Have you ever been to a wedding that was like every other wedding you’ve been to? Or, honestly, can you even remember what your last wedding looked like?
Now imagine the alternative: One where you walk into a wedding, and it’s not just a celebration; it’s a story. A story that doesn’t just resonate with the couple, but with everyone present. An experience.
A wedding that celebrates the extraordinary in the ordinary, that speaks volumes about the couple’s love, quirks, and adventures together. Welcome to the world of deeply authentic and personal weddings.
Your Day, Your Way
This blog is a guide to crafting a wedding that’s not just an event, but a reflection of your unique journey as a couple. It’s about breaking away from “just another wedding” and stepping into a celebration that’s profoundly and unapologetically you. From Wisconsin to Minnesota and beyond, our team of wedding planners is here to help you plan your memorable, fun, and truly personal day.
While wedding planning is undoubtedly a significant event in your life, it’s essential to remember that it’s also about embracing who you are as a couple and letting your love story shine through every detail.
Why does personalization matter? Because there’s truly no one LIKE YOU.
1. It All Starts With You
Let’s kick this off by diving into your unique love story. What makes your bond special? What are your favorite activities, foods, and moments together? Are there quirks worth celebrating? These are the building blocks of crafting a wedding day that feels like you, down to the very last detail.
Make a list and write down:
- What are our favorite things to do together?
- Do we make a specific meal all the time?
- How did we meet?
- Do we have any inside jokes we’re known for?
- Are there memorable trips or special moments we share together?
- What do we do for jobs?
- What do we do for fun?
- How would others describe us together?
- Are there very special pets, family traditions or people we want to honor?
- When/where do you feel most comfortable and happy?
Personalization isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the heart of your celebration. Your daily habits and hobbies can be the stars of your wedding show, too.
Love books? Make it a literary affair.
Board game fanatics? Sounds like great cocktail hour entertainment to me!
These personal touches invite your guests into your love story, making them feel like they’re a part of your journey. Your marriage is an extension of your life, so infuse it! Once you have this brain dump, we can think through how to apply it to a wedding day!
Photography: Ali Lockery
2. Set the Scene
Atmosphere and environment. Your venue choice dictates a lot of decisions logistically, so starting here is important. Are we going black-tie formal, semi-formal, or are we shooting for picnic at the park?
Pictured: The couples very own farm! Photography Credit: Ali Lockery
Have you always wanted to get married at the campground you met and have special memories at? Are you happiest on the beach, with your toes in the sand? Or does the idea of a tented backyard wedding at your parents’ estate tug at your heartstrings? Your wedding venue is more than just a location; it sets the tone for your wedding day!
Of course, even if you’re a mountain and beach lover, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get married on a beach. But you can incorporate your love for your favorite places in subtle ways too. In general, think about the vibe/atmosphere you want to create for your wedding day and then start your venue search accordingly!
- If you’re a nature lover, it would make sense for you to get married outdoors in nature with an earthy palette. Host your wedding outdoors, in true al fresco style. RAIN OR SHINE, nothing makes you happier than being in the great outdoors. Or if you love nature but aren’t so keen on multiple backup plans, for the décor, use elements from nature – pinecones, wildflowers, or driftwood – to create centerpieces that bring the outdoors in.
- Do you want your wedding to feel like home? If you’re going for cozy, laid-back and easygoing vibes, you can literally bring some decor from your own home. House plants as centerpieces, and items like couches, shelves, or sideboards make great decor for lounge spaces or statement pieces at your wedding. Or if you’re up for it, even having it in your very own backyard (or maybe your parents’!) If the effort of hosting at a residence is simply too much, you can consider a casual (but elevated) restaurant, like The Lynhall or The Harvey House.
- Another idea: let’s say you are a sophisticated, refined couple and want a historic venue that looks and feels like Italy (your fave vacation). You decide to get married at a place like Villa Terrace for its iconic courtyard and love the idea of bringing your favorite people to your favorite place, but keeping it local. BEST OF BOTH WORLDS!
3. Make it Meaningful
As you dive deeper into decor and designing your day, think: is there anything bespoke, custom, handmade, local, or extremely meaningful that I want to add? What about those things you simply can’t get anywhere else? Is there a super fun story that goes along with it? Don’t hesitate to add it in, and tell your guests about it too!
- Made JUST for you: “Bespoke” means anything made just for you. This often shows up through attire through a custom suit or dress. For example: Linyage makes one-of-a-kind bridal tops and separates with vintage lace. And this can even be simple, like writing your own vows. Little touches here and there make all the difference.
Photography credit: Chasing Sunsets
- Think Local: Incorporate hometown favorites, like your beloved ice cream shop or fave local restaurant because (no one does mac and cheese pizza quite like your fave late night pizza place). In Wisconsin, the Old Fashioned is such a signature part of their culture (with brandy, obviously), as well as the Spotted Cow from New Glarus. Since you can’t get Spotted Cow outside of Wisconsin, it’s even more special! If you have lots of guests from out of town, state, or country, this is a great way to share your favorite day-to-day places with your guests, and also support local. WIN – WIN! Would you like a side of cheese curds with that?
- Special Memory: Some of the most hilarious moments from a wedding day is seeing old high school classmates dancing and screaming Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard at the top of their lungs. Make sure the DJ knows to play your favorite songs, and even better if it has a fun memory tied with it! Where are my 90’s, millennial kids at?!
While you never want to exclude the rest of your guest list because they didn’t really understand the inside joke, you can still have small things incorporated that make it special for you. And also think to yourself, is this an experience we can share with our guests? For example, one of our previous clients families has a song that they always sing at weddings. While it is something that only the family knows, they were able to share that with their entire wedding. Pretty special!
4. Involve Your Loved Ones
We’re not talking about mom or Aunt Sue doing setup of decor or taking care of tear down. We highly encourage maximum fun on wedding days with as little labor from you or your loved ones (at least on the wedding day). But involving your loved ones adds sentimentality and allows them to be a part of your day in the only way they can!
Do you have a talented sister or dad who loves to sing? At one of our previous weddings, the groom’s sister was their ceremony musician and also sang along with their dad (a former Elvis impersonator!) to Can’t Help Falling In Love With You during the couples’ first dance! We all cried, obviously. And yes, he really did sound just like Elvis!
One of our friends are traveling musicians and they invited their band up to play a few songs during the reception. It was such a blast! This can apply to almost everything: your great aunt’s amazing cakes, the flowers grown from your mom’s garden, or the apple cider donuts from your family’s apple orchard.
Additionally, family heirlooms and cultural elements carry stories and memories that span generations. Choosing to incorporate them into your wedding is a beautiful way to honor your heritage and legacy while creating new memories. Things like your grandma’s veil, your mom’s jewelry, your grandfather’s tie, or a cherished family prayer book are special ways to honor and commemorate history and add immense meaning to your special occasion.
Bessie, the vintage car, was Caitlyn’s grandpa’s Baatz’s truck that has stayed in the family since he passed. Her grandparents’ pictures sit on the dash of Bessie as a reminder of their beautiful history. Caitlyn’s grandpa took her to parades in Bessie as a little girl, where she learned how to “wave like a princess” and she even took her senior pictured with Bessie! Caitlyn’s groom, Larry went to great lengths to surprise Caitlyn with Bessie at their wedding – so sweet, and a legacy that will be continue! Photography credit: Chasing Sunsets
There’s so much that can be added here, like having your dog as a bridal party member (or maybe just a signature cocktail in their honor), but each of these elements undoubtedly make your wedding unmistakably yours.
These personal touches have the power to evoke deep emotions and create lasting memories for both you and your guests.
5. Bringing It All Together
For this final step, I am going to give you an example so you can see how it plays out in real life!
Meet Chelsie and Will:
Chelsie and Will are both creatives. Chelsie is a designer, and Will is a poet. The first date took place at a local brewery, where they enjoyed wood-fired pizza, a nice cold glass of Pseudo Sue, and indie/alternative music. As their relationship grew, they added an adorable dog (Juniper). Tacos became a weekly rotation in their meal plan, but Will switches it up each time, swapping out the meat and toppings – but also with a side of ceviche. In their free time, they love listening to live music, exploring local coffee shops and hiking trails, and both had the best trip of their lives in Banff, Canada.
For their wedding day, they knew that their wedding needed to be outdoors, for the simple reason that they both find solace and beauty in the great outdoors. Because they wanted their venue to be somewhere meaningful, they decided to get married on Chelsie’s uncle’s flower farm, where she’d work and help out in the summers.
Their adored dog, Juniper, played an important role in welcoming guests at their celebration with boundless enthusiasm and was special enough to get her own signature cocktail (Juniper Breeze). The ceremony itself was a remarkable blend of poetry and personal connection.
Against the backdrop of the flourishing flower fields, Chelsie and Will opted for an unconventional approach to their vows. Instead of the traditional exchange, they chose to share handwritten poems, allowing their deepest emotions to flow through the words they had penned. Cocktail hour brought forth a jazz trio, setting the tone of elegance and relaxation.
Chelsie and Will had carefully selected tapas-style appetizers throughout the entire night (rather than a typical sit-down plated meal). Guests indulged in flavorful dishes like chips and salsa, and varieties of tacos (Korean short rib, steak, carnitas, and vegetarian) – with a side of ceviche, of course, and Pseudo Sue on tap!
With music being an integral part of their lives, it was only fitting that they had a live band playing their favorite indie tunes during the reception. The dance floor came alive as guests reveled in the energetic beats, making memories that would last a lifetime. But Chelsie and Will’s thoughtfulness extended beyond the music and the food. Will crafted a unique haiku for each place setting, ensuring that every guest had a personal keepsake to cherish and a lasting memory of their day, and Chelsie built custom, interactive signage that featured a timeline of their love story. She also handmade their guestbook with photos featuring their favorite memories from their Banff trip, and even put all their drinks in a big canoe (as a nod to the most romantic canoe ride down Lake Louise).
Now tell me, do you want to be a guest at that wedding? HECK YES!
Photography Credit: llana Natasha
A Celebration That Will Live Well Beyond One Day:
At Olive Branch Events Co., we specialize in turning your wedding day into an authentic and deeply personal celebration. We know that your love story is unique, and it deserves to be told in a way that’s as extraordinary as you are!
If you’re getting married in Wisconsin and Minnesota, our team of experienced wedding planners is here to help you infuse your wedding with authentic elements that reflect who you are as a couple.
From curating unforgettable experiences to incorporating sentimental touches that speak to your hearts, we’ll work closely with you to ensure that your wedding day is a true reflection of your love story.
Raise a glass to non-forgettable, non-regrettable weddings! Cheers!