By Karen Stokes
It’s never too early to plan your wedding. It can be as small or as big as your budget can handle. But no matter the budget, it can still be the day of your dreams.
Experts say that summer is the peak season for weddings in Milwaukee.
Between the time you become engaged and the time you say “I do”, there’s many details to attend to.
From vibrant floral arrangements and delicious food, to music that will get your guests on their feet, you can express your creativity and add distinctive touches to your celebration with the help of African American businesses right here in Milwaukee.
Flowers are a family affair for the Carter Family. Carter Creations, 1727 W Hampton Ave, founded by Georgella and Josh Carter, has been creating perfect weddings for Milwaukee area brides since 1985.
Carter Creations is a one-stop shop for brides that offers fresh and artificial floral designs, invitations, photography and decor rentals.
To turn your vision for your special day into a reality, be sure to make an appointment as soon as you secure the location of your wedding to allow time for a consultation.
“The initial call can be educational for the bride,” said Eric Carter, sales and marketing administrator. “Many brides will have their own planner, but we like to educate brides on the process.”
Carter Creations rents columns, pillars and arches, candelabras and unity candle stands to add to the decor of the ceremony.
Every reception needs music. When planning your wedding, you need to decide whether you want live music or a DJ. Timothy Ricketts, bass guitar player for the band ‘Cigarette Break’ believes that bands take it back to the old school.
“Bands can show emotion that a DJ can’t,” Ricketts said.
When booking a band, Ricketts suggests, “Request to hear the band prior to your wedding, make sure you sign a contract with the band, and the band you choose should be able to play many genres of music.
Make sure the band can entertain everyone in the room from the parents to the younger people.”
Cigarette Break is compiled of well-trained musicians that have deep roots in the church.
“There’s nothing we can’t play: country, jazz, blues and hip hop,” Ricketts said.
For more information on Cigarette Break go to: www.cigarettebreakmke.com
From the DJ perspective, Earl Stokes suggests brides should book a DJ for their wedding at the latest three to four weeks in advance. Many book a year in advance.
For formal apparel to have your man looking his best, see Debra Stephens-Taylor at Nikavonni’s at The Shops at Grand Avenue Mall downtown. If you’re looking for formal wear for men and women, contact Elliot at Torrence’s House of Threads, 4722 N Fond du Lac Ave. The Catering Chic Cafe is one of Milwaukee’s newest African American owned full service caterers specializing in Southern and American cuisine.
From crispy fried chicken, smothered pork chops, to red beans and rice and creamy macaroni and cheese, all made from scratch, Chic Cafe can create the perfect menu for your event.
“If it’s not on the menu be sure to ask,” said owner Rita Willis. “Chic Cafe provides set ups and servers depending on the style of the reception dinner. Our goal is to have our clients have a wonderful experience.”
To see Chic Cafe’s menu go to www.chiccafemilwaukee.com
Brides want cakes that not only look great, but also taste great. Creative Cakes and Catering has been in business since 2000.
“When talking with the brides, I try to find out what their goals are and then help them to stick to a budget,” said owner Delanda Jones.
“I do 15 different flavors including French vanilla, chocolate, caramel cake, pound cake, cheesecake, and carrot cake.
The price starts at $2.35 a slice. Creative Cakes also has full service catering. Wedding packages are available with a full buffet menu and the wedding cake included in each package.
“One important piece of advice I would give any bride is to determine your budget and stick with it,” Jones said.
“You can get what you want, it just takes a little creativity.
You don’t want to go into your marriage with debt.”