They met in Iowa City during medical/dental school–she’s now a surgeon and he’s a dentist–and they have family close to the area so even though they now reside in Texas, where Maria is doing her surgery residency, it made sense for them to come back to the place where it all started for them, right downtown in the heart of the university campus.
It was just a week after they first met that Austin says he knew Maria was the one. “I knew I loved her after a week. And when she stuck around after that, I knew she wasn’t going anywhere. Every day after that, she has shown me more and more how she’s the best person for me and we are meant to be together.”
Maria doesn’t pinpoint a date, but says it was a lot of little things that added up. “How he’d pack my lunches and leave little notes inside. How well we agreed on big things like our values and how we would want to raise kids. How well he supported me when I was upset. A big thing for us is how well we communicate; so I think how well we work through disagreements or difficult times in our relationship has made us both very confident that we’ve each found the one.”
Maria’s aunt is Brenda of Town or Country Event Design & Coordination so planning a wedding from out of state was a complete nonissue as every final last detail was planned and thought out. (My organized self loves working with another organized soul like Brenda Strief!) We knew we had very little time to photograph the details on the wedding day so we flew in and barely caught our breaths before taking as many shots as we could. Thankfully, Brenda had everything ready for us, including these gorgeous florals, and we worked like we were in fast-forward. These ended up being some of my favorite detail shots to date.
Aside from her scalpel skills, Maria is also a talented artist and made this beautiful map for their guests, including some of their favorite dining spots, the ceremony and reception locations, parking, and the medical and dental schools.
When we arrived at the church Saturday morning, it was overcast; a lovely respite from the intense heat in the weeks leading up to their wedding day. But the overcast clouds quickly darkened into rain that kept coming and going, not a downpour or enough to really water the parched grass, but just enough to cause me to look around for some backup locations for photos. Thankfully, Kaylee and Kile are two of the most relaxed and trusting people I’ve encountered and they were not even worried one bit. (I had a taste of this at their engagement session as we roamed around downtown Iowa City. It had been a rainy day and we were trying to decide if we should reschedule or not; we didn’t, and we had the best time!) As luck would have it, we had a few minutes of a break in the rain for their portraits and then it started sprinkling again just as we started bridal party photos so we buzzed through those faster that I could even talk. After heading back to the church for shelter, the rain cleared again and we were able to go back outside for family photos! It all ended up working out, including that the rain completely dissipated and out came the blazing sun for the rest of the day!
Kaylee and Kile had such a beautiful, family-oriented, faith-filled wedding and it was so much fun to celebrate with them! Kaylee’s gorgeous shoes (those block heels!) and mixed-metal rings (white gold engagement ring and yellow gold wedding band!) were some definite highlights, but nothing could outshine these two out in the wild flowers field! *swoon*
Anyone who has hung around here long enough knows that I have a special love for Friday weddings. Maybe it’s that I got married on a Friday or maybe it’s just that Fridays feel like special weekday-pre-weekend days that sort of make their own category, but, regardless, I love shooting Friday weddings! When I photographed Catie & Justin’s engagement session this winter (remember this magical snowy session?!), we joked that we’d be having the exact opposite weather on their wedding day and it was true! (Thankfully though not quite a hot as the weekend before!)
We arrived at the Celebration Farm before the hustle and bustle began; it’s a secret treat to be able to start detail shots before the bridal party arrives because we can dive right in quickly and then have more time to chat when they arrive! Catie and Justin had the most beautiful details for their wedding day, from their custom ring dish (a gift from a bridesmaid!) to their gorgeous invitation suite to Catie’s stunning unique gown with a detachable train. It was all so perfect and perfectly them.
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.
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!
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.”
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.”