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I have always loved visiting the Green Bay Botanical Garden but it wasn’t until I started photographing weddings that I realized what a beautiful venue it is! With five different ceremony sites and a variety of areas for photos, it’s the most interesting and pretty place to get married in Green Bay. I met with Amber Crisp, the Sales and Rental Coordinator, to learn more about the beauty behind the Botanical Garden.

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When did the Garden open? How long have you been with them?
The Green Bay Botanical Garden opened to the public in 1996. We are a non-porfit organization with no state or federal funding. The support of our community, members, wedding and rental clients, and all garden guests helps keep the Garden flourishing. I started my journey with the Garden as the Sales and Rental Coordinator in June 2011. I currently oversee all aspects of facility rentals and guest experiences from weddings to private and corporate events, photography and large group tours.

What interested you about your craft? Why work at the Garden?
I have always loved weddings. Especially, all the details and hard work that goes into making this day as perfect as possible. So, why not do what you love everyday? I get a great sense of joy in meeting new people, hearing their wedding dreams, and seeing what I can do in helping make those dreams a reality.

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What kind of schooling/training have you had?
I moved to the area to attend college at UW-Oshkosh to be a teacher. However, something was missing for me. A new program began at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton for event managing at just the right time and I jumped at the opportunity. I now have an Associate Degree in Meeting & Event Management. The degree, along with years of hands-on experience from past internships and customer service jobs, made the the job at the Garden a perfect fit for both of us!

How would you describe your style?
Fun. I do my best to take the stress out of planning a wedding and make this process an enjoyable experience for all involved. You need to be able to laugh at the little things and hold the big things close to your heart.

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What are some of the unique offerings the Garden has?
– Five different ceremony sites to accommodate from 10 to over 230 guests.
– Beautiful structures that you you won’t find anywhere else. Our structures not only provide amazing backdrops for photos but also bring amazing stories and history to the Garden.
– 47 acres of display gardens and natural areas, showcasing the beauty of the garden.
– We serve people of all ages by providing year-round educational and recreational experiences.
– Thousands of native plants, trees, and blooming buds. There is always something unexpected around every corner.
– The Garden is ever-changing. Every year we are adding on more and switching out different plants. It’s never the same Garden each year.

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Favorite part of weddings or the wedding planning process?
I love meeting with couples and sharing in their wedding excitement. Knowing that I made a difference in making their wedding day as special as possible is truly rewarding. Also, the details! Whether big or small, details are so very important. They help tell your love story, express your personalities, and help carry your wedding theme from start to finish. I just can’t get enough details!

Favorite business experience?
Every wedding I work with becomes a favorite of mine. I love that they are all unique in their own way. It is far too hard to choose just one. However, at the end of the day when a father, mother, aunt or uncle, Bride or Groom looks me in the eyes and says “thank you,” my heart just melts. Nothing else needs to be said; those are two of the strongest words I know.

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Any Helpful Tips for Brides searching for their venue?
– Follow your heart…It will always lead you in the right direction and help make the hardest decisions as easy as possible.
– Choose a vendor that you like and are comfortable with! Someone that “gets” you and your vision. Not only are you choosing the venue but you are choosing the staff to help plan your very special day!
– Give your guests a little sneak peek into your wedding plans. Communication is key, so your guests know what to expect. For example: Guests should dress appropriately for a garden wedding, arrive early in case there is a distance to walk to the ceremony site and be prepared for rain (always good to carry an umbrella,) just in case.
– Be open-minded and relaxed. No matter the venue, the dress, the cake, how the day goes, etc. at the end of it all the most important thing is the person standing beside you, sharing in the most precious gift of all: love.

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What is in store for the future of the Garden?
– Continuing growth of the Garden and community support.
– Possible new ceremony sites, allowing us to continue serving our clients and helping them make memorable experiences.
– More photo opportunities – as the Garden grows, so do the opportunities for unique and beautiful photos.
– Continuing to provide the community with wonderful educational experiences.

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Tell us more about Amber!
– I’ve been married for three years to my wonderful husband!
– I am a mom to the most amazing little boy, Owen. We just celebrated his first birthday.
– I work at a beautiful garden but sadly do not have a “green-thumb.”
– I love spending time with friends and family who live near and far.
– I love food! If I wasn’t a coordinator, I think being a food critic/blogger would be right up my alley (:
– In my free time, I enjoy the simple pleasures of life – playing with my son and having good conversations with my hubby over a great cup of coffee. It’s pure bliss.

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Details:
Websitegbbg.org
Facebookfacebook.com/GreenBayBotanicalGarden
Address – 2600 Larsen Road, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Hours- 2014 Hours

January 1 – CLOSED
January 2 – March 31 – Monday – Saturday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
April 1 – May 2 – Daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
May 29 – CLOSED for Garden Fair set up
May 30 – June 1 – Garden Fair
June 2 – August 31 – Daily from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
July 4 – 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
September 1 – October 31 Daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
November 1 – December 23 Weekdays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
December 24 & 25 – CLOSED
December 26 – December 31 – Weekdays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Check website for Garden of Lights Hours for November/December

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Interested in having your wedding here? Email Amber at weddings@gbbg.org.

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Fresh Brewed Friday – My weekly “coffee date” with you all


 
Happenings: Photographed Amanda & Jacob’s Engagement Session. I loved the 1929 Fire Truck that we were able to use for our session!

Featured on Go Valley Kids! Maternity Photography Guide for 2014/2015. It’s such an honor and I’m so thankful.

Came back from my week of travels to three bridal consultations – I absolutely love meeting new people and hearing all about their weddings!

Spruced up the side wall next to my desk. I’ve been spending a lot of time in my office editing and it’s nice to look over and be inspired by your surroundings. The light-up marquee “S” is my favorite!

While I was unpacking my suitcase from my week in Georgia, Clementine kept jumping in and making herself at home in the pile of clothes. I decided just to leave it for her. I’ll finishing unpacking sometime soon. (:

Watched Kyle and the East De Pere Redbirds football team take on my old high school, the Green Bay East High Red Devils! It was an exciting game with Green Bay East winning in the end.

We made homemade chicken tetrazzini – all I can say is…yummy yummy yummy!

New Favorite: My new car!! Ahhhh!!! This is a huge deal for me – this is the first brand spanking new car I’ve bought. It’s a 2014 Scion xD. I’ve needed a new car for awhile now and after a lot of saving and patience I finally have it!!

Thankful: I’m extremely thankful for all the wonderful work I get to do. A lot of my hard work has been paying off. I’ve given up weekends and time with friends for working and it’s nice to see it’s all worth it. I’m so lucky to work with such amazing couples that make my job fun and exciting everyday! <3

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The amazing Barrette Family! Kelly and Jamie are so sweet and I loved spending time with their whole family. Kelly runs her own business called Whittled Vinyl Creations, making custom vinyl art pieces. Their daughter, Mirabel, is a fantastic dancer and during our shoot she showed me all her twirls and spins. And little Trey is a Leap Year baby – born February 29, 2012!

Thanks for the great time Barrette Family!

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They found a tiny caterpillar!

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Today’s Fresh Brewed Friday is a little unusual. First, it’s on a Sunday (this is the first chance I’ve had to actually sit and write.) Second, the subject of focus is different. Today’s post will not be about what I did or where I went, it will be about something much more meaningful than that. Today is about love, life, friends, and family.

Growing up, I was lucky enough to not only have the love and support of my parents but also the love of many other amazing family members. My childhood memories are filled with spending time with my mother, my sister and my aunts. Two of my aunts (my mother’s sisters), Fay and Joan, were always there for us. They came to our school plays, graduations, and everything in between. They were not just my aunts, they were like mothers to me. I have no idea where I would be without them. They have helped raise me to be the woman I am today and I owe them the world.

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(from L-R: my sister, mother, father, me, aunt Fay, aunt Joan, and cousin Jordan)

Recently, my aunt, Joan, has been diagnosed with extrauterine carcinosarcomas, a very rare type of cancer. She has already had to go through major surgery to remove a cancerous mass and within the next couple weeks will start chemotherapy. This past week I spent time with her and my mother in Georgia, helping out as much as possible. Joan has been incredibly brave during this journey so far and I know she can fight through anything life throws her way. She’s an amazing, beautiful, strong woman and this is another struggle she will overcome.

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Between all the doctor appointments and visits, you start thinking about life. What are you doing with your life? Are you appreciating it enough? Are you taking things for granted? For me, it brought up two major points of emphasis. The first, be thankful for the life you have. The second, honor and appreciate your loved ones.

Be Thankful for Your Life
You have one life to live. This is it. Are you enjoying it? Are you making the most of it? Are you appreciating it? If not, you should start to. Look at all the positive aspects of your life and soon you’ll realize it’s beautiful! Stop complaining, start celebrating! I know it’s easy to dwell on the negative (I get stuck there sometimes too) but let’s pull ourselves out and look for the good. Don’t worry if today you spilled your coffee and were late to work – instead be thankful you have a job and can afford coffee. It’s all about attitude. Let’s choose to be positive and excited about life! Wake up everyday happy and thankful for all the wonderful blessings you have in your life. I know some days that’s a challenge so I’m here to help you. Try everyday to find five positives and say them out loud to yourself. You’ll find you spend more time appreciating and loving life than just getting through it. You cannot always control what happens to you during your lifetime but you can choose how you are going to handle and deal with it.

Honoring & Appreciating Loved Ones
I think sometimes it’s easy for us to disregard or take our loved ones for granted. We think, “Whatever, they love us no matter what. They will always be there for me.” So we go about our days expecting them to do just that, sometimes taking our bad days or negative attitudes out on them. The thing is – they will not always be there. We have no way of knowing when will be our time to leave this planet. Because of this unknown we need to cherish our friends and family; treat them well, tell them how much they mean to us, show them all the love and kindness possible. Make it a goal everyday to say and show LOVE. We need to say more, “I love you’s” and then actually show it through our actions. We need to make the most out of every moment we have with our friends and family.

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Find the good in each day and show love to those important in your life.
I know it’s cliché but it’s true: life is short. Embrace and enjoy life!

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