Cost Breakdown: A $37K Historical Society Wedding

Milwaukee Historical Society Wedding

This couple spent $37,000 on the Milwaukee Historical Society Wedding. All photos by Boutique Photographer.

We love it when couples showcase Milwaukee at their weddings. This Milwaukee County Historical Society wedding did just that. The couple spent just over $37,000 to make their big day happen, and included some very fun Milwaukee events and photo stops.

As an added bonus, they used Married In Milwaukee Family Members Boutique Photographer and Milwaukee Airwaves. They even met some of their vendors at our Bridal Networking Night – super cool!! Read on to learn more about this beautiful wedding at the Milwaukee County Historical Society.

Quick Facts – Historical Society Wedding:

Historical Society Wedding Flowers

This couple spent $900 on their wedding flowers. Top photo is at the Grand Avenue Mall, one of their awesome Milwaukee photo stops. Photos by Boutique Photographer.

Wedding Essentials ($4,500):

  • Invitations/Stationery: $360 (includes invites and programs)
  • Wedding Cake: $420
  • Photographer: $2,900
  • Flowers: $900
  • Wedding Planner: $0 (used a friend)
Fox River Church Wedding Ceremony

The ceremony took place at Fox River Christian Church in Muskego. Photos by Boutique Photographer

Reception and Ceremony Costs ($23,341)

  • Ceremony Fee: $250
  • Venue Rental Fee: $5,500 (included venue rental and guest parking)
  • Catering/Drinks: $14,000 (included four course plated food, linens, and bar services)
  • DJ: $1,400 (included DJ and uplighting)
  • Rentals: $1,500 (included tables, chairs, bar, easels and coat rack)
  • Photo Booth: $21 (made their own with a iPad, tripod and props)
  • Transportation: $670 (full day rental of 36 passenger bus)

Milwaukee Historical Society Wedding Reception

The wedding reception took place at the Milwaukee County Historical Society. Photos by Boutique Photographer

Milwaukee County Historical Society Wedding

The Milwaukee Historical Society has two levels and this couple’s wedding used them both. Photos by Boutique Photographer

Attire, Jewelry and Beauty ($4,400):

  • Dress: $2,000
  • Groom’s Attire: $200
  • Rings: $1,800 (custom wedding bands)
  • Hair and Make-up: $400 (included hair, makeup and spa services)
Wedding Dress and Beauty Cost

The bride’s dress cost $2,000 and the groom’s attire was $200. Photos by Boutique Photographer

Other Costs ($4,812):

  • Rehearsal Dinner: $1,300 (Buffet at the Newsroom Pub/Safe House)
  • Wedding Party Gifts: $1,450 (included running shoes and brewery tour tickets)
  • Hotel Suite – Night Before: $500 (Presidential Suite at the Hyatt, used for night before and morning of the wedding)
  • Hotel Suite – After the Wedding: $622 (Bride and groom stayed in a suite at Hotel Metro for 3 nights after the wedding)
  • Guestbook: $45
  • Parking: $280
  • Bus Food: $240
  • Bus Drinks: $100
  • Homemade Centerpieces: $275

Honeymoon ($3,800 – Not included in total)

  • 12 Days in Costa Rica: $3,800 (includes lodging and car rental; the flight was free using credit card points)

Awesome Milwaukee Photo Stops

We had to showcase some of the very Milwaukee photo stops this couple made. We love the idea of stopping places like Milwaukee Brewing Company and the Grand Avenue Mall – and just think about how cool it will be to have these photos forever!

Milwaukee Brewing Company

Milwaukee Brewing Company Wedding

A stop by Milwaukee Brewing Company for photos and a tour is an amazing idea! Photos by Boutique Photographer

Grand Avenue Mall

Grand Avenue Milwaukee Wedding

The Grand Avenue Mall is quite beautiful inside and makes for some great wedding photos! Photos by Boutique Photographer

A Note from the Bride and Groom

We asked the bride and groom to tell us about their planning and budgeting process, and this is what they had to say:

As they began planning the most important thing for them was to book their must-have vendors first: the venue, catering, and transportation were the first contracts they committed to.

Married In Milwaukee Event
Early in their engagement they attended a Married In Milwaukee Bridal Networking Night that gave them the opportunity to meet many Milwaukee area vendors. We went into the evening with specific objectives of finding options for our reception space and caterers.

At the event we also met many other vendors that we hadn’t even considered yet, like dancing lessons, and photography. If we hadn’t had specific goals from the event we feel the experience might have been overwhelming with all the options. The MIM group was also very organized and the vendors were respectful so we didn’t feel we were being pushed into sales, but rather we felt we were being shown our options in a friendly space.

Wedding Ceremony:
The couple is very active in their church so they couldn’t wait to get married at the Fox River Muskego Campus. The wedding coordinator was wonderful to work with, but what really helped make their experience special was the Bride’s brother and the Fox River Worship Team members volunteering to play three Christian songs that were important to them on their big day.

Considering their wedding date, December 13th, they wanted to pick a reception space that was in very close proximity to a hotel. The couple wanted their guests to be able to drink, dance, and walk out the doors to their bed without waiting for a taxi or shuttle in the cold.

After considering The Renaissance Place and The Astor Hotel, they chose The Milwaukee Historical Society Building because of it’s grand ceilings, romantic décor, and overall layout of the venue. It is also directly across the street from the Hyatt hotel. They were also attracted to the fact that they could have the whole building for their wedding, without other events going on in spaces down the hall.

This was probably the most cumbersome and long decision making process within the couple’s wedding planning. They found it frustrating because each catering company prices each item differently all the way from the food to the forks.

Their first, and only, tasting was with Chef Jack’s in Waukesha. Their price point was attractive so the couple started there. After meeting with Tony, tasting the food, and getting to see everything that would be included with their contract they couldn’t deny that this was the best place to get the most for their guests and their money.

For the event they couldn’t have been more pleased. Even weeks later they’re still hearing from their guests that the hor d’oeuvres and dinner were the best wedding food they have ever had, and working with Chef Jack’s was seamless and easy.

The Wedding Dress, Veil & Jewelry:
For the wedding dress shopping day the bride booked appointments with two bridal shops two weeks in advance. The second stop was a Savvy Bridal in Brookfield. Her experience here was great as well, with her own dressing room space and a separate room to show her family & friends the gowns.

She absolutely loved their huge selection of dresses, and the shop assistant let her pull and try on anything she wished. After finding her dress, the assistants were very helpful months later with dress delivery and accessory selection.

Reception Music/DJ:
Like catering there are many options for DJ’s in Milwaukee. For the couple’s venue space one item they were set on having was up-lighting for the pillars. Again for the DJ’s they made a spreadsheet of inclusions and called around to 12 different area DJ companies. They met with two, and chose Ramsey at Milwaukee Airwaves because of his up-lighting rate & options, and his experience and knowledge of the music industry. He was fun and easy to work with.

For the event the bride and groom give him hands down, five stars. He was professional, flexible, and very attentive to their guests. After dinner his jams kept the guests on the dance floor all night long, except for when they had to step outside to cool off.

Though the couple felt photography is very important on the wedding day, it was one of the last vendors they booked because of all the photographer options in Milwaukee. There are a TON of options.

The couple used the vendor’s photography style on their websites to narrow their options. Though they knew Linda Gumieny would be an expensive photographer because of her work and experience, the couple felt they couldn’t help themselves & they chose to go meet her; they just loved the candid moments she captured in her online work!

Though we visited another, less expensive photographer after our initial meeting with Linda, we couldn’t imagine compromising the most important item needed to capture our big day. Our experience with Linda from start to finish was worth every single dollar.”

The couple found Urban Sense simply by chance. After walking into the shop, Dan’s sense of style is one that no one can deny. He was able to take the bride through many options for her bouquet, her bridesmaid’s bouquets, and flowers for the aisle. His expertise, suggestions, and assistance were much appreciated to add the final touches to the ambiance of the wedding.

Rehearsal Dinner:
To keep with the Milwaukee theme the bride and groom hosted their rehearsal dinner Friday evening at the internationally know Milwaukee restaurant “The Safe House” on N. Front Street across from the Pabst Theater.

– The Bride and Groom

A BIG thanks to the bride and groom for sharing their awesome Milwaukee County Historical Society wedding and to the amazingly talented Boutique Photographer for the photos! If you’re currently working on your wedding budget, make sure to read through our previous articles featuring real Milwaukee wedding cost breakdowns.

Polish Moon Wedding Photo

The happy couple with Milwaukee’s Polish Moon (Allen-Bradley Clock Tower) in the background. Photo by Boutique Photographer



  1. Beautiful wedding. Where can I get the dress through bridesmaid on the right of the first set of pictures is wearing? We are doing a similar palette.

  2. Beautiful! Is there more information on the bride’s wedding dress, i.e. exactly what the style name/number is?


    • Greg Quigley says:

      Thanks for the comment! We don’t have any other info on the dress, but you should be able to contact Savvy Bridal, reference the article and get that info. Here’s their website: Thanks!