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Wisconsin offers a picture-perfect setting for your wedding day. From urban cities with all of the amenities, to rustic barns and flowering gardens, America’s Dairyland has something for everyone.

As a Wisconsin wedding planner, we work with you to understand your vision, plan all of the aspects of your wedding, including travel, guest requirements, local requirements and vendor management.  Here is what we are seeing in many 0f our Wisconsin weddings.

Wedding Trends in Wisconsin

Many Wisconsin couples are adding personal touches to their weddings.  It’s not just about personalizing the wedding to the couple. It’s also about who the guests are and what they mean to them and giving them a guest experience they will enjoy, too.

Here’s a look at some Wisconsin classic wedding trends and the details to bring them to life for your upcoming wedding.

Neutral Color Palettes

Using neutral colors as the base of your wedding design is a classic styling decision that will always create a beautiful setting. We love crisp whites, soft creams, fresh greenery and organic timber tones as a subtle color palette to build upon. Using these neutral shades for your key styling pieces like your tables, chairs, and linens will create a timeless foundation for the rest of your wedding design.

Floral Centerpieces

From sweet pastel posies to cascading wildflowers, floral arrangements will never fail to transform any space. Fresh florals will always be the perfect addition to include throughout your ceremony and cocktail areas too. And if you’re choosing your flower styles seasonally, it doesn’t have to mean blowing the budget either!

Candlelight

Candles allow you to be more creative with your styling, too. Clusters of candles in varying heights make a stunning statement at the entrance to your reception, or colored candlesticks can add depth and detail to your tablescapes. Whether you leave them exposed for a raw, rustic setting or feature them in decorative lanterns, candlelight will always be our pick for creating an intimate atmosphere at your wedding.

Personalized Elements

Meaningful and personalized details throughout your wedding styling is a trend that should never be overlooked! It’s one of the most important days of your life after all, so let this shine through with sweet details that mean something special to you and your beau.

Lace Wedding Gowns

For the more traditional bride, a lace wedding gown will always give you a classic, elegant look that will never date.

Bridal party gifts

Presenting your bridal party with a ‘thank you’ gift is a trend we don’t think will ever become outdated! After all, your bridal party are going to be a huge support to you throughout your wedding planning journey. They deserve something thoughtful in return for their efforts! Don’t forget to accompany the gift with a heartfelt letter to show your appreciation!

Metallic Accents

Including elegant gold, silver or bronze details throughout your wedding decor is one trend that will continue to remain stylish for years to come. Even the most subtle details like your cutlery or floral vases can be transformed into something truly beautiful by introducing metallics.

Wedding Websites

Creating a stylish wedding website is not only a beautiful memento for you to keep after the big day, but is also a functional way to keep yourself and your guests organized. To keep this trend timeless, make sure you know exactly what to include on your wedding website in order to avoid making any faux pas.

Candid Photography

Candid, authentic and emotional captures from your wedding day will always be favored over posed and impersonal shots. Embracing the trend of candid photography will ensure you look back over your wedding photos with happiness as you relive each moment from the day.

This timeless style of wedding photography isn’t offered across the board, so do your research first to find a wedding photographer that specializes in candid work. If you or your partner are camera shy, this is also the perfect photography style to capture you in a more relaxed and natural state.

Wisconsin Average Wedding Costs

Planning a wedding can be a lot of fun, but affording it is another story entirely. No matter which type of wedding venue you choose or what type of theme fits your personality, make sure to create a budget that fits for the two of you and one that you can stick to. But before you take that important step, here’s a little background info on how  couples have broken down their Wisconsin budgets.

Average Costs for Wisconsin Weddings

Average Overall Expenses:  $25,000-$30,000

  • Wedding Venue -18%
  • Wedding Planner-10%
  • Catering-18%
  • Wedding Attire + Beauty-6%
  • Wedding Cake or Desserts-2%
  • Wedding Ceremony-2%
  • Drinks-8%
  • Favors & Gifts-2%
  • Flowers & Decor-6%
  • Invites + Papers-2%
  • Photographer & Videography-10%
  • Entertainment-6%
  • Wedding Rings-6%
  • Transportation-2%
  • Extra Fees/Emergency Fund-2%

Making It Official:  Getting a Wisconsin Marriage License

There is no residency requirement, but if you are a Wisconsin resident, you are required to apply for your marriage license in the county where one of you live.  Additionally, you must have resided in that county for at least 30 days prior to making the application. Once you have your license, you can use it in any county within the state. If you’re not currently residing in Wisconsin you’ll have to apply for the license in whichever county you plan to be married in.

The fee for your Wisconsin marriage license varies by county. There is no blood test necessary, but there is a five-day waiting period. You’ll also need two adult witnesses present during your wedding ceremony in order for your marriage to be legal. 

To obtain a license, both you and your partner must be present and have valid photo identification, state-certified copies of birth certificates and Social Security numbers. In addition, you will need the date and location (city, village or town) of the wedding, the correct and full spelling of the officiant and the officiant’s business address, phone number and email address. You’ll also have to present proof of address.

It’s All About Timing

More couples are embracing the beauty of weddings in Wisconsin. The summer months of June, July and August still top the list of most popular months to have a wedding.

Having a winter wedding in Wisconsin is not for the faint of heart! Only a small percent of couples opt for a winter wedding. So if you’re not prepared for a snow storm or below freezing temps, you may want to consider warmer months to celebrate. Summer weddings in Wisconsin, while often humid, remain popular because of their warm temperatures, which are easy to manage with air conditioning. And finding outdoor Wisconsin wedding venues during these times of year won’t be difficult. In fact, many places offer covered areas or other options to move the ceremony or reception indoors to accommodate the unpredictable weather of Wisconsin.

Provide a Guest Experiences

Helping your guests feel comfortable and welcome is one of the key ingredients to wedding success. With such a wide variety of unique wedding venues in Wisconsin—from rustic barns to lakeside resorts—there are so many places for a celebration that is a true reflection of the couple’s style while also making it fun for friends and family. No matter where you choose to get married, giving your guests a great experience is so important.  Here are some ideas that can take your guest experience to the next level.  

  • Wedding Website – Creating a wedding website is a great way to communicate to your guests information about your wedding details.  An informed guest is a happy guest! You can include details about the event through the wedding day and give them tips on how to come prepared.  For example, telling your guests that the ceremony with be outside on the lawn will help the ladies be prepared with shoes that will not sink into the turf.  Also, due to Wisconsin’s unpredictable weather changes, you can communicate “Plan B” if needed.   
  • Wedding Welcome Bags – Who doesn’t love gifts? I do, you do, and your guests will, too. Wedding welcome bags are a great way to greet guests when they arrive and put a warm, personal spin on things right from the start. There are so many different things you can do with them.  This is one aspect of your wedding planning where you can really get creative! One tip is to stay local: put some items in their bag that they can only find at that particular destination. It’s a great way to introduce your guests to the local area.
  • Welcome Event – Chances are your guests are stumbling off a plane after a long day of travel. Give them a chance to recover a bit by planning a meet-and-greet for that first night. Doing something simple and keeping it low-key in the beginning will make sure your guests are refreshed and ready for all the fun activities and partying to follow!
  • Your Wedding Reception – How are you gonna get the party started? Did you ask for music requests on your wedding website or on your save-the-date cards? This is something to consider since the best way to make sure everyone’s having an amazing time is to allow them to pick the music that will get them going!
  • Snacks – Surprise your family and friends with delicious treats toward the end of your reception that will have them back on their feet and ready to hit the dance floor.

Help Them Find Their Way and Be Their Wisconsin Guide

  • Provide them with every essential detail. One of the simplest (and most useful) things you could do for your guests is to provide a wedding itinerary. In addition, create a wedding website for an easy reference point for guests to check up on everything you have planned. Be sure to include key times, locations, who is hosting, what to wear and so on for each activity. 
  • Offer suggestions for accommodations and travel. Though footing the bill for travelers’ overnight accommodations and flights isn’t your responsibility, you and your partner should offer suggestions for how to find both (and tips on how to score good deals will no doubt be appreciated). Put important details for airlines and hotels (websites, street addresses, phone numbers, directions and cost information) on an insert sent out with your invitation or post it separately on your wedding itinerary or web page so guests can book their flights and rooms early and know how to get around once they arrive.
  • Think about transportation. Some out-of-towners will choose to rent cars (be sure to provide car rental info with your hotel and airline details), but for those who don’t, you’ll have to figure out how they’ll get to and from the wedding. Cover all the bases: You can organize carpools among relatives, talk to the hotel manager to arrange for a hotel shuttle, hire a car or limo service, or rent a few vans or a bus.

Local Wisconsin Foods for Your Wedding

It’s no surprise that dairy plays a large role in local fare. From custards and ice cream to cheese and fresh milk, you can’t go wrong by using local dairy products in your Wisconsin wedding. Consider creating a specialty cheese platter for each table or have a passed tray of cheese during your cocktail hour. You can also serve fried cheese curds as an appetizer or late night snack. 

For those with a sweet tooth, serve cream puffs for dessert. These treats are a staple in Wisconsin dessert trays and are widely sold across the state. The Danish pastry known as kringle is also popular in Wisconsin, especially near Racine.

You can also feature a good old-fashioned fish boil or fish fry to highlight local fish like perch and walleye. This is a great idea for more rustic weddings that might not call for such formal meals. To take your Wisconsin-centric meal one step further, pair your fish fry with coleslaw that is made with Wisconsin cranberries.

Of course, you could just simply serve local craft beer from one of the many breweries in Wisconsin (New Glarus Brewing is a local favorite). There are also locally made liquors, like the Northern Distillery, that are fun additions to your signature cocktails.

Talk to your caterer or the chef at your Wisconsin wedding venue about more local dishes that you can consider adding to your menu.

Do Your Guests a Favor: Wisconsin-Inspired Take Home Gift Ideas

The wedding favor is a great way to show your guests that you appreciate them sharing in your Wisconsin wedding as well as a way to give them something to take away from the day and add to their memories. In the past, favors have been trinkets like keychains or magnets with the couple’s initials and wedding date featured on it. That’s nice, but you can give them something specific that will remind them of the great state that played host for your wedding.

Wisconsin-inspired wedding favors can be a keepsake like postcards featuring Wisconsin sites like a Green Bay Packers koozie. It can also be an edible favor such as gourmet cranberry trail mix, locally crafted artisan cheese or individual cherry pies from Door County.

Having a Wisconsin wedding should be created around who you are and the love you share.  America’s Dairyland has much to offer you and your guests. Be creative and show your guests the great place you’ve chosen to celebrate your wedding!

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