Real Weddings

Whether their ceremony was a footloose and fuss-free outdoor barbecue, a traditional and regal upscale urban affair, or a modern lakeside music and art showcase, three real-life couples demonstrate there’s more than one way to celebrate in a distinctly Milwaukee style.

Kathy Chen and Danny Schneider

July 25, 2015

A no-frills couple, Kathy and Danny simply wanted to enjoy the moment, the outdoors and each other on their wedding day. Kathy is a geriatric psychiatrist who was in med school in Milwaukee in 2008. That’s when she met Danny, an ecotourism outfitter and whitewater raft guide. They live in Seattle now, but married at Danny’s uncle and aunt’s country house outside of Oconomowoc. The couple arrived in Wisconsin one week before the nuptials having lined up only the tent, BBQ and photographer — Kat Schleicher’s Ellagraph Studios, the one expense the couple insisted on. Everything else was cobbled together, with friends and family serving as volunteers. They strung lights and fluttering banners through the trees, scattered quilts on the ground and made tissue-paper flowers. An intimate and low-key late-afternoon celebration welcomed about 70 guests. They played lawn games and feasted on fresh-baked Elegant Farmer pies before kicking off their shoes to dance in the grass. Danny’s best friend played the guitar and brewed two different kegs of beer himself, and the setting sun infused the photographs with a golden glow.

Jonathan Cervero and Mike Rousek

August 29, 2015

Milwaukee native Jonathan and Chicago-born Mike created a ceremony centered on family, and the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Windhover Hall gave Mike’s out-of-town guests a stunning view of their familiar shared lake. Their fathers served as best men, both adorned in custom Zeglio tuxes, and 6-year-old nephew Aiden rounded out the tiny wedding party. Kaelyn Cervero, Jonathan’s sister, served as wedding planner, connecting the couple with Front Room Photography and M&M Events for decor. The men honored their mothers with a special dance to Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely,” while brothers and sisters contributed readings and served as ushers. Jonathan, a jazz vocalist and violinist, produced a carefully curated soundtrack for the day. “Mike’s special interest was the cake,” says Jonathan, whose husband opted for Simma’s famous raspberry and chocolate ganache-blanketed cheesecake. It was topped with the day’s signature calla lilies, provided by floral designer and close friend Bjorn Chinander of Sendik’s. Café Calatrava produced a three-course plated dinner for 207 guests, and the owner of Milwaukee Airwaves handled DJ duties. Even Mother Nature’s drizzle couldn’t dampen the spirits of the day, a culmination of a question asked the previous December, when Jonathan got down on one knee to present Mike with a heart-shaped Mr. & Mr. Crate & Barrel ring dish.

Ashton Linder and Matt Still

September 26, 2015

The wedding reception at the Pritzlaff Building – elegant and urban, traditional but gilded with just enough rustic funk – provided the perfect vibe for Ashton Lindner and Matt Still. Dusty gold linens matched Ashton’s subtle golden trumpet gown, champagne veil and Badgley Mischka heels, while bridesmaids in varying jewel-toned dresses brought a breath of vibrant fall color. Ashton’s mom crafted many of the details, including her reception headpiece, which was adorned with vintage crystals that once belonged to her grandmother and great-aunt. Lake Park Bistro’s lakeside staircase and nearby bridge served as the breathtaking backdrops for Laurelyn Savannah Photography’s portrait-quality images after the ceremony, held at St. Francis of Assisi. Lake Park Bistro is where Matt and Ashton dined with family on the night they got engaged. He’d surprised her in their candlelit apartment, the ring attached to the collar of beloved black lab and golden retriever rescue pup Kylie (who’d later make an appearance in engagement photos). The 225 wedding guests noshed on Zilli-catered chicken, beef, and butternut squash ravioli. “Our guests said it was the best food they’d ever had at a wedding,” says Ashton, who, instead of a cake, opted for miniature desserts – raspberry cheesecake parfaits, crème brûlées, cupcakes, chocolate-covered strawberries, and chocolate mousse parfaits – displayed atop a rustic door, which was perched upon two barrels. Sound by Design provided lighting and music for guests, who danced late into the night. “We couldn’t have asked for a better day,” Ashton says.

‘Real Weddings’ appears in Milwaukee Weddings, a brand new addition to the Milwaukee Magazine family.

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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.