Category Archives: wedding planning in milwaukee

unique spring wedding idea: patterned black and white table coverings with purple pastel chair bows

Milwaukee Wedding Planning: How to Create the Perfect Wedding Guest List

Compiling the perfect wedding guest list is a key part of wedding planning. This step-by-step guide can guide you through the process (and help you choose the perfect Milwaukee wedding venue!).

Step 1: Decide whether you would like to host a family event or adults-only wedding.

For some Milwaukee couples, this can be the first step or final step when the budget is tight or guest count is higher than the venue capacity (which should be a top question on your list of Milwaukee wedding venue interview questions).

The good news is that there is no disadvantage to hosting a wedding with kids or adult-only event. If planning a wedding for kids and parents, plan on adding children-friendly foods and entertainment options to your reception (such as coloring tables, bubbles, movie room, etc.) For an adult-only wedding, clearly categorize where you are drawing the line, such as “16 and over” or “18 and over.” (You can also use these tips for planning an adults-only wedding.)

Step 2: Make your own version of the 70-15-15 rule.

The 70-15-15 rule is different for every couple, but the premise is the same. Basically, this rule divides up the guest list into three separate lists. The largest portion (70% in this case) are guests of the couple, while the remaining 30% is divided between the bride’s and groom’s parents. For a complete breakdown, a 200-person guest list would be divided into 140 guests chosen by the couple, and 30 guests chosen by each of the parents.

This step should be accompanied by a conversation about the wedding guest list with any family members or friends contributing to the wedding (either with effort or financially). Be very clear about your numbers and rationale for your final guest number when you discuss the guest list with family members. It can eliminate a lot of drama and hurt feelings later!

Step 3: Compare your guest count to the venue capacity.

When crafting a guest list for your Milwaukee wedding, always make sure your final guest invite list is within the venue capacity. (You should ask about the venue capacity when first contacting a Milwaukee wedding venue.) The venue capacity is not an arbitrary number; instead, it is chosen to ensure the safety of guests.

When considering your Milwaukee wedding venue capacity, don’t feel like you have to cut the guest list down to the exact number. Typically, couples should plan on 80-90% of guests attending the wedding. This means that couples can plan on setting a list that is above the venue capacity, but should be careful not to sky rocket over that magic number (and remember that more guests equate to a higher budget as well).

Step 4: Divide up the guest list.

If you are worried about your guest list being too long, start divvying up the guest list. There are two ways to do this.

The first way is to separate guests into categories, such as “friends,” “family,” “co-workers,” etc. As you divide up the list, put guests at the top of the list that you’d really love to attend. The “maybes” can go on the bottom. This simple wedding planning step makes it a lot easier to trim down the guest list.

The second way is to divide the master guest list into circles of separation. The first list would be those closest to you, the second would be a step further from you…and the degrees of separation would continue. When trimming, cut the guests on the last lists (those not the closest to you). Once you’ve got the list trimmed to your final number, it’s time to move on to the next step and enjoy planning your Milwaukee wedding!

wisconsin wedding venue with beautiful love sign and local flavors

What to include? The Ultimate Wedding Website Checklist for Milwaukee Couples

We love to help Milwaukee couples plan the wedding of their dreams, and a wedding website is an important part of the wedding planning process. A wedding website is an excellent way to keep guests up-to-date on wedding details, give friends and family gift ideas for showers and the wedding, and provide additional wedding information for out-of-town guests. If done well, a wedding website gives guests tons of information that they can get at their convenience (and you won’t have to answer tons of questions!)

Best yet, this part of the planning process should be fun and complete! That’s why we put together these wedding website tips and a checklist for Milwaukee couples who want a stellar and helpful “wed-site.”

Wedding Website Do’s and Don’ts

Do make a wedding website as soon as possible (like right after you are engaged!)

Don’t include too many specific details in your story, which can be a security risk that can be used against you.

Do try to build a website that fits with the theme and look of your wedding.

Don’t forget to include a full schedule of wedding activities (both before, on the day of, and after)

Do share your wedding website address on your shower invitations, save-the-dates, and response cards, plus in individual emails.

Don’t share your wedding website on your formal wedding invitations or on social media, which can create hard feelings from friends who aren’t invited.

Do be careful about including details to wedding events that only certain guests are invited to.

Don’t include any photos that could embarrass you or your family or friends.

Do ask members of your wedding party before you add them to the wedding website (if you want to add them, this is up to you).

Don’t send out the wedding URL until you have it finalized.

Do add a frequently asked questions section, which can be very helpful for guests.

Don’t hesitate to ask your wedding venue staff questions and for recommendations for local vendors.

Do change the website to a “just in case you missed it!” site with photos and information from your wedding day after it is over.

Wedding Website Checklist

___ Your Names

___ Your Story

___ Wedding Date

___ Wedding Party (Planning tip: ask members of your wedding party if this is okay. You don’t have to add this information, this is optional.)

___ Wedding Ceremony Location and Time (Planning tip: include the exact address, which is incredibly helpful for out-of-town guests.)

___ Wedding Venue Information (Planning tip: add pictures, the exact address, and a link to the Milwaukee wedding venue website, which can be incredibly helpful.)

___ Wedding Cocktail Hour Time

___ Wedding Reception Time

___ Wedding Day Dress Code

___ Accessibility (Planning tip: Ask potential wedding venues about handicap accessibility, along with these other wedding venue questions.)

___ Wedding Day Details (i.e. your social media hashtag, if your wedding is unplugged, if you are having a cash bar, etc.)

___ Local Accommodation List or Information about Blocked Hotel Rooms (Planning tip: Trip Advisor also has a helpful list of Milwaukee wedding hotels that you can provide)

___ Local Activity List for Out-of-Town Guests

___ Travel Information (Local airport information, local taxis, public transportation websites, local ride service links, etc.)

___ Gift Registries

___ Photos (Informal and formal photos of the couple—-like engagement photos—plus photos of the ceremony site and venue)

___ Online RSVP

___ Parking Information (Planning tip: look for a wedding venue with convenient parking accommodations.)

___ Attendance Information (Especially important for adults-only wedding)

___ Wedding Email (Planning tip: create an email address specifically for wedding planning.)

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

How long is a wedding reception?

Planning a wedding reception timeline is about piecing together all those wonderful details into the perfect wedding day timeline. It starts with “how long should our wedding reception be?” (a reception should last 4-5 hours) and ends with an amazingly coordinated wedding reception that fits your unique style.

How to plan a wedding reception

Choose the right wedding venue

A spectacular wedding reception starts with an amazing backdrop, though the amazing shouldn’t end there. The right location comes with a wedding venue checklist that should be checked off. You should plan on asking wedding venue questions about:

  • Availability (use these tips to get a wedding venue if you don’t have your heart set on a particular wedding date)
  • Location (city and area)
  • Style (that matches who you are as a couple)
  • Parking/access to parking (for guest convenience)
  • Interior space for the estimated guest list
  • Spaces for wedding day (restrooms, wedding party suites, etc.)
  • Venue staff availability (for pre-planning and managing activities night of)
  • Cost (ask about amount of time included, overtime fees, and extra charges)
  • Insurance (just in case of an emergency on the wedding day)
  • Vendors (whether there are required vendors or if the couple can bring in their favorites)

If you need wedding planning services (either full or part-time), this is the time to ask if the service is offered and the cost. Remember to always ask about the best way to contact the venue. Wedding planning is full of pre-wedding day calls and e-mails; it’s important to choose a wedding venue that responds quickly to your routine—and emergency—calls.

Start with a wedding day timeline

Every wedding day is different, but there is a general wedding day schedule you can use to start planning your big day:

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

Select the right vendors

The next step in planning a wedding reception is to start selecting the wedding vendors that can make every part of the reception come to life (and capture every moment of it!) Typically, you should book the following vendors:

  • Décor
  • Equipment Rental (such as tables and chairs if the venue does not provide it)
  • Florist
  • Caterer
  • Photographer (and videographer, if desired)
  • Bakery (for cake, if caterer does not provide)
  • Entertainer (band or DJ)

Selecting the right vendors is process; as tempting as it may be to Google and hire vendors, resist the urge. Choosing and hiring wedding vendors requires research and an in-person contacts. As you look for wedding vendors, always be diligent about watching for these red flags:

  • No business address
  • Delay in responding to calls or e-mails
  • Asking for full payment up front (when the charges are substantial)
  • Reluctance to provide customer testimonials or proof of satisfied customers

Be cautious about hiring wedding vendors that you don’t have experience with, such as friends of friends or family members. As well meaning as your friends may be, “my brother can cut you a deal” is a risk that often results in sub-par service.

Contact every potential vendor with a list of questions:

  • What services do you offer?
  • What is included in the quoted cost?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • What is your business’ back-up plan in case of an emergency?
  • Do you carry insurance?
  • How should we contact you in the future?
  • Are there any deadline we should be aware of?

If you need assistance finding local vendors, don’t hesitate to contact your wedding venue. An experienced wedding staff member can recommend local wedding vendors that have delivered fantastic services to other couples in the past.

Coordinate the details

Once you have hired your vendors, it’s time to coordinate the details that turn your vision into the wedding reception of your dreams. This is the wedding planning step where you start setting a wedding day schedule, checking off steps on your wedding planning checklist, and looking forward to a very special and spectacular big day.

newlyweds cutting white wedding cake at wedding venue with blooms

Quick Guide to Planning a Wedding in 6 Months

Throw that two-year wedding planning checklist out the window. These wedding planning tips are for couples who want to get married in six months (or less!)—and are ready to plan and enjoy their dreaming wedding day (soon)!

Nail down most of the big details with your fiancé.

The best way to start wedding planning—before calling wedding venues or heading to the store—is to have a talk with your new fiancé. This discussion is an opportunity to get on the same page about important wedding planning details. It’s a time to start asking:

  • Where do we want to get married? (Discuss the city, ceremony site, any special venues you have in mind.)
  • When do we want to get married? (If you don’t have a set date, it’s okay to decide on a month.)
  • How big of a wedding do we want? (You don’t have to set a guest list but you should have a general guest count in mind.)
  • What is our budget? Where are the funds coming from? (This is the time to be honest about finances and discuss any friends or family that have expressed an interest in helping.)
  • What is the one thing you’ve always wanted on your wedding day? (The answer to this question may surprise you!)
  • How much time do we have for wedding planning? (Be honest! If you need some help, add “wedding planning services” to your wedding venue checklist.)
  • What is our style? What style or wedding theme reflects us as a couple?

Start contacting wedding venues.

One of the most important details to confirm is the site of your nuptials. After all, you need to know the location before you set a wedding day timeline or drafting invitations. This is the time to start researching wedding venues and prepping your wedding venue questions.

If you have a set wedding date, this is your chance to narrow your choices of wedding venues. Make a list of potential wedding venues that are within your preferred location, can accommodate your approximate guest count, and fit with your style. When you contact the wedding venue, your first wedding venue question, “Are you available on our wedding date?” can tell you if that venue is worth a visit or should be crossed off the list.

For couples without a set date, ask potential wedding venues for open dates during you and your fiance’s preferred month or season. If the venue is incredibly popular, be open to alternate wedding days (instead of a Saturday) that may be open. As an added benefit, alternate wedding dates (such as on a Friday or Sunday) may be less expensive than a Saturday.     

Make wedding planning an organized effort.

Planning a wedding in six months is an expedited process—and one that can go a lot smoother if it is organized (especially with these tips for organizing wedding planning). Start with a paper wedding planning checklist or a good wedding planning app that helps you check items off the list. Never start wedding planning without an excellent wedding budget worksheet (and good budgeting advice) that keeps your expenses within the amount set by you and your fiancé.

Remember, if you want to bring in a team of friends and family to help, great—but be careful! Even the most well-intentioned volunteers can miss deadlines or overstep their bounds.

Vet vendors carefully and quickly.

Remember, while you have to move down your wedding planning checklist quickly, never overlook one of the most important steps: vetting wedding vendors. Just one misstep can lead to an unscrupulous vendor who leaves you high and dry on your wedding day—and adds to what can already be a stressful time.

When looking for vendors, such as your caterer, photographer, entertainer, or videographer, always research each vendor carefully. In addition to checking out their website and social media sites, carefully look through reviews (especially on third-party websites like the Knot, Wedding Wire, or Yelp) to see what other couples have felt about their experience.

Be wary of amateurs recommended by friends (“oh my cousin can totally help!” or “I have a friend who does this on the side”)—especially if you and your friends have never seen them in action. Unfortunately, if an amateur shuts down or takes an extremely large down payment, you may not have many options to recover your lost funds.  

Don’t just be careful about vendors. If you have any items that need to be ordered, always ask about the expected delivery date. Never order any items that may not make it in until the last minute.

Take breaks.

Wedding planning can feel overwhelming and even stressful—especially when you’re on a tight timeline! Even though you feel like you have to get everything done, plan periodic date nights where you can enjoy being together. There are a lot of great ways to de-stress in Milwaukee! (Plus you can turn some of them into a de-stressing double-duty date that you can use for wedding planning!)

wisconsin wedding venue with beautiful love sign and local flavors

17 Romantic Milwaukee Wedding Proposal Ideas

Are you thinking about proposing to your significant other in Milwaukee? Good news! Whether, you are planning an elaborate proposal or a simple, “will you marry me?” Milwaukee is full of sites perfect for your big moment.

How to Plan a Wedding Proposal in Milwaukee

Choose the right ring for the proposal

The first step in any Milwaukee wedding proposal is considering what you’re going to propose with. What is the perfect ring for the occasion? For some couples, this may involve a ring shopping trip. If you want to keep it a secret, you can always make a trip to the store alone or ask another relative for a ring that holds some meaning. If you’re an out-of-the-box couple, you may want to go another route and choose a momento that holds meaning to you as a couple.

Think about who you want there

Some couples prefer a private proposal with just the two of them. Others love to include others—sometimes friends and family, sometimes a crowd—in their proposal idea. If you’re a couple who wants to make your proposal more of the latter, start thinking—and contacting—special friends and family that would love to share in your special moment.

Pick the perfect wedding proposal site

The exact proposal can be as simple as a dropped knee or a lean-in with a “will you marry me?” or an elaborate surprise (like these great proposal ideas that you can customize). Whatever you decide, Milwaukee is full of some great backdrops for your special moment together (to capture the moment, contact a friend of professional photographer to get great shots of your proposal).

Think about the next step

If the answer to your proposal is a “yes,” enjoy the moment (and all the moments after!) When it’s time to start planning your big day, use these wedding planning days that get you on the way to making that vision of your wedding day a reality.