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emily crall blog

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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October 16, 2018

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.

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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.Classic_Black_White_Wedding_EmilyCrall_Photo_0324.jpg

I don’t know that I need to even mention this, but Marisa has the best style.
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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.
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Since they got married in downtown Cedar Rapids, we embraced every bit of urban and it was so much fun to stroll the streets!!
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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!
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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!!
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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.
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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!
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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!
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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!)
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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.
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+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
Photography: Emily Crall Photography
Videography: Diamond Label Films
Florals, Design, Decor: Unique Events

Linens & Tableware: Unique Events
Cake Artist: Tip Top Cakes
DJ & Uplighting: Unique Events
Makeup: Lindsey Coblentz
Hair: Wright Salon & Co
Bridal Gown: Hayley Paige from Calvet Couture
Maids’ Gowns: Azazie
Suits: Men’s Wearhouse
Ceremony Venue: Trinity Lutheran Church
Reception Venue & Catering: The DoubleTree by Hilton

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