One of the great things about Milwaukee is the city’s history and, of course, it’s fine collection of historic wedding venues. It’s a very cool feeling to tie the knot (or celebrate it) in a building that’s been around over a hundred years.
Our picks for Milwaukee’s top historic venues stood out to us because of their unique history, architectural significance and Milwaukee flavor.
We’d love to hear your opinions on your favorite historic wedding venues – speak your mind in our comments section below.
Turner Hall Ballroom
I love Turner Hall, and it’s safe to say it’s one of my favorite venues in town. The Ballroom’s sheer size sets it apart from other venues, but its unique history and interior really make it stand out.
Two ceiling fires damaged the Ballroom in the 30’s and 40’s which caused it to remain unused for almost 70 years. Significant renovations took place and since entertainment management was assumed by the Pabst Theater Foundation, the venue has hosted a number of really cool bands (and really cool weddings).
When getting married at Turner Hall Ballroom, you can even use the “green room” where band members have gotten ready to go on stage, and I’m sure had a few parties or two.
Turner Hall is an extremely flexible venue, both in management and the space itself. There aren’t many rules here that hold you back from executing exactly what you want. The room stands alone and speaks for itself, but also allows for some dramatic accents to be accommodated.
Having both your ceremony and reception in this space is easily done as your guests hang out in the expansive balcony for cocktail hour. Some couples even choose to use the large stage as a head table, dance floor or band stage. What a great way to make your wedding reception feel like a party. www.pabsttheater.org
Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery
Best Place is a newer venue with great Milwaukee history behind it. Pabst Brewing Company was the first of the great Milwaukee breweries and was America’s largest brewer from the late 1800’s until 1946.
The warmth of the space, eclectic table settings and old world touches make this the perfect space that requires very little additional adornment. The venue allows you to incorporate the exposed courtyard into your wedding ceremony or reception party.
Add the accessory of a tented canopy over the courtyard and you can have the best of both worlds – a gorgeous tent to uplight, accessorize and incorporate into your wedding and a historic space that showcases your Milwaukee pride and makes for some amazing photo ops.
Many exciting changes are in the works for the Best Place, and include a hotel being built within the Pabst Brewery complex. Estimated to be completed in December 2012, The Brewhouse Inn & Suites will open its doors as a historic hotel that maintains its brewery roots.
And just when you think Best Place can’t get better, additional renovations are planned in the near future that will expand their space for special events. www.bestplacemilwaukee.com
Update Sept. 2013: See the cost breakdown for a $20K Pabst Brewery Wedding.
The Grain Exchange
What can I say about the Grain Exchange except that it is AWESOME! I love the building, the lavishly decorated space and the history. Originally built in 1875 to house the Chamber of Commerce and a grain exchange, the building is now a hotspot for weddings.
There really is no other room in the city quite like the Grain Exchange. It was built at a time when Milwaukee was the world’s largest primary wheat market, and the room has beautifully painted murals and columns of gold leaf to reflect this.
The Grain Exchange room was hidden from sight for years, but was restored in 1983 to it’s original grandeur. In 2008 Bartolotta Catering & Events took over the Grain Exchange as the exclusive caterer and updated the space again with a kitchen and other improvements.
You can do both your wedding ceremony and reception at the Grain Exchange. The room also has a gorgeous balcony that can be used for a variety of different things. A couple of my favorites are a martini lounge and chocolate/candy stations. It also makes a great spot for pictures. www.bartolottacatering.com/grain
Villa Filomena is one of those hidden historical gems in Milwaukee. To be honest, when I used to live in the area, I walked by it many times and admired the architecture, but never thought you could have a wedding in this gorgeous space.
Located on Milwaukee’s lower east side on Marshall Street, the walkable neighborhood welcomes you to walk up the steps and enter through the columned entrance way. Entering into the building you are greeted with a cozy but expansive space.
The Villa Filomena was built as a family residence in 1874 and is now family owned and operated. When talking with Tina, Villa Filomena’s Event Planner, we learned that her and her family will go above and beyond to help with your big day. They know that they have a certain image to uphold and do everything they can to make your wedding day extraordinary.
The ballroom’s high arches and elegant chandeliers make the space feel elegant. They also make overly extravagant decorations unnecessary. You can do both your ceremony and reception at Villa Filomena and their private terrace patio works great for a beautiful outdoor ceremony or cocktail hour. www.villafilomena.com
Special thanks to the following Milwaukee photographers for the images in these articles: