simple elegant wedding centerpieces with silver vases and purple roses

How to Trim Your Wedding Guest List

Trimming your wedding guest list is a matter of choice and, in some cases, necessity. It can also be an incredibly stressful part of wedding planning. Many couples don’t want to say no. The couples that do have family or friends that aren’t on board with their decision to trim the guest list. This guide can hopefully make the process a little easier for you—and less stressful—as you plan your Milwaukee wedding.

How to Trim a Wedding Guest List BEFORE Sending Out Invites

It’s normal to start with a huge wedding guest list and pare it down to a number that fits the venue capacity and your budget.

Go from family to adults-only.

Trimming the wedding guest list to only include adults is an easy way to cut the guest list. This decision may come with some negative feedback; not everyone appreciates finding child care and leaving their kids at home.

You can make the decision by weighing the pros and cons of an adults-only wedding. A definite pro is that an adults-only wedding allows for many fun wedding entertainment opportunities, such as a sampling bar or a risqué trivia game. The biggest con is the negative feedback that comes with the decision. If you are leaning toward hosting an adults-only wedding, the best way to deal with this feedback is to have solid reasons for your decision. Guests are more likely to understand if your decision is based on venue capacity limitations or a tight budget.

Make categories.

One of the easiest ways to break down a wedding guest list is to break up your guest list. You can do so by dividing the list into categories, such as “friends,” “family,” or “professional acquaintances.” To make those lists smaller, set a limit on each category. At the top of each category list, put the “must haves”—the people that mean the most to you or you see most often—and put those guests that would be “nice to have, but not essential” at the bottom. This process can make it a bit easier to cross potential guests off—without guilt (or much guilt).

Use the 70-15-15 rule.

When you’ve got a big wedding guest list, it can be hard to divvy up the guest list with family. When your guest list number is smaller, every seat is even more important. To help with the task—and avoid any unnecessary family drama (hopefully)—inform your family that you will be abiding by the 70-15-15 rule. Basically, this means, if you have 100 guests, you and your groom would get to name 70 guests, your parents would get to add 15, and your partner’s family would add 15.

Stay within venue capacity.

Venue capacities are set for the safety of everyone. It’s important to stay under that number when setting a wedding guest list. You can get the venue capacity number when you contact the venue with your list of wedding venue questions.

How to Trim a Wedding Guest List AFTER Sending Out Invites

In certain circumstances, it’s necessary to trim the list even further after sending out invites. As you go through the process, remember to continually communicate with guests about any changes and the reasons for the modifications. There are two ways to do this, through in-person conversations, calls, social media, and via a wedding website. (Use these tips for building a solid wedding website.)

Consider hosting an adults-only wedding.

If you need to trim down a guest list, an option is to change your big day from a family affair to an adults-only wedding. You can post this change on your wedding website or social media site, but it’s also important to contact close friends and family about the change. These conversations may be difficult; it’s important to be open and honest about your reasons for switching to an adults-only wedding.

Cut any extras.

Another way to decrease the guest list is to ask guests not to bring a plus-one. Again, this change can be posted on social media or your wedding website, but you should also follow up with close friends and family affected by the change.

Though it may be more difficult, you can also divide your guests into categories and place guests you don’t talk to on the bottom of each category. These categories could include “friends,” “family,” and “parent guests.” The guests on the bottom of the lists should be crossed off, and contacted with the option to join the event online (if you choose to live stream your wedding day).

If you need to trim the guests list because of a health situation, you can also identify guests who may be reluctant to come. It may be hard, but the best approach is to contact these guests directly, ask if they are interested in coming, and explain your reasons for trimming the guest list.

Give guests the opportunity to live stream.

While it may be difficult to contact guests and ask them not to come, you can still offer them the chance to be a part of your big day. Fortunately, there are many companies offering live stream services that make it possible for guests to login and see your ceremony and reception. In addition to mentioning it to guests directly, you can also post the link on social media and your wedding website.

Work with a wedding planner or venue.

An independent wedding planner or venue planner can make the task of trimming a bit easier. While they can’t actually cross names off the list, they can coordinate communications with guests and vendors.

wedding couple dancing at wedding venue

When to Book Your Milwaukee Wedding Venue

It’s one of the most common wedding planning questions: “when do I book my Milwaukee wedding venue?” Once you’ve figured out who the “one” is, choosing the venue is the logical next step—right after you sit down and have an honest conversation with your fiancé and ask key wedding planning questions.

When to Book Your Venue

Most wedding planning checklists say you should book your Milwaukee wedding venue 9-12 months before your wedding date. There are some wedding venues that are in high demand, however, and should be contacted as soon as possible (as soon as 2 years before!)

If you are uncertain about your exact wedding date, contact your favorite Milwaukee wedding venue and ask them for open dates during your favorite season or month. This is also a great strategy for couples whose preferred wedding date is already taken. You can also ask about wedding days around your favorite wedding date (like a Friday or Sunday). (If you don’t have a date in mind, use these tips for choosing the perfect wedding date.)

How to Find the Right Milwaukee Wedding Venue

It’s not hard to find a list of Milwaukee wedding venues, but it can be hard to narrow down the list to your favorite! To find the right wedding venue, follow these steps.

Decide on your favorite venue style.

Your wedding venue is the backdrop for every wedding detail, so it makes sense to choose a wedding style before searching for your wedding venue. Is your style modern? Do you love historic details? Are rustic touches your style? Have you always dreamed of an elegant wedding in a glamorous wedding hall?

Set a budget.

Setting a wedding budget is a key wedding planning step. It’s one of those key details you should discuss with your fiancé before you start wedding planning. You can use a wedding budget worksheet or do it on your own.

If you choose the latter, remember that most of your funds (typically 40-60%) should be designated for “big ticket” items that make a big impact on guests. Namely, these areas include your Milwaukee wedding venue, food, and entertainment.

Once you have a budget set (and have talked to anyone else willing to contribute), use the estimated amount to narrow down the list of wedding venues. Contact each Milwaukee wedding venue that fits your style and guest count and ask them for the total cost and if they have any other fees (i.e. overtime fees, equipment charges, etc.) (Remember, never assume that a wedding venue isn’t affordable. Some of the most beautiful Milwaukee wedding venues are actually very budget-friendly.)

Estimate your guest list count.

Don’t panic! You don’t have to sit down and come up with an exact guest list, but it is helpful to have a general guest count. (Plus these tips for crafting the perfect guest list.) Do you want a big wedding? Or a smaller, more intimate event? An estimated guest count is useful to make sure that you choose a wedding venue that is the perfect size for your big day.

Your guest count can also be set by setting a wedding budget. If your budget is tight, it may make sense to limit your guest count so you are not stretched thin.

Consider your wedding date (or season).

Think about when you want to get married. Do you have a favorite season? Is there a special date you want to use, like a family wedding date or the day you met? If you’re truly at a loss, use these tips for choosing the perfect wedding date.

Think about whether you really want a particular wedding vendor.

Have a favorite wedding caterer? Is there a wedding photographer or videographer you can’t wait to use? If so, look for a Milwaukee wedding venue with an open vendor policy (and add this question to your list of wedding venue questions). An open vendor policy allows you to bring in any wedding vendor. (If you don’t have a favorite vendor, ask the wedding venue staff for recommendations.)

Ask friends and families for recommendations.

Once you’ve set your criteria for a venue (i.e. budget, style, guest count, etc.), don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for recommendations for a Milwaukee wedding venue. This request does come with a risk however; be ready for friends or family that say you “absolutely have to” use their favorite venue. (Remember this is your decision!)

Look online for Milwaukee wedding venue reviews.

Booking a Milwaukee wedding venue is about more than just style. It’s also about the total experience—both on the wedding day and during planning. To find out what other couples’ experience has been, look online at wedding review sites. These sites, like The Knot, Wedding Wire, and even social media, give you insight into what other couples thought about the venue and their staff.

Consider logistics.

Your wedding day should be a wonderful experience for everyone, so don’t forget to consider the logistics of every wedding venue. Do they offer free parking? If so, how far do guests have to walk? Will you need to rent an extra van or bus to transport your wedding party and guests?

Questions to Ask Wedding Venues

When contacting a Milwaukee wedding venue, always ask these wedding venue questions:

  • Is my wedding date available? -OR- What dates are available around this date or in this month?
  • Does your wedding venue host more than one event at the same time?
  • Do you carry insurance?
  • Are there wedding planners on staff that can help me plan my wedding day?
  • What is the capacity of your wedding venue?
  • Are tables and chairs included in the cost?
  • What is the cost of the wedding venue? How many hours does the cost include? Are there overtime fees?
  • When is payment due?
  • Are staff included in the cost (i.e. bartenders, coat check, etc.)?
  • Is there a curfew we need to follow?
  • Are there any vendors we have to use? Can we bring in our favorite vendors?
  • Does the venue provide a bartender and alcohol? Or would we need to bring in alcohol?
  • Is there parking near the venue? If not, how much does local parking cost?
  • Are there local accommodations for my out-of-town guests?
  • What is the venue cancellation policy? What is the policy for rescheduling?
  • Is the venue accessible for guests with mobility issues?
  • When can I schedule a wedding venue tour?

wedding day at a reception hall with bride and groom dancing after wedding planning

Your (Quick) Guide to Planning a Wedding in Milwaukee

Planning a Milwaukee wedding is a process full of questions, which is why we’ve put together a guide that quickly answers some of the most common questions we hear from busy couples.

What is the first step when planning a wedding in Milwaukee?

The first step to planning your Milwaukee wedding might be a bit unexpected—but it’s completely necessary! It’s important to start on the same page (both about your wedding and marriage!), so the logical first step is to discuss important details with your fiance about your big day. This is your chance to set a date and budget, choose a style, consider how much time you have for wedding planning, and discuss anything you really want at your big day. (This full list of questions can help you start—and finish—this important conversation!)

How can we choose the right wedding date for our big day?

The right wedding date is a core detail that almost every vendor is going to ask you about. Because of this, it’s a detail that couples should set as early as possible. For some couples, it’s an easy question that they’ve already considered. For other couples, setting a wedding date is a process. There are a number of factors to use when setting a wedding date, including:

  • Venue or Vendor availability (ask your favorite Milwaukee venue or vendor for available dates)
  • Special relationship dates (i.e. first date, day you met, etc.)
  • Professional schedule
  • Family dates (i.e. parents’ anniversary, grandparents’ anniversary, etc.)
  • Holidays (choose a wedding within a holiday season or on a favorite holiday)

These factors (one or all of them) can help you narrow down to the specific day. The year of your special day depends on a number of factors—and the availability of the Milwaukee wedding venue. Once you have your date (day and year), contact your wedding venue to get it on the calendar. (If your wedding day is coming up fast, use these tips to plan your wedding in 6 months or less.)

What are our options for wedding planners in Milwaukee?

There are so many options for couples planning a wedding in Milwaukee. Couples can plan every detail of their special day, only the details they want, or they can put their vision into the hands of a professional.

There are several options for couples who want an experienced wedding planner in their corner. Couples can hire an independent wedding planner, or a wedding planner at their Milwaukee wedding venue. Either option gives couples the chance to plan as much or as little of their big day as they want.

What wedding planning checklists and apps are available to help me plan my big day?

Wedding Vendor List & Hiring Tips

Wedding Planning Checklist

List of Wedding Planning Apps

Where can we find wedding favors in Milwaukee?

There are many different options for wedding favors that contribute to almost any theme or add a Wisconsin flair to your wedding. Many restaurants and shops in the Milwaukee area offer wedding favors, and there are quite a few wedding favor ideas.

Couples can give out ales or wines from a local brewery or vineyard, or chocolates from a local chocolatier or candy shop. There are also many local goods that can fit with a themed wedding, such as mittens, ornaments, local coffees, and bottle openers. Ask your wedding venue or wedding planner for favor recommendations if you’re at a loss.

How can we add some local Milwaukee flavor to our wedding?

If you’re planning a Wisconsin wedding, and want to incorporate local touches, it’s time to start brainstorming with these Wisconsin wedding ideas. Couples can start by choosing a venue with history and character, such as columns and rich historic features. If your style is more modern, find a Milwaukee wedding venue with the perfect location.

In addition, you can add sampling stations to your wedding reception with local dishes and drinks. Guests are going to line up at a sampling station with local brews, wines, or desserts. Couples can also offer a custom mixed drink with a local flavor, or serve a drink that’s completely Wisconsin (like an Old Fashioned). Another idea is to incorporate a local celebrity into the reception (like as a surprise!)

What accommodations are available for guests in Milwaukee?

It’s important to consider the comfort of your guests, both before, during, and after the wedding. Fortunately, there are plenty of local accommodations for out-of-town guests in Milwaukee. In addition to hotels and accommodations, you should also consider a Milwaukee wedding venue with convenient parking and easy transportation for in-town and out-of-town guests. 

heart cookies for wedding guests

25+ Ways to De-Stress If You’re Planning Your Milwaukee Wedding During COVID-19

Planning your Milwaukee wedding is an overwhelming task. Planning a wedding during COVID-19 is overwhelmingly stressful. There’s continually updating your wedding website, possibility of postponing, an evolving list of local health guidelines…and that’s just the start of the list of worries that come with a pandemic. Fortunately, there are things you and your fiancé can do to lessen the stress in Milwaukee, even during a pandemic.

De-stressing is an important part of planning a wedding in Milwaukee, though it’s different for every couple. Some couples ban smartphones during their special time, or any mention of their big day. Other couples combine wedding planning and de-stressing, making their outing a chance to choose a wine or favor for their big day. We think we’ve covered both options in our list of de-stressing ideas for couples planning a wedding in Milwaukee during COVID-19.

The right de-stressing idea is different for every couple, and depends on your comfort level during the pandemic. Don’t think you have to stop at just one! Instead, plan regular de-stressing days in between setting a wedding date, choosing the right Milwaukee wedding venue, organizing your wedding planning, and checking off items on your wedding planning checklist. As you plan, use these wedding planning during COVID-19 tips, tips for postponing your wedding (just in case!), and ideas for celebrating your original wedding date (if needed). If you do need to postpone your wedding, connect with your wedding venue staff and wedding planners for advice. In the meantime, dream of your wedding day when we can all be together again.

milwaukee wedding venue with dramatic uplighting

Small Wedding Ideas for Your “Micro” Milwaukee Wedding

Unfortunately, the pandemic has made the “minimony” and “micro-wedding” the newest wedding trends. Fortunately, there are small wedding ideas that make your special day feel larger-than-life.

Of course, if you want to hold your “minimony” or “microwedding,” the first step is to check local health regulations for specific guidelines. The other option is to reschedule your big day with these wedding postponement tips. When deciding, talk to your fiancé and venue to make a decision right for you. If you decide to host a small special day, take these small wedding ideas to heart.

Choose a venue that makes a big impression (and has a ton of space).

A wedding during the pandemic is a bit of an oxymoron. It revolves around choosing a big space for a smaller guest list. In addition to substantial square footage (and these spaces to look for during your wedding venue tour), the venue should make a big impression on guests. You can choose the right wedding venue by asking these wedding planning questions and touring potential venues. (Never choose a venue without scheduling a wedding venue tour, even if it’s virtual!)

Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Communication is key when wedding planning during the pandemic because there is so much information to pass along. In addition to “normal” information (i.e. parking, schedule, etc.), you should pass on information about safety measures, if masks are required, and any other directions.

There are several ways to communicate, but the most important goal is to reach everyone. You can do this with a wedding website or social media site, as well as with mailed reminders. This wedding website guide can help you build the perfect site where guests can go for the latest updates.

Make guests feel special.

One of the biggest benefits of a micro-wedding is that you can focus on your guests (because there are less of them!) There are several ways to show guests you appreciate them. Personalized favors and cocktails (or ale or wine) add a meaningful touch. You can also add table games to bring guests together—even when they are trying to stay apart. Make sure you make these table games a group activity by having an emcee discuss the answers. You can also make this personalized entertainment more fun by setting up an online quiz about the couple, asking everyone to answer quiz questions on their mobile device, and having people’s answers show up on the screen!

Consider creative seating arrangements.

A micro-wedding is a family affair, and guests can feel like it with creative seating arrangements. This is your chance to set up unique setting arrangements that make a one-of-a-kind impression. Family seating or unique table layouts can make the day as extraordinary as the couple.

Lean on an experienced wedding planner for assistance.

Wedding planning during an uncertain time is full of uncertainties, so it makes sense to hire a wedding planner to make the experience as smooth as possible. You can hire an independent wedding planner or a wedding planning pro at your wedding venue. Both options are helpful, especially when choosing and hiring wedding vendors.

A wedding planner at the wedding venue comes with another advantage. Wedding planners that work at a venue are intimately familiar with the location and local wedding vendors. They can make recommendations about photographers, local hotels and accommodations, and décor because they know the building and the community.

Look into live streaming.

Inevitably, there are going to be some guests that are uncomfortable attending your wedding. For these guests, ask your wedding venue about local wedding vendors that can live stream and record the important moments of your big day. Guests can feel like they are part of the festivities, even when separated by a pandemic.

wedding reception with MR & MRS letters in front of a shiny background at a rainy wedding

Wedding Planning During COVID-19? 5 Wedding Planning Items You Can Tackle (Safely)

Wedding planning during COVID-19 is challenging, but it is still possible to plan the Milwaukee wedding of your dreams. We’ve put together this list of items you can check off your wedding planning checklist and get you one step closer—either virtually or by taking steps to keep you and your fiance safe.     

Finding a Venue

The wedding venue is an important wedding planning step because it creates a powerful first impression and provides a foundation for every other detail. Fortunately, Milwaukee has many beautiful elegant, modern, rustic, and historic wedding venues to choose from. If you have a favorite wedding vendor (i.e. caterer, photographer, etc.), look for a Milwaukee wedding venue with an open vendor policy.  

First step: Once you’ve set a list of criteria for your wedding venue (i.e. style, budget, location), make a list of wedding venues. Contact each wedding venue and ask these important wedding venue questions. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, schedule a wedding tour (with this wedding venue tour checklist). If you aren’t comfortable with an in-person tour, ask the venue for a virtual tour.

Choosing a Date

This wedding planning step can occur before or after choosing a wedding venue. Either way, it’s important to sit down with your fiancé and choose a date or season for your big day. If you’re having trouble settling on a date, consider your professional schedule, important family dates, or the availability of your favorite wedding vendor.

First step: If you have a wedding date in mind, you can contact wedding venues and ask if they are available on that date. If you don’t, you can contact a wedding venue and ask them what dates are available or use one of these other tips for choosing the right wedding date.

Setting a Wedding Budget

A wedding budget is a necessity of wedding planning, giving couples guidance and a chance to get on the same page before they say, “I do.” Fortunately, there are many tools and apps that can help couples set an amount for the important wedding details: dress, venue, food, etc.

First step: Setting a wedding budget starts with a conversation with your fiancé, and any friends or family that have expressed interest in helping cover expenses. If you have any of the latter, discuss the specifics of their gift, including what and how much they are willing to cover, to avoid any misunderstandings later.

Setting a Guest List

You don’t have to know exactly who you’re going to invite to your big day right away, but you should have a general estimate when you book your wedding venue. After you’ve chosen the right setting for your day, it’s time to compile an exact list that you can use for invites and the caterer. Unfortunately, being flexible is an integral part of wedding planning during COVID-19 so it’s important to realize now that you may need to trim the list if the venue capacity is limited by local health department guidelines.

First step: Decide whether you want to host a wedding with kids or an adults-only wedding. (For the latter, use these tips for an adults-only wedding.) Then break down what percentage of guests are added by the bride and groom, what percentage is added by parents, etc. From there, use these guest list tips to finalize the process.

Creating a Wedding Website

Communication is an essential part of wedding planning during COVID-19. With local guidelines for venues continually changing and evolving, it’s more important now than ever to communicate with guests about whether they need to wear masks and other specific guidelines for the big day.

First step: A wedding website can be on social media or with a website builder, and can be created as soon as you want. The website should contain pictures, wedding day details, a link to the wedding registry, parking information, and other key wedding website details.

exterior photo o

4 BIG ‘Wedding Planning During COVID-19’ Questions (And Answers) for Milwaukee Couples

Wedding planning normally comes with a thousand questions. Wedding planning during COVID-19 comes with a million! We understand that this is an extremely uncertain time for Milwaukee couples, and that the situation is always evolving. That’s why we’ve put together some answers to questions we hear, but with the disclaimer that it’s always best to check with your Milwaukee wedding venue and the local health departments for the latest information and guidelines.

What wedding planning can we do during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Fortunately, couples can do quite a bit of wedding planning during this time, because many Milwaukee venues, caterers, and vendor staff are available for meetings and venue tours. Plus, you may have extra down time!

The first step of wedding planning is to start by asking these important wedding planning questions with your fiancé. Your answers give direction to your wedding planning, and ensure that you are the same page about style, guest count, and budget.  

Fortunately, it’s also fairly easy and safe to contact wedding vendors during the pandemic. Many vendors are available for meetings, either in-person or virtually. You can also use any extra down time to research vendors online, or ask friends and family for recommendations for the best Milwaukee venues, caterers, and photographers.

You can also organize your wedding planning, and decide whether you’re going to use one of these wedding apps or wedding planning printables. It may seem like a small step in the wedding planning process, but it’s an important part of planning the wedding day of your dreams.

Are Milwaukee wedding venues scheduling tours?

Some of them are! 1451 Renaissance Place is currently scheduling tours, with certain precautions. This answer may change, depending on local regulations and guidelines. When touring a wedding venue, always ask to see these areas and ask these wedding venue questions.

Can we still hold our wedding?

The answer to this question can only come after a discussion with your fiancé and family. Many Milwaukee wedding venues are open for weddings; however, the venues may have limited capacities and may ask the couple and guests to sanitize, wear a mask, and follow social distancing guidelines. (Think of this as an opportunity to add stylish signage, beautiful masks, and sanitizing stations to your wedding plans.) If you need live streaming, many Milwaukee companies offer the service and can ensure that all your guests can witness your special day. (Ask your wedding venue for a list of local vendors.)

If you would rather wait, ask your wedding venue and vendors about postponing your wedding. Most Milwaukee wedding venues are working with couples to re-schedule their wedding. Unfortunately, this doesn’t guarantee that all your vendors are available on your new date. (Ask your wedding venue for recommendations for new vendors if needed. Use these tips to find and choose new vendors.) If you took out insurance on your wedding, you may want to check your policy to see if the insurance covers the situation.

How do we postpone our wedding?

If you decide to postpone your wedding, make sure you make the decision early enough to notify your venue, vendors, and all your guests. (Contact vendors for their specific rescheduling and cancellation policies.) Your venue and vendors are the easiest to contact, and should easily be reached by phone. If you reserved a block of room for guests, contact the hotel and ask them about policies and the process to follow for changing your reservation.

For your guests, make sure you notify them in multiple ways. Your wedding website is the ideal place to notify guests, and even include a list of frequently asked questions about the postponement. (Use this guide to build the ultimate wedding website that guests love.) In addition to your website, also notify guests via e-mail and snail mail.

While postponing might be the best decision, expect to feel a mix of emotions on your original date. There may be some sadness, but there are also ways to celebrate your original wedding date—and look forward to the wedding day that is coming.

floral centerpiece with tall gold vase and lilies

Hiring the Best Milwaukee Wedding Vendors: Wedding Vendor List, Questions & Tips

They say it takes a village to raise a child. When it comes to weddings, it takes a full line-up of our city’s best wedding vendors to make a special day happen—and be a beautiful one-of-a-kind occasion. Of course, the right line-up of wedding vendors is different for every couple, which is why we put together a guide to help you choose the best vendors for your special day.

Milwaukee Wedding Vendor List

Just like every couple is different, the exact line-up of wedding vendors is different for every wedding. To complicate matters, some wedding venues require couples to use a vendor or provide a list of wedding vendors to choose from. Other Milwaukee wedding venues have an open vendor policy that allows couples to bring in vendors of their choice.

Because of the difference in wedding venue policies, couples should first determine if there are any vendors they really want for their big day. (Also ask your fiancé these wedding planning questions.) If you have a favorite wedding vendor, look for a Milwaukee venue that allows that couples to bring vendors in (this wedding venue checklist can help with choosing the right wedding venue). Once the wedding venue is chosen, couples should contact this list of wedding vendors:

  • Equipment Rental (for chairs, tables, tableware, etc. if venue or caterer does not provide)
  • Wedding Planner (if desired, or choose a wedding venue with on-staff wedding planner)
  • Officiant
  • Caterer
  • Bakery (if caterer does not make cake)
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Musicians (for ceremony)
  • Band or DJ
  • Florist
  • Décor
  • Wedding Invite Company
  • Transportation (not needed if ceremony and reception are at the same venue)

How to Choose the Best Wedding Vendors

  • Discuss your preferences for your special day with your fiancé, including any vendors you really want for your special day. (Use this list of wedding planning questions to help with your conversation.)
  • Organize your wedding planning. Use a wedding planning checklist (and these wedding planning printables) or wedding planning app to help you meet deadlines. Always contact wedding planners earlier rather than later; procrastinators miss out on the best Milwaukee wedding vendors.
  • Always research wedding vendors before hiring them. Ask friends and family (or a wedding venue planner) for recommendations for quality wedding vendors or research wedding vendors online to ensure you are contacting reputable wedding vendors. Be cautious about hiring wedding vendors without a business address or phone number, or that have a poor online rating.
  • Meet in-person or virtually with wedding vendors. Always review the vendors’ contract carefully before signing on the dotted line.

Questions to Ask a Wedding Vendor

The exact questions may differ, depending on the wedding vendor. In general, ask each wedding vendor these questions:

  • Are you available on our wedding day?
  • What is included in your services? (Some vendors offer package deals, and services and staffing often vary among vendors.)
  • How long have you been in business? Can you provide references or proof of experience?
  • Does the cost include set-up and take-down? (This question applies to equipment vendors.)
  • Do you carry insurance?
  • What event attire do staff wear to weddings? (This question applies if vendors are attending the wedding day.)
  • Do you provide a back-up plan in case of an emergency?
  • What is your rate? Are there any additional fees (i.e. overtime fees, travel costs, etc.) I need to pay? What is the final cost?
  • How much is the deposit? What is your payment policy? When is the deposit due? (Be cautious about hiring vendors that ask for full payment up front.)
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • When can we meet? Can we meet virtually?
beautiful wedding day after couple organizes wedding planning

8 Tips for Couples Wedding Planning During COVID-19

Wedding planning is normally stressful. Wedding planning during COVID-19 is STRESSFUL. There are so many unknowns, and it’s easy to feel anxious and worried.

We realize that this time is incredibly stressful, so we’ve put together wedding planning tips for Milwaukee couples (and a list of COVID-19 frequently asked questions). We’re here to help you plan your wedding during these uncertain times—until the day when we can all gather together again.

Do what you can.

Many Milwaukee wedding venues and vendors have more time on their hands, making it an ideal time to contact them and confirm as many wedding details as possible. If you are cautious about meeting in-person, ask the venue or vendors about meeting virtually. If the meeting is virtual, make sure you come prepared and ready to talk about your preferences and budget.

Be organized.

There are quite a few deadlines and details to track during wedding planning, making an organized wedding strategy a “must.” In particular, a wedding planning checklist and wedding venue list is incredibly useful. For all other details, there are great wedding printables available for couples using a paper system and wedding apps that can make the process easier. If you don’t have time for organization or wedding planning, hire a wedding planner or choose a wedding venue with a wedding planner for less-stress wedding planning.

Stay flexible.

Unfortunately, the only thing certain during the COVID-19 pandemic is uncertainty. As you plan, realize that local rules and regulations are prone to change. Be flexible as you plan, and take breaks from it all when you feel anxious.

Keep guidelines for postponing a wedding close at hand.

If you dream of a big wedding day with a big guest count, realize that you may need to postpone your big day. Fortunately, your Milwaukee wedding venue should be able to accommodate your postponement and give you a new date. (Plus, you can always use these ideas for celebrating on your original wedding date.)

Keep everyone important updated.

As your wedding date draws near, remember that it’s not just you who is making plans. As your plans change, make it a point to keep your important wedding guests up-to-date.

Don’t forget to update your wedding website.

While it’s natural to call your parents and relatives as plans change, don’t forget about other guests that have penned in your wedding date. A wedding website is a great way to spread the word (especially if you use these wedding website tips) and let your guests know about postponements and updates (like wearing a mask to your big day or a change in entrance).

Take breaks from wedding planning.

When you feel stressed out, don’t hesitate to take a break. Have a quiet dinner at home. Watch a movie. Take a walk or go for a run. Open a bottle of wine or enjoy an ale from one of our famous Milwaukee breweries. Turn off your phone and relax. Sometimes, a short break is all you need to recharge your batteries and inspire your next wedding planning step.

Try to make the best of it.

The pandemic has changed the way everyone lives and celebrates. While you can’t change reality, try to make the best of the pandemic by incorporating small details into your wedding. Small touches like beautiful masks and signage mark the time of your wedding and blend seamlessly in with “normal” wedding details. When you do get incredibly stressed, think of your beautiful wedding day and all the fun you’ll have.

wedding pictures from beautiful wedding done by wedding vendors

Your Guide to Choosing the Best Milwaukee Wedding Ceremony and Reception Venue

Considering holding your wedding ceremony and reception at one venue? This guide can help you choose the right Milwaukee wedding ceremony and reception venue, and plan the day of your dreams in our wonderful city.

What are the perks of hosting a wedding ceremony and reception at the same venue?

The are some definite benefits to hosting a wedding ceremony and reception at the same venue:

Easier Planning. If you decide that a single venue is the answer for you, you’ll find that it’s easier to plan because you only have one venue to contact to coordinate many of the details.

Convenience. You won’t have to go very far from your ceremony to cocktail hour, eliminating the need to coordinate transportation for the wedding party.

Budget-friendly. With only one venue fee, a single venue is easier on the budget. Many items (décor and equipment) can also be used for the ceremony and reception, lowering many of the costs on the wedding budget worksheet.

What should I look for in a wedding ceremony and reception venue?

Fortunately, the list of criteria for couples looking to plan a ceremony and reception in the same venue isn’t that much different than those who choose two venues—though there are a couple of notable differences.

Space. This criterion is incredibly important for couples who want to host their wedding ceremony and reception at the same wedding venue. When touring and contacting wedding venues, you should always ask if there is enough space to seamlessly transition from the ceremony to the cocktail hour to the meal. The lack of space can result in some long—and awkward—wait times for guests and couples.

Style. The style of the wedding venue creates a powerful first impression for guests, and sets the foundation for every other wedding detail. When planning your wedding, discuss your preferred style for a Milwaukee wedding venue (plus these other wedding details). This simple question can help you narrow down your options and find the perfect backdrop for the wedding of your dreams.

Ideal ceremony setting. A beautiful ceremony setting is just as important as the amount of space in the wedding venue. The right wedding ceremony and reception venue has a setting perfect for saying, “I do”—even if you need to enhance it with décor (which can be used for the cocktail hour and the reception).

Availability. The right wedding ceremony and reception venue is available for your big day. (Ask your Milwaukee wedding venue about availability when you contact them, along with these wedding venue questions.) If you prefer privacy on your wedding day, look for a venue that hosts only one event at a time.

Parking and accessibility. Guest convenience should always be a top priority for couples as they choose a wedding venue. While it may not be at the top of the list, choosing a wedding venue with parking nearby and handicap accessibility ensures that everyone can attend easily and comfortably.

How much time should I plan for between the ceremony and reception?

Typically, couples should allocate 60-90 minutes between the ceremony and reception so they can have enough time for pictures and prepare for the reception. If you are planning a wedding ceremony and reception at the same venue, it may work to shorten the time span (especially if there is enough room in the venue for ceremony and reception seating, which minimizes set-up time). You should also ask your wedding photographer and videographer how much time it typically takes for photos.

From there, couples typically set this wedding day schedule (though you can customize your schedule to fit your needs and wishes):

  • Cocktail Hour
  • Dinner
  • Toasts
  • Cake Cutting
  • Wedding Dances (Wedding Party Announcement, First Dance, Mother-Son Dance, Father-Daughter Dance, Etc.)
  • Last Dance
  • Cake Cutting

What vendors do I need for my wedding ceremony and reception?

While the list of vendors is similar for couples that hold their wedding day at one and two venues, holding a wedding ceremony and reception at one venue does make it easier to seamlessly utilize their services. For example, couples can use much of the same lighting and décor for the ceremony and reception.

Some wedding ceremony and reception venues in Milwaukee require couples to use particular vendors, while other venues have an open vendor policy. An open vendor policy allows couples to choose vendors they want, like their favorite caterer or florist. (These tips can help you choose the right wedding vendors for your special day.) For couples overwhelmed by the amount of great wedding vendors in Milwaukee, the best wedding venues come with experienced event planners that recommend wedding vendors for their big day:

  • Officiant
  • Décor (i.e. florist, lighting, etc.)
  • Equipment Rental (Unless available from wedding venue)
  • Photographer/Videographer
  • Caterer
  • Baker
  • Entertainment (i.e. band, DJ, live entertainers)