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emily crall blog

October 18, 2018

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

They met back in the spring of 2012 in college through her best friend. “It was basically a handshake,” she says. It wasn’t until later that year, in the fall semester of college, that they met again. “When I returned for the fall semester,” Derek says, “A friend of mine–and now ours–convinced me to go out on a Tuesday night the first week of classes. I was very reluctant to go but apparently it was meant to be.” As he approached the bar, he saw Kira standing outside and “my stomach instantly filled with butterflies.”

They had their first date the end of August and, as memorable as that one was for both of them, they both recall date number two being the “big date”, the date they knew they would someday marry one another. “As crazy as it sounds, we were literally the complete complement to each other. Our second date was an eye-opening experience to what I was truly missing,” Derek says.

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Derek proposed the day before Christmas Eve last year. “We were planning to wake up early, pack the car, and take the 2-hour drive to my parent’s house,” Kira explains. “There had been some crazy snow the day before so we knew we needed to leave some extra time for the drive. In typical Derek fashion, he told me that he had my gift ready and we needed to run up to the farm before we left to take a look at it.

“Normally my internal private investigator instinct would kick in and I’d get to the bottom of it before he could surprise me, but I had so much to do to get ready for Christmas so I figured I’d let him have his surprise this time. I did my hair, got dressed, and finished up my list of to-dos. Derek had run out for a few minutes and just got back into the house. … We hopped in his car, and turned the opposite direction of the farm so instantly I was rolling me eyes thinking, ‘This couldn’t wait until after Christmas?’

“We pulled up to the corn crib, which sits about 1/2 mile from our house. Derek unveiled my present, a large–no, huge–rock that came from the foundation of the farmhouse in Alburnett, one of his family’s first farm homes. I was so happy that he took the time, don’t get me wrong, but I was getting ready to say, ‘This could have waited two more days, Derek.’

“But I looked at him and caught the flash of a red box being pulled from his pocket and had instant tears. It’s still surreal. We had been dating for so long and I wasn’t prepared for him to finally propose. He kept his proposal speech short and sweet, just ‘Kira Leigh, will you marry me?’ And, of course, I said yes!”

Derek knows they dated a long time before proposing, but he adds, “Everyone asks why I have waited so long to get engaged. Truthfully, time has flown together. the last six years have been so surreal that it doesn’t even seem like that long. Every day that passes just reaffirms that Kira is the one.”
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For the ending of their session, we went back to the corn crib where Derek proposed and also the spot where they had that second date. “Trying to impress Kira I pulled out some tricks up my sleeve. It was a Wednesday night and we went out to dinner where we oddly ordered the exact same thing. After dinner I asked Kira if she would like to go out for drinks. Knowing that it was a little early to head to campus town, I took her to a partially combined cornfield, which I had scouted out earlier that day, outside of town. It was secluded from the road and we had a plain view of the stars as the sun was quickly setting. I pulled out a blanket and a bottle of her favorite wine and we sat and talked while the music from the radio played in the background. It may or may not have been in my plan but I convinced Kira to dance with me and I taught her to swing dance. After a couple of hours dancing and stargazing we headed back into town and spent the rest of the evening with our friends. That night was one that I don’t think either one of us will forget. I think it is mostly my favorite date because it seems to be the one that set the ball in motion for where we are now.”

Kira adds, “He pulled into a cornfield that had recently been picked and parked his truck. I am a total rule follower so I thought we were definitely going to get in trouble for trespassing, but Derek insisted I get out of the truck, he had plans. He flipped on a CD of music, opened the tailgate to his pickup, and laid out a blanket. Then he pulled out a bottle of wine. I was impressed he bought a wine I drank frequently and later found out he asked my roommate (that bestie that introduced us, Laura) what kind to buy. After a little while he asked if I wanted to dance…under the star light on a September night in a cornfield. Of course! So we danced. I felt like I was in love at that moment. I’d always wanted to know how to swing dance, so he taught me that night under the stars. It was so so so early in our relationship but he had swept me off my feet.”

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Many thanks to Melissa Banes for Kira’s makeup.

August 23, 2018

When Caroline first described their wedding, she said she wanted it to be a fun, Iowa-grown wedding event. They made a lot of their wedding choices with that in mind. Everything from the custom 4-foot metal monogram crafted by a local artist they met at a farmer’s market to the farm-to-table dishes served at the reception to the Iowa craft beers and bourbon to the cake being served on their grandmothers’ and great-grandmothers’ china dish sets to Bryan, the groom himself, making the centerpiece wooden vases to the ceremony being held in the original senate room of Iowa’s Old Capitol building…everything was chosen as a nod to their roots.

The day itself couldn’t have been better! It was hot, certainly, but we have lucked out so much this summer with weather! I knew of some locations that would provide beautiful shade and a cool breeze and we utilized that to keep everyone comfortable.

When Caroline & Bryan thought about what they were looking forward to most about their wedding day, both said spending time their their families and friends, “the people who have made me the person I am today. And creating amazing memories!” As you scroll, I hope you will enjoy seeing all of the memories they were able to lock away as they began their marriage!

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Caroline’s mother, Jennifer, did all the designwork for the invitations. They chose the typeface as a tribute to a late 19th century calligrapher, much like is found at the Old Capitol. The envelope liner is a scene from Iowa in its territorial days, original art by Jennifer created for a fire screen at Plum Grove Historic House, blending the history of the Old Capitol and the pastoral Iowa setting of the Celebration Barn.
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The handkerchief was a gift to Jennifer, Caroline’s mother, and Caroline carried it on the wedding day. It was stitched by a distant cousin in the 50’s-60’s who was blind from birth and made her living making intricate embroidery designs.
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These were the gift bags for the guests, welcoming them to Iowa City and filled with so many thoughtful treats!
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Caroline’s gown was stunning, but the best part was that it was chosen specifically to go with her veil, an heirloom Brussels Lace veil worn by her great aunt in 1951. The lace was brought from Belgium by her great-grandfather after serving in the medical corps in WWII. The ballgown silhouette had layers of airy English net over silk taffeta. Caroline says that her gown is a love note to tradition.
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The menswear was all from Ewe’s Men’s Store, owned by the bride’s father and in the family for over one hundred years. It’s also located directly downtown, right across the street from the Old Capitol!
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Bryan & Caroline shared a first look and it was so sweet to witness them seeing each other for the first time on their wedding day!

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Caroline wanted lots of summer flowers and natural greenery and Julie did an amazing job pulling it all together!
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This was my first wedding in the Old Capitol Museum and I instantly fell in love with the space! It is so rich in history and so elegantly old without being gaudy, the perfect, upkept vintage!
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If you recognize Caroline’s grandmother, it’s because I shot another family wedding in June, Caroline’s cousin! There were a few photos of her at that wedding that I just adored; she is so beautiful, yes?
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They got to sign their marriage license in the governor’s office, complete with a special feather pen.
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The reception was held at the original Celebration Barn, also a first time for me shooting there! It’s clear that it’s very much in the family of the Celebration Farm, but still completely unique and the outdoor space–as you’ll see in a bit–is simply magical!
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The sun was setting quickly so I snuck them out at the end of cocktail hour for  a few more portraits.
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Caroline & Bryan, thank you so much for letting me be part of your wedding day. I hope these photos capture the love you share and the detail that went into making your wedding so magical. Xo, Emily

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Photography: Emily Crall Photography

Videography: Diamond Label Films

Florals: Julie’s Fountain of Flowers

Cake Artist: Coralville HyVee

Catering: The Cottage Bakery

Late Night Snack: Marco’s Grilled Cheese

Band: Brad & Kate Music

Makeup & Hair: Eden Salon & Spa

Paper Suite Design: Jennifer deSilva Noser (the bride’s mother)

Paper Suite Printing: Ephemera Invitations & Stationary

Reception Printing: Allegra Iowa City

Bridal Gown: Bridal Boutique East Village

Veil: Family generational heirloom

Maid’s Gown: Von Maur

Suits: Ewer’s Men’s Store

Officiant: Reverend Doctor Barrie Tritle

Pianist: Kevin Edens

Rings: Joseph’s Jewelers

Ceremony Venue: Old Capitol Museum

Reception Venue: Celebration Barn

November 4, 2016

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

Though they remember meeting in chemistry class in high school, they later learned that they had met far earlier than that. “Technically, we first met in the crib at Zach’s grandma’s house when we were in daycare. I was about 6 months old so I don’t remember that.” But his grandmother has a photo to prove it!

It didn’t take long for them to develop feelings for each other; it was chemistry class after all. He asked her to be his girlfriend shortly after going to homecoming together as “just friends.” Liz says she not sure if there was an exact time that she knew he was the one. “We went to high school and then college and it seems like he’s been with me through almost every big thing in my life. Nobody knows me or puts up with my nonsense the way he does, and I love him for that.”

I met Liz & Zach at Zach’s grandmother’s house–the same place they’ll be getting married next year!–for their engagement session. And while it wasn’t technically at the Palisades State Park, it’s right next door and we got some of the same beautiful, and private, scenery!

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They brought their puppy along and within the first two minutes, she had jumped into the pond. She rocked the wet dog look though!
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Zach proposed while they were on a camping (“glamping”) trip with his family. “We got to choose some activities beforehand to do while we were there so we chose to do a horseback trail ride and trap shooting,” Liz says. “There were only a million signs pointing to what was about to happen but I was oblivious. When we got to the trail ride there were only two horses (plus the wrangler and his horse). Which made me think, ‘How lucky are we that we’re the only two on the trail?’

“So we went up the mountain (at sunset…another missed clue) and Zach was really quiet the whole way. Usually he’s taking pictures and very outgoing; he would have normally been asking the wrangler a lot of questions and starting small talk. We got to the top of the mountain and tied our horses up and the wrangler told us to take our time. In my head, I was like, ‘Take our time doing what?’ So we walked up and there was a table with a dozen roses and a bottle of champagne and I said, ‘Zach, is that for us?’ but just kept on walking, kind of just confused, but still not putting it together.

“There was a big rock up ahead, named by Lewis and Clark: Look Out Rock. The blackfoot river was directly below at a dead drop off (it was terrifying) and you could see for miles. We were about to walk back down and Zach said, ‘Wait, look over here at this view.’ I turned to go back up and look out at the side view and when I turned back around to go down again, he got down on one knee and popped the question! Little did I know the champagne was really for us and he had a hidden photographer capture the whole thing! We went back down the mountain (at which point Zach was much chattier). When we got back to our camp we got to celebrate with all of Zach’s family.”
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Liz & Zach, I’m SO excited to celebrate with you next year! Your wedding is going to be absolutely beautiful (we already know that, of course) and I’m so thrilled to see you start your lives as married people!

September 8, 2015

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

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They were young when they met. Babies actually. Bridget says it all started in 2009 at the Washington County Fair. “I was with my best friend at the time and she and Jason were in the same 4-H club. I said to her, ‘That boy looks so familiar. What’s his name?’ Of course [when she told me], I said, ‘No way. The little turd and I went to the same daycare.'”

It was from that moment on, however, that their relationship began, although even that took some time. “I was a stubborn little thing so it took Jason some time to actually figure out how we going to get me to go out with him on a date. He knew I was into running and [one night after his baseball practice] he just said to me, ‘I am coming into town to your house and we are going on a run.’ That run turned into two hours.”

They still weren’t officially dating though and so when Jason went with her family to a St. Louis Cardinals game, he decided to ask her. “We got back to Washington at 4:30 in the morning and he asked me before I went to bed if I would be his girlfriend. I, being stubborn, said I had no idea and proceeded upstairs. Then I turned around and told him I was just kidding and said, ‘Finally after 6 months of talking you ask me to be your girl!'”

I met up with Jason & Bridget a few days ago for their farm engagement session, complete with Jason’s tractors and a dirt road he used to play on as a child.
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November 5, 2014

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In the last weekend of October, I shot my last wedding of 2014 (at 36 weeks pregnant, I might add). It’s always bittersweet for me to wrap up a year, even as I look ahead and am so excited for all the couples I’m working with next year. My husband and I drove to the very upper northeast corner of Iowa for this beautiful fall wedding. We had never been to this part of Iowa/Minnesota before and were surprised with the curvy roads and steep inclines and declines in the roads.

While both Bonnie & Sam live in New York now, they chose to marry in Bonnie’s hometown. The ceremony was just across the border into Minnesota. We met up with everyone at the church. The atmosphere was relaxed and comfortable; everyone just soaking in the day.

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Bonnie described their first meeting, with thanks to one of her bridesmaids for making it happen: “I was out in New York visiting a friend that I had previously worked with (I had lived in NY and moved back home to Iowa). She had a friend that had moved to the area. I had heard her mention him several times over the years and she wanted to go and visit him on the farm that he had joined. I told her to call him up and we’d both go. So she called and we went and met her friend Sam. He was nice and cute and we had a good time. After we left, he called her and asked why she hadn’t mentioned me earlier. To which she replied, “Bonnie lives 1,000 miles away.” Not exactly a quick drive for a date. He even told her that he had commented to his boss after we left that he “could marry a girl like her”. And here we are!”

Minnesota Wedding - BonnieSam © Emily Crall_0023.jpg Minnesota Wedding - BonnieSam © Emily Crall_0024.jpg

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Bonnie’s parents live near the church so we went to their farm for some photos. The light was setting so perfectly and I just loved this location!!

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Photography: Emily Crall Photography
Makeup & Hair: The Ultimate Salon & Spa
Bridal Gown: Augusta Jones from Macy’s Bridal Salon
Bridesmaid Gowns: Pure Bridal
Suits: Teslow’s Formal Wear
Florals: Waukon Greenhouse
Cake Artist: Kathy’s Kakes
Catering: Rooster Andy’s
Band: Time & a Half Band
Paper Suite: Minted & Wedding Paper Divas
Ceremony Venue: St. Luke’s United Church of Christ, Minnesota
Reception Venue: New Albin Community Center, Iowa

July 14, 2014

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

It was 8th grade junior high. She was dating and he became the note messenger between them. That was the extent of their interaction outside of the math classroom. Fast forward to senior year of high school when they actually started talking to each other. She wasn’t a big fan of him, but they hung out with the same group of people each morning before school started. He eventually won her over and they became friends.

As their friendship grew, they transitioned from friends to companions. She describes the moment she first knew he was going to be the one she would marry: “[It was] when we were talking about having children because he had the exact same response as my dad did when my mom had asked him a certain question. After my mom gave birth to my older brother, my mom looked at my dad scared because they had just had their first child and said, ‘What do we do now?’

“My dad’s response was, ‘We just love him.’ Jared and I were talking about having children in the future and I was joking about how scared I would be after we had the baby and I said, ‘What would we do after we had him or her?’ Jared’s response was, ‘You just love them.'”

For him, a brief break up in 2008 made him realize just how much she meant to him. These two were made for each other.

Lake MacBride Engagement - CorrieJared © Emily Crall_0223.jpg Lake MacBride Engagement - CorrieJared © Emily Crall_0224.jpgCorrie loves Halloween so it was only perfect for Jared to time the engagement for late October. It was around dinner and she had just put in one of her favorite Halloween movies. She noticed Jared was very anxious for the trick-or-treaters to come which was unusual for him. She remembers asking him, “What is your deal? You are never like this.” He laughed and brushed it off.

The door bell rang soon after that and Jared told her, “There you go, Corrie! The trick-or-treaters are here. Better hurry up and get it.” He disappeared into the laundry room unnoticed while she opened the door. She look down to see his cousin’s young children and started to say hi, but stopped when she saw they were holding a sign that read, “Will you marry me?”

She yelled to Jared, “Jared, is this real?!” As the kids started walking inside, she noticed they were dressed as a bride & groom. She got confused because she didn’t know if those were their actual costumes or if a proposal was happening. “After feeling like a dork for not figuring out what was going on, Jared finally appeared with a pumpkin he had carved and the ring. I shrieked, ‘Is this real?!?’ He came over by me and the kids and got down on one knee and said, ‘Well, will you marry me?’ I didn’t answer right away because I was crying so Jared nervously said again, ‘Well, what do you say?’ I was finally able to muster out a yes. It took a bit, but the kids finally got their candy.

(more…)

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