Category Archives: wedding planners milwaukee wi

couple at 1451 Renaissance Place after wedding planning during covid19

6 BIG Lessons Learned from Wedding Planning During COVID-19

Wedding planning during COVID-19 in 2020 was crazy. Stressful. Unforgettable. Honestly, there really isn’t a word in the English language to describe this year of wedding planning in Milwaukee.

While we can’t put words to this year, we can look back and review some of the lessons learned from wedding planning during a pandemic. Many of these wedding planning lessons are lasting, and are going to be around long after the pandemic is over and we can all be together again.

Lesson #1: Communicating with guests is really, REALLY important.

While solid communication channels have always been a big deal, we all learned they are REALLY important while wedding planning during COVID-19. Wedding websites, texts, and social media have all become vital parts of letting guests know about precautions, postponements, and other important details during the pandemic.

Takeaway: Don’t plan a wedding without setting up a wedding website or social media site where you can keep your guests updated and in-the-know about addresses, parking, and schedules. (Use this wedding website guide to make sure you create an awesome communication tool.)

Lesson #2: Be flexible.

This year has been a test of couples’ flexibility. The pandemic has been an evolving situation for wedding planners with ever-changing capacity limits and gathering guidelines. Couples have had to stay abreast of the situation and adapt plans for their big day—sometimes several times!

Takeaway: Couples need to flexible and able to adapt their celebration as situations change. You can do this by knowing there are always “bumps in the road” and preparing for any situations that may arise as you plan.

Lesson #3: Organization is key.

Organization is an essential part of wedding planning, which is why many couples opt to hire a wedding planner. In 2020, the need for organization during wedding planning was off the charts, as couples had to keep careful records so they could easily contact vendors and adjust their plans.

Takeaway: We can’t even stress how important organization is when wedding planning. Fortunately, these wedding planning apps and checklist are available for easier wedding planning, as are these tips for organized wedding planning.

Lesson #4: De-stressing while wedding planning is not just necessary. It’s vital.

Stressful isn’t a strong enough word for wedding planning during COVID-19. This year has been full of twists and turns that were incredibly stressful for couples planning their big day. It became vital for couples to relax and de-stress, even if the ways of wedding de-stressing during COVID-19 were different than in the past.

Takeaway: De-stressing is a necessary part of wedding planning, and a chance for couples to “get away”—even for a few minutes when trying to juggle all the details of wedding planning. When you need a break, select one of these ways to de-stress in Milwaukee or a safer alternative for de-stressing during the pandemic.

Lesson #5: A good team behind you is a valuable asset when planning a wedding.

2020 may have revolved around social distancing and staying apart, but this year has demonstrated the true value of having a good team on board for wedding planning. Couples have had to lean on their wedding planners, wedding venue staff, caterers, photographers, videographers, and entertainers as they rescheduled and adjusted their plans.

Takeaway: Don’t take the job of choosing the right wedding venue and hiring wedding vendors for your big day lightly. Use this guide for choosing the best wedding vendors. Always make sure you choose a wedding venue with a supportive staff who communicates promptly and is an excellent resource as you plan.

Lesson #6: Keep your eye on the prize.

This last lesson of wedding planning during COVID-19 has been a hard one, but a significant one. With so much uncertainty, couples have to had to mourn the loss of their 2020 wedding (if they chose to postpone) and look to a new—and possibly different—future wedding date.

Takeaway: It’s vital to remember that the prize is a wonderful wedding day and marriage. While situations may change and evolve, keep your eye on these goals.

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 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. 

wedding pictures from beautiful wedding done by wedding vendors

7 Must-Have Free Wedding Planning Printables

A wedding planning binder can be a powerful tool—and an organized one too, with these free wedding planning printables. If you want to tackle every part of your wedding planning—or just select parts with the help of a part-time wedding planner—these sheets are the perfect way to start turning ideas into the day of your dreams.

In addition to these wedding planning printables, couples should also add pockets to the binder for ideas (i.e. pictures of dresses, cakes, etc.), wedding vendor contracts, receipts, and contact information. This is where organization counts! Every item should be arranged so that everything is easy-to-find when needed.

Wedding Discussion Questions

Always use this list of questions FIRST! These questions are the perfect first step that can guide every wedding planning decision. Print out this blog post and write down you and your fiance’s answers (some of those answers might surprise you!); you’ll love to have those answers on-hand as you navigate through the wedding planning process.

Wedding Planning Checklist

A wedding planning checklist is the ultimate step-by-step guide that gives you an idea of when to contact vendors. This can be incredibly helpful as you decide what needs to be done next. If you use a part-time wedding planner, this checklist can help you divvy up tasks and assign deadlines.

Wedding Planning Checklist from Real Simple

Wedding Budget Worksheet

A wedding budget is often one of the most overlooked steps of wedding planning (which is why couples tend to make these wedding budget mistakes). It doesn’t have to be, especially with this wedding budget worksheet that helps you track expenses and stay within your wedding budget.

Wedding Venue Checklist, Tour Checklist & Questions

One of the most important first wedding planning decisions is choosing a venue and ceremony site. In some cases, this location may be one venue (use these tips for choosing the perfect ceremony and reception venue). The wedding venue is the foundation of all those other wedding details, which is why it’s important to select the perfect backdrop for your big day.

As you contact wedding venues, use this list of venue questions that can help you select the sites that fits your timeline, style, budget, and vision for the day.

Never choose a wedding venue without touring the site. This Wedding Venue Tour Checklist is a great aid to make sure you have found a venue that checks off all the boxes.

Wedding Reception Timelines

These wedding reception timelines can be a great start to setting a wedding reception timeline. You can use any of these wedding reception timelines, or customize it into the wedding day of your dreams.

3 Sample Wedding Reception Timelines from Lover.ly

simple elegant wedding centerpieces with silver vases and purple roses

8 Pros and Cons of Hiring a Wedding Planner

If you’re not sure about taking on that long wedding planning checklist, this list of the pros and cons of hiring a wedding planner is for you. A wedding planner can be a huge asset during wedding planning OR take away all the fun of planning your day you’ve always dreamed about.

If you’re a list-maker (and if you’re planning a wedding, you have to be), this list can help you decide whether to add a wedding planner to your team or organize your wedding planning and get ready for the next step.

Pro: A wedding planner can take on as much of the planning—or as little—as you want.

It’s one of the most common wedding planning myths—and misunderstandings—that can get in the way of hiring a wedding planner. Many couples believe that hiring a wedding planner is an all-or-none proposition; the truth is that many wedding planners can take on as much or as little as the couple wants. To make sure that your preferred wedding planner is willing to take on the task on a part-time basis, ask them if they provide full- and part-time services during your first meeting.

Con: Not everyone wants to let go of the planning.

Before hiring a wedding planner, ask yourself, “Do I enjoy planning events? Have I been looking forward to wedding planning?” The answer is different for everyone. Some couples love to dive into every detail of wedding planning while others prefer to dabble in the process.

If your answer is somewhere in the middle, the answer might be a part-time wedding planner. If this is your choice, make sure that your lines of communication are open and that everyone is on the same page. You can find a part-time wedding planner through your venue or at your venue; many venues offer wedding planning services. The benefit of utilizing venue services is that the staff are intimately familiar with every aspect of the building.

Pro: Wedding planners know local vendors that can turn your ideas into reality.

One of the biggest advantages of a wedding planner is their network. Because wedding planners work within the community, they know who to go to for every kind of task: catering, lighting, décor, etc. Wedding planners can take on researching and making out-of-the-box requests reality, saving you time and adding their expertise to the process.   

Con: You may feel detached from the process.

If you’ve always dreamed of planning your big day, hiring a wedding planner might be a let-down. While wedding planners coordinate every detail, couples can feel like it’s someone else’s event. This can be especially true if couples aren’t in touch with wedding planner on a regular basis.

This con can also show up when a friend or family member offers to plan the wedding. While this may seem like an ideal arrangement, sometimes even the most well-meaning acquaintance can start planning their day—and not yours.

Pro: You can still enjoy the parts of wedding planning you want to do.

For couples that want to handle their favorite details, hiring a part-time wedding planner can be ideal. It’s a chance to handle the details you really want to do. If you and your partner are foodies, you can enjoy caterer tastings and traveling around to find the best food favors. For those who love to dance, you can scout wedding entertainers and plan a really spectacular first dance.

Con: Wedding planning adds another expense to the wedding budget list.

Obviously, hiring a wedding planner does come with a cost. If your wedding budget is tight, you may not want to stretch it any farther (though you may want to use these wedding budget tips). In these cases, it makes cents (literally) to hire a part-time wedding planner for only the most essential wedding planning tasks or to take on the task yourself. If the latter is your only choice, these tips can kickstart your wedding planning and help keep you organized as you plan your wedding.

Pro: A wedding planner can troubleshoot any wedding planning problems.

This is where the experience of a wedding planner can be a huge advantage. In addition to having connections to local vendors, an experienced wedding planner has usually been there and fixed that. Their experience allows them to solve even the most unusual problems and fix the most common problems quickly and efficiently.

Pro: You have more time!

Most married couples can attest to the fact that wedding planning is like a second job (which is why a date night is essential!) Hiring a wedding planner makes that job seem more part-time, allowing couples to enjoy the process and have more free time.

7 Tricks for Organizing Your Wedding Planning

beautiful wedding day after couple organizes wedding planningPlanning your special day comes with a whole list of wedding planning tasks, all of which can leave couples asking, “How am I going to get it all done?” The answer is organizing your wedding planning, though getting the process of setting every detail of your large, formal or small, intimate wedding may not feel as obvious (plus it can be slightly overwhelming!)

Fortunately, wedding planning doesn’t have to feel like navigating through a maze—or make you as crazy—if you use these tricks that organize your wedding planning. As an added bonus, organized wedding planning also can make you feel on top of things and perfectly okay about taking an occasional break.

Trick #1: Hire a wedding planner (even a part-time one).

The first wedding planning tips that definitely helps with organization—and sanity—is to hire a wedding planner. Every couple’s needs are different. Some couples want a part-time wedding planner that can assist with a few key details. Others need a full-service wedding planner that can manage every detail.

Both options give you the chance to give input and plan as much—or as little—as you want. When selecting a wedding planner, consider hiring a professional that is intimately familiar with your wedding venue, which gives them an edge planning your big day. (And gives you the chance to actually enjoy the planning!)

Trick #2: Find the right apps.

If you’re a couple that prefers phones and computers, it’s time to search for the best wedding planning apps. Ideally, those apps should have a wedding planning checklist and wedding budget calculator. A good wedding planning checklist app should help you track deadlines and details. The wedding budget calculators help allocate funds and keep you within budget so you still have money throughout the process. (Tip: even if you use a wedding app, still have a paper with the contact information for each vendor just in case your phone or tablet goes down on your big day.)

Trick #3: Use the binder method.

Even in the digital age, traditional wedding planning binders are still a common choice for engaged couples. The paper binder is convenient and easy-to-access for busy couples. Every wedding planning binder should have a wedding planning checklist, budget calculator, wedding venue staff contact information (and any other forms), vendor information, payment envelopes (for passing out cash payments on the wedding day), and anything else needed for your big day.

Trick #4: Make the process visual.

If you want to take color-coded wedding planning to another level, take a large bulletin board or wall calendar and use post-its to mark all the deadlines and meetings. For a smaller organizational tool, enjoy the task of color-coding a small paper planner. All that color-coding makes the process visual and easy to break down into easy-to-tackle pieces.

Trick #5: Create an e-mail address just for wedding planning.

Crowded e-mail addresses can make wedding planning e-mails hard to spot. To avoid trying to sift through a million e-mails trying to find “that one e-mail,” create an e-mail just for wedding planning. A wedding e-mail also makes it possible for you to step away and take a break (if you can ignore the urge to open the inbox!)

Trick #6: Delegate.

If you have friends or family that have offered to help, it’s completely acceptable to take them up on their offer to help with wedding planning. You should proceed with caution; many couples have had issues with a friend or family member who didn’t follow through or tried to plan it their way. Instead, make sure you set deadlines and regular check-ins to ensure that every detail is planned the way you want it.

Trick #7: Take breaks.

De-stressing may not help with organizing your wedding planning , but it definitely helps to keep couples sane! (Use this list of de-stressing ideas for enjoying some downtime.) Schedule regular dates with your fiancé (with no talk about the wedding) and outings. Enjoy yourself—and enjoy planning your big day.

6 BIG Wedding Planner Myths Explained

wedding reception planned by venue wedding planner

Wedding planning has a reputation for being overwhelming—and deservedly so. There are so many wedding planning details to coordinate, and so little time. A wedding planner can be a great addition to a wedding planning team (especially when time and a lack of expertise are the problem!), but many couples hesitate because they believe some of the most common myths about hiring a wedding planner.

Admittedly, some wedding planners fit the stereotypical mold. They only cater to the rich and famous. As event planners ourselves, though, we are here to tell you that not all wedding planners fit that one-size-fits-all mold. That’s why we’re going to shed some light on some particularly erroneous wedding myths.

Myth: Wedding planners are only available to plan the entire wedding.

Couples who want control, this explanation is aimed at you. Wedding planners can plan as much—or as little—as wanted and needed. If you want to take the reigns over some aspects, make sure that there is an open line of communication and clear deadlines set.

For couples who want to use a certain vendor, select a wedding venue with an open vendor policy; this policy allows couples to use any vendor they prefer (instead of choosing required vendors off a list-more information on choosing vendors can be found here).

Myth: It’s too expensive to hire a wedding planner.

They say time is money, and that phrase is never more true than when wedding planning. Many couples believe that do-it-yourself wedding projects are always cheaper; the reality is that this misperception is not always true.

The phrase also applies to wedding planners. The value of the wedding planner is in their expertise and time-saving skills. Wedding planners can save couples time, allowing them to meet their professional and personal obligations.

Myth: Wedding planners only work with couples with huge budgets.

Unlike the wedding planners on television, not all wedding planners only cater to the rich and famous. Wedding planners are available for busy couples with budgets of all sizes, and can be an enormous help when coordinating vendors and wedding details.

Myth: My friends are just as good as a wedding planner.

We’re not disputing that your friends have “mad” skills. It can be awesome to have friends who can help with do-it-yourself projects and de-stressing (we’ve put down a few suggestions for local de-stressing ideas here). However, relying on friends for wedding planning can also be a huge mistake with a high degree of risk.

As well-meaning as your friends are, many times you’ll find that they want to plan their wedding (not yours!) which can lead to an unpleasant exchange (or many unpleasant encounters). Unless your friends are professionals, using them to plan your wedding can lead to missed deadlines and no back-ups to fill in during an emergency. A wedding planner has the expertise to select the right local vendors and handle any last-minute problems that might come up.

Myth: Wedding planners don’t listen to couples’ preferences.

It’s a wedding planner’s job to plan a wedding as unique as the couple. Select your wedding planner carefully; look for an experienced planner who can turn your vision into reality. If you want a planner that is familiar with your venue, hire the venue wedding planner. A venue wedding planner is intimately familiar with your wedding reception space (and ceremony, if you choose a venue with space for both) and local vendors in all price ranges and styles.

Myth: I can’t use my favorite vendor if I hire a wedding planner.

A wedding planner may take over wedding planning, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have your favorite caterer, photographer, florist, or videographer. If you have a favorite vendor, tell your planner your preference as soon as possible so they can choose a vendor that allows your preference. At some venues, couples have to choose from a required list of vendors. Venues with an open-vendor policy allow any reputable vendor to come into their facility.