July 14, 2018 | Jenquine Pavilion
Q: How did you two meet?
A (Vanessa): When I first asked Alesha out for our first date, I was in college and required to attend orchestra performances to write a couple of papers for my music class. When I heard a Beatles cover band was coming and playing with the orchestra in Green Bay, I thought it would be a great date for us. But there was one big factor that I thought would’ve sent Alesha running for the hills. The day of the concert was Valentine’s Day. Yeah. Kinda, sorta scary to ask your crush out on the most romantic day of year, right?
I was a total wreck. I was so afraid she was going to say “no” because it was Valentine’s Day. When I finally put myself semi-together, I asked if she would be willing to join me, and she luckily said yes. Of course, I left out “v-day” out of the equation, but she is literally the smartest woman I know, and put it all together. Regardless, she went with it.
The big day finally came and I can easily say it was, and always will be, the most important day of my life. As soon as we got to the coffee shop, I knew right away she was special and different from anyone I’ve met. Like I said, she is the smartest person I know. She’s also very witty, funny, kind-hearted, and hands down the most beautiful woman. I am so thankful she took a chance and went out with me. Valentine’s Day will forever be my favorite day of the year, because it’ll always be a reminder of the best day and date of my life.
What makes us unique is our mutual love for Harry Potter and dogs. We have two dogs, Emma and Zoie, who we treat like our children. We get extremely excited for anything Harry Potter- we’re starting to plan our trip to Universal Studios to visit Harry Potter World.
Q: What would you call your wedding’s style?
A: We did a classy Harry Potter theme. We were watching the yearly marathon that ran on FreeForm and we half-joked about doing a theme during the early planning stages. When we started to shoot ideas back and forth, we realized we can make it work. We wanted to make sure we avoided it looking like a Halloween party. Alesha had the brilliant idea of incorporating the same centerpiece to each table, but making each table reflect what room it was assigned. For example, the library had a vase and books, potions had a vase and potions, so on and so forth. We loved how it all came together and how some of our guests caught on the movie references and pieces we incorporated.
Our day was special because it suited us perfectly. We’re very laid back people, so a big party with music into the wee hours of the morning wasn’t our version of fun. We opted for a daytime, casual wedding and we loved it. We had our ceremony at 11, with lunch shortly after and guests went through the gardens and took pictures throughout. As the day wrapped up, there wasn’t a single thing we could’ve complained about. Everything really turned out the way it should’ve…even the weather.
We had seen and heard how beautiful weddings turned out at the Botanical Gardens. A little bit after we got engaged, we had a little date and strolled through. We fell in love with Jenquine (Pavilion) right away. We liked that it was in the lower garden and the pathway leading up to it; we knew it was the perfect site for us and we are so happy we went with it.
Q: What made your day so special?
A: One of our favorite memories was during the ceremony. When the officiant asked, “Who gives Vanessa away?” Alesha’s mom and dad both said “We do,” which was totally fine because there were some tears already happening and needed a little laugh. I’m a crier so tears were definitely there, but there were a lot laughs and lots of smiles throughout the whole day.
We both very much loved that everyone came together and couldn’t have asked for better weather. We were all very, very nervous because it rained the night before, and the whole reason we picked the garden was because of the beautiful sites, which we probably wouldn’t have gotten as great of pictures if it rained.
Our family and friends did mention that they liked how they were able to walk around after they were done eating, especially with the Lego exhibit going on at the time. It was cool to see them post pictures afterward, which made us very happy to have picked the Garden.
Q: What would you tell a couple who are planning to get married and are potentially looking at the Garden as a venue option?
A: Communication is huge during the planning process. Seriously, don’t just say “yes” to please each other. It’s fine to take breaks during the planning process- you need to make to the actual wedding. We actually looked at the weather and see historically did it rain on the date we picked and it didn’t, which isn’t always accurate, but it worked out for us in the end. Our tip is making sure if you want an outdoor wedding, think about what time of year you’re doing it, and can you guests handle the heat. Keep the ceremony short and sweet, not just for the guests, but for yourselves too. There’s a lot of emotions going on and then you add the heat of summer, it can get sweaty real fast.
We provided bottled water for people during the ceremony, and it was very helpful. We did pick a site that was a little ways away from the reception hall, and it was nice for our guests to have that as a cool down once they got there.
Overall, we were pleased with how everything turned out. We did have almost 2 years to plan everything, but it did take a lot of coordination, guidance, and tons of patience, but we couldn’t have been happier with how the day turned out. We took a little trip back almost 2 months after we got married back to the Botanical Garden, and we were all smiles stopping at all the places we were taking pictures. It will definitely be a place that will always be near and dear to our hearts.
Photographer: Abigail Miles Photography
Violinist: Melissa Casey
Officiant: Dan Lawrenz from Tresa’s Bridal
Caterer: Renard’s Catering
Linens/Set Up: Ruby Design
Disclaimer: To accommodate the logistical needs of Garden staff and provide a better experience for wedding guests, Jenquine Pavillion is no longer available as a ceremony location option. For a similar, more intimate wedding location, we recommend one of our newer spots, the Matthew Schmidt Garden.