Kelly & Soren

* Kelly, Graduate Student & Soren, Laboratory Technician * Photographer: Emilia Jane Photography * Soundtrack for reading: “Your Song” by Elton John *

One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: A lovely, relaxed day, surrounded by the green of the forest and our closest family and friends, where we ate our favorite foods, drank our favorite beer, and promised our lives to each other.

 The Info—Photography: Emilia Jane PhotographyVenue: Schlitz-Audubon Center / Officiant: Joan, a family friend of Soren’s / Catering: Saz’s / Cake: Simma’s Bakery / Musician: Fran The Piano Man / Flowers: Lockers / Kelly’s Dress: Off-the-rack BCBG / Kelly’s Headband: Acute DesignsSoren’s Suit: Macy’s / Kelly’s Engagement Ring: Silverwoods / Kelly’s Wedding Band: Bario Neal

Other cool stuff we should know about: My parents had a very nontraditional wedding (she wore a red dress, he wore a tan corduroy suit). When I told them Soren and I were engaged, my mom asked me where we were going to elope. In our case, making more traditional choices was unexpected, but it also gave us a lot of freedom to have the wedding we wanted.

We picked the venue unseen, based on my awesome sister and mom’s inspection and some facebook photos. This was the best decision we made, we loved our venue and no number of facebook pictures could do it justice. Then I picked a lot of Milwaukee vendors that I and my family were familiar with, but weren’t traditionally “wedding” vendors—we always got our flowers from Lockers, we’d had cakes made by Simma’s for other events, we’d eaten at Saz’s restaurant since I was a kid and picked food that we would normally order at the pub-type restaurant. Our guests were thrilled with the BBQ pork and fried Chicken with all the picnic fixings. I don’t know if it was cheaper, but I felt confident with our vendors because we had a history with these places.

At the last minute I felt compelled to add details, but in the end the only details that I remembered or anyone commented about were the ones that we had an emotional connection to—my deceased grandmother’s cookies I baked, the bracelets I chose (one was my golden birthday present from Soren, one was my deceased grandfather’s watch fob, and one was made by my mother), my dad doing my sister’s and my hair like when we were kids. The other “super-cute” details either didn’t get finished, got forgotten about in the morning rush, or just weren’t important.

We loved our ceremony. We are not religious, but we were both raised in religious families and knew the majority of the guests were Christians. The ceremony was mostly secular but we included a prayer and my grandma’s favorite bible passage. I think that it was respectful and still us. Our mothers (both are retired librarians) each did a reading they chose. Our officiant wrote a wonderful homily that was us, in its practicality, but also emotionally resonant. We wrote our own vows and were surprised when both of us included some very similar parts—confirming how much alike we are. After that we just had a wonderful, relaxed day chatting with friends, drinking New Glarus Spotted Cow, listening to the super fun and accommodating Fran, and enjoyed being married!

Favorite thing about the wedding: We loved our venue, we love camping and hiking, so being in the woods felt like that time after you start hiking, when you finally get where you can’t see cars and you feel surrounded by nature and at peace. After the wedding a friend came up to me and said, “You said your wedding was going to be in a park, and I thought a city park with grass and a few trees, but your wedding was in a forest!” And the weather was perfect.

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  • Did you guys use a book of the National Parks for a guest book?! I love it!

    • Yes! The guests could sign any page with recommendations or just well wishes :-)

      • That is such a cool idea.

  • Kay

    I love love love your rings. And the cake. And the venue. And everything, basically.

  • Kirsten

    Spotted Cow beer! LOVE! (And really wish I could get my hands on some of that again…)

    • As soon as I saw that, I got excited. Wisconsin wedding!

  • Kelly – just so so gorgeous! And I didn’t realize it was in Milwaukee – I grew up there. I am so humbled that {Acute} was part of your beautiful day – you wore it perfectly :).

  • Airplane Rachel

    Spotted Cow! Yum. Beautiful wedding photos.

  • COSarah

    Um, can we talk about your rings?! They are GORGEOUS! As are you and your dress and the whole damn thing! SIGH.. so lovely!

    • meg

      I know. Bario Neal man, they… I just love them so much.

  • Congratulations Kelly and Soren! I can’t get over the fact that, if I read this correctly, your dad did your hair. That is awesome!

    • Kelly Radtke

      YES! My dad learned to braid my hair when I was little and used to do it daily. On my gymnastics team, he was well-known as the best french braider

  • Diane

    Spotted Cow? Saz’s? The Schlitz Audubon Center? You Milwaukee-ans have made my afternoon! And now I’m hungry, thirsty, and in the mood for a walk in the woods. You clearly have excellent taste and it looks like a beautiful, fun, joyful event. Wishing you much happiness and lovely Lake Michigan fall evenings.

  • I’ve never even been to Milwaukee but I recognize that beer! I love when the midwest makes its way onto this site :) This is a lovely wedding.

  • I love the cozy, intimate feeling! Emilia is a rockstar at capturing that vibe.

  • I love your hair. I probably love it 100 time more knowing your dad did it.

  • Rebekah

    Congratulations! Also, I LOVE Spotted Cow!

  • Natalie

    Yay Milwaukee! Love that my city is being featured :) Can’t wait to submit my own wedding after October!

  • Class of 1980

    Anything in a forest gets my vote every time.

    Love everything about it … your dress, braids, rings, bracelets, cake, the forest, and how happy you both look.

  • How beautiful! It is really interesting to me that you came from the other direction than (it seems) most of us– to have the non-traditional be expected because of the traditional– and it seems like you really made the best choices for the two of you. Congratulations!

  • What a beautiful wedding! I love the braid wedding hairdo. Purple is a great color choice. The wedding cake & ring are lovely.

  • So lovely! How gorgeous that you held it in a forest. Maybe it’s because I’m reading APW after having a couple beers, but……looking at these pictures, I have a deep, gut-level sense that you guys will have a very long, very happy marriage. Congratulations!

  • Amazing wedding ceremony, all photos are so nice and colorful. Amazing place for a wedding, i love it.

  • Kel

    With each photo, I was more and more convinced that you were in Milwaukee! We almost got married at the Audobon Center, but it didn’t quite fit what we needed. What an incredibly gorgeous place, though. Your photos are just lovely.

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  • Cassidy

    Hi! Your rings are gorgeous! Where did u get your band? I have a vintage gold engagement ring and I’ve been looking everywhere for something like yours! We’re they custom made?

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