Your St James 1868 Wedding Venue Guide

The St James 1868 wedding venue is open for business and it is carving its own niche in the heart of Milwaukee. Couples come from Madison, Chicago and around the midwest to celebrate their wedding at the historic wedding venue in Milwaukee. It offers two elegant spaces that are available together or individually by wedding couples looking for a unique wedding venue in Milwaukee. The spaces are magical for ceremonies, cocktail hours and receptions.

wedding reception decorated with no people

What Makes St James 1868 So Special?

St James was an Episcopal Church converted into a high-end wedding venue. It was put on the market in 2017 and completely renovated by owner Kate Crowle. Kate continues to preserve the architectural details of the space; the entire property in top shape for events.

“I grew up in a small historic city in southern Michigan. Rich in history, my hometown awakened me to an appreciation for treasured objects. [Like] structures that have survived centuries and speak to a people’s past. St. James still stands, over 150 years later, thanks to good fortune,” describes Kate.

The property is divided into two individual space which can be rented together or separately for events. The Hyde is the top floor space, and the former parish hall gymnasium. It boasts a two-story vaulted ceiling, hardwood floors and gorgeous natural light. The Abbey is the lower floor space, and is the original sanctuary space of the church. It is preserved with its original stained glass, hardwood floors and gorgeous detailing throughout. As far as Milwaukee wedding venues go, St James 1868 is one-of-a-kind.

red doors to church with flower arch

A Perfect Setting for All of Your Needs

Ceremonies

Both spaces accommodate ceremonies and receptions well. Couples can rent the property for only a portion of the day or they can choose from three ceremony set-ups that are followed by a reception.

sunlit reception place

The first option is an indoor ceremony that requires a room flip to accommodate the reception. In this option, guests vacate the space and attend a cocktail hour on another part of the property while the room flip occurs. The second option is to host the ceremony outdoors, while the reception moves indoors. The third option is to rent the entire property and move guests between the Hyde and the Abbey. In this case, the courtyard and the terrace are available for the cocktail hour or lounge area.

bride walking down aisle

Receptions

The Abbey and the Hyde have a bar area. When a bar area is part of the property guests receive more effective and stylish drink service.

two fancy cocktails on tray on bar

Both the Hyde and the Abbey also have designated kitchen areas for food preparation. This creates a comfortable environment for caterers and allowing guests to enjoy elevated service. With hardwood floors in both wedding venues, your dance floor is ready for you.

sunlit room with vaulted ceiling

Of the two space, the Hyde is brighter with natural light flowing in. The Abbey, has no natural light and lends itself to a moodier atmosphere and looks beautiful with dim candle lighting.

wedding reception with dinner table decorated and empty

Preparation and Getting Ready Spaces

Kate designed two spaces dedicated to getting ready for both the Hyde and the Abbey. Couples can rest their minds not worrying where to get ready on the wedding day. This allows them to avoid the sometimes complex logistics of staying apart on until the couple’s first look.

bride and groom in white suite

Top Tips for a St James Wedding from a Milwaukee Wedding Photographer

WHAT ARE THE KEY ELEMENTS TO HAVE AT A ST JAMES WEDDING?

Both spaces at the St James wedding venue in Milwaukee are rather tall and long. This look is very elegant and allows couples to play with additional design details like draping, lighting and feast tables. Speak to your planner about how to make the most of the space to create you fairytale celebration.

people cheersing at wedding reception

WHAT HELPS SET THE TONE FOR A WEDDING AT ST JAMES?

The two spaces at the St James wedding venue are quite unique. Different elements are needed to maximize the ambiance and photography.

In the Hyde, the daylight hours provide beautiful indirect lighting that creates a light and airy feel. As natural light dims, consider uplighting the entire space to create dimension and visible depth in the long space.

In the Abbey, the use of spotlights (pointed in various directions) paired with uplighting elevate the space. The warm tones of the Abbey come from the wood throughout, this reflects yellow on the skin. With added lighting built into the decor, the ambiance of the space will be brought out. The best lighting I have seen included a spot light that shot a linear beam from one end to the other. You can see it in the image below. This spotlight was paired with the uplighting and other spots described.

sunlit reception space with purple flowers

WHAT ELEMENTS MAKE ST JAMES A UNIQUE WEDDING VENUE IN MILWAUKEE FOR LOCAL AND CHICAGO WEDDING COUPLES?

St James’ biggest strength as a Milwaukee wedding venue is its preserved architecture and its interior design. It is different from all other venues in the area; it’s very charming. As a photographer, the detailing in the woodwork, brick and style really catch my eye. Kate found unique details for each space and felled them with everything a couple needs in a venue. This allows couples to relax and truly enjoy their time at St James – this comes through in photographs.

IS ST JAMES AN ACCEPTABLE CHICAGO WEDDING VENUE FOR COUPLES?

St James is so easy to access. You can travel straight up the interstate from Chicago. This makes St James wedding venue in Milwaukee a contender for Chicagoland couples looking for a unique venue that has an intimate feel. Couples come from all over the midwest to have their wedding at St James.

HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY FOR A ST JAMES 1868 WEDDING VENUE?

It’s always smart to consult with the St James staff and a wedding planner for full pricing. Taste, desires and number of guests can tremendously affect the wedding spend. My clients have spent $70-$300K for a their full weddings at St James, including catering, planning and photography.

flower arrangement on wedding table

DO I NEED A WEDDING PLANNER FOR MY ST JAMES WEDDING?

Wedding planners are a critical players on your wedding team – they help coordinate create a cohesive design for you. Planners can manage your variables, account for every moment and space of the day. They’re everywhere and execute on the vision of your day. Wedding planners recommend wonderful vendors and bring in details that are important to couples. They can also help you infuse life into your celebration. Your planner will save you time and headache and in many cases will also help you stay within your budget. The industry agrees, you will always be better served with a wedding planner. With a planner on the team, all of your wedding professionals can operate with clarity and cohesion as well.

WHAT MAKES 5TH PHOTOGRAPHY THE BEST MILWAUKEE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER FOR THE LOCATION?

I have photograph the St James 1868 wedding venue frequently and know the space very well. This gives me an advantage in being able to show you the best locations and lighting. My style of photography focuses on capturing all elements of beauty – the couple, light, ambiance and architecture. It was developed through photographing locations across Europe, demanding thoughtful and perfect composition of all images. It is my job to ensure the heart and soul of the day come through on my clients’ images. All of the images in this article are from my work at St James. I love this venue, the history it preserves. This venue offers couples real architectural beauty in person and on camera. My clients who marry at St James get an expert on the space covering their wedding day at St James.

wedding reception lounge seating

St James Details – Everything You Need to Know

DAYTIME AND EVENING EVENT HOURS

St James allows for partial or full day rentals.

  • Wedding ceremony rental is 9:00 am to 2:00 pm (per space)
  • Wedding reception rental is 3:00 pm to 11:30 pm (per space)
  • Or the property can be rented all-day 9:00 am to 11:30 pm

NUMBER OF GUESTS

The Hyde

  • 150 guests for a wedding dinner reception

The Abbey

  • 250 guests for wedding dinner reception

PARKING

St James uses two lots that are in very close proximity to the property. One is immediately adjacent and one is directly across the street.

ST JAMES CONTACT INFORMATION 

St James 1868 is located at:
833 W Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(414) 514-5555

You can reach the team at events@stjames1868.com.

And last but not least, their website is https://stjames1868.com/

Thank you for inviting me into your day.

Reach out to Steph directly at steph@5thPhotography.com

I truly hope this article serves you. I would love to hear your plans. Together we would create photos that will stand the test of time and that will be ready to grace the pages of a magazine.

Contact me via below for a complimentary consultation.

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"Steph captured the beauty of us as individuals and our chemistry as a couple. I sobbed when of joy when we saw our photos. She captured our love - the way I felt when I held him and the fullness with which he loved me. I didn't think those things could be captured on camera. But Steph did that."

- Olivia & Enzo

Toronto Bride & Groom

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