Paige and Jon are a down to earth couple, and they wanted their wedding to highlight the basics of a great celebration – good food, drink, and community. Their Urban Ecology Center wedding was a beautiful but laid back experience. They mixed elegant finishes with a lot of fun at this incredible Milwaukee wedding venue.
Before it began serving as a wedding venue, the Urban Ecology Center started its work with community nature programs. They host bird walks, adventure days for schools, restoration of natural areas, and more. Considering the Urban Ecology Center is actually in Milwaukee, it’s pretty amazing how much nature it gives you access to. Riverside Park offers fields, wooded areas, and the Milwaukee River as a wedding photo backdrop.
An Urban Ecology Center wedding ceremony typically takes place in a simple clearing in the woods. An arch like Paige and Jon’s can bring a lot of color and personality. It’s also beautiful as is if you prefer a minimalist approach. The late afternoon sun through the trees is stunning.
The interior reception space is full of warm wood and brick. It feels modern, though, and not overly rustic. Window-lined walls let in plenty of natural light. When the weather is nice, you can give your guests an indoor/outdoor experience. Paige and Jon had food set up outside with seating indoors. Of course, there’s also room to dance!
Since the organization is a nonprofit, an Urban Ecology Center wedding can be pretty affordable compared to other Milwaukee wedding venues. Packages for a ceremony and reception start around $3,000. The venue is also flexible on the other vendors you choose to work with. That means you can have exactly the food and rentals that are right for you.
I documented Paige and Jon’s Urban Ecology Center wedding with a combination of posed portraits and candid images. It was perfect for this celebration because Paige and Jon wanted to have plenty of time with friends and family. The posed portraits portray the romance and love between Paige and Jon while the candids give a sense of the joy in their community.
The toasts are a great example of this. Their friends went above and beyond to deliver deeply personal and funny speeches. I loved photographing Jon and Paige’s reactions. You can see how happy and in the moment they felt.
In the midst of the reception, Jon and Paige got to sneak away to share a quiet moment. They explored the hills overlooking the lush green landscape. Little wildflowers bloomed around their feet. Paige and Jon valued the time to sneak away, laugh, and bask in the romance of golden hour.
The meadows and woods around the building are some of the best parts of the Urban Ecology Center. In the spring and summer, they’re filled with vibrant purple flowers. White lilies and lavender phlox even bloom there in the spring. The stone arch is both a creative frame for photos and a good reminder of how old the landscape is. I loved photographing Paige and Jon there just as the sun sank behind them!
Paige and Jon’s Urban Ecology Center wedding focused on good food and wine to set the stage for meaningful connections. They brought sparkling wine so that they could share a private toast before the wedding. The pink mirrored the colors of Paige’s bouquet and looked at home in the venue’s earthy palette.
Similarly, they ditched the traditional mediocre reception meal for more delicious fare. Their Urban Ecology Center wedding featured woodfired pizza. It struck the right balance between laid back and indulgent. Guests loved watching the cooks assemble the pizzas and create beautiful presentations for the buffet table.
One cool thing about getting married at the Urban Ecology Center is that florals feel like a natural extension of the venue. The whimsical arrangements on the reception tables created a garden party atmosphere. Every blush and peach bloom really popped in the green space, too.
Would you like me to photograph your wedding? I’m a Milwaukee wedding photographer, and I’ll help you document those fleeting moments. Inquire with me here.