With all of Rachel & Max’s wedding events happening in downtown Iowa City, we had close proximity (albeit tricky parking!) to all of the locations we needed to be at. We started the day at Hotel Vetro, where Rachel and her girl friends were getting ready (this hotel is the best in the area for natural window light in the rooms!), then went to the Pentacrest for photos, then took a quick walk down the street to the Englert Theatre for their ceremony, and finally circled back to Hotel Vetro for their reception.

Rachel & Max first met in high school when she had decided to take an auto maintenance class. It wasn’t long before they had their first date. Their relationship had its ins and outs during the next several years, as most relationships do. She moved away for undergrad, but she says she knew he was the one when he came all the way from Iowa to Virginia to be at her graduation. People who saw them assumed they had been dating for a while, even though they weren’t even officially dating at that time. She continued to medical school and he visited her there as well, only reinforcing the feelings she already had for him.

They got engaged in early 2016 while on vacation. “Max planned a surprise to Cancun. When we go to this beautiful resort, he planned a romantic dinner on the beach, but it got rained out. This happened 2 other nights as well. Finally, on the last night, the weather was perfect and the dinner went as planned. After we finished dessert and our after-dinner drinks, he asked the waiter if he could take a picture of us. He had me stand up to pose for a photo, then took my hand and dropped to a knee and proposed. The picture shows my genuine surprise. He told me had had had to wait 3 nights to do it and have been so nervous, which is cute because Max isn’t really the type to ever get nervous.”

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They shared their first look over near the Old Capital and we were able to do all of their photos there, with the bridal party joining us a few minutes later!

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It was a quick walk back to the Englert Theatre in downtown Iowa City for the ceremony. The Englert has such history and it was fun to see a wedding done in there!

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Their reception was held at Hotel Vetro, with the cocktail hour being perfectly situated up on the rooftop terrace.

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It was starting to sprinkle outside so we only managed a few minutes on the rooftop terrace for sunset photos, but I’m so glad we snuck out anyway!
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And then it was back inside for dancing and more dancing!
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Photography: Emily Crall Photography

Florals: Hy-Vee Coralville

Ceremony Venue: Englert Theatre


Reception Venue & Catering: Hotel Vetro

DJ: Unique Events of Iowa

Makeup: Katlyn Steufen

Hair: Kaylan Tadlock

Paper Suite: Zephyr Weddings

Bridal Gown & Maids’ Gowns: Heart to Heart Bridal

Suits: Men’s Wearhouse

Leading up to the wedding, we had been having some typically brutal summer heat here in Iowa. But that Saturday, the heat lifted and we were blessed with high-70’s and a little breeze. It was exactly what you’d wish for on a wedding day, especially one in the summertime.

Sally & Erik live in Colorado, but they met at the University of Iowa so it was only perfect that they get married back here where it all started for them. They had mutual friends and had been introduced briefly one time, but they didn’t first actually meet until New Years Eve. Sally says, “I was going to Chicago with some girlfriends to celebrate downtown and heard that some of our friends from college would be joining. My girlfriends and I had booked a room at a hotel for the night and decided everyone in the group would meet there first and then go out to the celebration. I’ll never forget when Erik walked in the door with his friends. I was instantly curious about him and wanted to get to know him more. He was wearing a black suit and looked very handsome.

“After Erik and his friends (some of whom were mutual friends) arrived, we were all reintroduced and decided to head out to the event which was being held downtown. I’ll never forget how cold it was that night! When waiting for a car, Erik offered me his jacket which I was giddy on the inside about. What really stood out to me that night was how polite, kind, and gentle Erik was. He took the time to open doors, listen and ask questions about where I was from, and find out what my interests were.”

At some point during that evening, they strayed from the group to find a quiet corner to talk. Those initial moments gave way to a real relationship, a mutual move to Minnesota (where he proposed), and another move together to Colorado last year. They’ve been planning the wedding long-distance, though Sally had the best help with her family living here in Iowa City and her cousin, Julie, being both her matron of honor and her wedding planner.

Everyone who knows Sally & Erik says they are both so giving, so selfless, and incredibly loyal. The toasts that were given later in the evening included genuine and beautiful stories of how they’ve blessed the lives of those closest to them and it was such a joy to see the start of their marriage, a union of two kind and generous people.

The ladies arrived at the church, hair and makeup done, but in their comfortable street clothes and ready to place a lunch order for delivery. Meanwhile, I grabbed all of Sally’s bridal details to photograph them, along with her stunning Bella Bianca gown.

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Before getting into her gown, Sally read a note that Erik had written to her.
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A quick walk up the street to the Pentacrest was the perfect spot for photos. Sally & Erik shared their first look and then we breezed right into the rest of the photos before the ceremony began.
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He pulled her in and whispered something in her ear and I care about nothing but her amazing reaction to whatever he said.
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I adore this color combination and their bridal party made for the most wonderful photos!
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Sally’s grandfather walked her down the aisle and it was the sweetest moment to start the ceremony.
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After the ceremony, we headed over to the new Hancher Auditorium for their reception. The space is beautiful, a stunning feat of architecture, and it made for the most wonderful views. I will always and always take floor to ceiling windows, white walls, and beautiful architectural lines.
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The reception was held on the second floor, but before guests went up for dinner, they enjoyed cocktail hour down below.
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I pulled them out of the reception for a few minutes to both grab sunset photos as well as some extra photos of them outside of Hancher.
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Sally & Erik, it was an honor to spend your wedding day with you. I hope these images provide you with the most beautiful memories of the happiest day of your lives.

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Photography: Emily Crall Photography
Wedding Coordinator: Tweedt Weddings
Florals: Every Bloomin’ Thing
Cake Artist & Catering: University Catering
DJ: Unique Events of Iowa
Makeup & Hair: Tru Salon
Paper Suite: Zephyr Weddings
Bridal Gown: Bella Bianca Couture Bridal
Maids’ Gowns: Vera Wang from David’s Bridal
Suits: Skeffington’s Formalwear
Ceremony Venue: First United Methodist Church
Reception Venue: Hancher Auditorium

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It’s been almost 6 years since I photographed their wedding  (theirs was, I think, the eighth wedding I had photographed) and I still remember every detail from that day. Her lace dress, the white tent at her family farm, the candy apples, the perfect ceremony location under the overhang of the barn…it was all so beautiful and perfectly them. And now, after living their vows for years, they are so excited to welcome their daughter in the next few weeks.

Lisa & Andrew’s story has had ups and downs, including struggling through infertility. They would both say that it has been worth it, every injection, every doctor’s appointment, the egg retrieval, the embryo transfer. It is already worth it and it will be even more so when they hold little Vaida in their arms for the first time.

It was such an honor to be asked for document this part of their journey; the joyous, expectant part. The part where sadness is a memory and happiness is the present.

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Lisa, girl, you are gorgeous!!!
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This was my first time being on the Iowa State campus other than photographing for a little bit out at the Jack Trice Stadium for their engagement session, so it was a treat to explore a bit more right outside and around the Memorial Union. It was mid-July so there was no shock or surprise that it was sunny and hot. I know my way around Iowa City on a sunny day to find good shade, but it always requires a bit of extra creativity to find beautiful shaded spots in an area that I’m unfamiliar with. Thankfully, because the sun was still so high so in the sky, we were able to use the west side of some buildings, which was exactly where Marissa & Drew were hoping to take some of their photos. (Typically, to find shade in the early afternoon, you have to stick close to the east sides of buildings.)

Lighting technicalities aside, we had so much fun with Marissa & Drew! While the girls were getting hair and makeup done, I photographed Marissa’s gown, jewelry, and shoes. Then, after she got into her gown, they shared their first look (inside, savoring our last breaths of cold air before heading outside) and we rocked out a whole bunch of portraits. We were running behind on the timeline so I was working quickly to get everything photographed in a shorter amount of time, and somehow we got back on track with a few minutes to spare to get Marissa tucked away before guests arrived.
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Marissa has the cutest laugh ever and I absolutely adore the way Drew brings that smile to her face.
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Large bridal parties always require a bit of extra time just due to sheer size, but since we were running behind and it was hot, I basically made an announcement and promised everyone I’d move fast if they listen…and they did! It was so wonderful!!
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One of my favorite parts of every wedding day is going back out in the evening for sunset photos. Marissa & Drew got to step out for a few minutes to soak in the fact that they are now married and the lighting was absolutely stunning!
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Photography: Emily Crall Photography

Florals: Chicken Shed Primitives

Catering & Venue: ISU Memorial Union

DJ: Music Man

Bridal & Maids’ Gowns: David’s Bridal

Suits: Milroy’s Tuxedos

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On the first day of July, the sun shone down brilliantly on the barns at Celebration Farm. Inside the Double Round, the reception details were being put in place, while inside the Timber Frame, the ladies were eating sandwiches and finishing up hair and makeup. Maddie was relaxed and calm, excited to see her groom.

Maddie & Matt had their first date back in February of 2014, having met a couple weeks before. “Matt first laid eyes on me when I was out for a friend’s birthday [in downtown Iowa City]. One of my friends started talking to one of his friends and she kept trying to set us up.” It wasn’t until later when both of their parties moved to another bar that she finally went over and sat next to him and started talking.

Their first date was 10 days later. “I was so impressed because Matt called me to set up our first date! In an era full of texting, this gesture was very meaningful to me. I was very nervous because I wasn’t sure if he would still like me, but I was hopeful because I knew we had so much in common,” she says. One of Matt’s coworkers, a mutual friend of mine, told me she takes credit for that phone call saying she encouraged him to call Maddie specifically for the reason that Maddie would most likely only be expecting a text.

So now, a little over 3 years later, they were married under the blue skies in the outdoor amphitheater. Congratulations, Maddie & Matt! I wish you a lifetime of true joy and happiness together!

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These earring studs were a gift from Maddie’s dad to her mom on their wedding day and now a gift from her mom to her on her own wedding day.
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Maddie’s stunning gown had no zipper so she had to shimmy into it (with lots of help) early in the morning before hair and makeup. If you look closely in some of the other photos, you can see the high illusion neckline, though it was nearly invisible to spot!
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Maddie & Matt exchanged gifts just prior to seeing each other for the first time. I loved seeing these sweet, calm moments in the day.
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Maddie and Matt chose a first look so they could do all of their photos beforehand. This is also a huge relief for anyone who gets nervous or anxious about walking down the aisle with everyone watching (that was me on our wedding day!). Seeing each other breaks all those nerves and helps you focus exactly on what your day is all about: your commitment.
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These beaming smiles!! <3
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Maddie, you are a vision!!!
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As I took this photo of Matt, Maddie was over to the side whistling. 🙂
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There were very few shaded areas for a large group, but we managed to find this spot close to the trees for the bridal party photos and I think it’s perfect!
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Cocktail hour was held in the Timber Frame barn and while that was happening…
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…we took a quick trip to the fire station for a couple of photos of Maddie & Matt with the fire truck. (Matt is an Iowa City firefighter!)
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They chose donuts in lieu of a cake!
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During the reception, I snuck them back outside for a few quick sunset photos. The light was stunning at this time of day and these photos are always some of my favorite, wedding after wedding.
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While back inside, the party continued!
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Photography: Emily Crall Photography

Wedding Coordinator: Town or Country Event Design & Coordination

Venue: The Celebration Farm

Videography: Kerschner Candids

Florals: Hy-Vee Wilson Avenue

Donuts: Hurts Donuts

Catering: Local Burrito

DJ: Ultimate Entertainment

Makeup: Lindsey Coblentz

Hair: Salon Aria

Paper Suite: Zephyr Weddings

Bridal Gown: Olvi from Panache Bridal

Maids’ Gowns: XOXO Bridal

Suits: Holley’s Shop for Men

Photo Booth: Weddings by Carue

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If I could choose the most ideal weather for a wedding day, it would undoubtedly be exactly what we lucked out with for Alexa & Michael’s wedding. After several weeks of intense heat, it was such a welcome relief to have mid-70s with a slight little breeze, not enough to mess up hair, but just enough to ruffle the chiffon on the ladies’ dresses.

The most important photos to Alexa were the photos of her and Mike. And while every bride says that, it doesn’t always work out that she can act on it. But Alexa and I did some timeline shuffling and cuts to other parts of the day and made it work out that there was a lot of time allocated to their portraits together. It made for the most relaxing photos I’ve ever been able to do and it shows in every single one. It was a dream and I told my husband when we got in the car to go do bridal party photos that I’ve never had that much time before on a wedding day and it may have spoiled me for every other wedding to come.

We started the day with Alexa getting ready at her parent’s home. She was the most relaxed bride ever and it made the start of the day a breeze (and the rest too, but it’s always great to start off on a relaxed foot!). After she was ready, we drove a few blocks to the same trail that we photographed her & Mike’s engagement session on for their first look and portraits. After their portraits, we met the bridal party and family at a nearby park and then it was time to head to the church for the wedding!

One of the most elaborate transformations that deserves every photo I took of it was their reception space. Her parents built a beautiful shop just a few blocks from their home in town and her mom (with help from many friends and family) transformed what was a shop, albeit not your typical shop, into a gorgeous wedding space for Alexa and Mike. In his toast later that night, Alexa’s dad joked that, “Men, if you ever build a man cave, don’t tell your wives or else it will turn into this.”

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Before we left the house, Frankie was determined to be part of some of the celebrations. 🙂

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Their first time seeing each other on their wedding day!
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This trail is what dreams are made of.
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I adore smaller bridal parties! They are so much fun to photograph because there are fewer people to maneuver which means more time photographing and laughing and less time bossing. 😉 Their bridal party was 4 parts family and 2 parts close friends, which was the sweetest balance.
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I love when churches are shaped so that I can discreetly get amazing angles like this! In this case, there are two wings on each side of the front so that if you look from above, the sanctuary is shaped similarly to T.
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This is the shop where their reception was held. There are two huge garage doors behind that tent that were opened up to combine the indoor seating with the tented seating, so everyone felt like they were in one big space.

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On two dress forms were their mothers’ wedding gowns. It was such a unique touch to add to the decor while also giving nod to their own roots.
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Their cake topper was Alexa’s grandparent’s cake topper, another nod to generations past.
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We stepped outside for a few more photos to end the night. It’s always my favorite part of the day because it gives the bride & groom and chance to soak it all in and gives me a chance to shoot in the most ideal and beautiful light!

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Photography: Emily Crall Photography

Florals: Tammy Vittetoe

Catering: Janet Stutzman, Flamin’ Flips BBQ Pit

DJ: Spike on the Mike

Makeup: Ciara Osweiler, Twin Image Salon & Spa

Hair: Kelsey Anding

Bridal Gown: Pronovias from Maiden Voyage Bridal

Maids’ Gowns: David’s Bridal

Suits: Men’s Wearhouse

Ceremony: St. James Catholic Church

Musicians: Susan See, Rachel See

Reception Venue: Private residence

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