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.
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!
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!
The forecast was terrible. There’s really no other way to put it. It was 90% change of thunderstorms all day long and, indeed, on the drive there that morning, my windshield wipers were on the highest speed as everyone on the interstate was struggling to see through the downpour. But then! Something miraculous happened. It remained overcast, but the rain just stopped. Nothing.
We photographed the details. Marisa got into her gown. Her and Josh saw each other during their first look. And still…no rain. Armed with a few umbrellas, I made the call to head outside and get as many photos as we could before the rain started again. And for the next hour, we just kept making the call as we went (literally, me texting Marisa’s personal attendant–one of my past brides!–telling bridal party and family to meet us a few blocks away) and I never ended up opening those umbrellas! It’s been the rainiest October I’ve seen, but I felt so much gratitude on this day that God held back the rain for us exactly when we needed it.
Truly, aside from how we were all astonished at the sudden disappearance of rain, it was the most joyous day for Marisa & Josh! These two have been together for years. Having known each other since they were my son’s age in preschool, they’ve quite literally seen each other through the most awkward phases of growing up. Well, I assume they were like most people who have awkward teenage years, but then again, these two are class acts so they may have managed to avoid that. I had photographed Josh’s cousin’s wedding several years ago so it was really fun to see his side of the family again and to meet Marisa’s family. I always find it such a wonderful treat to meet the parents who have raised these individuals and and friends and siblings who have known them since their birth or high school or college or whatever formative years they entered their lives. I get to know the couple first and then when I meet their support system, I finally get the whole picture of just why these two are so wonderful and sweet and kind.
Marisa and Josh, thank you for inviting me into your wedding day! Not only was it beautiful and fun, but you were so gracious and relaxed and easy to work with! I hope you will always treasure these memories.
I don’t know that I need to even mention this, but Marisa has the best style.
Marisa and Josh chose a first look and it was so sweet to witness. Josh just kept saying, “You look absolutely amazing!” I’m sure Marisa felt like a princess that day and Josh was every bit in awe of how lucky he was/is.
Since they got married in downtown Cedar Rapids, we embraced every bit of urban and it was so much fun to stroll the streets!!
Remember this guy? He made an appearance again on their wedding day in his little suit and, oh my gosh, how adorable!!! He was so well-behaved too!
In trying to think of a location downtown to take photos of a large bridal party, I was stumped. All the rain had made our original location too wet and our rain backup was inside and not ideal. So when I stumbled across this huge black wall in an alley while we were walking, I felt like I hit the jackpot!!
A few days after their wedding, Josh’s grandfather passed away. I stumbled across this image and immediately sent it over to Josh because it just felt so special. The pride on his grandfather’s face is something I hope Josh will always treasure.
This wedding was nearly 100% designed by the Unique Events team. Everything from florals to custom bar to chargers and linens and flatware to uplighting and music and a light-up dance floor: it was complete magic and I think it took everyone’s breath away when they saw it!
Can we all just take a moment to ooh over this hanging floral piece? There were TWO! One over the harvest head table and one over the lounge!
And this cake by Tip Top Cakes was a focal piece at the entrance of the ballroom. Look at the sugar work in those flowers!!! Rumor has it that this is the largest cake Adam’s ever done, but I haven’t confirmed that yet. But do the math, there are 8 tiers, the bottom one a massive 22″! (I can confirm that it was as delicious as it looks!)
The dance floor was SO MUCH FUN! They had the best dance party that night and I just had a smile plastered to my face.
We’ve had the most rain-filled weeks here in Iowa and it’s really stepping on my fall-loving toes. More importantly, however, October is packed with photos and the rain has been a constant threat. And so it was on Anna & Travis’ wedding day. They had hoped for an outdoor ceremony at Ashton Hill Farm, but the radar was menacing and the sky was gloomy so they made plans to move the ceremony inside.
I had umbrellas along, but when it was time for Anna & Travis’ portraits, it was cloudy and overcast, but not raining so we moved quickly and managed to get all of their photos done outside! Still without rain, I pulled the bridal party out to do their photos. But then it started to sprinkle. I sent the ladies inside and photographed the gentlemen quickly before it started to pour. When we were done with the guys, I needed a quick plan for the ladies’ photos. Because of the way the rain was falling, there was about 2 feet of dry space right up next to the building so I pulled the ladies back outside and put them in that dry space while I stood out in the rain under an umbrella. It absolutely worked! We ended up doing family photos right there as well!
In the end, it was great that the ceremony was moved inside because it rained buckets outside during the ceremony. The temperatures also dropped quickly and it was so so cold out! (It was also so cold when we did their engagement photos last fall!) These are the high and lows of fall photography.
Anna had the most gorgeous details. Simple and classic and so much fun to photograph!
They shared such a sweet first look right in the spot where they would make their vows just a few hours later.
Annie & Travis, thank you for the honor of not just photographing your wedding day, but being witness to your love as well. You guys are so full of joy and it was so much fun being a part of the first day of your marriage!
It was so humid the morning of their wedding, we wistfully hoped for just 5 minutes of rain just to ease up the dripping air. But it turned out that by afternoon, though still humid and hot, there was a little breeze and that, combined with the shade and me moving portraits along as quickly as possible, made it bearable.
Kaitlin and Alec are such a fun couple and it was such a joy to meet their friends and family on their wedding day! Back at their engagement session, Kaitlin and Alec had both mentioned how important their families are to them. “Alec and I both value our families a ton and love spending time at each others’ homes. As the first year of our relationship progressed, I found myself feeling like a part of his family and I saw my family taking him in as well. In particular, watching him goof around with my nieces and nephews made me heart melt. We both just settled into each other’s lives like we had been there all along.” Alec echoes this sentiment, saying that he knew she was the one when he had unsolicited approval from him mom. So to be able to meet all of these people in their lives was a treasure!
The ladies were relaxing in a large suite when we arrived. Music was playing, snacks were being consumed, hair was already perfectly in place, and makeup was being applied. It was a fun, relaxing environment to enjoy the pre-wedding moments with your best friends.
Kaitlin has the most exquisite taste and her champagne ballgown was absolutely breathtaking. The mixture of gold in her earrings, white gold in their wedding bands, sparkling heels, deep greens in the flowy bridesmaids’ dresses, blush & bright pinks in the flowers…it all pulled together for the most stunning color palette.
Kaitlin and her dad did a first look. You can just see the pride on her dad’s face!
And right after that, Kaitlin & Alec did their own first look!
I was standing at the back of the church when the priest suddenly, in the middle of the service, stopped and said, “I see you have a photographer here.” He proceeded to ask me to come up to the front and stand right next to him to take this photo, to show them later what his point of view was. I’ve never in ten years had this happen, but it was such a fun–albeit awkward for me as I had no warning of this happening whatsoever–memory for them to have!
What did I tell you about these colors?!?! Soooo beautiful!
Cocktail hour was outside on the Iowa Memorial Union patio overlooking the river.
The sun was quickly sinking so right after they ate some dinner, I pulled them both outside for a few more minutes of portraits.
Kaitlin & Alec, what a joy to get to know you both! And what an honor to photograph your wedding day. Thank you for having me. I hope these photos bring back so many wonderful memories!! Xo!