Monthly Archives: March 2009

Back to Square One.

Ah.  It’s been a helluva weekend, kids.  I am kind of tired of talking about it, but since this is my wedding planning blog, it needs to be about ALL of my wedding planning…the ups AND the downs.

Well, we decided on a reception venue and decided to re-crunch the numbers, just to make sure.  Thank goodness we did, because we discovered that Little Miss Wedding Planner had been looking at the wrong entree prices the entire time…and with taxes, service charge, etc. the venue we LOVE has now become the venue we can’t afford.

I cried and cried and cried about this all day on Saturday.  But then I realized that everything happens for a reason, and I am not willing to compromise our entire budget just for the location.  We want to have a great party, with a wonderful meal, surrounded by our family and friends.  And we’ll have that.  We just won’t have it at the unattainable, shockingly expensive, “how-could-I-have-looked-at-the-wrong-prices” venue.  And surprisingly, I am ok with that.

I think part of my disappointment was the fact that once we booked, we would be DONE looking.  I have worked so hard, creating spreadsheets, making appointments, dreaming about the endless catering possibilities, so it was distressing to feel like I have to start all over again.  But the good thing is, we now know what we can afford, and we won’t have to compromise on other things, like photography or flowers, just to afford an insanely overpriced venue.

The funny thing is that today, two days after this all went down, I have a much better perspective on things.  Once I let go of the “must have wedding reception at a hotel” dream, the possibilities have opened up.  The Milwaukee Public Museum, the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, and some of the available venues on the lake are all breathtaking venues that would be beautiful–and affordable.  Not to mention the Eisner Museum, which was featured in earlier post.  Either way, I will be marrying my best friend and we will be surrounded by people we love…so it doesn’t matter if our reception is a gala event at a huge hotel or if it’s a backyard BBQ…it’s the love between us and our families that matters.

Did you let go of any wedding dreams and find it worked out for the best?

P.S.  That dream venue shall remain nameless…but needless to say, it was one of the hotels.

Leave a comment

Filed under Venue

More Venue Visits…

Yesterday, Mr. Groomy and I went on three venue visits in one hour!  We hit up three hotels in the area we are looking for.  We had a great time visiting each place and I think we’ve narrowed down where we are going to end up…but first, a recap of all the venues we have visited thus far.

First up, The Grain Exchange Room. This is located downtown on Michigan Avenue, in a the Mackie Building, which is an office building during the week. The GE is really beautiful and elegant, and the catering company is fantastic. We would be the only event and people in the entire building on the day of our wedding! The space is huge and also has a loft area, kitchens, mens and womens bathrooms, and a bonus room, which could be used to store the bridal party’s and parents’ things during the reception. Bartolotta Catering is the company that runs this room, and they are well known in the area for their delicious food. A con of this venue would be the location, as its not very close to the church (but it’s still not too far). Another con of this venue would be that a lot of their packages are piece-meal, meaning sure, there is a room rental and food and beverage minimum, but that doesn’t include silverware and china, which is $5 per person additional, as well as bartender fees, etc. Therefore, the costs could add up. Another con might be that they don’t have distinct area for cocktails–it would all be in the same room…I sort of like the idea of a separate space, but that’s a concession I could make. That being said, the GE is a great space and the company is reputable. You can see pictures and information on the GE Room here: http://www.bartolottacatering.com/ge_home.htm

Next up, The Intercontinental. This hotel is located downtown, about two blocks from the church. Immediate bonus–it’s a hotel! Which means accomodations are easy to get home to! This space is pretty modern, but really elegant–think brushed suede walls. We would be the only event taking place in the ballroom area. They have complimentary coat check, a GORGEOUS pre-dinner space for cocktails and pictures (really open and airy, it looks out over the building’s atrium) and really great food as well. This place is great because pretty much everything is included in your package, so there wouldn’t be a lot of hidden or extra fees. A con of this building would be the parking situation. Although there is a structure onsite, it is a PAID parking structure, so guests would either have to pay parking or we could pick up the tab after the event. The hotel is pretty modern and its layout is too, so it might be confusing to a few old school guests, but overall, we really loved this place. You can see pictures of the Intercontinental here: http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/intercontinental/en/gb/locations/overview/mkewi?rpb=hotel&crUrl=/h/d/6c/1/en/hotelsearchresults

Next, The Hilton Milwaukee City Center. Also downtown, this venue is the farthest from the Church…however, they are KNOWN for their weddings. We would have our reception in their famous Crystal Ballroom, which is a really popular wedding venue in Milwaukee. The feel of the space is VERY traditional, and has a similar feel to the Grain Exchange. It’s a pretty old hotel, so it kind of looks that way (think red draperies, etc). However, the catering manager who gave us our tour said that the hotel is set to start renovations and improvements this May and finish in October of this year. The package works very similar to the Intercontinental (they are run by the same company), so the same things apply–most everything is included. Parking would again be the only con, as again, it is paid. The Hilton had the least food and beverage minimum of the HOTELS we looked at, but it’s also the oldest building, which it does kind of show. Regardless, it’s another nice venue. See pictures of the Crystal Ballroom and the Hilton Milwaukee City Center here: http://www.hiltonmilwaukee.com/wedding.html

Last up, The Pfister Hotel. You can’t get married in Milwaukee and not look at this hotel, even if it’s just for fun–this is THE premier hotel in the Milwaukee area.   This is the most expensive of the venues we looked at, but it’s also probably the most elegant–it really is a beautiful space, and the staff is really great at giving five star service round the clock (even their parking structure has elegant piano music piped into it!). The feel of this space is more modern than the Hilton, but still more traditional than the Intercontinental. It really is gorgeous and the food and design of the event would be fantastic. The huge con of this place is that it really is leaps and bounds more expensive than the others. Plus, since the Pfister is known for weddings, there’s a good chance we’d be sharing the space with another wedding (in a different ballroom, obviously, but on the same floor). See pictures of the Pfister here: http://www.pfisterhotel.com/wedding_events/wedding.asp

You can see pictures of weddings at ALL three hotels we toured here: http://www.marcusweddings.com/

I am so excited!  My parents have already given their opinions, so we’re just waiting to hear from Mr. Groomy’s parents…then  I can call the venue we want and make an appointment to book!  Hooray!  I am so relieved.

So, what venue are we choosing?  Well, you’ll just have to wait and see…

Leave a comment

Filed under Venue

Venue Search, Continued!

The all important “Quest for the Venue” is taking up most of my wedding planning today.  This part, for me, is not fun.  In order to make it more fun, I am really researching all the venues we want to look at and creating charts and graphs to compare them all.  For my Type-A personality, being this organized makes looking for venues a little more fun (but no less stressful!).  I love charts and graphs and files and everything and anything to do with organization, so that part is pretty fun for me.  I thought it would be nice to clue you guys in on our venue search.

Let’s start with what we have nailed down:  our church.  We are parish members here and will be getting married in this gorgeous setting:

the-cathedral1Source: TheKnot.com

I found this picture from one of the featured Milwaukee weddings on the Knot.  Like I said, we are members here, and I love being part of this parish.  Everyone is so welcoming and nice, the services are always beautiful, and it’s nice to be a stone’s throw away from the Archbishop each week (the Cathedral is the head church of the diocese).  So, in researching venues, we are looking for something that is in close proximity to the church and equally as beautiful (and formal), since we really want all parts of the day to “match” well (ie elegant ceremony, elegant cocktail hour, elegant reception).  That being said, here are a few of the venues we will be visiting:

The Intercontinental Hotel

intercontinental1Source: IntercontinentalMilwaukee.com

This is (so far) my number one choice for venue.  It has everything we are looking for–close proximity to the church (only a few blocks–walking distance!–away), it’s a hotel for all of our out-of-town guests, it’s really elegant and swank, and it has delicious food and beverages available.  The picture above is of the hotel lobby–get a load of that chandelier!  Love it.

The Grain Exchange

the-grain-exchange2Source: BartolottaCatering.com

Love this venue too!  It’s a little farther from the church (definitely not walking distance, but less than a five minute drive).  Gorgeous site, we’d have the whole building to ourselves, and the catering company is fantastic.  Cons:  not a hotel, not as close to church.

The Eisner Museum

eisner-museum1Source: EisnerMuseum.org

Another gorgeous venue.  This place is hip and modern–it’s an advertising museum, after all!  We’d get to rent out the whole facility, and it’s right in our neighborhood we currently live.  Cons:  We’d have to price out catering, beverages, and rentals seperately, and it’s the furthest from the church.

We are looking at other venues too, but these are three of my favorites!

Where are you getting married?  How did you pick your venue?

2 Comments

Filed under Venue

Um, Obsessed!

Check out this website I just read about:  http://www.printablepress.com.  What an amazing way for a bride and groom to have beautiful, affordable invititations and stationary!  Basically, this company designs beautiful invites, then sends their brides and grooms a PDF copy of their invite to print on their own, either using their home printer or using a printing service.  The invites are fully customizable and totally adorable.  I am obsessed with this website!  Check out one of my favorite designs:

birdtoldme(Source:  Printable Press)

Seriously, I love this invite.  I think Mr. Groomy and I would change the wording a bit in favor of something more traditional, and we would definitely do the branches and main writing in black and the birdie and or names in our green color…you can see where I am going with this!  Totally gorgeous, I love it.  Shoutout to the wedding blog apracticalwedding.com for showcasing this company!

In other news, sorry I have been a bit MIA.  I am REALLY stressed out about finding our wedding venue.  And Mr. Groomy, although I love him dearly (obviously!), has been less than helpful in alleviating my stress.  I have an action plan, though, so hopefully we will have a venue nailed down soon and then the fun can really begin.  Because right now, I feel nothing but stress!

What are your invitations like?  Did you do them yourself or have them printed?

1 Comment

Filed under Inspiration, Venue

Inspiration Board Teaser

A few things that are inspiring me tonight:

apple-wedding-cake1

Source: The Knot

Um, yes please!  I love love LOVE the apples on this cake.  But I have to admit that I am not fond of the branches or flowers–why is it that all fruit cakes have these?!  Seriously.  Ok, so…take the apples and add them to this next cake…

green-ribbon-cake1

Source: The Knot

…and I think you have some version of our cake!  I picture the swirly design on the second and fourth tiers in black though, instead of white–sort of damask-looking, if you will.  And the letter on top will be black of course…

Yay, wedding cake!

Inspiration board coming soon, I promise.

2 Comments

Filed under Inspiration