Where to Host a Small Wedding Near Milwaukee This Summer or Fall

Looking for a venue perfect for a small wedding? Here are a few worth checking out.

When couples booked their dream wedding venue last year, or even earlier this year, a ban on large-group gatherings amid a pandemic probably wasn’t considered as a potential snag to happily ever after.

Thankfully, some venues in Wisconsin have pivoted their packages to allow groups of 10 people or less (including the couple, plus an officiant). Others that were already marketing “elopement packages” for no-fuss nuptials have risen into greater popularity.

From three of Milwaukee’s hottest live-music venues to a quaint farm in Dodge County, and a trendy Riverwest bar, too, plus another option (further away) with camping on site, here are spots to host a small wedding this summer or fall.

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Bar Centro

This Riverwest bar (attached to Centro Café, known for its rustic-Italian cuisine) will be taken over by Petite Weddings (a partnership between Morr Events and Milwaukee Flower Co.) for a weekend in July (July 17-19) for nine weddings (three per day) that are built around style but also safety. Included are floral displays, a photographer, invitations, event coordinator, videographer, cake, sparkling-wine toast and table set-ups. A series of “enhancements” (such as a 30-minute offside photography session or a 2-minute highlight video, to share with non-guests after) can also be added to the base price of $3,500.

Pabst Theater, Riverside Theater and Turner Hall Ballroom

All three of these concert venues in downtown Milwaukee are not new to wedding planning — but when COVID-19 hit, they retooled what the Big Day will look like. A 300-person wedding may now be off the table but the actual tying of the knot is not. A new elopement package provides for groups of up to 10 and includes three hours of exclusive use, with options to tack on bar service, livestreaming (for those friends and family members who didn’t make the cut) and photography.

Pioneer Creek Farm

Dubbed “micro weddings” — code for a small guest list and less-than-formal environment — this Lomira farm in Dodge County (about 50 miles northwest from downtown Milwaukee) allows you to get the rustic-farm wedding of your dreams. Choose from swapping “I dos” in a covered pavilion, under a huge maple tree or on the pond’s peninsula, and for a 1.5-hour period that include things like an indoor bathroom, on-site parking and usage of the grounds to snap photos with your photographer.

Dancing Yarrow Farm

Located in Mondovi (about a three-hour and 40-minute drive from downtown Milwaukee) this 18-acre farm’s so into making the day fun and not at all fussy its weddings are called “un-weddings.” Up to 125 guests (although less than that is fine) have access to 14 campsites, bathrooms, a reception in the barn, multiple ceremony sites and a campfire encircled by seating. As for dinner, the farm grows a lot of its own food and can supplement from neighbors to satisfy specific requirements given to the caterer. Or, being a “pizza farm,” guests can dine on wood-fired pizza and a salad buffet. A yoga class for up to 10 guests can also be arranged for some zen-like vibes.

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A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine), FoodRepublic.com, CNN.com and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.