Category Archives: wedding reception Milwaukee WI

wedding couple dancing at wedding venue

Milwaukee Wedding Ceremony and Reception Venue FAQs

Holding your special day at a Milwaukee wedding ceremony and reception venue is a matter of convenience and continuous beauty. Plus, it can minimize your wedding expenses and help keep you within budget.

But before you start looking for the perfect Milwaukee wedding ceremony and reception venue, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you plan the perfect wedding ceremony and reception—and all in the same place:

  • Don’t “overbuy” décor. One of the biggest perks of planning a ceremony and reception at the same place is that you can use décor items for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception.
  • Always plan enough time for photos and mingling between the ceremony and reception. Typically, couples should plan 60-90 minutes between the ceremony and reception to allow for photos and mingling.
  • Even when holding a wedding ceremony and reception at the same venue, always have two separate areas for the ceremony and reception. This allows your guests to seamlessly transition from the ceremony area to the reception without having to wait for staff to take down the ceremony chairs and items. (This also means you will need to find a Milwaukee wedding venue with enough space for both a ceremony and reception.)
  • When setting up a wedding ceremony area, create a designated altar area. Consider elevating the altar or using creative seating arrangements so guests can see the entire ceremony.

How do I find a wedding ceremony and reception venue?

Choosing the right wedding ceremony and reception venue is easier—and harder—than finding two separate wedding venues. It’s easier because you only have to find one wedding venue, but harder because you have to find a venue with space for both parts of your wedding.

So how do you find the “one” that can accommodate every moment of your special day? Use this wedding venue checklist to make your decision easier.

Wedding Ceremony and Reception Venue Checklist

___ Location

___ Space for guests (for both ceremony and reception)

___ Beautiful Photo Op Spots

___ Style (your wedding venue should fit your style as a couple, either elegant, historical, rustic, natural, etc.)

___ Convenient Parking (so guests don’t have to walk very far for the wedding)

___ Ceremony Area

               ___ Excellent location for aisle

               ___ Specialized area with another space for cocktail hour and reception (so guests don’t have to wait for staff to take down ceremony

___ Reception Area

               ___ Adequate space for dining

               ___ Dancing area

What questions should I ask my Milwaukee wedding reception and ceremony venue?

If you want to find out if a wedding venue is perfect for your special day (all of it!), contact a venue and ask these questions.

  • Is your wedding venue available on my wedding date for the whole day? (If you don’t have an exact wedding date, ask about available dates in your favorite month or season. You can also use these tips to choose the right wedding date.)
  • Do you have separate areas for the ceremony and reception? Will my guests have to wait for the ceremony to be taken down so they can mingle?
  • 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?
  • Do you have an hourly rate or a set rate? If a set rate, how many hours are included? Is there a charge for overtime if our wedding reception runs late? Does the rate allow for set-up and takedown?
  • Does the venue include any staffing or services (i.e. coat check, bartenders, venue manager, etc.)?
  • Is there a curfew?
  • Do you have on-staff wedding planners? What is the rate for wedding planning?
  • Does your venue require couples to use an in-house caterer or other vendors?
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • Is there parking for my guests near the venue? What is the cost?
  • Is your venue accessible for my guests with mobility issues?
  • Are there local hotels and accommodations for my out-of-town guests? How far away are these businesses?
  • Does the wedding venue carry liability insurance?

If the wedding venue checks off all your boxes, contact the venue to set up a tour. Use this wedding venue tour checklist to make sure this venue is the perfect backdrop for the day of your dreams.

wisconsin wedding venue with beautiful love sign and local flavors

10 Amazing Non-Dancing Wedding Reception Ideas

This list of amazing non-dancing wedding reception ideas proves that it is possible to have fun at a wedding without dancing. From concerts to table games to sampling stations and more, couples are sure to find an amazing wedding entertainment options that everyone can look forward to.

However, choosing the best forms of wedding entertainment does require some advance planning. If you want to offer many of these non-dancing wedding reception ideas, you need to choose a wedding venue with plenty of space and key features that make it possible. If you want to offer a concert or performance, look for a wedding venue with a stage. When a casino night is your top choice, it’s best to reserve a wedding venue with plenty of space so guests can mingle and play.

Concert

A concert is a wonderful way to entertain guests and give your reception a one-of-a-kind feel. Guests can enjoy live music from their table or enjoy the music from a row of seats like a traditional concert. A band or instrumentalist can also be a wonderful part of a themed wedding, such as a jazz band for a Great Gatsby theme.

Table Trivia

Table trivia is a favorite among guests and couples because there are so many ways to customize and personalize this game. Couples can opt for a trivia game with questions about the couple, their favorite city, wedding theme, or any other favorite topic. Plus, you can take this wedding game to another level with a game show host who gets everyone in on the fun.

Photo Booth

A photo booth checks off two wedding entertainment boxes. For guests, it’s fun to take hilarious and sweet pictures. For couples, a photo booth is a great way to get more snapshots of their special day! Plus, it’s always fun for couples to choose (and make) photo booth props that fit with their theme and make photos even more memorable.

Sampling Stations

This is a top choice on the list of non-dancing wedding reception ideas because there are so many different options for sampling stations. You can select an ale sampling station where guests can try a variety of brews (a favorite in Milwaukee). Another option is a station with desserts from a local bakery, which adds a distinctly local flair to the reception (along with these other Wisconsin wedding ideas). If you love wines, a sampling station is your chance to give guests a chance to try wines from local vineyards. To top it off, you can even give guests the chance to take their favorite option home as a wedding favor!

Mad Libs

Everyone’s favorite game is a crowd favorite at a wedding, giving guests the chance to fill in the blanks with their silliest words. This game can be an incredibly way to tell your story, but with humorous twists that leaves everyone in stitches.

I Spy/Scavenger Hunts

An I Spy or scavenger hunt is an interesting way to keep guests on their toes. This game can be an enjoyable way for guests to explore the wedding venue and get an up-close and personal look at key features. Plus, it’s an incredible conversation starter for guests as they meet and mingle at their table.

Video

This wedding reception idea can be a short video telling your story as part of the program or as elaborate as a night at the movies. The latter option is a wonderful way for couples to treat their guests to the big screen, especially with a red carpet entrance and movie-themed décor.

Performance

If you are a couple who loves a night out at a play or musical, this is a great way to showcase your love of the stage and share it with guests. Plus, this wedding entertainment idea lends itself to a musical theme at an upscale wedding venue with dramatic décor.

Yard Games

Yard games are a great option for a carnival-themed wedding or picnic, but the idea can also be moved inside for a distinctly upscale twist. Plus, there are a long list of yard game ideas to choose from, such as bowling, ring toss, corn hole, and a few other soon-to-be favorite wedding yard games.

Casino Night

A casino night is a unique experience for guests, giving them a chance to mingle and enjoy every casino game. From black jack to poker, this wedding entertainment idea is a win for you and your high-rolling guests.

Coloring Table

If kids are on your guest list, a coloring table—or some other form of children’s entertainment—is a must at your wedding. Younger guests of all ages are going to appreciate coloring, word searches, and other fun kids games, while their parents enjoy the fact that their children are entertained.

elegant historic wedding venue

7 “Wedding Reception Only” Ideas and Tips

These wedding reception only ideas are the perfect inspiration for any couple who wanted (or had to have!) an intimate ceremony together. Whether you eloped (just because) or had a small ceremony because of the pandemic, this guide for planning the perfect wedding reception only and reception only ideas and tips can put your celebration over-the-top.

Have two separate guest lists.

This is a practical wedding planning tip: have two separate guests list for invites. When setting guest lists, always invite the same guests to the ceremony and reception. For reception only guests, create a wedding website with details about the wedding reception (i.e. venue address, parking details, and this other important wedding website information).

You can schedule the ceremony and reception as far apart as you want. When you word the invitation wording for the wedding reception only invites, consider phrases like “Celebrate with us” or “We’re married! Come join us.”

Decide on your wedding reception attire.

There are quite a few “you don’t have to…” tips associated with planning a wedding reception only. One of those is “you don’t have to wear your wedding dress or tux” to your wedding reception only. Instead, couples can opt for comfortable formal attire, such as a dancing gown or comfortable suit at an elegant wedding venue.

Don’t feel like you have to connect the dots…and the décor.

When holding a wedding ceremony and reception separately, don’t feel like you have to create the same atmosphere at both events. Your wedding ceremony can be as small and intimate as you want, while your wedding reception can be a big dance party, formal dinner party, or large picnic. If you need guidance, hire a wedding planner at your venue to bring your vision to life.

Include a special ceremony moment in your wedding reception.

If you want your guests to feel like they are part of your wedding ceremony, add a special moment to your wedding reception schedule of events. You can recite your vows together, sign your wedding license in front of your guests, or include other wedding reception only ideas that make your guests feel like they were there when you said, “I do.”

Find a creative way to share your ceremony.

At the top of the list of wedding reception only ideas is finding a way to tell your story (including your wedding ceremony). You can do so with photos or videos, either in one key area or scattered around your venue. This is your chance to give guests a glimpse of your wedding ceremony, and gives you the opportunity to relive your wonderful wedding day.  

Have fun with your menu.

A wedding reception only lends itself to creativity. It can be a gathering with light dishes, a sweet night of desserts, or a reception with delicious food stations with your favorite dishes. There are so many possibilities! You can plan a menu that coordinates with the theme or select dishes that surprise and delight guests (including non-traditional desserts). If you need inspiration, don’t hesitate to ask a venue event planner for ideas. As long as you’re having fun with your menu, don’t be afraid to choose unique seating arrangements and mingling areas.

Entertain your guests with trivia, speeches, and fun.

A full line-up of wedding reception entertainment is a ‘must’ on the list of wedding reception only ideas. Guests love to play table trivia about the couple (or the shoe game!), tour a beautiful venue during a scavenger hunt, hear fun speeches, take goofy photos in a photo booth, play yard games, and dance the night away!

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

When to Start Wedding Planning (and Where to Start)

“When do I start wedding planning?” is a wedding planning question that inevitably pops into your head—sometimes even before you’ve uttered yes! Even if you don’t ask the question, get ready for a barrage of questions from friends and family.

When to Start Wedding Planning

The best answer to the when question is when you’re ready—but with the disclaimer that if you wait too long you may not get your ideal date, wedding venue, or vendors. Planning your big day starts—surprisingly!—with a conversation with your fiancé.

Do we have a special date we want to get married on? Or a time of year?

The good news: you don’t need to have a set date before you start contacting venues and vendors. Some couples have a date in mind for months or years before they get married, while others set the date based on venue and vendor availability. If you’re in the latter camp (no date), you can use these tips for setting a wedding date or contact wedding venues and ask for open dates.

Either way, this is your time to discuss not only the date but how long you want to be engaged. There are some advantages to a long or short engagement. A long engagement gives you plenty of time for wedding planning, while a short engagement gets you down the aisle and into wedding bliss quickly (use these tips if you’re getting married in six months or less).  

Where should we get married?

Just as important as the date is the where of your wedding; this question can start as broad as choosing between a destination or hometown wedding. Once you’ve narrowed down the city, it’s time to start thinking about wedding venues in your desired location.

What is our wedding budget? How are we going to pay for our wedding?

A wedding budget gets your wedding planning kickstarted off on the right foot, giving you and your fiancé the chance to discuss your finances and financial means. This is also your chance to make sure you are allocating money for big-ticket items that make a big impact on guests (i.e. venue, food, entertainment); a wedding budget checklist can be a big help during your discussion.

Do we want a large or small wedding?

Your guest list count doesn’t need to be final, but an estimated guest count is big part of choosing the right wedding venue and setting a wedding budget. Because of the implications on budget, it’s okay to flip flop these questions and decide on how many funds you have first—and how much you want to spend on each guest.

Do we want to plan the wedding ourselves? Or do we need help?

There is no doubt that wedding planning is a big undertaking, so it’s a good idea to decide on how much of it you want to tackle yourselves. This is an opportunity to review your available time and support system, and decide if you need a full- or part-time wedding planner or can take the wedding planning checklist on yourselves. If you decide you want wedding planning help, it’s time to decide if you want to hire a wedding planner from your wedding venue or a professional with an independent business.

What is our style? What do we really want from our big day?

Your style as a couple gives you direction as you plan—and your discussion gives you the chance to get on the same page about it! In addition to the wedding style (i.e. elegant, traditional, rustic, casual, natural), this is your opportunity to voice any preferences you really want on your big day. Your fiance’s answer may surprise you!

First Wedding Planning Steps

Once you’ve discussed the important details, decide if you want to start wedding planning now or in the future. If you’ve decided on a long-term engagement, start booking the big details now (i.e. venue, caterer, entertainment). You can get to the rest of the checklist later!

Get organized.

The very first step is to get organized, with a binder or paper-free. Either way, take a few minutes to kickstart your wedding planning with the app, wedding checklist, deadlines, and tips that keep you organized as you plan your big day.

Set a date.

Your wedding date is a core detail that is going to be brought up with almost every vendor, so it makes sense to set a date as soon as possible. This can be done by using a special date (i.e. when you met, a signature family date, your first kiss, etc.) or contacting venues to see what dates are available.

Research and choose a wedding venue.

The process for choosing a wedding venue is worthy of a full multi-step venue guide, especially because the wedding venue is the foundation of all your other details. Once you’ve decided on a location, it’s time to search for wedding venues near you (or in your chosen location) and narrow down the options based on style and the venue’s answers to your wedding venue questions.

Start interviewing vendors.

Some wedding venues require that you use certain vendors, while others have an open vendor policy that allows you to choose your favorite caterer and vendors. If you need recommendations for vendors, don’t hesitate to ask the venue staff and start contacting them with vendor questions.

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

(Fun!) Ways to Enjoy Your Milwaukee Wedding Planning

Planning your wedding in Milwaukee can feel adventurous or overwhelming. These cool ways can make it feel more adventurous than overwhelming—and give you and your partner a chance to enjoy the site of your big day.

Plan a date night at one our fantastic Milwaukee breweries or wineries.

Milwaukee is known for its distinctive ales and unique breweries. If you’re a lover of an occasional brew (or fanatical about your ales), a night out at one of Milwaukee’s breweries can be a great way to choose ales for an interactive tasting station at your wedding reception. A night out at a brewery can also give you the clues you need to decide if it would be a good stop for a toast after your ceremony—or for the big wedding dinner toast.

If you have a palette more for a delectable wine produced at one of our Wisconsin vineyard, schedule a field trip with your fiancé—or your wedding party—to find a wine that was suitable for your big day. A local wine can be the perfect wedding favor (with customized labels) or addition to welcome baskets for out-of-town guests.

Enjoy your time visiting Milwaukee wedding venues and caterers.

Your wedding venue and menu are the highlights of your big day—so why shouldn’t you enjoy the selection process? Once you’ve narrowed down the options for your wedding venue, plan a fun night visiting venues (through a scheduled visit or at an open house) with your significant other. (If you don’t have a lot of time for lots of visits, choose a wedding venue with an on-site planner that can turn your vision into reality.) Caterer tastings can be just as fun—especially if you choose a venue that gives you the option to bring in your favorite.

Scout your favorite photo opp locations.

In Wisconsin, couples typically take two different approaches to photos. The first approach is to head to a favorite location for photos after the ceremony (and to a few local bars or eateries for a wedding party toast). The second approach is to choose a wedding venue for every part of your big day: ceremony, photos, cocktail hour, and the reception.

Whatever approach you take, one of the best wedding planning outings can involve scouting unique locations that make the best sites for unique wedding shots. There are so many options in Milwaukee and around: state parks on Lake Michigan, along the Milwaukee River, at a local museum (think the Milwaukee Public Museum, Harley Davidson Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum, etc.), the Milwaukee County Zoo, or at one of our cool historic sites. The possibilities are endless, and picturing your wedding day during a pre-wedding visit can be just as fun.

Make an adventure out of finding local tastes to include in your big day.

Local tastes can add a one-of-a-kind flavor to any wedding day—and the search for those tastes can be the perfect pre-wedding adventure! In addition to breweries and wineries, enjoy sampling and choosing your local favorites at local Farmer’s Markets, farms, restaurants, and diners. The search can be as fun as incorporating them into your menu, in interactive tables, as favors, or in welcome baskets for special guests who choose to be part of your big day.

Enjoy planning the perfect surprise.

If you love secrets, this wedding planning task—a wedding reception surprise—is the perfect addition to your wedding planning list. The possibilities for a wedding surprise are endless: a choreographed dance, a surprise visit by a favorite Wisconsin mascot, a pop-in from a local entertainer, or one of these fantastic wedding reception ideas.  

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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.)

Choosing the Best Wedding Ceremony and Reception Venue

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

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

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

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.)