Tying the Knot and Need Some Advice? Here Are the Winners of Our Best of Weddings Poll 2023

We asked voters in our Best of the Chippewa Valley Poll specific wedding-related questions. Here are their favorites

V1 Staff

Sweet Legacy Vintage in Eau Claire. (Photo via Facebook)
Rental items from Sweet Legacy Vintage in Eau Claire. (Photo via Facebook)

So you’re ready to start planning your wedding. Where do you start? Well, roll out the red carpet and cue the music for the winners of our debut Best of Weddings & Occasions poll, part of our 2023 Best of the Chippewa Valley Reader Poll. While you wait for the results of the entire poll (which will be published in our Feb. 9 issue), here’s a peek at what our readers love the most (besides their fiancés!) when walking down the aisle.


1st Place: Sweet Legacy
2nd Place: The Joy Booth
3rd Place: Star Booth

If you're planning the very best day, you're going to need the very best stuff. Winning first place this year, Sweet Legacy Vintage (3031 N. Hastings Way, Eau Claire) offers a vast array of backdrops, seating, tables, silverware, flatware, centerpieces, and more – all sure to make your event look beautiful. In second place, our readers love the classic wedding photo booths provided by Joy Booth. The Star Booth ranks in third place, providing a modern, low-profile take on a photo booth that can fit into any event. –James Johonnott


1st Place: Boyd Catering
2nd Place: Bijou Bistro & Catering
3rd Place: KP Katering

Serve your guests the best on your special day by hiring the best catering. In first place this year, Boyd Catering (715 E Murray St., Boyd) serves specialty meats, a wide array of potatoes, veggies, salads, breads, and plenty of delicious sides for a very customizable meal. Next up is Bijou Bistro & Catering (2629 E. Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire) which provides a huge selection of unique and sophisticated choices for any event. In third was KP Catering (2445 Alpine Road, Eau Claire) which serves up breakfast, lunch, dinner, or hors d’oeuves. They also have boxed lunches available to order. –Sawyer Hoff


1st Place: Uncommon Denominator
2nd Place: The Big Deeks
3rd Place: Bear Creek Band

Want your favorite song played live at your wedding? These wedding bands will give you the same great sound you love with a local flair. In first place is the iconic Uncommon Denominator, who brings in a great mixture of funk, soul, pop, and rock. They are a perennial favorate among local cover bands! Next up is The Big Deeks, an Eau Claire outfit that promises to play whatever gets the crowd going. In third place is Bear Creek Band, based out of west-central Wisconsin, which plays an “extreme variety” of music. –Sawyer Hoff


1st Place: SAXY Salon
2nd Place: Caitlyn Goldsmith Hair
3rd Place: Bliss Salon & Day Spa

The last thing anyone wants to worry about on their special day is what the heck to do with their hair, but thanks to the awesome hair stylists in the Chippewa Valley, you won’t have to! Saxy Salon (329 Water St., Eau Claire) snagged the top spot for your hair styling needs, and they also offer wedding packages. Runner-up Caitlyn Goldsmith Hair (2524 Golf Road, Suite A, Eau Claire), who also owns Ivy & Sage Hair Co., specializes in extensions, blonding and bridal styles. Bliss Salon & Day Spa over in Stanley (961 Pine St.) has been serving the area for about 20 years, coming up in third place. –McKenna Scherer


1st Place: The Lismore Hotel
2nd Place: The Oxbow Hotel
3rd Place: Staybridge Suites, Altoona

Finding a good place to stay while you’re in town is important. Smack-dab in the middle of downtown Eau Claire is first place winner, The Lismore Hotel (333 Gibson St., Eau Claire). With The Informalist, The Dive, and ECDC within the same building, what could be better? Make sure to check out some records and listen to them on the record player located in every room at The Oxbow Hotel (516 Galloway St., Eau Claire), which won second place. A little farther is the Staybridge Suites (1515 Bluestem Blvd., Altoona) in Altoona, located just minutes from the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport and walking distance from River Prairie Park. –Sawyer Hoff

Dixon's Apple Orchard & Wedding Venue (Photo by Mona Lisa Shutters)
Dixon's Apple Orchard & Wedding Venue (Photo by Mona Lisa Shutters)


1st Place: Dixon’s Apple Orchard
2nd Place: Beaver Creek Reserve
3rd Place: Phoenix Park

Whether you’re snapping pictures to announce your upcoming nuptials, or you’re in the midst of celebrating your new union, engagement and wedding photos are a sweet way to commemorate your special day. Readers agree that Dixon’s Apple Orchard (22404 20th Ave. Cadott), a beautiful outdoor venue located on the countryside, is the best spot to capture newlywed photos. Next up is Beaver Creek Reserve (S1 County Hwy. K, Fall Creek), where you’re sure to shoot pictures you’ll love now and forever. Finally, any photo taken at picturesque Phoenix Park in Eau Claire is bound to get a good reception. -Natalie Derks


1st Place: Muldoon’s Men’s Wear
2nd Place: Men’s Wearhouse
3rd Place: Foreign 5’s Bridal Sweet

Guys need their moment to shine on the wedding day, too, whether they’re wearing a traditional tuxedo or something else classy. Since 1950, Muldoon’s Men’s Wear (1506 S. Hastings Way, Eau Claire) has been helping Chippewa Valley gents look sharp. Men’s Wearhouse (4619 Keystone Crossing) sells and rents a wide selection of brand-name menswear. Foreign 5’s Bridal Sweet (123 N. Bridge St., Chippewa Falls) is a sweet place for grooms as well, setting them up with suits and tuxes. –Tom Giffey

The Florian Gardens, Eau Claire (Photo by Gina Zeidler Photography)
The Florian Gardens, Eau Claire (Photo by Gina Zeidler Photography)


1st Place: The Florian Gardens
2nd Place: Hickory Hills Golf Course
3rd Place: Lilydale Dance Hall & Event Venue

Ahh, the perfect spot to say “I do.” The Chippewa Valley is known for its beautiful views, so we’d expect no less from its wedding venues! Topping the list of venues is The Florian Gardens (2340 Lorch Ave., Eau Claire), offering stunning spaces for grand ceremonies, rehearsals, receptions and ceremonies, it’s been called a photographer’s dream. Hickory Hills Golf Course (E4080 Hickory Road, Eau Claire) lounges across 100 stunning acres and offers some of the most beautiful views in the area, a worthy runner-up. Lilydale (6343 County Hwy. N, Chippewa Falls) is a newer venue, offering a unique, timeless spot for gatherings of up to nearly 500 people and fitted with a bridal suite and groom’s lounge, a veranda, foyer and parlor, and more. –McKenna Scherer


1st Place: Off the Rack Bridal World Consignment Boutique
2nd Place: Foreign 5’s Bridal Sweet
3rd Place: David’s Bridal

For your ladies in waiting, swing into any of the Valley’s top three go-to’s for bridesmaid dresses! At the top of the list is Off the Rack (1825 N. Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire), a bridal consignment store with beautiful selections of new and used gowns with attainable prices. Chippewa Falls’ Foreign 5 (123 N Bridge St.) came in second place, the boutique a longtime staple in the area with expert staff to help you choose a gorgeous gown. David’s Bridal (4840 Keystone Crossing, Eau Claire) is tried and true, the retail chain specializing in formal wear, and the local location offering walk-ins and appointments. –McKenna Scherer

Michayla's Sweets. (Photo by Andrea Paulseth)
Michayla's Sweets. (Photo by Andrea Paulseth)


1st Place: Michayla’s Sweets
2nd Place: Em’inent Desserts - Emily Lewalken
3rd Place:Dessert First

The best feature at any wedding, whether guest or partner, is the delectable, creamy cake! Shared amongst everyone, getting the best wedding cake for your special day shouldn’t be overlooked. The sweetest of sweets, Michayla’s Sweets was voted the top place in the Valley for your wedding cakes this year for their creativity sure to catch your eye. In second place this year, Em’inent Desserts still offers top-of-the-line, home-based baked sweets that your guests will love. Coming in third, Dessert First (2425 Seymour Road, Eau Claire) offers one-of-a-kind creations for any special occasion. -Kelly Carlson


1st Place: Foreign 5’s Bridal Sweet
2nd Place: Off the Rack Bridal Consignment Boutique
3rd Place: David’s Bridal

Finding the dress that speaks to your soul isn’t always easy. For years in a row, Volume One readers have ranked Foreign 5’s Bridal Sweet (123 N. Bridge St., Chippewa Falls) the best place in the Valley to find the gown that fits just right. Off the Rack Bridal Consignment Boutique (1825 N. Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire) is bumped up to second this year with the best options to find something unique for the whole family. In third, David’s Bridal (4840 Keystone Crossing, Eau Claire) offers sparkling options that are affordable to match any bride’s budget. –Kelly Carlson


1st Place: Lasker Jewelers
2nd Place: Williams Diamond Center
3rd Place: Eric’s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry

Before the “I Do’s” and planning of the big day, a life-changing question and sparkling proposal must be had! Lasker Jewelers (3705 Oakwood Mall Drive, Eau Claire) has once again been voted the No. 1 place to buy rings, the family-owned fine jewelry store a clear area favorite. Runner-up Williams Diamond Center (2823 London Road, Eau Claire) has several categories under its bridal and men’s designs, so they’re sure to have the perfect ring for your beloved. Eric’s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry (111 N. Bridge St., Chippewa Falls) is no stranger to this top-three list and has served the Valley since 1990. –McKenna Scherer


1st Place: Forever Flowers by Abbie
2nd Place: The Local Store
& Volume One Gallery

3rd Place: Tangled Up in Hue

Though located in Hammond, Forever Flowers by Abbie offers drop-offs in Eau Claire and weekly pickups at Chippewa Valley Floral, her work a stunning way to preserve wedding bouquets, turning your special day’s flowers into a forever display. The Local Store (205 N. Dewey St., Eau Claire) offers gifts in just about every category you can think of, from local prints and art to books, clothing, bath and beauty products, and even cheese and beer, earning it the runner-up spot. Tangled Up in Hue (505 S. Barstow St., Eau Claire) rounds out the top three, a local art collective and gallery featuring more than 100 artists’ work, sure to have something special for just about anyone. –McKenna Scherer

Off the Rack Bridal World Consignment. (Photo by Andrea Paulseth)
Off the Rack Bridal World Consignment. (Photo by Andrea Paulseth)


1st Place: Makeup by Maddie
2nd Place: SAXY Salon
3rd Place: Barstow Beauty Bar

Every bride deserves to feel flawless on her wedding day. For the second year in a row, Makeup by Madie has taken first place thanks to the skill and artistry of luxury freelance makeup artist Madie Shipman of Eau Claire. Check her socials for some amazing examples of her work! Saxy Salon (329 Water St., Eau Claire) offers services to ensure your skin (not to mention your brows and ’do) are flawless for the big day. And the Aveda-educated staff at Barstow Beauty Bar (2857 Mall Drive, Eau Claire) will have you feeling – and looking – stunning. –Tom Giffey


1st Place: Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse
2nd Place: Hickory Hills Golf Course
3rd Place: Houligans Steak & Seafood Pub

If you’re looking to dine with your wedding party in savory style, for the second year in a row our readers say you can’t beat Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse (4751 Owen Ayres Court, Eau Claire), which is known for steaks, pasta, and its extensive wine selection. Hickory Hills Golf Course (E4080 Hickory Road, Eau Claire) provides a scenic setting for a sit-down meal with all those future in-laws, with Houligans Steak & Seafood Pub (415 S. Barstow St., Eau Claire) ranks highly for its menu and cozy setting. –Tom Giffey


1st Place: Dixon’s Apple Orchard
2nd Place: The Barn on Stoney Hill
3rd Place: The Wedding Shed on Button’s Pond

The rural, rustic beauty of rolling hills, forests, and rivers are among western Wisconsin’s greatest assets, so why not make them part of your wedding day? Dixon’s Apple Orchard (22404 20th Ave., Cadott) boasts 100 acres with multiple scenic spots for your ceremony. The Barn on Stoney Hill (27192 170th Ave, Cornell) offers a an amazing red barn to bring your rural dreams to life. New to the list is the Wedding Shed on Button’s Pond (14900 165th Ave., Bloomer), providing the perfect country setting to your perfect day. –Tom Giffey


1st Place: Dixon’s Apple Orchard
2nd Place: The Florian Gardens
3rd Place: The Wedding Shed on Button’s Pond

Sure, the wedding ceremony is important – it’s when you officially tie the knot – but the reception is where the fun really begins. Our readers say the best venue for a reception in the Chippewa Valley is Dixon’s Apple Orchard (22404 20th Ave., Cadott), which provides a gorgeous rural setting for your celebration. The Florian Gardens (2340 Lorch Ave., Eau Claire) offers elegant ballrooms overlooking the beautiful gardens, sure to add a touch of class to your gathering. In third, the Wedding Shed on Button’s Pond (14900 165th Ave., Bloomer), provides a rural oasis to kick off your married life. –Tom Giffey


1st Place: Bad Apple Entertainment
2nd Place: Kramerica Entertainment (DJ Kramer)
3rd Place: Kaleidoscope Entertainment

It’s time to get this party started! A good wedding DJ means the difference between a snooze fest and the reception of the year. In first place, Bad Apple Entertainment aka Danny Halterman is a flexible and energetic DJ based in Stanley. In second place is Kramerica Entertainment – or DJ Kramer (4010 House Road, Eau Claire) who specializes in everything from weddings to school dances. Last but certainly not least is Kaleidoscope DJ Entertainment, which has been operating in the Chippewa Valley for over 20 years and handles karaoke, venue lighting, projections, and of course, DJing. –Sawyer Hoff

Fersk Floral Artistry. (Photo by Andrea Paulseth)
Fersk Floral Artistry. (Photo by Andrea Paulseth)


1st Place: Fersk Floral Artistry
2nd Place: Brent Douglas
3rd Place: Hive & Hollow

With modern looks and none of that grandma-gettin’-fancy type stuff, all three contenders for the Best Wedding Florist rightfully earned their place on this list. Each wedding florist flourishes with their personal touch, from bouquets to flower crowns to centerpieces. With a love for colors and textures, Fersk Floral Artistry earned the number one spot. Brent Douglas (610 S. Barstow St., Eau Claire) took second, with their earnest attention to detail. With a focus on sustainable practices, Hive and Hollow (809 Wilson Ave., Menomonie and 224 N. Dewey St., Eau Claire), took third. –Stephanie Nesja


1st Place: Mona Lisa Shutters Photography and Venue
2nd Place: Max Lee Photography
3rd Place (TIE): Cukini Studio / Jessica Brooke Photo

Arguably one of the most important parts of your wedding is the photographer. Without a good photographer, how will you remember your special day? Voted for first place was Mona Lisa Shutters Photography and Venue (123 S. State St., Fall Creek) which comes with its own venue! Family and boudoir photos are also available. Max Lee Photography, who is the runner-up specializes in unique heirloom images that will give your wedding photos a new edge. The third-place tie was between Cukini Studio and Jessica Brooke Photo. Cukini Studio offers two-week photo delivery and is available to travel anywhere in the world. Jessica Brooke Photo averages about 100 images an hour and takes great contemporary photos of your big day. –Sawyer Hoff


1st Place: Zane Weddings & Events
2nd Place: Hanna Marie Events
3rd Place: Olive Branch Events Co.

Is wedding planning way too much stress for you? Have your dream day without any of the hair pulling by hiring a wedding planner! In first place, Zane Weddings & Events offers full event planning or Á la Cart services. Hanna Marie Events took second place; their event-planning services are available in Eau Claire and the Twin Cities areas. In third place is Olive Branch Events Co., which has experience in a wide variety of wedding themes. –Sawyer Hoff


1st Place: Walter Mueller Studios
2nd Place: KV Films
3rd Place: Carlson Entertainment

Wedding videos are the new wave of necessities for the ceremony and reception. Walter Mueller Studios has been filming weddings since 2013 and took first place for his stunning visual wedding storytelling. Next up is KV Films, owned by partner and parents Tyler and Kadee, who are passionate about giving you your dream wedding video and photography. In third place is Carlson Entertainment, which provides a variety of event services from videography, photo booths, games, production, DJs, and more. –Sawyer Hoff

Weddings & Occasions is sponsored by:

Lasker Jewelers & Diamonds
3705 Oakwood Mall Dr
Eau Claire

Weddings & Occasions is sponsored by:

Lasker Jewelers & Diamonds
3705 Oakwood Mall Dr
Eau Claire