Monthly Archives: April 2019

Wedding Reception Ideas: How to Add Local Flavor to Your Big Day

wisconsin wedding venue with beautiful love sign and local flavors

We may be a little biased, but we love Wisconsin weddings. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of wedding reception ideas for couples who love getting married in Wisconsin as much as we do. These traditional and modern ideas are sure to add a bit of local flavor to a wedding day (without being cheesy).

Select a Wisconsin wedding venue

Planning your special day starts with the biggest decision: choosing the right Wisconsin wedding venue. Because our weather can be incredibly unpredictable (no matter the season), make sure the wedding venue is temperature-controlled and covered. Make a list of wedding venues in the right location and with the right amenities. For guest comfort, choose a wedding venue with parking nearby so guests don’t have to trudge through the cold, snow, rain, and wind.

Serve appetizers and dishes with a local flair

For an upscale flair and decidedly local flavor, select dishes with fresh ingredients from local lakes, farms, and fields. There are quite a few ideas, such as summer wedding dishes with fresh cherries, a cheese platter, or a fresh fish fry. The flavor doesn’t have to end with wedding cuisine. Select wedding drinks that your out-of-town guests want to take home.

Host a wine or ale tasting station

Wisconsin is known for its local wineries and breweries. Incorporate those tastes into your wedding by adding a wine or ale tasting station to your wedding entertainment line-up. (Plus, you can plan a fun outing with your partner so you can choose the right wines and ales together.) Before planning a tasting station, ask your venue staff if outside alcohol is allowed in the venue.

Serve a delectable Wisconsin dessert instead of cake

Wisconsinites love their desserts, and out-of-town guests love to enjoy sweet local dishes. The list of dessert ideas with a local flavor are endless: ice cream, Kringles, cream puffs, cherry desserts. (Ask your caterer for fun ways to display the desserts, such as with a dessert wall or interactive food station.) You’ll know this wedding reception idea was a hit when your out-of-town guests beg for the recipes (or a local retailer) at the reception.

Personalize your Old Fashioned recipe

Wisconsin is known for its cocktails, especially a good Old Fashioned. If you want to make a favorable impression, add an Old Fashioned to the menu and advertise it with appropriate décor and signage. For a fun twist, add other local cocktails to your wedding bar and give each one a unique name.

Mix up your wedding dance music

Wedding entertainment makes a big impression on guests, which is why couples should add dance music to their list of wedding reception ideas. To bring a local flavor to the event, hire a local, well-known band or add Wisconsin favorites to your dance play list.

Surprise guests with a local celebrity

This wedding reception idea is sure to get guests talking, but does require secrecy and advanced planning. For the ultimate surprise, hire a local celebrity to make a surprise appearance during the wedding reception. The celebrity can be a local, well-known chef, band, or mascot. To pull this wedding reception idea off without a hitch, keep the appearance is a secret and let the entertainment knows about the surprise so they can help make the moment a memorable one.

Choose wedding favors your guests can’t get anywhere else

The cherry on top of a fantastic Wisconsin wedding is the one-of-a-kind local favors that guests appreciate. These unique local favors can be found at local shops, on local vendors’ websites, and at local restaurants. (Ask your wedding venue staff for other fine favor ideas.)

Quick Tips that Help You Find the Best Wedding Vendors

wedding pictures from beautiful wedding done by wedding vendorsHiring wedding vendors may seem simple (just google “wedding vendors near me,” right?), but the fact is that choosing the wrong wedding vendors can lead to drama and disappointment. It’s so common that this excellent article with tips for breaking up with problematic wedding vendors was written.

Obviously, the best way to avoid vendor drama (and breaking a wedding contract) is to choose the best wedding vendors. Extensive research is the key to finding the best wedding vendors and hiring them for your wedding reception. However, we know that planning a wedding comes with a long list of steps that don’t always leave a lot of time for finding the best wedding vendors. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of quick tips that can help you find the best wedding vendors for your big day.

Have a system.

The first step is to get organized. There are quite a few wedding apps and planning checklists (like this wedding planning checklist from Real Simple) that can help in the process. Start at the top of the list of wedding vendors and work your way through each vendor:

  • Wedding Venue
  • Wedding Attire (Dress & Tux)
  • Invitation Printer
  • Wedding Website (use these tips to create an excellent wedding website)
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Caterer
  • Baker (for the cake or a non-cake dessert if the caterer cannot)
  • Entertainer (DJ or Band)
  • Florist
  • Table Décor

As you go through the list, this is where the quick checks in each box should slow. The process for hiring each vendor should start by finding wedding vendors and compiling a list of options.

Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations.

The path to finding wedding vendors doesn’t have to be a lonely one. One of the best ways to find vendors is to ask other wedding professionals for recommendations. You (hopefully) hired your wedding venue staff for their expertise. Don’t be afraid to ask them to recommend vendors they have worked with in the past. If you don’t have the time to do vendor research, choose a venue with experienced event planners you can utilize to do some or all of the wedding planning.

Your friends and family may also have suggestions for vendors. Be careful when taking this approach. After asking, you may get, “my friend used…” or “my brother runs…” Try to weed out these second-hand recommendations from reviews that stem from first-hand experiences.

Research, research, research.

Once you have a list of wedding vendors, do your research to ensure you are working with are quality vendors. Look for common red flags such as bad business reviews, no business address, or any hint that the company has a lack of experience. Ask every wedding vendor if they have a contingency plan for those “just in case” situations. What is their plan if an employee is sick or there is an equipment breakdown? Choose wedding vendors with favorable reviews, photos, videos, satisfactory business ratings, and a back-up plan.

Interview every vendor.

Once you have a list of vendors, contact each vendor and ask about basic details, such as if they are available on your wedding day and cost. You may be able to cross vendors off the list that aren’t available and don’t fit your budget. (Use this specific list of questions for your wedding venue.) A meeting with a wedding vendor is a standard part of finding wedding vendors for your big day. Head to every meeting with a list of questions such as:

  • What services do you offer?
  • What does the cost cover?
  • Do you have any past experience?
  • What is your business back-up plan in case of an emergency?
  • Do you carry insurance?
  • How should we contact you?
  • What deadlines do we need to meet?

Be prepared to walk away from vendors who don’t have a business location to meet, seem inexperienced, don’t listen to you, have hidden fees that push the cost over budget, or want you to sign a contract with fine print that makes you uncomfortable.