A Whimsical, Purple Wedding at the Milwaukee Art Museum
Libby and Allen
After meeting through a mutual friend while in Milwaukee, Libby Weinfurtner and Allen Shyu met for a first date at the Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin. Ten months later, over July 4th weekend, Libby returned to town from Saint Paul, Minnesota, to visit her now boyfriend—again returning to the cultural institution. Allen asked her to meet him for lunch at Café Calatrava, located within building. And after eating, they went on a walk to scope out a spot to watch fireworks. But the festivities started right then—when he got down on one knee and proposed.
Engaged for nearly three years, they set a date at the special place and celebrated another milestone there. On May 16, 2015, with 125 guests in attendance, the started things off with a 6pm ceremony. Though the venue was modern, the style was dubbed "vintage garden tea party" and the white walls and floor of the space provided a blank canvas for the purple and gold décor. Cocktail hour on the terrace complete with a Wisconsin cheese and sausage platter kick-started the reception, with a cocktail party following. With plenty of heartfelt and DIY details, it was fitting to end things with favors that captured those sentiments—Libby's mom made and wrapped 400-plus caramels tucked into bags for guests to take home as a sweet treat.
The Polka Dotted Bee created a bespoke invitation for the couple, printing the invite itself on handkerchiefs for a vintage tea party feeling. The accompanying pieces were printed using a variety of fonts.
A Gift for the Groom
Libby wanted to give her car-loving husband-to-be something special on their big day. "When I found the Ferrari keychain and pocket watch set, I knew he had to have it," she says. She also spotted a set of glassware with the Milwaukee skyline on them. She paired the presents with a card, in which she wrote sweet sentiments. "We exchanged traditional vows," she notes. "So it was everything I would have said, had we decided to write our own."
Allen, who opened the thoughtful gifts in the company of his groomsmen at the ceremony location, remembers being thrilled with the items. "But when I started reading the card Libby included, it was then that the day finally started to feel real to me," he remembers. "For the days leading up to that moment, I felt mostly anxious or nervous, but right then, I started to feel differently. I could feel the symbolism of the day and the ceremony to come. I felt like our future together had arrive."
Libby wanted to go short for her ceremony gown since she's only 5'3". The second dress she tried on at a boutique with her mom, aunt, best friend, and best friend's mom was by Casablanca, and was the winner. "I instantly felt so right in it," recalls the bride. "I was twirling back and forth." A handmade veil sewn to a rhinestone headpiece started long—and was later chopped off for the reception.
As for Allen's ensemble, it was a suit purchased before they were engaged, during a trip to Taiwan to visit his extended family. Since Allen loved the fit so much, he chose to wear it on his big day, paired with a purple-checked J.Crew Factory shirt and polka-dotted tie, Alfani shoes, and a tie clip from Macy's.
With a short dress, the bride's shoes took center stage. Her best friend had spotted a pair on the Martha Stewart Weddings
Instagram account, shared them with Libby, who then bought the Christian Louboutin sparkly stunners for her big day.
She accessorized with a hankie that had belonged to her paternal great grandmother, and a beaded clutch and opal necklace that were her maternal grandmother's—and had been used by her mom and two aunts on their own wedding days.
As for the rings—her oval-cut solitaire engagement ring, her diamond-studded wedding band, and his tungsten ring with a strip of carbon fiber running down the center, all from Kesslers Diamonds, were safely stashed in a pair of velvet ring boxes from The Mrs. Box. Libby had signed up for their presale to snag the light purple one, and when spring came around and new colors hit the market, she went for it and ordered the darker one. "It was fun to have the two shades, and have one for each of us," she says.
The Bridal Bouquet
Early on in the planning, Libby's Aunt Beth volunteered to do all of the flowers, since it's a hobby of hers and something she does for family parties. Libby actually picked the wedding date based on wanting lilacs and lily of the valley as major components in her bouquet. Lilies and roses were added in to the mix for a spring feeling.
Though the day started off clear and cool, a heavy fog quickly settled on the lake and enveloped the museum by early afternoon. The bridal party ventured outside nonetheless, in their vibrant purple dresses. Libby's mother, an all-star seamstress, made the five bridesmaids' dresses, which had a similar 1950s retro vibe as the bride's dress.
Petite clutches of lily of the valley, roses, lilacs, and delphinium were wrapped with satin and glittery ribbons from Jo-Ann Fabric for the bridesmaids to carry.
The Flower Girls
To tie in the bride's love of glitter, the flower girls wore gold dresses, which were also made by the mother-of-the bride. The little ladies—who are the daughters of a family friend—helped Libby's mom decide what the dresses would look like.
"Ode to Joy" played as the bride and her father entered the ceremony. The two had their own first look session right after the bride and groom saw each other earlier that day.
"The exact moment I saw Libby and her dad come into view as they were walking down the aisle, I teared up a bit," Allen recalls of his favorite moment of the day.
The bridal party processed to a favorite song of the couple's—Dave Barnes's "On A Night Like This" before the bride's debut. Once everyone was in place at the black wrought iron archway in Windhover Hall at the museum, the service began, with Libby's cousin reading a bible passage and a Buddhist teaching to represent the bride's Catholic upbringing and the groom's Buddhist roots. After exchanging vows, they recessed to "Going to the Chapel" by the Dixie Cups—and danced all the way back up the aisle.
Not huge cake fans, the couple opted to serve doughnuts from a local shop instead.
A Sparkling Monogram
Libby's sister and her boyfriend made the laser-cut monogram and covered it with glitter as a showpiece to hang from the ceremony arch. Post-wedding, the couple has the piece on display on a shelve in their apartment as a reminder of their special day.
The Escort Cards
Cards designed through Minted.com guided guests to their seats. The gold-bordered cards were arranged on a vintage purple lace tablecloth—one of the 30 collected by the bride, her mom, and her sister for the occasion (they were all shades of white to start and dyed purple for the celebration).
Another collection on display? The 30 teapots sourced from antique stores, garage sales, and estate sales across Wisconsin and Minnesota that were filled with spring blooms and surrounded by gold votives from Target. The flower arrangements went home with guests as a special memento. "I was happy to see our flowers not go to waste or get thrown away," Libby adds.
The First Dance
The newlyweds only had eyes for each other as an acoustic version of "Forever Like That" by Ben Rector played. Libby changed into a second dress, made by her mom using Swiss dot silk fabric and about 3,000 Swarovski crystals.
After Libby and her dad danced to "Always Be Your Baby" by Natalie Grant, Allen and his mother took to the floor to Celine Dion's "A Mother's Prayer." Guests then joined in, getting down to pop music and big band favorites.
When the couple traveled to Taiwan together, they visited the Pingxi District and saw people writing wishes on lanterns and sending them up into the sky. Loving the idea, they lit one of their own the day they got engaged and again during their engagement photos. Wanting to keep their tradition going, they brought 100 lanterns to their reception, hoping to have all of the guests participate in the tradition. Sadly, because of the inclement weather, only two made it. "I don't know what those wishes were," Libby says, "But hopefully they came true!"