Allie & Michael’s Family-Style Dinner Party Wedding at Carstens Mill

April 12, 2017

Michael and Allie met through friends while at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Their first official date was running the annual Santa Scamper in downtown Appleton. Michael proposed to Allie over Thanksgiving in 2015. “Those who know Michael know he can be a bit of a schemer,” Allie says. “The proposal was no different.”

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, Allie and Michael started planning to play a prank on her dad: swapping out his Michigan State Spartans flag for a Wisconsin Badgers flag at the family cottage. “I was under the impression that this was why we headed outside in the snow. We swapped out the flag, then on the way back to the cottage, Michael stopped me in the middle of a wooded area and got down on one knee. Unbeknownst to me, my family was watching from inside.” They had champagne ready and waiting to toast the happy couple.

Allie and Michael decided to treat their wedding like one giant, fabulous dinner party. The night before the wedding, the rehearsal dinner was held at Stone Arch Brewpub in Appleton. The ceremony was at First United Methodist Church, and the reception at Carstens Mill in Brillion, Wisconsin. Allie’s favorite part of the ceremony was exchanging vows. “We wrote our vows together, and saying them to each other on our wedding day was so special.”


Then the party moved to Carstens Mill: “Beth, the owner, was amazing to work with! We would recommend this place to absolutely anyone. Beth had most of what we needed to decorate — chairs, linens, and antique dressers. We also rented some tables from Fox Cities Party Rental.” The centerpieces and bouquets, which uniquely incorporated herbs into the arrangements, came from Branching Out & Co. in Appleton — “another fabulous vendor who understood our vision.”

For dinner, the tables were arranged in three long rows and the meal was served family style, adding to that dinner party feel. Michael and Allie chose a caterer specializing in farm-to-table meals, and guests were “blown away by the flavors.” Allie made dessert herself: cake! “That was my biggest undertaking,” she says. “Dessert acted as a centerpiece along the rows of tables so that guests could indulge after their meal.”

As for other DIY projects, Allie and Michael played to their strengths. Allie made cakes because she works in the culinary field, while Michael is a designer and undertook creating the entire invitation suite, menu cards, and programs. “While designing invitations isn’t Michael’s bread and butter, it was a way for him to put his stamp on the event.” Allie’s advice on DIY: “If you’re going to do it, make sure to have a solid plan in place with timelines so you don’t get overwhelmed or behind.”

Looking back, the moment that sticks with Allie the most is when she and Michael were able to take a step back and look out at the dance floor. “We were so touched to see friends and family that hadn’t met each other until the day of our wedding, dancing together and getting along so well. There was so much love and happiness in the room, and we felt so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people.”


Dance lessons~Boogie Ballroom. We found dance lessons to be a great stress release at the end of the day and it helped us take our minds off of the stresses of wedding planning. We got to goof around and have fun with each other.
Invitations~Designed by the groom Michael
Rehearsal Dinner~Stone Arch Brewpub in Appleton, WI
Ceremony Location~First United Methodist Church, Appleton, WI
Reception Location~ Carstens Mill, Brillion, WI. We would recommend this place to absolutely anyone.
Caterer~Heirloom Kitchen Company. Again, Tracy was amazing to work with and we knew right away that she “got” us and our vision. The food wasn’t at all your standard wedding food, but was definitely chef-driven with lots of flavor. We liked that the menu was tailored to our desires and our budget, but still unique.
Cake Designer/Dessert~ These were designed and made by the bride. The flavors were almond chiffon with brandy, cherry curd and almond Italian buttercream and a chocolate S’more cake with marshmallow and graham cracker filling and Chocolate Italian buttercream.
Flowers~ Branching Out & Co. in Appleton, WI. Another fabulous vendor who understood our vision. We had herbs incorporated into our bouquets and centerpieces.
Music/Entertainment~  Erin Krebs sang during the cocktail hour and dinner. She is so talented and added so much class and elegance to the night.
DJ~Yo DJ Entertainment for dancing after dinner as well. Zarren was amazing! The dance floor was packed the entire night and we loved having a TV above his booth to show music videos, shots of the crowd dancing and photos from earlier in the night.
Transportation~ Kobussen Bus Lines helped us get people to and from the reception to the hotel.
Photographer~ Kim Thiel Photography. She really knows her stuff and does a fabulous job of integrating with the crowd to capture the “feel” of your day. We are thrilled with our photos!
Wedding Dress Designer/Shop~ Vera Wang – David’s Bridal
Party Rental Company~Fox Cities Party Rental



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