Real Weddings: Anna & Daniel

Stories and advice from local couples who have been there, done that: Anna & Daniel wed at Shully’s Watermark in Thiensville.

Find more Real Milwaukee Weddings here.

Date: July 14, 2017

Photo by Hannah Toldt Photography

How they met

Anna and Daniel went to high school together but didn’t start dating until they reconnected years later through Christ Church in Mequon.

What they wore

When she tried on dresses, she gauged how they felt. “I was picturing myself dancing and trying to have a good time,” says Anna. Not only did she love the unique blush-hued moscato color of her Stella York gown, it was also the most comfortable of all the dresses she tried on.


Both the indoor ceremony and outdoor reception were held at Shully’s Watermark in Thiensville, just blocks from the couple’s home. “It already felt homey to us because it was in our neighborhood,” says Anna, who wanted a backyard wedding but found the logistics overwhelming with 275 guests. Holding everything at one venue cut down on wasted transportation time and made things easier, especially for families with young kids.

Photo by Hannah Toldt Photography


Shully’s took care of everything, including a delectable backyard barbecue of beef brisket and chicken, summer salads, cornbread with homemade strawberry butter, five-cheese mac and cheese, and an array of bite-sized desserts. Adults could opt to add alcohol to three flavors of milkshakes.


The couple’s vision was part elegant garden party, part backyard barbecue. Anna also brought two young children to the marriage, so it was important to her to create an event where kids felt welcomed and celebrated. Activity bags helped keep kids busy during the ceremony and included craft supplies that allowed them to create cards for the bride and groom. Outside, miniature canvas tents filled with pillows marked the entrance to a kids’ area, complete with lawn games and a low-to-the-ground coloring table.

Photo by Hannah Toldt Photography

Inspired touches

Daniel’s family hauled a canoe from their cabin to hold drinks on ice. Guests were encouraged to write good wishes on cards and display them alongside family pictures clipped to twine. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, the couple cut a literal “cheesecake” — rounds of cheddar, pepper jack and parmesan stacked three high, which guests then nibbled with wine and brandy old fashioneds before dinner.

Favorite moment

Anna, a vocalist and musician who leads the worship team at their church, surprised Daniel during the ceremony by performing an original song she
wrote for the occasion.

Photo by Hannah Toldt Photography


Daniel says to talk with each other, parents and certain relatives ahead of time to find out what’s most important to them, so you can avoid unexpected hurt feelings. Anna says using a wedding planner — she went with Just Details — made the day more beautiful and helped ensure that she was able to enjoy it.

‘Real Weddings’ appears in Milwaukee Weddings 2018.

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