A Travel-Inspired Navy-and-Champagne DIY Wedding in Milwaukee
Anna and Donald
Love was in the air for Anna and Don. Anna's childhood friend -- and, coincidentally, Don's cousin -- had been pushing for a blind date for the pair for months. Don, an aerial mapping pilot who spent his days in the sky, eventually began corresponding with Anna in the evenings by email.
Four months later, Anna took a flight of her own. She hopped a plane to San Antonio to surprise Don and to spend time together (finally!). Later, the couple returned to San Antonio and Don popped the question. On September 28, 2013, the two exchanged vows at the Turner Hall Ballroom in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They threw a relaxed, family-filled celebration that reminded the 140 guests that with love, it’s all about the ride.
Book Your Trip
Anna and Don knew they wanted to incorporate travel into their celebration because Don’s a pilot and Anna grew up traveling internationally with her family. “Our postcard save-the-dates and boarding-pass invitations reflected our sense of adventure,” Anna said. “We can’t wait to travel the world together.”
Pack Your Bags
The red, white, and blue invite was designed by Nicole Zigmont to look like an old airline boarding pass. The day’s itinerary was summarized along the card’s bottom edge. Guests were asked to tear off the perforated response card and mail it to the couple in the brown-paper envelope that was tied to the invite with matching string.
History in the Making
The couple’s Milwaukee venue –- built in 1882 –- is a national landmark. The pair used Turner Hall Ballroom’s first floor for the afternoon ceremony and the evening reception. Hors d’oeuvres were served on the balcony.
Overseas Shopping Spree
Anna’s dress hunt was anything but average. The bride found “the one” in Bangkok while visiting her sister, who was living in Thailand. The alterations were finished on-site the same day. The bride's parents later brought the dress home to Wisconsin, and Anna had the gown shortened locally. Don wore an Express houndstooth suit and a navy Calvin Klein tie.
Anna’s sister, who was also the maid of honor, bought the bride’s silk bloom hair accessory in Manhattan’s Garment District.
"Something Old, Borrowed, and Blue"
Anna kept accessories minimal, wearing her two rings and carrying this all-white bouquet accented with cream and green hypericum berries. In memory of her paternal grandparents, she tied a blue ribbon to her bouquet and wrapped the entirety in one of her grandmother’s family handkerchiefs. The ribbon previously bound together love letters sent long ago from her grandfather based in Korea to her grandmother.
The four bridesmaids wore navy knee-length dresses from The Limited, champagne heels, and hair styled at the nape of the neck.
Anna’s mom pulled double duty, serving as mother of the bride and stepping in as florist for the big day. She paired white blooms and pale-pink roses with lush foliage to create the bouquets and other arrangements for the ceremony and reception.
Little Guy, Big Love
Don’s brother constructed the ring bearer’s box, which held the couple’s rings and was marked with a gold heart that encircled the couple’s first initials.
The couple ordered engraved key chains from Etsy to gift to their new mothers-in-law on the morning of the wedding. They key chains read, “Thank you for raising the man of my dreams,” and “Thank you for raising the woman of my dreams.”
The bride’s mother lined the aisle with petals to make Anna’s walk toward the groom all the more special. Because the bride and groom are both Scottish, Anna chose to walk down the aisle to a tune reflective of their heritage. The bride’s dad escorted her to her future husband.
Large windows framed the midafternoon ceremony and lit the couple’s vow exchange. The nuptials were a family affair, as a friend officiated, the bride’s sister and aunt sang, and Don’s uncle, who is a professional pianist, played the processional and recessional music.
The Mr. and Mrs.
“The wedding was a beautiful start to a lifetime together,” Anna said. Here, the couple’s first walk as husband and wife.
After the ceremony, guests enjoyed the beautiful September weather by strolling along the river that runs just outside Turner Hall and returned for the reception a few hours later. Venue decorators strung twinkly lights above the reception seating per the couple’s request to add warmth and a patio feeling to the grand venue.
Anna purchased the brown card stock and blue string from Paper Presentation and asked a bridesmaid’s mother to handwrite guests’ names and seating assignments in matching blue ink. Brown thumbtacks held the escort cards against a world map purchased from Dover Flag and Map and accessorized with frames from TJMaxx that The Cobblestone, Ltd. mounted.
Postmarked September 28, 2013
Invitees were also asked to write marriage advice on the back of Milwaukee postcards that Anna’s mom collected, which quickly became one of the bride’s most precious wedding souvenirs.
The mother of the bride has been sending these precious postcards to the couple at their Brooklyn apartment each month since their September celebration. “It’s such a fun surprise to get these pieces of advice in our mailbox from time to time,” said Anna.
Hobby Lobby letters painted in white crackle paint and wrapped with ivy from Anna’s parents’ front yard designated the couple’s chairs.
For the Kiddos
Anna brainstormed how to cater to the children on their guest list. Individual bags waited at this kids’ table and were filled with coloring books, puzzles, and sweets –- dependent on the attendants’ ages and genders -– to keep the little ones occupied.
Calling All Chocoholics
One of the easiest big-day decisions for Anna, the associate photo editor for “Food Network Magazine,” was choosing this three-tiered confection. “I’m a chocolate lover and couldn’t imagine a wedding cake other than chocolate!” Anna said. Guests also enjoyed two smaller spice cakes iced with cream-cheese frosting. The cakes were decorated with fresh flowers.
Coffee to Go
With Flags a-Flying
Carrying the travel theme to the finish, Anna stamped these paper flags with “Bon Voyage” for guests to wave as she and the groom exited the venue. The invitees took the pennants home as keepsakes.
A Big-City Getaway
This yellow cab (a nod to their New York residence) scooped up the newlyweds and whisked them to the airport to catch a flight to Jamaica for their honeymoon.
Anna and Don later penned thank-you notes to their loved ones on cards that were in keeping with their wedding stationery suite.