Wedding Wednesday: Choosing Our Vendors

Wedding Updo HairstyleHappy #WeddingWednesday! I wanted to spend today talking about the process of choosing our wedding vendors while sharing some more of our pre-ceremony photos. I’ll warn you now that this post got much longer than anticipated.

To start, we got married at the Watermark at Shully’s in Thiensville, WI – right in the heart of our hometown. We looked at quite a few venues throughout the Milwaukee area, and I even sent some one-off emails to venues in Lake Geneva and Kohler. I also forgot until I started typing this post that my mom and I even drove to a winery in Rockford (I think?) one day that was just starting to host weddings. Clearly, we were a bit all over the place. It was one of those we need to see every single possible option before making a decision (and by we I mean me) and knowing that we had weighed all of the options. Since Bill and I both grew up in Mequon and have large families that still live in the area (my mom is one of eight), it made the most sense to find a venue in our hometown, and the Watermark could not have been more perfect for us.

It had a beautiful outdoor space for the ceremony, a tented area for cocktails with flooring (this was also our rain backup plan which made me feel a lot more sane knowing we wouldn’t need to scramble due to the weather day of, if needed) and then a gorgeous banquet room for dinner and dancing. Another added bonus of the banquet room that we didn’t anticipate was that guests could access an air conditioned space really quickly. It was h-o-t the day of the wedding.

We also went with Shully’s because their food is incredible. The tasting was one of my favorite parts of the planning process, and I even used our wedding meal as part of my anniversary gift for Bill. More on that later.

Wedding Updo HairstyleGroom Gray Plaid Wedding TieWhite and Blush Bridal BouquetGroom Waiting for First LookI could spend an entire post raving about our photographer. We feel so lucky to have gotten to work with Quyen and even luckier to now call her a friend before photographer. During one of my late night vendor searches, or as I like to call it a black hole of online searching, I stumbled upon Molly’s blog and absolutely loved her wedding photos. I sent her an email, and she couldn’t say enough amazing things about Quyen.

I quickly sent Quyen a note, and she asked if I had time to talk over the phone. This really stood out to me during the search process. At first, I was all I don’t really think I have time for a call, but the second we started talking, I knew I wanted to work with her. I had already stalked her work and could see how talented she was and as we kept talking, she felt like an old friend. She’s one of those people that you feel great just being around. Quyen was a complete rock star the day of the wedding – she made the group photos as painless as possible for the guys and had us laughing along the way, all while capturing really genuine moments. We will treasure these photos forever.

Shully's Watermark Wedding VenueAfter solidifying our photographer, I started the search for a videographer in the area that wouldn’t completely break the bank. I love wedding videos, but wow can they get pricey. A friend at work told me about Character D Films. The owner is also from our hometown so we met over margaritas and chips and queso so you could say I pretty much knew on the spot that we would get along just fine. The team was incredibly nice and talented, and I cry every.single.time I watch our video.

Here’s the link to the video – I have more stories to share about the day, but I watched it last night as I was writing this post and got too excited and am sharing it early.  Patience isn’t my strong suit.

Hayley Paige Wedding Dress Bride Updo and Statement Earrings Cutest Ring Bearer We worked with Impressions by Esther Fleming on the flowers. We had heard really good things about her through the grapevine. More specifically, we heard that she could do a really great job for a really great price. As we looked at the budget, we knew this couldn’t be something we went crazy on even though I would have liked to put flowers everywhere. Esther was patient with us as we figured what we wanted and determined our price point. She offered creative solutions at each meeting and ultimately did a great job for a great price point. The other benefit to working with Esther is that I swear she had at least one of everything you could possibly need. In addition to the flowers, she provided the oversized frames for our place cards, picture frames that went around the guest book, vases, candles and more.

One tip if you work with Esther: She is hard to get in touch with. Once you schedule an appointment with her and meet in person, do not leave without scheduling your next meeting. Otherwise, it might be awhile. Don’t say I didn’t warn you 😉

Wedding Party Group PhotoBride and Groomsmen PhotoBridesmaid and Groom PhotoWe got our hair and makeup done at Erik of Norway. I was really impressed with them throughout the entire process. They were extremely accommodating for our larger wedding party and super easy to work with, not to mention the fact that I wanted to be best friends with my hairdresser and makeup artist. That reminds me that I need to go back and pay them a visit. I would love to get another makeup tutorial from their team.

Shully's Watermark Wedding VenueI mentioned this in my last post, but our wedding planner was a total life saver. As I’m reminded as we continue to search for a house, I was not and am still not great at making big decisions. Everything took longer than it needed to, and I was having a hard time picturing all of the different elements and how they would work together. Amanda would help me narrow down choices, keep me on schedule and offer inspiration and solutions whenever needed. The day of the wedding, she kept things moving and went above and beyond throughout the night.

Bride Updo HairstyleMilwaukee Wedding Vendors I’ll share more about the really important things like our cake and the band next week, but for now, I included a full list of our vendors below. My overall recommendation for choosing wedding vendors (especially your photographer, videographer and planner) is to find people you genuinely want to spend time with throughout the planning process and the day of the wedding. If you’ve been emailing back and forth and still aren’t quite sure, take the time to meet with them in person, if you’re able, or talk to them on the phone.

With all of that being said, one of the best pieces of advice a family friend shared with us (thanks, Doc Seymour) was to remember that this is about the marriage not the wedding. At the end of the day, the ceremony was the most important part for us and a really, really special moment with our family and friends. So, we can talk all about the pretty little things, but I think this is a very valuable reminder.

Photos by June & Jae Photography

FULL VENDOR LIST
Dress: Bliss Bridal | Seamstress: Tina Cotton (message me for contact info) | Hair and Makeup: Erik of Norway | Flowers: Impressions by Esther Fleming | Logo: Ink Jelly | Invitations: Lexi Swain (Bill’s cousin and one of my amazing bridesmaids) | Band: Northcoast Orchestra | Location: Watermark at Shully’s | Rentals: Canopies | Cake: Simmas Bakery | Linens: BBJ Linen | Videography: Character D Films | Photography: June & Jae | Wedding Planner: The Bride Consultant

Leave a Comment

2 Comments

  1. Lauren wrote:

    Thanks for the post!.
    Did your photographer work with a second shooter ?
    Thanks!
    Lauren

    Posted 2.23.17 Reply
    • Great question! Yes, I should have mentioned that! We opted for a second shooter, knowing that the guys and girls had such different schedules, I wanted to make sure we captured both of our mornings. I think it would have been okay without one, but in my opinion, it was worth the investment. It also helped with our timeline. One handled the bridesmaids and one worked with the groomsmen to keep photos moving. Hope that helps!

      Posted 2.25.17 Reply

Follow @carlyritt_ on Instagram

  • This summer marked two years since my brother passed away, and we’re nearing a year since we lost my mom to cancer. I've been working on a post about how to help a grieving friend for a while now and finally hit publish tonight. Grief is messy, but I've been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by an incredible support system and wanted to share some of the things I've appreciated most (and let’s be honest, I’m probably forgetting something). I’m also feeling extra thankful for the best snuggles from our little angel baby. She came when we needed her most 💗
  • Missing my mom more than ever this week and so wishing she could’ve met Ainsley. She would’ve been the best Grandma. She may not have ‘liked people’ 😉 but she loved her family (okay and her friends) more than anything. So grateful to have our raw wedding video footage to relive moments like this (with her and Uncle Kev) and thanks for the commentary @juneandjae ❤️
  • I blinked, and you weren’t a newborn anymore. You still look just like your dad, and I’m trying to pass my love for stripes onto you already. We can’t thank @lqmke enough for sending us Ainsley’s first @macandmia box that I shared more about in my Stories (I want a pair of these pajamas in my size, please). I also included a link in my bio for $20 off your first box. Use the link and stylist code LINDSAYF to make sure you get the same stylist as our sweet girl 💗
  • I’m still living in comfy joggers and button down tops, but I’m heading out to dinner tonight and excited to pull out some of my favorite pieces from last year. I splurged on the Stuart Weitzman OTK boots as a pre-baby “to me, love me” gift but didn’t love the fit for my height (I’m 5’2”). I’ve tried three other flat, OTK options from Nordstrom but still haven’t found anything I like as much as this $40 pair from @target. I cut the ties in the back because they seemed really long, and you definitely have to tie them tight to hold them in place but for the price, you can’t go wrong! Swipe to see a close up 📷. I linked the boots and similar tops and skirts in the @liketoknow.it app to easily recreate the look. http://liketk.it/2y8UW #liketkit #LTKunder50 #targetmyway #everydaymadewell
  • I’ve said it before, but motherhood truly is the hardest, most rewarding and humbling job. It’s questioning yourself all day long, but ultimately knowing what’s best for your little one. It’s wanting 20 hands to do more but also just wanting your own two hands to hold her a little longer. It’s crying because of the scary firsts but then crying tears of joy when you see the first smile. It’s worrying something’s wrong in the middle of the night and looking at her only to find her sleeping peacefully, giving me a friendly reminder to “relax mom”. I’ve waited and watched her put herself to sleep only to start missing her the second she closes her eyes. I clipped her thumb the first time I tried to cut her nails. I’ve spilled my breast milk. I’ve had days where I’ve done too much and days that I didn’t leave my bedroom. My body leaks when I least expect it. My back hurts from leaning over the bassinet to comfort her. Last night, I felt the most tired I’ve ever felt in my entire life only to feel completely recharged when she curled her head into my chest after her first feeding this morning. I’m sad thinking how fast she has grown but so proud of her already at nearly seven weeks. Ainsley Rose, you’re our greatest gift. Thank you for making me a mom. #honestmotherhood #motherhoodunplugged

Follow Me On Instagram