Black Swan Wedding in Milwaukee, WI

Black Swan Wedding in Milwaukee's Third Ward

This was my first time shooting a wedding at Black Swan MKE, and actually my first time ever working as a second photographer! This post is definitely a throwback, but years later it remains in my memory as one of the most fun weddings I've ever experienced.

The Location

The entirety of the wedding took place at the Black Swan MKE, an industrial wedding venue in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward district. If you aren't familiar, the area is a hip, buzzing neighborhood on the Milwaukee River full of amazing restaurants, cute cafes, local shops, and renovated warehouses.

Having a city wedding gives guests the opportunity to really experience the area and try some local spots during their weekend in town. The Black Swan specifically is located in a super walkable, charming and picturesque spot with plenty of parking garages, boutique hotels, and after-party options nearby to make things convenient and easy for you and your guests. The venue is also situated right on the Riverwalk and has a lovely outdoor space where guests can enjoy cocktails by the water with the Milwaukee skyline as a backdrop. On top of all that, the Third Ward provides wedding couples some of the best Milwaukee photo opps and a bustling atmosphere to enjoy while taking portraits around town. I personally think getting married in the city is especially romantic.

Third Ward Spots to Check Out

Some fan favorites in the Third Ward include the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel for swanky accommodations and rooftop drinks, Camp Bar to keep the party going, Wonderstate or Colectivo for coffee, The Wicked Hop for brunch and bloody marys, the Milwaukee Ale House to sample some local brews, and of course the Milwaukee Public Market.

The Wedding

The couple made this wedding their own by infusing their Russian and Jewish backgrounds into the day. Some of the elements included a traditional Jewish ceremony, dancing the hora, and placing a bottle of vodka and shot glasses on every table. When I say it was a party, I mean it was a party. The dance floor was packed before first courses were even served, with the live Russian band Melamed bringing the energy. If you want an extremely fun wedding reception where all of your guests get on the dance floor, I highly recommend a live band. The energy live music brings to a wedding reception is unmatched. I'm sure the vodka helped too.

The Third Ward always feels quintessentially Milwaukee to me, making it a perfect place to host your Milwaukee wedding. Thank you Ali Leigh for having me along to document this day with you!


Venue: Black Swan MKE

Day-of Coordinator: Ora Gross

Photographer: Ali Leigh

Second Photographer: Jenna LeRoy

Videographer: Damien Blue

Floral: Emily from Wood Violet

Caterer: Ferrantes

Live Band: Melamed Band

Desserts: Dina's Desserts

Hair and Make-up: Tanya Vaysfeld

Planning a Milwaukee wedding? Check out my recent work here, or contact me to inquire about your date.