Category Archives: wedding planning guide

winter wedding venue feature wall with beads and uplighting

9 Questions to Ask After the Engagement

After the “engagement glow” wears off, it’s best to sit down and have an honest discussion about your wedding—even if you don’t plan on getting married right away. Here’s what you should ask during your discussion, and what you should do with the answers.

When do we want to get married? Is there a date we want to set?

Even if you’re not in hurry to get married, it’s a good idea to discuss your future plans. Even if your special day is years away, the best wedding venue calendars fill up quickly. Plus, having a set date or year gives you a goal if you need to save up for your special day. (Use these tips for saving for your wedding.)

Couples can set a wedding date by contacting their favorite venue and asking for available dates or by choosing a special date. (Use one of these ways to choose the perfect wedding date.) Couples can choose a date based on a relationship milestone (i.e. day of engagement, first date, etc.), opt for a special family date (i.e. grandparent wedding date, birthday, etc.), or choose a favorite season.

Where do we want to get married? Is there a ceremony site or venue where we want to get married?

What city do you want to get married in? Where would you like to hold your ceremony in that city? Your reception? It’s okay if you don’t have any answers right away, but it is a good idea to start the discussion. (Use these tips for choosing the right wedding venue and narrowing down your options.) If you do have a top choice, contact the venue right away so you can make your vision a reality. (You can also hold your ceremony and reception at the same location so you don’t have to worry about transportation.)

Do we want to plan the wedding ourselves? What is our wedding style?

Some couples want to plan every minute of their wedding day, while others opt to hire a wedding planner to handle all or some of the details. (Read more about the pros and cons of hiring a wedding planner.) This is your chance to discuss how much of the planning you want to take on, and if you have the time to take on a long wedding planning checklist. (Some wedding venues have on-staff planners that can help with some or all of the planning.)

This is also your opportunity to discuss your wedding style, which can help you choose the right venue, menu, and wedding décor. Do you want an elegant affair? A modern wedding in the city? A casual wedding? An outdoor ceremony and/or reception?

Is there a vendor we really want to hire for our wedding?

Just like wedding venues, many wedding vendors’ calendars fill up quickly. If you have a wedding photographer, videographer, or caterer, now is the time to contact them. But before you do, make sure they are allowed in your wedding venue. (Some wedding venues require you to use an in-house caterer or other vendor.) If you do want to use a favorite caterer or photographer, ask prospective venues if they have an open vendor policy (along with these other wedding venue questions).

How are we going to pay for the wedding? Do we want a big wedding or smaller, more intimate gathering?

These two questions should be asked together because they are usually connected. While some couples want a smaller wedding regardless of the budget, others opt for a more intimate gathering because of costs. (Use these wedding budget tips as you plan after the engagement.) If you have family members or friends that have expressed an interest in helping financially, now is the time to discuss that too.

A conversation about your budget should also include information about your finances; this is your chance to get on the same page about how you’re going to save for your big day and turn your ideas into a beautiful wedding day.

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. 

beautiful wedding day after couple organizes wedding planning

8 Tips for Couples Wedding Planning During COVID-19

Wedding planning is normally stressful. Wedding planning during COVID-19 is STRESSFUL. There are so many unknowns, and it’s easy to feel anxious and worried.

We realize that this time is incredibly stressful, so we’ve put together wedding planning tips for Milwaukee couples (and a list of COVID-19 frequently asked questions). We’re here to help you plan your wedding during these uncertain times—until the day when we can all gather together again.

Do what you can.

Many Milwaukee wedding venues and vendors have more time on their hands, making it an ideal time to contact them and confirm as many wedding details as possible. If you are cautious about meeting in-person, ask the venue or vendors about meeting virtually. If the meeting is virtual, make sure you come prepared and ready to talk about your preferences and budget.

Be organized.

There are quite a few deadlines and details to track during wedding planning, making an organized wedding strategy a “must.” In particular, a wedding planning checklist and wedding venue list is incredibly useful. For all other details, there are great wedding printables available for couples using a paper system and wedding apps that can make the process easier. If you don’t have time for organization or wedding planning, hire a wedding planner or choose a wedding venue with a wedding planner for less-stress wedding planning.

Stay flexible.

Unfortunately, the only thing certain during the COVID-19 pandemic is uncertainty. As you plan, realize that local rules and regulations are prone to change. Be flexible as you plan, and take breaks from it all when you feel anxious.

Keep guidelines for postponing a wedding close at hand.

If you dream of a big wedding day with a big guest count, realize that you may need to postpone your big day. Fortunately, your Milwaukee wedding venue should be able to accommodate your postponement and give you a new date. (Plus, you can always use these ideas for celebrating on your original wedding date.)

Keep everyone important updated.

As your wedding date draws near, remember that it’s not just you who is making plans. As your plans change, make it a point to keep your important wedding guests up-to-date.

Don’t forget to update your wedding website.

While it’s natural to call your parents and relatives as plans change, don’t forget about other guests that have penned in your wedding date. A wedding website is a great way to spread the word (especially if you use these wedding website tips) and let your guests know about postponements and updates (like wearing a mask to your big day or a change in entrance).

Take breaks from wedding planning.

When you feel stressed out, don’t hesitate to take a break. Have a quiet dinner at home. Watch a movie. Take a walk or go for a run. Open a bottle of wine or enjoy an ale from one of our famous Milwaukee breweries. Turn off your phone and relax. Sometimes, a short break is all you need to recharge your batteries and inspire your next wedding planning step.

Try to make the best of it.

The pandemic has changed the way everyone lives and celebrates. While you can’t change reality, try to make the best of the pandemic by incorporating small details into your wedding. Small touches like beautiful masks and signage mark the time of your wedding and blend seamlessly in with “normal” wedding details. When you do get incredibly stressed, think of your beautiful wedding day and all the fun you’ll have.

bride and groom at wedding reception planned in short time

12 of the Very Best Wedding Planning Posts of 2019

We could all use some help with wedding planning—especially with such a long wedding planning checklist to tackle. Even the small wedding planning tip (or idea) can be a big help!

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best wedding planning tips of 2019. These “how to” tips can get you through every stage of planning your big day (including keeping you sane throughout the process!)

How to start planning the day of your dreams…

https://blogrenaissanc.wpengine.com/2019/12/13/step-by-step-where-to-start-wedding-planning/

How to organize your wedding planning…

https://blogrenaissanc.wpengine.com/2019/11/07/7-must-have-free-wedding-planning-printables/

How to avoid some of the worst wedding planning mistakes…

https://blogrenaissanc.wpengine.com/2019/06/20/how-to-avoid-the-worst-wedding-budget-mistakes/
https://blogrenaissanc.wpengine.com/2019/02/08/6-big-wedding-planning-lessons-that-pay-off/

How to decide if you need help…

https://blogrenaissanc.wpengine.com/2019/10/25/8-pros-and-cons-of-hiring-a-wedding-planner/

How to make sure your wedding venue checks off all the boxes (and how to reserve it)…

https://blogrenaissanc.wpengine.com/2019/09/06/the-ultimate-wedding-venue-checklist/
https://blogrenaissanc.wpengine.com/2019/02/22/how-do-i-book-a-wedding-venue/

How to make sure you’ve found the right “one” during your wedding venue tour…

https://blogrenaissanc.wpengine.com/2019/08/21/30-wedding-venue-tour-questions-you-need-to-ask/

How to have fun even when you’re stressed…

https://blogrenaissanc.wpengine.com/2019/09/16/fun-ways-to-enjoy-your-milwaukee-wedding-planning/

How to choose the best vendors to add to your wedding team…

https://blogrenaissanc.wpengine.com/2019/04/04/quick-tips-that-help-you-find-the-best-wedding-vendors/

How to add a local Wisconsin flavor your guests’ll savor…

https://blogrenaissanc.wpengine.com/2019/04/25/wedding-reception-ideas-how-to-add-local-flavor-to-your-big-day/

How to add a little fun to your wedding reception…

https://blogrenaissanc.wpengine.com/2019/03/22/20-elegantly-fun-wedding-reception-games/
beautiful wedding day after couple organizes wedding planning

Step-by-Step: Where to Start Wedding Planning

Planning your wedding is a journey that can takes a million turns…but they all lead to a wonderful big day. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide that (hopefully) makes those turns not so curvy and helps you enjoy the ride.

Step 1: Sit down and talk with your fiancé.

Every couple gets excited about different details…the dresses, tuxes, wedding menu, décor. The list could go on and on. But before you head to the store or start scheduling meetings, take a step back.

The first step of wedding planning—-where you should really start planning your wedding—is a conversation with your fiancé. This is the time for you to discuss your wants (“what is one thing you want in our big day?”) and important details (“what time of year do we want to get married?”), such as the location (city and state), date/time of year, size of the wedding (large or intimate), and budget.

The latter should involve a lengthy discussion of how much you both have for the wedding and how you intend to pay for it. This part of the discussion may lead to talks with other family members or friends that have expressed interest in contributing.

As you discuss the wedding budget (this wedding budget worksheet can help), ask yourselves how much time you have to devote to wedding planning. If the answer is “not much,” make sure you allocate funds to hiring a full- or part-time wedding planner. (The pros and cons of hiring a wedding planning may be helpful in your decision.)

Step 2: Choose a wedding venue.

The wedding venue is the backdrop for your big day; it sets the tone style wise for nearly every other detail. Before you start visiting wedding venues, ask yourself what style you prefer (i.e. rustic, historic, elegant, modern) and what date or time of year you want to get married.

If you don’t have an exact date, don’t stress (and read through these tips for choosing the right wedding date). In some ways, having a month or season in mind can actually help you find the right wedding venue. Once you and your fiancé have decided on the time of year (and year), you can contact wedding venues and ask them what dates are available during your preferred time period.

In addition to style and date, you and your fiancé should also set criteria for your wedding venue (this wedding venue checklist is helpful). You don’t want to choose a wedding venue that is too big or small, so it’s helpful to have an estimated amount of guests in mind. You should always tour wedding venues before signing on the dotted line, but make sure you ask these wedding venue questions and look for these important details during the tour.

Step 3: Get organized.

Once the biggest details are confirmed, the next step is to organize yourself for the next steps of wedding planning. If you are hiring a wedding planner, this is the time to choose a wedding planner; many wedding venues offer full- and part-time wedding planners that can handle as little or as much of the planning process as requested. The major advantage of hiring a venue’s wedding planner is that the professional is intimately familiar with the venue and local wedding vendors.

If you are taking on the wedding planning yourself, this is your chance to decide whether to use digital or printables (in a binder)—or a combination of both—to manage your wedding planning checklist and deadlines. When a digital approach is your top choice, this list of the best wedding apps can help you choose the app to download. If you prefer paper, it’s time to start downloading these wedding planning printables and establish the system that gets you from planning to enjoying your special day.

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The Ultimate Wedding Venue Checklist

Once the glow of popping the question wears off (and the “yes!”), the next logical question is “where?” The good news is that there are quite a few wedding venues in the Milwaukee area that make a beautiful backdrop for any couple’s big day.

Narrowing down those options to the perfect wedding venue can feel overwhelming, because choosing the right wedding venue is a big choice. This is the site of your wedding, after all, and it’s incredibly important.

The right wedding venue is the foundation of all your other wedding details. It can be the perfect backdrop with a staff that makes wedding planning less stressful—-or the complete opposite. That’s why we put together a wedding venue checklist. This guide can help you choose the best wedding venue that fits all your criteria and makes you and your guests say “wow!”

Of course, before you start venue hunting, don’t skip the crucial steps of setting a budget and asking your fiancé some crucial wedding planning questions. From there, use this wedding venue checklist to narrow down your options to a list of venues worthy of a venue tour.

Venue Availability

___ Available on wedding date (If you don’t have a wedding date, ask the wedding venue for available dates during your desired season or month.)

___ Exclusive use of wedding venue (This is important if you don’t want other events held at the wedding venue at the same time.)

___ Guest accommodation (Use these tips to set a wedding guest list. Always ask the wedding venue for the number of guests they can accommodate for comfort and safety.)

___ Ceremony space (Applicable if you want to hold your wedding ceremony and reception at the venue. Also ask if guests need to wait for breakdown and set-up after the ceremony.)  

Venue Cost

___ Budget-friendly (Don’t forget to ask how many hours are included in the rate, if there are any overtime fees, and what equipment is included in the cost.)

___ Wedding planning services (This is important for couples who want help with some or all of the wedding planning.)

___ Venue staffing (Ask if there is any staff included in the rate, such as an on-site manager, coat check, and bar staff.)

Venue Policies

___ Liability insurance (Very important! Be careful about booking a wedding venue without insurance.)

___ Cancellation policy (Be sure to ask just in case of an issue. If you are in the military, ask if the date can be moved without penalty.)

___ Vendors included (This can include the caterer, décor, equipment, and even the photographer.)

OR

___ Open-vendor policy (An open vendor policy allows you to select and bring in your vendor of choice, such as your favorite caterer.)

___ No limitations on volume and alcohol

Wedding Venue Accommodations

___ Guest Parking (Ask to see the parking lot to make sure it is close and affordable.)

___ Handicap Accessibility

___ Close to local accommodations for out-of-town guests (i.e. hotels, inns, etc.)

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

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.