Here Comes the Bride
You could feel the waves of nervous energy in the room, and we do mean feel. Bridesmaids were fussing with their hair. The little flower girls were admiring themselves as they twirled in front of the large mirror. The mother of the bride was sorting through the corsages and boutonnieres. And the bride was relishing this special moment that would be the prelude to her promenade down the aisle. In just a few moments, Sarah Eberle of Wisconsin would wed Sean Sweeney, a Wisconsin transplant from Phoenix, in front of family and friends who had come in from all over the country to be part of the happy occasion.
While a one-of-a-kind moment for the wedding couple, this is the kind of scene that plays out hundreds of times a year. Glacier Canyon Lodge, part of the Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort vacation compound, and the other special event venues in the Dells. The destination wedding business at the Wilderness Resort is a thing of beauty for brides and grooms, thanks to a picture-perfect setting for outside ceremonies (adjacent to their championship golf course) and a ballroom tailor-made for sit-down dining, wedding toasts, cutting the cake and dancing the first dance.
The Wisconsin Dells resort's wedding event planner Jennifer Akers, who met us at the entrance to the ballroom, was a consummate pro at exuding calm while taking care of details before the bride even realized there were details that needed addressing. Jennifer was outside straightening the white chairs along the grassy aisle, then back inside making sure the table centerpieces were just so.
The ceremony was lovely - the mother of the groom even sang - and under warm blue skies Sarah and Sean exchanged their "I do's." Then the bridal party was whisked away for photos at a scenic little spot on the shores of Lake Delton. The reception followed and it was just as nice as the ceremony. Guests danced until the last song played.
We caught up with newlywed Sarah upon her return from their honeymoon. It was fun to hear her reminisce about her big day.
Q. How did you come to choose the Dells for your wedding?
We looked at some other locations, but nothing compared to all the amenities here. We wanted it to be fun for our guests, especially with so many coming from out of town. In our bridal party alone we had people from Pennsylvania, Kansas City, Phoenix, Dallas and Milwaukee! It was my husband's good idea.
Q. Have you vacationed in the Dells before?
Yes, my family vacationed in the Dells, taking in the waterparks and Lake Delton. It is so much different from when we were little, but there's still Noah's Ark Waterpark and the Tommy Bartlett Show. The hotels are so nice.
Q. Do you think you received more RSVPs because it was held in the Dells?
We were worried that so many close friends would not come this far and were really impressed by the number that came and spent the weekend in Wisconsin Dells. Some went camping, many stayed at the hotel. Many made a weekend out of it. We had lunch with friends on Friday. Sean golfed with the dads and his friends at Wild Rock Golf Club. It gave us more time with people, especially since the wedding day flies by.
Q. What did your guests enjoy most while in the Dells, aside from the wedding of course?
People had so much fun at the waterparks, especially the families with little children. One friend from Phoenix came with three little boys - four-year-old twins and a two-year old - and they keep asking when they can come back to the Dells. We went to Monk's Bar & Grill at the Wilderness restaurant next to the resort for their dueling pianos show - my parents got up on stage, Sean's grandparents too, as both were celebrating anniversaries.
Q. Did you and Sean get to enjoy the Wisconsin Dells waterparks?
We did! We got to the resort on Thursday and spent all afternoon at the waterparks and then were back again all day Friday with our nieces and nephews. We even went again on Sunday and rented a poolside cabana. We had a blast! Everything was so well planned we had free time to enjoy the weekend.
Q. Anything you'd change? Any tips for other brides choosing Wisconsin Dells?
Honestly, I can't think of a single thing I'd change. It went so smoothly. Jennifer was amazing and worked so hard. We had a little hesitation planning a wedding in another city and she was so responsive and made all the planning a walk in the park. One thing I would recommend to other brides is to not over plan - people will have a good time because there is so much to do in the area.
Q. What was your best memory of the day?
Walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing Sean at the altar. It was perfect and beautiful. That's the snapshot in my memory.
If you're a bride-to-be and interested in Wisconsin Dells for a destination wedding, click here to view our section that covers weddings in Wisconsin Dells.
Wonderful Wedding Locales
Brides and grooms have lots of choices for their wedding ceremony and reception in Wisconsin Dells. Along with Glacier Canyon Lodge, here are some lovely locales to consider:
Dells Bells Wedding Chapel - Every package here includes the minister. The chapel seats 42 and is dressed in pew bows and altar arrangements. Had your heart set on something outside? Rent their gazebo by the hour.
Spring Brook Vacation Rentals - This Wisconsin Dells vacation home community offers a choice of either their indoor banquet room with all the amenities or their exceptionally pretty white tent. Use their retreat center the next day to open gifts.
White Rose Inns - The most popular wedding setting here is the River View Wedding Chapel and Banquet Hall and it's easy to see why, what with its spectacular view of the Wisconsin River. This venue seats 100. The wedding party also has the option of renting one, two or all three of their B&B houses.
Wintergreen Resort & Conference Center - If you'd like a fairy tale wedding, try the Wintergreen with its romantic Victorian decor and sparkling crystal chandeliers.
Trappers Turn Golf Club - The clubhouse here seats 250 and there's seating for an additional 70 guests on the veranda overlooking Mystic Lake.
Chula Vista Resort - This Wisconsin Dells resort's location overlooking the scenic Upper Dells of the Wisconsin River is a big draw for those planning the big day. You can have your ceremony inside one of their grand ballrooms or right on the beautifully manicured grounds of their golf course in a new reception tent that holds 300.
Cold Water Canyon Pavilion - The wedding party and their guests will take a private chartered boat to this location on the east bank of the Wisconsin River. The ceremony will take place in a wonderful stone building, with the reception right there as well. Check with Dells Boat Tours®;to book this pretty little pavilion.
In the Dells, brides will also find photographers, florists, cake bakers and limousine services. You might call weddings and Wisconsin Dells a match made in heaven.