An Old-World Style Wisconsin Wedding with a Floral Theme
"We may have exchanged ten words during our time in high school, but I always thought she was cute," says Cooper Brown of the teen years he and Emer Lucey shared in Madison, Wisconsin. "I always thought Cooper was cute, too," Emer adds. But in spite of their mutual admiration, it wasn't until four years after college, when both had returned to their hometown, that he finally asked her out.
Eighteen months later, the pair knew they'd found a lasting match, and had even designed an engagement ring together. They left instructions with the jeweler to call Cooper when it was ready, but as it happened, he accidentally dialed Emer's number instead. She passed along the news to Cooper, who quickly plotted to pop the question in a way that would salvage some of the surprise: He lied and said he had to work late, but instead left the office early, picked up the rock, and asked Emer to be his wife later that afternoon in their apartment. "She had just gotten out of the shower, so she was in a towel and her hair was still wet," he explains. "I would say she wasn't expecting that."
Within a year, Emer, now a graduate student, and Cooper, who works in marketing, became husband and wife in Madison, a city they both hold so dear. The wedding began with a traditional Catholic nuptial mass in the church they grew up attending, followed by a reception at the country club where Emer's family are members. The bride describes the vibe of the day as "a romantic, rose-filled Old-World wedding in Wisconsin," which translated to a black-tie-optional dress code, lots of classic blooms, a spread of sweets featuring a croquembouche and macarons, local beer in the welcome boxes, and—what else?— some late-night cheese curds. It was European sophistication meets Midwestern charm.
One hundred and forty guests, including family from Ireland and friends from Spain, flew in for the celebration on July 8, 2017. A floral pattern inspired by Rachel Ruysch's still-life paintings appeared on almost every detail of the day, from the stationery and the ribbon around the bouquet to the photo-booth backdrop. Soft pinks, blues, and antique golds (à la Marie Antoinette) were contrasted with a deep crimson for a splash of drama. The party was what they'd both wanted it to be—the dancing wild and the drinks flowing. But it was the moment when the couple recessed up the aisle after saying their vows that Cooper loved the most: "Emer whispered to me, 'We're married.'"
A Floral-Themed Invitation
Invitations introduced the floral pattern that would appear throughout the festivities; a mix of spot calligraphy and a serif font added formality. The suite was designed by Michael McCormick, who has known Emer for a while through his friendship with her sister, Catherine.
Welcome to Wisconsin
Mapping It Out
To further personalize the welcome boxes given to guests staying in hotels, Emer's artist brother drew a map of Madison with the key landmarks illustrated on it—the high school the happy couple both attended, the church and country club where the wedding would take place, the Capitol building, and University of Wisconsin's Memorial Union.
Dressed to Impress
"I thought I would want something simple and was thinking about a sheath or column style dress," Emer says. But she tried on a ballgown and immediately knew her gown would have a full skirt. She chose this Morilee by Madeline Gardner number with clean lines but in a shape that "felt really bridal and a bit ballerina-y."
Cooper went with a Bonobos tuxedo and bow tie—after all it was a black-tie-optional affair.
The Little Details
Emer's bountiful bouquet by Flora Designs by Jamae incorporated garden roses, spray roses, peonies, tweedia, lisianthus, clematis, ranunculus, stephanotis on the vine, scabiosa, and assorted foliage. "My big must-have was garden roses," Emer says. "I wanted a lush, almost overbloomed feel and I loved the crescent shape. I also loved the trailing vines with the vintage ribbons and the sash made from our wedding fabric! It was such a pretty way to tie that in again."
Emer was all smiles, surrounded by her mother and her sister, who served as matron of honor.
The couple involved lots of their family members and friends in the service, as readers, presenters of gifts, and ushers. The afternoon ceremony at Our Lady Queen of Peach Church had Emer in tears after exchanging the traditional vows.
Programs, also designed by Michael McCormick, were printed in dark red ink and rolled up as scrolls, tied up in a satin ribbon to match.
The Flower Girls
Two of the bride's nieces served as flower girls, carrying baskets adorned with gilded silk flowers.
The two best men and two groomsmen wore classic black tuxedos and bow ties. Cooper's sister and Emer's best friend wore solid dresses in the day's color palette, while Emer's sister (the matron of honor) donned a lace dress with an oversized floral pattern.
The Seating Chart
A calligraphed seating chart was printed on fabric via Spoonflower and surrounded by garlands studded with blooms.
An Elegant Dinner Setting
The color of the wax seal on each menu denoted the entrée pick.
Stealing a Kiss
The newlyweds smooched at dinner under a hanging greenery installation.
Photo Booth Fun
The photo booth was set up by the bar and offered a good alternative to the dance floor for those still looking to have some fun. The day's signature print made for a lively backdrop. Garlands, crowns, and bouquets made from faux flowers from Afloral were spray-painted in an antique gold color and used as props.
A Change of Attire
"I liked that my pocket square matched the photo booth's backdrop and our dessert table runner," says Cooper. Emer changed into a Halston Heritage dress for the party.
A Decadent Dessert Buffet
Deep-fried cheese curds—a classic Wisconsin snack—and pretzel knots with a Welsh rarebit sauce were served for late-night snacks.
Ceremony location, Our Lady Queen of Peace Church
Reception location and catering, Nakoma Golf Club
Day-of event coordination, Wood Violet Events + Styling
Flowers, Flora Designs by Jamae
Couple's Photography, Mark Kegans
Stationery, Michael McCormick
Calligraphy, Curlicue Designs Calligraphy
Desserts, Madison Sourdough
Rentals, Event Essentials
Bride's gown, Morilee by Madeline Gardner
Bride's reception dress, Halston Heritage
Bride's veil, Toni Federici
Hair and makeup, Arch Apothecary
Flower-girl dress, Pink Princess
Groom's tuxedo and bow tie, Bonobos
Groom's shirt, J.Hilburn
Transportation, Badger Bus
Photo booth, Meir Photography
Stationery printing, Czar Press
Custom tissue paper, Zazzle
Custom fabric (for runner, seating chart, and bouquet ribbons), Spoonflower
Welcome box, Wine Gift Box
Faux flowers for photo-booth props, Afloral