Britta and Brandon’s Backyard Wedding

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Where our wedding was, and how we chose the venue(s)

Brandon and I are both originally from Beaver Dam, WI, where most of our family still lives. After toying around with the idea of a destination wedding or something closer to our home in Minneapolis, we realized what was most important to us was to be surrounded by family for our wedding. We were enjoying a post-engagement celebratory drink with my parents when my dad offered to host our wedding in my parents’ backyard. I instantly burst into tears! We were so touched by their offer and knew a backyard wedding would allow us to have the intimate celebration we envisioned.

Our favorite part(s) of the wedding

It was so fun to share the places where Brandon and I grew up together, became friends, and eventually fell in love with friends from near and far alongside our families. The most perfect moment to us was walking into the tent as husband and wife for the first time and seeing all of our loved ones faces smiling back at us.

Planning an at-home wedding definitely added a lot of work during the wedding planning process, but looking around on our wedding day and realizing how much love our friends and families poured into making it happen was incredible. My parents spent months planning lighting schemes, planting schedules, tent placement, and brunch menus to transform their home into a wedding venue. My sister Cobby handcrafted hundreds of paper flowers to create a “WELCOME” sculpture guiding our guests to the reception.

So many personal touches – My Grandpa Ken helped our dads string the hundreds of lights and paper lanterns in the tent, hand-lettered every sign in the yard, and scoured eBay for our vintage ski guestbook. The centerpieces filled beautiful hobnail vases my Grandma Becky had searched out for us as soon as we announced our engagement – we missed her and Brandon’s Grandma Paula but felt their presence in so many ways. Brandon’s family hosted a rehearsal night bonfire BBQ to kick off the weekend, and the wedding night escape to my aunt’s candlelit lake cottage was icing on top.

I could go on forever! (we borrowed golf carts to help guests up the hilly yard! our next-door-neighbors lit the candles before dinner!) Every detail was perfect and we couldn’t have made any of it happen without these incredible people.

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What was definitely worth it

Keeping the guest list to a size that matched “personal and intimate” was really tough, but we were really happy that we felt like we had a fun memory to share with every guest. We ended up with around 130 guests, and it was fabulous to feel like we had a little time with everyone.

Oh, and the dress. Worth. It.

What was definitely not worth it

It was all worth it! Honestly we have no regrets. Maybe worrying so much about the weather – that wasn’t worth it!

Our Planning Guidelines

“Keep it simple, keep it personal” –  I have the tendency to over-research and over-plan. I tried hard to stay focused on our vision and limit myself to a few really great options before making a decision. Also, I told myself that if it wasn’t important when my mom got married, it can’t be that important. Pinterest, magazines, and the internet have turned wedding planning into this crazy thing that you could spend every waking moment on. We aimed to be more minimalist.

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Greatest challenge planning the wedding

We basically built our venue from scratch and did not hire a day-of coordinator, so I was very nervous about day-of logistics throughout the wedding planning process. There are so many things you don’t think about at first: who will receive deliveries while my family is gone taking pictures, who will manage ice/garbage/etc. how do we light the tent, who will refill the generator for the tent (?!!).

With so many variables, I relied on choosing vendors who are known for being flexible and creating a VERY detailed plan that was scheduled in 15 minute increments. I shared my color-coded wedding planning spreadsheet with everyone who helped out with the wedding, fully knowing the day wouldn’t go 100% “to plan” but that at least the many pairs of helping hands would be on the same page. That spreadsheet turned into a family joke, and we never did end up with a great Plan B for the weather!

Resources that helped us along the way

I used the checklist from TheKnot.com to keep me on track overall – but I would definitely recommend that brides pick and choose which “to do’s” really matter to them (no dance lessons for us!). Word of mouth in a town like Beaver Dam goes a long way – I chose my amazing DJ (Sound Effects DJ) through family friends, and I got a lot of help choosing a salon and stylist. Our wonderful florist Gene, from Beaver Floral, is a family friend and gave us invaluable assistance along the way.

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The wedding photos we’re most excited to see

The group shot! Maureen was so accommodating of our crazy idea to try and get a photo of all of our guests together. Everyone was really cooperative and we are so excited to have a memento of the entire party. Maureen also snagged us at the perfect moment to take a few photos together in the “glow’ of the sun setting. We saw some sneak peeks and can’t wait to see the magic!

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 Advice for other people planning their wedding

Decide what is really important to you and forget the rest. I really wanted both Brandon and I to enjoy the experience of planning our wedding, and to look back on the wedding day as special, outrageously fun, and full of love. Putting my foot down for gray tablecloths instead of white ones didn’t meet that criteria of “important” – making that distinction early on helped keep me sane and the budget reasonable!

Other cool stuff people should know

  • We asked the pastor who had married my parents to officiate our wedding ceremony, and we were so honored he agreed to perform the service. The ceremony was touching, just the right amount of funny, and he started the entire evening off with so much meaning.
  • Instead of serving traditional cake or dessert, we used personal-sized cakes at each table to display the table numbers. A note told the guests to dig in whenever they would like – and they totally did! Watching our friends mingle as they bartered for more cake was a hilarious memory from dinner.
  • The selfie stick that my sister brought out for the dance deserves an honorable mention…we spent hours on our honeymoon flight laughing over the shenanigans captured in the candid snaps!

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We chose Maureen Cassidy Photography because

Maureen is so friendly and laid back, and she immediately hit it off with me and my sister the first time we met her. We knew she would fit right in with our fun-loving families. She takes the most beautiful outdoor photos, which was also a priority. We were prepared for anything as far as hosting an outdoor wedding, and we knew we could count on Maureen to capture beautiful moments, rain or shine.

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Where we allocated the most funds 

Food & drink, photos!

Where we allocated the least funds

No upfront venue costs! We saved by buying our own alcohol. We kept “extras” pretty simple (DJ provided ceremony music, we decided against any rentals for decorations).

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 Vendors!

Ceremony & Reception Venue: my parents’ home in Beaver Dam, WI

Hair: MCV Salon in Sun Prairie, WI- Absolutely loved my braided crown and wavy wedding hair – Brides, ask for Kristin!

Make up: my sister and her date Anthony

Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier from Ultimate Bride in Chicago, IL – Wonderful personal service!

Bridesmaids Dresses: Amsale from Bella Bridesmaid in Excelsior, MN

Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Groom’s suit – Nordstrom Custom Fit; Groomsmen’s suits – Men’s Warehouse

Catering & Bar-tending: Upstairs Downstairs Catering in Madison, WI- Amazing service- they kept everyone fed and happy!

Rentals: Modern Rentals in Ripon, WI 

Officiant: Pastor Garrett Kamerling (retired) – It was such an honor to have a trusted family advisor and officiant bless our day.

Flowers: Gene’s Beaver Floral in Beaver Dam, WI- Gene was wonderful, he created the most gorgeous floral centerpieces and arrangements and even straightened my dress as I walked down the aisle!

Invitations: Minted – loved the pre-printed guest addresses!

Dessert: 8 inch cakes from Rechek’s Food Pride in Beaver Dam, WI – were the perfect centerpiece decorated with flowers from Beaver Floral and handmade table numbers

Photography: Maureen Cassidy Photography – Maureen was wonderful with our guests and created the most beautiful visual story of our day!

Videographer: Tommy Schmidt (skishowtom@gmail.com) – Tommy captured our day exactly as we had asked him to – we are so grateful to be able to relive our wedding!

DJ: Sound Effects DJ in Beaver Dam, WI – Chad played at least 3 encores when our guests couldn’t get enough of the dance floor! He was the best!

Maureen Cassidy is a Madison wedding photographer, Madison family photographer & Madison boudoir photographer who loves capturing connections, love and beauty in Wisconsin and around the world. If you would like to send her a message contact her {here}.

 

 

Elsa and Stuart’s Barn Wedding

 Our love story:wedding at cashton barn B&B  groom holding bride canind
Stuart and I met through a mutual friend while we were both living in Boise, Idaho.  We also both happened to work at the same hospital. I was a relatively new nurse working the night shift and just trying not to kill anyone. Stuart was an experienced tech in the ER. He was kind enough to offer up his veins to let me practice my IV skills on him (very brave), so I knew he was pretty special. We bonded over stories about crazy patients and gruesome injuries (as most people in the medical profession do).
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Where our wedding was, and how we chose the venue(s):
We got married at Country Pleasures Bed & Breakfast in Cashton, WI. We first heard about the venue at a wedding show in Madison. We were thinking about doing a barn wedding, and the pictures we saw of this venue were beautiful. We decided to make the 2 hour drive for a visit on a subzero February day during a snowstorm. Not ideal. We had to do a lot of visualizing during the tour because the entire property was blanketed in snow. But even in the snow, the barn was beautiful. The owners, Mary Lou and Jim, were beyond fantastic. We loved the venue, but Mary Lou and Jim were honestly a big part of the reason we decided to get married there. They went above-and-beyond, especially during the weekend of our wedding. They helped us set up, celebrate, and clean up. They even offered to drive 40 minutes each way to pick up pizza for us the night before the wedding. Amazing. We also liked the fact that we could rent the venue for the entire weekend, and were able to have our close friends and family stay at the bed and breakfast with us. Plus, the barn has a bowling alley. How could we say no to that?
The wedding photos we’re most excited to see:
The first look photos, ceremony photos, and the photos we did at sunset!
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Our favorite part(s) of the wedding:
Walking down the aisle and standing at the altar were probably my favorite parts. We had a slight music snafu, so none of the songs we had agonized for hours about were played during the ceremony.  I remember thinking it was going to be awkward walking down the aisle with no music, but instead I found it incredibly peaceful. And even though we were standing in front of all our family and friends, I really felt like it was just Stuart and me. It was perfect. I also loved the first look. It was so nice to have a little alone time before the wedding.
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What was definitely worth it:
The venue, photographer, and desserts. We were able to have a whole weekend to celebrate with our family and friends at the bed and breakfast. Setting up the day before, bowling in the barn, and enjoying the wonderful homemade breakfast with everyone the morning of the wedding are some of my favorite memories.
What was definitely not worth it:
The stress. Seriously. I had nightmares for months leading up to the wedding because I was worried I would forget something. I don’t really know if it’s possible to plan a wedding without stress. But if it is, I highly recommend it.
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Our Planning Guidelines:
The main thing we tried to remember was the fact that this was a celebration of love. The people we invited are the people we love and the people who love us. Would they notice if the centerpieces weren’t perfect or if we did a buffet instead of a plated meal? Maybe, but who cares. In the end, we just wanted to plan a nice party for all our friends and family to share with us.
Greatest challenge planning the wedding:
Not comparing everything we were doing to something we saw on Pinterest or in wedding magazines. It was easy to fall into that trap and get discouraged. Often it was Stuart who would remind me that no, our wedding wasn’t going to look like the one I had just pinned. But that’s a good thing. Our wedding was our wedding. It was us.
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Resources that helped us along the way:

I may have just gotten done explaining how evil Pinterest is, but I really don’t think we could have planned our wedding without it. It’s a necessary evil in this day and age. I also really liked www.apracticalwedding.com.  They have great articles and how-to’s. From how to create a seating chart to how to mix your own wedding cocktails and how much booze to buy.

Advice for other people planning their wedding:
Plan the wedding you want, not the one everyone else wants. Don’t do something just because you feel people “expect it”. It’s your wedding, you get to say what happens. Also, on the day of the wedding, delegate and let someone else handle the stress.
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We chose Maureen Cassidy Photography because:
We loved the photos we saw on Maureen’s website. Once we met with Maureen, the decision was easy. She’s so down-to-earth and easy to work with. She put us at ease during our engagement shoot while we were awkwardly posing, pretending to meow like our cat. She also offered us beer when we first met with her, so I’m pretty sure Stuart was sold then.
Vendors!
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Country Pleasures Bed & Breakfast
Hair & Make-up: Cura Salon
Bridesmaids Dresses: Wtoo (purchased from various websites)
Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Macy’s, Banana Republic, Ties.com
Catering & Bar-tending: Famous Dave’s of La Crosse. My dad and uncle mixed big batches of cocktails for our self-serve bar. We bought all our wine, beer, and liquor from Steves’ in Madison. They were super helpful!
Rentals (tents, chairs, linens, etc.): Nelson Agri-Center
Officiant: Sheila Roehl (Rose Weddings)
Flowers/Florist: Sunborn Gardens. They made all our bouquets and boutineers and provided us with buckets of mixed seasonal flowers that we arranged for centerpieces.
Invitations: Designed by bride, printed at StudentPrint
DJ: Perfect Night DJ

 

Maureen Cassidy is a Madison wedding photographer, Madison family photographer & Madison boudoir photographer who loves capturing connections, love and beauty in Wisconsin and around the world. If you would like to send her a message contact her {here}.
 

By | August 26th, 2015|Wedding Photography Madison WI, Wedding photography WI|0 Comments

Emily & Andrew’s Lake Geneva Wedding

unique madison wedding photographyThe love story

Our love story goes all the way back to 5th Grade! Andrew and I first met when he moved down the street from me. We became friends right away that summer and spent most of our free time playing games with our siblings and neighborhood. We stayed close through out Senior year of high school, when we started dating. Unfortunately, it didn’t last too long and I (yes, I, Emily!) broke up with Andrew after a few months. After that I had to work really hard to get our friendship back….but eventually it happened. Andrew and I continued to get together during breaks from school and always kept in touch while we were busy at college. We went out together with a couple of friends for New Years Eve 2011. Andrew went around the party telling people that we were engaged…even though we weren’t even dating! We started officially dated in March 2012, when I lived in Milwaukee and Andrew lived in Lake Mills. Our schedules were hectic, so we were lucky to see each other once a week. In August 2013, Andrew made me a homemade Italian dinner, then asked to go outside and take pictures with his new camera. While we were mid-picture, Andrew got down on one knee and proposed.first look embrace photobride and groom kissing nature groomsmen having fun groomsmen natural fun photographyWhere our wedding was, and how we chose the venue

Our wedding was at the Grand Geneva in Lake Geneva, WI. We chose the venue because we wanted a place where we could have both the ceremony and the reception. The outdoor ceremony location was gorgeous, as was the ballroom we chose.

Our favorite parts of the wedding

It’s so hard to pick! Obviously “I do,” was one favorite. Another favorite was taking pictures. Andrew’s favorite part was taking group photos and mine was our first look and pictures together. Another one of my favorites was the sermon during the ceremony. Our Pastor made it funny, relatable, truthful and tied it all together with our faith. Lastly, the dance! It was so fun to let loose and dance with everyone that came to celebrate with us!

black and white bride and father picture kids with dad at wedding ceremony candidfather with bride and groom at altarceremony details wedding shotsWhat was definitely worth it

The Venue, Photographer and DJ. Those were the things the meant the most to us. We wanted the space to create an event we would remember and always love. We wanted a photographer that would photograph the wedding and our guests the way we remembered them instead of staging everything. And we wanted a DJ that would help make the ceremony and reception flow and play music that we could dance to.

Greatest challenge planning the wedding

Decision making! There are soooo many decisions to make, it gets overwhelming and that takes the fun away.
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Resources that helped us along the way

The Knot app for my iPhone. It gave me rough deadlines for when certain things should be done.

Advice for other people planning their wedding

Don’t stress about anything on the day of your wedding. It’s not worth it. The day is going to be as perfect as it can be with or without you stressing.reception details photo happy bride with dog natural photo first dance photo madison wi fun natural dancing wedding photo wi family and friends dancing receptionThe wedding photos we’re most excited to see

Our night photos! We told Maureen we wanted Sunset photos, but there wasn’t much of a sunset. So Maureen came up with another idea of taking night photos and using street lights, fountain lights etc. We are beyond excited to see them.

We chose Maureen Cassidy Photography because

Maureen came as a recommendation from our DJ, Milwaukee Airwaves, but we chose Maureen Cassidy Photography because we LOVED ALL of the photos we saw from previous weddings. When we met with her for the first time, it felt like we already knew her. She is so comfortable and easy to be around; her energy is contagious and she was always coming up with different ideas.black and white contrast night bride and groom newlyweds kissing happy outside black and whiteVendors

Ceremony Venue: Fairview- Grand Geneva

Reception Venue: Evergreen Ballroom- Grand Geneva

Hair: Grand Geneva Salon and Spa

Make up: Grand Geneva Salon and Spa

Wedding Dress: Bliss Bridal and Alterations done by Bridals by Joyce

Bridesmaids Dresses: Nordstrom

Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

Officiant: Pastor Clark (our highschool teacher and close friend)

Wedding coordinator: Kate from Grand Geneva

Flowers/Florist: GiaBella Flowers

Photography: Maureen Cassidy Photography & Rejoy photography 2nd shooting

DJ: Milwaukee Airwaves (they were awesome!)

 

Maureen Cassidy is a Madison wedding photographer, Madison family photographer & Madison boudoir photographer who loves capturing connections, love and beauty in Wisconsin and around the world. If you would like to send her a message contact her {here}.

 

Megan & Jason’s Wisconsin Winter Wedding

Where were your wedding and reception and how did you choose the venue(s)?

Our wedding ceremony was at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish in North Lake, WI and our reception was at The Delafield Hotel in Delafield. We chose our church because it reminded Megan of the church she grew up going to. It’s cozy and beautiful. It really made our ceremony feel intimate and personal.

We picked the Delafield Hotel because of its old world/antique charm. Also, the on-staff wedding planner, Erin, was phenomenal to work with and she made planning our wedding reception so easy. 

What memory stands out most from your wedding day?

Off the top of my head, my favorite memory was how awesome our dance floor was! There was NEVER a dull moment and everyone looked like they were having a blast!

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What personal touches did you add to the wedding to make it your own?

We chose vendors who knew us personally and could customize their services to us. Our priest has been a friend of Megan’s since Kindergarten; our DJ was a friend of Megan’s from high school; Maureen has been our buddy/coach/photographer for a few years (and for many more to come)! We picked our favorite colors to decorate with and to base our floral choices around. We decided to have a bean bag toss game instead of glass-clinking as it’s one of our favorite tailgate games. The game had the logo of the gymnastics academy where we coach together on display. Jason also made a fantastic slideshow of photos of each of us growing up, us together, and our favorite people!

What was the most enjoyable part of planning your wedding?

Megan most enjoyed that we were able to work together as a team to make decisions. It wasn’t always easy, but we always figured out how to make a decision we were both excited about. It bonded us and brought us closer together.

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So stinkin’ sweet- I love it when grooms want to take their own pictures of the beautiful bride!

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What was your greatest challenge in planning your wedding? What did you feel least prepared for?

Wedding planning wasn’t too tough at all for us. We were extremely lucky. I would have to say that I felt least prepared for how difficult it was to try and see and speak to all of our wedding guests. I wish the night could have lasted longer so I could have connected with everyone!

What resources (blogs, friends, websites) helped you in planning your wedding?

I glanced at Pinterest to get some ideas, but not too closely. Pinterest pressure is a real thing! Etsy, however, became my best friend. I got lots of ideas from the site and found some great deals, too! Plus, I loved that most of the items I shopped for were handmade. I used theknot.com for the checklist. It helped me prioritize the order of our ‘to do’ list.

groom being thrown in the air playful wedding photo groom and groomsmen having fun photo gymnastics students photoThese ladies are some of Megan and Jason’s students so I did some fun shots of them at the venue.
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What advice do you have for people planning a wedding?

Don’t be afraid to break the rules. While we followed many of the wedding traditions out there, you definitely don’t have to. Your wedding should reflect YOU! 

Which moment(s) are/were you most excited to see in your wedding photos?

I’m most excited to see the moments that we were unaware Maureen captured! Candid photos are my favorite!

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Why did you choose Maureen Cassidy Photography?

Because she RULES! DUH!

Wisconsin Wedding Vendors!

Ceremony Venue: Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish 

Reception Venue: The Delafield Hotel 

Hair & Make-up: Creative Flair Salon 

Wedding Dress: Brandi’s Bridal 

Bridesmaids Dresses: The Wedding Shoppe 

Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

Catering & Bar-tending: The Delafield Hotel 

Officiant: Fr. Jacob Strand

Wedding planner: Erin Neureuther (with The Delafield Hotel)

Flowers/Florist: Waukesha Floral & Greenhouse 

Invitations: Minuteman Press (formerly R.B.’s Printing, INC) 

Dessert (cake and such!): Our cake was from Piggly Wiggly 

Photography- Maureen Cassidy Photography Like there would be anyone else?? 😉 & 2nd shooting-Sarah Maughan of  Urban Anchor Photography

DJ: We used Sound By Design for our DJ and lighting services.

Maureen Cassidy is a Madison wedding photographer, Madison family photographer & Madison boudoir photographer who loves capturing connections, love and beauty in Wisconsin and around the world. If you would like to send her a message contact her {here}.