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Yolanda and Walter ran in similar circles, often finding they would see one other during Milwaukee nights out on the town. One evening, Yolanda was celebrating her friend’s birthday at a karaoke bar, and Walter happened to be there too. They hung out all night, even sang a Beyoncé and Jay Z duet together, and proceeded to spend every moment together since. “He made me feel so safe and allowed me to be the real me,” Yolanda says.
Walter proposed to Yolanda during a birthday party that turned into an engagement party. Yolanda originally said she wanted a very chill birthday celebration, but Walter wasn’t having it. “We settled on a day party, which I’m so glad we did,” Yolanda says. All her favorite people were there, including her dad and favorite aunt who had both flown in for the occasion.
At one point, Walter pulled Yolanda up on stage and told her to pick from one of five boxes. She was told each one had a designer purse inside—her favorite! The trick? Yolanda had to blindly pick after spinning around in circles. She opened her eyes to see which box she had chosen, and there was Walter down on one knee. “I bawled,” she says. “It was amazing! I chose right. I chose forever in him!”
Yolanda and Walter planned their wedding down to the last detail. Janelle at Evenement Planning helped with that: “She literally saved my life,” Yolanda says. “Our day was perfect—we couldn’t have asked for more. Or maybe Janelle was so top-tier that she put out the fires before they got to us.”
Before finding her Essence of Australia wedding gown, Yolanda tried on about 10 dresses. “I knew my dress immediately when I put it on. It fit like a glove, hugging all my curves. It was completely my style and everyone watching me try on dresses knew this was the one. I didn’t want to take it off.” After finding her dress, she landed on bridesmaid dresses from Savvy Bride in Brookfield. The color palette was grey and burnt orange with an overall modern-Mediterranean theme.
Again, the wedding weekend was planned to perfection. Here’s how: “After the rehearsal dinner, we had a small welcome reception for friends who were traveling from afar,” Yolanda explains. “From there, I had a slumber party with my cousins and sister who were in my bridal party. On the day of the wedding, we woke up, ate breakfast, and we were off to the races. Hair. Makeup. Dance. Mimosas. Dance again. Makeup touches. Get dressed. Photos. See Dad. See husband for the first time all day! Photos. Mingle. Wedding. Photos. Mimosas. Dance. Photos. You get the picture!”
The wedding ceremony took place at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum with its stunning gardens and view of Lake Michigan. Yolanda’s favorite part: “A close friend got her officiant license just to do this for us. Our village showed up for us left and right, and our wedding was a visual representation of this.” Photos by Chelsea Matson show that there wasn’t a dry eye in the place.
Walter and Yolanda were set on having indoor and outdoor access for their 200 guests. “Discovery World was just that. It’s on the water, has great ambiance, and was able to be crafted into exactly what we were looking for on our special day.”
Catered by Bartolotta’s, the wedding dinner was a total hit. There was a duet of salmon and filet, and because guests couldn’t get enough, the late-night snacks also went quickly.
From Simma’s, there was scrumptious cake. Yolanda particularly loved doing the cake tasting in preparation for the wedding. “I grew up going to Simmas for baked goods, but this was the first time I had ever tried their wedding cakes. I loved literally every one. I seriously ate all the samples myself!” They ended up going with a marble cake with buttercream frosting layered with sliced strawberries.
The moment that sticks with Yolanda most is seeing Walter for the first time. Also, seeing her parent’s faces when they saw her all dolled up. In the end, Yolanda and Walter loved that they kept the entire night true to them and their roots. “We are always true to ourselves and our wedding day was another showing of that.”
|Makeup Artist||Shalisa Elizabeth Artistry|
|Rehearsal Dinner||Pourman’s Pub Beer Garden|
|Ceremony Location||Villa Terrace|
|Reception Venue||Bartolotta’s Discovery World|
|Caterer & Bartending Service||Bartolotta’s|
|Flowers||Impressions by Esther Flemming|
|Photographer||Chelsea Matson Photography|
|Videographer||Old North Video|
|Bridal Gown Designer||Essense of Australia|
|Bridesmaid Gowns||Savvy Bride|