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Sam Dekker, a former Wisconsin Badger and currently a forward for the Washington Wizards, and Olivia Harlan, a reporter from ESPN, didn’t meet on the court or during a post-game interview. These two sports lovers actually met as so many other brides and grooms do: through a mutual friend!At first, Olivia wasn’t so sure about the set-up, but when the two met, everything clicked. “Sam was so funny, quick witted, sincere, humble, and easy to be around,” she says. “We fell in love very fast. Our first date was watching a Packers game at a bar, and the first time we said ‘I love you’ was one month later—at a Packers game!” The Packers hold a special place in Olivia’s heart; her grandfather was the team’s CEO.
Sam proposed to Olivia in his home town of Sheboygan, where the two were spending the summer. “It was very intimate and random!” Olivia laughs. “That day, we had worked out and gone to Wal Mart. I was so caught off guard! It was very romantic and simple.”
The couple planned an elegant, black tie wedding in Door County, sticking to a color palette of black, white, and cream. The rehearsal dinner took place at The Whistling Swan in Fish Creek, a family-favorite restaurant. “All of the groomsmen stayed there as well, so we had the whole place to ourselves!” The ceremony and reception were both held at the Horseshoe Bay Golf Club.
Under a white, sky-high tent trimmed with sweeps of greenery and crystal chandeliers, Olivia and Sam said “I do.” Olivia walked down the aisle to the theme from Gone With the Wind—“a favorite movie in my family and my name sake: Olivia de Havilland,” she says. The bride and groom chose to do a sand ceremony to signify their unity. Olivia poured sand from her and Sam’s trip to Jerusalem, symbolizing their foundation in faith. Sam’s parents poured sand from his home town, and Olivia’s parents poured sand from where they live—Door County.
Following the ceremony was the first of two cocktail hours: one before and one after dinner. “To pay homage to Wisconsin supper clubs, we served traditional supper club drinks—a grasshopper, pink squirrel, and brandy alexander.” Lavender was incorporated throughout the meal, with lavender sprigs in the champagne glasses and a lemon-lavender wedding cake.
The space was decorated with a mix of modern touches and antique furniture from Relics Vintage Rentals. Flowers came from Buds N’ Bloom in De Pere, Wisconsin. “Jerad was the best,” Olivia says. “His vision is so extravagant and beautiful. He worked tirelessly to transform the tent from the ceremony to the after party, while we had dinner.”
Making the evening really special, Olivia and Sam had cigar rollers at the reception, rolling honey-dipped cigars. “Everyone loved that!” The entertainment came courtesy of Platinum, a band based out of Milwaukee. “No one wanted to leave the dance floor. We stole them from a friend’s wedding, and would do it again and again!” There was also an incredible fireworks show after sunset and a sparkler send-off to end the evening.
“I’ve never felt such tangible love in one place,” Olivia reflects. “It was overwhelming. You couldn’t tell who was Sam’s family or my family, his friend or my friend. Everyone became close over the weekend, and I loved looking out and seeing the nonstop laughter. We’re the first of our friends to get married, so it was a young, rowdy crowd. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!”
Event Planner~Door County Event Planners (Carrie Baldwin) We LOVED Carrie Baldwin-Smith with Door County Event Planners! She has become a good friend.
Reception Venue~ Horseshoe Bay Golf Club, Egg Harbor
Rehearsal Dinner Venue~Whistling Swan, Fish Creek . A family favorite restaurant. Was so special, and they were so accomodating. All the groomsmen stayed there as well, so we had the whole place to ourselves!
Cake~Monzu Bakery, Green Bay
Florist~ Buds N Bloom, De Pere . Jerad was the BEST! His vision is so extravagant and beautiful. He worked so hard to transform our tent from ceremony to after party while we had dinner.
Photographer~ Paper Antler Johnnie and Michelle are such a lovely husband and wife duo, who are enjoyable to be around and so talented. We loved our pictures.
Music/Entertainment~ ACA Entertainment ( Platinum) BEST WEDDING BAND EVER- no one wanted to leave the dance floor. We stole them from a friend’s wedding, and would do it again and again!
Wedding Dress Designer~Sareh Nouri (custom of 3 of her designs)
Bridal Salon~ Bella Bianca in Chicago, IL
Make-Up Artist~ Ashley Renee Makeup, Kansas City
Rentals~ Relics Vintage Rentals, Milwaukee
Transportation~ Door County Trolley