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emily crall blog

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

October 3, 2018

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

They grew up in the same small town, attending the same elementary, middle and high schools, and knew of each other, but had different circles of friends. She describes having a crush on him, but that was all it was. Their families both moved away from the area after high school and they hadn’t seen each other for years. It wasn’t until 2016 when they were both back for class reunions. She was on a parade float and saw him on the side, waved at him (and described having those butterflies again: “there’s Jeff Bradley”), and she says the rest is history. They connected on Facebook that week and began daily long-distance communications for three months before their first date.

Because he lived in Arizona and she in Iowa, they decided to meet back in their old high school town of Red Oak. “We hit it off in person very well, and it felt like we had already been dating,” Laura says. “We spent three days together visiting places in Red Oak and getting to know each other. He even took me to a family dinner where forty of his relatives were attending. He introduced me to all of them as we entered the room. We joke that his family was on our first date. They approved.”

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After dating long-distant for a little over a year, Laura using her school teaching breaks to visit him in Arizona, Jeff tried to figure out the perfect proposal. “I had the engagement ring with me for several days and wanted to ask at the right moment, public or otherwise. We were together at my apartment on New Year’s Day 2018 and we opened our Christmas gifts to each other and then I said, ‘I have one more gift to give to you.’ I pulled out the engagement ring and got down on one knee and proposed. It was just us two, and the moment was right.”

Laura adds, “Jeff told me later that he had my ring in his pocket all of those four days [I was visiting him], waiting for the right moment to propose. He had taken me out for dinner, to see Christmas lights, to the LOVE statue in Scottsdale. He just didn’t feel right at those places. He decided the right moment for us was in private, at his home, and to begin the new year with our love.”
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They both said the best date they’d shared was that first weekend together in Red Oak. “It solidified we were brought together for a reason,” Laura says. “I never once thought it wouldn’t go well…it just did. Since our families moved away from Red Oaks years ago, both of us don’t visit there much. It was neat to experience our hometown together as adults.”

Laura lives and teaches in Iowa City now and Jeff is in the process of moving here. It was so fun to explore the campus with them, neither of them having grown up here. We had the most beautiful day too: sunshine and cool fall temperatures! I had lots of fun nooks and crannies I was already planning on, but was thrilled to discover a new spot that I’ve never seen before, one of the perks of walking around and finding spots you’d never see in a car.
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I’m so excited to celebrate their love next year and witness their joy all over again. These two are in every way perfect together and I’m so thankful that, after all these years since high school, they have found each other at last.

September 25, 2018

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

With their wedding coming up next month and both of them working busy schedules, we had a very limited time to get their engagement session in. Thankfully, we had the most beautiful sunlight (!), but it was incredibly humid and hot outside and we were all sweating so much and batting at bugs between every shot. As I type this, it’s 30 degrees cooler outside and it feels like we made a quick switch from summer to fall.

Diana & Lee are planning a quick wedding (less than 3 months from engaged to married!), for the primary reason that when they were struggling to find dates for next year, Lee said, “Why wait? I want to marry you right now!” And, really, how can you turn that down? They’re utilizing the help of Jennifer from Harper Hadley Events to get everything lined up and pulled off in time. It’s going to be such a beautiful fall wedding and I’m so excited to see it all come together!

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Look at this hazy little rainbow in the left corner! I didn’t notice it until I was editing the images later on the computer.
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When we were finished at Wilson’s Orchard, they requested going downtown to the rooftop of the Van Allen Hall building where they had shared one of their first dates, at the Van Allen Observatory. There was going to be a public observation event that night, but the door was locked when we got there, several hours before public access. Lee went on the hunt for someone and ended up running into one of the astronomy grad students, who was kind enough to give us rooftop access for a few minutes for some photos.
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November 16, 2017

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

They first met in Ames while she was attending Iowa State University, though technically, she says, they met in Iowa City a few years prior, but never really talked at that time. He was visiting with mutual friends and they hung out briefly for the two days that he was in town and then continued texting until they went on their first date a few weeks later.

“I wouldn’t say I remember a specific date or time that I knew he was the one,” Anna says. “Over the first year, I could tell our relationship was real and completely different than any other that I had ever been in. After my first year of optometry school (we would have been together around 2 years at that point), I knew that if we could make it through that, we could make it through anything. [That] first year was so trying on our relationship because of my school schedule. We managed to see each other about twice a month and text/FaceTime when we could. He was (is) my biggest cheerleader and continually supported and motivated me throughout my schooling when I doubted myself. I’m sure he repeated the same speech multiple times a week and he did so without complaining. During my first year, we found our relationship getting stronger while most of my friends at school were breaking up with their long-distance significant others. I know many people would not have held on and made long distance work for five years.”

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Travis proposed last Christmas Eve. “She was getting close to graduation from optometry school. She was either going to come home to work or do a residency outside the state. I knew I wanted to propose but wasn’t exactly sure when or how. I went to look at rings for fun and little did I know I would spend 3 hours in the store deciding between rings. After picking a ring, I needed to decide how to do it. The first thing I did was ask permission from her parents and brother (they said yes, of course) and then I needed a plan. Annie was coming home 3 days after I bought the ring and I decided I would propose while she was home for the holidays. Her parents and I came up with the idea to ice skate at her family pond/cabin (she had wanted to ice skate together for some time now). I organized a photographer to be there, who was set up in an ice hut on the pond (with a heater). I also informed close family and friends to gather at a local bar to celebrate afterwards. The day came and I was able to convince her to ice skate and that we should try on the pond, and she somehow agreed despite the light sleet. We ice skated for a little bit and then I got on a knee and asked her to marry me. She said yes and we proceeded to have dinner with our families and then celebrate at the bar with everyone.”

We had to reschedule this session once due to nasty weather and, even though it ended up being cold for this too, the sun brought us the most magical light and we found some shelter from the wind. I’m so glad we were able to find some color left in the trees (look at that orange and red!) and this couple brought all the love in the world for me to photograph! I have way too many favorites from this session, but I consider that a wonderful problem to have!

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I always ask the couple a few questions before their session, including what they love most about themselves (e.g. eyes, hair, smile) so that I can make sure to highlight that in their images. Travis’ response to that question was simply, “Annie.” But with her eyes, cheekbones, and smile, you can see why he’d say that!
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November 9, 2017

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

They first met while serving in the Iowa Army National Guard. She recalls him coming in for a site visit with the chaplain and she greeted them and escorted them to the individual they were meeting with. “We had very short interactions with each other when we were both serving,” she says. Five years later, they had their first date. “I invited him to wake up early and come with us [to the Cedar Rapids Farmer’s Market], but then he ended up staying all day and I made dinner for the two of us. I felt warm and comfortable with him. He was easy and fun to talk with,” Elizabeth remembers. Seth adds that he “felt like I wanted to spend more time with her.”

They both knew early on that their relationship was the real deal. They wanted the same things and had the same values. They discussed a lot of that early during their first date and they knew they wanted to enter into a relationship with the goal of marriage.

He proposed earlier this year when they were in New York. “It was our last day,” she says. “We were packing up to go home. I was trying to make some room in our suitcases to take everything home and started unpacking his suitcase to fill with some of the items we had purchased. He quickly came over to assist me and removed the ring.” In a simple romantic gesture, Seth says, “She was digging through my luggage and found the ring. I asked her if she wanted it.”

Though neither of them are morning people, they agreed to a morning session since we had limited time to get it in while the leaves were still on the trees. Unfortunately, though we did get some beautiful sunlight that morning, it was incredibly windy and so, so, so cold outside! I’d definitely rank it as one of the top 3 coldest sessions I’ve ever done, including that blizzard wedding last December! Thankfully, they trusted me and we moved quickly and I just love how these images turned out! I’m so excited to join them and their two daughters this next spring as they get married under the [hopefully warmer] treescape out at Rapid Creek Cidery.

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November 7, 2017

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

Back in early 2013, Kaitlin rode with a friend to game night. Parking was challenging so her friend picked her up as well as another friend, Alec. “Alec and I bonded over our nerdy love of cardiovascular physiology while drinking our mutual favorite beer that night. I knew he was something special when he was leaving to catch the bus, but ran back to the doorway where I was waiting for my ride and told me that he hoped that wouldn’t be the last time we hung out.”

Their first date ended up being a casual “sweatpants” date since Kaitlin got a cold and didn’t feel good. “When I told Alec, he didn’t cancel plans, but instead offered to come sit around in sweatpants with me,” Kaitlin says. Alec adds, “I showed up wearing a red onesie, which her roommates found strange and Kaitlin found peculiar. I remember talking with her for hours while sitting on her couch. I was so relieved and thankful that conversation came so early and that–at least outwardly–found my words to be interesting.”

Kaitlin doesn’t recall a specific moment that she knew Alec was the one, but she does say, “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 good 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 when he had unsolicited approval from him mom.

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The weather had been so finicky the weekend of their engagement session, but thankfully, we got slightly milder temperatures and no rain and wind for their session! I was especially thankful since Alec was in town and we had limited time to meet up before he had to return to med school. We met up at the Lake MacBride Fossil Gorge, which boasted a lot of leaves still clinging to the trees (yay!).
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When it came to proposing, Alec went back to the place where they first met: outside her old apartment right before getting into their friend’s car. “We were planning on going for a walk in the old neighborhood (which is actually something I had suggested we do that day). We parked outside the apartment and I started walking. Alec told me to wait because there was something messed up with his sandal. (His sandals are always giving him blisters so I was getting annoyed that he chose to wear them again.) As I approached him, already down on his knee “fixing his shoes”, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring box. Anyone who knows Alec knows that he loves pranks and jokes so I honestly didn’t believe that it was true. But then he started saying some sweet words about bringing me back to the place where we first met four and a half years ago and I realized that was the real deal. I was in complete disbelief and honestly can’t remember what else he said. I just knew I said yes.”
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I love how he makes her smile.
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They are currently separated by 4+ hours due to residency and med school, but I’m so excited to see them back in the same city again soon! They are both compassionate people with big dreams and lots of humor infused into their relationship. Seeing them together is a joy and I know that together, they will accomplish so much.
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