT THEY WORE:

An­thro­polo­gie’s BHLDN dress with capelet for her, navy J. Crew suit and polka dot tie for him.

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