Real Weddings

Sarah & Daniel’s DIY Wedding at Gather in Green Bay

January 20, 2017

Sarah from Green Bay met Dan from Northern California while at grad school in L.A. The two got engaged during a trip to Niagara Falls on a chilly day. “We walked along the Falls, got coffee, and walked back to our car alongside the river that feeds into the Falls,” Sarah remembers. Daniel asked Sarah if she wanted to walk down the steep embankment next to the water, hidden from the walking path and the road; that’s where he proposed. “Because we were in Canada, our phones didn’t work — we had several hours where the news was just ours alone.”
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Daniel and Sarah hadn’t initially planned on a Green Bay wedding, but it ended up being the perfect choice for them. “We tried to organize a weekend of events that highlighted what we love about Wisconsin broadly and Green Bay specifically.” The ceremony was held at Saint Mary of the Angels. “We did a Catholic mass and had a lot of freedom with the readings and music. One of Sarah’s best friends and her sister did a few songs, and our priest was from Sarah’s home parish. He’s a practicing poet, so his homily included poetry. We also walked into the wedding together, after greeting people outside before it started; it was wonderful to start the ceremony hand in hand.”

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_dsc3468Because the ceremony ended at 2pm and the cocktail hour and reception at Gather in Green Bay wasn’t until 4pm, Sarah and Daniel organized a jazz and coffee break at Gather. A coffee bar was set up in the corner, and a friend of Sarah’s played a jazz set on the piano, accompanied by a bass player. “It was so surreal to see my close friend playing such beautiful music at my reception!” Sarah says.

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Along with jazz, Daniel and Sarah also had some poet friends read aloud. “Two of our friends read poems they had written for us, along with a few other friends who read poems they had selected. Daniel’s mom is from Mexico City, so she read a poem in Spanish that Daniel’s dad then translated.” Later that night, Sarah’s sister and Daniel’s brother delivered beautiful speeches — “there wasn’t a dry eye in the room!” After they spoke, there was an open mic, so that other friends and family members could say a few words as dinner was winding down. “We’ll never forget those words!”

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Dinner was catered by Gather and featured a menu of small, cocktail-style appetizers that guests enjoyed throughout the evening. For dessert, Sarah and Daniel ordered a few round two-layer cakes from a local baker, then added their own cake toppers and fresh flowers for decoration. In other DIY touches, Sarah, her sister, and a family friend made all of the bouquets and boutonnieres, plus all of the flowers on the tables were from Sarah’s mom’s yard and the local farmers market.

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Sarah also drew and painted RSVP and wedding-details cards to mail to guests, typing the information on an old typewriter she’d had since childhood. The envelopes were lined with Wisconsin maps and topped with a tag stamped with an outline of the state. “That was the most involved DIY project, and worth it in the end.” But Sarah’s favorite DIY was painting a cake topper with wooden people and a wooden dog (for the couple’s dog, Pico). “I probably should have been doing other things, but this was the best, most relaxing way to spend what could have otherwise been a hectic week!”

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Sarah’s final words of advice: “Only get caught up in the details that matter to you. When we did the invitations, my mom said (rightly) ‘there are so many details that many guests won’t notice or care about.’ That was definitely true, but they were details I cared about. So focus on what matters to you — don’t worry about the rest.”

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