On July 24, 2021, exactly two years after their first date, Tyler and Erin Schellinger went for a sunset walk down Pewaukee Beach.
“As the sun was going down, Tyler handed the phone to these two girls and asked them to take a picture of us,” Erin says. “When I turned around, he was down on one knee.”
The couple, who had met through mutual friends, started planning a wedding. Tyler had just graduated from Concordia University a few months before and was working as a general contractor, and Erin was on track to graduate from UW-Madison in May, so they set their sights on an October 2022 date.
They planned to have about 175 guests for the occasion and started hunting for the right venue.
“It was a lot harder than I thought it would be,” says Erin, who is now a registered nurse “I never really felt the right fit when I was touring different venues and speaking to different coordinators. Then, as soon as I stepped into the Schauer Center, I immediately felt welcomed. I was impressed at how unique the space was, the flow of the space. I loved the personality of the people I worked with and the staff.”
The couple booked the Schauer Arts Center for their wedding. The space was once an early-20th-century canning factory, before it was transformed into a performing and visual arts center and event venue. With 14-foot loft ceilings and rustic exposed beams, it still showcases the charm and character of its history. Plus, floor-to-ceiling windows let in natural light.
“I let the Schauer Center coordinators know my vision for the day,” Erin says. “They went completely above and beyond, contacting my other vendors and coordinating services with all of them. It was so helpful.”
Erin found her dress at Vera’s House of Bridals in Madison, while Tyler got his tux from Jason Louis Inc. in Green Bay. For photography, they booked Samantha Ann from Fond du Lac.
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But then, only a month before the wedding, the couple’s original caterer quit on them without warning. They scrambled to find a replacement who could meet their needs in time. After some hustling, they landed on Jimbo’s Lodge Catering, a Milwaukee caterer, who Erin credits for “saving the day.”
On Oct. 1, the couple held their ceremony at St. James Catholic Church in Sussex. They then went to the Schauer Arts Center for the reception. “When I walked into the Schauer Center, I was just stunned,” Erin says. “We had already set up a couple days before, so I had an idea of how everything would look, but when I got there, they had added even more touches. The space was just set up so beautifully. All the guests had room to move between tables, to dance, to get drinks at the bar.”
Erin credits the Schauer Arts Center staff with keeping the reception running smoothly. Even when the caterer got stuck in traffic, they worked with the other vendors to adjust the schedule and avoid any setbacks.
Instead of a live band, the couple opted to hire a DJ, Mark Strehlow, who kept the dance floor packed throughout the night. “We had newborns all the way to our grandmas out on the dance floor,” Erin says. “I still receive compliments about Mark.”
Erin says the most memorable moment came near the end of the night, when she and Tyler stepped back from the head table, away from the bustle of the reception for a moment, and just watched all their family and friends dancing together and enjoying the night.
“By the end of the experience, the Schauer Center staff really felt like friends,” Erin says. “They checked in so much throughout the wedding, and they were genuinely so happy for Tyler and me – you could feel it from interacting with them. They just made it a really great day.”
“I spent a little bit more on my dress than I was originally anticipating,” Erin says. “I’m glad I did that because on the day of I just felt absolutely beautiful. We also splurged on a photographer and I would highly recommend that because pictures are the one thing you can really take away from the wedding day to look back on.”
“We really saved on dessert,” Erin says. “We just went with delicious cupcakes from [baker] Kelley Peterson in West Allis. We didn’t go all out with a big cake or anything because by the end of the night, the guests are full from dinner.”
Advice for Couples-to-Be
“I truly can’t say enough good things about the venue,” Erin says. “My guests were so impressed. The coordinators really went above and beyond all the way – they took a lot of stress out of the day. I’d say, don’t sweat the small stuff. Your guests aren’t going to remember the small hiccups that are going to happen. They probably won’t even notice. Things are going to go wrong and it’s OK. Just stay flexible. I think that’s how I ended up being very happy on the wedding day.”
For more information on the Schauer Arts Center, click here or contact Katryna Winter De-León, Event Services Coordinator at 262-670-0560, ext. 215 or Tryna@SchauerCenter.org or Casey Leintz, Assistant Event Services Coordinator at 262-670-0560 ext. 212 or Casey@SchauerCenter.org.