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To have and to hold
Personalities shine through at three local weddings

By JEN HUNHOLZ

February 2015

Kamyia & Damone - 8/31/14
Photos by Front Room Photography

Held at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Damone Turner and KaMyia LeFlore’s August 2014 nuptials were anything but ordinary. The couple, who met in February 2007, partnered with Dynamic Events by David Caruso to execute their vision, which included building a custom lift to introduce LeFlore to both Turner and their guests.

"My entrance was by far phenomenal and the most exciting part of our wedding," says LeFlore. Caruso and his team worked with Majic Productions and a staff of engineers to construct the lift — the first of its kind to ever appear at the Milwaukee Art Museum. "What made this moment so intriguing is that our guests had no clue where I would come from, and the gasps from the audience as I slowly appeared from underground still gives me an overwhelming feeling," LeFlore adds.

Set in the rotunda of the museum’s Calatrava entrance, the lift was also used by the couple after they changed into more dance-friendly attire, introducing themselves as husband and wife for the first time. The reveal was met with arguably the biggest surprise of the night — a special guest appearance by R&B singer R.I. The singer treated guests to a 20-minute set and then serenaded the couple for their first dance. "Damone planned this portion of our wedding on his own as a surprise to me, and it left me absolutely flabbergasted," remembers LeFlore.

Turner, who arrived at the museum via a horse-drawn carraige, says that seeing KaMyia escorted down the aisle by her father is one of his most memorable moments from that day. "He wanted to give KaMyia her dream wedding," adds Monica Orr of Dynamic Events by David Caruso. And considering LeFlore used adjectives like "absolutely perfect" and "outstanding" to describe their day and vendors, it’s clear that Turner did exactly that.

Megan & Max - 7/19/14
Photos by Craig John Photography

When two self-proclaimed "foodies" decide to get married,the result is a Bartolotta-catered wedding reception. The couple, Megan and Max Stephenson, met while attending Marquette University and hosted their wedding reception at the Grain Exchange last July. "We’re very traditional, and we felt that the Grain Exchange’s history, high ceilings and artistic detailing encompassed that," notes Megan.

Paying tribute to their Cream City beverage of choice — beer — was high on the couple’s priority list, so they transformed the Grain Exchange’s balcony into a late-night beer and Belgian pretzel bar. "We selected a few of our favorite mirco beers and paired them with Belgian pretzels and various dipping sauces," Megan recalls.

It’s not surprising that one of the Stephensons’ favorite memories from their day involves food, too. After insisting to her coworkers that Max would never smash cake into her face during their cake cutting ceremony, he did just that, much to Megan’s astonishment. "At first I was shocked, then realized I had to get him back," she says. "Craig did an amazing job taking pictures because you can actually see where I go in all sweet to feed Max cake and then at the last minute just hold his chin and rub it into his face."

And although weddings often require plenty of planning, there are certain unexpected hiccups that simply can’t be accounted for. "We rented a white 1954 Bentley to drive us around on our wedding day," explains Megan. "We hit a bump in the road, quite literally. We had a flat tire after finishing up with photos." One hour later, the couple hailed a cab and made it to their reception "in the nick of time" — armed with a memory to last a lifetime, no doubt.

Holly & Andy - 8/16/14
Photos by Artist Group Photography

For newlyweds Holly Nelson and Andy Smith, planning a wedding meant honoring their strong family ties, a feat accomplished by their commitment to incorporating meaningful elements whenever and wherever possible.

The first showing of this commitment was choosing to hold their wedding at Nelson’s parents’ property in Waukesha. Her parents own and operate Nelson Landscape Inc. and have inevitably turned their own yard into what Nelson describes as "nature’s paradise." "I asked myself, why would I go pick a venue and have my wedding at a ‘place,’ when I had a venue, my yard, my home, my sanctuary," she remembers. "Andrew and I love the outdoors and nature — it’s where we spend most of our free time, so he instantly agreed on the location."

Her father and two brothers got to work, remodeling the barn, driveway and sidewalks,installing new landscaping and lighting, and planting thousands of new flowers throughout the property. The small backyard pond was transformed into a 10,000-gallon pond with two waterfalls, a bridge and floating stepping stones. A path through the wooded property was cleared, allowing Nelson and her father to "walk down the aisle," and the ceremony was held under an arbor overlooking the pond. "The ideas, the coordination, the design ­— I owe it all to my parents. The vendors then helped them execute everything precisely to perfection." says Nelson. "It was the perfect fairytale."

Following the ceremony, Nelson and Smith took a short drive in her late grandfather’s 1976 Cadillac Coupe Deville, a promise made by Smith before Nelson’s grandfather passed away last May. Smith wore his own late grandfather’s cuff links and sported an ivory white tux (just like the couple’s fathers did on their own wedding days), and Nelson carried her grandmother’s purse. "Everything was built and designed around family and love," adds Nelson. "So many people lose sight of this, and we wanted it to be the focus."


This story ran in the February 2015 issue of: