During the 2008 spring semester at Villanova University, Meaghan Caragher and Garrett Pasternak both made the trip to New Orleans with Habitat for Humanity in hopes of offering aid post Hurricane Katrina. The pair became fast friends, but it wasn't until after college that they allowed their relationship to turn romantic. "We started dating the same day I moved to New York, where Garrett lived, in 2011" Meaghan says. "We never looked back."
Although the couple still calls New York City home, Meg and Garrett decided to leave the Big Apple behind in favor of a more laid-back locale for their July 11, 2015, wedding: Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They quickly set their sights on the Pier Wisconsin where they would be able to enjoy both waterfront and city views. With the help of Dynamic Events by David Caruso, the bride and groom planned a gold, black, and white event that moved seamlessly from outdoor cocktails to a tented dinner and, finally, an indoor dance party. Heather Cook Elliott Photography was on hand to capture every glittery moment of the big day, with sweet details you won't want to miss.
Meaghan and Garrett invited 225 guests to join them on their wedding day with an invitation suite that played up their wedding color palette. The stylish stationery featured whimsical gold script and a striped black-and-white envelope liner. "The invitations were a challenge," Meaghan admits, "because the options are endless."
When it came to shopping for her wedding dress, Meaghan says she told herself she wouldn't cry in a salon. But when the bride-to-be tried on this fit-and-flare Anne Barge gown, complete with architectural seaming, she couldn't hold back her emotions. "My mom and I both looked at each other and cried," says Meaghan. Her classic look was completed with chandelier earrings, a delicate tear-drop necklace, and a romantic low and twisted bun.
Garrett donned a midnight blue tuxedo, breaking away from the traditional black attire that many men favor. A fun detail no one could see: Garrett had his monogram embroidered into his jacket.
Meaghan asked her bridesmaids to wear pale pink, floor-length gowns that featured sweetheart necklines and ruched bodices. Like the bride, the 'maid's carried bouquets comprised of white roses.
With Three Holy Women — with its dramatic and high ceilings and stained glass windows — as the backdrop to their ceremony, Meaghan and Garrett didn't need much in the way of ceremony décor. But the couple did decide to add hydrangea bouquets to the aisle, which were hung on the outside of every third pew.
They exchanged traditional Catholic vows, then recessed as a live organ, violin, and trumpet performed.
During cocktail hour, guests sipped on a selection of wine that had been carefully curated by the bride's father.
Meaghan and Garrett welcomed loved ones to their reception beneath a white peaked tent, hung with ornate black chandeliers. Long tables were topped with a mixture of high-and-low centerpieces crafted from white and cream roses and hydrangeas, as well as subtle greenery. White taper candles dotted the space between the full centerpieces, while the white tablecloths featured rosette details.
Guests noshed on a salad with strawberries and goat cheese, filet mignon, halibut, and chicken. Late night snacks came in the form of crowd-pleasing sliders.
A traditional three-tiered almond wedding cake featured polka dot fondant.
Meaghan and Garrett danced to Leela James' "Fall for You." Their wedding band, complete with horns and string instruments, kept guests on the dance floor all night long. "Two wedding guests split their pants from dancing so wildly to the band!" Meaghan says.
When it comes to advice for brides-to-be, Meaghan says, "Work on your biggest decisions first and the remainder will become much more manageable. Remember that you are celebrating your marriage and the rest of your lives and this is just one day."
Ceremony Venue: Three Holy Women || Reception Venue and Catering: Pier Wisconsin || Wedding Planner: Dynamic Events by David Caruso || Bride's Wedding Dress: Anne Barge || Veil & Jewelry: Kleinfeld Bridal || Shoes: Badgley Mischka || Hair & Makeup: Wide Eyed Beauty || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids || Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Harley's Menswear || Florist: Fresh Design || Invitations: Paper Envy || Music: Mark Thierfelder Trio and Larry King Orchestra || Cake: Cakes by Erin Salerno || Rentals: AFR Furniture and BBJ Linen || Photography: Heather Cook Elliott Photography
Want to see more weddings just like this? Then check out another couple's formal summer wedding in the video below.