Category Archives: Milwaukee wedding planning

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)
elegant historic wedding venue

10 Ways to Choose a Date for Your Milwaukee Wedding

While it’s not always the easiest task, choosing a wedding date is an important—the most important!—parts of planning your Milwaukee wedding. Your Milwaukee wedding venue, caterer, and photographer are all going to ask when you want to get married. This guide can help you sift through all the factors that may play a part in choosing the right wedding date.

Milwaukee Venue Availability

If you have your heart set on a particular wedding venue, try asking the wedding venue for available wedding dates during a particular period. You can ask for open wedding dates during a season, month, or year.

Season

A seasonal wedding is a full-sensory experience, highlighting a couple’s favorite tastes, smells, and colors of the season. If you have a favorite season, choose a date in that season and get ready to coordinate all your favorites seasonal items into a wonderful wedding atmosphere.

Off-Peak Days & Times

Choosing an off-peak time or day is a perfect reason for couples who want an unexpected wedding date or have a tight wedding budget. (Read more tips about managing your wedding budget.) With this approach, you can choose dates in non-typical months (i.e. not June, September, October) or on weekdays that couples don’t normally choose.

Family Dates

Do you want to acknowledge a relationship that inspired your special union? One way is to ask if you can set your special day on their anniversary.  

Special Relationship Dates

Every relationship has special milestone dates: the day you met, your first date, the day you got engaged. Any of those dates—or another special day—is the perfect candidate for a wedding date. If you want to share the significance of the date, include it on your wedding website and on a story board at your wedding.

Career

If your career comes with an incredibly busy season, plan to say “I do” when you have a moment to breath (and meet with vendors, and confirm details, and…). Once you’ve narrowed down a season, ask your favorite wedding venue for an available wedding date during that time.

Wedding Vendor Availability

It’s not unusual to want a favorite wedding caterer, photographer, or another vendor included in a wedding—even before you know where to hold your Milwaukee wedding. In these cases, wedding planning starts by asking wedding vendors what dates are available. Some wedding venues require couples to use specific vendors, making it important to ask about their vendor policy when interviewing potential venues. (Don’t forget to ask these other Milwaukee wedding venue questions as well.)

Holidays

Do you love holiday trees? Or the wonder of the holidays? A holiday wedding is a great way to create the wonder of the season with your favorite holiday details. This approach also works for couples who love Halloween, Juneteenth, or any other wonderful holidays.

Family & Friend Availability

A wedding is a celebration, and it’s natural to want everyone to be involved, which is why you should ask friends and family you are particularly close to if they can attend. While it’s important to make sure that everyone is at your wedding, remember that this is your special day. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be incredibly difficult to find a date that works for everyone.

Length of Engagement

Planning a wedding does take quite a bit of effort and time. If you want a larger wedding, it might be helpful to give yourself more time (though it is possible in less time, especially if you use this guide for planning a wedding in 6 months or less). Once you have chosen a wedding date, it’s time to organize your wedding planning, choose a beautiful Milwaukee wedding venue, and enjoy the journey (with a few fun, de-stressing dates) to your special day!