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Here’s Why an Intimate Wedding Size Allows For Every Guest to Feel Spoiled!

“Whether planning and designing for 10 guests or 50, the goal is to leave guests feeling spoiled with thoughtfulness, love, and sharing together. No detail goes unnoticed. No experience is lost, and each guest is impeccably cared for, no matter who they are“… we couldn’t agree more, Krissy! With COVID restrictions still being a major factor in 2021 weddings, it’s important to remember the positives. Intimate weddings are a great way to have every one of your VIP’s feel the most special. With personalized details to creative seating arrangements – the options are truly endless. Head on over to the full gallery from today’s Villa Terrace shoot to get inspired, all take by Clary Pfeiffer Photography!

From Krissy CampbellDuring this post-COVID lull in international travel, we’ve seeing couples searching for the perfect space for an intimate wedding while a destination celebration in Europe or otherwise is on hold. In response, we’ve begun the search stateside for the European-inspired timeless style and glamour that these sophisticated and thoughtful couples have hoped for in a wedding venue. In the process, we’ve discovered gems like the Villa Terrace that still give post-pandemic weddings a fresh take on the luxury, high-end experience. Based along the sparkling midwestern lakeshore of Wisconsin, the Villa, named Sopra Mare, or “above the sea” in Italian, transports guests to a new kind of destination celebration. One look through this stunning space and you’re lost in the Italian Renaissance era and Mediterranean countryside right amid the urban-based Terrace Avenue. “It […] points away from the street, turning inward to its courtyard, terrace, and garden. It speaks of intimacy, subdued elegance and domesticity quite unlike anything else along Terrace Avenue,” said the Friends of Villa Terrace.

Staring into the Renaissance Gardens from the Terrazzo Della Luna (Terrace of the Moon), this location begs to tell the story of a couple with love for travel and culture. A couple who desires to reflect their connection to the natural and European architecture while inspiring their wedding guests to discover for themselves perspectives and stories beyond their own – “to see from someone else’s window”…to celebrate places and people that may surprise, challenge and inspire. Whether planning and designing for 10 guests or 50, the goal is to leave guests feeling “spoiled” with thoughtfulness, love, and sharing together. No detail goes unnoticed. No experience is lost, and each guest is impeccably cared for, no matter who they are. The moment the invitation hits the door, a window into the celebration space has been created. The color story and surroundings tell of the space and the soul of the anticipated experience. We wanted no less for this villa celebration as the invitation suite and handmade paper goods tied the soft warm tones of the Villa with the neutrals and cool romantic blue hues derived from the “wallpaper” room and hand-painted dressing room, where you see the bride spending a few quiet moments leading up to her celebration. The “wallpaper” room was quickly one of the first spaces we fell in love with for this lovely couple. It features stunning lake views, a carved limestone fireplace surround, and exuberant French wallpaper from the Zuber & Cie company. 

Designed in 1832, the pattern of the room’s wallpaper is Décor Chinois (Chinese decoration). The wallpaper is a wood-block print by 387 wooden boards carved the same year. The panoramic scene features 10 panels and utilizes 57 colors of ink. Zuber paper is still printed in this manner, and the paper maintains its status as a work of decorative art. You can see why this space is reflective of the thoughtfulness and artistic value that the couple has in creating an experience for themselves and their guests. Fittingly, we used the wallpaper pattern as a basis for the seating assignments for each one. A European-inspired space like a villa or estate has the detail, the history, and the romantic timelessness that is key to an opulent yet inspired celebration experience. We pulled from the space to choose stunning Anne Barge and Millia London gowns, which the bride wore at various times throughout her wedding day. The sleek and sophisticated Anne Barge gown and its accessories were the perfect style for the bride’s ceremony attire. In contrast, the champagne Millia London gown made its debut on camera and graced her impeccably as the evening went on. The natural tones of the bride’s makeup, classic hairstyle, and beautiful vintage rings spoke to the authenticity yet high-end aesthetic of the couple. The groom’s attire flowed right alongside her as he wore a black tux without the vest as a showcasing of their bold yet straightforward approach to fashion and design. The ceremony and celebration itself drew inspiration from the natural surroundings of the gardens and villa courtyard. The stunning floral design had quite warm and neutral tones, subtle pops of deep blue berries, and meadow-like greens that sprung naturally from around the couple during the ceremony, in the bridal bouquet and dinner table arrangements. The floral movement and dynamic reflect the romance and strength of the couples’ appreciation for natural beauty and delicate architecture and style. As the evening progressed beyond the sweet vows, applause and laughter resounded from the black-tie guests, a couple of which were also showcasing fashion-forward Millia London evening gowns. The moments beyond this were laced with details through and through…from cocktails in the terrace garden to the beautifully styled charcuterie, delicious menu (also listed on blind embossed paper nonetheless!), handwritten name cards, and toasts all around. The place settings were also designed to replicate the feeling of an elegant Renaissance-era meal with linen napkins cleanly placed at the left side of each delicate piece of china and silver flatware. The linen and place settings’ simple and clean tones led the eye inwards and upwards to the floral design and conversation movement across the long banquet-style table. The dinner was wrapped up with cutting a delicious four-tiered cake with white chocolate pieces for another more modern yet clean detail. At the same time, macarons were another lovely nod to their tie to varieties of culture and cuisine. And as the sun went down, there’s no more timeless way to capture love than in the flickering candlelight and moonlit sky. What better place to end the night as the couple’s silhouettes danced on the terrace surrounded by their closest family and friends? All this said, despite this strange season, we look ahead at the incredible opportunities to find the places that give us space to reflect and capture a couple’s story…to create bold statements in timeless strokes of beauty. Villa weddings both near and far help us re-envision the “new” post-pandemic celebration era, where thoughtful design, diversity, intimacy, and destination experiences are everything.

Photography: Clary Pfeiffer Photography | Videographer: Vaughter Films | Event Planning: Krissy Campbell | Floral Design: Shean Strong Design | Cake: ECBG Cake Studio | Ceremony Venue: Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum | Reception Venue: Villa Terrace Museum | Shoes: Louboutin | Rings: Erstwhile Jewelry | Hair & Makeup: Arch Apothecary | Hair and Makeup: Arch Apothecary | Groom: bmg models | Tuxedo: DuBois Formalwear | Bridal Gown and Accessories: Anne Barge | Bride: 1930's Model Management | Catering & Beverage: Simple Eats Mke | Chair Rentals: A La Carte | Evening Gown: Millia London | Linens & Flatware: Burns | Paper Goods: Plume Calligraphy | Tabletop Rentals: The Festive Frog

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You Have to See This Couple’s Unforgettable Reaction to Their Reception First Look

With only 6 weeks to plan, Midwestern Bride joined forces with an all-star team of vendors to pull off a big-city design, creating the wedding of this bride and groom’s dreams. Just wait until you see the reaction to their reception first look, the bride literally fell to her knees in awe… that’s the kind of stuff we live for here at SMP. Oh, and we can’t help but mention the brides long sleeve Monique Lhuillier lace gown – I mean, talk about a knockout. To see all the steal-worthy details from their day, including living chandeliers made beautiful by Milwaukee Flower Company, don’t miss the full gallery captured by Sean Cook Wedding Photography.

From Midwestern BrideAs did so many events this year this wedding was canceled, postponed, and then surprisingly made to micro with only 6 weeks until “I do”. Even under massive time restraints and a much smaller guest list we decided to go big on style. Riverbend, a private mansion set alongside a large wildlife preserve, served as the most stunning backdrop to this NYC couples destination wedding. Riverbend used to be the Governors mansion and is now a boutique members only hotel so the couple rented it out in its entirety so that all the guests could stay under one roof the whole week. 

When both the bride and groom work in fashion we knew the looks would be cutting edge and stunning but nothing could prepare us for the beauty of her off the shoulder royal inspired Monique Lhuillier gown and the groom dropped jaws in a custom Ralph Lauren and Gucci loafers. And that fashion carried through the entire week of wedding! Since family were coming from all over they treated as a true destination wedding with multiple days of festivities including a private Parisian dinner on the terrace and PGA golf outings. Pandemic forced them to cancel all the pre-wedding festivities earlier in the year so we stacked the week full of bachelorette/bachelor party, bridal shower, and more. The couple hadn’t even seen the brand new Straits Chapel and were actually the first couple ever hosted there and it did not disappoint.

Tucked and hidden in the trees alongside Lake Michigan it was perfection. The aisle was set with meadow boxes of wildflowers and lakefront backdrop. Matt and Katy were engaged in Nantucket so we thought it was important to keep that nautical theme throughout which we also brought into their compass crest seen on programs and menu cards. From 200 guests to just 32 we then moved the reception outdoors to a flower filled canvas Sperry tent that was absolutely glowing all night long. Guests were welcomed from cocktail hour to the tent as the brides father sabered a champagne bottle and the band boomed with vivacious energy. 

Custom scents, luxurious draping, and stunning watercolor menus welcomed guests to their 5 course meal. And as guests settled in our dancing queen led her handsome groom to the sweetest first dance we’ve ever witnessed; it sure helps when your significant other is a professional dance instructor. As the night progressed guests settled in to curated French lounge spaces, a cigar stand near the gazebo, they enjoyed s’mores by campfire, and wandered the greenery maze and polo course. 

After a quick disappearing act the bride re-entered the tent in another stunning sparkle clad gown as her bridesmaids set up her big entrance. Though we anticipated a quieter setting with a small guest count we were blown away with the energy of the crowd and hopping dance floor. With no sign of letting up we called guests out of the tent for some evening fresh air as they were surprised by bursts of fireworks let off over the nearby fields.

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Photography: Sean Cook Wedding Photography | Cinematography: One Fine Day Productions | Event Design: Midwestern Bride | Event Planning: Midwestern Bride | Floral Design: Milwaukee Flower Company | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Invitations: Windswept Designs | Ceremony Venue: The Irish Barn at Whistling Straits | Reception Venue: Riverbend | Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Catering: The Irish Barn at Whistling Straits | DJ: Arlen Music | Tux: Ralph Lauren | Beauty: Wide Eyed Beauty | Custom Cookies: The Missing Pasty | Linens: BBJ La Tavola | Painted Wine Bottles: Fine Art By Nicole | Pianist: Gino De Luca | Rentals: Chance Productions | Second Dress: Chantal Romano

Find Out Why Toffee Is Officially Our New Favorite Wedding Hue

After living abroad and traveling the world together, this adventure-loving duo decided to tie the knot much closer to home. Cherry Blossom Events turned their dreams of a “warm, organic, and elegant” wedding into a reality – and the results truly couldn’t have been more beautiful! Our favorite part? Briar Loft’s stunning “perfectly imperfect” floral arrangements, featuring the most swoon-worthy toffee roses we’ve ever laid eyes on. Read on for more from the bride and don’t forget to head on over to the full gallery of images to see all the details – taken by Clary Pfeiffer Photography!

From the Bride… Brent and I met at college in New York City. After dating for a few years, we moved to Australia together for work. We lived in Manly Beach, a small suburb of Sydney, for five years before we both decided it was time to return home to the U. S. On our way home, we spent a year traveling around the world. It was at the very start of our trip, in Tuscany, Italy, that Brent proposed. The Tuscan countryside and the restaurant where we celebrated our engagement, La Bottega di Volpaia, provided a lot of inspiration for our wedding.

We always knew we wanted to be married in Madison, Wisconsin because it is a special place for both of us, and we hoped our friends and family traveling from all over the world (Australia, New York, London, California, and Canada) would enjoy seeing where Brent grew up. When we first saw the serene lakefront view at Bishops Bay Country Club, we instantly knew that this was where we were meant to be married — by the water, underneath the tall trees, surrounded by our loved ones. Since we were planning our wedding from a distance while we were traveling to New Zealand, Argentina, Spain, and Thailand (to name a few), we sought the help of local event planner to help bring our vision to life. We were so fortunate to partner with Andrea Vandeberg from Cherry Blossom Events. From Day One, we clicked with her. She truly understood us as a couple and our vision for a “warm, organic, and elegant”, outdoor wedding. She introduced us to all of our incredible vendors and went above and beyond every step of the way. She is so talented and creative, not to mention, just an all-around wonderful person. We can’t recommend Andrea and her team enough!

Favorite details

Custom veil – Since I had a long, dramatic train on my Sareh Nouri gown, I was looking for a cathedral length veil to compliment it. Staying with the “elegant but organic” feel, my mom helped coordinate a custom design by Liancarlo, with the intention for it to become a family heirloom. It’s a very special and delicate piece. I loved the way the sunlight hit it during our ceremony by the water.

Toffee roses – Working with our florist, Ariyl at Briar Loft, was amazing. She is a true artist whose work and attention to detail speaks for itself. It was fate when she brought a toffee rose to our meeting that she just happened to have picked up that day. Its golden hue showcased the warmth we hoped to display throughout the day. With Airyl and Andrea’s advice, we opted for a neutral color palette to let the toffee roses shine, and for our floral arrangements to be “perfectly imperfect” — nothing over-styled or too symmetrical. My heart jumped when Airly walked in with my bridal bouquet. It was more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. Ice cream cart – Our favorite local ice cream, Sassy Cow Creamery, has the cutest cow-themed ice cream flavors to perfectly complement our Wisconsin wedding. We thought serving ice cream during cocktail hour would be a fun surprise for our guests, especially our nephews and nieces! We chose “his and hers” ice cream flavors which were “Cow Tracks” and “Vanilla.”

Favorite moments

First look – The State Capitol is the middle of the city and is central to Madison downtown culture. When Brent and I love going to the Saturday morning farmer’s markets and Concert on the Square on Wednesday evenings during the summer. The exterior of the capitol building is grand with intricate details made of white granite. It was the perfect spot for us to meet for our first look and wedding party photos. Father of the bride song – My dad grew up on a farm in Canada playing ice hockey and singing in his family band. He asked me and Brent if he could sing a song at the reception, but we had no idea he had written a song called, “Daddy’s Heart.” (LINK below) It was such a sweet surprise. There was not a dry eye in the room after he sang and our guests still talk about it to this day. Harvest moon – It was purely a coincidence that we danced to “Dancing in the Moonlight” for our first dance on the night of a harvest moon. As the night went on, our guests enjoyed the outdoor seating to watch the orange light from the harvest moon blanket the lake. It was absolutely magical! Of course, we couldn’t remember all of these special moments and details without the gorgeous work of our photographer, Clary Pfeiffer, and her husband Travis. I came across Clary’s instagram one day and every single photo on her page made me smile. It’s obvious how much love she puts into capturing every couple’s special day. We knew we wanted a Fine Art photographer and she exceeded our expectations. Clary and Travis were a dream to work with and we can’t thank them enough!

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Photographer: Clary Pfeiffer Photography | Videographer: Character D Films | Event Planning and Design: Cherry Blossom Events | Wedding Planner: Cherry Blossom Events | Florist: Briar Loft | Wedding Dress: Sareh Nouri | Cake: Carl's Cakes | Ceremony Venue: Bishops Bay Country Club | Reception Venue: Bishops Bay Country Club | Hair and Makeup: Arch Apothecary | Band: Upbeat Orchestra | linens and décor pieces: Event Essentials | Bar: Candle Holders | Cocktail Hour Treat: Sassy Cow Creamery | Paper Goods: Mint & Lovely Studios | Rentals and Lighting: Chance Productions

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Bet You Didn’t Know Wisconsin Weddings Could Be This Pretty…

Busola and Tolu’s day feels exactly like a ray of sunshine… warm, cheerful and utterly happy. And you better believe their venue, Mystical Rose Gardens was covered in plenty of golden light—the perfect spot in Wisconsin for a beautiful celebration. This Love Weddings (the Bride’s sister!), layered on extra joy with a stunning design, all captured by Whims and Joy. Step into the full gallery for even more.

From the wedding planner, This Love Weddings (the Bride’s sister!)… It was such an incredible honor to plan my sister’s wedding. It was a joy to bring their vision to life! The couple wanted a relaxed day with plenty of smiles from guests. They selected simple yet fun stationery touches throughout their day from All In One invitation designed by Minted to a mad lib card designed by Gretchen Berry Design Co. to take the place of a guestbook. Greenery, yellow roses, cream roses, and billy balls were incorporated throughout the space and made for a beautiful day.

From the bride, Busola… Tolu proposed to me at Centennial Lake Park. The surprise photoshoot was planned for Sunday October 15th, 2017. He had his sister in-law do my make up. I didn’t even know who the photographer was but I just went along with the plan. I asked him why we were even doing it and he told me not to worry, said he just felt like he looked too good to not take pictures. I laughed it off and didn’t really think much of it. When it came time to take pictures we kept walking around looking for a good spot to pose. Shortly after, my boyfriend was down on one knee and whispering softly asking me to marry him. And so the planning began.

We had only 6 months to plan the wedding but I am blessed to have a sister who is a wedding planner so no time was wasted. I knew that I wanted my wedding to be at Mystical Rose Garden. After assisting my sister with a styled shoot at Mystical Rose Garden I fell in love with the venue and decided then that if I ever got married it would be at Mystical Rose Garden to showcase its beautiful greenery.

My color palette was navy blue, yellow and gray. The style of my day was an outdoor modern wedding. Tolu and I are both Nigerian so we incorporated our culture into the reception through traditional attire (Aso Oke) and food. Every guest table was filled with a glass water bottle with white calligraphy numbers by Ahava Creative Co. in lieu of table numbers. The welcome sign was stained by my brother with calligraphy by Ahava Creative Co. to share our desire for guests to sit where they pleased. We worked with Gretchen Berry Design Co. and WeddingStar for the perfect day-of pieces.

My favorite moment was the ceremony, it was so beautiful. My sister surprised me and nearly brought me to tears by adding white rose petals on the floor moments before the ceremony began. My husband and I were also able to share our love for each other by reading our handwritten vows. I read my vows to prep myself in front of my little brother who also happened to be my Man of Honor. The vows moved the guests with both laughter and tears. The flowers were created by Nunu Decor. The bouquet of flowers were so beautiful and fresh with a pop of yellow.

I wore a gorgeous gown that was created by Matthew Christopher Bridal from Posh Bridal Couture. I fell in love with the gown as soon as I wore it. My girlfriends agreed that it was their favorite as well. I tried on other gowns but I kept envisioning myself in that first gown. I was sold on the dress! Our cake was refreshing, guests still rave about our cake selection. It was an unforgettable 3 tiered black velvet cake created by Cocoa and Figs. Our day was perfect. My family values laughter more than anything. I was glad that my day was filled with fun and laughter. I would advise brides-to-be to make sure they have a planner so their family members and friends can be carefree and everyone can enjoy their special day.

Photography: Whims And Joy | Event Design: This Love Weddings | Wedding Planning: This Love Weddings | Floral Design: Nunu Decor | Invitations: Minted | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Azazie | Catering: Jokky Catering | Hair: Melissa Taylor Of The Beauty Lounge | Calligraphy: Ahava Creative Co. | Venue: Mystical Rose Gardens | Bridal Boutique: Posh Bridal Couture | Bride's Dress: Matthew Christopher | Bride's Dress: Matthew Christopher | Bride's Ring: Kobelli Fine Jewelry | Bridemaids' Makeup: Beauty by B | Brides Makeup: Beauty by Bami | Ceremony + Reception: Mystical Rose Gardens | Day of Stationery: Gretchen Berry Design Co. | Decor/Wedding gifts: Weddingstar Inc. | Dessert Table: Cocoa & Fig | Groom + Groomsmen: Heimie's Haberdashery | Groom's Ring: Jewelry By Johan | Music: DJ K Little | Rental: Apres Party And Tent Rental | Rental: On Solid Ground Vintage Rentals | Rentals: Nunu Decor | Ring box: The Mrs Box

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Are You a Fine Art Bride? Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum is Your Spot.

I’m crushing hard on today’s styled shoot… the bride, her Elizabeth Dye dress, that centerpiece from Kase Styles. Yes. yes. yes. My favorite aspect is that it coins a style of bride I haven’t yet heard of, but one we see a lot on SMP—the ‘fine art bride’. If you want to live, breath and swim in elegance, charm and all things soft, flowy and gracious, this one is just for you darling. And you’ll probably want to give Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum a good hard look, too. Natashia Nicole crafted a breathtaking gallery that you’ll want to pin your heart out in, see it all here!

From Natasha Nicole PhotographyInspired by the historic Villa Terrace in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this shoot centered around classic, old world, and romantic styling. The neutral white stucco and vibrant corals and pinks of Villa Terrace set the mood for this light, romantic inspiration. We also drew inspiration from the stunning, feminine Elizabeth Dye gown. Delicate calligraphy, soft neutral silk ribbon, organic florals, and touches of elegance were offset by a minimalist tablescape. We wanted to understate the design to not draw attention away from the stunning architecture and landscapes surrounding Villa Terrace. This inspiration was designed for the fine art bride.

Photography: Natashia Nicole Photography | Gown: Elizabeth Dye | Cake: Hailey's Sweets and Treats | Shoes: Bella Belle | Jewelry: Bling Jewelry | Calligraphy: Seniman Calligraphy | Menswear: Campbell Haines Menswear | Model: Hamidah Ihsan Ahmad | Model: James R. Doherty | Museum: Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum | Styling and Florals: Kase Styles

Wander Often, Wonder Always: 5 Lessons Learned From Camp Wed

As an educator for wedding industry professionals, I rack up my share of miles traveling to and from conferences, but none have cast a spell on me quite like Camp Wed. Tucked alongside Wandawega Lake at the eponymous Camp Wandawega, Camp Wed — the brainchild of Sarah Sarbacker and Andrea VandeBerg of Cherry Blossom Events — is a 3-day retreat for creative business owners that’s been going strong since 2015. But the workshop’s location itself? It’s a bit older. Camp Wandawega’s been in the all-American business of no-frills camp life since 1925 and has the storied, bewitching (ahem, haunted, as some would say) past to prove it, something Sarah and Andrea capitalized on. Sarah and Andrea said, “We chose this location because of its simple nature yet inspiring design and aesthetic – it’s the perfect place to reignite your creative spirit and rejuvenate as you enjoy every detail nature and camp has to offer.”

Wedding planners, designers, photographers, videographers, and the like descended on the alluring, vintage campgrounds of Wandawega, and I noticed Camp Wed dripped in hospitality from the moment I scooted my Away luggage across the gravel lot to the entrance. Read on for five things I learned from Camp Wed this fall.

1. Creativity stems from a few days off the grid.

Sunday evening, 9:25 p.m., Atlanta, Georgia:

Sitting in my desk chair in front of a Macbook Pro, iMac home office littered in art, essential oil bottles, and copious stacks of client notes. iPhone buzzing. Ready for a getaway.

Monday evening, 10:25 p.m., Elkhorn, Wisconsin:

Sitting criss-cross-apple-sauce on a twin bed taking off my eye-makeup, still grinning from the bonfire conversations I shared with other wedding pros (among whiskey sips), wrapped in a scratchy wool blanket. My hair smells like smoke, but it’s okay because I can still breathe thanks to the cracked window and crisp, night air wafting in. Waking up early for tomorrow’s workshops won’t be a problem; my alarm clock is the sound of canoes lapping against the shoreline and glinted sunlight will stream into the room.

Camp Wed woke me up from a professional reverie, pushing me to get off the grid and plant my feet somewhere unexpected. As it turns out, living inside what feels like the set of Dirty Dancing is good for your creative juices. I scribbled rough, unformed ideas in my Field Notes notebook – a gift tucked in my welcome bag – throughout the week, held a watercolor brush during a lettering workshop with Saffron Avenue’s Angela Scheffer, and wove macramé strands together during yet another workshop. Even as a speaker, I was amazed at what a retreat this was shaping up to be!

2. Define what enough looks like for you.

Under a white tent, one of six event speakers, Shanna Skidmore, dropped some insight during her talk about how we can build financially sustainable wedding industry businesses. “Have you defined what enough looks like for you?” she asked. “Decide what enough money looks like to make as a business owner, build a plan, and just work the plan.”

It’s so easy to look right and left on the Instagram scroll in our visual-driven industry, but Sarah and Andrea brought in speakers like Shanna to help us sort through what matters as business owners – being able to make money doing what we love, support our families, and still have enough time left over to live our lives well.

3. “Earthing” works.

I feel like a flaxen-haired GOOP writer, but as it turns out, Gwyneth Paltrow is right – there really is benefit in planting your bare feet into blades of grass and connecting with the earth. Hosts Sarah and Andrea seemed to innately know that a crew of 20+ women needed that and arranged for a yoga class on the green lawn of Camp Wandewega. We dismissed grinding mental wheels of client timelines, Instagram marketing strategies, and full inboxes to down-dog among the Oaks in morning sunlight following Heather Last’s lead. I was still buzzing from the Roast Coffee Catering Apple Chaider I’d just downed — Sarah and Andrea naturally arranged for a boutique coffee shop barista to drive over his espresso machines for a little morning treat — but sank into the grass feeling refreshed.

4. Sustainable marketing can help you work from a place of rest — lessening that 24/7 hustle.

Jenna Kutcher and I brought up the hard-core marketing workshops, both of us with a fire and bent towards teaching marketing that’s authentic, intentional, and most importantly, sustainable. “In the wedding industry, we’re all small fish in giant ponds,” Jenna said. “How much of us rely on social media to get booked? Can we instead focus on long-term marketing with email lists and blogs that are essentially a resource library for our brides?”Camp Wed content melded tough-love business strategy with a heart for service-driven practice, and I loved that.

5. Create a life more beautiful than your brand.

My precious friend, Katie Selvidge of Cottage Hill Magazine, created a curriculum that’s breathed life into my business more than once, and her Assured + Well workshop was on the Camp Wed lineup for everyone to enjoy. Between dappled light and spread out on woolen blankets with pens in hand, Katie leads participants through a series of pointed questions. How would you feel if you woke up and your business was gone? What would have been worth it all? What wouldn’t have been worth it? What do you really want to do with this one life you’ve been given? Psychology and emotions and business acumen collide in her workshop, and I’m so grateful Sarah and Andrea brought it to Camp Wed!

Evenings under velvet skies with jewel-toned tablescapes, chef-driven menus, local wines, and flickering candles followed days perfectly balanced between no-frills business content and curated artistic breaks. We laughed, clinked glasses, and silent disco’d into the nights, which consisted of ghost stories from Ranger Joe — an expert in the camp’s dicey, near-century of history, which turned into bacon-scented camp breakfasts with mismatched ceramic mugs straight from the kitchen cupboards.

I’m a low-key outdoorsy girl. Sure, I grew up sitting in deer stands with my dad for father-daughter time, but I’m the type to opt for the cabin over the lean-to. Good news for me and my more outdoorsy counterparts, Camp Wed and Wandawega offer both. My soul needs rest and creative shake-ups as a business owner. Camp Wed steadied my year as one of the anchor memories. Thank goodness for the vintage, felt pennant flag hanging in my office — a Camp Wed gift — reminding me to “wander often, wonder always.”

In a nutshell, if you’re a wedding professional, do me a favor, pin one of these images to your secret Pinterest vision board, and decide to make it happen one day – there are so many educational opportunities out there, but there’s nothing like this enchanting wedding workshop among the Wisconsin pines.

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Ashlyn Carter is a conversion copywriter for creatives and a calligrapher. She’s crazy about serving you as a storyteller, so you can make time for what matters — things like margin and white space, good books, and naps. You can find her at Ashlyn Writes.


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Photography: Lexia Frank Photography | Event Design: Cherry Blossom Events | Floral Design: Pollen House | Floral Design: Flora By Jamae | Catering: Black Sheep Whitewater | Catering: Lombardino's | Catering: Bloom Bake Shop | Catering: Johnny Delmonico's Steakhouse | Catering: Upstairs Downstairs Catering | Venue: Camp Wandawega | Tent: McVey Tents | Bar: The Borrowed Bar | Coffee Bar: Roast Coffee Company | Craft Bar: Revel | DJ and Lighting: Sound by Design | Dessert: To Di For Baking | Event Production: Cherry Blossom Events | Event Production: One Fine Day Productions | Linens: BBJ La Tavola | Rentals: Event Essentials | Rentals : A La Crate Vintage Rentals | Silent Disco: Degy Entertainment | Speaker: Jenna Kutcher | Speaker: Saffron Avenue | Speaker: Katie Selvidge | Speaker: Shanna Skidmore | Speaker: Ashlyn Carter | Sponsor: Spoonflower | Sponsor : Platinum Events | Swag Contributor: Big White Yeti | Swag Contributor: Boxed Water Is Better | Swag Contributor: Cookies by kate | Swag Contributor: Three Potato Four | Swag Contributor: Indulgence Chocolates | Swag Contributor: Fern and Nettle | Swag Contributor: Quince and Apple | Swag Contributor : Field Notes | Swag Contributor : JD Wolfe Pottery | Swag Contributor : tactile craftwork | Wine Sponsor: Botham Vineyards

How This Couple Used Their Venue to Tell Their Love Story

Inspired by one of their favorite memories – sipping wine under the starry night sky in Napa Valley – this couple decided to recreate the experience for guests at their Milwaukee wedding. Booth Photographics captured just how they transformed the Milwaukee Art Museum into California Wine Country, with help from planning experts, Événement, and floral design by Impressions. The result is a modern, rustic blend we can’t get enough of, and it’s all waiting for you right here.

Colors
Settings
Museum
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Rustic

Kelly and Cody shared some amazing memories during a visit to Napa Valley and wanted to recreate that for their guests. They chose a show-stopper of a venue in the famous Milwaukee Art Museum that gave the sense of staring up at the starry night sky sipping wine – their favorite experience together. They chose a venue that gave them that feeling of looking up at the stars at night, strung cafe lights to create some romance, and put a great glass of wine in everyone’s hands. Add in top notch catering for that quintessential Napa culinary experience, and they had created something truly distinct for their favorite people.

Kelly and Cody wanted their florist, Esther Fleming, to have free reign to soften their modernist space. They shared how they loved the way the vines grew in Napa Valley and showed her some samples. She took things from there, building them a long pergola for their head table and wrapping it in greenery and vines. Kelly and Cody recreated one of their favorite experiences together for their guests, and the result is pretty incredible!

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Photography: Booth Photographics | Event Planning + Design: Evenement Planning | Floral Design: Impressions by Esther Fleming | Wedding Dress: Amsale | Reception Venue: Milwaukee Art Museum | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale | Catering: Milwaukee Art Museum | Photography Location: Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum

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The All-Inclusive Venue You HAVE to Meet

If you’re worried that choosing an all-inclusive venue will send you down the path to a cookie cutter wedding: don’t be. Trust us – you can have that glam celebration you’ve always wanted with all of the convenience an all-in-one location has to offer. Need proof? Check out The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center – they can handle it all.

Choosing an all-inclusive venue doesn’t have to mean giving up higher-end options like high-quality invitations, gorgeous linens and stunning table settings. With Hallmark Weddings at The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, you’ll be working with a team of talented wedding pros that know how to handle everything, right down to setting up room blocks for all of your loved ones. We’re super impressed with their unique wedding packages – which start with a luxe venue of your choosing and touch on everything from customized menus to makeup + salon time to invites from the Halls Department Store.

Wedding planning shouldn’t be stressful. So if you find yourself struggling with finding the right florist or musician, need help with choosing the perfect pre-wedding event outfits or just want to make sure your guests are completely taken care of, contact The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center to talk all things Hallmark Weddings. You’ll even earn perks on every guest room booked.

A Wisconsin Wedding With German Flair

If you wanted to honor your heritage into your special day, you can learn a thing or two from these cuties. Austin and Mike’s Wisconsin wedding included incorporated their German heritage through fun and thoughtful details. Favorites include letterpress invitations by Shipwright & Co. featuring a German beer stein, Gabriel’s Horns String Quartet playing Eidelweiss from the Sound of Music at the ceremony (read the special meaning behind this choice, below!), and a polka band performance. Kate Weinstein captured the festivities, which are all waiting for you right here!

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Despite growing up only one mile apart and having many mutual friends, Mike and Austin didn’t actually meet until they were classmates in medical school. Mike remembers looking across the anatomy lab at Austin and thinking she was pretty cute. The rest was history!

Austin and Mike’s wedding day was a celebration of love and family, with many nods to their home state of Wisconsin and their German heritage. Their letterpress invitations featured a German beer stein, and Mike’s tie pin was also a beer stein. During the ceremony, the Eidelweiss song from the Sound of Music was played, which is meaningful to the couple for many reasons, but most importantly, when Mike proposed, he gave Austin a ring in a music box that played that song. Immediately following the ceremony, a polka band led everyone to the cocktail hour. At dinner, guests were given bars of cheese as favors to take home. Courtney Joy and Sweven created the breathtaking florals in shades of peach, orange, and pink. Shipwright and Co. created the invitation suite. The Marv Wunder Polka Band started the evening’s entertainment, followed by Milwaukee Airwaves as DJ. It was a day of joy, laughter, and happily ever after!

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Photography: Kate Weinstein | Floral Design: Courtney Joy Floral Design | Floral Design: Sweven | Wedding Dress: Watters | Cake: Sweet Tooth | Invitations: Shipwright & Co. | Shoes: BHLDN | Jewelry: Sara Gabriel | Jewelry: BHLDN | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Needle & Thread | Catering: Chef Jack's | Hair + Makeup: Andriana Lazic and Mindy from Steven Edwards Color Group | DJ: Milwaukee Airwaves | Ceremony Music: Gabriel's Horns | Venue: Schlitz Audubon Nature Center | Bridal Boutique: Brickhouse Bridal | Cheese Favors: Fromagination | Groom's Tux: Indochino | Menus: Sarah Gill | Paper Goods: Minutemaid Press | Photography Assistance: Kate Romenesko Photography | Polka Band: Marv Wunder | Programs: Paperless Post | Rentals: Canopies Events with Distinction | Stickers: Minted

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Your Key To the Perfect Bridal Shower or Bachelorette Party Weekend

Sure, wedding planning is time-consuming, but don’t let all of those other all-too-important events fall to the wayside. Your bridal shower, bachelorette party and honeymoon are meant to be awesome, and that means throwing on your best heels and finding a space that will totally accommodate you and the ones you love. Get inspired (and find the perfect locale) below.

Finding the ultimate spot to host all of those “other” events may seem a little daunting, but The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center makes it sooo easy with oversized rooms that are totally luxurious AND undergoing a fab renovation that will be completed in 2018. Yep, your fave hotel in Crown Center will be even better, with plenty of space for hosting that bridal shower or bachelorette party. We’re obsessed with their convenient locale for any last-minute shopping and their easy access to airport travel. Not to mention their Bridal Suites are perfect for morning-of festivities, so you can relax with your besties before you walk down the aisle. (Champagne optional.)

When it comes to making it simple for you and your guests, The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center most definitely delivers. Host your entire wedding weekend at the hotel, or set aside room blocks for your off-site celebration. Trust us, you’ll love the beautiful rooms (we mentioned they were renovated, right?) and easy access to dining, shopping and nightlife. Oh, and don’t forget your honeymoon and check out the romantic suites with stunning views.

Contact The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center today to guarantee that every last part of your celebration is in place.

9 Wedding Locations You Havent Heard About Yet

We know that finding the perfect wedding venue isn’t always easy, especially if you’re looking for something that totally speaks to you and yours. So today we’re running through a list of nine (yes, NINE) fab venues we absolutely love, so you can find that dream locale. Scroll for some hidden gems you haven’t even heard of.

THE ST. REGIS WASHINGTON, D.C.

Why we love it: Just steps from the White House, The St. Regis Washington, D.C. is the perfect mix of luxe accommodations and upscale wedding offerings – all with a dash of historical charm. You can opt for a cocktail hour in the Italianate revival lobby, or celebrate your “I do’s” in the Astor Ballroom with its hand-stenciled ceiling (an original 1926 decorative feature) and Palladian windows overlooking The Astor Terrace. This place is beautiful, you guys – and it’s no wonder it continues to be named the “Best Hotel for Small Weddings” by Washington Magazine. It’s just that good.

What you can’t miss: The Astor Terrace. Perfect for ceremonies OR receptions, this gem of an outdoor space features a dreamy fountain. Need we say more?

W SCOTTSDALE

Why we love it: Located smack-dab in the middle of Scottsdale’s Entertainment District, W Scottsdale is every modern lovin’ bride’s dream. Think totally chic contemporary spaces (both indoor and outdoor) perfect for celebrating your Big Day, plus amazing accommodations that will make your entire wedding weekend.

What you can’t miss: Their fab W Insider service. It’s concierge plus some with everything you’ll ever need just a push of a button away. Whatever you want, whenever you want it.

LE MÉRIDIEN DELFINA SANTA MONICA

Why we love it: Situated just three blocks from the ocean with great access and breathtaking views, plus offering up some awesome amenities for guests (hey there, Bicycle Programme), Le Méridien Delfina Santa Monica seamlessly combines a glam spot to say “I do” with all of that laid-back Southern Cali charm we love so much. We’re obsessed with their Pool Terrace receptions, not to mention their chef-inspired catering menus and views of the Pacific Ocean.

What you can’t miss: Their venues. From the Delfina Ballroom to the Terrazza GardenLe Méridien Delfina Santa Monica has you covered when it comes to celebrating in style.

HOTEL COLONNADE CORAL GABLES, A TRIBUTE PORTFOLIO HOTEL 

Why we love it: Ideal for those travel lovers who want to say “I do” in complete luxury, the Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables has elegant weddings (and accommodations) down to an absolute science. From their 23,000 square feet of event space to their gorgeous venue options (hello, marble-tiled rotunda) to their talented staff that knows everything there is to know about throwing the perfect wedding, you’ll most definitely be making a statement.

What you can’t miss: Their Make a Green Choice Program. Guests receive a $5 food credit or 500 SPG points just for making the choice to conserve natural resources in their room. We love that.

THE WESTIN CHICAGO NORTHWEST

Why we love it: It’s hard not to fall in love with a setting as pretty as Hamilton Lake and when you add in a climate-controlled tent and fully-renovated guest rooms, you have yourselves one of the prettiest wedding locales in all of Chicago. Plus, the Westin Chicago Northwest also offers up a plethora of indoor + outdoor venue options, customizable menus AND your very own wedding specialist.

What you can’t miss: Their 24-hour room service. (Enough said.)

SHERATON SAN DIEGO HOTEL & MARINA

Why we love it: You honestly can’t go wrong with a San Diego wedding, and the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina is the epitome of a perfect SoCal soiree with a gorgeous seaside location and deluxe amenities. Now add in a stunning garden ceremony spot (with marina views) and indoor venue options that are just as cool and you have the perfect place to say “I do.”

What you can’t miss: The Culinary team. They’ve been named “Best Caterer” by San Diego Magazine for 15 years running. Yum.

THE EQUINOX, A LUXURY COLLECTION GOLF RESORT & SPA, VERMONT

Why we love it: You know we can never get enough of Vermont weddings and if you’re looking for the perfect destination spot: this is it. From their three unique venues (Pond Pavilion, Colonnade Ballroom and Meadow House) to the amazing views of the Equinox Mountain and the Taconic Mountain Ridge, The Equinox Resort has everything you’ll ever need for that dream wedding… AND can accommodate anywhere from 80 to 250 guests.

What you can’t miss: The activities. This four-season resort offers up a world of fun-filled adventures, from golfing to skiing to fishing to snowshoeing – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

THE ST. ANTHONY, A LUXURY COLLECTION HOTEL, SAN ANTONIO

Why we love it: Four words: Open-air rooftop ballroom. Yep, you can literally dance the night away under the stars. Plus, the St. Anthony has been hosting weddings for over a century, so you know you’re in good hands with their talented staff of event professionals. From their gorgeous rooms to their convenient downtown locale, you won’t be missing a thing.

What you can’t miss: The details. From crystal chandeliers to a winding staircase to theatrical lighting and a 19th Century French tapestry, get ready for some non-stop oohing and ahhing.

THE WESTIN GALLERIA & OAKS HOUSTON

Why we love it: If you’re having a celebration with a lot of out-of-town guests, you can’t pick a locale better than the Westin Galleria & Oaks Houston. Its Uptown location paired with its amazing guest amenities and reception space for up to 1,000 makes it the ideal location for those looking to explore the Galleria neighborhood of Houston. Think shopping, dining and spa-ing the days away. It’s perfect.

What you can’t miss: The Monarch Ballroom. With floor-to-ceiling windows and views of the city, this 24th floor gem is a reception dreamland.

Visit SPG Weddings to find out even more about these hidden gems AND all of the amazing perks of having an SPG Wedding. You can thank us later, friends.

The Long Sleeve Ballgown Our Editors Are Obsessing Over

With a serious love for classic style myself, I feel a bit like kindred spirits with this bride, Lauren. Planning around  the concept of “timeless elegance,” Lauren and Jake designed a wedding that encompassed that notion to a T. Think a black and white palette, the traditional church ceremony, Frank Sinatra reception tunes, plus a long sleeve ballgown that ensured Lauren looked every bit the classic bride. Jake Anderson captured the entire affair on film photography and his images are just as timeless as the day itself.

From the bride, Lauren… Jordan and I met through a mutual friend. We had gone to high school together, but had never formally met. We dated for five years, mostly at a short distance while we were both in graduate school in different states (Wisconsin and Minnesota). The weekend of April 9, Jordan planned a getaway to my parent’s lake home in northern Wisconsin. His plans were almost crushed by a late spring blizzard, but with a little luck we made the hike to our favorite lake where Jordan proposed on one knee, and I of course said yes. We returned to the lake home, and to my surprise all our family and my best friend were waiting to celebrate, champagne in hand.

As we began the planning process, we wanted our wedding to feel classic and timeless. To achieve this, we chose a neutral color palate of ivory and white accented by the natural greenery that blooms during spring in Wisconsin. The ceremony was held at our church in downtown Madison, with the reception following at The Edgewater Hotel, located on the shore of beautiful Lake Mendota. Our wedding party was made up of both our families (7 brothers!) and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Once we had a vision of our day, the details started to fall into place. After trying on a few dresses, I fell in love with a long sleeve Hayley Paige gown. It was the perfect combination of tulle and lace. The men in black tie tuxedos was an easy decision- a classic duo!

From a rose petal toss as we left the church to a 10-piece band singing Frank Sinatra, we worked hard to preserve our intention throughout the day. Sticking with our concept of timeless elegance, we chose to have our day captured in film, rather than digital photography. Our insanely talented photographer, Jake Anderson, provided us with photos that we will cherish forever. The grain and realness of the photos are something that cannot be beat. Looking back at the photos makes us feel all the feels, and for that we thank Jake!

We both agree that our favorite moment of the day was simply exchanging vows. We loved the band (North Coast Orchestra), the blooms (Garden Laurels), and the grand exit complete with ribbon wands (thanks, dad!). But at the end of the day saying those sacred vows in front of all our loved ones takes the peony layered cake!

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Photography: Jake Anderson | Floral Design: Garden Laurels by Sager | Wedding Dress: Hayley Paige | Cake: Creative Confections By Alicia Russell | Rings: TQ Diamonds | Bridesmaid's Dresses: J.Crew | Tuxedos: Nedrebo's | Venue: The Edgewater Hotel | Rentals: Event Essentials | Wedding Band: North Coast Orchestra

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The Sweetest Summer Wedding in Door County

It’s no secret The McCartneys are one of our favorite creative husband-wife duos, so when they sent us this Door County celebration photographed to perfection we knew it was meant for the pages of SMP. They captured the very essence of Ann-Marie and Kyle’s sweet love and you can watch their big day unfold in the gallery.

From The McCartneysIf we could, we would scream from the mountain tops how much we adored every part of Ann-Marie Woods & Kyle Strickland’s wedding celebration in beautiful Door County!

Ann-Marie’s parents have a property in Door County, WI, and while Ann-Marie & Kyle live in Chicago they planned a weekend wedding celebration that brought all of their loved ones to the beautiful peninsula of Wisconsin. Just one example of the thoughtfulness they infused into their wedding day, while Ann-Marie and her ladies were getting ready she took them all outside where she thanked them all for being such an irreplaceable part of her life & presented them with handwritten letters expressing her gratitude. The heartfelt tears & hugs started early, and it was such a beautiful moment shared by Ann-Marie, her Mom, Mother-in-Law, sisters, and friends!

Ann-Marie had also decided she wanted to surprise Kyle with a getaway car for the two of them to ride in after their ceremony. She lined up a classic Bentley, which made for a very happy new Mrs & Mrs as the driver whisked them away to Horseshoe Bay Farms for portraits, then down the road to the stunning Horseshoe Bay Beach Club to celebrate with their guests. Ann-Marie & Kyle worked with Carrie of Door County Event Planners to dream up a gorgeous tented celebration right on the bay, and no detail was left untouched! Helen of Flora Flowershop created joyful floral centerpieces with bright yet classic pops of color atop long wooden tables mixed with classic rounds.

As the evening went on, in between cheers & sweet toasts, guests enjoyed music by the Matt Stedman Band & Orchestra and the dance floor was packed with energy! Since their tented dinner & the reception was situated right along the shore, it was a wonderful treat for everyone when the most beautiful sunset capped off a gorgeous day! But that wasn’t all Ann-Marie & Kyle had planned for their guests –– next, everyone enjoyed individual sized ice cream cakes followed by a grand firework show right over the water and a late-night cheese curd bar (a Wisconsin classic!).

When we first connected with Ann-Marie & Kyle, they said their wedding hopes included being surrounded by wonderful families and friends with great food and great music, and having all the out-of-towners (which was just about everyone) see why they love Door County. If you ask us, they achieved that and even more!

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Photography: The McCartneys Photography | Videography: Wedding Films | Event Planning: Door County Event Planners | Floral Design: Flora | Invitations: Paper Source | Ceremony Venue: Stella Maris Baileys Harbor | Reception Venue: Horseshoe Bay Beach Club | Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew | Hair + Makeup: Kari Pudlo | Band: Matt Stedman Band & Ring Of Music Orchestra | Groom's Attire: Black Tie Formalwear | Tent Rental: Tide Water Tents | Film Lab: Fast Foto & Digital | Fireworks: Spielbauer Fireworks | Ice Cream Cakes: Kelley Country Creamery | Wedding Dress Boutique: Ultimate Bride Boutique | Wedding Dress Designer: Liancarlo

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Looking for a unique space to tie the knot? We found it.

Let’s be honest, no one wants a cookie cutter wedding. But if finding a venue that is the perfect mix of luxe accommodations and totally unique wedding space has left you a little frustrated, we’re here to help. Because today we’re hosting a little meet and greet with The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, a hotel that has everything you’re searching for. Find your dream space below.

Situated in the center of downtown Kansas City, The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center is the type of venue that just makes sense. Surrounded by Hallmark’s Crown Center and more than 85 acres of fabulous shopping, yummy restaurants and entertaining theaters, it’s the perfect spot to spend a weekend with your nearest and dearest, celebrating your big moment. But what really stands out about The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center is the amazing venue options. From sophisticated ballrooms, to the gorgeous panoramic views from The American, to the elegant rooftop locale known as the Games Deck, each venue will truly stun your guests. Which means saying goodbye to a generic, cookie-cutter wedding and hello to an awe-inspiring soiree for the ages. Just like you want.

Ready to host the wedding of the century at a hotel that knows everything there is to know about glamorous nuptials that are as unique as you and your love? Contact The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center today to start planning your dream day. With a talented team of wedding specialists, an amazing downtown location and accommodations that are the definition of luxurious, you honestly can’t go wrong. Oh, and don’t forget to ask about their Hallmark Wedding Packages, because, well… they’re awesome. Happy planning, loves!

Photography: Kelsey Diane Photography | Photography: Wirken Films | Event Design: Craig Sole Design | Event Planning: Quintessential Events | Reception Venue: The American Restaurant | Hotel: Westin Kansas City At Crown Center

When Classic Blue China Inspires Your Wedding Day

When it came to the look and feel of their wedding day, David and Kyle knew exactly what they were going for. A classic tented affair with blue hues and timeless calligraphy details by Bien Fait. They thoughtfully incorporated blue and white china collected by the bride’s mother and the end result is a day so lovely it will take your breath away. More from m three studios right this way!

From the photographer, m three studioThere are moments in life when the stars seem to align. Everything goes your way and it’s as if you are living with the golden touch. If you are extra lucky, that day happens on your wedding day, like it did for David & Kyle. I could go on and on about how gorgeous this day is, and it is. But there is so much from this day. So much love, beauty, so much JOY, friendship, kindness, depth, tradition, style…it is the muchness that gets you. And Kyle and David? They soaked it all in, appreciating every second.

From the planner, Tailored EngagementsKyle and her mom had a clear vision for the wedding day and I was totally on board with it. We incorporated their blue China collection throughout the entire day and used a neutral color palette to keep things subtle and romantic. The look and feel of the day were so fitting for a bride who looks effortlessly beautiful with no makeup in a baseball hat. It was a simple style with tons of light and a natural garden feel. The clear top tent, romantic flowers, and natural elements all came together beautifully. We were so in love with this couple and their style.

From the Bride, Kyle… David and I first officially met after I invited him to Cincinnati Reds game senior year of college- thanks to one of my bridesmaids, Allison, for the suggestion! Up until that day I had heard a tale or two about David, but we never crossed paths. That night we hit it off and even pretended to be engaged at a bar that night (free drinks!) and the rest was history. After five years of dating, two of which were long distance, David asked me to marry him in our apartment in Chicago. We spent the rest of the day and night celebrating with family and friends. I couldn’t have planned a more perfect day myself.

I had always pictured myself getting married outside in a tent. So much so, that before we picked out the venue we found a vendor that had clear-top tents in the Milwaukee Area. Once that was squared away, we looked at a few venues in the area for good measure, but the Milwaukee Country Club was a top choice from the beginning. First, there was a level of comfort since my family had belonged there for some time, but after meeting with the club manager we could perfectly imagine the day there- everything from getting ready to cocktails to dinner and dancing. All the details fell into place once we made that decision.

In terms of a style, if I were to choose a few words to describe our wedding it would be classic and romantic, with a touch of rustic. It was important to us to try our best to have a timeless wedding that was still organic and relaxed. Blue is our favorite color which made selecting the overall color scheme an easy choice. It happens to be my mom’s favorite color as well, which played a key part in decor later on. All of the blue and white vases we used for the cocktail hour and entrance were collected by mom throughout the years. We tied this theme in with the blue and white china settings on the head table.

My favorite part of planning was the time I got to spend with my parents. They were a huge help throughout the whole process! Whether it was coming to the tasting or helping us select flowers, they always gave the perfect amount of feedback and support. While there were a few stressful moments, the amount laughs and good memories we created will always be in the forefront of my mind.

Lastly, and most importantly, David and I wanted the day to be fun, enjoyable and memorable for everyone that was a part of it. That brings me to my one piece of advice for anyone that is planning a wedding- having an event coordinator or wedding planner made our wedding day stress-free. This not only allowed us both to fully take in every minute of the day but also allowed our families to enjoy our wedding. It goes by so quickly! It’s important to embrace all the love and even the unexpected events that come your way.

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Photography: m three studio | Event Planning: Tailored Engagements | Floral Design: Wood Violet | Wedding Dress: Lela Rose | Stationery: The Charm Studio | Stationery: Layers Of Loveliness | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale | Calligraphy: Bien Fait Calligraphy | Band: Dan Hayes Orchestra | Suits: J.Crew | Officiant: Reverend Paul Costanzo | Venue: Milwaukee Country Club | Tent: Jk Tent Rentals | China: Relics Vintage Rentals | Musicians: Fretless Strings

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Midwestern Vineyard Wedding with Rustic Chic Style

Amanda and Craig’s wedding might look straight out of California wine country, but this special day actually took place at a charming Wisconsin vineyard. Photographed by Kate Weinstein, the celebration included a handmade pergola for the ceremony plus an evening of dinner, dancing and food truck fun. Take a peek at all the pretty waiting below!

From Kate Weinstein Photo... Who says you need to head to California to get married in a vineyard? Amanda and Craig’s wedding day took place at Over the Vines, a Wisconsin vineyard situated between Milwaukee and Madison. Guests were seated for the ceremony overlooking a beautiful and serene field and Amanda and Craig were married under a pergola garnished with flowers. The groom, Craig, and his father hand built the pergola. Amanda wore a unique peach dress that was custom designed just for her by Monirose Bespoke Designs.

Midwestern Bride styled the day to perfection and pulled together a dream team of Wisconsin vendors. Milwaukee Flower Co. designed the bouquets and floral decor and greenery. The desserts were created by Yield Bakehouse and A La Crate and Event Essential provided the rented decor. The invitation suite and signage was designed by Coqui Paperie.

After the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktails on the lawn before heading to the barn for dinner served by Carrotbomb Catering. After dinner, they all danced beneath the stars to the Michael Walters Orchestra and enjoyed late night creative dumplings from SoHo Gourmet Cuisine’s food truck.

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Photography: Kate Weinstein Photo | Wedding Planning + Design: Midwestern Bride | Floral Design: Milwaukee Flower Company | Bridesmaid Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu | Catering: Carrot Bomb Catering | Makeup: Haute Blow Dry Bar | Band: Michael Walters Orchestra | Venue: Over The Vines | Cakes + Desserts: Yield Bakehouse | Paper Goods + Invitations: Coqui Paperie & Gifts | Rentals: A La Crate Vintage Rentals | Rentals: Event Essentials | Wedding Dress Designer: Monirose

A Milwaukee Courthouse Wedding Built for Two

After their Milwaukee Courthouse nuptials, this darling duo hopped on a vintage moped “getaway car,” dashing off to their at-home reception. They dreamed up a private dinner party to celebrate, incorporating their favorite his and hers Old Fashioned cocktails, a petite cake bedecked in ferns, and heirloom china from the bride’s grandmother. Heather Cook Elliott Photography captured this cozy and intimate, fall celebration – you can see it all right here in our Vault.

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From Heather Cook Elliott Photography
… My studio photographer and real bride, Sara, got married in a BHLDN gown with amazing florals at the Milwaukee County Courthouse. We dreamed up an ideal at home, luxe dinner cocktail party to celebrate! If you have the guts to not only do a courthouse wedding like Sara, but to also host your own intimate, at-home reception with just your best man and maid of honor, you can splurge on all things beautiful while finally getting to use your family heirlooms.

For old world boho and antiquarian-at-heart Sara, it means dining on her grandmother’s china, using vintage silver, and making his and hers, handcrafted old fashioneds (a Wisconsin favorite!) in crystal highball glasses. It means splurging on Luxardo cherries and asking your florist to create a “cake” from ferns and other botanical blooms. It means having your beloved cat present and decked out in a laurel wreath because that’s your baby. It means decorating your vintage moped and transforming your dining room into a dream reception locale.

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Photography: Heather Cook Elliott Photography | Floral Design: Belle Fiori, Ltd. | Wedding Dress: BHLDN | Invitations: Cracked Designs | Ring: A Trio Jewelry | Groom's Attire: NL Suits | Venue: Private Residence | Crystal: Galway | Flatware: Lenox Pine

Meet Your One-Stop Shop for the Wedding of a Lifetime (Hint: It’s Amazing)

We all know Hallmark as THE place to go for greeting cards + gifts for every occasion. But take Hallmark’s knack for making every moment special and combine it with The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center and the results are pure magic. We’re talking beyond luxurious details, amazing accommodations and an all-inclusive wedding destination in Kansas City. This, loves, is how you say “I do” in style. Scroll to learn so much more about Hallmark Weddings.

When it comes to planning your Big Day, narrowing down the perfect venue isn’t always easy. Until now. That’s because with Hallmark Weddings at The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, you can host your engagement party, rehearsal dinner, ceremony AND reception all in the same locale. Which means saying “goodbye” to a year of stressful planning and “hello” to an easy, streamlined experience with Hallmark’s Wedding Specialists. Think totally unique celebration packages with everything from customized menus, makeup + salon services, spa time and wedding registry + invitations provided by Halls Department Store. They can even help you with your engagement + wedding rings, bridal party gifts, suits, tailoring AND accessories for the Big Day. It’s literally a one-stop shop for everything you’ll ever need, all wrapped up in pretty, pretty packaging. Oh, and did I mention you and your guests will be staying at The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center? Amazing.

Contact Hallmark Weddings today to begin working with the talented team of wedding pros that will take your day to the next level… and then some. You’ll receive a complimentary consultation with a sales manager, your very own online portal and complimentary gift packaging + delivery in Kansas City. You’ll even receive a 15% off registry completion discount, a $100 gift card and your very own registry from Halls Department Store. And, obviously you’ll want to check out Hallmark for all things paper goods, like your Save the Dates, wedding invites and day-of stationery. They can even help you with gifts for your guests and bridal party. Contact a Hallmark Wedding Specialist for all of the info at (816) 391-4410 or email hallmarkweddings@starwoodhotels. This is so awesome, you guys.

Promotion

Select The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center as your wedding destination and you’ll receive special rewards and bonus Starpoints® which can be used immediately towards honeymoon nights including:

Up to 100,000 bonus Starpoints®*.
Overnight guestroom or suite accommodations for bridal couple on wedding night.
Sparkling toast during the wedding reception.

*Valid on weddings reserved this year and hosted by December 31, 2018. If you have 10 guests or more visiting from out of town, their stays will also earn you both additional Starpoints, redeemable for your honeymoon.

Venue: Westin Kansas City At Crown Center

This Winter Wedding is the Definition of Cozy

When the bride happens to be none other than Kelly or Jane Kelly Floral, you better believe a gorgeous wedding will follow. Especially when that wedding is set in the middle of a Wisconsin winter wonderland. Complete with elegant draping, a candle lined aisle, fresh greens, and the coziest fireplace – this gallery by Uttke Photography & Design will leave you longing for snowy days in a serious way.

From the bride… Kelly and Matt, owners of Jane Kelly Floral, Inc. planned their own wedding in a beautiful winter landscape in Wisconsin on January, 28. They have a love for winter and brought all of the cozy winter details into their wedding day, not to mention a statement of floral. They were ecstatic to have a fresh coat of snow just a few days before their wedding which made for gorgeous portraits.

Their vision was to create an experience for all of their guests that attended the wedding. It was an evening ceremony that had fire pits, candles and lanterns lit as you approached the Chandelier Ballroom. The ceremony was held in an intimate room that had a beautiful brick fireplace that was softened with draping fabric and candles lining the aisle. The showstopper of the ceremony was their beloved pup, Lucy who happily walked down the aisle with Matt.

The evening of celebration continued with guests roasting s’mores at the outdoor fire pits and indulging in food stations that had everything from smoked salmon to roasted grape and goat cheese crostini’s. Kelly wanted the guests to feel cozy and therefore brought the grand scale of the octagonal shaped ballroom down by building drapery and floral structures for guests to be seated under. It was a subtle feel of bringing the outdoors in for an enchanted winter evening. Kelly and Matt shared their first meal as Mr. and Mrs. seated among their immediate family at the center of the room with a canopy of candles and foliage garlands overhead.

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Photography: Uttke Photography & Design | Floral Design: Jane Kelly Floral, Inc. | Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero | Catering: Chandelier Ballroom | Hair & Makeup: Style by R | Bridal Shop: Amelishan | DJ & Lighting: Milwaukee Airwaves | Linens: Windy City Linens | Pipes & Draping: Bliss Events | Table & Props: Vintique Rental

Making a Rainy Day Wedding Look Downright Gorgeous

From a chance meeting at a local watering hole to a celebration on a 300 acre family home, this wedding is proof that meeting the love of your life can happen just about anywhere; even in a bar. This rainy lakeside affair is both elegant and easy breezy with coordination by Something Blue Lake Geneva, lots of pretty florals by Frontier Flowers and Kristina Lorraine capturing it all to perfection. Sneak a peek at the full day, including fun shots from a downpour in the middle of the ceremony, right here.

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Tented

From the bride… There might be nothing more cliche than a guy and a girl meeting in a bar, but Brandon and Tessa wouldn’t have it any other way. Tessa had moved back home to Chicago in 2011 after a stint living in Argentina and decided to waitress for awhile before making her next move. An ordinary football Sunday turned into one of the most important days of her life, when she was finally introduced to that cute boy from down the street who always came in to have a drink or dinner with his friends. After years of dating in Chicago, Brandon proposed to Tessa on their fourth anniversary after a romantic dinner and drinks overlooking Chicago’s skyline. He designed her engagement ring with the help of one of their mutual friends, incorporating the center stone from her mother’s engagement ring.

The wedding location was easy. Tessa’s father’s home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin was a natural choice — the 300 acre, former farm was always the site of family gatherings and occasions, previously hosting two other family weddings. The lush greenery and tranquil lake was perfect for a rustic, yet elegant wedding. Tessa and Brandon both love personal touches at weddings, and focused on making their wedding unique and special to them.

Little did they know how memorable their wedding would be. After some early morning rain, the sky had cleared to reveal a cloudless, sunny day — perfect for an outdoor ceremony overlooking the lake. About 15 minutes into the ceremony, with Brandon in the middle of his vows, a singular cloud provided a sudden summer storm, bringing the wedding to a brief intermission while guests took shelter under the veranda and the bridal party ducked into the nearby garage. After the brief storm passed, the couple resumed the ceremony outside, only to have it produce a stunning pink sunset.

The bridesmaids wore a mix of blush and sage dresses in different styles, while the groomsmen sported grey, custom suits. The bride chose a lace Anna Meir gown from a boutique in Chicago and the groom wore a navy Banana Republic suit. Guests were then led to a tented reception. When they searched for their place at dinner, place cards indicated the name of a restaurant that was meaningful over the time of Brandon and Tessa’s relationship, including the name of the bar where they met.

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Photography: Kristina Lorraine Photography | Coordination: Something Blue Lake Geneva | Floral Design: Frontier Flowers - Fontana | Wedding Dress: Anna Maier | Ceremony Venue: Private Estate | Reception Venue: Private Estate | Shoes: BHLDN | Rings: J. Gorman Fine Jewelry | Hair: Mindy City Hair | Men's Attire: Banana Republic | Bridesmaids' Dresses (Blush): Monique Lhuillier | Bridesmaids' Dresses (Sage): Dessy After 6 Collection in African Violet | Photography - Assistance: Megan Yanz Photography | Rentals: Canopies Events with Distinction