Category Archives: wedding reception venue wi

wedding couple dancing at wedding venue

When to Book Your Milwaukee Wedding Venue

It’s one of the most common wedding planning questions: “when do I book my Milwaukee wedding venue?” Once you’ve figured out who the “one” is, choosing the venue is the logical next step—right after you sit down and have an honest conversation with your fiancé and ask key wedding planning questions.

When to Book Your Venue

Most wedding planning checklists say you should book your Milwaukee wedding venue 9-12 months before your wedding date. There are some wedding venues that are in high demand, however, and should be contacted as soon as possible (as soon as 2 years before!)

If you are uncertain about your exact wedding date, contact your favorite Milwaukee wedding venue and ask them for open dates during your favorite season or month. This is also a great strategy for couples whose preferred wedding date is already taken. You can also ask about wedding days around your favorite wedding date (like a Friday or Sunday). (If you don’t have a date in mind, use these tips for choosing the perfect wedding date.)

How to Find the Right Milwaukee Wedding Venue

It’s not hard to find a list of Milwaukee wedding venues, but it can be hard to narrow down the list to your favorite! To find the right wedding venue, follow these steps.

Decide on your favorite venue style.

Your wedding venue is the backdrop for every wedding detail, so it makes sense to choose a wedding style before searching for your wedding venue. Is your style modern? Do you love historic details? Are rustic touches your style? Have you always dreamed of an elegant wedding in a glamorous wedding hall?

Set a budget.

Setting a wedding budget is a key wedding planning step. It’s one of those key details you should discuss with your fiancé before you start wedding planning. You can use a wedding budget worksheet or do it on your own.

If you choose the latter, remember that most of your funds (typically 40-60%) should be designated for “big ticket” items that make a big impact on guests. Namely, these areas include your Milwaukee wedding venue, food, and entertainment.

Once you have a budget set (and have talked to anyone else willing to contribute), use the estimated amount to narrow down the list of wedding venues. Contact each Milwaukee wedding venue that fits your style and guest count and ask them for the total cost and if they have any other fees (i.e. overtime fees, equipment charges, etc.) (Remember, never assume that a wedding venue isn’t affordable. Some of the most beautiful Milwaukee wedding venues are actually very budget-friendly.)

Estimate your guest list count.

Don’t panic! You don’t have to sit down and come up with an exact guest list, but it is helpful to have a general guest count. (Plus these tips for crafting the perfect guest list.) Do you want a big wedding? Or a smaller, more intimate event? An estimated guest count is useful to make sure that you choose a wedding venue that is the perfect size for your big day.

Your guest count can also be set by setting a wedding budget. If your budget is tight, it may make sense to limit your guest count so you are not stretched thin.

Consider your wedding date (or season).

Think about when you want to get married. Do you have a favorite season? Is there a special date you want to use, like a family wedding date or the day you met? If you’re truly at a loss, use these tips for choosing the perfect wedding date.

Think about whether you really want a particular wedding vendor.

Have a favorite wedding caterer? Is there a wedding photographer or videographer you can’t wait to use? If so, look for a Milwaukee wedding venue with an open vendor policy (and add this question to your list of wedding venue questions). An open vendor policy allows you to bring in any wedding vendor. (If you don’t have a favorite vendor, ask the wedding venue staff for recommendations.)

Ask friends and families for recommendations.

Once you’ve set your criteria for a venue (i.e. budget, style, guest count, etc.), don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for recommendations for a Milwaukee wedding venue. This request does come with a risk however; be ready for friends or family that say you “absolutely have to” use their favorite venue. (Remember this is your decision!)

Look online for Milwaukee wedding venue reviews.

Booking a Milwaukee wedding venue is about more than just style. It’s also about the total experience—both on the wedding day and during planning. To find out what other couples’ experience has been, look online at wedding review sites. These sites, like The Knot, Wedding Wire, and even social media, give you insight into what other couples thought about the venue and their staff.

Consider logistics.

Your wedding day should be a wonderful experience for everyone, so don’t forget to consider the logistics of every wedding venue. Do they offer free parking? If so, how far do guests have to walk? Will you need to rent an extra van or bus to transport your wedding party and guests?

Questions to Ask Wedding Venues

When contacting a Milwaukee wedding venue, always ask these wedding venue questions:

  • Is my wedding date available? -OR- What dates are available around this date or in this month?
  • Does your wedding venue host more than one event at the same time?
  • Do you carry insurance?
  • Are there wedding planners on staff that can help me plan my wedding day?
  • What is the capacity of your wedding venue?
  • Are tables and chairs included in the cost?
  • What is the cost of the wedding venue? How many hours does the cost include? Are there overtime fees?
  • When is payment due?
  • Are staff included in the cost (i.e. bartenders, coat check, etc.)?
  • Is there a curfew we need to follow?
  • Are there any vendors we have to use? Can we bring in our favorite vendors?
  • Does the venue provide a bartender and alcohol? Or would we need to bring in alcohol?
  • Is there parking near the venue? If not, how much does local parking cost?
  • Are there local accommodations for my out-of-town guests?
  • What is the venue cancellation policy? What is the policy for rescheduling?
  • Is the venue accessible for guests with mobility issues?
  • When can I schedule a wedding venue tour?

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)
bride and groom dancing at summer wedding reception in beautiful wedding venue

25+ Questions to Ask a Milwaukee Wedding Venue

The best Milwaukee wedding venues offer wow factor and check off all the boxes on your wedding venue checklist. While that sounds simple, finding the best wedding venue in Milwaukee for your big day can feel overwhelming—especially when it’s so important to find the “one!”

These wedding venue questions can help you get through the process, and help you find a wedding venue that fits off all the boxes on your wedding venue checklist: location, style, convenient parking, and any other items that are top priority.

Wedding Planning Questions

Determining what items are at the top of your checklist is step one, and can be determined by asking a few simple questions with your fiancé:

  • Where do we want to get married?
  • When do we want to get married? (Pro tip: use these hacks for choosing a wedding date if you don’t have a date in mind.)
  • What is our wedding style (i.e. elegant, rustic, vintage, etc.)?
  • Do we have any wedding vendors we want to use? (Pro tip: if you really want a vendor, look for a wedding venue with an open vendor policy that allows you to bring in vendors.)
  • Do we want to plan our entire wedding or do we need help? (Pro tip: even if you want to plan the entire wedding, look for a venue with a knowledgeable staff that can answer your questions…and answers the phone.)
  • How many guests do we want to invite? (Pro tip: you don’t need to have an exact number in mind, just an estimate will do.)
  • What is our budget?

Once you’ve answered these questions, the fun of finding the right wedding venue can begin! When researching and contacting wedding venues, use this list of “must-ask” wedding questions to narrow down your option to the wedding venue that is the perfect setting for your big day.

Milwaukee Wedding Venue Questions

Wedding Venue Availability

  • Is the wedding venue available on this day? OR Are there any open dates during this month/season? (Pro tip: If you have a tight wedding budget, ask the wedding venue about off-season dates or days of the week.)
  • Does your wedding venue hold more than one event on the same date? Will our wedding be the only event at the venue?
  • How many guests does your venue accommodate?
  • For couples needing a ceremony site: Can your wedding venue accommodate our ceremony and reception? If so, will my guests have to wait for set-up before the reception? (Pro tips: use these tips to find the best ceremony and reception wedding venue.)

Wedding Venue Cost

  • What is your venue rate? How many hours are included in that rate? Is there an overtime fee? Does that fee allow for time for set-up and take-down?
  • Does your wedding venue have a curfew when our reception needs to be over?
  • Do you offer wedding planning services? What is the cost of wedding planning?
  • What staff and services are included in the venue rate (i.e. coat check, venue manager, etc.)?

Wedding Venue Contract Details

  • Does your wedding venue have liability insurance? (Pro tip: while this question may not be the most glamorous, insurance can be important in case of an emergency.)
  • What is the wedding venue cancellation policy?
  • Does your wedding venue allow couples to bring in vendors? What vendors do you require us to use?
  • What is the venue alcohol policy? Do I need to hire a vendor that brings in the alcohol? Are bartenders included in the venue rate?

Wedding Venue Guest Accommodations

  • Is there parking at the wedding venue? Or is there parking near the venue? What is the cost of parking?
  • Is there an entrance for wedding guests with mobility issues? Is the wedding venue handicap accessible?
  • Are there local hotels and accommodations for my out-of-town guests? How far away are these businesses?
  • When can I tour the wedding venue? (Pro tip: always request a wedding venue tour because websites may not show every area of the wedding venue.)
bride and groom dancing at summer wedding reception in beautiful wedding venue

How to Find THE Milwaukee Wedding Venue of Your Dreams

The Brew City is full of beautiful wedding venues. How are you supposed to find the right Milwaukee wedding venue that fits your vision and pocketbook? One of the first lessons of wedding planning is that you can’t always judge a book by its cover. Some of the most beautiful wedding venues can provide the perfect backdrop without breaking your wedding budget. The second lesson is that you should expect to allocate 40% of your budget for the wedding reception (i.e. wedding venue, caterer, etc.)

All these wedding planning lessons can make finding the right Milwaukee wedding venue seem like an overwhelming puzzle. Fortunately, this guide can help you through the process and help you find the right wedding venue that is the perfect setting for your wedding day.

Set a budget.

Before you start looking for a wedding venue, it’s important to set criteria for your search. You can do so with a conversation with your fiancé. This is the time to state anything you really want at the wedding, and discuss important details like the location, date, and how you’re going to pay for it. (Use this list of wedding planning questions to guide your discussion.)

Research, research, research.

The next step is to research local Milwaukee wedding venues. Fortunately, this step can mostly be done online, on websites and social media. However, there is a note of caution that comes with this step. Though pictures on the website and social media look great, never book a wedding venue without seeing it in-person. This is your time to ask questions and schedule a showing.

Interview your potential wedding venues.

If you want to narrow down your prospects, contact each Milwaukee wedding venue with these questions:

  • Is the venue available on this date/during this month/in this season? (If you don’t have a set date, it can be easier to find a wedding venue with available dates during your desired season or month.)
  • Will my wedding be the only event at the venue?
  • How many guests does your venue accommodate? Is there space for a ceremony and reception? If so, will my guests have to wait before the reception?
  • What is the venue rate? What does the venue rate include (i.e. equipment, staffing, etc.)? Is there an overtime fee if the reception goes beyond a certain number of hours?
  • What services are covered by the venue rate?
  • Does your venue offer wedding planning services?
  • Does your venue carry liability insurance? (This can be important in case a guest is injured.)
  • What is the wedding venue cancellation policy?
  • Can I bring in a wedding caterer or photographer? Or does your venue require us to use certain vendors?
  • What is the venue alcohol policy?
  • Is there convenient parking near 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?

Review the contract.

After interviewing your potential wedding venues, it’s time to tour your wedding venue (with this list of wedding venue tour questions) and review the contract. Once you’ve signed the contract for your favorite Milwaukee wedding venue, the fun next step can begin: envisioning and planning the day of your dreams.

6 (BIG) Wedding Planning Lessons that Pay Off

wedding reception with MR & MRS letters in front of a shiny background at a rainy weddingWhy jump into wedding planning blind? Head into planning your wedding with the lessons that pay big—both in time and precious budget funds. Best yet, these lessons come without those “I wish I’d…” regrets that so many couples have about their wedding day.

Interviewing vendors is not an option.

Contracts may seem like a boring and tedious part of wedding planning, but the “blah, blah, blah” of the fine print can make a big impact on your choices and budget. If reading through every contract isn’t your first choice (even if it is…), use an interview to find out the fine points. Ask wedding vendors about important details, such as overtime fees and cancellation policies.

If you have a “have-to-have” wedding vendor, make sure to ask your wedding venue about whether you can bring in your preferred caterer or photographer. Choosing a wedding vendor can also be a budget-friendly choice because couples can select the service within budget. Some wedding venues require couples to use a specific catering service or other vendor. Wedding venues with an open vendor policy allows you to use who you want (and bring in the touches you’ve been dreaming about).

Delegate with direction (and not without).

Organized wedding planning is an essential part of staying on top of things (use these tips to stay organized during wedding planning). As you start checking off tasks on your wedding planning checklist, asking for help is a “must” of wedding planning—but it comes with a disclaimer. If you’re set on using friends and family, always make sure you give input and clear deadlines. Many couples have shed tears when their ask for wedding planning help results in drama.

For wedding planning assistance without the drama, consider hiring a wedding planner (or choosing a wedding venue with an on-staff planner). A wedding planner can plan as much or as little as wanted or needed. Plus, a wedding planner isn’t related to you, so you don’t have to worry about any drama popping up years down the road.

DIY is not always worth it (at least not for everything).

Do-it-yourself projects may seem like the answer to every part of wedding planning; many couples are surprised to find out that DIY projects are not always the time- and dollar-saving answer. They’ve learned the hard way what you can learn the easy way. Always research projects to determine the cost of the project (including the amount of time) versus hiring a wedding vendor. Procrastinators, beware: DIY projects need to be started (and finished) early (use these other tips for successful DIY wedding projects).

De-stressing is not an option. It’s a lifesaver.

Be wary of taking the “pedal to the metal” approach to wedding planning. Even when you feel pressed for time (like when you have days or months, not years), schedule de-stressing days when you can relax. We’ve given you a few ideas for ways to take some time off from wedding planning (just make sure you actually disconnect the whole time). Feel free to plan some date nights and outings with your besties—and make sure your significant other does the same. A day off from time to time can help you mentally and emotionally, especially when the process feels overwhelming.

Wedding day preps are worth their weight in gold.

Your wedding day should be a relaxed occasion without worrying what else needs to be done—or how to fix a problem. A few last-minute wedding preps can make that possible. Pack an emergency kit with essentials like a sewing kit, stain remover, first aid supplies, and a few other important must-haves.

To keep the day running smoothly, send out a schedule to every involved in the day. Let your attendants and family know where they need to be, a general timeline of the day (this may be thrown off a bit), and anything you need them to do.

For vendors, make as many payment arrangements in advance as possible. If vendors requirement payment on the day of, put payment in envelopes carefully labeled with their name. Ask someone you trust (not an attendant) to pass out envelopes so you don’t have to.

Relax. Have fun!

Your special day is supposed to special. Expect that not everything is going to go exactly the way you planned. Be flexible, and enjoy all the benefits of your wedding planning.

7 Wedding Day Curve Balls (& How to Deal with Them)

wedding day at a reception hall with bride and groom dancing after wedding planningWedding emergencies. Even the best-planned wedding day can be hit with a series of fast pitches and curve balls that can throw even the most flexible bride and groom for a loop. We’ve seen it happen; that’s why we’ve put together a list of the most common wedding emergencies, what you can do about it, and how you can prepare so you’re not struck out by a wedding emergency.

Rain

Our Wisconsin weather is notoriously unpredictable; plan for the unexpected! Never plan an outdoor wedding without a plan B. If you want an outdoor ceremony, search for the ideal outdoor site while also looking for a wedding reception hall with space for the ceremony (just in case!). Be prepared for the possibility of soggy weather (you’ll need these rainy day wedding tips). Communicate with your venue and vendors accordingly so you can still have a beautiful wedding day even when the weather takes a turn for the worst.

Too Hot

Hot weather can put a real damper on a summer wedding. If your wedding day is anytime during late spring or summer, look for a wedding venue with traditional details and modern air conditioning. For events like photos or an outdoor ceremony, provide fans and cool drinks to cool your attendants and guests down. Schedule those events accordingly so they are not during the hottest times of the day (trust us, your guests and attendants appreciate the schedule!).

Dress ripped or stained

A guest steps on a wedding dress. A guest spills their drink all over a beautiful wedding gown. It happens, and it can be fixed. Pack a sewing kit (with Velcro for ripped straps!) and tape for fixing dresses that get stepped on or rip. For stains, pack a stain shot and cloth for cleaning off any spills.

Not feeling well

Keep a first aid kit and medications on hand so you (and your wedding party) feel your best on your wedding day. Think ibuprofen for headaches and antacids for a sour stomach. Snacks for when you realize you haven’t ate in the last four hours. Bandages, tweezers and ice packs in a first aid kit for illnesses or injuries (they do happen!).

Bad Hair Day

Even with a ton of bobby pins and hair spray, the most elegant wedding hair do’s can fall or get messed up. Make sure you get the best photos ALL day by adding extra bobby pins, hair spray, hair dryer, and clips to your emergency kit.

Smeared Make-Up

Don’t start the wedding day looking like a princess and end the day looking like a horror show. Pack extra make-up and ask a trusted friend to do touch-up throughout the day (especially before and after photos).

Cold

If the temperatures are resembling a roller coaster, adjust your wedding day schedule accordingly. Move outdoor festivities indoor (look for a venue with space for a ceremony and reception). Provide shrugs and jackets to bridesmaids for a fun photo opportunity.

If you haven’t noticed, a wedding emergency kit is a must for any couple. Pack a bag with the following items that can get you through any wedding curve balls:

  • Make-up
  • Shrugs & jackets
  • Umbrella
  • Bobby pins
  • Hair spray
  • Hair dryer
  • First Aid Kit (bandages, ice packs, etc.)
  • Tweezers
  • Prescription medication
  • Aspirin
  • Snacks
  • Antacids
  • Laundry pen
  • Sewing kit
  • Tape
  • Velcro
  • Water bottles
  • Hand-held fans
  • Small cloth (for cleaning dress)
  • Payments for vendors (sorted into appropriate envelopes, if needed)
  • Anything else