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Charming Wisconsin Wedding with a Dream Designer Gown

I call America’s heartland home, but I was truly taken aback to learn this wedding took place right in Wisconsin. With scenery you’d swear is straight out of the Irish countryside it was quite the pleasant surprise that coastal Kohler, Wisconsin played backdrop in such a stunning way. From their Bella Figura invitation suite to the traditional church ceremony to a reception space abundant with lush greens, Kathryn and Micheal carefully designed their wedding day and Amy Gaerthofner captured beautifully behind the camera. Head this way to see more plus a film below by Vaughter Weddings.


From Amy Gaerthofner… She wore a lace cap sleeve Carolina Herrera gown and he wore a custom blue tux from personal friend and designer Domenico Vacca. The blend of elegance, the authentic Irish Barn and the landscape of coastal Kohler, Wisconsin made the perfect blend of New York meets Wisconsin.

With the help of Kathryn’s mother Barb and the staff at Whistling Straights the couple was able to create the wedding they’d always hoped and dreamed of.

It was important for Kathryn and Michael to be surrounded by family and friends for their wedding. For Kathryn, it was equally important to have the festivities in her home state of Wisconsin. Since over 80% of the wedding guests have never been to Wisconsin the couple really wanted to show off what the state is capable of. The shoreline of the Great Lake Michigan did not disappoint.

Whistling Straights was the perfect setting for guests from coast to coast to soak in a beautiful summer day. Kathryn felt at home on this PGA golf course as well since she played golf in college.

The ceremony was held at St. Luke United Methodist Church – a short drive from the legendary grounds at Kohler. Cocktail hour overlooked the hills and valleys of the golf course and dinner was held in the Irish Barn with white tents extending from its rear opening onto the grounds to accommodate even more dinner guests.

The bridesmaids wore dresses in a light shade of blue which flowed nicely in the breeze. They men wore tuxes and their own white collared shirts.

The most memorable part of the evening’s events were the speeches made by the fathers. Each father not only welcoming their newest member to their family, but heartfelt memories and stories of admiration of both Kathryn and Michael.

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Photography: Amy Gaerthofner Fine Art Weddings | Videography: Vaughter Weddings | Floral Design: Buds 'n Bloom | Wedding Dress: Carolina Herrera | Ceremony Venue: St. Luke United Methodist Church | Reception Venue: The Irish Barn at Whistling Straits | Bride's Shoes: Sophia Webster Lacey | Catering: The Irish Barn at Whistling Straits | Makeup: SIMPLY PERFECT BRIDAL ARTISTS | Groom's Attire: Domenico Vacca | Day of Coordination: Door County Event Planners | Film Lab: The Find Lab | Invitation Suite: Bella Figura | Menu: Mint & Lovely Studios | Mother of the Groom's Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Rehearsal Dinner: Lino’s Ristorante

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This Creative Wedding Workshop is All Glamped Up

Camp Wedding might just be the best ever workshop. Dreamed up by the ladies of Cherry Blossom Events along with photos by Lexia Frank, it’s glamping at its finest with a cozy lakeside backdrop and decked out welcome backpacks, delicious farm-to-table meals and dance parties galore – oh and important stuff like floral workshops and loads of business advice. Forget everything you remember from childhood summer camp and meet a one of a kind workshop that’s all glamped up.

Mosquito bites, poison ivy rashes, sunburns, and homesickness are just a few of the things you’d associate with summer camp. Least of all would be floral design workshops, expert-provided small-business advice, decadent farm-to-table meals beneath a canopy of trees, twinkling lights and starry night skies, and a DJ-led dance party where campers could cut a rug–or more like a few blades of grass. But such was the case for creative and wedding professional campers in attendance at the second-annual Camp Wedding. This one-of-a-kind retreat is the brainchild of Andrea VandeBerg and Sarah Sarbacker, co-owners of Madison, Wisconsin-based Cherry Blossom Events, who first set out to offer respite for vendors following the busy summer wedding season as well as creative inspiration and small business tips and tricks to entrepreneurs of all kinds. Building on the success and rave reviews of their inaugural 2015 event, this year’s Camp Wedding proved to be equally exciting and inspiring.

Friends Forever

There seems to be a special bond that forms at summer camp. While that tends to occur after spending weeks of time together, with more than 70 percent of campers being repeat attenders from year one, Camp Wedding proves it only takes three days to happen. Many hugs and excited squeals came as campers from year one were reunited, ready to not only be creatively inspired by the speakers and workshops in store but also catch up with peers about work and personal life. Andrea and Sarah, along with very helpful event assistants Emily McCann and Hanni Gould, created a welcoming feel upon checking in the first day, warmly greeting campers, sharing itineraries for the day, and handing out perfectly-themed backpack swag bags filled with goodies such as a chic glass water bottle, a Turkish towel to accommodate the coming outdoor yoga session, gourmet popcorn, a campfire-scented candle, and and many locally-sourced items.

Something for Everyone

Despite the name Camp Wedding, you didn’t need to be a wedding photographer, event planner, florist, or other industry vendor to take away something special from this retreat. Budding photographers looking to take on family and senior class portraits or social media users looking to up their Instagram game walked away with amazing tips from destination wedding photographer Lexia Frank of Lexia Frank Photography. Those with creative careers or who simply love DIY as a hobby were touched by photographer, educator, and artist Jenna Kutcher’s welcome speech focusing on how to stay inspired to keep on creating. And for any entrepreneur or even someone looking to get a promotion, valuable “closing the deal” tips came from the always entertaining Ali Phillips of Engaging Events by Ali. When campers weren’t using their left brains, their right brains got crafty, trying their artistic hand at basic watercolor skills following the guidance of Saffron Avenue’s Angela Mondloch to paint beautiful foliage. And the greenery trend continued with a fun workshop led by floral-design artist Amy Osaba of Amy Osaba Design. Guests blended foraged leaves and wildflowers with beautiful blooms provided to create statement floral arrangements and lovely olive-leaf based crowns, the latter a common accessory worn the final night of camp.

All Glamped Up

If you’re loving the idea of a creativity-based retreat but are turned off by the idea of camping, don’t be. Set aside visions of sleeping on the ground with a pesky rock poking into your ribs, rustic pit toilets straight out of a horror movie, and showerless days spent covered in grit stuck to residual bug spray and sunscreen. Situated on a sprawling lake surrounded by mature trees, Camp Wandawega in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, offers an experience more 1950s vintage chic than really rustic roughin’ it. Comfy beds are nestled within cottages, cabins, and a group bunkhouse, all of which have electricity and the latter including indoor plumbed bathroom and showers. If you want to get a bit more one with nature, “glamp” it up in a tent, teepee, or newly added A-frame glass hut with secluded views overlooking the lake. Each offer cozy mattresses to rest on after an exciting day canoeing the lake, taking a ride on the rope swing, chatting with a friend in a hammock, or touring the grounds filled with rich history and decor (not to mention a few spooky ghost stories). 

Hungry for More

Equally less rustic were the locally-sourced and made snacks and meals guests were served. Mornings began with indulgent pastries and sweet treats that paired perfectly with signature cups of coffee brewed as if meant to touch one’s soul. Lunches were held beachside, with gourmet tacos on day one and classic sandwiches, side salad, and chips on day two. Granola bars and evening cocktails hours held over campers, each highly anticipating multi-course meals sure to make any foodie drool. And of course no camping experience would be complete without s’mores around the campfire, where guests got to know one another, talk a little shop, and share a few much needed laughs. Ask any camper there, and you’re sure to hear Cherry Blossom Events went above and beyond in creating an awe-inspiring environment where peers could learn, connect, grow, and unwind. Like many before them who had to say goodbye after fun-filled days away from home, Camp Wedding goers left with heavy hearts that the event was done, but a pep in their step and a renewed sense of purpose of what the futures held for their businesses and budding new friendships.

Check out the Camp Wed website for more details on this one-of-a-kind retreat for wedding professionals and creative.
September 11-13, 2017

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Photography: Lexia Frank Photography | Videography: One Fine Day Productions | Florals: KP Designs | Florals: Flora By Jamae | DJ: Sound by Design | Tent Rental: Sperry Tents | Accomodations: Camp Wandawega | Backpack: Artisan Preservatives: Quince and Apple | Backpack: Candle: Big White Yeti | Backpack: Custom Etched Water Bottle: Crystal Dae Dreams | Backpack: Custom Pencils: Roost Paperie | Backpack: Kettle Corn: Poppin Z's Gourmet Popcorn | Backpack: Magazine: Wisconsin Bride | Backpack: Memorabilia: Camp Wandawega | Backpack: Notebooks: Field Notes | Backpack: Notecards: Karly K Designs | Backpack: Toiletry Items: Fern & Nettle | Backpack: Towel: Turkish T | Backpack: Truffles: Indulgence Chocolates | Backpack: Whistle Necklace: KM Supplies | Breakfast Items: Batch Bakehouse | Breakfast Items: Bloom Bake Shop | Camp Wedding Custom Water Bottles: Sugar River Stationers | Cocktails: Gibs Bar | Coffee: Crescendo Mobile Bar | Coffee : Perkup Elkhorn | Dinner Items: Lombardino's | Dinner Menu: Flying Rabbit Press | Food Truck Tacos: El Grito Taqueria | Framed Session Sign and Program: Mint & Lovely Studios | Lunch Items: Underground Food Collective | Lunch Items: Underground Food Collective | Personalized Clipboards, Day of Timeline Signs: Saffron Avenue | Planning: Cherry Blossom Events | Rentals: A La Crate Vintage Rentals | Rentals: Event Essentials | Speaker: Saffron Avenue | Speaker: Jenna Kutcher | Speaker: One Fine Day Productions | Speaker: Perkup Elkhorn | Speaker: Engaging Events by Ali, Inc. | Speaker: Harmony Walton | Speaker: Christi Andringa | Speaker: Katie Selvidge, Cottage Hill Magazine | Speaker: Type A Society | Speaker:: Amy Osaba | The Knot Magazine: The Knot | Welcome Pennant Banner: Love Letter Calligraphy | Wine Bar: Botham Vineyards

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Secrets to a Healthy Marriage from a Couple 58 Years In!

Harold and Lorraine have figured out the secret sauce to a happy marriage. For not only do they make 58 years of wedded bliss look easy, but their tips on how to make it last are completely applicable whether you’re a newlywed or years in. See their advice below and all the adorable snaps from Maison Meredith Photography in The Vault!

Harold + Lorraine’s Tips for a Lasting Marriage


Love each other

Respect each other (If you don’t respect each other, you will never get along! These first two tips are our most important ones.)

Say please + thank you

Worship together

Have a family

Plan your vacations together

Have vacations with your children (We’ve found that they especially like camping!)

Give each other some space! (It’s important to have separate hobbies apart from your spouse)

Be fair with each other. (Listen, discuss each person’s side together, and then choose which route is the best to go.)

From the Lorraine…We got married in a little town call Kennan in north central Wisconsin 58 years ago! Both Harold and I are actually from this town, but we met in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Growing up in Kennan, I knew Harold’s family name, but I never actually knew Harold. He was five years older than me so I didn’t know him in grade school or high school.

I moved to Milwaukee after I graduated and Harold moved to Milwaukee after he got out of the service, which ended up being around the same time. Harold was actually living with my cousin and the two of them were really good friends! Since I was so much younger than my cousin, however, I didn’t know him very well and hence didn’t even know that he had a roommate, nonetheless that Harold was his roommate! The first time we met was actually at a dance in Milwaukee. Harold thought I was cute and the rest is history. We dated for a year and a half before Harold proposed on Valentine’s Day.

On our honeymoon we went to Yellowstone National Park and Harold told me that he had been saving 50 cent pieces, one at a time, so that he could take me on the trip! We drove out there through the Rocky Mountains and I was scared to death!

Another favorite memory we have together is our big trip to Europe. Harold was in the service in Germany, so for our 25th Anniversary we took a trip to see where he had lived. We were also able to go to Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. One of the best memories from the trip actually took place in the airport overseas — we were changing airlines and started chatting with a couple standing nearby us in line. We learned that they lived 15 miles from us in a small town in Central Wisconsin. I could hardly believe it, it was awesome! It was just a fun trip and I’m thankful we were young enough to really enjoy it.

From Lorraine’s Granddaughter, Taylor… I have looked up to my grandparents my entire life. Their selfless love for one another and everyone in their life is admirable. They are always putting others first and deserved to have time for each other to capture that love and commitment to one another. They have told so many incredible stories over their lifetime, but the most captivating is their love story.

For my family and I, we will now be able to cherish these timeless photos forever. The photos will serve as a constant reminder to strive for a beautiful marriage filled with love, commitment, and laughter. The photos will be passed down to next generations in our family for years to come. There’s no doubt that people will be able to feel and be inspired by their love without ever having met them, and that is such a beautiful gift.

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Photography: Maison Meredith Photography

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here