Ever After

Our wedding tour bridal couple is ready for their big day

What to Wear

With the democratization of high-fashion brands (like Target’s Go International designer collective, for example) it’s no surprise that weddings have folded into national retailers’ offerings.

Within the last few years Anthropologie, The Limited, Ann Taylor and Shopbop have all added weddingwear as a facet of their business. These lines are exclusively online.

Anthropologie’s Bholden line features quirky yet beautiful gowns. Tea lengths, bubble hems, floral patterns, intricate pleats and soft, vintage-look frocks comprise the bridal line. Paired with brightly colored pumps and fun hairpieces they’re looks for the unique and festive bride.

The Limited and Ann Taylor’s selections are much more simple and traditional, which is a nice reflection of those stores’ aesthetics. Many of Ann Taylor’s looks feature effortless empire-waist creations with flowy, slightly A-line skirts. A tea-length look and more intricate petal-scattered dress round out the selection. The Limited’s extremely budget-conscious gowns (all are under $400) use satins and silks and incorporate of-the-moment bridal trends, like one-shoulder looks, petal and rosette details, and ruffles.

Madison-based Shopbop is the newest wedding purveyor of the bunch and cutting-edge fashionistas will appreciate their offerings. Lines like Notte by Marchesa, Thakoon Addition, Halston Heritage and Lela Rose are featured and looks range wildly from one-shoulder short cocktail dresses to a Grecian look to simply elegant minimalist dresses.

Although David’s Bridal isn’t new to the wedding scene, the brand-new White by Vera Wang line debuted in stores in February and is quite popular. Wang introduced a more affordable diffusion line with prices ranging from $600–$1,400. Fabrics include organza, charmeuse and tulle, and high-fashion details like ruching, Grecian draping and pleats softly accent this gorgeous line. Accessories also accompany the line, like large bows, crystal-encrusted sashes, sparkly headbands and clips, and simple black, pink and white sashes.

Add Some Sparkle

Your wedding jewelry should be as unique as you are, so be thoughtful about what you want in a ring. Also, think of practicality because you’ll be wearing it every day!

Often couples will need to be educated in what to buy, whether it’s the types of metal available in men’s rings or the cut of the stone for an engagement ring. Countless exciting options are available now, but the best part? Couples can completely custom-design rings to suit their personalities, too.

Visit Goodman’s Jewelers for men’s wedding bands in a variety of metals including gold, platinum, palladium, tungsten, titanium and stainless steel. Men are even opting for textures or stones in their rings, too. Of course many sparkling options are available for women. And if you don’t find what you want? Create something all your own—just like your unique love for each other.

Celebrate the Couple

Wedding gift registries are a way to celebrate a couple’s new life together. Popular national retailers in Madison that offer wedding registries include Boston Store, Macy’s, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Target, Kohl’s and Sears.

Of course local retailers offer registries, too. The Century House’s website features their “Just Right Gift Finder” and is chock-full of helpful ways to shop: by category (kids, home, local gifts), brand and even by price range. It’s a quick way for shoppers to find what they’re looking for—without leaving home.

Orange Tree Imports, another local shop, also offers a gift registry where customers can type in the couple’s name and find their registry online. The store’s employees can then work with the wedding guest to determine what the best gift choice would be.

Other fine home stores that carry high-end wedding gifts and do official registries include The Givin House, EcoFusion Design, Fanny Garver Gallery and All Through the House. Fontaine, Zander’s Interiors, Willow Creek and Fromagination don’t do gift registries but are great options for upscale home gifts, as well.

Capture the Moment

There’s no “undo” button on your special day, so be sure to choose a photographer that you both mesh with and feel comfortable trusting. Investing in a photographer’s services can be expensive, and you should feel that you’re getting value and special memories.

Two Madison-based wedding websites can help couples look into a variety of wedding vendors including photographers. MyMadisonWedding/Photographers is the most comprehensive of the sites for photography vendors.

MadisonWeddingGuild.com is a group of professionals that hold shows throughout the year for brides and grooms to do their homework. Vendors include cakes, entertainment, videographers, photographers and more.

FrugalBride.com (not a local site) offers a comprehensive list of what couples should consider before selecting a qualified, professional wedding photographer:
Experience Level: Has this person photographed other weddings? Does he/she do this for a living or for fun?
Truth in Advertising: Is this the photographer that will be working your wedding or will they send in whomever is available? Don’t be shocked; this happens more often than you can imagine. Be certain you know which photographer is going to be there and that you see his/her work and meet with him/her face-to-face.
Personality: Is the photographer that you meet someone you can get along with? Is the “chemistry” there?
Price Range: The last thing you want to do is shop by price, but is this person within your budget? If not, is he or she worth the price difference? Make sure you understand the cost structure, including reprints and albums. (For more useful tips, check out FrugalBride.com.)

Now, Getaway

Some newlyweds are opting to take a shorter, weekend-type honeymoon right after the wedding and then a longer honeymoon to a warmer locale a few months down the road.

One exciting locale for a getaway of any length is The Beacons in Minocqua, about four hours north of Madison. This lakefront resort is perfect for a mini-honeymoon après-wedding. Or, for those having a destination wedding it’s an ideal spot “back home” to hold a reception for friends and family who aren’t attending the destination wedding. Choose a condo or a log cabin to lodge in and partake in boating, sports, campfires, hikes and more in Minocqua’s unrivaled wooded beauty.

Read about our bridal tour couple Brittany and Jesse here!


Photographs by Mike Bechner / Black Ice Studios

Wedding Couple Brittany Biffert & Jesse Vanderbilt

Hair & Makeup by Renee Denure, Paige Hrubes, Adam Schmidt, Caitlin Taylor and Zach Zaricor, Aniu Salon Spa

Apparel by White by Vera Wang organza fit-and-flare dress, $1,200, horsehair sash, $58, and crystal headband, $98, all from David’s Bridal; Calvin Klein “Arden” tuxedo, Nedrebo’s Formalwear.

Special thanks to Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center 

Check our list of wedding vendors in our wedding directory!



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