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emily crall blog

May 8, 2018

It was the most glorious day for their wedding. The sun was bright and the air was crisp without being cold. Lindsay and her ladies were getting hair and makeup done in the bridal suite at Bella Sala, while the guys relaxed in the reception hall. The waterfall outside splashed water down over the rocks, gurgling along the tiny little stream. At long last, it was their wedding day! And it was perfect.

Bella_Sala_Wedding_EmilyCrall_Photo_1169.jpgGideon surprised Lindsay with his proposal right before their one year anniversary in 2016. “We planned a trip to Des Moines the weekend before our anniversary to celebrate. We made reservations at a fancy Italian restaurant and before that, Gideon wanted to show me Gray’s Lake. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going and it made me so frustrated! It was freezing that night and me eyes were watering, my nose was running, and I wondered why in the heck he’d chosen that night of all nights to show me this lake. I was ruining his special plans by complaining. While we were walking, I realized he wasn’t standing next to me anymore. When I turned around, I saw him down on one knee. He asked me to marry him and I didn’t believe him! It felt so surreal! The bitter cold disappeared and all that I saw was him. Nothing else mattered. We kissed and hugged and then he looked at me and said, ‘So is that a yes?’ I then said yes a thousand times. To think I could have ruined such a beautiful night with my bad attitude.” Bella_Sala_Wedding_EmilyCrall_Photo_1170.jpg
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I asked what their dreams are for the future and Lindsay said, “To always be honest with one another. To always love and care for one another. To enjoy every trip, every milestone together. To have and raise beautiful, healthy, smart children of our own to love for the rest of our lives together.” I love that. I love seeing the special, beautiful bond they share.

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Bridal Gown: Morilee from XOXO Bridal
Maids’ Gowns & Men’s Suits: XOXO Bridal
Venue: Bella Sala

May 4, 2018

Their first meeting was at The Bluebird Diner back in 2014. They dated for 6 months before she introduced him to her daughter and the connection came easily, mostly because her daughter fell in love with his cat and determined that he was an okay guy because “only good people have pets.”

The part of their story that strikes me the most is the love that grew between Pat and Elise’s daughter: “As Eleanor came over more often [to Pat’s house], she started to get into more stuff. I knew the relationship with Pat was one I wanted to last forever when he researched ways to organize for autism and took pictures of what was in each drawer/pantry in his apartment so she didn’t have to open them all to get what she wanted. Seeing him take as much care as I do to meet my daughter’s needs meant a lot to me.”

Pat and Elise share an easy-going, complimentary love. It is clear to anyone around them that their family, especially Eleanor, is the most important thing to them. They like to laugh and have fun together. Elise described their interests as “I think the big thing is we like to laugh and anything that brings us laughter is something worth doing.” I love that outlook!! They have found their treasure and it has been such an honor to witness it and document it. I asked Elise what she was most looking forward to about the wedding and she summed it up absolutely perfectly: “I look forward to being old and looking through the wedding album and seeing how young we were, how much love we had for each other, and that feeling you get when you realize how much more love you have for your partner now.”

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They requested doing a few quick photos at The Bluebird Diner, where they first met and it was absolutely perfect!
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After that, we headed straight to Iowa River Power Restaurant, where they would have their ceremony and reception dinner. It was the most perfect, glorious Wednesday afternoon!
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May 1, 2018

On her handkerchief, she had their names monogrammed as well as their wedding date and “Colossians 3:12-17”, which reads, Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselveswith compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” 

From the very start, their day was filled with such joy and love. Christina & Cam have exuded grace and happiness since I have first seen them together and it has made every interaction with them so much fun.

When we arrived at Price Creek Event Center in Amana, it was quiet and calm. The ladies were still at the salon finishing up hair, but all of Christina’s accessories and her gown were there, just waiting to be photographed. It was the perfect way to get my creative juices flowing for the day. The weekend before had been freezing cold, incredibly windy, and rainy so I was sooo excited to have milder weather, still chilly, but not uncomfortable.

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These flowers were some of my favorite! So springy and pretty, while also not being too “fussy”. They were just perfect.
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There was a grassy area outside of the venue that we used for their first look before we hopped in the car for a short drive over to an area I had scouted out beforehand that I knew would be a dream to photograph them in.
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Their bridal party was such a riot! I loved photographing this crew!
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Look at these handsome guys!
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It was cloudy all day so we didn’t get a true “golden hour”, but I still think the 10 minutes of photos later on in the evening are important. It’s the chance to get away from the noise, the hugging, the congratulations, and just savor a few breaths together, alone.
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Wedding Coordinator: Rachael May
Cake Artist: Stephanie Coons
Catering: PHAT Daddy’s
Hair & Makeup: Thompson & Co
Paper Suite: Minted
Bridal Gown: Brides by Jessa
Maids’ Gowns: Azazie
Suits: Menguin

April 24, 2018

The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. But with alternate plans, it was still a perfect wedding day.

Just two days before Elizabeth & Seth’s wedding, we had sunshine and 70 degrees. But on Saturday, the wind blew so hard that the rain was going sideways. The skies were gray and the wind was biting. The plans for an outdoor ceremony were quickly scrapped and the reception space was set up to double for the ceremony as well. The staff at Rapid Creek Cidery and all the vendors pulled together to make the space the vision that they had dreamed of, despite the unwelcome weather.

We came armed with umbrellas for some photos outside, but it was just too cold and windy so we made the most of the indoor space and it all worked out! The rain even stopped for a little bit later in the evening just long enough to pull Elizabeth & Seth outside for a few minutes of portraits! It was cold, but absolutely worth it. (Ironically, their engagement session last November was the coldest session I’d ever photographed. They have been troopers since we first met!)

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Rapid_Creek_Cidery_Wedding_EmilyCrall_Photo_0107.jpgElizabeth & Seth 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.”

Seth proposed last January when they were in New York and their ongoing commitment to each other and their daughters is beautiful to witness. Rapid_Creek_Cidery_Wedding_EmilyCrall_Photo_0108.jpg
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Beth’s students did the watercolor artwork for their paper suite. That, among so many other details, were the perfect touches to make their day personal and unique.
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During cocktail hour, there was a break in the rain so we dashed outside for some quick photos. These two! I’m so thankful for their trust in me and weathering (no pun intended) the elements!
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+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
Videography: BKreativFilms
Florals: The Garden Wren
Cake Artist: Tip Top Cakes
Pies: TryPie
Hair: Flip Salon 

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March 22, 2018

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

They met in college; both were in leadership positions which meant helping students move in was mandatory. “She was an RA checking in her students and I was carrying their belongings up the stairs. … The next time I heard Eva’s name was when an acquaintance of mine mention her,” Aaron said.

“Our first date was October 15th. I remember I really enjoyed being single at the time, but I knew I’d be the biggest idiot ever to pass up a chance to take this girl on a date. So at this point, we both knew we liked each other and planning that date was something I was admittedly a bit nervous about.” He decided they would go to his favorite restaurant and then meet up with some good friends of theirs to go to a pumpkin patch & corn maze. “The date was great and I was hooked,” he recalled. “My love for singleness was thrown out of the window and I knew that something in me had changed.”

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When asked how she knew he was the one, Eva said, “I knew probably 6 months after we started dating. I was in his room waiting for him to be done with basketball practice that was going long. I was so excited to see him even though I had seen him a few hours before! I realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life waiting for him to get home!”

Aaron said he knew last spring. “I took Eva on a date to a Mexican restaurant and then we walked around a park. It was that day I was going to tell Eva I loved her, but just two minutes before I was going to do so, she asked me if I loved her! So, of course, I started laughing because that just seems to be typical of our relationship. But it was about a month before that when I was sure she was the one. Towards the end of May when Eva was in Iowa and I was back, I knew for certain. We volunteer with the elderly and one elderly woman once told us that distance names the heart grow farther and that long distance relationships fail. I love that lady, but she is crazy! Ours wasn’t really even long distance since it was only a month apart from one another, but it was during that month that my heart grew fonder and I knew she was going to be wife one day.”

Though they live in Arizona, Eva grew up in Iowa and they are getting married here this summer. They were back for a short trip over the weekend and I loved getting the chance to meet them (and some of their family!) in person and photograph them. I am so looking forward to their wedding and I know it’s going to be a day filled with joy, Christ-centered love, and Eva’s gorgeous beaming smile. Spring_Farm_Engagement_EmilyCrall_Photo_1084.jpg
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Aaron proposed towards the end of January. “It was difficult for me to keep it a secret for so long because I was dying to ask her. I had her father’s blessing and the ring on December 21st and I wanted to ask right away, but decided to wait for the right time. My plan was to go to Payson, AZ with a small group of some of our closest friends from our Bible study. We were going to go to Tonto Natural Bridge, which was one of our first dates and that was the day I asked her to be my girlfriend. On that date, we went on a little hike and eventually got to the beautiful view of the natural bridge where we took one of our first pictures together. It was in that spot that she thought I was going to ask her to be my girlfriend, but instead I did it later on as we were hammocking. I wanted that same spot we took the picture to be the place I proposed.

“The trip was all planned and when we got back, there was going to be a house full of about 30 of our closest friends waiting for us for a little engagement party. The morning came and we were all loading up in the van when we looked up Tonto Natural Bridge online. It was a beautiful 60 degrees and sunny day in Payson so I was excited. Unexpectedly, we saw on their website that the trails were closed due to icing. I was certainly not expecting this so after having a quick two seconds of panicking, I remembered that champions adjust and I found an alternate place. I decided on Horton Creek in Payson, but I didn’t know the exact spot I would propose. The group I was with knew the signal was when I asked one of them to take a picture of us. That entire hike I was frantically searching for the spot I would do it while trying to remain nonchalant. I knew our time table for the party had also been thrown off too, but luckily I don’t really get stressed out about things so it was all good.

“I passed a number of places that I thought could be the spot and after about an hour of hiking, I suggested that we turn around and start to head back. I was looking for one of the places I had noted in my mind as a good spot. I was also just anxious at this point so I found the first spot I could after we turned around and [proposed]. She was surprised (which I was hoping for), and she also didn’t really know what to do. The moment I told her I wanted to say something to her, she knew and just buried her face in my chest while I talked to her. I then stepped back and got on one knee. I have never been happier in my life than I was in that moment. I was on a knee for a while as she kept saying that she thought it was all a joke. I joke around a lot, but I told her proposing is one thing I will never joke with her about. The rest of the day was amazing as we headed back and joined all of our friends waiting for us back home.”

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November 8, 2017

It’s always an honor to have one of my couples’ weddings featured on any blog, and I was particularly excited about this feature as it’s long been on my wish list to have a wedding on The Black Tie Bride! Alexa and Michael’s wedding was so much fun to photograph! It’s every photographer’s dream to have plenty of details to shoot and to have a relaxed, sweet couple to work with. Alexa and Michael fit that dream to a tee. Alexa actually requested we cut out some other photos that day to make extra time for just her and Michael’s photos and we were able to create so many portraits during that time!

We drove nearby to a beautiful timber area that looks like it’s straight out of the movies and then met back with the bridal party at a local park for the rest of the photos. But aside from all that natural beauty, the real stunner came at the reception when Alexa’s parents completely rehauled the look of her dad’s shop to turn it into the most elegant reception space she could’ve ever dreamed of.

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