Hartford Wedding at The Chandelier Ballroom

March 7, 2023

A multi-generation elegant Wisconsin country-style wedding

We had a special story come across our laps about a memorable multi-generation wedding. Not often can someone say I had my wedding at the same place as my parents, but this sweet couple can also say that about her grandparents and sister. Four weddings, one historical venue, and a lifetime of memories. See how Sheila and McCoy customized The Chandelier Ballroom to make their wedding unique and special to them.

How They Met

Sheila’s brother-in-law and McCoy attended the John Deere Technician Program in Madison, and remained close friends after graduating. However, the two didn’t know each other at the time. Years later, Sheila and McCoy met at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Young Farmers Dance. That night, McCoy approached Sheila and asked her to dance, but she politely declined his offer. But that didn’t stop him from asking her multiple times throughout the evening. Finally, she agreed to one dance. Right then and there on the dance floor, they hit it off and danced the rest of the night. Sheila always thinks back to that night and is thankful he never gave up on her.

The Engagement

One November morning, Sheila and McCoy were getting the combine ready on the farm, a job that involves cleaning the filters — not Sheila’s particularly favorite task. As McCoy was removing the dirty filters from the combine and handing them to Sheila, she wished he would perform this feat himself. As she blew out each filter, she handed them to him so he could put them back in, but he insisted she do it. Suddenly, McCoy instructed Sheila to hold the filter in place “on the tailboard of the combine next to the ring.” When she looked over, sure enough, there was an engagement ring. Needless to say, Sheila was happily caught off guard.

The Dress

After trying on about 50 dresses, Sheila found her dream wedding gown at Sandra D’s Bridal Boutique in Watertown. When she first tried on the dress, which was designed by Symphony Bridal Gowns & Veils, she instantly cried happy tears. Even better, she was able to purchase the dress right off the rack since it fit perfectly and was no longer orderable. Each time she put on the dress for alterations, she would tear up as she imagined herself walking down the aisle.

The Suits

The groom’s and groomsmen’s suits were also from Sandra D’s Bridal Boutique in Watertown.

The Rings

Sheila and McCoy found their rings at The Diamond Center in Janesville.

The Ceremony

The ceremony was held at Sheila’s Lutheran church. The couple wrote their own vows, which were read aloud for the first time at the wedding, accompanied by laughter and tears. Exchanging vows was Sheila’s favorite part, especially since they were written from the heart and made personal. Sheila and McCoy had a unity soil ceremony instead of the traditional unity candle or unity sand. The soil was taken from where the two of them grew up and was combined in a personalized glass block with a farm silhouette, their names, and their wedding date. Sheila’s younger sister, who was the maid of honor, sang a song during the meaningful ritual.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds walked out the church door and were surprised by a combine with a basket attached to the front — a bestowal from Sheila’s family. This was another part of the day because it was so fun and original. As Sheila and McCoy rode to their reception, they were able to enjoy a few moment to themselves.

The Reception

Sheila and McCoy held their reception at the Chandelier Ballroom in Hartford. The bride’s family has many memories from the Chandelier Ballroom (her grandparents, parents, and sister all had their receptions there), which made the venue extra special. As guests arrived, they were asked to sign a tractor hood with the couple’s names on it. They were also able to leave a voice message for the new Mr. and Mrs. or use the photo booth.

Per tradition, the maid of honor, matron of honor, and best man gave speeches to tell heartfelt stories about the bride and groom. Sheila’s siblings even carried on a family wedding tradition of creating a wedding speech that was a mashup of songs, but the lyrics were changed to reflect stories and memories of the couple. To kick off the dancing portion of the evening, the couple performed a choreographed dance they created themselves.

About halfway into the father-daughter dance, all other fathers were invited to dance with their daughters. The mother-son dance was not a typical slow dance with McCoy and his mom. Since they love to dance, they boogied down to a mashup of songs. Guests flooded the dance floor the entire night. The couple and the wedding party also had a fun grand march, and the groom even incorporated his mechanic skills into the garter removal.

The Food and Drinks

The Chandelier Ballroom catered the food, which the couple described as “the best food around!” They received compliments from almost every guest as they were saying goodbye at the end of the night on how amazing the food was. Many of them said it was the best food they have ever ate at a wedding and that it was better than a 5-star restaurant! And although there were around 300 guests for dinner, everyone was served within 15 minutes.

The reception dinner was served buffet-style and included a mixed greens salad, dinner rolls, baguettes, a vegetable medley, mashed potatoes with chives, macaroni and cheese topped with a panko breadcrumb crust, beef sirloin with mushroom peppercorn sauce, and roasted pork loin with mustard cranberry sauce.

For drinks, two domestic beers were served on tap in addition to soda. The couple provided a popcorn bar for a tasty refreshment throughout the night. The popcorn bar featured five different flavors: peanut butter and jelly, salted, wedding cake, sour cream and cheddar cheese, and loaded baked potato. The popcorn was even displayed in bins that resembled corn cribs used on a farm, plus miniature tractors, wagons, and elevators to complete the entire look.

The Cake

For dessert, the couple and their guests indulged in a two-tiered chocolate cake with raspberry
filling and Italian buttercream, which was baked at Sweet Mixin’s in Sullivan. The cake topper was two goats dressed as a bride and groom. Two sheet cakes from the Piggly Wiggly in Mayville were also served: chocolate cake with raspberry filling and buttercream frosting and red velvet cake with buttercream filling and buttercream frosting.

The Music

Mark, also known as “The Wedding Djay,” supplied the tunes for the evening. Sheila and McCoy had attended several weddings where he was the DJ, and according to them, he never disappoints. The dance floor was packed the entire night.

Mark also takes pictures and videos all night long, which was great for when the photographer and videographer left. He captured the fun moments that may have otherwise been missed. He even put together a slideshow of old photos of the couple, projected their monogram on the ceiling, and hosted a fun photo booth.

The Decor

A lot of the décor was DIY with the help of Sheila’s Cricut machine and hot glue gun. All of the centerpieces were handmade, and the materials were found at thrift stores and garage sales. The tractor hood that was on display for guests to sign as they entered the reception was repainted and had stickers with the couple’s names at the date. Their bride and groom goats cake topper was an idea Sheila found on Pinterest, so she made her own. Their card box was a wagon being pulled by a pedal tractor, which were built by the groom’s grandfather when he was younger.

While the projects took a bit of extra time, it felt good to create their own décor because they were able to personalize it and make it fit the harvest theme. The bins at the popcorn bar, the ceremony and reception signs, the ringbearer’s ring box, the flower girl’s flower pail, and the soil ceremony keepsake soil block were also handmade by the bride.

The Honeymoon

Sheila and McCoy honeymooned in Hawaii one week after their wedding, which was perfect timing since it allowed them plenty of time to bask in all the memories from their big day and get ready for their trip.

Words of Wisdom from the Bride

Start planning and booking your large vendors right away, including the venue, DJ, caterer, photographer, and videographer. If you’re unsure of which vendors to go with, seek recommendations from friends and family and attend bridal shows to meet the vendors.

Use a dedicated wedding planning binder to stay organized.

Add special touches to make your wedding represent your relationship with your partner.

Set aside time, even if it’s just five to ten minutes, to be alone together and take everything in.

Wisconsin Wedding Vendors:

Wedding Vendor Service Website Instagram
Makeup Artist Salon Effervescence @salon_effervescence
Hair Stylist Salon Effervescence @salon_effervescence
Invitations WEPCO Printing
Ceremony & Reception Venue Chandelier Ballroom @chandelier_ballroom
Catering/Bartending Service Chandelier Ballroom @chandelier_ballroom
Cake/Desserts Sweet Mixin’s @sweet.mixins
Flowers Bride’s Aunt (DIY)
Music/Entertainment The Wedding Djay @theweddingdjay
Transportation Lamers Bus Lines @lamersbuslines
Photographer Bretari Photography
Videographer Joe ProDuctions @joepro_everts
Wedding Gown Designer Symphony Bridal
Bridal Boutique Sandra D’s Bridal @sandradsbridal
Formalwear Sandra D’s Bridal @sandradsbridal
Rings The Diamond Center @thediamondcenterinc
Travel Agency Memory Making Travel @memorymakingtravel