» to & from magazine: valentine’s edition «
Michael and I are in the He/She section, which starts on p110. It’s cool to be in such amazing company as Susan and William of House of Brinson—I love those Little Owl Design plates she chose. Brian and Elizabeth of Brooklyn Supper are new to me, but Dude can rock a Fair Isle sweater and I now want that St. Francis of Assisi statuette from Brian’s wishlist.
Michael was a bit saddened by the fact that two of the items he suggested were on other blogger’s wishlists (the campfire candle on p97 and the wooden map on p101). They also chose not to include a few of his other wants, most notably the Quelque Chose by Unibroue (Meg points out that the site says the beer is no longer available—nice, Michael).
He also realized that his list wasn’t really as “curated” as what other people put together. I shamefully put together a board on Pinterest so that I could see if any items stuck out/looked really weird with the others. You can check out my EXTENDED wishlist on my To & From Pinterest board.
Many of the other bloggers in this issue are new to me (I was familiar with more in the Holiday 2012 issue), but two felt noteworthy:
- Fellow Chicagoan Nicole Balch of Making it Lovely shares a selection of gifts for kids (p20), and,
- Melanie Blodgett of You Are My Fave (who I met at Alt Summit last year) curates some great gifts for single friends on p88.
Okay, I guess that’s it for now. Anyone have exciting Valentine’s Day plans or any particular gifts you are hoping to get? [Confession: I actually already bought myself the vu de l’extérieur print and Endless Bummer tote from Fieldguided AND the Nicole’s Classes floral class taught by Chelsea]
» wandawega holiday craft camp «
Near the end of last year, I had the pleasure of hosting a small weekend gathering of fun and creative women up at the incredible Camp Wandawega in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. It was a chance for guests to get away from the city for two days and two nights to make new friends, learn a few crafts, exchange holiday cookies, eat some great food and relax in the gorgeous (but rustic!) accommodations of Camp Wandawega.
Before I go into any details, I want to thank my co-hosts: Tereasa Surratt, of Camp Wandawega, who provided the amazing accommodations along with party provisions and an amazing tour of the property full of scandalous history facts and rides on the rope swing; and Emily Berman, who helped me plan and prepare for the weekend and then slaved away in the kitchen making many amazing meals for our guests. I also want to thank David (Tereasa’s husband who helped with the tour and errand running), Bill and Joe (the ever-helpful handymen of Wandawega), my husband Michael (who took all of the amazing photos you see here) and Craighton, Emily’s husband, who manned the grill and helped prep food (both husbands were on dish-duty - bless their souls).
Okay, on to the weekend…
FRIDAY // dinner
Everyone arrived on Friday evening, settled into their rooms, and then gathered in the lodge for drinks and snacks. Dinner was served around 8 or so. We had butternut squash soup with a choice of toppings (yogurt, prosciutto chips, pomegranate seeds and roasted pumpkin seeds), pretzel rolls and apple carrot slaw - all made from scratch by Emily (except the rolls).
The evening devolved into more drinks and much conversations around the fire in the lodge (sorry there aren’t many photos from Friday—you can see some Instagrams over on Storify).
SATURDAY // breakfast + camp tour
Somehow on Saturday, everyone was up bright and early. After grabbing coffee and a quick breakfast (muffins, fruit, etc.), Tereasa led us on a tour of camp. We strolled from room to room in the lodge, learning stories of previous owners and the alternately innocent and nefarious activities of decades past. She showed us a trap door leading to a crawl space that once stored booze and some markings on the ground that indicate where a large bar once stood. We explored the other buildings, looking at the floor treatments from different decades and learning of horders that they had to kick off the property.
Halfway through we took a rope swing break. Some of the girls, like Lisa, required no prodding and were soaring through the air in no time. Others took longer to work up the courage.
David led the second half of the tour. Unlike Tereasa shuttling us from space to space, David preferred the point-and-lecture method. When he was done talking, we ran around checking out all the newer buildings on the property (the tree house, painting studio and canned-ham trailer).
SATURDAY // snowglobes: part one
After the tour, we started in on craft #1: snowglobes. Using recycled jars (from pickles, jams and other culinary uses) and goofy miniatures (many from Uncle Fun), we had fun creating little dioramas on the jar lids. Amanda used a tall skinny jar, totem pole whistle and baby miniature. Marta added a washi tape tree scene to her jar containing a ballerina balancing on a panda. There was a scary clown, an ode to golf and some more standard Christmas scenes, too.
We had to wait for the glue to dry before adding the “snow” (which we did on SUNDAY, although all photos are grouped here).
SATURDAY // lunch + holly corsages
Pizzas from Sperino’s arrived as we were finishing up our snowglobes. While everyone mowed down on pizza and salad, I changed-over the craft space for making holly corsages. I expected the snowglobes to be a bit silly but I hadn’t imagined the bizarre creativity everyone would bring to the corsages. Instead of following their leader, the girls went off making elaborate pins, bracelets and barrettes. Melissa made a festive tied headband.
SATURDAY // cocktail demo
We moved over to the card room on the top floor of the hotel for a cocktail demo. A collaboration between me, Emily, and Lindsay, we styled a holiday bar and served Cranberry Sidecars. Lindsay gave a bit of history surrounding the sidecar and mixed up the cocktails using a cranberry syrup handmade by Emily (I wrote a full post, including recipes, in a previous post: cranberry SIDECAR).
After the demo, we reconvened for a more casual craft: gift tags. This one was less how-to and more do-whatever-you-want. I put out pre-cut tags that I made on my Silhouette SD, twine, rubber stamps, washi tape, punches, etc. and the girls created some unique tags for holiday gifting. Audra made some patterned tags by repeat-stamping a tree branch stamp. Amy made some amazing wooden leaf tags.
SATURDAY // dinner
Dinner on Saturday was amazing. Craig helped grill up salmon, that was served with a maple mustard sauce. The rest of Emily’s meal included brussels sprout slaw with pomegranate and pumpkin seeds, brown butter mashed potatoes with sage and maple-thyme roasted carrots.
We had so much food that we invited some neighbors over (who brought pimiento cheese as a before-dinner snack). In all, Emily served, I think, 17 (or more) adults an incredible homemade meal.
Following dinner, we busted out the cookies and baked goods for dessert. Each of our guests had brought a different treat to share, and we served them up with more wine, beer and bourbon. We gathered around the fireplace and played an ad hoc version of Telestrations—while the guys drank bourbon around the fire outside. The conversations that happened that evening are best left undocumented, but it’s safe to say that we all felt “SO BLESSED” to be a part of such a fun evening.
SUNDAY // breakfast + snowglobes: part 2 + back to reality
Sunday morning got started a little bit later than Saturday did—but when everyone awoke they were treated to a hot cup of coffee and a delicious egg casserole with carrot and goat cheese. Once all guests was present and accounted for, we headed to our craft stations to finish off our snowglobes.
After a few final rides on the rope swing, everyone packed up to head home. Each guest left with a package of cookies (one from each that we brought) and various pieces of schwag that I made for the weekend.
[all images except logo and bio images by Michael Kiser of Good Beer Hunting]
» cocktail: cranberry sidecar «
Tomorrow I have posts going live (both here on my site and over on A Very Modest Cottage) about a Holiday Craft Camp that I hosted back in November. A dozen+ helpers and guests headed to the always-amazing Camp Wandawega for a weekend of crafting and good food. One of the “sessions” that we put together was a cocktail demo.
My co-host Emily, of 52 Meals, came up with the idea of doing a wintery take on a sidecar. Prior to camp, she crafted a batch of homemade cranberry syrup to add to a traditional sidecar and got to work experimenting for the right ratio (read: drinking countless sidecars).
Our friend Lindsay helped us up at camp—introducing the cocktail and giving a bit of it’s history, before mixing up a couple of batches for the guests to taste. Lindsay used to bartend and is the magic behind Evelyn’s Twice Pickled Olives (which go great with Bloody Marys and Martinis).
The cocktail recipe is below, including Em’s recipe for cranberry syrup. Check back tomorrow for the full post on Craft Camp. In the meantime, if you want to check out more photos, you can head over to Flickr for Michael’s images or see the Instagrams on Storify.
2 oz Courvoisier
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 oz cranberry syrup (recipe below)
1/2 oz Cointreau
Shake with ice. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with three fresh cranberries.
CRANBERRY SYRUP INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 c water
1 c sugar
2 c cranberries
1 2-3 inch stick cinnamon
1 2-3 inch knob of ginger, sliced
CRANBERRY SYRUP PREPARATION
Combine and bring to a summer. Cook until cranberries are popped and softened, about 5 minutes. Cool and strain through a mesh strainer. Keeps for about a week.
[images by Michael Kiser of Good Beer Hunting, except cranberry graphic]
» good beer hunting holiday cards «
[all images by Michael // Good Beer Hunting]
» happy birthday brother «
My little brother turned 32 today. Each year that he’s gotten older, I’ve always been so amazed, still thinking of him as about 24 or so. This year is one of the first times it’s really struck me how grown up he is. In the last year he has gone through a lot and grown and changed so much, I can hardly believe it. He’s gotten so much stronger and more open and thoughtful. He’s been such a blast to hang out with this year—from just lounging around one of our apartments to trekking out to the Hamptons with our friends.
Happy Birthday, Patrick! Looking forward to celebrating the holidays with you and spending a lot of time together in 2013.
I’ll sign off with one of Pat’s favorite quotes (which he has as a tattoo):
Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
- Ferris Bueller
» halloween 2012: picking a costume «
Man, I am NOT prepared for Halloween this year. I pulled together a costume Pinterest board of some possibilities (with some mixed in for Michael) but I just can’t seem to pick something to start working on.
I’ve wanted to be the Log Lady for as many years as I can remember but always put it off. I’d need a few key components, though, that I might not be able to get in time (like the cherry brooch). I think the Hamburglar would be pretty easy. Rose Petal from Rose Petal Place might actually be easier than it looks, too.
Help me decide! Comment below or tweet at me and tell me what you think. I feel like I need to decide TODAY!
Here are some costumes from years past…
In 2011, I dressed up for work (as a lumberjack) but we had a wedding to go to on Halloween weekend. Here is what I’ve been for the past decade and a half:
- 2010: the Childlike Empress from the NeverEnding Story (Michael was Atreyu)
- 2009: a pigeon
- 2008: a circus
- 2007: Pippi Longstocking
- 2006: Alice (in Wonderland) AND I was also a girl scout at work
- 2005: 2nd runner up in a beauty pageant
- 2004: a school teacher (I can’t find any photos of this - I know there are some)
- 2003: 1/4 of 80s girl band, Cliche
- 2002: “athletic”
- 2001: I don’t think I dressed up…?
- 2000: fairy AND a lady bug
- 1999: country-pop crossover artist
- 1998: cowgirl
- 1997: tennis player
Again, I need your wise guidance. Help me decide what to be this year. Comment below or tweet at me and tell me what you think.
[image credits: Daria logo from Fandomania; Clarissa Explains It All logo from Sitcomsonline.com; Sorceress from Third Rail; Log Lady from Wired; Rose Petal from Rose Petal Place: a complete episode guide; Hamburglar from a Kimora Cochran article but I’m sure (C) McDonald’s; costumes in 2010 & 2008 from Trevor’s Flickr account; the rest are from my own Flickr stream—you can see pre-grad school halloween photos here]
» wedding save the dates: lauren + shaun «
My ex-coworker, Lauren, got married last spring and she asked me to design her save-the-dates (I would have loved to work on the invites, too, but her mother pulled rank).
Lauren and Shaun got married in Baltimore, the bride’s hometown. They had friends traveling from as far as Seoul to share in their celebration, so we decided to do a travel-themed design. Using bright orange, soft red and a few different grays, we emphasized the “destination” aspect of their nuptials.
Shown below are the cards and envelopes that Lauren sent, along with some vintage stamps and postcards from my personal collection.
[invitation design, photos and styling by me; invites printed by SmartPress.com; envelopes from PaperSource; vintage stamps from Stamp King; vintage postcards from Bursts of Creativity; mini colored pencils are Kid Made Modern for Target]
» happy birthday michael: #33 «
As I mentioned a few posts ago, Michael’s birthday is a favorite “holiday” of mine. I try to do something special every year to celebrate, and #33 was no different…
Michael and I got married October 1st last year. Labor Day weekend we went up to Grand Rapids for a family wedding shower (while I unwrapped towels and other registered-for gifts, Michael went mini golfing and go-kart racing with my brother and cousin). Since we were in town the whole weekend, I decided to plan a birthday surprise for Michael in GR.
I started a conversation with Brewery Vivant, a local brewery and bar housed in an old funeral parlor, about doing something together (like a private tour or a special tapping or something). Michael and I had been to visit them before and were impressed with what they are doing—they have a very strong vision of a neighborhood destination focused on Belgian-style beer and great food.
Brewery Vivant got back to me, saying they’d be closed on Michael’s birthday (the Sunday before Labor Day) but that Jason, the owner, would come and give our family and friends a private tour and tasting. It was easy enough to surprise Michael, because I just said we were heading to the brewery.
Michael and I have been on many tours before, but it was really fun to bring our family and friends into this world. My brother had just recently gotten into beer at the time and asked a bunch of questions on the tour. My dad, a die-hard Miller/Coors Lite drinker, and my friend Lindsay, a wine drinker, both fell in love with Sgt. Peppercorn Rye (I think because it’s complex but not hoppy). On the other hand, my brother and his ex- preferred the hoppy beers (like Triomphe).
It was a blast and Jason was a great tour guide and host. If you want to read more about the actual beer and brewery (or was wondering why Michael isn’t in any of the pictures), you can check out his write-up of the event over at Good Beer Hunting.
We’ve been back to Vivant many times (including for their Wood-Aged Beer Fest last weekend) and we’ve even attended a farm dinner that they co-hosted with New Belgium out at Lubber’s Family Farm. If you are ever in Grand Rapids, Brewery Vivant is definitely worth a visit.
» wandawega guest post: maps of pendalouan «
Up yesterday on the Camp Wandawega blog, Camp Pendalouan maps: then + now.
I know I’ve explained before how I guest blog for Camp Wandawega, but I thought it was worth mentioning again, since I often post teasers (like the one above) here on my site.
I met Tereasa through a series of weird online interactions (the first of which was investigating holding my and Michael’s wedding at Wanda). When she was looking for guest bloggers, I jumped at the chance. The exchange was being able to spend some time up at Wandawega as a guest…guest blogging for guest quarters, I guess.
I’ve attended one awesome party there and then headed up with Lindsay and Emily for a fun weekend away. I’ll be going up again this week to attend a craft weekend hosted by Tereasa and Fleur. I can’t wait. Stay tuned for more on that!
[image by me]
» happy columbus day! «
Hi, everyone! I’ve been pretty busy lately and there’s a ton I want to post about but I thought I’d take a quick moment to say “Happy Columbus Day!” I’m one of the lucky ones with the day off of work so I’m blogging, watching Vampire Diaries season 1 (S4 premieres Thursday) and hanging out with my new little kitten, Duck (I’ll post about her soon).
The photo above is of me and my best friends from college (sans Melissa). The picture is from Sophomore year at the University of Michigan when we lived together in an apartment complex we called Melrose Place. Together, we are always making up jokes, creating elaborate stories that we revisited again and again over the years—definitely a very extreme version of having “inside jokes.”
One day I heard Deb talking to her mom on the phone. She ended the call saying something like “Happy Mother’s Day” or “I’ll see you on Mother’s Day,” but I thought she said “Columbus Day.”
Me: Do you celebrate Columbus Day?!
Deb: (…) Oh, yeah, totally. Doesn’t everyone?
Me: No, that’s weird.
The whole thing spiralled into this apartment war, where Deb and Abby were celebrants of Columbus Day (we called them the Gaggle of Doofi) and Lindsay and I were anti-Columbus Day. It sounds dumb, but it was hilarious.
Anyway, it feels particularly relevant because I recently got back from spending five days with these lovely women out in the Hamptons. I wish we got to see each other more. You girls are the best. XOXO
[Pictured L-R: Abby, Deb, me and Lindsay—in the photo I had randomly crimped my hair, so the other girls did, too—except Ab who just brushed-out her curly hair]
» happy birthday michael: #34 «
My awesome, smart, funny, good looking and incredibly supportive husband had a birthday two weeks ago. It was the fourth birthday I’ve gotten to share with him and I thought over the next few posts I could show you the different ways we’ve celebrated over the years. I’m going to work backwards, honoring relevance over chronology, so with that I bring you birthday #34…
Michael’s birthday is September 4th so it always falls around Labor Day weekend. This year we had plans to be out of town for the holiday, and the following weekend we were going to a farm dinner, so I decided to make plans for Tuesday night, his actual birthday.
The plan, in cahoots with a few of our friends, was for Craig to take Michael out to dinner before heading back to our apartment where Emily and I would have a little surprise waiting. I was trying to keep it a little mysterious and low-key sounding because in reality I had invited pretty much all of his friends over for a late-night drinks and dessert party.
Since Michael is a huge fan of beer (What, you didn’t know? He actually just launched a newly-designed Good Beer Hunting today!) Emily and I planned a menu of boozy and beer-inspired desserts. Emily made some insanely good carrot cupcakes with bourbon cream cheese frosting and bourbon-soaked candied carrots, as well as some rich chocolate craft beer truffles. You can read about these sweet creations on Em’s post over at 52 meals, where she has also posted the recipe for the cupcakes (here’s a direct link to the truffle recipe). Our friend Lindsay made a delicious (if slightly lopsided) gingerbread layer cake with cream cheese frosting and candied pistachios (it’s really good - we still have some in our fridge).
I made butterbeer jello shots (which are Harry Potter themed and, while being insanely boozy, don’t actually have beer in them). I also made peanut butter pretzel bites (no booze in these ones). We rounded-out the dessert bar with some store-bought meringues, vanilla wafers and circus peanuts (which my crazy husband actually likes).
My favorite thing that I made were beer floats. I bought some Left Hand Milk Stout (and Milk Stout Nitro) as well as a some Lindemans Framboise and poured them over vanilla and chocolate ice cream (we mostly did the stout over vanilla and the framboise over chocolate). The hard part is that I wasn’t really sure how to serve them…I didn’t want the ice cream to melt. We ended up passing them out on a tray, sort of in lieu of doing the whole blow-out-the-candles moment. They were really good.
If all the booze in the desserts didn’t give everyone a good enough buzz, Em also helped me whip up a batch of Maple Leafs and most of the guests brought beer (some for drinking, some for Michael’s cellar).
In terms of decor and “extras,” I didn’t do as much as I had wanted to. We actually never ended up leaving town that Labor Day weekend. My precious, beloved 10-year-old cat, Cleo, died on that Friday. More on this in another post, but I wasn’t really in top hostess form. It’s been a really sad few weeks.
Okay, here’s what I DID do (with Emily’s help):
- We decorated the table with a bunch of found trays, vintage pie plates (including one of Lindsay’s) and jars, as well as an antique soda crate.
- I chalked a little Maple Leaf sign (on a chalkboard given to me by Lindsay as an early birthday present).
- I arranged some flowers bought at Marguerite Gardens (including, among other stuff, some thistle, ranunculus, eucalyptus, dahlias and astilbe).
- We gussied-up some balloons from Doolin’s to sort of look like Geronimo balloons, using a cut-up silver fringe banner and some kraft colored tissue.
- We hung and draped some crepe paper dot garland leftover from Jessie’s wedding.
- Lastly, I put some old photos of Michael in stands around the apartment.
Anyway, I think the party was a big hit, although it wasn’t a surprise in the end (we don’t have very stealth friends—I’m looking at you, Jay). You can check out my dessert party Pinterest board (or my wedding dessert table board) if you are looking for any dessert party inspiration.
Okay, thanks for reading. Come back and check out his 33rd, 32nd and 31st birthdays coming up soon!
» wedding invitations: lindsay + bobby «
When I was up at Camp Wandawega about a month ago, I saw this invitation pinned-up behind the kitchen sink. I grabbed it and brought it home to photograph for the Wanda blog. I’ll have that post up tomorrow, including information from the bride about designing this “wedding guidebook” for her August 25th wedding at Camp Wandawega.
» traveling photo booth: deb + dave «
As I’ve said before, we don’t throw a wedding without a photo booth. Deb and Dave’s wedding featured a more traditional booth - the kind where you climb in and push a button and get a strip of photos. But, actually, two strips print out, so guests keep one and paste the other in a guestbook, signing next to their picture. It’s great because it’s a guest activity and favor AND a guestbook and keepsake for the couple.
The Original Traveling Photo Booth provided the booth and all of the guestbook supplies for Deb and Dave’s May 2011 wedding in Milwaukee.
[photo booth strips from The Original Traveling Photo Booth]
» wedding profile: deb + dave «
Deb is one of my very best friends. We met in honors calculus class, in 1997 at the University of Michigan. We have known each other for 15 years now, which is crazy to me. We were lucky enough to live together for 3 years in college, before Deb headed off to med school in NYC and I came to Chicago for graduate school. When Deb got matched in Chicago for her residency, I could not have been more thrilled. We had three years here before her residency ended and it was time for her to start her fellowship…in Milwaukee.
Deb moved to Milwaukee in the summer of 2008. She joined Match.com and quickly met Dave, who was also new to the city. They emailed and talked on the phone and then realized that they had tickets to the same Brewers game and decided to meet for a beer during the game. Deb thought Dave seemed nice and normal, but he mentioned that he owned a motorcycle (a turn-off at the time), and since Deb had really, really good seats (and Dave was in the nosebleeds), she decided to head back to her friends after an inning or two.
Deb forgot to return Dave’s post-game phone call for a week or so, but eventually they went on their first official date. They went to The Safe House, a spy-themed bar that is a local landmark. Deb told me that it was the best first date that she had ever been on.
After that there were two years of happily exploring Milwaukee together—Deb attempting to not freak out on the motorcycle and learning to love Dave’s cats. Dave proposed in December 2010, about 2 and 1/2 years after their first date. Five quick months later, the couple was married on May 28th, 2011, in Milwaukee, where they got to share their love of the city with all of their friends and families (and retrace their first few dates, with a trip to a Brewers game and The Safe House).
Deb and Dave now live in Boston, Deb’s hometown, where they just bought their first house.
Where did you get married and how did you choose this location?
We got married at the Discovery World (a children’s museum) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While neither one of us is from Milwaukee, it is the city where we were living when we met. We both fell in love with the city and wanted to share it with our friends and family. We wanted to have our wedding in a place that was special to Milwaukee. We looked at breweries, restaurants and music venues, but we needed a place that would both make us happy and make my parents happy. When we toured the Discovery World, we knew that it would be awesome and please everyone. It overlooks Lake Michigan and has great views of the city and the Calatrava-designed art museum and it has an awesome aquarium that people were able to go through during cocktail hour. They happened to have an opening in 5 months so we decided to jump on it and plan like crazy people.
How many guests did you have?
What did you wear?
Traditional bridal shops wanted nothing to do with me because my timeline was so short, so I went looking for dresses at department stores and consignment shops. Dave is traditional in certain ways so I knew that he was going to want to see me in a gown-type affair rather than something less traditional. I ended up finding my dress at White Chicago – it was a sample that I was able to buy off the rack and get altered. Hillary helped out with my necklace and earrings – taking a long grey pearl J. Crew necklace and shortening it, and making earrings from the extra pearls. I bought a fascinator and small veil piece from Etsy seller Velvet Owl.
Dave is a men’s footwear designer, so his fashion was just as important. He used the wedding as an excuse to invest in a beautiful Ralph Lauren grey suit that was amazing. He designed shoes in the wedding color scheme for himself and his groomsmen to wear during the wedding.
What song did you walk down the aisle to? Use for your first dance?
We spent a lot of time thinking about music. In a former life Dave was a DJ and so for him the music was an essential part of the day. We wanted the music to reflect us as much as possible. Dave and his parents walked into the ceremony to “Mothersbaugh’s Canon” by Mark Mothersbaugh. I walked in to “Today,” originally by the Smashing Pumpkins, covered by the Vitamin String Quartet. We exited to “Norway” by Beach House. Our first dance was to a mash-up of Easy like Sunday Morning (The Commodores) and Just Like Heaven (The Cure).
Describe your wedding…
Our wedding was relatively formal, but we tried to keep it fun and not stuffy—I think we succeeded. I love the color orange, so we decided to go with orange and gray for the colors of the wedding. The main thing that we tried to do was keep everything simple and not go too overboard with the colors.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
The whole day was great. Having my entire family with me for the day was so important for me, and I was very thankful that it was able to happen.
What was the hardest thing about your wedding or what didn’t turn out as you had hoped?
The hardest thing about the wedding was finding the balance to make everyone happy. Dave and I wanted a wedding that reflected us but it was being paid for (very generously!!) by my parents. While they generally tried to stay out of the way, their opinions were always known. Ultimately, I think we were able to do things that were important to us while finding a way to still make them happy.
On a super vain note, I hated my hair. I wasn’t 100% about it on the day and in the photos I hate it. Oh well, can’t win them all.
In planning your wedding, what was the most important aspect?
Because almost all of our guests were traveling to Milwaukee, we wanted it to feel like somewhat of a destination wedding. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out ways to get everyone to experience a taste of Milwaukee—planning activities for the whole weekend, including a fish fry the night before the wedding at the old Pabst Brewery and a Brewers baseball game the day after the wedding.
We also spent a lot of time thinking about the music because we wanted to get people dancing and having a good time.
Lastly, we wanted an interfaith ceremony (I’m Jewish, Dave is Christian). We didn’t really know how to go about it but we were lucky to find a Rabbi (through interfaithfamily.com) and a local pastor, Rev. David Dragseth, who were willing to work together, who gave us a wonderful and memorable ceremony. [Editor’s note: I loved Pastor Dave. If anyone is looking for an officiant around the MKE area, he’d be a great option for any couple.]
What was the wedding planning processes like for you?
Planning our wedding was like a 5 month long sprint. I am still shocked at how much we got done in that time. We had lots of help from all sorts of people, which took some of the stress off of us. There were parts that were memorable and fun – like hooking up with a local printer who allowed Dave to letterpress our invitations – and parts that seemed grueling at the time.
I think that my biggest piece of advice is that you don’t need a year to plan a wedding. If you have a year or more that is fantastic, but it can all get done in a shorter period of time. I got a lot flack from vendors (who I subsequently didn’t use) about the timeline that I had, but we were able to have a formal wedding with a weekend of activities around the city for our guests and we planned it in 5 months. We just didn’t allow ourselves to freak out (for very long) about the tiny details.
Anything else you’d like to share about your wedding?
We had a blast at our wedding and I think that is the best that you can hope for from the day. We planned and freaked-out and planned for 5 months straight, and once everyone arrived, the freaking out melted away and the fun began.
- Photographer: Kristen Lynn Photographie
- Flowers: Muscari Design
- Bakery: Aggie’s Cakes and Pastries
- Invitations: Cracked Designs (with the letterpress done by Dave at a local printshop)
- Other paper goods: Hillary Schuster (bless your soul)
- Venue/catering: Discovery World
- Photo booth: The Traveling Photo Booth (we used the photo booth as an activity during the reception, favors for the guests and the guestbook)
- DJ: Jena Nixon from Toast and Jam
» busy busy summer: AUGUST «
Here it is, my last installment of Now You Know What I Did This Summer. It’s been such a great few months that I wanted to post about what I’ve been doing while I haven’t been blogging. We still have a lot more to do this August and September (including trips to Ann Arbor, North Carolina, and Southampton). Plus, I’m starting to pull together ideas for helping my friend and co-worker, Katie, with her November wedding.
I’m hoping to get back to regular posts about my design projects and other wedding and party-related nonsense. You can also follow my posts over on Camp Wandawega’s blog (usually, but not always, on Mondays).
Have a great weekend!
- My uncle came into town unexpectedly. We weren’t able to meet up the night he first came in (“Jimmy Time”) but we had a nice lunch before he left town the next day.
- I went up to Wandawega again, this time with Emily and Lindsay! You can read a bit more about the trip here, but it was a lot of good food (courtesy of Em), beaching and boozing. It was pretty sleepy up there, but we still managed to make some new friends, Audra and Chad. Oh, and there was a borderline-disastrous boating episode and some non-purchased US presidents glasses that Em is still lusting after.
- Michael has been hard at work documenting the team behind a soon-to-be Lakeview brewery called Dry Hop. I got to meet them at a tapping at Fountainhead, where I got to try two of their new beers.
- We had a work outing to a Cubs game (it was fun but a lot of people must have been traveling). We hit up the Gingerman afterwards—the only bar I’ll go to in Wrigleyville.
- The other night, Michael and I drove around Ukrainian Village, picking up beer nerds. Ha…but seriously we did. We grabbed Jay from Stockyard Palate and John Barley (Solemn Oath) on two different street corners and headed down to Pilsen to hit up Simone’s. None of us had ever been (I don’t think)—Jay had never even been to Pilsen. Simone’s had Snaggletooth Bandana on tap and it was pretty funny having the bartender tell John about the beer. Erin met us there and then the five of us headed over to Local Option. It was a pretty epic beer night, even by these guys’ standards.
- Last weekend we had the immense pleasure of attending our dear friends Joshua and Kirby’s wedding. It was a beautiful and fun event and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more gorgeous bride (or dapper groom). The incredibly talented Paul Octavious acted as their photographer - I cannot WAIT to see the images.
- My friend Katie, who I mentioned above, has moved back to Chicago with her fiance (they had been living in DC). I’ve gotten to hang out with her a lot, chatting about her upcoming wedding. Today we visited her venue, Chicago Illuminating Company. It’s a great space - I’m so excited for the wedding!
[image credits: row 1 - my Instagram, my Instagram, Emily Berman’s Instagram, Emily Berman’s Instagram; row 2 - John Vollmer’s Instagram, GBH Instagram, my Instagram, my Instagram; row 3 - Paul Octavious’s Instagram; my Instagram, my Instagram, my Instagram]