An Old-World Style Wisconsin Wedding with a Floral Theme

emer cooper wedding wisconsin bouquet
Photo: Liz Banfield

European influences were balanced with lots of local touches like cheese curds and Midwestern charm at this couple's celebration.

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emer cooper wedding wisconsin couple kiss
Liz Banfield

"We may have exchanged ten words during our time in high school, but I always thought she was cute," says Cooper Brown of the teen years he and Emer Lucey shared in Madison, Wisconsin. "I always thought Cooper was cute, too," Emer adds. But in spite of their mutual admiration, it wasn't until four years after college, when both had returned to their hometown, that he finally asked her out.

Eighteen months later, the pair knew they'd found a lasting match, and had even designed an engagement ring together. They left instructions with the jeweler to call Cooper when it was ready, but as it happened, he accidentally dialed Emer's number instead. She passed along the news to Cooper, who quickly plotted to pop the question in a way that would salvage some of the surprise: He lied and said he had to work late, but instead left the office early, picked up the rock, and asked Emer to be his wife later that afternoon in their apartment. "She had just gotten out of the shower, so she was in a towel and her hair was still wet," he explains. "I would say she wasn't expecting that."

Within a year, Emer, now a graduate student, and Cooper, who works in marketing, became husband and wife in Madison, a city they both hold so dear. The wedding began with a traditional Catholic nuptial mass in the church they grew up attending, followed by a reception at the country club where Emer's family are members. The bride describes the vibe of the day as "a romantic, rose-filled Old-World wedding in Wisconsin," which translated to a black-tie-optional dress code, lots of classic blooms, a spread of sweets featuring a croquembouche and macarons, local beer in the welcome boxes, and—what else?— some late-night cheese curds. It was European sophistication meets Midwestern charm.

One hundred and forty guests, including family from Ireland and friends from Spain, flew in for the celebration on July 8, 2017. A floral pattern inspired by Rachel Ruysch's still-life paintings appeared on almost every detail of the day, from the stationery and the ribbon around the bouquet to the photo-booth backdrop. Soft pinks, blues, and antique golds (à la Marie Antoinette) were contrasted with a deep crimson for a splash of drama. The party was what they'd both wanted it to be—the dancing wild and the drinks flowing. But it was the moment when the couple recessed up the aisle after saying their vows that Cooper loved the most: "Emer whispered to me, 'We're married.'"

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A Floral-Themed Invitation

emer cooper wedding wisconsin invitation suite
Liz Banfield

Invitations introduced the floral pattern that would appear throughout the festivities; a mix of spot calligraphy and a serif font added formality. The suite was designed by Michael McCormick, who has known Emer for a while through his friendship with her sister, Catherine.

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Welcome to Wisconsin

emer cooper wedding wisconsin welcome treat box
Liz Banfield

"We were so honored to have lots of guests traveling from all over the world, so a box of treats was a great way to start the weekend off on the right note," says Emer. Local beer, pecans, and cheese and crackers were a few of the goodies tucked inside.

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Mapping It Out

emer cooper wedding wisconsin map
Liz Banfield

To further personalize the welcome boxes given to guests staying in hotels, Emer's artist brother drew a map of Madison with the key landmarks illustrated on it—the high school the happy couple both attended, the church and country club where the wedding would take place, the Capitol building, and University of Wisconsin's Memorial Union.

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Dressed to Impress

emer cooper wedding wisconsin couple
Liz Banfield

"I thought I would want something simple and was thinking about a sheath or column style dress," Emer says. But she tried on a ballgown and immediately knew her gown would have a full skirt. She chose this Morilee by Madeline Gardner number with clean lines but in a shape that "felt really bridal and a bit ballerina-y."

Cooper went with a Bonobos tuxedo and bow tie—after all it was a black-tie-optional affair.

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The Little Details

emer cooper wedding wisconsin accessories
Liz Banfield

Emer slipped on a Toni Federici veil and into a pair of floral Nanette Lepore shoes. And the ring bearer (her nephew) carried the wedding bands down the aisle on a pillow made from the signature fabric, printed by Spoonflower.

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All Abloom

emer cooper wedding wisconsin bouquet
Liz Banfield

Emer's bountiful bouquet by Flora Designs by Jamae incorporated garden roses, spray roses, peonies, tweedia, lisianthus, clematis, ranunculus, stephanotis on the vine, scabiosa, and assorted foliage. "My big must-have was garden roses," Emer says. "I wanted a lush, almost overbloomed feel and I loved the crescent shape. I also loved the trailing vines with the vintage ribbons and the sash made from our wedding fabric! It was such a pretty way to tie that in again."

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Family Time

emer cooper wedding wisconsin mother sister bride
Liz Banfield

Emer was all smiles, surrounded by her mother and her sister, who served as matron of honor.

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The Ceremony

emer cooper wedding wisconsin ceremony
Liz Banfield

The couple involved lots of their family members and friends in the service, as readers, presenters of gifts, and ushers. The afternoon ceremony at Our Lady Queen of Peach Church had Emer in tears after exchanging the traditional vows.

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The Programs

emer cooper wedding wisconsin programs
Liz Banfield

Programs, also designed by Michael McCormick, were printed in dark red ink and rolled up as scrolls, tied up in a satin ribbon to match.

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The Flower Girls

emer cooper wedding wisconsin flower girl
Liz Banfield

Two of the bride's nieces served as flower girls, carrying baskets adorned with gilded silk flowers.

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Family Time

emer cooper wedding wisconsin family
Liz Banfield

The two best men and two groomsmen wore classic black tuxedos and bow ties. Cooper's sister and Emer's best friend wore solid dresses in the day's color palette, while Emer's sister (the matron of honor) donned a lace dress with an oversized floral pattern.

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The Seating Chart

emer cooper wedding wisconsin seating chart
Liz Banfield

A calligraphed seating chart was printed on fabric via Spoonflower and surrounded by garlands studded with blooms.

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An Elegant Dinner Setting

emer cooper wedding wisconsin place setting
Liz Banfield

The color of the wax seal on each menu denoted the entrée pick.

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Stealing a Kiss

emer cooper wedding wisconsin couple kissing
Liz Banfield

The newlyweds smooched at dinner under a hanging greenery installation.

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Photo Booth Fun

emer cooper wedding wisconsin photobooth
Liz Banfield

The photo booth was set up by the bar and offered a good alternative to the dance floor for those still looking to have some fun. The day's signature print made for a lively backdrop. Garlands, crowns, and bouquets made from faux flowers from Afloral were spray-painted in an antique gold color and used as props.

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A Change of Attire

emer cooper wedding wisconsin couple reception
Liz Banfield

"I liked that my pocket square matched the photo booth's backdrop and our dessert table runner," says Cooper. Emer changed into a Halston Heritage dress for the party.

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A Decadent Dessert Buffet

emer cooper wedding wisconsin dessert table
Liz Banfield

In lieu of cake, the couple offered a bounty of confections from Madison Sourdough that were reminiscent of a French pâtisserie, with a croquembouche as the focal point.

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Local Bites

emer cooper wedding wisconsin snacks
Liz Banfield

Deep-fried cheese curds—a classic Wisconsin snack—and pretzel knots with a Welsh rarebit sauce were served for late-night snacks.

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Boozy Favors

emer cooper wedding wisconsin mini brandy bottles
Liz Banfield

The favors were mini bottles of brandy and Bittercube bitters, wrapped in custom tissue paper ordered from Zazzle.

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emer cooper wedding wisconsin couple
Liz Banfield

Ceremony location, Our Lady Queen of Peace Church

Reception location and catering, Nakoma Golf Club

Day-of event coordination, Wood Violet Events + Styling

Flowers, Flora Designs by Jamae

Couple's Photography, Mark Kegans

Stationery, Michael McCormick

Calligraphy, Curlicue Designs Calligraphy

Desserts, Madison Sourdough

Music, Platinum

Rentals, Event Essentials

Bride's gown, Morilee by Madeline Gardner

Bride's reception dress, Halston Heritage

Bride's veil, Toni Federici

Hair and makeup, Arch Apothecary

Flower-girl dress, Pink Princess

Groom's tuxedo and bow tie, Bonobos

Groom's shirt, J.Hilburn

Transportation, Badger Bus

Photo booth, Meir Photography

Stationery printing, Czar Press

Wax seals,

Custom tissue paper, Zazzle

Custom fabric (for runner, seating chart, and bouquet ribbons), Spoonflower

Welcome box, Wine Gift Box

Faux flowers for photo-booth props, Afloral

Bitters, Bittercube

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