Wonderful World of Weddings

Visit the Wonderful World of Weddings on January 5-6, 2019, at Wisconsin State Fair Park.

Special Advertising Section

The 51st Annual Wonderful World of Weddings

is the place to be for the couple-to-be

For thousands of Milwaukee-area couples, walking the aisles of the Wonderful World of Weddings is the first step in planning their walk down that other fabled aisle. Since 1968, generations have saved the date for this show to see all the best wedding trends, ideas and resources under one roof.

January 5-6, 2019
Wisconsin State Fair Park
10:00 am – 4:00 pm

It’s truly one stop shopping. Sampling all the wedding cakes,desserts and foods is a real treat. Talking to nearly 200 professional experts is a valuable experience. Watching the professionally choreographed, stage and runway fashion show is an exhilarating inspiration.

You’re sure to walk away with ideas you’ll want to incorporate and names of exhibitors you’ll want to use to make your wedding experience special and memorable. But before you go, be sure to read this special section so that you’re even better prepared for your big day.

A Smorgasbord of Ideas to Make Your Rehearsal Dinner a Success

While not nearly as much planning goes into the rehearsal dinner as the wedding, it presents a wonderful opportunity to kick off your wedding weekend in an unforgettable way. Here’s some help to make it memorable.


If your budget allows, break from the tradition of inviting just the wedding party and immediate family. Select individuals with whom you want to share something special. That group could include significant others or plus-ones of your wedding party; grandparents and godparents; family and close friends who have traveled from out of town; readers taking part in the ceremony; parents of your ring bearer and flower girl (if the little ones are invited).

Of course, if you have a large number of out-of-town guests you can always consider an after-dinner welcome party with drinks and desserts.

Remember, it’s not about the quantity of people you have but rather the quality of time you have with them.


Laid-back and informal, proper and elegant, or a mix? Once you decide on a style, you can select a setting to match.

If you’re going the informal route, consider a casual restaurant or a community hall. Depending on the time of year and weather, a backyard barbecue might make for a delicious alternative. We advise to not have it at your place, though, because you don’t want to spend the night before your wedding cleaning up. A hotel venue or upscale restaurant, preferably with a private room, perfectly serves more formal tastes.

If you can build a meal, get creative with food stations or tapas. A growing trend is also to serve regional comfort food. Don’t forget to have different options for attendees who have allergies or special food requests.

Warehouse spaces are growing in popularity these days, not only as reception venues, but also for rehearsal dinners. One can also factor in a little local flair with parks or historic sites.

Fun Stuff

There’s no shortage of angles you can take to loosen things up a bit and give the night a fun-loving vibe:

  • If it’s at someone’s home, set up yard  games for guests to enjoy, or have a bonfire with s’mores.
  • Incorporate a theme like a luau, fiesta or supper club.
  • Offer a festive bar with your signature drink or local favorites.
  • Lighten things up by hanging inexpensive market lights or suspended globe lights.

Moments to Share

The key to a great rehearsal dinner is making sure you and your guests are relaxed and having a good time. With that in mind, plan to include as many of these moments as you wish:

Toasts: Whoever is the host should welcome guests with a formal toast, followed by one from the best man. After that, any well-wisher should be encouraged to take the floor. Of course, the lucky couple can toast each other and thank their guests.

Gifts: Thank-you gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen should be distributed at the rehearsal dinner – especially if it’s something you’d like them to wear or use at the wedding. Don’t forget a gift for your parents to thank them for their love, support and guidance.

Special presentations: Many rehearsal dinners are now finding the time to show a video incorporating footage from the pasts of the couple-to-be. Of course, if you want to sample food and talk to experts about your rehearsal dinner or wedding meal, plan to attend the Wonderful World of Weddings Show, where there will be nearly 70 representatives from caterers and venues exhibiting.

Fun Facts About Wedding Traditions

Ring Finger
Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was once thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.

Brides traditionally wore veils because ancient Greeks and Romans believed they protected them from evil spirits. Something Old, New, Borrowed & Blue The tradition of a bride wearing “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” comes from an Old English rhyme. Something old represents continuity; something new offers optimism for the future; something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness; something blue stands for purity, love and fidelity.

The tradition of a wedding cake comes from ancient Rome, where revelers  broke a loaf of bread over a bride’s head for fertility’s sake.

Tying the Knot
As far back as ancient Babylon, a bride and groom’s clothing were knotted together to show two becoming one; and in many cultures around the world – including Celtic, Hindu and Egyptian weddings – the hands of a bride and groom are literally tied together to demonstrate the couple’s commitment to each other and their new bond as a married couple (giving us the popular phrase “tying the knot”).

Rightfully So
At the altar, the groom historically stood on the bride’s right side so his right hand – or his sword hand – would be free for a fight, defending against a jealous rival.

In ancient Nordic culture, it was custom for newlywed couples to hide themselves away from crazy guests after the wedding and for a family member to bring them a cup of honey wine for 30 days (or one moon).

Early Roman brides carried a bunch of herbs, such as garlic and rosemary, under their veils to symbolize fidelity and fertility and to ward off evil – a precursor to the modern bridal bouquet.

Throwing the Garter
Guests in ancient times would tear off part of the bride’s gown as tokens of good luck, leading to the tradition of the bride throwing both her garter and her bouquet.

The World’s Top 10 First Dance Songs, 2018

Paging Ed Sheeran!

1 “Perfect,” Ed Sheeran
2 “Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran
3 “At Last,” Etta James
4 “All of Me,” John Legend
5 “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” Elvis Presley
6 “A Thousand Years,” Christina Perri
7 “You Are the Best Thing,” Ray LaMontagne
8 “I Won’t Give Up,” Jason Mraz
9 “How Long Will I Love You,” Ellie Goulding
10 “Perfect Duet,” Ed Sheeran feat. Beyoncé

Source: Spotify

Bridal Fashion Shows

Show Times
Saturday & Sunday at 12 p.m. & 2:30 p.m.
[45-minute shows]

The latest trends and the most exquisite styles in bridal fashions southeastern Wisconsin has to offer will be on spectacular display. Our producer of over 25 years attributes the success of the shows to the heart and passion of everyone involved–the dancers, models and those behind the scenes. “A special bond creates the magic that comes alive on stage!” Our choreographer was a contestant on “So You Think You Can Dance, Vegas” and participants have included models, actors and even a star of “Housewives of Atlanta”.

You never know what to expect. Past shows have featured a Green Bay Packers-themed wedding dress; bridal poodles in wedding dress and tux; and an all-white leather bridal gown astride a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. This year’s shows promise to be breathtaking presentations with sizzling choreography.

What to Say “I Do” To

When it Comes to Wedding Costs

Lots of variables factor into the overall cost of your wedding – which was a whopping $33,391 on average in 2017, according to The Knot, a figure that didn’t even include the honeymoon. Of course, that’s a national average, and costs in the Midwest tend to be lower than those on the coasts.

Some good news, though, is that 50 percent of couples spend less than $15,000. But any way you slice the cake, your wedding is going to cost a significant amount of money. Hopefully we can help you here with those dollars-and-sense decisions.

The real key is determining your budget. Where do you start? Why not prioritize the items that will make you the happiest on your special day and allocate funds on that basis? If you like math, you can start out by assigning a percentage of your budget to all the essentials. The Knot proposes this breakdown: reception (48-50 percent); photography and/or videography (10-12 percent); attire (8-10 percent); fl owers (8-10 percent); entertainment (8-10 percent); rings (2-3 percent); gifts (2-3 percent); transportation (2-3 percent); stationery (2-3 percent); and miscellaneous (8 percent).

And when you add it all up, even if it’s already over 100 percent of your budget, you might want to squeeze in an extra 5 percent for a “You Never Know Fund.”

So where do you or can you start trimming? These are considerations you might not think of:

  • Get married on a day other than Saturday
  • Get married off season or end of season
  • Use a venue that allows you to bring in your own vendors
  • Have the ceremony and reception at the same place
  • Rent a house for the wedding and lodging

You can always save money by cutting back on the guest list, but here are some other items that bear scrutiny and beg the question “Will anyone notice if I don’t…?”

Invitations: If you think it’s too extreme to go paperless and send online invites, you can always DIY. Or maybe cut back on printing costs by using one color.

The Dress: We’re sure you’ve seen that TV show, but you don’t have to say yes to the most expensive wedding dress. Department stores and bridal consignment shops can sometimes fit the bill. You can also save on accessories like jewelry, shoes and a veil by borrowing or wearing family heirlooms.

Flowers: Always choose blooms that will be in season, and stay local so nothing has to be flown or transported in. Consider larger flowers that will take up more space with fewer stems.

Food & beverages: Seated, plated dinners can take a big bite out of your budget. Ask your caterer about buffet, family-style stations or even heavy hors d’oeuvres options. Open bars can pop the top right off your budget as well. Offering only beer and wine for free is common, with guests having to pay for their own mixed drinks. Do you dare skip the champagne toast? Consider asking your guests to simply pick up and raise the glass or bottle of whatever they’re drinking.

The Cake: If you’re serving cake, remember the one you cut doesn’t have to feed the entire room. Sheet cakes can do that. Also, a two-tier cake for the wedding party and family should be just fine. More tiers can lead to more tears when it comes time to pay the bill.

One tip that might result in free airfare or hotel stay afterwards is to use a rewards or points credit card for qualifying purchases. It’s better for the two of you to sign up for individual cards too so you both get the sign-up bonus, but use your cards only if you plan on paying off the balances in full.

Each of the five items above that we identify as possible money-savers could just as easily be the ones that you want to spend the most on. Remember, if it makes you happy, it’s worth it. There will be nearly 200 exhibitors at the Wonderful World of Weddings that will work with you to stretch your budget and happiness!

The 51st Annual Wonderful World of Weddings

January 5-6, 2019
Wisconsin State Fair Park
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

  • Nearly 200 Leading Wedding Exhibitors
  • Professionally Choreographed Runway Fashion Shows Twice Daily
  • Grand Prizes include Fantastic Honeymoon Trip, Weekend Getaway for Eight to a Wisconsin Resort & other Fun Giveaways
  • Special Discounts, Coupons & Rewards from Exhibitors

Wisconsin’s Largest & Most Prestigious Wedding Expo It’s the Place to Be for the Couple-to-Be