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French-Country-Inspired Lakeside Wisconsin Wedding At The Edgewater Hotel

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[field title=”Wedding Colors”]White, Ivory, Flax, Muted Marigold, Light Mauve, Soft Sky Blue[/field]
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A soft summer color palette filled with muted tones of marigold, mauve, and sky blue floral blooms, all designed on top of a neutral and textural base for a beautiful lakeside wedding

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“When you say Wisconsin…you said it all!” — the couple met as Badgers!

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[field title=”Food & Drink”]Think Wisconsin! We loved having Spotted cow and cheese curds being passed during cocktail with of course a perfect margarita option too! A beautiful lakeside wedding with all of Wisconsin’s favorites in a fun new way! [/field]
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It was the color palette for me with this one! The bride asked for a French Country wedding and at Cherry Blossom Events we are always thinking how can we make it different, something we haven’t seen before. Working in the rattan and cane elements in a modern and subtle way felt like the perfect move for this bride who wanted the most intentional and subtle details woven in. We love the marigold and sky blue with hints of mauve for this fresh take on a summer palette that felt light and airy yet timeless.

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Chocolate Bourbon Espresso cake with the iconic Babcock Ice Cream of UW Madison and ice cream cups with a featured flavor: Orange Chocolate Chip.

[field title=”Readings, Ceremony Music, Reception Songs”]Can send more details if you’d like. [/field]
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A custom outdoor bar designed with cane insets.

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The modern French country sky blue BBJ Linen with rattan charger

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Cane back chairs in the reception completed the look.

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Photography: Whitney and Matsaya Photography | Coordination: Cherry Blossom Events | Design: Cherry Blossom Events | Event Design: Cherry Blossom Events | Event Planning: Cherry Blossom Events | Floral Design: daffodil*parker | Cake: The Baked Lab | Invitations: Bay View Printing Co. | Ceremony Venue: The Edgewater Hotel | Reception Venue: The Edgewater Hotel | Catering: The Edgewater Hotel | DJ: Gold Coast All Stars | Wedding Venue: The Edgewater Hotel | Beauty: Faces By Suzanna | Beauty: Kendra Gassner At The Makeup Palette | Beauty: Jess Cortright | Planning: Cherry Blossom Events | Rentals: Event Essentials

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!



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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Charming Church Wedding in Madison, WI

When your relationship has graced the pages of the NYTimes, People, and ESPN, (just to name a few), well you better believe you’ve got the makings of a viral romance. Such was the case for Kate & Brandon who just so happened to meet through an online Michigan football forum, fell in love, and married in a charming church ceremony with The McCartneys Photography behind the lens. Blooming with Daffodil Parker florals and vibrant fall trees, this is one gallery you have to see. Witness it all in The VaultP.S. Got a love story of your own to share? Tell us with #SMPShareYourStory

From The McCartneys PhotographyWe have a romantic Madison, Wisconsin wedding to share with you featuring a couple with an infectious personality and enough humor to fill five football fields! Kate & Brandon took ESPN & countless other media outlets by storm with their incredible love story! These two met on a Michigan football forum online. The story is absolutely adorable and you can watch ESPNs take on it HERE, or People magazine’s version HERE … or New York Times HERE … Or Buzzfeed HERE, or Washington Post HERE, and Sports Illustrated HERE

Their wedding day was cold, overcast, windy & rainy. But none of that mattered because it was Kate & Brandon’s wedding day and they had happiness written all over their faces! With ESPN’s crew there to document their story, the two of them said “I do” along with the most heartfelt handwritten vows at a charming white historic church surrounded by vibrant fall trees and corn fields in Middleton, WI.

Cold & windy or not, Madison, WI makes for a beautiful backdrop. We photographed them around the steps of the Capitol & the Monona Terrace before heading to the University Club where all of Kate & Brandon’s guests were gathered. The University Club is amazing and so romantic. Kate & Brandon styled it to perfection with painted books for table numbers, florals from the amazing Daffodil Parker, miniature animal figurines painted in silver & gold holding each guest’s place card, and of course an encouraging sign featuring a quote from ‘Vodka’ that read, “Trust me, you can dance”. After entering cocktail hour with Brandon as newlyweds, Kate & her bridesmaids took a hand at the Southern cake pull tradition (where sterling silver charms with special good fortune meanings were placed inside the cake and each lady pulled them out by a ribbon just before the cake was cut) before joining the celebrations. Hints of their personalities were everywhere to be found, from “things you may not know about” signs in both his & her stylings to giant bride-and-groom balloons. Everything was 100% them, and Ann Marie from Reve Madison made sure everything was executed to perfection!

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More Wedding Day Looks Right Here! 

Photography: The McCartneys Photography | Event Planning: Reve Madison | Floral Design: daffodil*parker | Wedding Dress: New York Bride & Groom | Cake: Chris' Confections | Ceremony Venue: First Lutheran Church, Middleton, WI | Reception Venue: The University Club, Madison, WI | Bride's Shoes: BHLDN | Hair + Makeup: Jen At Be Inspired Salon | Entertainment: Julliard Jazz Quintet | DJ: Capital Sounds DJs | Groom's Attire: Men's Wearhouse | Officiant: Ceremonies by Design | Bridal Boutique: New York Bride & Groom | Hair Accessories: Lulu Splendor | Photo Booth: The Traveling Photo Booth | Veil: Blanca Veils

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Modern Art Gallery Wedding

This one is for all of you modern lovers out there.  Brides and grooms who live for contemporary meets organic stylings, bold, rich colors and crazy cool details.  Because this fabulous art gallery affair?  It’s all of the above with an extra dose of pretty thrown in for good measure.  Head to THE VAULT for every second captured by Carly McCray, because well… it’s awesome.

From Carly McCray Photography… Anna and Nathan married in a sunny rooftop ceremony at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art this August, filled with many smiles, a bounty of organic details from Alluring Blooms, overflowing farm tables, and most importantly, many joyful guests (from very far and near)! And the light… that unmistakable MMoCA glow, only to be matched by the excitement of the Mr. + Mrs. on their special day!

Anna + Nathan are a duo that I feel cooler simply to know, and it oozes out in each of their photographs. Their recessional music was a Talking Heads song, and their first dance? Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You.”

Anna’s J.Crew dress and her elegant, black BHLDN bridesmaids dresses were such an interesting mix with all of the modern art surrounding everyone at the event, coupled with the abundant olive leaves and eucalyptus cascading over the tables.

And the speeches… the speeches have really stuck with me this year. Nathan’s dad had everyone enjoying hearing about “The Bank of Dad” and Nathan’s clever banking methods as a child. And Nathan’s brother serving overseas even sent a speech along.

Watching the sun set from this special Madison rooftop — overlooking the glowing capital building — proved to be the perfect setting for this laid-back, unique event.


See more Modern weddings in THE VAULT!

Photography: Carly McCray Photography | Floral Design: Alluring Blooms | Wedding Dress: J.Crew | Cake: Honey Bee Bakery | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN | Venue: Madison Museum Of Contemporary Art | Bride's Earrings: J.Crew | Paper Goods: Emily Dwan Art & Design

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Traditional + Elegant Madison Wedding

One look at this gorgeous wedding, and you’d never guess it took place during the Golden Age of Hollywood, not present-day in Madison, Wisconsin. With art deco flair, a classic black-and-white color palette with touches of blush gold for some extra glitz and glamour, and stunning botanicals from daffodil*parker, this fête is picture perfect thanks to m three studio photography. Take a trip back in time and admire all the luxurious details here.

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From M Three StudioFor Ashley & Tim’s wedding, they brought it all home to Ashley’s native Madison (the couple currently resides in Phoenix with their boxer puppy Rudy). They also brought several hand-painted chalkboards by the bride herself. Art Deco and Vintage served as inspiration for a black and white wedding softened by milk glass, antique gold, pastel and filly florals and a splash of bling. The day was peppered with fun surprises too, like mini cream puffs (a Wisconsin tradition) for dessert, a vintage car for transport, a wedding crest featuring their Boxer pup (drawn by the bride!) and Ashley’s bright red nails.

From the Bride… Tim and I are both have kind of a classic style and wanted our wedding to reflect that. I am really inspired by old Hollywood glamour and knew that I wanted to incorporate elements that subtly represented that era. Our wedding was in Madison, Wisconsin but we live in Phoenix. When we went to look at venues, The Madison Club had a perfect vibe and really represented what we were looking for with beautiful chandeliers and sweeping staircases – even an art deco bar that had great patio space. Some of the elements seemed to really fall in place after we determined our venue. I was convinced I wanted a fit and flare or mermaid gown but when we went dress shopping, I found a dress that just really caught my eye and after trying on a few other dresses, I knew it was the right one. Between the venue and the dress a real style was coming together. I can’t tell you the number of people who asked what my wedding colors were and the confusion the was apparent when I said “neutral colors – like black, blush tones and gold”. Apparently black isn’t a wedding color. But that palette worked really well with everything and really supported the classic feel of our day.

I grew up just outside Madison and Tim and I both love downtown Madison. Many of our guests were coming from out of town so we knew that the Capital Square was a fantastic backdrop surrounded by a lot of hotels, restaurants and things to see and do. After we booked our reception venue, we found Grace Episcopal Church within walking distance and knew that provided the perfect look and feel that we wanted as well as convenience for our guests. it would also allow us to take photos at the capital before the reception. After those details were nailed down, my top priority was hiring a photographer. The first several that I called were booked and I started to panic and booked the first photographer that was available. His shots were beautiful but as I looked more and more at his work it didn’t really match our aesthetic and what I was hoping for for our wedding. Thankfully, I found Molly at m three studios shortly thereafter and after a quick phone call and looking through past weddings that she had done, I knew that she was the right fit. This was such an important element for me – I had bought a sample dress and put together many of the details of the wedding myself but I knew that photography was something I wasn’t willing to compromise. For us, Molly was really a partner and helped us through the process of planning so much. It was one thing I knew I never had to worry about and our pictures turned out beautifully. Luckily, Molly had worked with our videographer, One Fine Day Productions before, which also helped everything run smoothly day of. Having a vendor or a couple of vendors you really trust is so important because they were able to help recommend things we hadn’t thought of and even other vendors, like our florist, Daffodil Parker.

I did a lot of DIY and planning on my own. I work in marketing and like to think I’m somewhat creative so for me this was something that I really enjoyed and I thought it really elevated our wedding and was something I was really proud of. I designed our programs, menus and place cards as well as a “family crest” that included boxer dogs (as a nod to our beloved boxer Rudy who was not able to be part of our day). I also designed and hand lettered chalkboards for the place card table and photo booth. My family and I had scoured flea markets and antique stores to find the hobnail milk glass, mercury glass and mirrored trays that were used as centerpieces and throughout the reception. Our florist put together the bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres but the flowers for our centerpieces came from my mother’s garden. She cut them the morning of the wedding and we put them in the vases a few hours before the wedding started. This allowed us to splurge more on the flowers that were going to be front and center. I had taken on several DIY projects for our Mexican Fiesta themed rehearsal dinner the night before as well (including chalkboards and making 30 mini-piñatas that my family was gracious enough to help with as I realized that I had maybe taken on too much). I think the important part of DIY is to make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself. I had originally intended to make two more chalkboards for the reception but since we were traveling and everything needed to be done in Madison, I had a lot to do the week leading up to the wedding and decided to reduce some of the chalkboards and other small elements to give myself a break. Luckily they were small details that no one noticed and everything came together perfectly.

I’m sure there were things that weren’t perfect but as far as I’m concerned it was the best day. I had put a lot into planning everything and hadn’t hired a planner or day of coordinator because I had so much trust in our vendors and I think everything came together exactly how I had hoped. It was a day that was truly ours – from our unconventional first dance song to our shared secrets during dinner. Wisconsin weather in July can be fickle. It can be incredibly humid or stormy and in the week leading up to the wedding and the week after, it was both. But somehow, on our wedding day the weather was absolutely perfect. A lot of things seemed to fall into place like that – when we were taking photos at the capital, there was almost no one around and even later in the evening, when we stepped outside to take some night photos, the streets were so quiet that our videographer encouraged us to dance in the middle of the road with the capital in the background. With so many things going on, we had forgotten about it until we got our wedding video back but it’s one of my favorite moments from the day. Everything just really seemed to fall into place.

For me, I think finding vendors that are experienced goes a long way. Both our photographer and videographer were experienced in just about anything that came up. At one point my bustle wouldn’t hold and Molly and her assistant climbed under my dress to pin it up. The morning of the wedding, our florist texted me a picture of the bouquets and one of the flowers that was supposed to be a blush pink was much brighter and based on a brief conversation she told me she would take care of it and the bouquets were perfect! I think there are a lot of things that can stress a bride out if she lets them but finding people that you trust to work with that you know will do whatever they can to help, really helped me to not worry about some of these smaller things that were going wrong. And everything turned out great! I would also suggest that brides think of alternatives to some of the things that they want that might be out of their budget. We discovered that there was an advantage with our venue for having our rehearsal there as well in a different space that ended up allowing us to have a totally custom menu and ambiance because we saved money on the room rental. I had wanted to rent a classic car but it ended up being so expensive for just a couple of hours that I couldn’t justify it. A friend of my brothers happened to have a car that he was willing to let us use at no charge. It ended up being a great part of some of our photos and I’m so happy that it came together. Our wedding really felt like a labor of love and we incorporated personal details whenever we could – like the boxer family crest on the fan programs at the ceremony, my grandmother’s veil was used to create a gorgeous pattern on the bottom of my bouquet, my aunt played some of my favorite classical songs as I walked down the aisle, my uncle, who is a pastor, married us. It felt very personal and very connected to who we are and I think that’s why the day felt so magical. We still get compliments on what a great wedding it was!

Molly and Ashley from m three studios and Amy and her team from One Fine Day Productions were fantastic. They really captured the joy and happiness of our day. I had a friend who saw our wedding video comment that she didn’t even realize we had videographers – which is quite an accomplishment as there were 3 of them floating around. We also really appreciated working with Emily at The Madison Club. She was really thorough on everything and created a great peace of mind that everything was going to go according to plan. I really couldn’t be happier with how that all came together. We loved all of our wedding vendors!

There are so many things that stick out from our day. Getting to and walking into the church is probably the most vivid. I had so much going on in the morning and was hanging out with the girls and my mom and setting a few last things up at the reception venue which was too conveniently located next to the hotel. My dad and I headed to the church in the classic car we had borrowed and it was the first time I started to get nervous. The processional had started when we get there so that Tim wouldn’t see me and after a poorly timed bathroom trip (thanks Dad!) the anticipation had really built. I was so nervous and excited and when I heard my aunt start to play Pachabel’s Cannon the whole thing became very real in the best way. All of the hard work and the stress was worth it and I was going to marry my best friend. The whole day was very true to who we are and I couldn’t imagine it going any better!

Photography: m three studio | Videography: One Fine Day Productions | Floral Design: daffodil*parker | Cake: The Madison Club | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alfred Sung | Makeup: Bella Makeup Artistry | Groomsmen's Attire: Vera Wang | Venue: The Madison Club | Bride's Earrings: Ben-Amun | Bride's Gown: Victor Harper

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Modern Wisconsin Art Center Wedding

Don’t color-happy brides seem to have all the fun? Take this lovely Wisconsin wedding for example, with its cheery pops of blue and yellow that look crisp and elegant. Cherry Blossom Events worked its magic, with help from talents like Daffodil Parker, Stitely Orchestra and The Traveling Photo Booth, to make it an unforgettable event, and thanks to the talented Paper Antler you can see all the details right here.

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From the Bride… Andy and I were friends before we fell in love, and all along the way, we both have grown into who we are thanks to all the support we’ve had from each other, but also our dear friends and family. We wanted to make our wedding reflect our deep gratitude for this love and support we have been so lucky to have in our lives, growing up and growing together.

Our mantra throughout the planning process was about reminding ourselves why we were throwing this shindig in the first place and our saving grace in getting our vision to bloom was Sarah and her wonderful team at Cherry Blossom Events.

I had always dreamed of opening my own line of stationery using those old fashioned alphabet beads. We took on the save-the-dates ourselves and Sarah took them to a mom-and-pop copy-shop to be printed and we hand-sewed each card with the beads and slapped a Wisconsin Badgers sticker on the envelope to seal each one closed. I designed the formal invitations, which were then transformed into a full stationery suite by the beautiful work of Sugar River Stationers.

Our wedding weekend was coined a “destination wedding” since both our extended families would be coming to Madison, Wisconsin from out of town. That was an invitation to show off the city we love to call home.

The day we got married was a classic blue-skied Madison day. While we got ready at the hotel, Andy’s father arrived with his usual smile and a gorgeous cheese tray from Fromagination. We then met up with Andy and the groomsmen on Lakeshore Path, and the dreamy Terrace just behind the Wisconsin Memorial Union, for photos. Finally, we were whisked off to the main event at the Overture Center for the Arts.

Cherry Blossom and the Overture Center team had transformed our space there into a perfect balance of comfortable and relaxed beauty with crisp and elegant lines and colors. Striking harvest tables from A La Crate were scattered throughout, intermixed with white rounds, all with milk glass vases scattered about. My step-mom and her friends found the vases antiquing just for this occasion. Pops of the lush flowers by Erin at Daffodil Parker brightened things up even more. Erin also designed my bouquet, and helped include my two grandmothers by weaving in their handkerchiefs.

We were married on the stage but it felt like we were under the stars. This part is hard to describe because it all went so quickly, but it all just felt magical. After a special moment with all of our parents, and a Swedish proverb in honor of Andy’s family, each of our close friends read us a wish for our future in this world. We felt so humbled all over again to be surrounded by so much love and support.

And then… Andy broke the glass, we were married, and the rest of the festivities began! The band kept everyone dancing all night, and it still felt like we were under the stars. Fortunately, we were lucky enough to have Paper Antler there for most of the weekend to capture these moments for us to savor forever.

Photography: Paper Antler | Videography: One Fine Day Productions | Floral Design: daffodil*parker | Cake: Bloom Bake Shop | Stationery: The Bride | Stationery: Sugar River Stationers | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Ann Taylor | Makeup: Kenzie's Kuts | Calligraphy: The Blooming Quill | Favors: Fromagination | Groomsmen Attire: Banana Republic | Venue: Overture Center For The Arts | Chair Rentals: Lakes Area Rental | Event Planning and Coordination: Cherry Blossom Events | Glass Rental: Classic Party Rentals | Linen Rentals: BBJ La Tavola | Photo Booth: The Traveling Photo Booth | Reception Entertainment: Stitely Entertainment | Vintage Rentals: A La Crate Vintage Rentals

Traditionally Elegant Grove Wedding

Now this is what wedded bliss looks like. Bliss in the form of greenery chandeliers (hand-made by the bridal party!), hand-stamped favors, and romance all the way. It’s exactly what you’ll find in this elegant Quivey’s Grove affair from m three studio, and the full gallery is something truly special, right here!


From m three studio… Where to start with this gorgeous day? I think with the ribbons. It was the breeze and the ribbons that first captivated me. (Every bouquet should have trailing ribbons!) This wedding is like a barely cool breeze on a warm summer day – the kind you tilt your head to take in, close your eyes to enjoy the sunshine on your face and take a deep breath of the sweet air. That is this day. Quivey’s Grove was a perfect host to this beautiful and laid-back wedding. Ashley & Mike’s easy style translated so well into tables draped in greenery and speckled with candles, flowing grey bridesmaid dresses, gorgeous all white florals, the greenery chandeliers (hand-made by the bridal party!), vintage chalkboards, nods to their Wisconsin heritage (craft beers!) and little sprigs of lavender to gently scent the day.

From the beautiful Bride… Mike and I live in Boston, but we both grew up in Wisconsin and wanted to incorporate some of our Midwest favorites throughout the day. We served cheese curds, brandy old fashioneds (Mike’s favorite), WI beer, and requested that the DJ play a few polka songs during the reception. Our east coast friends still bring up the cheese curds. If only we could get those out in Boston. :)

I’m really lucky to have so many creative friends and family. Creative and generous. I flew into Wisconsin only a couple days before the wedding and my florist, bridesmaids, and family helped me bring all of my ideas to life. My brother, Ross, created a stamp in the shape of WI for our welcome bags and helped me stamp and stuff the bags for hours one night. My dear friend and bridesmaid, Katie, created all of the gorgeous design elements for my day. Whenever I had a new idea, she would just quickly whip something up and viola!

My other ‘DIY” favorite was the wreath we made for our dinner tent, and by we, I mean I had a vision of what I wanted, but I really have to thank my florist, cousins, and friends for making it all come together. After my bridesmaids and I were done getting ready, we took a walk around the property to help with the last minute details, and found a couple of my bridesmaids husbands in the dinner tent (already dressed in their suits for the party) hard at work hoisting the wreath up above the tables. I remember stopping at that moment and feeling so blessed.

My friend’s mom, Mary, was our amazing florist. I did most of my planning over the internet and had to sort of hope for the best, but Mary made me 100% confident right from the beginning. I told her I wanted everything to look earthy and imperfect, and sent her some pictures of flowers that I liked, but she really brought my vision to life. She made games for our cocktail hour, lent us furniture, decor and even grew her own herbs that she tucked into the greenery and our bouquets. It really surpassed my expectations, and it smelled amazing. :)

Again, without all of the help Mike and I received, we wouldn’t have been able to make everything come together.

If I could offer any advise to engaged couples: Don’t take on more than you can handle and ask for help! I’m a bit of a perfectionist and wanted to be involved in every detail. However, planning a wedding from across the country didn’t make that very easy. It was difficult for me to delegate, mainly because I felt like I was burdening my friends and family, but without them, I would have never been able to make everything possible.

Walking down the aisle with my dad was a moment I’ll never forget. He told me that he was so proud of me, but I started to get emotional and didn’t want to cry, so as we turned the corner, I asked him to talk about the least emotional topic he could think of. He chose the new vegetables he added to his garden that season. “Well Ashley, I added sweet corn, sweet potatoes…” Haha.

But, my favorite moment of the day was when Mike caught me off guard and made a speech during our dinner. He started by thanking my parents for hosting our beautiful day, and then he turned and put all of the attention on me (eek!) and thanked me for being his rock and for always supporting him throughout our relationship. Mike was in school in WI when I met him, and we eventually moved across the country together, started new jobs, and really depended on each other to get through all of the changes in our lives. It’s one thing to have your partner say sweet things to just you, but to have them spoken to all of your friends and family, that really takes it to another level. The entire bridal party was in tears, myself included!

Photography: m three studio | Floral Design: Mary Bilgo | Cake: Chris' Confections | Stationery: Little Ivy Design | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Wtoo | Makeup: Michelle Mraz | Bride's Gown: Christos | Ceremony & Reception: Quivey's Grove | Chalkboards: A La Crate Vintage Rentals

Folk Inspired Styled Shoot in Madison, WI at The Livingston Inn

You know what the day after a long holiday weekend calls for? A big ol’ dose of pretty to inspire the rest of your week, and thanks to April Violet Photography it’s coming right up. Designed to perfection by Cherry Blossom Events with flowers from Madison Wedding Flowers – this gallery is filled to the brim with folk-inspired goodness. See more here

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From Cherry Blossom EventsThis wedding styled shoot was inspired by earthy tones and organic elements with touches of folk design. Subtle elegant touches brought a sense of wedding charm to the mix, and played off the folk art style in the stationery pieces as well as the clothing and overall color palette. The brass candlesticks and formality of the menu and napkin fold brought an elegant feel to the casualness of the style. Melding together the playfulness of a chalkboard runner with the whimsical floral added layers to the table design. All of the greenery in the floral as well as the different textured flowers in pastel colors with hints of dark foliage gave the table an earthy and organic sense and blended the look together. The mini tartlets were a perfect dessert for this and added beautifully to the raw, natural feel. The interior and exterior of the Livingston Inn provided the perfect setting for the natural style. It’s gothic revival architecture with it’s simple, yet stately furniture pieces were a great back ground for this look. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed working with this wonderfully talented group of vendors.

Photography: April Violet Photography | Videography: Treehouse Media | Flowers: Madison Wedding Flowers | Wedding Dress: Monirose | Stationery: Sugar River Stationers | Hair And Makeup: Alice Ezrow | Grooms Attire: Nicholas Schmidt USA | Chalkboard Runner Design: A La Crate Vintage Rentals | Coordination And Design: Cherry Blossom Events | Desserts: Bloom Bake Shop | The Livingston Inn: The Livingston Inn | Vintage Rentals: A La Crate Vintage Rentals

Cozy Engagement Session with Saffron Avenue

A savored morning complete with breakfast in bed and sweet kisses – I am absolutely smitten with our SMP blogger bride Saffron Avenue and her e-sesh captured by Jenna Kutcher. Not to mention the autumn picnic fueled with wine and cheese that followed. One glimpse of the cozy gallery and you will be longing for a Sunday morning with your special someone, I guarantee it.

From Saffron Avenue… Surprisingly enough my fiance and I were actually not going to get any engagement photos taken. We both are very camera shy and also did not have it in our wedding budget. After collaborating with Jenna Kutcher on a couple past blogger bride shoots (and becoming friends) I realized that it is worth every penny and could be a lot of fun.

After setting a date, I had to come up with a unique idea for our little shoot. I thought about having it at a tennis court (where we fell in love), dressing up to the nines and creating a sultry mid-century shoot, or just keeping it simple.

That’s when I realized that we should keep it personal and really capture who we are. Since I still wanted it to be unique I thought a lifestyle shoot would be perfect for us. We both work from home and are such homebodies that we started the shoot at home, in our bedroom, drinking coffee and eating pastries.

After finishing our coffee we got dressed up and had a cozy little picnic in the park, which included a bit of wine and cheese! I don’t think we could have picked a perfect Fall day in Wisconsin, the sun was shining, the weather was perfect, and the leaves were falling.

We couldn’t thank Jenna enough for capturing who we are perfectly. Cheers to the final 6 months of planning and enjoying every last bit of it!

Photography: Jenna Kutcher | Venue: Private Residence

Angela Mondloch

Contributing Editor, Blogger Bride
Wisconsin Farm Wedding

The most memorable weddings, in my opinion, are fabulous and fun and this upbeat farm affair is both. Coordinated by Canvas Weddings and filled with blooms by Alluring Blooms the couples’ special touches made the day extra lovely – like favors of local honey and the mini escort card canoes – and with a fabulous photographer like Paige Green  on the guest list we can relive every gleeful moment here.


From planner Corinne Van Arsdale of Canvas WeddingsThere is a word in the Yiddish language that comes to mind whenever I think of Keri and Ricker and their wedding day: bashert. Bashert means “destiny,” or meant to be, and is commonly used in reference to one’s soulmate. Not only are Keri and Ricker the utter definition of “meant to be,” (they both referred to each other as “my totes bestie” in their vows), but I sort of feel like my role in their wedding was fated.

I met Keri when I was still living in Chicago. I was working at BHLDN-Chicago, and a recently-engaged Keri and her now-mother-in-law were in town for the weekend for a wedding, and decided to drop in to the store to try on some wedding dresses, and I was assigned to handle their walk-in appointment. Needless to say, we got along swimmingly, and after some chatting, I discovered they were from Madison — where I was going to be moving in a few short months. Long story short, Keri and Ricker were the first Madison couple to hire me for their wedding, and my love story with Madison weddings began to unfold.

Keri & Ricker are just special, and I’m so grateful that they’ve become near and dear friends, because I know for certain I would have missed their joy, quirky silliness and their spirit had we stopped spending time together post-wedding. Every inch of this day was sweet, open and pure joy — just like them. The weekend kicked off with a “Welcome to Madison” party at the Madison Children’s Museum that included a Friday Fish Fry, beer on the roof and a performance by an improve troupe. The “farm-fresh” wedding day was held on the groom’s family farm and included a sweet ceremony on the lawn, a sparkling water bar, plenty of hand-made details, delicious cuisine, an epic rain storm and dancing all night to live music.

From The Couple…Aside from throwing a celebration that sincerely reflected our joyful life together, we wanted the events to convey a sense of place. We’d both lived in some amazing locations independently of one another – San Francisco, Denver, Bolivia, Chicago, Central Pennsylvania – and we met in Lake Tahoe where neither of us resided. So, it made sense to us to really highlight Madison as the place where we settled down to begin our life together.

The playful vibe of the museum captured our aesthetic perfectly for the welcome party & rehearsal dinner. We decorated the tables with “still life” collected at local thrift stores. Everything from kitschy Wisconsin souvenirs to Viewmaster reels of UW-Madison of to Packer helmets doubled as centerpieces and floral containers.

We knew we wanted to hold the ceremony and reception on the family farm where Ricker’s parents were married. The property has been in the family since the early 1950s, having passed from his grandparents to his parents. The farm provided the ideal setting for a wedding redolent of pastoral life. The wooden tables dressed in lace and burlap, the horses, the flowers in vintage vegetable cans and delicious, simple arrangements and the Swedish folk-art stage backdrop were just some of the elements we used to call attention to the Norwegian and German farmhouse roots of the area.

If we could make it personal, we did. Rings, earrings, dresses, ties, veils, suits and paper goods were all custom designed for us. Perhaps most importantly, we built the ceremony from the ground up. First we sat down to discuss what was important to us in our future as a married couple. Adventure, laughter, friendship, love, gratitude and family stood out and these principles became readings (and a song) that anchored our ceremony. We enlisted Ricker’s brother-in-law’s father to officiate. He had performed these duties for his own daughter’s wedding and melted our hearts. He was an obvious choice. Our vows were personally written and from the heart, and we sealed the deal with a kiss that ignited actual fireworks detonated by two groomsmen. Delighted yet surprised, my grandmother nearly fell off of her chair!

Ricker and I are each other’s best friends. We certainly take our commitment seriously but never forget to have fun together. Whether we’re singing made-up songs in the kitchen to our lab pup Monty, or hiking in Costa Rica, there’s no other person we would rather be with. And we hope that everyone left our wedding weekend feeling as happy, lively and in love as we did.

Photography: Paige Green Photography | Event Planning: Canvas Weddings | Floral Design: Alluring Blooms | Wedding Dress: Monirose | Cake: Bloom Bake Shop | Invitations: Jasmine Ellesse | Ceremony Venue: Wilamar Farm (Private Family Residence) | Bridesmaids Dresses: Alexandra Grecco | Hair: Nicole Stevens, Fritz & Associates | Band: Platinum Band | Grooms Attire: Sam's Tailor | Groomsmen Attire: Express | Officiant: Friend Of The Family | Brides Jewelry: Lauren Wolf Jewelry | Catering + Bar Service: Chez Vous Catering | Paper Goods (trivial Pursuit, Programs, Escort Cards, Save-the-: Bride DIY | Rentals: Event Essentials | Rentals: A La Crate Vintage Rentals | Shuttles: Gallant Knight Limo | Sunday Brunch: Madison Concourse Hotel | Welcome Party Bar Service: Roman Candle | Welcome Party Catering: Bluephies | Welcome Party Guitarist: Hannah Odland | Welcome Party Improv: Monkey Business Institute | Welcome Party Piano: Gregory Wahlberg | Welcome To Madison Party: Madison Childrens Museum

English Garden Wedding Inspiration Shoot

We have lots of pretty on the docket today lovelies, and we’re starting it off with a bit of garden shoot goodness, English-style. Inspired by Stephanie of Booth Photographics late Grandmother’s wedding cake serving set, every detail that follows took on a life of it’s own. From Alluring Blooms fresh white petals to the lovely cross-back chairs (oh, how I love cross-back chairs), dreaming in this gallery is easy to do.

From Booth PhotographicsEarlier this year, I lost my grandmother unexpectedly. When I traveled to my childhood home for her memorial service, my favorite way to reminisce was by pouring over her wedding memorabilia. It made such a deep impression on me that when my grandfather gave me their engraved cake cutter as a gift, I knew we needed to style a photo shoot around it.

This English garden inspired wedding shoot centers around the idea of leaving a legacy. We began with my English heritage and my grandmother’s cake cutter then began adding details that embody the idea of English gentry celebrating in their historic home village.

This is a delicate balance between the casual and the elegant. The bespoke gown and veil was designed especially for this photo shoot, and the lush florals make you wonder if the beautiful arrangements were foraged that morning in a field. Loose curls, champagne, stone fruits, and signing a family tree add to our vision of creating an event that becomes a legacy. It is casual enough for people to enjoy, but elegant enough to make them feel special.

Weddings are about so much more than pretty details. We wanted every detail to have significance and we wanted to show our brides that the stories behind this wedding are what drives us to capture it beautifully.

Photography: Booth Photographics | Event Planning: Canvas Weddings | Floral Design: Alluring Blooms | Wedding Dress: Monirose | Cake: Cupcakes A Go Go | Invitations: Andra Delores Design | Venue: Allen Centennial Gardens | Decor: Anthropologie | Photography - Film: Laurelyn Savannah Photography | Rentals: A La Crate Vintage Rentals | Rentals: Event Essentials | Rentals: Lakes Area Rental

DIY “Will You Be My Groomsman?” Box

Angela from Saffron Avenue here with my next blogger bride post! With all of the excitement around planning a wedding us brides sometimes forget about how to make the wedding process fun for our grooms, as well. Recently my fiancé saw me creating all of my ‘Will You Be My Bridesmaid’ boxes and wanted to do something similar for his gents. Of course, I obliged.

Since I made all of my bridesmaids a wooden box with goodies we did the same for the guys too. The boxes were also a good preview of what to expect for the wedding and the style. 

First we stained the unfinished cigar boxes and then I hand-painted each of their name on it, inside we included a short note about the wedding details, a small bottle of whiskey, and a cigar for celebration. Each box cost us around $10 to make and was well worth it and would recommend it to anyone.


Unfinished Cigar Box
Dark Wood Stain
Crinkle Paper
White Paint (for the names)
Cigar and/or Whiskey
5″ x 5″ Note about the wedding

Not only was it was neat to see each of their reactions but made it more special for them to be a part of our wedding. You could even have fun with it too and include something personal for each guy. I guarantee the groomsmen will love it!

Photography: Photographs By Jenna Leigh | Invitations: Michaels | Design Studio: Saffron Avenue

Angela Mondloch

Contributing Editor, Blogger Bride
Chic Modern Wedding in Madison

For those of you that are tying the knot in the gorgeous city of Madison, consider yourself inspired. Because this celebration is everything we love about weddings…it’s chic, it’s intimate, it’s chocked full of tradition, glamour and all out loveliness. With photographs by The McCartney’s and florals by daffodil*parker, this is one wedding that will be bookedmarked for years to come. Click here for more!

From The McCartneys PhotographyAll along, Amanda & Nick’s four wedding words were “classic, elegant, soft, and romantic” and when their wedding day came around, every element and moment was anchored in this “theme”! As a couple, Amanda & Nick are sentimental, adventurous, and SO in love, which made for a beautiful celebration filled with timeless, elegant touches (and peonies galore!!!). Personal details like traditional Trentadue family Italian cookies, his/her signature cocktails, and beautiful hand-written vows (that left very few eyes dry during their ceremony) are what made their wedding day so special!

In May 2013, Amanda summarized her wedding as follows and she believes their day held very true to these words!: “My four wedding words are classic, elegant, timeless, and romantic. Our colors are “bright neutrals” – white, champagne, and gold (with pops of coral). Our rehearsal dinner will be at the University Club, and both the ceremony and reception at the Madison Club. There will be approximately 150 guests. My favorite flowers are peonies. The girls will wear long champagne chiffon dresses. The guys will wear plain black suits. Overall, I envision a simple, heartfelt ceremony (we’re writing our own vows), an intimate (or as intimate as 150 can be!) reception with lots of white, and one heck of a party. Our taste is simple yet elegant. The venue is almost masculine (an older, establish space with lots of history) so I want to add soft full flowers and touches of gold and coral. Nick and I also love traveling (I collected 5 passport stamps last year and Nick probably collected 10) so I also want to include this passion of ours somehow.”

From the bride…We wanted to stay true to ourselves and make sure the day, and everything in it, meant something to us. It was important to us to keep the event as small and intimate as possible (for us 150 was small!) and to also exchange hand-written vows.

After toying with the idea of a destination wedding for about a week, it was an easy decision to decide that Madison was the perfect location for our wedding. The city we are both from, the place we met while students at the UW, the location of our first home – Madison will always be home and have a special place in our hearts.

I’m not even quite sure how the Madison Club came to mind, but after exchanging a few emails with the staff and seeing some photos, we were almost positive it was exactly what we were looking for and it only took a short first look at the venue to know for sure. The location was ideal, the food was well-known to be really great, and it had the character and feel we wanted.
Rather than DIYing everything, we worked with a fabulous team of vendors who brought our vision to life better than we could have imagined!

I’d love to say the whole day was our favorite moment because it truly was more than anything we could have dreamed, but three moments stand out…

1) Our first look. Taking photos before the ceremony meant that Nick and I would see each other before but we were totally fine with that idea. And actually, having that time just the two of us before the craziness of the day really started was very special – I’ll never forget those first few moments we got to spend together.

2) The vows. It was important to both of us to write our own vows and that decision might be the best one we made for the entire wedding. Hearing Nick’s vows to me was one of the happiest and most blessed moments of my life thus far, and having the chance to read mine to Nick in front of our nearest and dearest meant so much.

3) The moment right after the recessional. After we were pronounced husband and wife we excited the ceremony room for a few minutes before greeting guests at their seats. As soon as we got to that other room, we hugged and started immediately crying because we were both so incredibly overwhelmed with happiness. We were literally so happy we burst (into tears) :)

As for advice to other brides, make sure you stay true to yourselves! I think a wedding should reflect who you are as a couple and be filled with things you love and elements that are important to you.

And, your bridal party matters! They are your support system during planning but also on the most important day of your lives. Surrounding yourself with people who know you and that you can count on is invaluable.

Photography: The McCartneys Photography | Videography: Don't Shout Films | Floral Design: daffodil*parker | Wedding Dress: JLM Couture, Inc | Cake: Craig's Cake Shop | Invitations: Paper Piper Designs | Bride's Shoes: Tieks | Engagement Ring: A Jaffe Designs | Bridesmaids Dresses: Dessy Collection By Vivian Diamond | DJ: Sound by Design | Bride'sBracelet & Necklace: Tiffany & Co. | Ceremony String Quartet: Quartessence | Ceremony/Reception Venue: The Madison Club | Wedding Ring: The Diamond Center

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
New York Glamour in a Wisconsin Barn Wedding

To infuse a beautiful barn wedding with a bit of New York glamour is to steal hearts left and right and change wedding plans for upcoming barn nuptials, and this couple, along with Cherry Blossom Events, has done just that. Chic from head to toe, the soiree was the perfect marriage of the two seemingly different locales, but as you can plainly see from Paper Antler’s photos, it was an even more perfect marriage for these two sweethearts!

From the stunning bride… The trend in barn weddings for the past couple years has been “shabby chic,” so to speak, with lots of burlap, lace and ball jars. That can be very beautiful, but it wasn’t for us. We met and fell in love in New York, and that has influenced our style and taste. We both went to school in Wisconsin, and that’s also where Nate proposed. We wanted to bring New York glamour to our rustic, Wisconsin venue. We called it, “barn chic.”

We took the time to research vendors, and worked with a lot of wonderful people who love what they do. Our amazing wedding planner, Andrea VandeBerg from Cherry Blossom Events, helped us bring our vision to life. We really wanted this day to be personal, and true to who we are as individuals and together as a couple. We had a close friend get ordained and officiate our ceremony. I designed and printed all of our menus and escort cards at home. My parents cut, stained and painted our card box and direction sign. (Thanks, Mom & Dad!) Part of my wedding gift to my husband-to-be was a surprise whiskey bar. I found the decanters at a vintage flea market and stocked it with some of his favorite whiskeys. I also wore my daily perfume–Prada Candy–on our wedding day.

Even with all of the planning and preparation, nothing could have possibly prepared me for the overwhelming feeling of joy, love and support on that day. It was more than we ever could have imagined, and we are so thankful that we were surrounded by our closest friends and family as we said, “I do.”

Photography: Paper Antler | Planner: Cherry Blossom Events | Floral Design: Flora By Jamae | Wedding Dress: Watters | Cake: Creative Confections By Alicia Russell | Makeup: Hope Stanley | Hair: Charles Ifergan Salon | Tuxes: The Black Tux | Barn: Sugarland | Bridal Earrings: TEJANI | Linens: Event Essentials | Macarons: Madison Sweets | Paper Goods: Paper Piper Designs | Rentals: A La Crate Vintage Rentals | Wedding Dress Boutique: Vera's House Of Bridal

DIY Winter Wedding

I truly feel like this bride and I are kindred spirits. Just like me, she’s a Midwest girl who believes in the magic of winter, and wed her love on the snowiest of days. But what’s left me loving her even more are all the handmade moments she and her ladies crafted all along the way. Paper Antler perfectly documented every last bit, and we’ve got even more snowy goodness you Simply. Can’t. Miss.

From the Bride… I’ve always loved winter, and growing up in Wisconsin, some of my favorite memories are of blustery cold days, snowed in at home with a fire burning in the fireplace. I wanted to replicate that cozy feeling – of being so incredibly content and warm despite the frigid weather outdoors – for our friends and family at our December wedding. With that as our foundation, Dan and I decided on two additional goals for our day: first of all, we wanted to throw a good party; secondly, we wanted to infuse a classic, vintage element, including books, books and more books (because what’s a snow day without a pile of good books to read?).

We didn’t have to search long to find our perfect reception venue. When we saw the gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows, crystal chandeliers and neutral tones that played flawlessly into the ivory and metallic color scheme we envisioned, we booked Lake Windsor Golf Club on the spot. To add the element of eras gone by, we collected old books, typewriters, and mismatched items such as teacups, candleholders, gravy boats and serving bowls from flea markets, thrift stores and relatives’ homes. The larger vintage items such as the suitcases, hinged door and chalkboard signs came from an amazing vintage rental company in Madison, A La Crate (I could live in their warehouse!). My favorite decorations were the old photographs of our parents’ and grandparents’ weddings displayed with the cakes. They not only added a touch of intimacy, but created priceless opportunities to talk to our family about their weddings and marriages as we planned ours.

A large portion of our day was do-it-yourself and only completed thanks to the love and time of those closest to us. One of my bridesmaids, a brilliantly talented graphic designer, designed our invitations. My mother helped me paint the wooden table numbers gold, create the metallic custom paper signs, and (tirelessly) spent days upon days hot gluing silver and gold tinsel to bamboo skewers to use as stir sticks for the cocktail hour. Dan’s sister, an incredibly talented artist, hand-lettered the beautiful chalkboard designs hung throughout the venue, and my grandmother made the flower girls’ dresses along with my veil. One memory I know I’ll cherish forever was staying up late on the eve of our wedding with my bridesmaids and mother-in-law assembling the centerpieces, bouquets and boutonnieres.

The one thing we forgot to plan was our exit. As the night wore on, we completely lost track of time, celebrating with our guests until the venue starting locking the doors, and it was only then that we realized we didn’t have a ride home! Dan’s sister gave us a lift, and after all was said and done, we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect celebration to start our lives together as husband and wife.

We also want to give a shout out to the kind and talented people we are so grateful to have worked with, such as Jonny and Michelle from Paper Antler, Jennifer and Beth from Lake Windsor, and Pastor Dave and his wife Nancy from Blackhawk Church, and many others. Thank you! It was an absolute dream day for us, and I, for one, felt as if I was curled up in front of a fireplace the entire time.

Photography: Paper Antler | Flowers: Flower Muse | Cake: Carl's Cakes | Ceremony: Blackhawk Church | Reception: Lake Windsor Golf Club | Dj: Jukebox Bandstand | Dress Designer: Birnbaum and Bullock | Photobooth: ShutterBooth | Rentals: A La Crate Vintage Rentals

Madison Wedding Inspiration from Krakora Studios + Cherry Blossom Events

We know you come to SMP for some serious eye candy in the wedding inspiration department, which is why we fill our pages with some of the best from the best. This shoot was a collaboration from some serious talent… Cherry Blossom Events, Krakora Studios, Daffodil*Parker, just to name a few. It’s the perfect color palette for a summer soiree, and that watermelon is calling my name. See the whole thing here!

Al Fresco

From the designer… This style shoot came together beautifully!  We were inspired by the fresh and crisp, bright colors of summer – especially our favorite combinations of bright coral accented by a muted teal, gold, and ivory.  We collaborated with an amazing team of talented vendors from Madison, WI who are true artists in the field.  One of our favorite spots just a short drive outside of Madison is this beautiful old mill in a small town near the Sugar River.  It serves as an elegant yet understated backdrop for these beautiful models and design.  We are so excited with the outcome – enjoy!


Event Design and Styling: Cherry Blossom Events | Photography: Krakora Studios | Florist: Daffodil*Parker | Stationery: Sugar River Stationers | Cake and Sweets: Bloom Bake Shop | Grooms Attire: Men’s Warehouse | Bride and Bridesmaids attire and accessories: Premiere Couture | Flower girl attire: J.Crew | Vintage rentals: a la crate vintage rental | Chair Rentals: Event Essentials | Videography: One Fine Day Productions | Hair and Makeup: Rejuvenation Spa | Ceremony Backdrop: Julie VonDerVellen | Venue: Paoli Mill Terrace and Park

Wisconsin Barn Wedding from Lexia Frank Photography

These two have a true love story in their back pockets and the wedding that culminated in these gorgeous images from Lexia Frank Photography was a labor of love in and of itself. After reading their story, I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to put all their efforts into making a day as special as these two – to celebrate these two. You absolutely must read their story, but don’t be surprised if you sit in the gallery for days, totally in awe!

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From the photographer … Julie and Jason are so very special to me, and have an incredible story of true love. Together since college, Julie and Jason spent many years long distance, while Julie pursued her career in dance in LA and Jason finished up Law School in Milwaukee.  once they were finally united in Los Angeles, Jason took his California bar exam (and passed!) while suffering some pretty serious headaches and dizziness.  Examinations proved the worst: a giant cancerous brain tumor.  Thankfully, he survived- thrived really- after many rounds of chemo and radiation, and lots of physical therapy to help regain motor and speech skills.  One day last year Jason proposed to Julie- she had stuck by his side and helped him through surgeries, physical therapy, and acclimating back to regular life. 

Their wedding was done on a seriously extreme budget due to the extensive bills associated with such a situation, and proved to be a labor of love from all family members and friends. Many services, like photography and videography, and some of the decor were donated. I lent an artists hand in hand-lettering the chalkboard signs, and Julie, herself, made the bridal bouquets and boutonnieres from scraps of fabric and wire wisks. But those weren’t the only unique details about her wedding. They decided to forgo a traditional cake for a dessert bar of doughnuts from their favorite independent local doughnut shop in Madison- Greenbush Doughnuts (they have almost a cult following in Madison). Julie found her wedding dress at a local vintage store in LA, for just $180 and the bridal party was given free-reign to choose the dress of their choice, within a few guidelines. Finally, favors of classic Mix Tape CDs were given to guests – mixes of both Julie and Jason’s favorite tunes- in hand-made little envelopes.

From the bride … The day after Christmas his neurologist finally ordered an MRI. After reading the scan he called Jason and told him to go right to the hospital, that they knew we were coming. We found out at the ER that night that Jason’s “vertigo” was actually a cancerous tumor the size of a lemon growing in his brain. Two surgeries immediately followed, along with chemo and radiation. Because the tumor was on his cerebellum, our body’s coordination center, Jason’s speech, balance and vision were effected. It would be a long road of speech and physical therapy as well as monthly rounds of chemo for a year. I was never in a rush to get married. I didn’t need a ring to know what we had was real. Plus we were broke. But going through all of this together made me wonder, “What are we waiting for?”

On Sept 25th, 2011, about eight months since Jason’s surgery, he proposed. It was at the Hollywood Bowl, a beautiful concert venue tucked inside the hollywood hills. I thought this was just a sweet date night Jason had planned for us. He bought the tickets and packed an elaborate picnic. We were in our seats waiting for the show to start and Jason asked the man in front of us to take a picture of us. He snapped the shot, we looked at it and approved, but then Jason asked him to take another. I thought that was weird because the picture looked fine. Instead of smiling for the camera, Jason got down on his knee, pulled a little red ring box out of his pocket and asked me to marry him. And our camera man snapped pictures of the whole thing. It was perfect.

START EARLY!: Even the simplest DIY projects can get tricky or take forever, so begin them early enough to allow enough time to finish or to go a different direction if needed. And this is coming from a seasoned procrastinator, so if I say start early, I truly mean it. Because of all the preparation we had done we were able to go with the flow and have a great time. Of course not everything went according to plan, but since we had put so much work into everything we could easily solve the problem, brush it off and party on.

MAKE YOUR OWN RULES: It’s easy to get caught up in what you think you “should” be doing at your wedding that it becomes more like an equation than a reflection of you and your fiancé. At the end of the day, it’s a celebration of you two and your love. We did things the way we wanted to, not the way someone told us to.

CONSULT WITH AN EXPERT: Just because you consult with an expert doesn’t mean you have to do exactly what they say. But a wedding coordinator or a friend who works in the industry probably has a lot more experience at weddings than you do. It’s helpful to run ideas by them to see if, logistically, they make sense. For instance, we wanted our wedding to feel like a big party, so we didn’t want to tell guests where to sit. We figured then we didn’t need table numbers, place cards, etc. so we’d be saving money too. But after talking to our videographer (my good friend) she advised me not to. She said in theory it sounds like a great idea, but then you end up with an empty chair here and there and guests split up or standing for dinner. So we heeded her advice and made table numbers and just wrote out seating assignments on big chalkboards. That still eliminated the need for place cards, but gave each guest a place to park themselves for the night.


Photography: Lexia Frank Photography | Cinematography: One Fine Day Productions | Flowers: The bride | Event Planning: Erica Hoke, Century Barn Coordinator | Ceremony Location: Century Barn | Reception Location: Century Barn | Invitations: Brendan Loughrey | Shoes: Sole Society | Dress: Shareen Vintage | Vintage Rental: A La Crate | Catering: Underground Food Collective

Wisconsin Wedding from Melissa Hayes Photography

Black and white will never, ever go out of style. It’s fresh and dramatic yet classic all at once and makes for some pretty fabulous images in our humble opinions. Case in point: this beyond lovely Madison, WI wedding from Melissa Hayes Photography. We’re sort of dying over the gorgeous bride and her amazing dress! Oh, and we’ll take her shoes too, thank you very much. Take notes people, this is how you do sophisticated and chic. Click here for even more. 

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From the Bride… Our love story began 11 years ago at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois. While home from our freshman year at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Tom and I took a macroeconomics course to get ahead in our studies. According to Tom’s memory, I turned down his offer in the school parking lot to take me on a date that summer, but I swear he never worked up the courage to ask. Six years later, Tom and I found ourselves in the same bar in Chicago, and the rest was history. We spent one glorious year dating in Chicago before Tom started law school and moved to the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Three years and many miles later, Tom got down on one knee in that same Rock Valley College parking lot where we first met, swearing that he truly believes we would not have ended up together in the end had I not “shot him down” back then.

We looked into various Chicago venues, but soon realized that having our wedding in Madison would allow us to reconcile my “champagne taste” with our “beer budget.” Plus, we wanted to share Madison with our friends and family, and our wedding was the perfect opportunity. As an interior designer, I wanted the aesthetic of our wedding to enhance the architecture and atmosphere of both our ceremony and reception. My concept for the wedding evolved into “the juxtaposition of light and shadow.” However, I enlisted a team of artistic collaborators to bring my vision to life! Our invitations, designed by Sarah Drake, were inspired by a ballet performance and reflected our event in print perfectly! Sarah worked with our budget and helped customize a dramatic black and white design from her collection. Sarah incorporated a map I designed on the back of our reception card, and my mom and I added custom envelope liners and stamps featuring Madison’s capitol. However, my proudest DIY project of the entire wedding was the black envelopes with white calligraphy. I simply printed our guests’ addresses in black ink and traced them with a white gel pen. I can’t tell you how many compliments we got on those envelopes!

For the reception, I wanted to create two distinct experiences for the guests that played on our light and shadow concept. The cocktail hour was held on a balcony overlooking the venue’s light-filled lobby. The flowers and linens were all white and modern, which were complimented by the diffused light in the space. Our florist, Erin from Daffodil Parker, created two dramatic arrangements of various white flowers for maximum impact. Black envelopes with white writing (just like our invitations!) served as escort cards, and we used acrylic frames to add dimension to our signage. During our first dance, I cried because I felt so lucky to have been able to marry my best friend AND have the wedding of my dreams. As the party kicked up, Margot (aka Disco Kitty) read the crowd perfectly and kept the dance floor packed all night with an unexpected mix of mash-ups and forgotten favorites. Thankfully, I booked an amazing photographer to capture all the memories of our day. Melissa Hayes is more than just a wedding photographer. She is an artist that has the ability to photograph details on many scales including the setting, food, and small emotional moments. I could not be more thrilled with how the photos turned out. Finally, hiring a wedding coordinator was one of the smartest wedding expenditures I made. Karolina was amazing to work with and an insurance policy that guaranteed I would have the wedding of my dreams. As a result, Tom and  I were able to be guests at our own wedding and celebrate carefree with the friends and family that our so close to us.

Wedding Photography: Melissa Hayes Photography / Wedding Venue: The Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, Wisconsin / Wedding Planning: Weddings by Karolina / Floral Design: daffodil*parker / Wedding Cinematography: Creative Look Imagery / Catering: Catering a Fresco / Wedding Cake: Craig’s Cake Shop / Wedding Invitations: Sarah Drake Design / Ceremony Music: DJ Margot (aka Disco Kitty) of Style Matters / Cake Stand: Vintage / Reflective Mirror Candle Holders: Jamali Garden / Candles: Quick Candles / Wedding Dress: Vera Wang / Hair + Makeup: Anna + Genevieve of Alan Koa Salon

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The O’Brien Barn Wedding from Andrea Paradowski Photography + Alluring Blooms

With flowers so pretty we could literally cry, this wedding is top of the gorgeous charts. Situated in a Wisconsin barn, it’s as casual and chic as they come – and those aforementioned blooms? From our favorites, Alluring Blooms, no less. Andrea Paradowski Photography really captured the beauty of this soiree and we put it all in a gallery for all our favorite people (you!).

Click here to see the full image gallery!

A little bit about us….I grew up in New Glarus, Wisconsin and my fiance, Christopher, grew up on the eastern side of Washington state. We met at school at the University of Iowa, I was getting my masters in nursing and he was in medical school. Christopher started his residency in July and I work in the pediatric ICU. When we find free time we love to be outside, running, biking, hiking (fishing and hunting for Chris).

While planning our wedding we looked to fulfill three goals; we wanted to have an original venue that allowed us to use our creativity, the locale to utilize Madison-area vendors, and somewhere our guests could enjoy the evening in a relaxed atmosphere. The O’Brien Barn was the perfect location to achieve what we were looking for. We were able to put together a personal event that used locally-produced food and beer with sweet, rustic charm. Before becoming an amazing place for weddings and celebrations, the O’Brien Barn was used for dairy farming. My father spent his career as a large animal veterinarian in the area working in barns just like this, adding another special connection for my family.

Our ceremony took place on the top level (hay mow) of the barn; the ceremony was put together and officiated by my brother. Christopher wrote the vows we each recited. We watered a tree sapling together to symbolize the growth and strength of our marriage. The tree was taken from my parent’s wooded land and will be planted near our home. Our caterer prepared appetizers and dinner utilizing local farmers. The fresh and seasonal flavor of the food was important to us and he captured just what we were hoping for. Dinner was served family-style so our guests would feel as if they were home. A friend bartended, serving up cocktails we each chose into jar-mugs that each guest took as a favor. New Glarus Beer was also on tap outside. We cut a small raspberry-cobbler celebration cake while guests enjoyed delicious cupcakes along with the caterer’s homemade single serving apple pies.

The dinner tables were covered in mason jars Christopher and I had collected from antique stores. In the clear jars were floating candles that provided just the right amount of sparkle and the blue jars were used for the stunning floral arrangements. My father and Christopher gave touching speeches that took us into the dance to continue the celebration. The band, which included a friend of ours, played music we both loved and we danced the night away. Throughout the celebration our guests also enjoyed the photo booth, roasting s’mores by the fire pit, playing a couple of our favorite yard games, and visiting with the cows that live right beside the barn.

For Christopher and I the evening was a perfect mix of visiting with friends and family, dancing, and sneaking away with our photographers to take pictures in the beautiful surroundings.

Photography: Andrea Paradowski Photography with second shooter Angela / Flowers: Alluring Blooms / Ceremony & Reception Location: The O’Brien Barn / Officiant: Brother of the Bride / Brides Dress, Bridesmaids’ Dresses, Grooms Suit: J.Crew / Cake & Cupcakes: Bloom Bake Shop / Catering: Ben Lubchansky of 608 Community Supported Kitchen / Photobooth: The Traveling Photo Booth / Band: The Brandy Mans / Hair: Nicole Brauer and Kari Hillebrand

Madison Wedding by Carly McCray Photography

It’s easy to see why Wednesdays are simply the best day of the week here at SMP and that’s because it’s the one day of the week where we get to host a pretty, pretty parade of seven drop-dead gorgeous weddings. We’re talking all sorts of pretty from DIY to traditional, all updated throughout the day to bring you the best inspiration a girl could ask for. And don’t forget to check out the full galleries of these beauties.

Kicking off the day is this sweet-as-can-be Madison wedding by Carly McCray Photography. This adorable couple opted for an intimate ceremony and reception and invited just forty of their closest friends and family members who then in turn helped create this pretty affair. Guests did everything from sewing napkins to baking cupcakes and they even had a DIY photo booth. See that and so much more here in the full gallery.

Click here to see the entire gallery of images!

From Carly McCray PhotographySylvie + Brian’s intimate wedding took place just outside of Madison, Wisconsin, at the A-MAZ-ING O’Brien Barn and Blue Mound State Park. It was so wonderful to be a part of this incredibly intimate event for two very sweet and kind people. Sylvie is a teacher and Brian a doctor, and their wedding consisted of about 40 close family and friends only. No wedding party…nearly every detail was handled or hosted by their guests, who were incredibly excited to do their part!! It was truly an event for all attending.

Their wedding kept striking you throughout the day with its extremely intimate nature and personal touches. The outdoor ceremony took place on one of the overlooks in Blue Mound State Park, where surrounded by family and friends, everyone contributed sentiments, laughs + hugs. (The ceremony ended with a giant hugging circle!) For the reception, the O’Brien Barn made things that much more personal and was just perfect. The farm is actually a working sixth-generation family farm and inadvertently became a ‘venue’ open to other couples after the family’s daughter renovated the barn for her own wedding a few years ago! Sylvie’s mom sewed all of their napkins on the tables, will be sewing the wedding quilt that guests contributed to at the wedding, and even made her own dress for the day. Their cupcakes were made by their good friend from scratch and modeled after some of their favorite cupcakes from different places they’ve lived in the US. All of the delicious food was via friends at the Underground Food Collective in Madison…and that DIY photobooth was complete with a doctor’s kit just for Brian.

I really could go on and on (and on). They wanted no gifts…just donations to guests’ favorite charities.

Wedding Photography: Carly McCray Photography / Ceremony Location: Blue Mounds State Park / Reception Location: O’Brien Barn / Food: Underground Food Collective / Flowers: Dane County Farmers’ Market / Beverages: Ale Asylum + Oso