We love a couple that takes a trend and flips it on it’s head. Chelsie and Tom did just that with their modern barn wedding. They set out with a goal of creating “an atmosphere that reflected the organic-authentic-northwoods charm” that they love about their state of Wisconsin, but they did it in such a gorgeous, modern way. Perfectly edited details like the buffalo check blankets and modern script signage feel totally fresh and the resulting vibes at The Enchanted are something to strive for. The couple carried their modern sensibilities throughout the celebration, forgoing a traditional reception and opting instead for a cocktails, passed appetizers and a walk-up wood fire pizza station. Love! See all the details in these gorgeous images captured by Meghan Lee Harris.Click to expand for more
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
From the bride: My gown was by Emmy Mae Bridal and purchased from Bucci’s Bridal in the greater Milwaukee area. It was the second or third dress I had tried on in store and I knew immediately it was the one. The Bucci Bridal stylists are amazing and had contacted me prior to my appointment to get a feel for my style so when I came in for my appointment, there were already a handful of selections that fit what I was looking for already waiting for me. It made the dress-finding process so much easier and way less overwhelming. I knew I wanted something unique and not typical, but still timeless. The plunging neckline of my gown and timeless lace immediately checked those boxes for me and I knew it was the one!
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
From the bride: It was important to us that our wedding felt personalized and didn’t fit a specific mold. As proud Wisconsinites the main thing we wanted to execute was having an atmosphere that reflected the organic-authentic-northwoods charm we love about our state. I think we achieved that in subtle ways through the barn venue itself, the relaxed informal reception, having locally made pies, Wisconsin Beer, and organic floral arrangements.
Our signature drinks were named after our pets, Winslow and Bella. We had a custom made sign with their faces on it, made by an Etsy shop. We brought our patio furniture and picnic setups with all the cushions and blankets we had from home for some cozy seating areas. The uplighting for our reception was green and blue as a subtle little tribute to the NBA team Milwaukee Bucks (where Chelsie used to cheerlead). The pies for the reception were made locally by The Norske Nook which is definitely a local treasure of a restaurant and bakery. Their pies are well known in the area and we knew without question we wanted locally made pies.
The song I walked down the aisle to was the instrumental from the song Holocene by Bon Iver; which has its origins from my home town of Eau Claire, WI. If you’re an Eau Claire native you know who Bon Iver and Justin Vernon are. Music really sets the tone for us and Bon Iver is really the epitome of the Midwest and northern Wisconsin vibe, so there was no doubt we had to incorporate at least one song into the day.
Also being from a logging town I wanted a subtle woodsy feel incorporated into our florals, so soft pines and ferns were incorporated which was another perfectly subtle tribute to my hometown of Eau Claire. The florals were elegant, but still had locally foraged foliage elements.
The venue itself had personal significance to me and it wasn’t random I chose a barn, being from a Wisconsin farming family and spending so much time on my grandpa’s farm as a kid. We also just loved the relaxed atmosphere of having a barn wedding and reception, it fit both of our laid back personalities perfectly.
What was the most memorable part of the day?
From the bride: The most memorable part of the day for both of us was the ceremony. The day after, it was the ceremony that we kept talking about and reminiscing on. Our wedding day is something we had been building up to for a long time and we really wanted to take the time to acknowledge that. We decided to write our own vows and didn’t screen each other’s beforehand. Personalizing our vows and saying our own words from our hearts was the most meaningful and priceless moment of the whole day. We also were lucky enough to have my best friend/Maid of Honor’s mom officiate the ceremony for us. It was really comforting and special to have her as our officiant, as she’s known me for so long. We were both so happy we tailored the ceremony how we wanted it, didn’t stick to a traditional format. It was all very authentic and personalized exactly how we wanted it.
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
From the bride: Tom and I live in Milwaukee and met our freshman year of college, at UW Milwaukee through mutual friends. We hit it off immediately and were inseparable for all of college. Going into our sophomore year I auditioned for the NBA Milwaukee Bucks dance team. The whole reason I had decided on moving to Milwaukee in the first place, was to pursue dancing professionally and to make that team. So, I made it happen. I continued to dance for the Bucks for 4 seasons and loved every second of it. Between games, practices, promotions, and school, my schedule was very tight. Tom and I only had small windows of time to hang out, but he always understood, and we made it work. Tom was one of my biggest fans and went to countless games to see and support me.
At the closure of my 4th season with the Bucks, I put my dancing on pause. Rather than preparing for the upcoming season’s audition, I was preparing for our surprise newest additions arrival. Our daughter Lila was born June 24th, 2014. As young parents, we were terrified of what to expect, but buckled in for parenthood, something that had not even been on our radar a year earlier.
Considering I spent 4 years with the Milwaukee Bucks organization, my ties and pride for the team didn’t just go away. We love going to games and Lila hasn’t missed a home opener yet. So, knowing the connection I have to this organization I should have seen Tom’s proposal coming a mile away, but I didn’t.
So, fast forward to June 1st, 2017. Tom had arranged with my former boss, the director of game operations, to propose to me at the Milwaukee Bucks arena, on the court. He told me we were getting dinner at a restaurant that’s right across the street from the arena. Rather than park on the street by the restaurant, Tom pulled right into arena control, hopped out of his truck, and walked right in the back door of the stadium. Meanwhile, I’m trailing behind him, very confused, but still, no part of me thought we were there for a proposal. Tom had been replying to work related texts prior to parking in the player parking lot and bolting into the building, so I assumed the reason we were there and he was allowed to do that was work related. He simply said, “Come on, I’ve gotta do something quick.” And for some reason, I didn’t think anything of it and trailed behind.
Security greeted Tom saying he’d been informed we were coming so that just reconfirmed to me that someone must know Tom’s coming to meet him. The entire walk inside, through the entertainment tunnel, and onto the court, I was oblivious. I was chatting the whole way about how cool it was to be inside just the two of us and how I haven’t been on the court or behind the scenes in there in ages and how much I missed it.
When we finally got to center court, I remember just standing there, taking it all in. This was such a special place to me and I knew the importance of taking in that moment on the court, because I could still remember the last time I had done it; the last game of the season, of my last year dancing. When I turned to face Tom, he was down on one knee, right there at center court, pulling a ring box out of his pocket. I was completely taken by surprise and brought to tears instantly. In that moment, in a place that is so significant to me, Tom gave me the closure I needed for my past memories of that place/time of my life by creating the ultimate new memory with me and the start of the next chapter to our story.
Photographer: Meghan Lee Harris// Florals: Jennifer Joyce Design // Invitations: Minted // Venue: The Enchanted Barn // Videographer: Mollica Films // Dress Store: Bucci’s Bridal // Dress Designer: Emmy Mae // Bridal Accessories: Hello Adorn // Hair/Makeup: Lady Vamp Artistry // Groomsmen Suit: Ted Baker // Rentals / Furniture / Decor: from Bride & Groom’s own home décor // Wedding Party dresses/suits: all chose their own // Cake/Dessert: Norske Nook // Band/DJ: Pulse Entertainment // Caterer: The Enchanted Barn’s Wood-fired Pizza // Jeweler: Kessler’s // Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden // Guest Book: Dustling and Hart // Wisconsin Themed Pillows: Proud Dweller // Ring Box: The Mrs. Box