Fresh Takes: 7 New Wisconsin Venues to Suit Every Bride

From: Spring/Summer 2016 edition
Brick walls, soaring ceilings and a bohemian sensibility combine at The Lageret, the hottest new venue in the Madison area.

Sleek and modern? Rustic charm? Natural beauty? No matter what your taste, you’ll find a space that fits your wedding style, thanks to seven new Wisconsin wedding venues.

Lofty Spaces

Venue: The Court Above Main

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The newly renovated Court Above Main boasts sparkling chandeliers, gleaming wood floors and views of downtown La Crosse. || photo courtesy of Court Above Main

Why It’s Hot: The Court Above Main is a newly renovated historic loft event space in the heart of downtown La Crosse, just blocks away from the Mississippi River. Elevated three stories above Main Street on the third floor of the Wedding Tree, a locally owned bridal shop, this former YWCA gymnasium is now an elegant ballroom. “It’s a transformation that you have to see with your own eyes,” says event coordinator Allison Krzysch. 

What to Know: The space, which seats 190 guests, features original restored hardwood floors, sparkling crystal chandeliers, draped floor-to-ceiling windows and a balcony. The venue also boasts a charming lounge (in the former YWCA shower and locker rooms), highlighted by a double-sided full bar.

Who Will Love It: Couples who yearn for a historic space with modern convenience will be immediately drawn to this venue. The décor also pays tribute to local La Crosse history—the front of the bar is constructed with a historic door from a local doctor’s office, and century-old finishes and décor have been repurposed for the new space.

Venue: The Box

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The Box || photography by Little Giant Photography

Why It’s Hot: Location, location, location! The Box is situated in the heart of downtown Milwaukee on bustling Wisconsin Avenue. With its 3,000-square-foot open-concept, loft-style floor plan, the flexibility of the venue allows couples to simply use its existing minimalist charm or create an opulent setting that’s uniquely theirs.

What to Know: The Box features Cream City brick walls, hardwood floors, vintage lighting fixtures and an eclectic mix of vintage, modern and traditional furniture. Candles, vases, trays and other décor items are all included in the rental price.

Who Will Love It: The Box is perfect for couples looking for a posh loft wedding space. Capacity tops out at 250 (for a cocktail reception), and the Box team offers on-site event coordination. Check out the Tool Box feature at theboxmke.com for a fully vetted list of preferred vendors.

Industrial Posh

Venue: The Lageret

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The Lageret || photo courtesy of: The Lageret

Why It’s Hot: A turn-of-the-century warehouse, the Lageret is the Madison area’s newest wedding venue that’s all about boho elegance. The event space boasts two floors of functional space, with room for up to 240 guests. A bar and dance area are located on the first floor, while the second floor features an open area with an altar-type structure built from an old ladder, and an open dining area that runs the length of the building. A petite outdoor space adds fresh-air appeal.

What to Know: “It’s industrial yet chic, moody and trendy all at the same time,” says event manager/florist Jamae Ramsden. “And it’s full of history.”

Who Will Love It: The space appeals to both masculine and feminine sensibilities, with exposed brick, minimalist charm and unique extras like a copper bar that Ramsden created with $45 in pennies and epoxy.

Modern Marvel

Venue: The Garden

Why It’s Hot: This unique venue, owned by the popular SURG Restaurant Group, lives up to its name with a modern lattice-like ceiling, crisscrossed by a forest of wooden beams lit by LED lights. The sleek interior features state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, including a wall-size screen and ceiling-mounted projector. Menu options are nearly unlimited, highlighting selections from several SURG restaurants.

What to Know: The venue is located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, a short walk to nightlife and hotel destinations. Lucid, a hookah bar next door, is a fun post-party stop for night-owl guests. The space accommodates up to 225 for a reception-style event.

Who Will Love It: An über-modern space, the Garden is perfect for couples who love to party. Contemporary interiors set the scene, while its audio-visual options allow for LED lighting customization and over-the-top visual presentations.

Rustic Charmers

Venue: About Thyme Farm

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About Thyme Farm || photography by Erin Jean Photography

Why It’s Hot: This vintage structure, an example of 19th century timber-frame construction, is on the “quiet side” of Door County in Baileys Harbor. In 2013, owner David Peterson finished the property and updated the barn with full concrete flooring, a wood bar, rock wall gardens and timber fencing on the property. He has a full organic garden on the grounds, and 50 chickens that produce organic eggs.

What to Know: Only offering 10 events a year makes the barn a highly sought-after venue—so it’s one you need to book early. It accommodates up to 250 guests, and the natural setting is second to none. “The stars that you see from the remote location are not seen in many places,” says event coordinator Carrie Baldwin Smith. “The guests have described this as the ‘hidden gem of Door County.’”

Who Will Love It: Couples who yearn for a natural, rustic setting will be a perfect fit for this barn event space. The farm sits on 10 acres, and overlooks more than 100 acres of untouched property. The décor is simple and clean, featuring 13 black wrought-iron chandeliers on dimmers in the barn and a large wooden bar.

Venue: Rustic Manor 1848

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A charming, sun-soaked hayloft overlooks the main hall at Delafield’s new Rustic Manor 1848. || photography by Elizabeth Haase Photography

Why It’s Hot: This Delafield property, located on the picturesque Bark River, boasts extensive farmland and multiple sites for wedding ceremonies and scenic photos. The barn itself is a huge 6,000 square feet, and can host up to 300 guests between the lower level and hayloft. The barn features handicap accessible restrooms, bridal quarters with salon set-up, groom quarters with rustic “man cave” lounging, a 24-foot hand-crafted bar, private vendor staging room, a hayloft overlooking the main hall and a deck overlooking the stunning scenery.

What to Know: Reserving the manor also means a complimentary stay for couples at the on-site bed and breakfast. Shuttle service provides transportation to nearby hotels for guests. A host of wedding planning services offered by the venue also makes this a stress-free choice.

Who Will Love It: Couples looking to indulge in the natural beauty of southeastern Wisconsin without sacrificing modern amenities will fall in love with Rustic Manor 1848.

Natural Selections

Venue: Whistler’s Knoll

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These sprawling vineyard grounds, as well as a neighboring pavilion and barn, host weddings for up to 200 guests at Whistler’s Knoll in Hortonville. || photography by Distinction Photo

Why It's Hot: Minutes from the Fox River Valley in Hortonville, Whistler’s Knoll hosts weddings in a gorgeous vineyard setting. Its 1800s dairy barn has been refurbished into the Loft, boasting rustic charm that includes original beams and ladders.

What To Know: Grapevine Pavilion is adjacent to the vineyard, and can host 200 guests. Inside the barn, small parties of 50 or fewer are comfortably accommodated.

Who Will Love It: Those who love to wine and dine: The Wet Your Whistle wine bar is located inside the barn, while the Grapevine Pavilion is set in Whistler’s vineyard. Holly’s wine garden is a cozy entertaining area, complete with three corn crib gazebos and a cozy fireplace.