Category Archives: wedding planning wi

BIG Mistakes to Avoid When You Start Wedding Planning

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milwaukee wedding venue with dramatic uplightingThe first step of starting to plan a wedding is to stop worrying! You don’t have to be an expert wedding planner to jump into planning your big day. You, do, however, need these wedding planning tips that keep you from making some very common planning mistakes.

Avoiding the “talk” with your fiance

The first step of wedding is to sit down and talk about what you both want (and don’t want) on your big day. (Their answers may surprise you!) No matter how tempting it is, don’t do anything until you’ve both sat down and discussed the major details of your big day. Talk together to narrow down the major details, but remember that they don’t have to be exact. Ask questions like, “what city do we want to get married in? What time of the year is right for our big day?”

From there, find out what each of you expect from your big day. Decide whether you want a big celebration or smaller, more intimate affair. Think about the style of your big day and what you both envision. Sort through harder questions, like the wedding budget, and who is responsible for each expense. Ask yourselves how much wedding planning you can take on, and what do-it-yourself projects you have time for (plus these other questions that start your wedding planning). Finally, ask yourselves, “what is one thing (or things) you’ve always wanted on your wedding day?”

Not setting a wedding budget

A wedding budget is the second step of wedding planning—and not a step that should be overlooked. This wedding budget checklist can help spur the discussion. As you discuss the wedding budget, make sure that you allocate more funds for more impactful items, like the wedding venue and menu.

Skipping the wedding venue tour

After setting a budget, the “how to start wedding planning” guide starts with setting a date and booking a wedding venue. While wedding venue websites and social media can be invaluable when looking for the right wedding venue, don’t get so caught up in the photos that you don’t see the venue in person. During the tour, ask important wedding venue questions and to see every space that you, your attendants, and guests are going to be in (including the restrooms). Sometimes those photos don’t do the venue justice; other times, the photos may be hiding unpleasant surprises that you don’t want to deal with on your big day. A full tour gives you the full picture of the venue and eliminates any buyer’s regret after you’ve signed the contract.

Ignoring the guest list question

Any bride or groom can tell you that one of the most common questions they get from vendors ask is about guest list question (“how many guests are you expecting?”). While you don’t have to know exactly how many guests you want joining you on your big day, you should have a general idea. This decision may not be entirely made by the bride and groom, so the first step of setting a guest list is usually a sit-down with anyone else financially or emotionally invested in your big day (plus using these tips for setting the perfect guest list.)

Thinking you don’t need to de-stress

It’s easy to jump into wedding planning headfirst without giving even a thought to de-stressing. Remember that wedding planning is a marathon—not a sprint—-and that an occasional de-stressing day can keep you from getting overwhelmed and staying sane throughout the process. (These ideas for de-stressing days come highly recommended.)

Viewing a wedding planner as an all-or-none proposition

The biggest (and most common) wedding planner misconception is that every decision, every detail is decided by the wedding planner. To be clear, sometimes hiring a wedding planner can mean handing over the keys (especially if that’s what is wanted!). However, there are wedding planners that can be hired on a part-time basis. If you only want a wedding planner for the wedding reception, it can be incredibly helpful (and practical) to hire an event planner at the wedding venue. In addition to knowing the ins and out of the venue, these event planners can be incredibly helpful in selecting the best local vendors for your big day.

Not getting organized

The long wedding planning checklist can feel overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be that way, especially if you can break your vision down into smaller to-do lists. Start gathering all the details you envision in your big day into a digital or paper folder (or binder). This step helps you stay on track with your vision as you plan, even if it’s not with the exact ideas in the folder. Treat your folder as a central hub for your wedding planning checklist, vendor contracts (and contact information), receipts, and any other documentation. (These other ideas for organizing your wedding planning can help too.)

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

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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.)

Wedding Planning Guide: What is the first step in planning a wedding?

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wedding day at a reception hall with bride and groom dancing after wedding planningYour significant other popped the question! Congrats! Once the glow of the proposal has worn off, it’s time to face the enormous task of wedding planning. While this wedding planning checklist from Real Simple can get you through the next few months (or years), we’ve given you a wedding planning guide that can get you started with the first step, talking to your partner, and can take you step-by-step from there.

Before you shop for wedding dresses or decide on flowers, sit down and talk to your future husband or wife (then follow the next steps in our wedding planning guide). A simple conversation now can give your wedding planning direction and guide you as select and finalize all the wedding day details.

Location

Where would you like to get married? Decide together whether your home town, current city, lake home, alma mater, or favorite vacation spot is your ideal place to get married. Once you’ve narrowed down the city, state, and country, start thinking about what you want and need in your wedding venue.

Next wedding planning step: Use this list of criteria to narrow down your choices for wedding venue; the next step is to contact potential wedding venues and ask them these important questions.

Date

You don’t have to select the exact wedding date, but it is helpful to narrow down your options to a month or season. If there is some flexibility on date but not on budget, ask the wedding venue for an evening weekday or Sunday morning (for brunch!); many venues give discounted rates for off-peak days.

Next wedding planning step: Use this guide to decide on a wedding date you both are excited about. Contact wedding venues and ask if the date is available. If there is some flexibility on date, ask the wedding venue for open dates during the desired season or month.

Guest List

You and your spouse-to-be don’t have to come up with an exact wedding list, but start talking about whether you want a big wedding or a smaller, more intimate affair. An idea of the guest count is also helpful when choosing the right wedding venue, which shouldn’t be too big or too small.

Next wedding planning step: Use these steps to set a wedding guest list. A final guest list can give you general numbers to give to the caterer and vendors for linen rental and centerpieces.

Budget

This is a very important part of the initial wedding planning conversation. Decide how much you want to spend on your wedding day, and where the funds are coming from.

Next wedding planning step: Contact any friends or family members that have expressed an interest in helping pay for the wedding day. Make sure you get a clear answer (not just “we can cover dinner”) to minimize any disagreements later.

Style

Every couple has their own style and vision for the wedding day. Do you want a formal, elegant wedding day? Or a day with a historic style? Is a rustic wedding more your style? As you discuss the big picture, be sure to ask if there is anything really important that either of you really want on their big day. Your spouse-to-be’s answer may surprise you.

Next wedding planning step: Take your desired style and run with it as you coordinate the details of your desire wedding atmosphere. Use the style to find wedding venues and attire, and to set a delicious wedding menu.

Time

Wedding planning can be a monumental task. Discuss the amount of time you both have to allocate to planning your special day. Be realistic; a good wedding planner can be a huge help when your time is small.

Next wedding planning step: If you need a wedding planner, get recommendations from friends or add it to your list of wedding venue criteria. Many venues have a wedding planner on staff who is intimately familiar with the site and local vendors. If DIY wedding planning is the choice, ask friends or family for their help; give them specific tasks and deadlines to eliminate any misunderstandings later.

7 Ways to Minimize the Wedding Planning Drama

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wedding figures for top of cake after wedding budget planningWedding planning can bring out the worst in anyone (anyone!). We’re not sure what it is that stirs up the emotions; if it’s the budget, stress, or just the enormity of the occasion (or a combination of all three), somehow wedding planning can bring out hurt feelings, heated exchanges, and its fair share of anger. As event planners who assist couples with wedding planning, we’ve seen the tears and heard the tales. Unfortunately, some couples can’t seem to avoid the family and friend drama that accompanies wedding planning. However, there are ways to keep the drama minimal so you can plan and enjoy the process (and the actual day!).

Have the necessary conversations early.

To make sure you are on the same page, start having those necessary conversations early—especially with your fiance so you are in agreement on the big details! Don’t avoid discussions (even the difficult ones) with family and friends who are vested in your big day. Talk to family members who have expressed an interest in helping out (financially or otherwise). Ask what their expectations are, such as the budget for the item they are offering to pay for or the deadline for a task they are helping with. Likewise, be open about major decisions, like who is walking you down the aisle, the number of guests they can add to the list, or the names listed on the invitation. A simple conversation can minimize angst later—and (hopefully) keep you on good terms until your big day.

Organize, organize, organize.

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed; realize that same feeling can lead to negative reactions when you are in the middle of wedding planning. Use a wedding planning checklist or app to help keep you on track during the process and organize all documents in one place so you can easily find vendor names and contact information when needed (use these other tips for organized wedding planning to keep on top of it all). If it all gets to be too much, don’t hesitate to hire a wedding planner.

De-stress.

Unfortunately, stress and wedding planning seem to go hand in hand. Throughout the wedding planning process, step away from it all to de-stress. Have special nights out with your fiancé to reconnect, and designated nights with friends to relax. (We’ve listed a few local wedding planning de-stressing activities here.) When you take a day or night to de-stress, try (it can be really hard!) to not talk about wedding planning.

Unplug.

Electronics are a necessary part of daily living, but they can also add to the stress—especially when everyone is continuously contacting you about the wedding! Take some time to unplug, whether it’s at the spa, concert, or for a weekend of camping. Come back from your “unplugged” time refreshed and ready to tackle the next wedding planning task.

Don’t be afraid to consult the experts.

It’s natural to receive A LOT of advice during wedding planning. We mean A LOT. Everyone has an opinion, and they’re not afraid to voice it. “Go here….” “Are you sure you want to do that…” “We did….” All the advice can make you want to scream (or elope!). Be patient with the advice; it’s part of the process. Remember, also, that all that advice, however well-meaning as it is, may not be correct. Don’t hesitate to contact the professionals for recommendations and advice. (Use these tips for hiring reliable, professional vendors.) You hired your wedding venue coordinator, DJ, caterer, and photographer for a good reason; don’t be afraid to lean on their expertise.

Make it a team effort.

If you need help, ask for it. Remember, though, to be realistic about it! Your best friend probably can’t get that huge task done in a weekend, and your friends may not produce Pinterest-worthy DIY projects. If you do trust a friend or family member with a huge wedding planning task, be clear about the deadlines and expectations. If you don’t think that person can meet either of those, bring in the professionals so you don’t end up with hurt feelings and angry texts.

Keep the lines of communication open.

As you schedule and make plans, send out communications about the plans to everyone so no one feels left out. Send out wedding schedules to the whole wedding party. If you do have a detail that might miff family members, make sure you and your fiancé are on the same page to avoid bickering and family drama.

25 Ways to De-Stress Wedding Planning in Milwaukee

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wedding reception with MR & MRS letters after wedding planning has startedWedding planning is a different experience for every couple, and so are the terms they use. Fun. Long. Stressful. A whole other job. There’s no doubt: wedding planning can be an overwhelming experience that can make you (at some point) look at eloping as a wonderful alternative. If you’re starting to consider the latter, consider hiring an event planner at your wedding venue (they’ll help!). We’ve given you a few wedding planning de-stressing tips before; now we’re giving you a list of fun ideas specific to the Milwaukee area that you can use to break up the wedding planning checklist (and keep it fun!).

  1. Head out for a brewery tour (classic Wisconsin fun!)
  2. Host a DIY party (where you and your friends get together to make centerpieces or tackle another DIY project)
  3. Tour a museum (Milwaukee Public Museum, Art Museum, Harley-Davidson Museum, or one of the other fantastic museums we have)
  4. See a play
  5. Head out on a pedal car tour
  6. Go for a boat ride (on Lake Michigan or one of our other beautiful lakes)
  7. Paint a sign (with friends or as a couple!)
  8. Sign up for a 5K together (it’ll give you something else to focus on)
  9. Go for a hike (at a Wisconsin State Park or at a local county park)
  10. Head to an indoor pool or water park (it’ll break up the cold!)
  11. Make a date out of a wedding planning meeting (go to your meeting then head out to a fun restaurant or go on an outing)
  12. Go bowling (it’s a classic)
  13. Take in a concert (or go to Summerfest)
  14. Head to the spa together
  15. Catch a movie
  16. Pedal the stress away on one of our nice bike trails
  17. Cheer on the Milwaukee Brewers (or Bucks or Admirals or…)
  18. Go skiing or tubing
  19. Visit the Milwaukee Zoo
  20. Go skating at the Pettit National Ice Center (or roller skating)
  21. Visit the Mitchell Park Domes
  22. Go shopping at the Milwaukee Public Market or a local Farmer’s Market
  23. Visit a County Fair or the Wisconsin State Fair
  24. Work out at the local gym
  25. Hit the golf course