Category Archives: wedding reception Milwaukee WI

Choosing the Best Wedding Ceremony and Reception Venue

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bride above a beautiful wedding receptionHosting a wedding ceremony and reception in the same place can be a matter of convenience or budget; in both cases, it can be beautiful (and not quite as easy as typing in “Milwaukee wedding venues near me.”) However, choosing a wedding venue for both the ceremony and venue does add a few more boxes to your wedding venue checklist.

Search for venues with space for the ceremony and reception without inconveniencing guests.

Hosting a ceremony and reception at the same wedding venue brings continuity to the day and virtually eliminates transportation costs. It’s incredibly convenient for guests as well; they don’t have to leave one venue to head to another or even stop for refreshments on the way.

Instead, guests enjoy a beautiful wedding ceremony, offer their congratulations, and enjoy the amenities of a wonderful cocktail hour—all before sitting down to the start of a wonderful wedding reception. To maintain the flow of the festivities, search for a venue with space for both areas (ask if there is space for a ceremony with these other wedding venue questions) without the inconvenience of a huge breakdown by staff.

Look for a wedding venue with convenient parking.

In addition to enough space, you should also look for a wedding venue with parking. No one wants their guests heading for the exit so they can plug their parking meter. If you’re planning on holding the ceremony and reception at the same site, choose a wedding venue with on-site parking so guests can enjoy the day without worrying.

Consider your less-mobile guests.

A wedding ceremony and reception is a gift to guests who may not be able to get around very easily, unless it is hard to get from one area to another. If you have guests on the list who have mobility issues, consider them as you tour the venue. Is it easy for them to get around? If the ceremony outside, can all your guests get to it? Is the venue handicap-accessible?

Look for wedding venue dressing spaces.

A wedding day comes with a few logistical details that may not be the most fantastic but are incredibly necessary. Dressing spaces and storage are two of those minor details that play a big part in enjoying your special day. When touring the venue, ask to see dressing spaces so you and your attendants can change when needed and store items without worry.

Find the décor that sets the stage for the ceremony and reception.

Another huge (and budget-saving) benefit of planning a wedding ceremony and reception at the same place is that wedding décor can be used for both events. Keep this in mind as you plan your wedding day; look for décor that works for both the ceremony and reception.

Plan a fantastic cocktail hour.

The cocktail hour is the core of a seamless wedding day (especially when the ceremony and reception are in the same place). Talk to the wedding venue about ways to make the cocktail hour a fantastic and seamless part of the day. Look for ways to integrate every detail of the cocktail hour with the ceremony and reception details so the transition feels smooth and flawless.

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.)

24 Wedding Venue Questions You Shouldn’t Forget to Ask

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milwaukee wedding venue with dramatic uplightingIt’s not unusual to be so completely awestruck by a wedding venue that you completely forget to ask about the logistical details. It’s even completely understandable; after all, there are some beautiful wedding venues in Milwaukee!

Try to avoid the trap “it’s so beautiful, where do I sign?” whenever possible. Those small details can play an important role in coordinating all those other details (use this convenient wedding planning checklist), such as a volume curfew that puts a real damper on a fantastic wedding dance or a lack of parking for wedding guests. A wedding venue is the foundation of all that wedding planning; it makes sense (both for your wedding budget and wedding planning) to sweat the small details before you reserve the site for your big day.

This advice comes with a wedding tip: never reserve a wedding venue without asking the logistical details and touring the venue (and we can help!). Use this list of wedding venue questions to make sure the venue is the right one AND this link to tour a beautiful Milwaukee wedding venue as you plan your special day.

Availability

Venue Cost

  • How much is your venue rate? How many hours are covered by that rate? What is the overtime fee if my wedding goes beyond that length of time?
  • What services are covered by the venue rate?
  • Do you offer wedding planning services?
  • What staff is included in the venue rate (i.e. coat check, venue manager, etc.)?

Fine Print

  • Does your venue carry liability insurance? (This can be important in case a guest is injured.)
  • What is the wedding venue cancellation policy?
  • Do I have to use a preferred vendor from a list? Do you have an open vendor policy? (The latter policy means you can bring in the vendor of your choice.)
  • What is the venue alcohol policy? Do I need to hire a vendor bring it in? Are bartenders included in the venue rate?

Guests

  • Where do my guests have to park? Is it close to the wedding venue?
  • Is the wedding venue handicap accessible?
  • Are there local accommodations for my guests (i.e. hotels, inns, etc.)? How far away are these businesses?
  • When can I tour the wedding venue?

21 (Fun!) Wedding Reception Surprise Ideas

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bride above a beautiful wedding receptionEveryone loves a surprise—especially when you include a surprise into plans for your big day.  Suddenly, your big day becomes bigger (or at least your guests’ eyes do when they see your surprise!) and different. As an added benefit, you can customize your wedding day surprise to something entirely you.

So without further ado, here are a list of fun wedding reception surprise ideas that you can customize into an amazement that fits your personality and your big day:

chalk sign on sidewalk to welcome wedding guests

  1. Surprise them at the door with a fun mural, backdrop, or drawing
  2. Have the happy couple arrive in an unusual vehicle (i.e. in an old car, in a carriage, etc.)
  3. Host a beer (this is Milwaukee, after all!) or wine tasting
  4. Serve a surprise dish
  5. Schedule an appearance by a celebrity impersonator
  6. Have an unexpected friend or family (that you didn’t expect) appear on the dance floor (or on a video call!)
  7. Break out a fun (well-practiced) dance routine by the bride and groom (or father-daughter or mother-son dance)
  8. Have a favorite sports mascot crash the party
  9. Include surprise entertainers in the night that reflect your heritage
  10. Make your awesome dessert part of your décor (i.e. donut wall, interactive dessert food station)
  11. Have one of the newlyweds appear unexpectedly during the reception (coordinate the appearance with the DJ or band)
  12. Add sparklers or fireworks to the night’s festivities (ask your venue about limitations first!)
  13. Give your guests dinner and a surprise show (hire entertainers to make it happen!)
  14. Make a (cool!) wardrobe statement with an unusual dress or dress change
  15. Turn your reception into a trivia night
  16. Confetti drop (outside or on the dance floor-ask your venue to ensure it is allowed)mandap with floral garland
  17. Make a statement with décor in a big way
  18. Give your guests unexpected wedding favors
  19. Host a (surprise) game show
  20. Play dance floor games
  21. Tell your guests thank you with a unique sign or message (i.e. in fortune cookies, with elegant cards set up with each word, etc.)

9 Reasons to Choose Your Wedding Venue

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1451 Rennaissance Place in Milwaukee with dramatic uplighting and crystal candlesChoosing a wedding venue is simple, right?  You just walk in, fall in love, and sign on the dotted line.  In reality, choosing the right venue for your wedding is a bit more complex—but well worth the effort.  Your wedding venue dictates so many other details: décor, style, even the wedding vendors you use.  You’d be crazy not to think through one of the most important details of your big day.  Here are some factors to help you make the big decision about the right wedding venue for your wedding.

Location

Where do you want to be married?  Think beyond just the city.  Consider your options carefully.  Choose a wedding venue in a prime location with nearby hotels for out-of-town guests (and guests that don’t want to drive home).

Date

There are two ways to use your date to find the right wedding venue. First, have a list of several dates and contact wedding venues to see what dates are available. The second option is to set your date and contact halls about the availability of that date.

Size

bride and groom dancing at summer wedding reception in beautiful wedding venueNo matter how beautiful the venue is, it’s not the right venue if it is too large or small for your guest list.  Put together a guest list with your fiance and any important family members.  You may find out that your mother wants to include every one of her sewing club pals or that your father-in-law has a list of business associates that may significantly increase your guest list.  Use the final guest list count to compile a list of potentially perfect wedding venues.

Your needs

Do you need a ceremony and reception site?  Or do you need assistance with wedding planning? Do you have a special idea that only some venues can accommodate?  Sit down and think about all of your needs before you contact wedding venues for potential visit dates.

Style

wedding reception hall with uplighting with bride and groom namesWhen you picture your wedding day, are you dreaming of an elegant, traditional wedding? Are you planning a vintage day with historic details?  Your wedding venue is the backdrop for all the other important details, so make sure you choose a venue that fits with your style.  Talk with your fiancé about what kind of wedding he or she envisions to make sure you are contacting and visiting venues that match your tastes and style.

Budget

Ah yes, we said the ‘b’ word: budget.  Your budget is a key part of your decision process, but you need to be careful to make sure you choose a venue that fits your budget.  Ask each venue for a full list of fees that could be incurred so you have a full idea of cost.  You don’t want to book a venue that you think is within your budget, and end up with fees you didn’t anticipate on what is supposed to be the best day of your life.

Parking

wedding venue with dramatic backlighting and candlesWhen you wedding plan, you need to think about what you want and also what’s best for your guests.  As much as you want that venue with absolutely no parking, think about what is best for those joining you for your big day.  Ultimately, that means parking for them (who wants to walk block after block in heels?).  Ask each venue for parking options, and if your guests need to pay for it so you can include the information on your invitations or wedding website.

Vendors

If you have a specific caterer in mind, add “do you allow outside caterers to come in?” to your list of questions.  Some wedding venues only allow you use a specific vendor, while other venues have an open door policy that allows you to bring in the vendor you want to use.  Ask the question up front so you don’t waste your time visiting venues that won’t let you use your preferred vendor.

Your visit

Don’t book a wedding venue without seeing it first.  As great as a venue’s Facebook page or website looks, make sure you contact them to schedule a date to see the venue (and location) in person.