Real Weddings: Mackenzie & Ryan

Stories and advice from local couples who have been there, done that: Mackenzie & Ryan wed at Lakefront Brewery.

Photo by Happy Gnome Photography
Find more Real Milwaukee Weddings here.

Date: September 4, 2016

How they met

Ryan was originally set up with one of Mackenzie’s best friends. “Shortly after, they realized that it wasn’t a love connection,” says Mackenzie, “Ryan and I hit it off, and the rest is history.”

What they wore

It was also love at first sight for Mackenzie’s gown, a sample size snagged off the sale rack on her first trip to Miss Ruby Boutique in Milwaukee. To personalize it, she had a patch with their names and wedding date sewn into the liner, and had a matching patch made for the back of Ryan’s tie. The groomsmen wore customized ties made by Knotty Tie Company that also bore inscribed patches, as did gift ties for each dad. “Both are super sentimental, so they loved this little touch.”


They chose Lakefront Brewery, one of their favorite haunts offering a true Milwaukee vibe, and held the ceremony at Redeemer Lutheran Church to keep the entire event Downtown.


Lakefront catered the dinner buffet replete with beef tips, beer-braised pulled pork, seasonal vegetables, corn casserole, Wisconsin cheesy potatoes, rice pilaf and a garden salad. Naturally, guests imbibed Lakefront brews – along with spirits from Great Lakes Distillery. Neither Mackenzie nor Ryan is big on cake, so they opted for fudgy brownies from Aggie’s Bakery — which their guests are still raving about.

Photo by Happy Gnome Photography


“We wanted a true Milwaukee wedding,” says Mackenzie, and they also wanted to keep things casual and simple. Lakefront allowed for the perfect brewery theme, inspiring a pint glass cake (well, brownie) topper, beer-bottle centerpieces, fresh hops throughout the florals and paperboard coasters as place cards.

Photo by Happy Gnome Photography

Inspired touches

At the suggestion of their photographer, the couple asked guests to turn off their devices and enjoy an unplugged ceremony. Instead of a guest book, guests signed wooden hearts and dropped them into a specially designed frame etched with the couple’s names, wedding location and date. It now hangs in a place of honor on the living room wall.

Photo by Happy Gnome Photography

Favorite moment

The first look, a private moment stolen outside the church before the ceremony, which calmed their nerves. “We spent just a few minutes enjoying some time alone because we knew we wouldn’t get much more for the rest of the day,” says Ryan.


Think about those little details that will make for a memorable experience for guests. Mackenzie arranged for late-night pretzel bites, to-go boxes for dessert, and shuttle service to and from the hotel. “Everyone tells you how fast your wedding day will go,” adds Ryan, “But it really flies by. Be sure to enjoy every second. I knew I’d have lots of special days ahead, but only one wedding day.”

‘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.