The Wedding Dress that Launched A Collection ♥
When we saw the spectacular gown in today’s elegant Milwaukee wedding, there was a little gasp and quite a bit of a fluttering in the chest area. Actually, to be honest, quite a lot! With a seven foot train, the couple’s initials hand-embroidered into the bodice over the bride’s heart as her something blue, and a luxurious asymmetrical wrapping of blush tulle, it makes sense that this would be the very wedding gown that launched designer and bride, Alyssa Kristin‘s bridal collection! What an honor it is to share each and every romantic moment of Alyssa Kristin’s elegant Milwaukee wedding, lovingly captured by Valo Photography with you, today.
Alyssa met her groom, Alexander, in Chicago, Illinois and a year later they were engaged to be married at the glamorously elegant Villa Terrace Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The pair wanted something utterly romantic and elegant – with a dash of vintage and a hint of DIY. To compliment the exquisite natural beauty of the garden flowers, they opted for a blush, gold and light grey palette, complete with a pair of covet-worthy Jimmy Choo pumps.
“Finding the dress was NO easy task. I tried on over 150 gowns and simply could not find one that felt right and matched the venue and my vision for the day,” shares Alyssa, taking us back to the inspiration for the gown that launched her collection. “I wanted something classic and dramatic in a silhouette that flattered my figure and a color that complimented my complexion. Thus, I decided to create a gown with a mermaid silhouette, low back and sweet heart neckline. The entire body (a champagne satin) was wrapped asymmetrically in blush tulle that bloomed into the seven foot train. I embroidered our initials inside the bodice above my heart (my something blue) as a last personalization. Making the dress took me four months, but I have never felt more proud or beautiful as I did walking down the aisle on my wedding day!”
Alyssa Kristin’s Elegant Milwaukee Wedding
“My mother loves harp music (as do I) – so I surprised her with harp music for the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to A Thousand Years by Christina Perri.” – Alyssa
Alyssa Kristin’s Elegant Milwaukee Wedding
Love Story: Alex and I’s first date was supposed to be one drink, however a few drinks, dinner and seven hours later we finally said good night. We had so much in common (both from Wisconsin, loved to ski, fans of a good Manhattan) and just hit it off right away. Fast forward to 11 months – Alex spoiled the surprise that he purchased a ring, however he made me wait patiently for two more months before he proposed. Patience is not my strong suit, but it was definitely worth the wait!
Wedding Venue: Both originally from Wisconsin, Alex and I decided to look to our home state for wedding venue inspiration. That’s when we stumbled upon Villa Terrace in Milwaukee, WI – a gorgeous Italian-style mansion nestled in the bluffs of Lake Michigan. After touring the property we fell in love; it was classic, elegant and full of character. From the stately home to the lush gardens to the huge outdoor terrace; it would be a stunning backdrop for our big day.
Wedding Dress: Now that we had the perfect venue, I needed the perfect gown…something romantic and dramatic – something that would take my husband’s (and guests’) breath away. After years of dreaming of the perfect dress, and months of shopping for one without success, I decided to take matters into my own hands (literally) and make my dress. The process was stressful yet exhilarating and painstakingly detailed. Every element from the seven-foot train to the hand-embroidered A&A over my heart in the dress bodice (my something blue) was meticulously crafted. This experience inspired me to start my own bridal line, Alyssa Kristin. I am so thankful for the support from my husband and family who believed in me.
Hair and Make Up: I wanted a look that was clean, glam and classic. My make-up consisted of a strong brow, minimal cat eye and tinted moisturizer. For my hair (which I did myself), I went for a full and dramatic top bun.
Wedding DIY Projects: We wanted the wedding to be glamorous and within our budget. So in addition to my dress, I completed additional DIY projects. For starters, I designed our invites, sketched our venue to use on the RSVP postcard, made envelope liners and closed each invite with a wax seal. I also designed and stitched together our wedding programs for an added personal touch. We adorned the tables and terrace with candles and re-purposed bridesmaid bouquets. I made gold mercury glass globes to hold votive candle, painted vases gold and hand dipped dozens of pillar candles in gold paint. We saved on cake by having several small cakes (which I thankfully did not make) and made a number of cake stands from antique plates and candle sticks to hold each.
Finally, our last project: the pews. Alex and I knew we wanted to get married in the garden deciding that church pews would be the perfect way to bring a touch of tradition to an outdoor ceremony (and definitely left a lastly impression on our guests). However, obtaining pews was easier said than done. After searching high and low for pew rentals (without success), I found a local church that was remodeling and willing to sell their pews for next to nothing. A fresh coat of paint later and the 1890 historic pews were ready for our guests. (Well, there were a few more steps/headaches than that – ever tried to transport and assemble 16 pews? Thanks to my dad for making this happen)!
Bridal Party Styling: We wanted to be respectful of our bridal parties’ budget. For the bridesmaids, I wanted to keep the cost minimal in case the dress is never re-worn. I opted for an inexpensive blush dress from Macy’s, had the sleeves removed and found matching wedges (a must for an outdoor ceremony). We also gifted them gold accessories to complete the look.
For the groomsmen, we wanted them to have a look they could wear again and have tailor to fit perfection. Thanks to Jos. A. Banks we were able to outfit the groomsmen in matching suits and shirts for less than the cost of a tux rental. We gifted them ties to tie the whole look together.
Wedding Ceremony Details: All the projects and planning paid off. We said our vows in the gardens with the stately Villa Terrace mansion and cascading bluff of summer blooms as our backdrop. Our bridal party looked lovely-for-less and perfectly complimented the setting in a palette of blush and pale grey. Guests, seated in pews, shaded themselves with parasols as they enjoyed harp music during the early-evening ceremony. After the ceremony, our guests were escorted back to the main home for the reception.
Thankfully we enjoyed a quiet moment to ourselves during a first look on the veranda (where Alex presented me with a note he hand wrote the morning of our wedding – this was almost a make-up emergency), so we were not too far behind our guests to join the party. It was important to us that the wedding be a fun and social affair, fitting with the setting. We opted for a mix of high-top tables and terrace seating so guests could mingle while they sipped cocktails, sampled hors d’oeuvres, and enjoyed music from a local piano singer.
Wedding Reception Details: For dinner, guest indulged in food stations featuring some of our Wisconsin favorites (and had late night pizza to finish). Our first dance was to Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” performed by the female pianist. Shortly thereafter, a DJ took the stage on the terrace and we had an outdoor dance party late into the evening. We could not have asked for a more beautiful day surrounded by the ones we love.
♥ ♥ ♥ Credits ♥ ♥ ♥
Photographer Valo Photography // Bridesmaid Dresses Macys // Venue Villa Terrace Museum // Dress Alyssa Kristin // Flowers Unity Floral Designs // Cake Metro Market Bakery // Stationery Invite Site // Shoes Jimmy Choo // Suits Jos A Bank //Bride’s reception dress: BCBG // Catering and bar Zillion // Getting ready Intercontinental
And make sure you have a look at Alyssa’s interview on Burnett’s Boards to take a behind the scene’s peek at at Alyssa Kristin’s beautiful studio before having a look at her 2014 collection on Bridal Musings here. Gorgeous!!