Bride and Groom standing outside the Donald and Carol Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor

Door County Wedding at the Donald and Carol Kress Pavilion

March 7, 2024

Photography by Heidi Hodges Photography

 

Mike and Theresa’s heartfelt celebration of love in the heart of Door County

How They Met

Theresa, who grew up all over the Midwest, including Wisconsin and Minnesota, and Mike, who’s originally from the southwest suburbs of Chicago, met on the dating app Hinge. It was truly love at first swipe; Mike was Theresa’s first and only date on any app. The two hit it off immediately and feel extremely lucky to have met each other when they did.

 

The Engagement

Theresa and Mike became engaged at the bar where they had their first date, Ricochet in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago. Mike, knowing he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Theresa, started planning the proposal several months in advance. His first step was visiting the jeweler his family has been going to for generations, located in the infamous Jewelers Row district in the Chicago Loop. He worked with the jeweler to customize Theresa’s ring to include her favorite flower, orchid, etched in platinum along with an inscription along the inside of the band with lyrics to her favorite love song.

He then stopped by the bar and met with the owner to discuss the details of his plan. From there, Mike started numerous text message threads with all of their closest friends and family. He provided all of the details, including the date, time, and place. His main objective was to make sure his soon-bride-to-be was completely surprised. On the day of the proposal, two of Theresa’s friends, Diana and Taylor, took her to an early dinner to “get her out of the house.” In reality, the girls’ dinner was to allow Mike to get to the bar to prepare. A large group of their friends met Mike at Ricochet to help him decorate, hang photos, and set out refreshments for everyone in attendance. “I was beyond nervous leading up to the day and was sweating profusely from the second that I woke up,” Mike confessed. “And when I say sweating, I mean it! I even brought an extra shirt to change into right before she got there.”

Wanting to capture the whole thing on film, their tech-savvy friend Jake set up multiple cameras – including a drone – around the back patio of the bar. Mike was even wired up to a live hot mic to ensure every word would be heard on the video. While Theresa and her friends were at dinner, he was texting her and doing his best to play it cool, when in reality, he was absolutely freaking out. He was also in contact with her friends (in a separate thread, of course) to let them know how things were going back at the bar. “Luckily, Theresa didn’t suspect a thing and just thought that I was being annoying.” When the girls informed Mike they were finished with dinner and heading to Ricochet, the bar owner shut the front door so the three girls would have to walk around to the back patio instead. Mike’s brother Neal positioned himself on the sidewalk next to the bar patio and began playing Theresa’s favorite love song on his guitar as soon as she turned the corner.

When Theresa arrived at the bar, Mike texted her to come around back and let her know he had a table for them. As she approached Neal with confusion, Mike appeared from around the corner with a bouquet of flowers, took her by the hand, and led her to the patio. Theresa was absolutely shocked by the sight of all her friends and family, gathered together, smiling, and looking at her. She was so stunned that she hardly noticed Mike struggling to pull the ring box out of his pocket. As he struggled to get out the few words he had been practicing for months, he lowered himself to one knee. “The nanoseconds between me asking and her accepting seemed to go on forever, and the next thing I knew, we were embraced with the sounds of applause and cheering surrounding us,” Mike shared. Immediately after Theresa said yes, everyone was handed glasses of champagne, and the festivities began!

The Dress

Theresa found her dream wedding dress at Viero Bridal Chicago. “I knew the dress was ‘the one’ as soon as I tried it on,” she shared. “My dress was a reflection of myself and the theme of our wedding. It was elegant and effortless.” Her dress featured button details on the back as well as an off-white, neutral color that aligned perfectly with the earthy, rustic vibe of the wedding.

The Ceremony

Theresa and Mike’s wedding ceremony was held at the Donald and Carol Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor. “Obviously, our favorite part of the wedding was seeing each other for the first time as we walked down the aisle,” they shared. While Mike loved watching his bride walk toward him down the aisle, Theresa fondly remembers turning the corner and witnessing all of their loved ones stand up to watch her walk toward her groom. “It was such a serene feeling,” she said. She nearly cried while walking down the aisle, but luckily, one of their friends hilariously shouted, “Keep it together!” This made everyone in the room laugh, including the bride herself.

One of the most unique aspects of Theresa and Mike’s wedding was that her nephew, Isaiah, served as the wedding conductor. As he walked down the aisle, he rang a large bell; as he approached the altar, he proclaimed to the crowd, “The bride is coming!” That special bell is now in Theresa and Mike’s home and engraved with their names and wedding date.

Ceremony Music

Their ceremony included meaningful songs to set the fun tone and stir emotions throughout the room. Mike walked down the aisle to the Vitamin String Quartet rendition of “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, one of the bride’s favorite songs. She would have liked to walk down the aisle to it, but keeping a promise she made to her mother as a child, she walked down the aisle to “Variations on the Kanon” by George Winston. So, in the end, she certainly kept her promise to her dear mom but still got to hear Metallica. “What wedding is complete without Metallica?!”

The Décor

The vibe of Theresa and Mike’s early June Door County wedding was “simple yet elegant, rustic yet romantic, and a whole lot of fun.” Their favorite place on earth embodied the overall theme of the day: “Effortless Love.” The concept reflects the incredible love story they have shared with one another. The couple chose colors that expressed subtle beauty; their palette included hues found in nature, including beige, ballet rose, white, desert coral, and champagne.

All of the DIY wedding decorations were a family affair, which the couple is eternally grateful for. Theresa’s mother Leona created and decorated the entire event space with a range of homemade crafts. She also designed and laminated bookmarks for each guest as a keepsake. The bookmarks contained a love poem from “West Side Story.”

Mike’s stepmother Michelle decorated the tables with garland, string lights, runners, and tealight candles. Additionally, she adorned each table with various toppers and centerpieces she collected throughout her life. She also decorated the tables with unfinished round wood slices and table numbers. She even made the smart decision to fill a basket with flip flops for people to change into if their feet got tired from dancing!

The gorgeous floral arrangements and custom signage were designed and provided by Flora Flower Shop in Sister Bay.

The Reception

After Theresa and Mike said “I do,” the party continued with a reception at the Kress. While it’s difficult to pick out one specific part of the reception as a favorite, there are definitely a few standout moments. Following the best man’s (Mike’s brother Randy’s) unforgettable speech, Mike’s dad Rich gave a loving and unconventional speech during which he presented Theresa with a trophy – yes, a literal trophy – as an award for “dealing with” his son. His speech also gave the crowd a glimpse into Mike’s childhood. For example, when Mike was a kid, he would wear a cape and pretend to be a superhero. The cape would billow in the wind behind him as he ran, which would make the little boy feel like he could do anything. Now, as a grown man, instead of looking over his shoulder for the cape, all he needs to do is look over his shoulder at his wife. Theresa held the trophy high in the air while the crowd chanted, “Theresa! Theresa!”

The couple shared their first dance to the song “Fire on Fire” by Sam Smith. Their first dance was choreographed, and the two had spent months prior to the wedding training for that crowd-wowing moment. The dance concluded with a show-stopping, completely unexpected, perfectly executed lift! “We wanted our wedding to be heartfelt, meaningful, and reflective of ourselves as individuals and as a couple,” Theresa and Mike shared. “We are Midwesterners who love to have fun, love to party, and place our love, family, and friends above all else. That was definitely reflected in our wedding. We wanted the vibe of our wedding to be loving and effortless, like our relationship.”

The couple chose the Donald and Carol Kress Pavilion as their venue for many reasons, including its natural beauty, lovely location, and unique “double life” as a library. The venue features large windows that provide gorgeous lighting, vaulted ceilings, and an indoor-outdoor space. As a bonus, the Kress is conveniently located directly across from a hotel so guests didn’t have to travel too far once the night was over.

 

 

The Food and Drinks

Theresa and Mike wanted their wedding dinner to reflect their connection to and love of Door County, so they hired all local vendors to bring their vision to life, including their caterer, Thyme Catering out of Sister Bay. Door County is well-known for its vast cherry fields, so one of the main dishes served, for example, was chicken breast with a cherry barbeque sauce. The couple chose to have a family-style dinner, as they wanted the food to be a vehicle that would inspire guests to talk to one another.

The couple also wanted their guests to be able to enjoy desserts throughout the night. In lieu of serving cake during the sit-down meal, a variety of mini cupcakes baked by The Cupcake Couture were offered. Needless to say, there were hardly any leftover cupcakes at the end of the night! One of the late-night snacks, in the spirit of Wisconsin, was cheese curds.

The drink menu featured his and hers cocktails, both of which were inspired by Door County’s signature fruit. Mike’s drink was an old fashioned with cherries, and Theresa’s drink was a strawberry lemonade with a splash of cherry juice.

The Photos and Videos

The couple hired photographer Heidi Hodges Photography and videographer Gordon Hodges to capture every moment of their special day. The venue was situated on a beautiful plot of land, creating a scenic background at every angle. Right after the ceremony, the couple and their party took tons of photos outside in the sun. Then, once the sun had set, the photographer took the couple to the front of the building for a nighttime photoshoot, resulting in some of their favorite shots.

Wisconsin Wedding Vendors

Photographer Heidi Hodges Photography
Wedding Consultant Shannon Mead Events
Make-up Artist | Hair Stylist Crystal-Eyez Makeup & Beauty Lounge, Chicago
Rehearsal Dinner The Newport Resort
Rehearsal Dinner Catering Casey’s BBQ & Smokehouse
Ceremony & Reception Venue Donald and Carol Kress Pavilion, Egg Harbor
Reception Catering Thyme Restaurant  and Catering
Bartending Services Door County Event Planners
Cakes/Dessert The Cupcake Couture
Flowers Flora Flower Shop
Officiant Don Borling, Pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church
PhotoBooth Milwaukee 360 Photo Booth 
Videographer Gordon Hodges
Bridal Gown Designer-Boutique Viero Bridal, Chicago
Bridesmaid Gowns David’s Bridal
Groom’s Formalwear Enzo Customs, Chicago
Groomsmen Formalwear Men’s Wearhouse
Rings Finer Jewelry, Chicago