Emily & Mitchell’s wedding was a beautiful day at Old Brick in Iowa City. They had the most gorgeous color scheme with blush pinks and navy and their ceremony was set up with soft draping and fresh flowers. During cocktail hour outside on the lawn, the entire church was transformed for the reception.

Their wedding is being featured today on Blushing Bells Iowa and it’s making me very excited for spring, green trees, and fresh flowers!

I had never in my memory been to Ames until this engagement session with Marissa & Drew. Oh wait, I had been there one other time, but it was a quick overnight stay in the frigid cold of winter before an early flight out the next morning so it doesn’t really count. This was the first time I was able to enjoy the scenery and see the beautiful little main street and I’m so excited to be back there again this summer for their wedding!

Their beautiful engagement session was shot at both the Iowa State football stadium and downtown Ames and it’s being featured over on Blushing Bells Iowa today! Thanks so much to the team there for showcasing a little bit of Iowa State charm.

Randi & Nate’s engagement session back in the fall was absolutely gorgeous! We had perfect weather, including the loveliest evening sunshine. We are still counting down to their wedding this year, but in the meantime, it is fun to see their session being featured over on Blushing Bells today! It’s the perfect pick-me-up mid-week during this brutally cold weather that we’re having here in Iowa.

We met downtown on the very top of a parking ramp. It is my personal opinion the parking ramps don’t get used enough for photos. They have beautiful fill light from the cement and I adore the mixture of visual lines, the cement ones as well as the painted one. I know I have my couple’s complete trust when they don’t question me at all and simply say, “See you there!”

Maddie & Matt are a sweet couple who 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.

“I could tell right away that she was different than anyone else I had ever met,” Matt recalls. “We never ran out of things to talk about and hit if off from the beginning. I always looked forward to seeing her next. I knew pretty quickly that she was the one and I even told a friend of mine that I was going to marry her. We shared a lot of the same interests and really never ran out of things to talk about or do. I’ve always thought the saying ‘when you know you know’ was true and I definitely knew with Maddie. We learned a lot from each other and every day was a new adventure. A lot of my friends could tell that she was the one for me too and they’d always pull me aside and tell me that. She truly makes me want to be a better person and make the most out of every day. I’m very excited for what the future holds.”

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Maddie went to the west coast for a couple of months that summer and denied him twice to define their relationship before leaving. “I was nervous and all these feelings led to me not being sure I could commit to a new relationship, even though I didn’t want to let Matt get away. He asked me twice, one in March and one in May ‘what we were’. I would always try the best I could to explain my feelings. It was hard at times admitting all that to Matt, a guy I was interested in, in those early stages, but through all of that, I realized how truly caring, understanding, and genuine of a person he was (and is). [Over the course of the summer], I started to realize I would be stupid to ever let this one-of-a-kind man go. When I got back I told him I was ready to be officially together and he responded with, ‘Well good because I wasn’t about to ask you a third time!’ I have never questioned that decision since. Very soon after, I knew he was the one. I had never felt so respected, understood, valued, and cared for in my life. Matt’s caring personality continues to impress me daily.”
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They started looking at rings the next April. “I was pretty sure he had made a purchase because we started getting “Wells Fargo Jewelry Advantage” bills in the mail. There were many times I thought it might happen, but then it didn’t. We had been living together for about six month come December. We were soon leaving for Maui with my family for Christmas and I thought, again, maybe that would be where he would do it. About a week before we left, Matt asked if I wanted to ‘go out to dinner on Wednesday to celebrate [early] Christmas.’ I thought that was interesting as we would be in Maui for Christmas, but said sure!

“I again thought maybe it would happen, but that Wednesday I got home and Matt was in his workout clothes on the couch watching TV. He got up right away, said he would shower, then we could go. Soon he came downstairs and I saw an advertisement for Neck Jewelers that we got in the mail. I playfully said, ‘Oh, here is a coupon! You should go use it!’ That ended up being the perfect lead in to what he was about to do!”

Matt fills in the back story: “I had all these ideas for some elaborate proposals and decided against them because they were just not really me or her. We were going to Hawaii on that Saturday and I worked Tuesday and Thursday and we had a work party that Friday night. I told her we should get a good dinner date in before we left so I made reservations and told her we should dress nice. We were about leave and then I said something along the lines of, ‘Just a second…'” And she turned around to find him on his knee proposing! (Matt says he was wearing his FitBit at the time that showed the graph of his heart rate. I think this is amazing and I wish every couple had a heart rate graph during their proposals!!)
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Special thanks to Lindsey Coblentz for stepping in at the last hour to do Maddie’s makeup! Lindsey always does an amazing job and I was so glad Maddie was in good hands!
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We had to stop and grab some photos outside the place where it all started!
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Maddie & Matt, I’m so excited to celebrate your wedding day with you in a few more months! I can’t wait for you to start the next chapter together as husband and wife. Xo!

When we first walked through our home back when it was on the market, one of the first things I noticed was the dark kitchen countertops. (I hated them.) But the house otherwise was perfect for us and so I got over the kitchen and we moved in. We immediately painted the entire house and the facelift on the kitchen was amazing with just paint alone. The kitchen had previously been painted a dark red color, making the entire space feel so much smaller than it actually is. We painted it a soft blue color (Breezy Blue by Valspar) and that immediately brightened things up.

When we moved in, we replaced all the appliances and redid the floor. While the cabinets were already painted white, they hadn’t been done very well and were starting to chip. But we left them for the time being. When we started talking about redoing the countertops this winter, the topic of repainting the cabinets came up. And then backsplash. So, in the end, we decided to redo the countertops, sink, add backsplash, and have the cabinet doors repainted (which saves a lot of money from actually redoing the cabinets in whole).

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Here’s a picture of what I mean about the chipping of the paint. Once I started sanding to smooth it out, the paint peeled off in sheets. It appears that it hadn’t been primed before and only one coat had been applied so it’s a wonder it looked as good as it did! From an overall view, the paint on the cabinets doesn’t seem much different, however, it’s so much smoother and brighter and all that chipping is finally gone. I chose Sherwin-Williams Pro Classic in Extra White.
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I ordered the new hardware from Amazon; a bit risky, yes, but I knew what I wanted and it saved us money that way. The drawer pulls are here, but the t-bar pulls are my favorite because they’re unique.

One thing I learned quickly about a dark countertop was that it showed every speck of dust, dirt, and crumb. That’s not entirely a bad thing in a kitchen, but it’s also impossible to keep your kitchen looking clean. One of the other things I learned quickly in home ownership was how hard it was to keep a white sink white. I actually prefer a white sink, but in choosing a new sink, that wasn’t even an option after knowing how often I had to bleach our old sink. I am very excited now to have an undermount stainless steel sink. Those of you who have an undermount know how amazing it is to just wipe from the counter straight into the sink.
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One of the other things we noticed while painting when we first moved in was a small gap between the wall and counter lip. When they pulled the old counter off, we realized that whoever had installed it had cut a hole in the wall when they were putting it in and then just patched it over with that white trim. I’m very glad to have it all patched up correctly now!
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I love the subway tile backsplash we had put in! I’m with Joanna Gains that subway tile is classic and timeless. I chose the whitest white to keep it clean and bright.
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As for the actual countertop, we chose to go with quartz countertop and, after agonizing over the color decision, I finally decided to go with the Haida quartz. Let me just say, it’s really hard to pick your entire counter based on a 2-inch sample. I originally didn’t like the Haida and wanted something more like Calcutta Marble. But after seeing another kitchen done entirely in Haida, I was like, “THIS. This is exactly what I want.” And I’m so so happy with how it looks.
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The actual process would’ve been really easy–everything had been lined up to perfect timing–but the company that did the counters and the sink had a hold up on their end which left us without a kitchen sink (and running water) for 5 days. Ten minutes after the plumber hooked up the water again, I had the dishwasher running and was working on hand washing entire counter full of dirty dishes. This was even after using paper plates and ordering carry out. It’s amazing how many dishes pile up when you can’t wash them.

Now that it’s all done, I just love our kitchen. I love how bright and white it is. I would make the same picks all over again!

Click here for more of our home updates over the last few years!

On New Year’s Eve, Emily & Nick were married in her family church in Iowa City. The irony is that Emily & Nick both grew up in in town, but never met until they were in medical school together at the University of Iowa. They now live in Minnesota for their residencies, but came back to be married in the place where it all started…and where a lot of their families live!

Their stunning classic black tie wedding was a huge celebration of not only their brand new marriage, but also of the new year and the joy of many of their old friends all making it back to the college grounds where they all met!

Emily & Nick, since in medical school, started their relationship in the books. Literally. They became study partners and their first official date was actually at a coffee shop with another couple–a double date that Emily still says he tricked her into (read about it here)–that gave way to late night drinks of the non-coffee variety.

On the morning of their wedding, the ladies prepped and relaxed in her suite at the hotel. That calm environment is my favorite thing to walk into. It starts my part of the day off on such a great note and ensures that my only job (emotionally) is to continue to carry that spirit calmness throughout the rest of the day.

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Each of Emily’s bridesmaids picked out their own gown and I loved being able to use a variety of textures (the sequins!) for backgrounds in her detail shots.
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This clutch was made for Emily’s sister for her wedding. It was made from the lace and detailing from their mother’s and grandmother’s wedding dresses and has each of their monograms and wedding dates now embroidered inside.
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This Amsale gown was so beautiful. The fabric had the most exquisite texture, it was really soft and lightweight, and it was a ballgown style (which you know is my favorite)! Bonus: I loved the low back too!
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It was a really, really cold day–it is December in Iowa after all–but we lucked out with some sunshine. There was a frigid breeze, which eventually forced the decision to move family photos inside, but we tried to use buildings to help block the wind for the rest of the photos. Winter brides are stronger women than I am.
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I loved this spot to showcase some of Iowa City’s old architecture, but also as a bonus, we were able to pull some green into the photos, even though it’s terribly drab outside. God bless the evergreens.
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After the ceremony, all the guests headed a few blocks west to the Iowa Memorial Union for cocktail hour and the reception.
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Photography: Emily Crall Photography

Florals: Waterfront Hy-Vee

Cake Artist: New Pioneer Co-op

Caterer: University Catering

DJ & Uplighting: Unique Events of Iowa

Makeup: Lindsey Coblentz

Hair: Groovy Katz

Bridal Gown: Amsale from Posh Bridal Boutique

Maids’ Gowns: Nordstrom

Suits: Men’s Wearhouse

Invitations & Paper Goods: Zephyr Weddings

Strings: Preucil School of Music

Venue: Iowa Memorial Union

Ceremony: First United Methodist Church

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