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!
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.
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.
The weekend before and the weekend after were both filled with rain, down-pouring rain. Planning an outdoor wedding in April takes the same sort of courage that it takes of winter brides hoping to escape snow storms. My husband and I got married in April and we had the most beautiful weather on our wedding day and then barely made it out of Iowa for our honeymoon due to snowstorms. So, you know, Iowa weather is fickle, especially in the spring. But Shanna & John had the most wonderful sunshine beaming at them the morning of their wedding and we all breathed a sigh of relief that rain plans could be forgotten.
Shanna & John had a short-term wedding planning season (only 12 weeks!), but Shanna was the most hands-off bride I’ve ever seen, and I say that with the utmost delight! When they decided to forego a courthouse wedding she had wanted, they knew they wanted their wedding to take place soon due to some family health issues so they let their very best friends and family surprise them by planning this wedding for them.
Shanna enlisted Brenda (Town or Country Event Design & Coordination) to plan the wedding. “I trust you, just do what you do and surprise me!” she told her. Brenda immediately got me on board and went to work with Zephyr Weddings to get all the paper details and designs nailed down. They designed the stunning wreath logo that became a main theme in the wedding decor and got everything set up from invitations and placemats to programs and seating charts. It was such a collaborative effort and I was so honored to be part of it.
Shanna & John were the first wedding this year to happen at the brand new Rapid Creek Cidery venue at the stunning Wilson’s Orchard in Iowa City. Not only was the staff there so accommodating and kind, but the food was equally amazing! I’m so excited to return several more times this year for more wedding fun!
Anyone who has gone bridal dress shopping knows that there’s no such thing as a “short-order wedding gown.” Most gowns, after being ordered, take 12 weeks to get in before any final alterations have been made. Brenda had nothing but great things to say about Hope’s Bridal, who pulled an array of dresses together in Shanna’s size that could be purchased off the rack, same day. This stunning gown was perfect for Shanna; it fit her like a dream and had the perfect amount of beading and soft draping overlay.
The jewelry bar was a really fun idea! In the bridal suite, there was a bunch of jewelry that the bridesmaids could pick from. This is like dress-up except for adults. And with better jewels. 😉
John & his daughter, Kamryn, shared a special first look before John saw Shanna. Kamryn also served as their flower girl and the cutest, most eloquent reader for their ceremony.
Despite the sunny day, there were still patches of mud from the week leading up to the wedding so we kept their first look simple and in the reception space. This photo also shows you a preview of their stunning tablescape.
Shanna’s dad passed away several years ago so she had her brothers walk her down the aisle.
After the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktail hour. Since we had done all of the formal photos beforehand, Shanna & John were able to mingle with their guests and relax! That’s one of the huge, most unknown perks of a first look + photos before the ceremony.
And when the couple was done with dinner, while guests were still eating, we snuck them outside for some evening photos. These are always, always my favorite photos of the day and this is no exception here.
Back inside, we enjoyed the rest of the evening toasting and dancing and celebrating. Celebrating their marriage, first of all, but also the enormous feat of teamwork it took for so many vendors and family members to pull off this event in less than 3 months. It was perfect in every way and it was more than Shanna could have ever dreamed. I know that because she said so. If there’s ever a case for hiring people you trust and letting them do what they do best, this is it right here. Cheers to the perfect beginning of your lives together as husband and wife, Shanna & John.
Sometimes sessions just leave me feeling so happy that I don’t feel like words can adequately describe it. This was one of those. From the get-go, everyone was so laid back and natural and the kids, well, they were the sweetest children. Tell me you don’t want to be adopted into this family.
Mom & Dad would say that it’s not always like this in their house, but I have a hard time believing otherwise.
One of my favorite photos…
Their grandparents were in town from Wisconsin so they came along to help with kid patrol. (Although, as I’ve mentioned, the kids were gems.) We had to get a few with them.
Hoeper family, gosh, how I love you guys! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being yourselves and allowing me the privilege of capturing you just as you are. You’re a beautiful, kind family and I feel blessed to have gotten to know you.