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  • Danielle Horvatin

Micro wedding at Villa Filomena

Tara + Jeff's intimate wedding in Milwaukee

Tara reached out to me in May 2020 with excitement from her recent engagement...but also fear and anxiety. It was the thick of Covid-19! She was looking for a wedding planner to help navigate planning a wedding in general, but especially during Covid-19. Essentially, help in figuring out what kind of wedding was even possible.


These two had been together for 11 years! They knew they were looking for a non-traditional wedding to take place in September; even if it had to be a micro wedding situation. Spoiler alert: it was a micro wedding situation.


We planned their wedding in 3 months!


With friends and family almost all out of state and scattered throughout the country, we landed on throwing them an intimate ceremony + dinner at Villa Filomena in Milwaukee. Their larger wedding celebration will take place later this year in Lake Tahoe.


It's quite the conundrum to wedding plan during a pandemic. My heart went out to Tara + Jeff; as well as all those planning couples last year, especially. I am just so, so happy that we made it happen for these two. It was an exceptional day.


OK, I'm going to gush about everyone on this vendor team. Naturally, they all knocked it out of the park. That's a given. But consider this: these wedding professionals were confused about Covid, nervous about the virus + PPE, mentally exhausted, financially concerned...and above all just drained from anxiety (like everyone in 2020).


BUT WE CAME TOGETHER through all the anxiety and nerves; we produced a beautiful day for a deserving couple + their families. It was creative, intimate, romantic and lovely.


Shannon Uttke flew solo without her man, demonstrating just how BAD ASS one, seasoned photographer can truly be. Tina at Villa Filomena was wildly gracious and accommodating - all while adorably carrying her FOURTH baby. Erika from Flowers For Dreams put down amazing, fall botanics with a mix of dried and fresh florals. Her ceremony arrangements were pure magic - and the bridal bouquet was spot on in alignment with what Tara wanted.


I'm not even going to call what Mann Frau did a 'live stream,' because it literally looked like an episode of a TV drama. The cameras moved, angles switched - they had a comprehensive, live film of the ceremony, cake cutting + dancing for folks who were safely tuning in from home.


The (all-female) team from Tall Guy and a Grill BROUGHT IT with a tasting, coursed out menu for the intimate dinner. I'm talking about a mini charcuterie, poke bowl cone, lobster + red meat course (and I'm just skimming the menu).


My actual life partner, Stephanie, from Fretless Music drove up from Illinois to create soothing, magical live music for the ceremony + first dance. And sweet pieces rented from A La Crate totally completed the aesthetic that we were going for out on the terrace. Guest enjoyed delicious cake from Yield Bakehouse under romantic string lighting from David Charles Productions. I brought in the tabletop decor, with the lovely script writing for place cards from Ever Yours Paper Co.


I'm delighted to share this heart-warming micro wedding with you-

Shannon capturing my wedding-day excitement!

We drove from Tosa to Doctor's Park for Tara + Jeff's first look. Naturally, Leo had to be involved. He's a prince! He also knows how to roll down windows, which very much surprised me.

That tongue, you guys. Leo is something special - but so are these two. So much love between Tara and Jeff. These 'in-between' smiles are lovely.

Tara's bridal look blew me away! Pearls down her back + popped in her beautiful brown hair. She stunned in this lace BHLDN gown. Here they are heading down to the beach!

Back at Villa Filomena, this micro wedding is about to pop off! The casual energy around a micro wedding is really fun to me. Folks are just chatting around, enjoying each other's company. All it takes is a quick announcement from me to cue the start. I was serving Carmen Sandiego vibes that day.

A close friend of Jeff's officiated the ceremony, which made it 1,500x more special.

Because Mann Frau was live streaming the ceremony, Tara and Jeff had the great idea to recess right into their cake cutting + first dance, so that guests tuning in could enjoy those magical moments, too!

Serendipitous vibes as Tara and Jeff sneak into this apartment building right across from Villa Filomena on Marshall St. Somehow, they got in, and walked right up to their old apartment door! So special. Of course, Shannon Uttke, being the bad ass that she is, posed this awesome photo (below)!

Villa Filomena terrace is flipped and set for a very intimate, romantic dinner.


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