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Matt’s Favorite First Time Venues of 2021

I did one of these posts back in April of 2019 for our 2018 wedding season.  It was fun to go through and learn about the history of some of the venues that we worked at.  I enjoyed putting the post together quite a bit so I’m not sure why I haven’t done another one since then.  Anyways, I’ll start this iteration the same as I started the original.

When couples first contact us about potentially photographing their wedding, one of the most common questions is whether we have shot at their venue.  It is a perfectly pertinent question and we understand why it’s on their minds.  There are sooo many venues in just Wisconsin, however.  After 13+ years and over 300 weddings, we’ve only been to a fraction of them.  That is before we even start talking about churches.  In 2021 alone we photographed/filmed 28 weddings and 19 of them were at venues that we were seeing for the first time this year (three of those weddings were at The Eloise and two were at private residences that won’t be on this list).  As much as we appreciate the familiarity of a place we’ve photographed before, we enjoy the challenge and excitement of working somewhere new.   With the amount of experience we have, we are also very confident that we’ll be able to quickly and effectively find the best lighting and backdrops to photograph.

This year’s top 5 is a pretty eclectic mix.  There is everything from the new construction purpose-built Eloise to the renovated industrial space that is Creamery 201.  Each and every one of these venues have a quality about them that I appreciated while we were there.  The list is in no particular order and just because a venue didn’t make the list doesn’t mean I didn’t like it.  The is just my 5 favorites from the year.

2018 First Time Venues

The Eloise

The Eloise is the first on the list and is pretty special to us.  It is a brand-new building that was built specifically to be a wedding venue and it shows.  It is also not even 3 miles from our studio in Mount Horeb.  We love white walls and natural light and there is no shortage of either at this venue.  The gold accents and the beautiful loft make for a truly grand space that is ready to be transformed into anything that you’d like and the outdoor ceremony space is a perfect pairing.  We met Stacey when the building was only a drawing on a piece of paper.  She walked us through the design and the process that they went through to develop their vision.  The amount of time and thought that she and Ben had put into this project was obvious and we knew right away that it would be special.  We were fortunate enough to be a part of three Eloise weddings in 2021 and everyone of them offered a unique look at what the venue is capable of. 

Elizabeth & Grant
Jessica & Quintin
Jessica & Quintin – Video
Kelsey & Sam
Kelsey & Sam – Video

The Eloise Wedding Venue - Mount Horeb, WI

Overture Center

The Overture Center was a bucket list venue for us as Madison wedding photographers who have a brighter style.  It has stature and massive appeal because of it’s location and it’s beauty.  A case can be made that the staircases are iconic Madison and the amount of natural light is unrivaled.  The Overture Center is of course the premiere theater in the city and hosts nationally touring productions.  We have personally attended multiple shows there including Beauty and The Beast, The Lion King, and Rent.  All of this is to say that we couldn’t have been more excited when we found out that Andrea and Michael’s wedding would take place there.  Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.  The ceremony location in The Upper Lobby that they used may be our favorite that we’ve ever photographed.   

Andrea & Michael

The Overture Center - Madison, WI Wedding Venue

Delafield Hotel

My knowledge of The Delafield Hotel prior to writing this post was admittedly limited.  So much so in fact, that it came as quite a shock to me when I read that it really isn’t that old of a building.  It was built in 1995 with it’s original purpose being a warehouse.  It was redesigned and renovated into the Boutique Hotel that it is today in 2006.  Many of the buildings in and around Delafield were designed to mimic the architecture of Colonial Williamsburg which is why the hotel looks so much older than it really is.  The event space that Hailey and Luke used for their reception is a much darker space than what we are usually drawn to.  After a little experimentation, we found that it still photographed quite well however, and we enjoyed the contrast it provided compared to the spaces we usually work in.  Both suites that the wedding party used to get ready in were gorgeous and had more than enough space for everyone.  Finally, the front of the building was a perfect backdrop for formal photos of the couple and the wedding party. 

Hailey & Luke

Delafield Hotel - Wisconsin Wedding Venue

Paine Art Center and Gardens

I don’t remember how or when we stumbled onto The Paine but we’ve known about it for years.  We were able to visit this beautiful place in 2019 when Julia and Braeden did their engagement session on the grounds.  That visit just cemented the fact that we absolutely NEEDED to shoot a wedding in Oshkosh at The Paine.  Fast forward to 2021 and we got our opportunity with Angie and Adam. 

The Paine is currently a museum and garden.  It was originally built as an estate for Nathan and Jessie Paine but they always intended the grounds to be used for education.  Construction started in 1927 but was put on hold shortly after because of the Depression.  It wasn’t until 1948 that it was finally finished.  Interestingly enough, neither Nathan nor Jessie ever actually lived in the house with Nathan passing away prior to it’s completion and Jessie moving to California to be near her sister.   

Angie & Adam

The Paine Art Center and Gardens Wedding Venue

Creamery 201

As most of you know, we’ve been offering video as an add-on to our photography packages for a few years now.  We have enjoyed the challenge of learning the process and improving our abilities on that side of the business.  When we were contacted about filming a wedding at  Creamery 201, we were so excited for the opportunity to take that next step with video.  We were unfamiliar with the venue prior to Colton and Libby’s wedding but absolutely fell in love with it as soon as we stepped inside.  The windows from floor to ceiling, the big white pillars and that incredible mezzanine just sucked us in. 

The building was built in 1919 by a company called The Creamery Package Manufacturing Co.  They made various machinery associated with the dairy processing industry.  Other companies called the building home over the years until 2016 when Libby’s sister Abby was looking for a venue for her own wedding.  At that time, the building was vacant and for lease.  Abby and her fiancé just happened to see it and the idea that is now Creamery 201 was born.  The Stahl family renovated the building and opened it up as a venue in 2017. 

Libby & Colton – Video

Honorable Mentions

The Bowery
The 513
Wildwood Barn and Cottage

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