Wisconsin Bride's Best of 2013 Winners

Eighth annual readers’ choice awards.

To make your wedding dreams a reality, you need an all-star cast. From a dazzling dress and awe-inspiring cake to a photographer with a great eye and musicians who strike the right chord, each element plays a critical part in creating your masterpiece. On the following pages, we present Wisconsin’s top vendors, as voted by you, our readers, who are primed and ready to orchestrate your perfect day.

BEST BRIDAL GOWNS
The finalists are: Brandi’s Bridal Galleria, Marah’s Elegant Bridal, Vera’s House of Bridals
The winner is: Vera’s House of Bridals
Madison | 608.833.6006 | verasbridals.com
“The women at Vera’s were amazing to work with from start to finish. The attendants truly know what they’re doing. They know how to fit your body type and they are great at interpreting what you want in a wedding gown, even if you’re not entirely sure of what you want. And they are always up-to-date on current trends. I can’t imagine having gone anywhere else!” —Brittany Schumaker, Madison, married October 6, 2012

BEST CAKE
The finalists are: Carl’s Cakes, Craig’s Cake Shop, “I Do” Cakes by Betty
The winner is: Craig’s Cake Shop
Verona | 608.848.6331 | craigscakeshop.com
“Craig’s has such a great reputation in the community. The quality is always spectacular and the flavors are great. The customer service is outstanding, and they walk you through the whole process with ease. They are very accommodating with any requests and offer such a huge variety of options and flavors. I frequently recommend Craig’s Cake Shop to others, and our wedding guests still rave about the fantastic cake that we served at our wedding.” —Elizabeth Roman, Madison, married May 26, 2012

BEST INVITATIONS
The finalists are: Paper Piper Designs, Sugar Pear Design, Sugar River Stationers
The winner is: Sugar River Stationers
Verona | 608.798.0427 | sugarriverstationers.com
“We chose Sugar River Stationers because of the beautiful work they do. We had a vision of what we wanted our invitations to look like, and they truly made them exactly how we wanted. They were extremely accommodating and so easy to work with. They not only made our invitations but also other stationery items for our wedding. I was so pleased with every aspect of working with Sugar River.” —Abby Clements, Plover, married August 11, 2012

Wisconsin Bride's Best of 2013 winners

BEST TRANSPORTATION
The finalists are:
Abracadabra Limousines, Badger Bus, Gallant Knight Limousine
The winner is: Gallant Knight Limousine
Madison | 608.242.7000 | gallantknightusa.com
“We had a great experience with Gallant Knight Limousine. Their staff is professional and punctual. We rented the 18-person limo bus; there was a lot of room, it looked beautiful and it was fully stocked with ice and glasses. I would definitely recommend them to other brides.” —Missy Sklena, Chicago, married June 30, 2012

BEST ACCESSORIES
The finalists are:
Brandi’s Bridal Galleria, Jaxie, Marah’s Elegant Bridal
The winner is: Marah’s Elegant Bridal
Mount Horeb | 608.437.6107 | marahselegantbridal.com
“They have the perfect mix of freshness, sophistication and elegance. Owner Marah Odgers truly understood my picture for the big day and helped me find what I wanted. The MEG Jewelry line they carry is so beautiful and different. The icing on the cake was getting to set up an appointment with designer Meg Lammers herself to try on my dress and choose my jewelry. Not only did I choose jewelry for myself, I was also able to find beautiful pieces for my bridal party.” —Micki Feldmeier, Oregon, married June 23, 2012

BEST RENTAL & DECOR
The finalists are:
A La Crate Vintage Rentals, Event Essentials, Cover It Up
The winner is: Event Essentials
Windsor | 800.220.4991 | eventessentials.com
“Event Essentials was very easy to work with. We let them know we needed about 50 chairs for our wedding. We arranged to pick up the chairs and set them up, and we had Event Essentials come in after the ceremony to pick them up—no need to worry about getting them back on time during our hectic day.” —Abby McCoy, Sun Prairie, married June 10, 2011

BEST ATTENDANT DRESSES
The finalists are:
Brandi’s Bridal Galleria, Miss Ruby Boutique, Premiere Couture
The winner is: Brandi’s Bridal Galleria
New Glarus | 608.527.4436 | brandisbridal.com
“I was very happy with their overall service and dress selection. Although I only had two bridesmaids, Brandi’s provided endless options for my small wedding party and was especially
accommodating throughout the entire process. I would recommend all brides to start looking for their attendant dresses at Brandi’s, as you probably won’t need to go anywhere else.” —Kelanie Davis, Sun Prairie, married July 21, 2012

BEST FLORIST
The finalists are:
daffodil*parker, Evolutions in Design, Studio Fleurette
The winner is: daffodil*parker
Madison | 608.663.2100 | daffodilparker.com
“[Owner] Erin Joswick was so easy to work with, and once we explained our vision to her, she made it come to life. She was so helpful with explaining the possibilities for our wedding flowers that we knew daffodil*parker was the right company to work with. People commented all day about how beautiful the flowers were, which shows that we made the right choice by working with daffodil*parker.” —Cori Naatz, Evansville, married April 30, 2011

Wisconsin Bride's Best of 2013 winners

BEST PHOTO BOOTH
The finalists are:
Beyond the Booth, Showtime Entertainment, The Traveling Photo Booth
The winner is: The Traveling Photo Booth
Madison & Milwaukee | 608.370.2831 or 414.881.1372 | thetravelingphotobooth.com
“The Traveling Photo Booth was excellent! We had it placed right on the side of the dance floor, and it was so much fun—our guests were in it the entire time. Chad, who ran the photo booth, was awesome; I cannot say enough nice things about him. He was very friendly and encouraged people to take advantage of the photo booth, and never made people feel like they couldn’t use it, which was important.” —Danielle Ebener, Racine, married July 28, 2012

BEST DJ
The finalists are:
Celebrations Entertainment, Juke Box Bandstand, Showtime Entertainment
The winner is: Juke Box Bandstand
Madison | 608.249.2900 | jukeboxbandstand.com
“We are so happy we chose Juke Box Bandstand for our wedding reception entertainment. The staff was always very friendly and accommodating, from first contact to the wedding day. We definitely recommend Juke Box Bandstand to anyone looking for a reputable and friendly wedding DJ service.” —Beth Beyler, Verona, married June 9, 2012

BEST OFFICIANT
The finalists are:
Ceremonies by Design/Rev. Joan Pape, Happily Ever After Wedding Officiants, Let’s Get Married
The winner is: Happily Ever After Wedding Officiants
Madison | 608.831.0993 | happilyeverafterweddings.info
“They easily made the ceremony completely customized for us without making it overwhelming. How many other people had a Lego-theme interwoven into their ceremony, with readings from Calvin and Hobbes and Winnie the Pooh? [Owners] Rev. Connie Engmann and Rev. Jim Engmann were both great to work with and gave us a lot of direction in writing our own ceremony.”—Kelly Gibson, Madison, married March 30, 2012

BEST HAIR & MAKEUP
The finalists are:
ANiU Salon & Spa, Blush, Ultimate Salon and Spa
The winner is: Blush
Milwaukee | 414.272.1718 | blushmilwaukee.com
“I felt like I’d never find the right makeup artist until I came across Blush. Right when I walked in the door, I had a feeling of ease. An hour after we started, I looked in the mirror and was in awe. I felt like myself and I didn’t feel like my face was caked with makeup. I got compliments on my makeup the entire night of my wedding, so it must have been just as great as I thought!” —Lindsey Konieczka, New Berlin, married October 12, 2012

Wisconsin Bride's Best of 2013 winners

BEST REHEARSAL DINNER VENUE
The finalists are:
Brady’s Brew House, The Madison Club, Red Eye Brewing Co.
The winner is: Brady’s Brew House
New Richmond | 715.246.9960 | bradysbrewhouse.com
“The atmosphere is second to none, and the aesthetics are eye-catching. The staff is professional, with a warm combination of hospitable and delightful. The cuisine is a unique twist of American and house specialties. The beer selection is top-notch, with a wide variety of house-made and regional brews. Brady’s Brew House is a must-visit and has become a favorite with my family.” —Maysa Coty, Hudson, married August 14, 2010

BEST OUTDOOR RECEPTION SITE
The finalists are:
Olbrich Botanical Gardens, The Enchanted Barn, Quivey’s Grove
The winner is: Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Madison | 608.246.4550 | olbrich.org
“The gardens are spectacular and breathtaking. I always dreamed of having my wedding outdoors, and it was just the romantic setting I was looking for. I got married in September on the last day they offered outdoor weddings for the season. I loved that all the flowers were blooming.” —Katie Tschanz, Blue Mounds, married September 17, 2011

BEST PLANNER
The finalists are: Beyond Elegant Events, The Wedding Guy, Cherry Blossom Events
The winner is: Cherry Blossom Events
Madison | 608.497.0133 | cherrybevents.com
“I loved working with Cherry Blossom. [Co-owner] Andrea VandeBerg was fabulous. She made my special day completely worry-free. Our ceremony was outside but it was drizzling all day. She pulled everything together and worked with all of the vendors to ensure that we could still have the wedding outside when the rain stopped. I truly don’t think I could have done it without her.” —Courtney Rooker, Madison, married September 16, 2011

BEST PHOTOGRAPHYWisconsin Bride's Best of 2013 winners
The finalists are:
BP Photo, Ideal Impressions Photography, Photographs by Jenna Leigh
The winner is: BP Photo
New Richmond & Hayward | 715.222.0363 | ownyoursmile.com
“Photographer Beau Petersen’s biggest asset is his uncanny ability to make everyone comfortable. His expertise in his medium is immediately evident from the moment he enters the room. He takes ‘amazing’ to the next level ... and captures it for you. Because of the work of Beau and his lovely wife Bethany, your finished product will blow you away and leave you with the most amazing photos to cherish forever.” —Christopher Mell, Lake Geneva, married November 10, 2006

BEST FAVORS
The finalists are:
Antics Flipbooks, Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier, Do Me a Favor
The winner is: Antics Flipbooks
Fitchburg | 608.770.7999 | anticsflipbooks.com
“Sarah and Chris from Antics Flipbooks were great to work with. Our wedding guests raved about how much fun they had in the Flipbooks studio. Everyone from little kids to our grandparents had a great time creating memorable flipbooks, and they loved that they got to take the fun memento home with them. I highly recommend Antics Flipbooks to anyone planning a wedding or big event.” —Briana Lewis Allen, Verona, married September 29, 2012

BEST TRAVEL AGENCY
The finalists are:
All About Honeymoons & Destination Weddings, Middleton Travel, Travel Leaders/Kim Gorres
The winner is: Travel Leaders/Kim Gorres
New Richmond | 715.246.6922 | travelnowinc.net
“Kim has helped us plan some very adventurous trips to places far off the beaten path. We can always rely on her for spot-on advice and great deals. Kim will research locations, hotels and flights, and help us decide what works best for our family. Kim and Travel Leaders deserve a lot of credit for the memories we have from our exciting journeys.” —Kristin Paulson, Amery, Travel Leaders’ client

BEST CATERER
The finalists are:
Gooseberries Fresh Food Market Courtyard Catering, R&D Catering & Banquet Facility, Underground Food Collective
The winner is: R&D Catering and Banquet Facility
New Richmond | 715.246.4446 | rndcatering.com
“Jackie Rivard, the banquet hall manager, was organized, friendly and helpful through every step of the process. Our food was hot and tasted amazing. We still get compliments on how good our food was. The banquet hall was clean and modern and needed minimal decorations. All the staff was extremely friendly and helpful, willing to do anything I asked for. They helped make my wedding day absolutely perfect.” —Jen Hays, Woodbury, Minn., married November 5, 2011

BEST HONEYMOON IN WISCONSIN
The finalists are:
Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Heidel House Resort & Spa, Sundara Inn & Spa
The winner is: Sundara Inn & Spa
Wisconsin Dells | 608.253.9200 | sundaraspa.com
“We selected Sundara Inn and Spa as the first destination of our honeymoon; we needed a day to slow down and relax before traveling. It was exactly what we needed. The entire experience was fantastic. Sundara is a special place.” —Shay Santos, Verona, married June 16, 2012

BEST WEDDING NIGHT HOTEL
The finalists are:
Mansion Hill Inn, The Pfister Hotel, The Madison Concourse Hotel & Governor’s Club
The winner is: The Madison Concourse Hotel & Governor’s Club
Madison | 800.356.8293 | concoursehotel.com
“We were completely taken care of every step of the way. Check-in was completely simplified, and our bags were taken up to our rooms for us ahead of time. When we arrived in our room, well after midnight, tired and yet totally revved up and starving, there was a whole tray of baguettes, hummus, meats and cheeses, as well as a small bottle of wine waiting for us. It was perfect! Overall, it was a great experience.” —Emily Sivesind-Finger, Fitchburg, married January 12, 2013

BEST WEDDING REGISTRY
The finalists are:
Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, Target
The winner is: Bed Bath & Beyond
Multiple locations | 800.462.3966 | bedbathandbeyond.com
“Bed Bath & Beyond was the best out of the three places we registered. They were the easiest to work with. We actually had two items on our registry that we didn’t get, yet UPS said they had been delivered. I called Bed Bath & Beyond, and they immediately said they would resend those two items.” —Stephanie Topel, Madison, married July 28, 2012

BEST SPA FOR BRIDAL PARTY
The finalists are:
Rejuvenation Spa, Sundara Inn & Spa, The Ultimate Spa Salon
The winner is: Rejuvenation Spa
Madison | 608.831.7546 | rejuvenationspa.net
“The consultants were extremely professional and accommodating to my wants and needs for the big day. They made adjustments until I was comfortable with the overall look. They even sent me off with a ‘wedding kit’ that had a tube of the lip gloss and powder to use for touch-ups throughout the day. It’s an investment, but it’s totally worth it to feel comfortable and beautiful on your wedding day.” —Hollis Johnson, Stoughton, married June 18, 2011

Wisconsin Bride's Best of 2013 winners

BEST CEREMONY VENUE
The finalists are:
Lake Windsor Golf Club, Mystical Rose Gardens, Olbrich Botanical Gardens
The winner is: Mystical Rose Gardens
Baldwin | 715.821.0097 | mysticalrosegardens.com
“My husband and I were one of the very first couples to get married there. When I first talked to owner Lori Anderson, I knew for sure it was the perfect place to marry my best friend. She has such a beautiful heart and truly loves being a part of people’s lives. Mystical Rose Gardens is stunning and the absolute perfect place to celebrate the best day of your life.” —Lanae Steffen, Hudson, married September 16, 2011

BEST ATTENDANT GIFTS
The finalists are:
Jaxie, Things Remembered, Vera’s House of Bridals
The winner is: Things Remembered
Multiple locations | 866.902.4438 | thingsremembered.com
“My husband and I chose Things Remembered for our groomsmen’s gifts because we wanted something personal to commemorate our special day, yet something each groomsman would actually enjoy. The team mugs were great because we were able to order a mug with each guy’s favorite team logo on one side, and his name and our wedding date engraved on the other side. They loved them!” —Krystal Bowman, Cottage Grove, married October 20, 2012

BEST DANCE INSTRUCTOR
The finalists are:
Arthur Murray, Dance on Air, Fred Astaire Dance Studios
The winner is: Fred Astaire Dance Studios
Multiple locations | fredastaire.com
“We were interested in having a custom-choreographed first dance, but neither of us knew how to dance. The teachers at Fred Astaire were amazing and started us out by teaching basic dance moves. By the time we started working on our first dance, we were doing more advanced dances and were able to blow our guests away. The teachers at Fred Astaire are not only very skilled at what they do, but they really care about the students and we truly became friends with our instructors.” —Andrew Shell, Madison, married October 20, 2012

BEST BAND
The finalists are:
Big Mouth & the Power Tool Horns, The North Coast Orchestra, Spicy Tie Band
The winner is: The North Coast Orchestra
Milwaukee | 262.790.0060 | northcoastorchestra.com
“North Coast Orchestra was such a great band! I loved the variety of music that was played, and they even took the time to add a song to their playlist so that we could have our own wedding song performed. We got a lot of compliments on the band—live music is the way to go. To this day, I recommend them to everyone who is looking for a band; I even try to talk people into having a live band because we had such a great experience.” —Christa Kuiper, Waukesha, married October 5, 2007

BEST JEWELER
The finalists are:
Chalmers Jewelers, Kesslers Diamonds, The Diamond Center
The winner is: Kesslers Diamonds
Multiple locations | kesslersdiamonds.com
“We went with Kesslers because they were easy to work with. They have an excellent selection, there wasn’t a strong sales pitch, they respected our budget and didn’t try to push more expensive options—the dreaded ‘But isn’t she worth more?’ pitch. They have the best warranty out there and stand by their product. I also enjoy the bonus of free cleanings any time for life.
I could go in every day if I wanted to.” —Elena P. Kostecke-Sengstock, Madison, married January 7, 2012

BEST CEREMONY MUSIC
The finalists are:
LFQ String Quartet, North Coast Brass Quintet, Quartessence String Quartet
The winner is: LFQ String Quartet
Madison | 608.249.2900 | jukeboxbandstand.com
“We hired LFQ String Quartet for our outdoor wedding ceremony at Quivey’s Grove. The group is extremely talented, and we were pleased with their professionalism and overall music selection. We also had them perform during our cocktail hour—our guests enjoyed their unconventional music and it helped get the party started for the evening.” —Kelanie Davis, Sun Prairie, married July 21, 2012

Wisconsin Bride's Best of 2013 winners

BEST INDOOR RECEPTION SITE
The finalists are:
Lake Windsor Golf Club, Monona Terrace, Overture Center for the Arts
The winner is: Lake Windsor Golf Club
Windsor | 608.846.4711 | lakewindsor.com
“Lake Windsor Golf Club was amazing. When my husband and I first visited the ballroom, we instantly fell in love with the open windows and the layout of the venue. The best part of working with Lake Windsor was the staff. We had some hidden surprises during the wedding and other unique concerns that all the staff handled with care and professionalism. The reception was stress-free, and the staff went above and beyond to help us.” —Rani Sivesind, Fitchburg, married June 16, 2012

BEST MOTHER-OF-THE-BRIDE APPAREL
The finalists are:
Brandi’s Bridal Galleria, Specially Hers, Vera’s House of Bridals
The winner is: Specially Hers
Baraboo | 608.356.3033 | speciallyhers.com
“My mother and I went to Specially Hers because we had heard good things from other people. They have a large selection and a wide variety of sizes. This store was tailored for the mother-of-the-bride and mother-of-the-groom; it was a store just for them versus big bridal stores that have a small selection just to say they carry them.” —Ruth Fredenberg, DeForest, married August 11, 2012

BEST CALLIGRAPHY
The finalists are:
The Blooming Quill, Inky Dinky Doo Calligraphy, Linda P. Hancock
The winner is: The Blooming Quill
Milwaukee | 262.268.0525 | bloomingquill.com
“My experience with Blooming Quill was fantastic. [Owner] Debi Zeinert is a joy to work with, and each line she writes is a work of art. I was so in love with each envelope it was difficult yet exciting to send them off in the mail. Her designs really brought the personal touch to my wedding that I was looking for. I recommend her without any hesitation to everyone I know.” —Ashley Schuchardt, McFarland, married May 11, 2013

BEST VIDEOGRAPHER
The finalists are:
Aerodef Productions, One Fine Day Productions, Treehouse Media
The winner is: One Fine Day Productions
Madison & Milwaukee |  608.850.2793 | onefinedayproductions.com
“The No. 1 best decision I made on my wedding day was marrying my husband. The second best decision I made was having One Fine Day Productions capture the story of the special day. Time and time again, it amazes me how they capture all the special moments, from my grandparent’s smile to my mom pinning my baby blanket button to the inside of my dress to the sweet tears in my husband’s eyes as I walked down the aisle… the video will forever be a treasure of the day.” —Brittany Crammond, Baraboo, married October 22, 2011

BEST FORMALWEAR
The finalists are:
Du Bois Formalwear, Men’s Wearhouse, Nedrebo’s
The winner is: Nedrebo’s
Multiple locations | 800.234.2727 | nedrebos.com
“Nedrebo’s was so great to work with. Their confidence and their ability to locally source the tuxes were extremely helpful for our out-of-town groomsmen to get last-minute adjustments made. I also loved that they color-matched the ties and pocket squares to my bridesmaids’ dresses. It really helped to complete my vision.” —Lisa Rodriguez, Auburn, Calif., married May 19, 2012

BEST HOTEL FOR GUESTS
The finalists are:
Courtyard for Marriott Madison East, Hilton Madison Monona Terrace, Madison Concourse Hotel
The winner is: Courtyard by Marriott Madison East
Madison | 608.661.8100 | marriott.com
“When we first saw Courtyard by Marriott’s modern lobby and beautifully decorated guest rooms, we were impressed. After booking a block of rooms for our wedding, we saw that the service provided by the hotel matched its upscale environment. Our guests were able to reserve comfortable and stylish rooms at a reasonable rate. Courtyard by Marriott also provided a free
shuttle from the hotel to our wedding venue and back.” —Libby Strunz, Onalaska, married August 18, 2012

Wisconsin Bride's Best of 2013 winners

TOP OF THE TIARA
The finalists are:
BP Photo, Cherry Blossom Events, Lake Windsor Golf Club
The winner is: Cherry Blossom Events
Madison | 608.497.0133 | cherrybevents.com
A couple’s wedding day should be filled with love and laughter, family and friends, and plenty of great memories. But big days often come with forgotten details, unfinished business and last-minute stressors—unless you have the ladies behind Madison’s Cherry Blossom Events on your team.
     “A lot of people question whether they should have a wedding planner,” says Emily Celmer, who worked with Cherry Blossom Events for her May 2012 wedding at Milwaukee’s Pfister Hotel. “They took a lot of the legwork out of the day so we could enjoy it and not worry about the details. It was really nice to have someone else to do that.”
     Cherry Blossom Events is helmed by Andrea VandeBerg and Sarah Sarbacker, best friends turned business partners. Now in their fourth wedding season, their business has boomed to comprise about 30 weddings a year, as well as other parties and special events.
     Sarbacker attributes their rising success to their personable style and their eye for design. “When you look at our portfolio, you see no two weddings are alike,” she says. “That comes from a passion for planning and design, but also getting to know each couple, their love story, their families, what they want their special day to look like, feel like, be like.”
     Cherry Blossom Events offers full and partial planning packages, day-of coordination and hourly consultations. Celmer chose to work with them to round out the creative details of her wedding, especially since she envisioned a wedding in a setting reminiscent of New York’s famous Plaza Hotel.
     “They had a young, fresh approach; I felt I could connect with them,” says Celmer.
     Shannon Capouch used Cherry Blossom Events for day-of coordination. “There is so much that goes into your big day, it was nice to have someone to rely on and reach out to,” says Capouch, who had her ceremony in the Assembly Chamber of the State Capitol in April 2012. “There are so many things you can forget.”
     Like the veil. When Capouch realized she’d forgotten it, Sarbacker jumped in the car and made it back to the Capitol with the veil just before Capouch headed down the aisle. “We’re here to make the planning process smooth and enjoyable,” says VandeBerg, “and ultimately, make your wedding day amazing.”