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Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin Wedding

Fair warning to those of you in the midst of planning your wedding. One look at this wedding from The McCartneys and you’ll be tempted to throw out every plan you’ve already made, book your tickets to Elkhart Lake, start sewing all new programs, and grab as many cake balls as you can along the way. It’s just that good.


From the beautiful bride… We’re both into triathlons and running races, so our save the dates were ‘race bibs’ with 8.24.13 as the running number. Eric came up with the idea, and I made them all by hand over Thanksgiving with her family on an assembly line.

Since the ceremony was outdoors on the beautiful Osthoff grounds near the gazebo, we tried to plan for a theme of “natural garden tones”. Kind of rustic and casual at the same time — with mason jars, crates, window shutters, barn wood frames, etc. The colors were light green, beige, and blush pink. Since the reception was indoors in a ballroom, we had to design multiple vignettes to try to bring the outdoors in. Andrea’s aunt grew flowers for her in her Minnesota garden, and brought them all the way to the wedding to use in the vignettes. Each place setting had an herb sprig on the menu.

We also wanted to make sure that the wedding had some fun personal touches. We served Spotted Cow beer from Wisconsin (one of our favorites!), had WI cheese and sausage appetizers during cocktail hour, and had a “Mr. & Mrs” corn hole/bags board outside on the lawn for our guests to enjoy.
One of our favorite elements at the wedding was the desserts bar. Eric’s family owns a chocolate store in Birmingham, Michigan. We ordered hundreds of chocolate truffles, cake pops, sugar cookies, almond bark, and chocolate covered pretzels. In addition to red velvet wedding cake, guests were able to pack up a bag of desserts and take it home with them. And it was amazingly styled by Katie Jayne from Jayne weddings, who showcased all the desserts in vintage crates and milk glass jars, and created a gorgeous backdrop to make it a focal point of the room. It was a huge hit… the entire desserts table was gone by the end of the night!

Eric actually proposed at the Osthoff Resort when we were there last year July. We went up to Elkhart Lake for a triathlon one weekend. My parents came up to watch them in the race on Saturday. Then on Sunday Eric surprised me with room service breakfast (french toast – her favorite!) on the balcony overlooking the lake. Afterwards he brought out the champagne & strawberries, he made a toast and proposed right then and there! We enjoyed a leisurely day on the lake, got a massage at the Osthoff’s amazing Aspira Spa, and then he surprised me again by having her entire family join them for brunch at the American Club in Kohler, WI.

When we started planning our wedding, we started thinking back upon our favorite weddings that we’ve attended as guests. They all shared a couple common connections: an awesome venue with a beautiful setting. Whether it be in Jamaica, California, Chicago, or Cleveland – we knew we wanted to pick a spot that was fun for everyone to enjoy, and where we could enjoy a portion of the wedding outdoors. It became obvious that the Osthoff would be our wedding destination from the very beginning. It was sentimental to me (because my family used to vacation in Elkhart Lake when I was growing up), it was a special place for us as a couple (because we got engaged there), and we knew that our guests would enjoy everything that Elkhart Lake has to offer – swimming, boating, hiking around the lake, live music on the beach, shopping, and dining.

Lots of wedding elements were DIY, and while I spearheaded the efforts, there are lots of people to thank for their help and contributions! Since we live in downtown Chicago, we don’t have a lot of space to “craft”. So we went up to my matron of honor’s parent’s house in Racine, Wisconsin for a full day of spray painting and woodworking. Megan and her parents helped out – so we accomplished a lot in one day!

There were also multiple craft nights to prep additional wedding materials. My college friends came over one night to help me hand-make all the wedding programs. We cut out all the kraft paper, program paper, and flags – and then I used a sewing machine to sew it all together. Additionally, my other Chicago girlfriends came over to help create the Thank You Chalkboard and signs that hung up on the white window shutters.

When everyone was eating dessert, Kelsy & Butch snuck us out at sunset to get some pictures down by the beach. As we were walking along the water, a group of little girls started gathering behind me. You could hear them say to one another “Wow, it’s a real princess!” and “She’s soooo pretty.” They hid behind the lawn chairs and would peek out their heads from behind them to watch us getting our pictures taken. Then as we were walking away, the shouted “No, don’t leave us!” It was the cutest thing ever. Definitely a moment we’ll never forget.

Since the wedding was in the middle of the Osthoff grounds, the guests sitting out on their balconies could watch our ceremony from afar from outside their rooms. As we exited the ceremony to the recessional music, all of our guests cheered and clapped. Then as we walked away, all the balcony guests who were watching our ceremony started cheering for us! It was a fun moment that made us laugh.

In the middle of the reception dancing, the resort’s fire alarm went off. We kept dancing through it for a song or two, but then had to evacuate the reception for a few minutes until the fire department knew it was a false alarm. I guess our guests were having too much fun that they just “burned up the dance floor!”

I got this great advice via email from one of Eric’s family members who recently got married. I got the same advice from my married bridesmaids as well. Since it was highly recommended from multiple people, I did it – and it turned out to be one of the best memories of the whole night!

“Just wanted to say hello. I hope you are enjoying the last push of organizing and planning and that your plans are coming together. I know you’ve probably gotten about a million pieces of unsolicited advice but I wanted to share something with you that someone told me before our wedding. Feel free to use it or trash this angrily!! We had a great time during our reception and we remember most of it but we were also pulled in a ton of directions and were a little frazzled. One of my friends told me beforehand that we should do this, and I did and it was a pretty great moment/memory.
Designate one of your friends family to pull you aside at some point during your reception. When this happens just take a few minutes together to stand off to the side and take in every thing and everyone. It’s really an awesome feeling to see everyone together having a ton of fun and it’s a neat memory for later. It’s kinda sappy, I know…but it really hit me pretty hard how loved we are seeing everyone there and having a grand time. “

Also, my matron of honor gave me a journal when I got engaged, to document all the special moments leading up to the wedding, and of course memories from the big day. I actually ended up using it, and now it’s full of great stories, pictures and mementos from the entire process start to finish. It took a lot of work, but I know I’ll be thankful someday in the future that I have it!

Photography: The McCartneys Photography | Event Planning: Jayne Weddings & Events | Floral Design: The Osthoff Resort | Wedding Dress: Stone Manor Bridal And Wingman Formalwear | Cake: Sweet P's Cakes And Confections | Ceremony Venue: The Osthoff Resort | Reception Venue: The Osthoff Resort | Bride's Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids Dresses: Nostalgia | Catering: The Osthoff Resort | Hair & Makeup: Now & Zen Hair Industry | Band: One Night Band | Mens Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Dessert Bar Sweets: Schakolad Chocolate Factory | Linens: BBJ | Minister: Thomas Schroeder (Bride's Uncle) | Paper Goods: Designed by the Bride | Uplighting: The Osthoff Resort | Vintage Rentals: Aged Vintage Rentals | Wedding Rings: Yanke Jewelers

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Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin Wedding from Anna Page Photography

Imagine a wedding venue as picturesque as they come and you won’t even come close to this gorgeous marrying spot. Elkhart Lake is now wholeheartedly on my radar and it’s 100% because of those turquoise blue waters fringed in greenery. Good combo Wisconsin. And Anna Page, who has long been a regular on my radar, captured a whole weekend of merriment that ended with a Bride in lace marrying her love. Also a good combo. See all those pretty images straight from Anna’s lens right here.

From the Bride… When A.J. and I became engaged, we immediately began the search for a unique outdoor wedding location in our home state of Wisconsin. From the moment we arrived in Elkhart Lake, we knew we had discovered it! It was our goal to offer a fun, relaxing ‘getaway weekend’ with the opportunity for our family and friends to enjoy and celebrate this exciting moment with us. Once we had decided on Victorian Village Resort as our venue (it’s bursting with the quaint, vintage charm I was looking for), the planning process came very naturally with the combination of my event planning background and my mom’s professional graphic design & marketing skills. We worked side by side from beginning to end to establish the simple, sophisticated, yet rustic ascetic I had envisioned. The styling (or ‘branding’) of the wedding was essential to successfully tying together every last detail of the event, including our save the dates, invitations, menus, escort cards, labels, stationary, ceremony programs, signs, thank you cards, and so much more. The added touches of custom wine favors, matchbooks, napkins, and cigars were all finishing touches that were icing on the cake.

My mom has always said, “It’s all in the presentation!” And it certainly proved true in our case. We arrived in sunny Elkhart Lake the Thursday before our wedding and commenced the merriment immediately with dinner and drinks at Lake Street Cafe. The rehearsal dinner on Friday evening at the Paddock Club was the perfect ‘official’ start to our celebration with exceptional food, service, and atmosphere. The morning of our wedding began with a forecast of rain – but by some miracle, the clouds never arrived and we had the most perfect, sunny day. Our stunning flowers arrived from House of Flowers, and A.J. and I shared our ‘first look’ moment beneath the shade of some beautiful trees near our ceremony location. Seeing each other for the first time was such a special moment for us – certainly one that we’ll never forget. After taking family and wedding party photos with the super-talented Anna and Jonathan Wheeler of Anna Page Photography, our ceremony took place in a beautiful little corner of the lawn with a perfectly landscaped background. We were beyond happy with the heartfelt, personalized ceremony our officiant, Rev. Christine Weidner performed, and many of our guests commented on how the ceremony felt like it was a true reflection of A.J. and I as a couple – which was the best compliment we could have received. 

Walking into our 40×100′ reception tent from Fox Cities Party Rental literally took my breath away. There was candlelight, ivory, and flowers everywhere – it was heaven. My mother, aunt, and an amazing group of family and friends spent the morning of our wedding making sure everything was in its place including the beautiful centerpiece flower boxes and easels for our photo display lovingly built by my grandfather, patterned table runners sewed by my grandmother, and escort cards/favors of tiny terra cotta pots filled with sweet basil that my mother and I had planted six weeks earlier. My friend Kay Williamson worked her magic with the family photo display, dessert table, ceremony decorations, and much, much more. The love was definitely in the details like a bowl of fresh green apples, vintage suitcase Card Box, thank you notes wrapped around each of the dinner napkins, and chalkboard signs done by friend and calligrapher, Martha Van Driest. We had a large, non-traditional wedding party (my two brothers were the ‘Men of Honor’ and stood up on my side), and we were very happy with our decision to have one, big head table including our attendant’s dates. It really felt right for us to have everyone there together. All of our guests spent the evening sipping on Mojitos and Bell’s Oberon Beer (bride & groom’s favorite drinks, respectively), dancing to the sounds of Jazz Orgy, and enjoying amazing desserts and cake pops from Bakery on State in Manitowoc. In a word, it was magical — from start to finish, the experience was filled with warmth, laughter, and joy, and we couldn’t have imagined more as we began our lives together.

Wedding Photography: Anna Page Photography / Wedding Venue + Catering: Victorian Village Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin / Rehearsal Dinner: Paddock Club / Floral Design: Robin Zernzach of House of Flowers / Wedding Stationery + Styling: Dinah Mueller Designs ( / Officiant: Reverend Christine Weidner / Wedding Cinematography: Singer Carney ( / Desserts: Bakery on State / Ice Cream: Scoops Ice Cream Parlor / Music: The Jazz Orgy / DJ: Matt’s DJ Service / Tent Rental: Fox Cities Party Rental / Tent Lighting: Lights For All Occasions / Table Number Pots: One Kings Lane / Centerpiece Flower Boxes + Photo Display Easels: Bride’s Grandfather / Chalkboards: Save on Crafts / Chalkboard Calligraphy: Martha VanDriest ( / Custom Wine Bottles: Black Star Farms / Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier / Bride’s Heels: Badgley Mischka / Bride’s Flats: TOMS / Bride’s Hair Comb: Glamorous Bijoux / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew / Hair + Makeup: Destiny Holmes and Petra Aubrey of Salon Aura / Suits: Jos A. Banks / Groom + Groomsmen’s Ties: The Tie Bar / Groom + Groomsmen’s Socks: Express / Bride + Groom’s Rings: Samara Jewelry Designs

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Elkhart Lake Wedding from Anna Page Photography + I Do Films

Father of the Bride is a favorite movie around the SMP offices, so when this ridiculously adorable bride mentioned she had infused a little FOTB into her Wisconsin wedding, we were all smitten. Captured by Anna Page Photography, the wedding definitely lives up to the hype – it’s gorgeous, fresh, and clean – and of course, centered around two super cute lovebirds. We’ve even got a fantastic little film from I Do Films to make you smile, so make sure to save a little time for that – and for the gallery!

Meg & Dan | A Wedding at Elkhart Lake from I Do Films

Dan and I got married on the most perfect summer day in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin – the same location where we had met six years earlier before my freshman year at Cornell.

I had always dreamed of having a tent wedding, so it was easy to settle on the beautifully-trimmed lawn at Victorian Village as the location for our reception. Using the warm, friendly, and vintage aesthetics of this family-run and family-fun resort as the foundation for our inspiration, my mom and I infused a little “Father of the Bride” and a few homemade touches to create a romantic and unforgettable Midwestern bash.

We started the day at my family’s home on Elkhart Lake, where Dan and I had a “first look,” but a very different kind. We were surrounded by my whole family while I came down the stairs and my brothers, dad, and Dan saw me for the first time. It was so special to have my whole family with us for such an important moment. The ceremony took place at Holy Name of Jesus in Sheboygan, where Dan had grown up and gone to church as a child. Our priest, who flew in from my family’s home parish in Los Angeles, stole the show with an incredibly touching homily that made reference to our “path” around Elkhart Lake. After the ceremony Dan and I took photos at a friend’s barn while our guests sipped homemade vodka lemonades and munched on Wisconsin cheese and meatballs.

Our 242 guests found their seating assignments on frames hung from vintage glass door knobs that Dan helped me power-drill onto a salvaged barn door found at my favorite antique shop, The Red Rooster in Plymouth. Dinner proceeded in a 60’ x 100’ century tent that glowed with warm rosy uplighting, ivory rice paper lanterns, and string lights. The tables were adorned with fresh roses, hydrangeas, and plenty of candles found at a local craft store by our florist Silvana Cassia of Twig Flowers. An oversize slate found at an antique shop and framed chalkboards found on HerMajestysPug’s shop on Etsy served as the menus for dinner and cocktails. To finish the look, we invested in a black-and-white checkered dance floor that exuded a snappy, jazzy feel.

A Beatles cover band called The Cavern Beat played four sets and kept the dance floor packed with guests of all ages. My mom always told me, “Meg, all you need for a great party are the two B’s: booze and a band.” She was so right!

Dessert included chocolate ganache cake from the bakery at the local Piggly Wiggly adorned with hydrangeas, an ice cream bar, and my mom’s molasses, snickerdoodle, and chocolate-chip cookies served on a three-tier cookie tower created with the help of a local carpenter.

We absolutely loved working with Anna and Jonathan Wheeler of Anna Page Photography, as well as Matt Buckman and Élan Villamor of I Do Films. Their ability to go with the flow, their attention to detail, and their cat-like reflexes certainly did not go unnoticed! Dan and I are so grateful to both of them for documenting our memories in such a beautiful and unique way!

Photography:  Anna Page Photography / Cinematography: I Do Films / Tent: Canopies Events / Band: The Cavern Beat / Event Coordination: Laura Cooper, Cooper Consulting / Floral Design: Twig Flowers / Ceremony Location: Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church / Caterer & Reception Location: Victorian Village Resort / Invitations: Bella Figura / Bride’s Dress: Amsale via Belle Vie Bridal Couture / Bridesmaid Dresses: Vera Wang / Bride’s Heels: Vince Camuto / Bride’s Flats: Aldo / Bride’s & Bridesmaid’s Earrings: Anthropologie / Bride’s Bracelet: J.Crew / Engagement Ring and Groom’s Ring: Steve Quick Jeweler / Floral Hair Clip: Sara Gabriel / Tuxedos: Men’s Wearhouse / Groom’s Bowtie and Groomsmen’s Ties: Brooks Brothers / Hair & Makeup: Aspira Spa, The Osthoff Resort / Guest Transportation: Discovery Coach / Wedding Party Transportation: Stargazer Limousine / DJ: Matt’s DJ Service/ String Quartet: Jubilate String Quartet, (Sarah Oftedahl ) / Guest Photo Station: Beyond the Booth Photography / Candle Holders & Flower Bases: Hobby Lobby & Pier 1 Imports / Framed Blackboard Cocktail Signs: HerMajestysPug / Ice Cream Sign: The Back Porch Shoppe / Cake: Natalie’s Pastries, / Ice Cream: Scoops Ice Cream Parlor

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