It’s June in Iowa and we are in the midst of wave upon unending wave of heat. In the week leading up to Liz & Zach’s wedding, we knew it was going to be really hot outside…with full sun (no clouds at all!) and no shade for the ceremony. The more concerning factor to me was the wind. While it was great to move some [hot] air around, it proved really tricky to do photos working against three major natural factors: full sun, intense heat, and gusting winds.

Thankfully, I found a shaded spot for some of Liz & Zach’s photos and we’d pause then shoot really quickly when the wind quieted down, then break when it picked back up. Also thankfully, the front porch at Zach’s grandmother’s home (where the ceremony was held) was gorgeous and large. It provided both shade and a wind block so we used that for their bridal party and family photos.

Their ceremony was held outside by the double pond with a beautiful flowered archway. Their reception was held in downtown Cedar Rapids at the DoubleTree by Hilton. Despite the heat, it was the loveliest of days and I loved seeing them surrounded not only by their best friends, but by their families and loved ones as well.

When we arrived, the ladies were getting their hair and makeup done in the kitchen, while the guys were all hanging out downstairs. I love being able to ease into the day with hellos and then photographing all of the bride’s lovely details, including this Morilee gown that Liz wore.

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Liz & Zach had their first look on the porch. They wanted to try going out to the prairie for some photos so we decided to make it easiest to see each other at the house so we could all drive out together, without needing to keep them hidden. This also proved great because the wind did a number to Liz’s veil out in the prairie and a first look out there would’ve been nearly impossible. 🙂
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See this gorgeous front porch?? It was a lifesaver!!

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There’s a long, winding driveway leading up to the house and it was lined with large, white balloons. Guests parked a ways away and were driven in by golf carts.
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I adored the backs of these Vera Wang bridesmaids gown! Look at those adorable bows!
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We got to the DoubleTree and immediately started photographing the reception setup in the ballroom while cocktail hour was enjoyed outside the ballroom.

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Right after their grand entrance, Liz & Zach cut their cake and enjoyed their first dance together as husband and wife.
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And then after dinner, I snuck them outside for a few minutes for just a few more photos.
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Liz & Zach, thank you so much for having me be part of your wedding day! I have so enjoyed getting to know you both leading up to the big day and am so thrilled for you to finally be married!! Congratulations!!

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Photography: Emily Crall Photography

Wedding Coordinator: Mostly Becky

Videography: Nepo Productions

Florals: Pierson’s Flower Shop

Cake Artist: Jules Bakery

DJ: Unique Events of Iowa

Makeup & Hair: Jo Sweet

Paper Suite: Andi’s Invites

Bridal Gown: Morilee from Brides & Weddings

Maids’ Gowns: Vera Wang from David’s Bridal

Suits: Men’s Wearhouse

Ceremony Venue: Private Residence

Reception Venue & Catering: DoubleTree by Hilton

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They had been together for over 7 years when he proposed, having first met while she was still in high school. “Mike [is] three years older and the summer before I started my junior year of high school, I worked at our local pool. Mike came home from his first year of college and also worked at the pool. We were both lifeguards so we started talking. He asked a friend for my number and started texting me and the rest is history.”

They have made it through a lot of long-distance, including Alexa finishing high school while Mike was in college and then Mike getting a scholarship to go to Germany for 10 weeks. “I remember being extremely worried that we wouldn’t make it, but we did. After he came back, I knew we could make it through anything. Since that, he’s gone to Germany for a second time for 10 weeks, living in South Padre for 4 months, and spent 2 years in New Jersey in grad school. We’ve made it through all of this time apart so now spending time together is the best thing in the world.”

After all that time apart, they now live together in Saint Louis and every Friday night, they go out for dinner after work. It wasn’t unusual at all then when Mike called her to tell her he’d pick her up at 5:00. “He is always wanting me to go for walks in Forest Park so he asked if we could do that before dinner because it was a really nice night. I honestly didn’t think anything of it and agreed to do so. When we got to the park, we walked a little ways and just talked. Then we got to a spot where we love to sit because it’s absolutely beautiful. We say on the bench for a little bit and then all of a sudden, he started saying some really sweet things. Before I knew it, he had gotten down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I immediately said ‘yes’ and the rest is kind of a blur.”

They are getting married in just a few weeks and we finally got a chance to align our schedules while they were both back in town last week! I’m so excited for their wedding day to come and for them to officially be married!Outdoor_Engagement_EmilyCrall_Photo_1054.jpg

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One of my favorite memories from Caitlin & Brad’s wedding is how happy everyone was despite being miserable in the humidity and heat that day. I rushed through photos faster than I ever had before (or since!) and we were all sweating from every pore in our bodies, but we made it…and the photos don’t show even a drop of sweat. 🙂

I always think a cooperative bridal party deserves way more props than they get. The bride and groom, of course, are going to weather the heat or rain or sun or whatever weather elements get thrown their way because it’s their wedding. But a bridal party who puts up with all of that as well gets credit. They get credit for showing up, smiling, and not complaining because they love their friends who are getting married.

We are in June and already hitting the high-90s with intense humidity so the next few months are going to prove challenging for many more bridal parties, but I am looking forward to meeting so many people who adore their friends more than the discomfort of summer weddings in Iowa.

Caitlin & Brad’s gorgeous wedding from last July is being featured today on Borrowed & Blue and it’s so much fun to look through some of my favorite images again!

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I love Sunday weddings. There’s something relaxed about a non-Saturday wedding day. Add to that having a Sunday wedding when the following Monday is Memorial Day and suddenyl the extended weekend felt like a treat to the guests!

It was perfectly sunny and warm that Sunday. When we arrived at Rapid Creek Cidery, all was quiet and calm. It was just a few of us vendors getting set up and working. It was a treat to be able to take my time getting all the detail shots of Carolyn’s wedding gown, shoes, jewelry, and their invitations. I knew the rest of the day wouldn’t be as calm, a fault of no one, of course, that’s just part of the game of weddings.

Carolyn & Marc met 14 years ago, in high school. She was a freshman, he was a sophomore. There aren’t a lot of high school relationships that last this long, let alone lead to marriage. As homage to the longevity of their relationship, they used photos from their lives together as their table numbers; so year one was Table One, etc.

One of the major perks to having gone through half of your life together before even being married is that you deeply know the other person. You’ve been with them through awkward life phases, through big college decisions, through exams and finals, through moving and moving again. Her friends are his friends and vice versa. Not many people get that lucky, to find love that young and to hold onto it. But Carolyn & Marc did and it was a joy to see them finally wed!

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Without knowing it, Carolyn picked out her wedding perfume that just happened to be in a bottle the shape of an apple, which was especially lucky since they got married at an orchard!
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Carolyn & Marc had their first look before the wedding and we were able to do all of their photos before the ceremony. I loved seeing them laughing and talking with their guests during cocktail hour!

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I loved that all of the bridesmaids had different gowns and each one fit so perfectly!
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The dessert table was a huge hit and guests quickly devoured everything after dinner.
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That evening as the sun dipped low in the sky, I pulled them out for a few more minutes of photos.
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Photography: Emily Crall Photography

Wedding Coordinator: Unveiled Event & Design

Florals: Mint Julep

Desserts: Bread Garden Market

DJ: Unique Events of Iowa

Makeup & Hair: Flip Salon & Spa 

Bridal Gown: Tara Keely from An Elegant Affair

Maids’ Gowns: Joanna August from Bella Bridesmaids

Suits: Men’s Wearhouse

Venue & Catering: Rapid Creek Cidery

Musicians: Cameron & Andrew

Officiant: Groom’s aunt, Deb Gladson

Earrings, Engagement Ring, & Groom’s Wedding Band: Siebke Hoyt Jewelers

Bride’s Wedding Band: Helen Ficalora

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It’s been a year since their beautiful wedding day and I love reliving it through their photos. Chanelle & Nik had what might be described as a magical wedding. They were married in her childhood backyard, under the towering tree she used to climb as a kid. The yard backs up to Lake Keomah State Park so the views were breathtaking, with the guests parking in the state park and being ferried over to the ceremony by boat. I have a personal love of ballgown dresses and the color of blush pink so when I saw Chanelle’s blush pink ballgown wedding dress, it took my breath away.

Perhaps one of the loveliest things to happen was Chanelle making the rain-call. It was supposed to rain that day. The forecast was gloomy and rain lurked behind every cloud. A few hours before the ceremony, she had to call it and she decided they’d go ahead with the plan, outside in the backyard. We made it through the entire ceremony without a drop and then for just a few minutes afterwards, it lightly rained, then the sun came out and all that gloominess dissipated.

I’m so honored to have their wedding featured over on Blushing Bells Iowa today!

In the weeks leading up to their wedding day, the forecast was dooming. Thunderclouds, lighting bolts, and a 70% chance of pouring rain the entire afternoon and evening. It wasn’t until the day before that things started changing. The thunderclouds and lightning bolts disappeared from the graphic and the chance of rain went down to only 20%. Still, we prepped some backup plans for photos just in case, including a quick shipment of umbrellas. As it turned out, we didn’t need them at all! It rained that morning, but by the time we needed to go outside for photos, the rain had stopped and the greens in the grass and trees were nearly vibrant from the fresh drench.

Xiaoni & Jung met several years ago in the same lab at the University of Iowa. They were introduced briefly, but didn’t really become friends until about a year later when he was doing a rotation in the lab she worked in. Since that time, they have weathered many ups and downs, including both taking on huge educational workloads and her moving to Connecticut to attend Yale while he finished up medical school here in Iowa. The distant has made their relationship stronger though and it’s clear how much respect they have for each other as well as how deeply they love the other. It’s a joy to witness this next step in their relationship and it’s made even better by the fact that Jung just graduated the week before their wedding and will be doing his residency in New York, just a little over an hour away from Xiaoni! They are getting geographically much closer.

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Xiaoni & Jung’s color palette was perfect for a May wedding: blush pink, champagne, mint green, gold…it was soft and gorgeous.
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They both got ready at the Iowa House Hotel, which was perfect since it was a short walk uphill to where we were going to take photos and another short walk from there to the church. All of their wedding day events would be happening within 3 blocks of each other!
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They chose to do a first look before the ceremony, which allowed us plenty of time for photos as well as getting all the formal photos done beforehand!
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Every bouquet should have ribbons in my opinion. They are my favorite!
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During cocktail hour, we went back outside for a few more photos, this time with Xiaoni’s stunning cathedral blusher veil.
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Photography: Emily Crall Photography

Wedding Coordinator: Chevrons & Champagne Weddings

Videography: Diamond Label Films

Florals: Shelly Sarver Designs

Cake Artist: Tip Top Cakes

Catering: University Catering

DJ: B.A.M. Productions

Makeup & Hair: Flip Salon

Paper Suite: Minted

Bridal Gown: David’s Bridal

Suits: Macy’s

Ceremony Venue: First United Methodist Church

Reception Venue: Iowa Memorial Union

UA-28710658-1