Local Love

Four Milwaukee couples offer advice on what worked – and didn’t – for their delightful, yet very different wedding days.

Luke & Andrea

August 26


How They Met: When Luke heard Andrea give testimony at Madison’s St. Paul University Catholic Center church retreat, he knew he had to get to know her and invited her out for coffee. They hit it off immediately – (“My face hurt because I couldn’t stop smiling,” says Andrea) – and a year-and-a-half later, they were engaged.

What They Wore: Wtoo by Watters for her, Generation Tux suit rental with Tie Bar bowtie for him.

Venues: Old St. Mary’s Church and Discovery World

Caterer: Bartolotta Catering

Advice: Flowers and decorations are great, says Andrea, but “at the end of the day, this is the first day of our marriage.”

One Detail That Didn’t Quite Work Out: They say everything, in fact, worked out as planned. Luke adds, “I think the day went as well as it did because we spent a whole year preparing. We had tons of different beliefs within the group but people respected that, they could see in our eyes and hearts when I saw her, what this day meant.”

Favorite Detail: They were close with Father Tom, who once roomed with Luke, and Father Eric from their own St. Paul’s. Their “floral genius,” Esther of Impressions by Esther Fleming, is also “the best kept secret,” wowing them from her silk prototypes to final, gorgeous execution.

Favorite Moment: For Andrea, it was best friend and bridesmaid Maria playing guitar and singing Sara Bareilles’ “I Choose You” for the first dance. For Luke, it was his mom singing “Ave Maria,” just as she had at her own wedding, and seeing Andrea walk in the church for the first time. “I kind of sobbed,” he says.

Photos by June & Jae

Jim & Romel

September 3

How They Met: Through each other’s respective ex-boyfriends, who were very good friends at the time, during house parties and through the Milwaukee bar scene more than 20 years ago.

Favorite Detail: Too many to choose, they say, but a favorite private detail were the Boston terrier cufflinks they each wore on Sunday in a nod to their beloved 7-year-old dog (and ring-bearer), Jake.

Best Moment: For Jim, it was hearing Romel read his emotional, funny and sweet handwritten vows aloud. For Romel, it was looking into the crowd of family and friends gathered as witnesses.

One Detail That Didn’t Quite Work Out: In addition to wanting more time with each guest, the couple wishes they’d made one big thank-you speech. Otherwise, “I thought we pulled it off,” says Romel, in large part because over the past 20 years, so many of their friends have married and shared their own wedding experiences. “We were very organized and had a lot of support from our friends.”

Best Advice for Others: Create a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to document your ideas and keep you on track with your plans, along with detailed records of which vendors you’ve paid and how much, which guests are attending and what gifts they gave so you can personalize thank-you cards.

Venue: The rooftop ceremony and dinner at Braise in Walker’s Point was the pinnacle of a three-day Milwaukee wedding weekend celebration. The men also gathered for fresh cuts, shaves and shoe shines at Bay View’s Stag Barber Shop the morning of the ceremony, hosted gatherings at Pastiche Bistro and Taylor’s Bar, and hosted a Milwaukee River pontoon ride, among other festivities.

Caterer: Braise

What They Wore: Head-to-toe J. Crew for Jim (right), custom suit from New York City’s MySuit Tailor for Romel. Romel added 99-year-old Grandma Grace’s embroidered vintage handkerchief for a pocket square.

Photos by Kat Schleicher/Ellagraph Studios

Read the rest of this story in Milwaukee Weddings. Find a copy on newsstands beginning Monday, Jan. 2, buy a copy online at milwaukeemag.com/shop, or read it now using Member Pass.



Maggie Ginsberg is an award-winning freelance writer whose work has also appeared in Madison Magazine, Midwest Living and Wisconsin Bride.