Our Wedding

We tied the knot on September 25, 2015, at the Children’s Museum in Madison, Wisconsin. Our wonderful photographers took more than 850 photos — which is great for us, but probably too many for everyone else to look at. Here’s a quick snapshot of our big day.Read More »


Why the Children’s Museum?

Nothing says romance like a giant metal bat house.

Over the past couple of months, it’s been interesting to see how other people react when we tell them we’re getting married at a kiddie ranch. The overwhelming majority of exchanges go something like this:

“So, where are you guys getting married? Here in town?”
“Yes, actually, we’re doing it at the Children’s Museum on the Square.”
(Face brightens.) “That’s really neat!”
“We think so too. Thanks!”

No one has been outright negative, though Sandy has had a couple of “huh” and “I wouldn’t have pegged that” responses. Mostly, folks are just curious about how we came to the decision we did. So, here are the reasons, in no particular order:

1. We can have the “downtown wedding” and the “garden wedding” at the same time.

2. Our money is going to support a nonprofit that is dedicated to education and sustainability and is welcoming to the entire community. It’s all about encouraging curiosity and exploration, which makes it the kind of place that represents our values much the same way a church does for other couples.

3. Every time we visit, the museum just makes us feel happy. These days, we spend so much of our time being serious, thanks to school and work. The museum forces us to let our guard down for a bit. To enjoy the setting, you really do have to relax, go with the flow and just embrace it.

It’s strange to look at Pinterest boards and bridal magazines at this point in the planning process, when so many of our major elements have been decided. It’s pretty safe to say there aren’t a whole lot of other weddings that have looked the way ours will. (We do have some models, though!) That’s great for our hipster cred, but it’s also a little scary, since there’s already so much pressure on the whole occasion. At the museum, there are several things we can’t have that seem like pretty standard wedding details, like glass, candles and, um, ceremony chairs (sorry).

But the closer we get to the big day (122 days!), the more we realize there truly is no “script” for this. There’s no right or wrong way, just our way.

And that’s a beautifully whimsical thing.

Tastefully Texas

One of the earliest ideas we had for our wedding was to incorporate Sandy’s Wisconsin roots into the drink offerings (think Old Fashioneds and craft beers) and Matt’s Texas ties into the food. And we’re well on our way to doing just that!

Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace is a quirky Madison chain that offers what Matt thinks are the best Austin-style tacos in town. The museum’s preferred vendor list isn’t exactly extensive, but when we saw TTTP was on it, it was a natural pick. Yesterday we had our tasting. The first question the catering manager asked was if we wanted complimentary margaritas, and we have the (proud?) distinction of being the first couple to take her up on the offer. (To be fair, TTTP doesn’t do a lot of wedding tastings. Apparently many couples who use them just skip an afternoon of free food, which totally baffles me.)

We had the whole back room to ourselves, and folks just kept bringing us plates. We now have a fridge full of salsas, queso dip, chips and tamales; we won’t have to grocery shop again until the wedding!


Sweet day of planning

We’ve been in hibernation mode for a bit here, as Wisconsin is experiencing an especially brutal cold snap. But today we bundled up and headed out to make some wedding progress.

After quite a bit of discussion and deliberation, we’ve decided to do a mini “stay-moon” right after the wedding. We’ll spend the weekend at the Edgewater Hotel, a historic resort in downtown Madison that has recently reopened after a massive renovation. It’s located right on Lake Mendota, with some of the nicest waterfront views in town. With a spa and a steakhouse, it’ll fit both of our interests quite well!

We opted for a “premium lakefront” room, which will look like this in the fall:

Photo: Edgewater Hotel

After our Edgewater tour, we headed to the far west side of Madison for a cupcake tasting at Cupcakes-A-Go-Go. It’s one of the best cupcakeries in Madison (yes, this tiny city is home to several). A friend of ours had these instead of a traditional cake at his wedding, and everyone absolutely loved them. Couple that with a recent endorsement by one of Sandy’s colleagues, and we were feeling pretty optimistic.

matt cakesThe tasting didn’t disappoint.
(Have you EVER seen Matt look this gleeful??)

A-Go-Go specializes in wacky flavors, like Chocolate Whisky Bacon, White Russian, Bourbon Pecan Pie and more. (Seeing a theme yet?) We haven’t come to a decision yet about which flavors we’ll choose, but odds are definitely looking good for Irish Trifecta and Red Velvet. Sandy hasn’t given up hope entirely for getting some bacon in there, but marriage is all about compromise, right?

The Dress Hunt

My mom, Rita, and I officially began The Hunt today — and we also may have finished it!

I was pretty wary about too much salesperson intervention during my wedding dress search, and I was unsure about what it meant to set up an appointment at a bridal salon. We opted instead to take our chances and walk into Vera’s House of Bridals here in Madison — just in time for the Saturday morning rush to be in full force, with several brides accompanied by extensive entourages. It became immediately clear why one should set an appointment for this kind of thing; you can’t simply walk around and look at all of the dress options at a place like this. Vera’s inventory includes more than 500 dresses, and only a handful of them are on display in the lobby areas.

But today was our lucky day. We signed in and waited only a few minutes for an available consultant. Cassie took us upstairs to start looking through the “finale” rack options as she staked out a dressing room. On the very first rack was a very particular dress. I pointed it out, and once Cassie was able to sneak us into the “Paris” room, it was the very first dress I tried on.

The attraction was instant, but I wasn’t sure if I was really just excited about the experience of putting on a wedding dress. Three hours, more than 20 dresses, a bottle of water and a couple of visits from Vera herself later, it was clear that the first dress was the dress. As those other dresses came and went, the first dress never left the room.

Mom and I were both in love with it, but the purchase timing didn’t feel quite right. So we put the darling on hold, and I’ll see how I feel in a few days. (I already kind of miss it.)