A Modern, Black-and-White Wedding at The Edgewater in Madison, Wisconsin

Mary Ording and Ethan Hemer met through a mutual friend at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, so they chose to wed where it all began. “Being back in Madison felt like the perfect ending of one chapter, and the amazing beginning of another,” Mary says. To represent Mary’s suburban upbringing in Indiana and Ethan’s more rural one in Wisconsin, guests’ welcome bags included state-shaped cookies, with hearts over Indianapolis (Mary’s hometown) and Medford (Ethan’s).  The most meaningful decoration at the couple's ceremony at Grace Episcopal Church was where the they stood to exchange vows—an area rug (a gift from Mary’s aunt). “Ethan and I love the idea of something so special living in our home,” Mary says of the area rug. After the ceremony, the party moved to the Edgewater, where the couple shared what they love about Wisconsin through food and drink: fried cheese curd appetizers and Wisconsin-style brandy Old Fashioneds. A coffee bar featured a maple nut latte, made with real Wisconsin maple syrup, with coffee from Roast Coffee Catering. The hotel was transformed into a classy “indoor garden” through greenery, ivory blooms, and a classic black-and-white color scheme. Tulips were used in honor of family, heritage and spring, which inspired the statement-making upside-down tulip “garden” on the ceiling at the Edgewater Hotel. “There was always this great connection between our family and our Dutch heritage, especially with tulips,” Mary says, adding that tulips make her feel close to her late grandparents, who had emigrated from the Netherlands via South Africa.  Wanting to reflect a true joining of two families, the couple displayed a wall of black-and-white family photos at the reception site, and the fathers of the bride and groom gave a speech together, taking turns telling stories. Says Mary, “It’s emotional for Ethan and me to think about how far we’ve come individually and how far we can go together.” —Chrissy Sorenson