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June 12, 2019

We were all praying for a break in our rainy spring and the forecast kept changing in the entire week leading up to Kira & Derek’s wedding. It was supposed to be thunderstorming all day, then only 10% chance, then back to 90%, then, on their wedding day, the skies cleared completely and it was humid and sunny! But despite the weather really showing up for them (which we were all very thankful for!), there were a few other hiccups that none of us could have seen coming.

With Kira’s permission, I’m going to share her own words: “I think we are finally coming down off the excitement of the weekend, and are really enjoying our new titles of husband and wife. As most know already, we had some problems Saturday, including that our broken down party bus was replaced with a semi and livestock trailer (special shout out to our groomsman, Colton, and all the other guests who frantically made phone calls to find a ride for us). Also, my beautiful wedding gown tore while giving my first hug of the day; causing us to spend most of the day trying to keep my modesty and make my dress right. While it wasn’t ideal, Derek insists that I still looked beautiful.

“Despite the bumps in our day, we had so many things that went perfectly. In fact, Derek and I have looked at one another multiple times and said we feel so humbled and blessed. The rain stayed away, and the beautiful sun was shining down on us. Neither of us had cold feet, and we were able to finally say our vows with our faith front and center. We missed our late loved ones, but we had a special piece of each of them with us; our favorite was the quilt block once started by my Grandma Jo and finished by her best friend, Wanda, and my mom, just for Derek and I. We just loved our bridal party! We could not be taking on life as a married couple without all of your support. Thank you for bringing the party!

“And to Derek, thank you for holding my hand, reminding me that the hiccups that happened didn’t ruin our day. We wanted perfection, but perfection isn’t what has gotten us through six and a half years. Trust and faith are our strongest features as a couple, and I know those are the things that will help us through life, along with a whole lot of help from our family and friends.”

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May 21, 2019

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

They met in downtown Iowa City in a group of mutual friends. “To be honest I don’t think I took her one a real date for a long time after we started hanging out in the very beginning,” Kile said. But it wasn’t for lack of feelings; it was just that it kept happening that they were always together with their friends! “So I don’t remember the exact first date. I do, however, remember the first time we made plans to ‘group hang’ with a couple of her friends and a couple of my friends.” He recalled, “That day I had to drive to Illinois for my dad to pick up a four-wheeler motor. Kaylee had texted me, I think, about trying to meet up at Sports Column in downtown Iowa City. I was obviously excited for that, but knew that I probably wasn’t even going to get back to Iowa until 9 PM. But I told her I could meet up with her at 7 PM or something. Anyways, I was driving back like a madman trying to get back as quickly as possible. I was dressed in my grubby, gross work clothes. When I finally made it there, I met my buddies and we walked into the bar, which was pretty much empty except for a couple other tables. My buddies and I walked in and I saw that Kaylee was actually at another table with some other guys I had never seen before so immediately I’m a little irritated and mad I got there late. One thing led to another, Kaylee came over and talked to me. I just remember being so nervous and not knowing what to say to this pretty young girl (who I knew had a crush on me because her friend told me).”

Fast-forward to last May, years after that first time hanging out in the bar, and Kaylee got home from a horrible day at work. “I cried most of the way home,” she said. “I called my mom to vent and she told me to quit crying because it was going to be a good Friday (it was actually Good Friday that day!). I got home and relaxed on the couch. Kile got home and immediately put music on our speaker. It was annoying and I asked him to turn it off and he wouldn’t. Then he went outside! I was so annoyed that he left the music on inside knowing that I didn’t want to hear it. When he came inside, he put on ‘I Can Love You Like That’ by John Michael Montgomery. He sang it in my ear from behind the couch and when the line ‘you don’t have to wait anymore’ was sung, he came around the couch and got on one knee.” And indeed, in every sense, her terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, was instantly turned into an extra good Good Friday.

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I asked them both when they knew, in those early dating years, that the other was one. Kaylee said she knew he was the one when she could be herself and not hide anything. “I remember a day at my parents house that I had on no makeup and I could just feel Kile staring at me. I felt so beautiful.” (swoon) Kile said he thinks he always knew. “I always felt like she made me a better person and I always thought I have been her rock. Her passion for children has always been a big deal to me because I think she will be a great mother someday. But, to answer the question directly, it was probably a little after we moved in together, after the first couple of months getting used to living with someone else and seeing that we could do it and not kill each other, hah.”

Kaylee is gorgeous and strong and, as many women know, it can take years to become fully confident in who you are, but I love that Kaylee told me, “I finally feel confident about my personality. I know my truth and I live it each day.” (I know Kile agrees because he told me that what he most admires about her is passion, kindness, and intelligence. “She’s very passionate about everything in her life. She works very hard to be the best teacher she can be. She loves her parents and her family.”) Kaylee described Kile as being kind, understanding, and funny. “He works for what he has. He doesn’t take shortcuts and accepts if he fails.”

I just loved spending time with them in Iowa City for their engagement session! It’s one thing to see a couple’s love written on paper, but it’s ten thousand times better to witness it firsthand while also being able to photograph it! On the day of their engagement session, it had rained all morning, but the skies cleared to overcast in the late afternoon and we made the call to go ahead. We were battling lots of pedestrian traffic (it was the university graduation weekend and high school prom night) and the obvious street parking everywhere, but it made me think extra hard for every shot and I’m so so proud of how their images came out! (I’m also especially proud of this blossoming tree because I knew Kaylee wanted photos with a blooming tree and we made this one work, even getting a little help from a passerby!)
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May 15, 2019

We’ve had a strange spring this year wherein it could be 70 degrees one day and 30 the next. Coats got put away, then pulled back out. Maybe you’ll need rain boots? Maybe you’ll need sandals? Maybe shorts? Maybe winter hats. So in the week leading up to Tarrah and Jacob’s wedding, it was rainy and cold, but the forecast for Saturday had stayed surprisingly consistent, sunny and 60s. (I kept checking it every day.) So when Saturday morning dawned, sunny and beautiful, we all breathed a sigh of relief and rejoiced that it was a glorious day to get married indeed.

Tarrah and Jacob had their wedding at Bella Sala with the ceremony outside by the fountain and the reception directly inside, but perhaps the most fun and unique part of their day were the handmade outdoor games they set up during cocktail hour and the reception. Because the weather was so perfect, the patio doors just stayed open all night and their reception ended up being a perfect flow of inside to outside. Maybe dance a while, then go play a round of human-size checkers, then dance some more, then grab a drink and sit on the lawn. It was, I think, exactly the relaxed, family atmosphere that they had hoped for.

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April 30, 2019

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

They met within the first couple of days of college and, due to some mutual friends, instantly ended up in the same friend group. First semester ended and Christmas break happened and it wasn’t until they reconvened back at school for second semester that they sensed a shift in their feelings. “I knew I wanted to ask her on a date and I was pretty confident she would say yes, but I was still pretty nervous,” Bryce said, with Kristin adding, “I remember being pretty nervous, but because we had been friends within the big friend group for a while, we did know each other already so that was nice!”

I asked them both when they knew the other was their one. Kristin responded, “For me, there wasn’t necessarily one exact moment when I knew Bryce was the one. It was more the fact I simply loved spending every second with him that I could, that he treated (and still treats) me respectfully and as I should be treated, and he is someone I became totally and utterly comfortable with very quickly. I just knew that I didn’t want to let him go. Our relationship also began as just friends in a great group and flourished into one where we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together and I think getting to know each other one way and then another way helped us both to see that we fit really well together.”

Bryce agreed in that there wasn’t a specific moment of epiphany. “It just slowly grew from ‘I like hanging out with this cute girl’ to ‘I could see Kristin being the one’ to finally ‘I can’t imagine my life without her.’ She was supportive of me. She was encouraging. She was a Hawkeye fan. She liked sports. She liked tacos. She was liked ice cream. She checked a lot of boxes!”

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Bryce said the day he proposed was the best day of his life so far. “I had had the engagement ring for about four months and was just waiting for the right time. I knew we were going back to Luther for homecoming and figured that would be the perfect time; the place where we started our journey together seemed like the right place to begin forever together. It was one of those situations where I knew she was going to say yes, but I was still incredibly nervous.

“We went out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants in Decorah for a nice brunch. I wasn’t hungry as my nerves had the best of me. Then Kristin suggested we get mimosas, and, not wanting to come off as something being up with me, I agreed. I had to really work to get that down along with my whole breakfast because I didn’t want to tip off that something was going on. I had the ring in my pocket (it was in it’s box) of my coat the whole time and I purposefully had that pocket away from Kristin the whole time so she couldn’t see it.

“As we left the restaurant and were driving home, I suggested we go to Phelps Park to a lookout area that we had gone to lots of times to have life conversations while eating ice cream; it was one of our favorite spots in Decorah. I figured we had spent enough time in that spot that it should be where we also got engaged. I kept conversation going for a little bit and it was some of the lamest topics ever, but I was nervous and wanted to ease into what I was going to say.

“A lot of times, we took a picture when we were up there, so I suggested we do that. But this time I turned on my video camera and set it up and began talking about all the things that being back at Luther had reminded me of, and one of those was falling in love with her. That’s when I got down on one knee and asked Kristin to marry me. I got her whole reaction on video!”

“Of course I said yes,” Kristin added. “Only getting a tad emotional, mainly just like omg-omg-omg and so excited inside I didn’t really cry.”

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March 20, 2019

In the days leading up to her wedding, Lindsay was doing a lot of prepping, but it wasn’t the kind you’d think of. Instead of relaxing, she was baking some 500 cookies for the reception. Lindsay isn’t a fan of cake and she loves to bake so homemade cookies sounded like a delightful plan, but I would guess that even she was over it by the time her wedding day came. (They were delicious cookies though!)

March is such a weird weather month for Iowa. It could be 60 degrees and sunny or…it could be 20 degrees and snowy. The forecast was looking very cold so the plan was to do a small space-flip and have the ceremony inside then move a few tables and have the reception. Brenda (Town or Country Event Design & Coordination) did an incredible job pulling it all together and making everything perfect for Lindsay & Allan.

Lindsay and Allan first met at the Iowa State Fair. It was one of the Lindsay’s friends (and bridesmaid!) who knew them both and they all ended up meeting for a drink. Lindsay admits that she knew right away Allan was her one. “I saved his contact info in my phone as ‘Future Husband’ from the very beginning,” she said. And now she can take the “future” prefix off because they are finally married!

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March 15, 2019

My best friend has been begging me for years to take her boys’ photos and I have always declined, aside from, of course, candid photos when we are playing together. Then, when they thought they were going to be moving across the country, her one wish was that I take their pictures before they move away and there was no way I could say no. (In a miracle, they didn’t end up moving and I think I remind her probably at least once a week!)

What made this whole session so much fun was that it was like photographing my own family. And in a way, they are. Pagelyn and I met when our oldests were just a couple months old. Our kids haven’t known a life without each other and we are constantly adventuring together, whether that means a simple trip to the park or an hour drive to try out a new museum.

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