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June 26, 2019

Last fall when we did their engagement session, we were having the worst luck with weather. We had rescheduled twice already and by the third time, they just decided to go for it even though it still wasn’t ideal weather, including terribly gusting winds that honestly nearly knocked us over. I remember at the time that we joked that we’d better have better weather for their wedding day given that Alex is a meteorologist. I mean, wouldn’t that just be terrible luck to be a weatherman and get nasty weather on your wedding day? But last week, leading up to the weekend, Saturday was looking gloomy. Not only gloomy, but filled with rain and thunderstorms. Every day when I checked the forecast, it had changed. Ninety percent thunderstorms. Thirty. Twenty. Fifty. I gave it one last glance Saturday morning when I woke up. Fifty percent chance of thunderstorms starting at 1PM, just when we would be getting ready for photos. Outside.

But something strange and amazing happened. The clouds covered the sky in the most beautiful, soft box way and the rain…well, it never came. Mallory and Alex chose to go ahead with the outdoor ceremony plan and I’m so thankful they did! The space outside at Rapid Creek Cidery is so, so beautiful and I’m so glad they were able to get married under the lush trees and open sky!

Strictly as a side note, it is incredibly helpful to have your very own meteorologist along on a wedding day. At one point, I was trying to determine if the sun was going to peek through (to decide where we wanted to end up for the best light for photos) and Alex explained to me how the clouds were actually moving in two directions at once (I’m using layman terms, obviously) and we found the best spot for photos as a result!

Alex proposed last year when they were in Arizona and this wedding was beautifully and carefully planned ever since. “Tucson is a special place for Alex because he used to go there every spring growing up to visit his grandparents, who would snow bird there during the winter months. Prior to booking the trip (and really from the time we started dating), Alex would talk about how great the area was and how much he wanted to take me there. I had never been to Arizona so I really didn’t know what to expect. One of his favorite parts of Tucson is the amazing sunsets they have. So on our first night at the resort, we were enjoying the truly amazing sunset that was happening and he turned to me, got down on one knee and asked me to spend forever with him. Needless to say, Arizona has a special place in my heart now because it’s where I got to say yes to my best friend,” Mallory said. And now this beautiful little orchard in Iowa City, Iowa will also forever have a special place in their hearts: it’s where they started their forever together as husband and wife.

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June 20, 2019

What an amazing Friday afternoon it was for Kristin and Bryce’s wedding! The weather was warm, almost hot, and the bugs were fierce, but the sky was blue and the sun brilliant! If you’ve been around me for any length of time, you know that Friday weddings are my favorite. I may be partial being a Friday bride myself, but Friday weddings generally feel a bit more relaxed and uniquely special in that they sort of feel like you and your guests are in your own world. While everyone else in the city is finishing up their work week, going to Friday night sports games, and grocery shopping for the weekend, you are getting married!

Sticking with being non-traditional, Kristin & Bryce did something I’ve never experienced at a wedding before (shocking, I know! I’ve seen a lot over the years, haha!): they did a family meal together with their bridal party and immediate family before the ceremony, serving appetizers and desserts later at the reception in lieu of the traditional reception meal! Because they were having an evening ceremony, it worked out perfectly and made that early dinner with just their families and bridal party so special and relaxed! Which, as I recall, was their goal. They wanted a wedding that celebrated their love and their close-knit relationships, and was also relaxed and laid back. I hope it was everything they dreamed of as it certainly felt that way from my perspective!

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Kristin and Bryce first met in college, within the first couple of days, as their groups of friends collided into one collective group. (Now, years later, it was extra fun to see so many of their fellow Luther grads at their wedding!) 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!”

Later, when it came to the proposal, Bryce said the day he proposed was the best day of his life so far. (He said this prior to the wedding so he may have changed his mind by now.) “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.”rapid_creek_cidery_wedding_emilycrall_photo_0308.jpg

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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 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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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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November 8, 2018

Friday weddings are my favorite. There’s something magical about getting married on a Friday; like the rest of the world is carrying on and you’ve carved out a little nook all your own. So when Diana & Lee hired me for their Friday wedding, I was excited not only because it was a Friday, but because some of my favorite vendors would be there, their color scheme and design style was going to be stunning, and Diana & Lee themselves are so sweet and I knew they’d be so fun to work with.

Their engagement session just a few months ago was hot and humid (and buggy!), but their wedding was a gorgeous fall day with perfect weather. The day started out overcast (which was beautiful for photos!), but the sun came beaming right during their ceremony and cast it’s glorious warm light all over them as they vowed their love to each other.

When Lee proposed to Diana and they started looking for a wedding date, Lee suggested a wedding this fall, which in wedding terms would be a quick engagement season, but he had a point when he told Diana that he loves her and wants to marry her and, well, why wait? They quickly pulled Jennifer of Harper Hadley Events into the planning equation and she took the reins on helping them bring their vision to life. Diana wanted lots of rich, fall colors, but she also wanted to pull in some food elements into the design. Shelly of Shelly Sarver Designs was the perfect choice to make this happen and the incorporation of grapes and pomegranates and pears and apples made each centerpiece a beautiful creation!

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