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Searching for venues around the downtown Milwaukee area or beach

Hi ya'll! My fiance and I are in the early early stages of planning (just got engaged and we are thinking about late spring early summer 2016 but might push it up to 2015!). We want venue with a lot of natural light or already elegantly decorated. Nothing industrial and no barns or anything rustic! I don't mind exposed brick as long as there is a lot windows since we are planning a early afternoon wedding and are going for a certain look. I have thought a lot about outdoor ceremonies but my boyfriend isn't crazy about the idea because there are too many variables with this unpredictable wisconsin weather. It doesn't have  to be directly in down town but near touristy things would be nice because we will have a lot of out of towners from all over the country and I would like for them to have fun stay and really get a taste of milwaukee. 

We have looked at the villa terrace and it's perfect but it's pricey and only holds 135 people and we have at least 175 people we are inviting. Realistically we will only have about a 100 to 125 since so much of my family is scattered across the country but we still need to account for if everyone does decide to come since it's so early in the game. 

Basically a large sunny room or building or anything that can fit an elegant or "garden party" theme or would be easy to decorate to fit and we would prefer to handle our own food or at least our own caterer but that's not required. 

Re: Searching for venues around the downtown Milwaukee area or beach

  • woops I meant lakefront not beach. My bad. 
  • My sister had hers at the Milwaukee County Sailing Center. Tons of windows and a beautiful view of the lake. Its really close to the Art Museum. She only did the ceremony there so I'm not sure if the caterer situation, but I know they do both ceremonies and receptions. She had very little decorating and it looked amazing.
  • We are doing our wedding at the Miller Room on the Lakefront.  Practically same views as Art Museum or Pilot House but very little charge for the room compared to everything else in the area. 

    If you rent them for the reception you have the option of using the outdoor space infrot of the Art Museum for the wedding.  They can tent it too incase of weather.  Do it during the summer and you could close with Fireworks over the lake from the festivals.  Downside is that the room is not as elegant as others.  This didn't bother us as we figured we were using the outdoor space for more activies and the room was mostly for dinner and some dancing.  Also caterin is strictly Zilli's.  Downside I know because you wanted to cater.  But the venue contact Candy Zilli is beyond amazing and a large reason why we booked with them.  Along with Zilli's check out Milwaukee Count Domes.  Zilli's is the main contract again but nothing says garden party like being in the gardens.  I think it's just about your size too.

    Have you looked into the Pritzlaff Building.  I'm guessing it is much more industrial than you would like but some of the events staged there have been beyond beautiful.  The building is basically a blank canvas that you can dress up as you would like.

    From what I remember the Marcus Preforming arts center was also a beautiful room and a wonderful patio/balcony overlooking the river.  I don't know about ceremony space though. 

  • Not sure what your budget is, but some "pricy" options that come to mind are the Discovery Museum, Calatrava, and the War Memorial Museum all on the lakefront.  The South Shore Pavilion is much cheaper, but a different look.

    Other options you may be interested in: The Domes, Grain Exchange, Alverno College.
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  • Right now we are looking the Renaissance room, the grain exchange, the Pfister and the Villa Filomena and possibly Cuvee. We are also looking at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center which is farther north then I would like but meets our needs almost perfectly. I thought we were maybe jumping the gun a little by looking at venues now but having called around some places are already booked solid for the summer of 2015. I'm glad I started asking around now. Thanks for the suggestions!
  • tx91 said:
    Right now we are looking the Renaissance room, the grain exchange, the Pfister and the Villa Filomena and possibly Cuvee. We are also looking at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center which is farther north then I would like but meets our needs almost perfectly. I thought we were maybe jumping the gun a little by looking at venues now but having called around some places are already booked solid for the summer of 2015. I'm glad I started asking around now. Thanks for the suggestions!


    You are not jumping the gun at all.  Our wedding is this coming June and we booked 3/16 last year.  When we booked it was the last weekend in the summer our venue had open. 

    I would also look into hotels after you find your venue if needed.  Again, we found 15 months out that 3 major hotels downtown were already full and not accepting groups.  With festivals and conventions the city gets really busy really fast!

    All great venues you are looking at by the way. 

  • Have you thought of moving out of the city.  What about something different, a destination wedding with out having to board a plane.  The Wisconsin dells is a great area to have a wedding, and less expensive than the city.   My friend just had her wedding at Chula Vista Resort in the dells.  It's off the beaten path along the Wisconsin River.

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