Note: The Villa Filomena was recently acquired by the amazing folks at The Pabst Theater Group and is now The Fitzgerald. It’s the same great venue, now run by the folks from Turner Hall Ballroom, The Pabst Theater and several more amazing Milwaukee venues!
Okay, we kinda love this couple and their wedding. Not only was it at the stunning Villa Filomena, but they also used a bunch of awesome Married In Milwaukee Family Members. They are also a Chicago couple, but decided to have their wedding in MKE – how cool is that?!?
For $29,000 this couple had an awesome wedding at Villa Filomena and used some amazing vendors. Read on to see their photos and full budget breakdown. And don’t miss the “note from the couple” at the bottom of the article which gives some great detail about they the vendors they used.
Married In Milwaukee Family Used
This couple used several MIM Family which we always love to see!! Here’s the MIM Family Members involved in this Villa Filomena wedding:
Quick Facts – Villa Filomena Wedding:
- Guests: 100
- Ceremony/Reception: Villa Filomena
- Total Costs: $28,587
Wedding Essentials ($4,734):
- Invitations: $260 (diy)
- Cake: $35 (6 inch, one-tier naked cake)
- Desserts: $612
- Photographer: $2,745 (includes $300 tip)
- Flowers: $822 (Arranged by mother of the groom, ordered wholesale – 1 bridal bouquet, 2 bridesmaids bouquets, 1 groomsmen bouquets, 5 boutonnieres, 1 wrist corsages, altar flowers, 11 large table center pieces, 11 small table center pieces, 5 flower arrangements and greenery for the sweetheart table, loose greenery and fake air plant for the dessert table, cake flowers, 10+ arrangements around venue ranging from small to large to be placed on various surfaces.)
Reception and Ceremony Costs ($18,403):
- Ceremony: $500
- Reception: $4,286
- Food: $6,811 (6 hand passed appetizers during cocktail hour, 2 special vegetarian meals, 7 station style dinner, coffee service, linens)
- Drinks: $4,652 (premium open bar package including $780 tip)
- Officiant: $200
- DJ: $1,954 (includes $325 tip)
Attire, Jewelry and Beauty ($3,772):
- Bride’s Dress: $1,185
- Dress Alterations: $361
- Groom’s Attire: $233
- Brides’ Shoes: $109
- Hair/Makeup: $796 (services for bride, 1 bridesmaid, 1 groomsmen, mother of the bride and of the groom)
- Rings: $1,088
Other Costs ($1,678):
- Wedding Favors: $300 (donation to PAWS Chicago)
- Hotel Suite: $327
- Rehearsal Dinner: $0 (gifted)
- Decorations: $800
- Other Costs: $546
A Note From The Couple
We asked the couple to tell us about their planning and budgeting process, and this is what they had to say:
After being together for seven years, we really just wanted to throw the best party we could for our friends and family. We had already been saving for a few years so that we could pay as much as we could for the wedding, but we were also lucky enough that our parents were excited to contribute to our budget.
Aside from Andrew’s family living close to Milwaukee, another reason we wanted to get married in Milwaukee was to save on taxes (we live near Chicago so it was a difference between over 10% and 6%). Having this extra money go towards things we wanted was a huge plus. In the end, we stuck to our philosophy that we were only planning to get married once, so we might as well do it right.
We didn’t know the first thing about finding a venue or any vendors in Milwaukee that would meet our needs and were lucky enough to discover Married in Milwaukee. Living out of state, Married in Milwaukee was a great resource in making us construct a realistic budget and to learn which vendors needed priority booking. The cost break downs, reviews, and top ten blogs were extremely helpful in finding or verify how great all of our vendors were.
Due to Lizz being a graduate student, we knew that it would be easiest to bring everyone together for a summer wedding. To take advantage of the beautiful summer weather, we focused on finding a space that would allow us to have an outdoor ceremony, where we could easily transition inside for the reception or have a backup in case it rained.
The Villa Filomena provided exactly what we needed with its gorgeous ivy-covered patio and its beautiful banquet space. The Villa Filomena almost decorated itself, as all we would need for our outdoor ceremony was a floral alter and centerpieces for the reception tables.
Another nice thing about the Villa Filomena is that they have two bars, so you never have to wait too long to get your drink. Although it was a bit costly to have a premium open bar for 5.5 hours, we knew it was the right choice as everyone had an amazing time!
There was a lot of discussion about how much we should budget for our photographer, especially as a lot of the original ones we were in contact with were a lot higher than what we had been planning for with less services then we wanted. Luckily with the help of MIM and the #marriedinmilwaukee hashtag on Instagram, we found GE Creative.
Not only were GE Creative’s rates within our price range and her packages included everything we wanted, but her photography was stunning and attitude towards photographing weddings was captivating. Before we even had our first meeting with GE Creative, we knew we wanted to work with her. Between her beautiful photography and the blurb on her wedding photos about how she’d might cry on our wedding day, is a sucker for father-daughter dances, and always has extra bobby pins, we had that gut feeling she’d make our wedding day special, it was just a matter of making sure she felt like we were a great fit for her as well.
We honestly don’t think our wedding would have gone as perfectly as it did without GE Creative. We unfortunately had a lot of last-minute schedule changes the day of our wedding, but GE Creative was there to provide comfort and direction amongst any of the chaos. She listened to our anxieties, gave us a chance to be ourselves, and danced with us once she was off hours. During the wedding, our guests were continuously complimenting how professional and friendly Gina and her second shooter were. Constantly we were asked if GE Creative was an old college friend because she was so warm to and upbeat with everyone she met. We’re so thankful for every moment GE Creative was able to capture of our wedding day and feel so lucky that we were able to work with someone that exudes so much talent and passion in her photography.
We knew that a DJ wasn’t only important for setting the mood of the wedding, but that the difference between a good one and a bad one can easily make or break a wedding. Because we knew Sound by Design was the number one rated DJ in Milwaukee, were constantly listed on Married in Milwaukee cost breakdowns, and their rates were so great, we knew we had to book them.
We ended up reaching out to them earlier than any of our other vendors, because we wanted to make sure they had our date available. Investing in a great DJ was well worth it! Zach from Sound by Design kept everyone on schedule, did a brilliant job of blending our music selection to set the mood, and kept the dance floor full.
To ease our search for a catering company, we prioritized looking for someone approved by our venue that was going to be willing to work with us on creating great vegetarian options that weren’t just lasagna. We decided on going with Irene’s due to how competitive their pricing was for a multi-stationed service and hand passed hors d’oeuvres. Irene’s was always willing to work around any dietary restrictions our guests had, and our event coordinator, Mark, was very accommodating about meeting over the phone due to us living out of state and always available to answer questions.
We knew from the beginning that we were more interested in having a dessert table than a multi-tiered cake and were able to save money by doing so. Sweet Tooth bakery offered an amazing selection of desserts and had a multitude of options for gluten free desserts. Not only this, but Sweet Tooth hosted us for a really great tasting and even let us pick up a second to go tasting before we finalized what we wanted for the final dessert table. Brianna also had a really great artistic flair for composing and organizing our dessert table. All in all, the dessert was so great that we left the wedding with barely any leftovers and everyone kept raving about how cool it was that we didn’t just have cake.
We saved a lot of money on the floral arrangements as they were ordered wholesale through a family friend and primarily arranged by Andrew’s mom. Although it was a lot of work, it was kind of magical hanging out at the house among buckets of flowers and greenery to work on floral arrangements together and having the opportunity to physically help arrange our own bouquets.
Save the Dates & Invites:
Another way we looked to save money was by designing and drawing our own save the dates and wedding invitations. Rather than commissioning art that could be used for the stationary or using engagement photos, Lizz put her art degree to work by drawing personalized images.
Overall, everything was perfect in its own way and we couldn’t have done it without our family, friends, or the MIM Family!
A BIG thanks to the couple for sharing their awesome Villa Filomena wedding and to GE Creative 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.