Picture the Typical Farm Wedding—This Personal, Refined Wisconsin Celebration Is Better
When Tayler Studinski and her fiancé, Devils hockey player Will Butcher, envisioned their wedding, they knew they wanted to draw inspiration from their lives, not the other celebrations they'd been to. "I really wanted our wedding to capture us as a couple," says Tayler. "I didn't want generic details or a replica of someone else's day. Everything about our wedding—from the signature cocktails and the tunes to the textures and the mood—reflected us."
Ultimately, their design goal was to play off of traditional elements in a modern, upbeat way that resonated with their own vibe. "We were also heavily inspired by nature," says Tayler, who planned an elegant church ceremony, followed by an elevated, rustic reception on a family farm. The expansive property afforded the duo the opportunity to build their vision from the ground up. "We had the creative freedom to bring in whatever vendors we wanted and use details in a way to truly capture us on our big day," says the bride. Neutral tones such as black, white, gray, espresso, and champagne comprised the color palette, with additions of mixed greenery and soft pink and taupe.
The bride was extremely hands-on, designing the menus and having them letter-pressed on handmade paper; she also tackled the table numbers, signage for the drinks and desserts, and the escort cards. She even hand-embroidered canvas sneakers for her bridesmaids to wear during the reception. "I also designed custom Madison totes for our out-of-town guests; they were stuffed with goodies, including summer sausage, Wisconsin beer, and a Wisconsin old-fashioned candle," she says.
Tayler and Will's big day was a beautiful representation of their style—which ultimately informed their best advice for couples currently in the planning phase. "If you're not sold on hiring a videographer, don't hire a videographer," says Tayler. "If you want to serve deep-fried cheese curds, serve deep-fried cheese curds. Get the dress you want, regardless of the season, and put your personality into your day through the details."
An Elegant Invitation Suite
Understanding that invitations are guests' first opportunity to understand the big day's aesthetic, the couple wanted to ensure that their suite's style was familiar, but luxurious. "We worked to create an organic and casually-worded suite, complete with all of the information the guests needed, some gorgeous detailing, and short, to-the-point verbiage about the day," says Tayler. "Paired with beautifully handmade paper and natural-toned envelopes, it struck the perfect balance between the high-end but comfortable vibe we hoped to create from beginning to end."
At an Italianate home that was rented for the weekend, Tayler and her bridesmaids donned identical robes to prepare for the big day ahead. "My bridesmaids and I got ready beneath a beautiful light fixture in a room with charming spindle-back chairs and ornate windows, as well as many pieces of original artwork," she says.
A Timeless Wedding Dress
Although the pair planned a summer celebration, Tayler had always envisioned herself in a wedding dress with long sleeves. "My grandmother had sleeves, and I grew up mesmerized by her wedding photos and elegance," she says. "I tried on sleeveless dresses thinking that would be the most practical, but every time I came out, I had this feeling that it wasn't right." When her dress consultant put her in an all-lace Netta BenShabu gown with sleeves, it took Tayler's breath away. A custom crepe skirt was added—and voila, the dress of her dreams was born.
To complete her look, the bride wore white sandals, with delicate ties and diaphanous panels, and Tiffany & Co. pearl earrings—a gift from her groom—which beautifully accented her upswept hairstyle. As for her bouquet? The romantic arrangement was comprised of mauve, nude, and taupe ranunculus and garden roses, and accented with textural greens.
Will had Tayler's vintage-inspired engagement ring custom made by family jeweler Skalitzky Jewelers.
The muted Jenny Yoo gown Tayler chose for her bridal party featured a pleated cowl neckline, a blouson off-the-shoulder bodice, spaghetti straps, and a natural waistline. "It was so simple, yet so elegant, and I loved the universally flattering fit," says the bride. "All of my bridesmaids were absolutely stunning, and they all wore the dress with confidence!"
A Furry VIP
The couple's dog, Olaf, made a pre-ceremony appearance for portraits.
A First Look
Tayler and Will's first look took place on the yard of the getting-ready house, which had a water view of Lake Monona. Ahead of the moment, Tayler felt ready—not nervous—to see her groom. "The morning had gone so smoothly and at my kind of pace. I took our fur baby on a peaceful morning walk around the lake. We listened to soft rock and sipped coffee and juices from Saints Juice Co.," recalls the bride. "After I got dressed, it felt so real and I felt ready to do this! Olaf escorted me down the beautiful staircase at the Airbnb in his bow tie collar, and then I went outside and saw Will standing there. My heart skipped a million beats realizing I get to make him mine forever."
Here Comes the Bride
The bride, escorted by her father, walked down the aisle to a string quartet playing "Young and Beautiful" by Lana Del Rey.
A Well-Chosen Officiant
Natural light filtered in through the church's stained glass windows, and shone down upon the couple as they exchanged the vows they'd written together. The pair's dear friend Tim Burke—a retired MLB baseball pitcher and chaplain at Hockey Ministries International—officiated the ceremony. "Having Tim marry us was among one of the best decisions we made!" says Tayler. "And it was so special to have him direct us in the journey of making our promises not only to each other, but to God, in such a beautiful church."
In addition to the promises they shared on their wedding day, the duo also wrote individual vows, which they shared with each other during their honeymoon in Iceland.
When designing their party space, the couple gravitated towards the same colors, textures, and patterns that they have in their own home. "We used our living room rug for one of the lounge areas at our reception," explains Tayler.
During the cocktail hour, guests walked straight up to a mobile airstream bar from Barmadillo, where they ordered one of the couple's signature drinks. "'The Olaf,' named after our dog, was the talk of the night! It was definitely a party favorite, consisting of vodka, butterfly pea-lavender syrup, and lemon. Naturally, we had to give Olaf the best drink!" says the bride. "'The Tayler' was a spicy gin and tonic with a house cardamom tonic, gin, and chartreuse and 'The Will' was aged rum, peach, vermouth, grenadine, and curaçao.
The bride says working with their mixologist, Chad, was one of the most fun parts of planning: "He owns a bar in Madison and made signature cocktail creating so easy and fun! He's a true mixologist, and truly everything he made was deliciously amazing."
Sweet potato, strawberry, orange-blackberry, and ginger-rhubarb donuts were hung on a stand placed just outside the reception area.
A Fresh Escort Card Display
The bride fashioned the escort cards herself, using with sprigs of greenery and white wax seals.
The crisp architecture of the clear tent contrasted beautifully with the draped greenery garlands inside. Every element of the party space's design was sourced with intention, from the espresso-colored tables to the oil-rubbed bronze chandeliers. "We wanted the tent to feel appropriate in its countryside setting, but also elevated," says the bride. "The tent was clear to accentuate the beauty around it; the greenery above was arranged as though it had been growing there for years."
Clip Board Table Numbers
Propped-up clipboards bound with twine displayed table numbers.
Bowls full of blooms were accented with apples and ivy for textured centerpieces. Candles added the finishing touch.
A Sweet Moment
Will and Tayler took a moment to connect during dinner—during which a menu reflective of the natural setting was served. "We wanted good, beautiful honest food that fit our reception venue," explains the bride, noting that much of the event's fare (from the grilled tenderloin to the grilled pattypan squash and zucchini) provided by Underground Catering hailed from the Wisconsin countryside. "We wanted a fresh farm-to-table concept with yummy, seasonal ingredients and flavors and a family-style serving concept."
A Classic Wedding Cake
Three tiers of almond-, raspberry-, and rose-flavored cake were iced in raw-edged buttercream and accented with flowers and fresh greenery.
An Expressive First Dance
The couple chose "I'm with You" by Vance Joy as the song for their first dance. "Will and I have very different music preferences, but we both love Vance Joy," shares Tayler. "He's our go-to artist when it comes to music that we agree on!"
Photography, Jake Anderson
Ceremony venue, The Pres House Church
Wedding planning and Event design, Elevate Events
Flowers, Kelly Lenard
Invitations, Esther Clark
Stationery, Tayler Butcher; Pressed Paper
Officiant, Tim Burke
Bridal gown, Netta BenShabu
Bridal Salon, Mira Couture
Bride's earrings, Tiffany & Co.
Bride's shoes, Nina
Bride's hair, Danielle Kruger
Bride's makeup, Kabao Knanga
Bridesmaids' makeup, Beauty by Alison Frances
Bridesmaids' dresses, Jenny Yoo
Engagement ring, Skalitzky Jewelers
Wedding bands, Jewelry by Johan
Catering, Underground Catering
Bar, The Barmadillo
Cake and donuts, Bloom Bake Shop
Transportation, Badger Bus