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January 18, 2019

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

It was Memorial Day weekend several years ago. They both happened to go to the same local restaurant to hang out on the outdoor patio and enjoy the spring air. They were each there with their own groups of friends, but, as luck would have it, there were mutual connections in their separate groups and it wasn’t long before they all combined into one big group. Catie & Justin immediately connected after being introduced since they are both teachers and had both decided to take a year off. “Our conversation quickly turned to our love of languages and our love of travel. Fate would make it that both just so happened to be taking a sabbatical from our teaching careers and were going to travel for a year. I was going to California and Catie was going to France. We shared our excitement but also our fears about moving away from home and living somewhere new.” 

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Their first date was about a week later. Since school was out, they were in a unique situation of having an entire summer free before packing and moving away. “Normally that is not ideal circumstances to start dating someone new who will end up being the love of your life,” Justin says. “But it worked out great for us! I knew Catie was the one sometime that first summer. We clicked immediately. I wanted to spend all of my time with her. I had initially planned to move to California in August, but decided to stay and wait until Catie left for France. I wanted to shorten the time we were going to be apart. When I decided to move to California, I didn’t know when I would come back to Iowa. However, I remember late July that summer I decided I was coming back to Iowa when Catie came back.”

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December 31, 2018

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

It was just two weeks after they first met that Austin says he knew Maria was the one. “I knew I loved her after a week. And when she sticks 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.”

As for Maria, she 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 insides. 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.”

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Austin proposed nearly two years to the day after their first date. He was planning on proposing while they were Texas, but Maria had absolutely no clue. He had told her, “I’m not going to do it in Texas” and, because he’s so practical and she figured he’d worry about losing the ring during traveling, she definitely believed him. About that, she was right. “I was a nervous wreck,” Austin says.

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February 15, 2018

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

I first met Christina back in high school. You know how most people are a little embarrassed about their high school selves? Like, we’ve all improved since then, right? Well, what I remember about Christina is how funny, caring, and selfless she was. Her smile was magnetic and her personality was all-inclusive and warm. She needed no improvement; she was a rare find in a sea of typical high schoolers. Fast forward all these years later and I am feeling so honored to get to photograph her in this season of her life, where all those beautiful, sweet, funny, warm traits are meshed so perfectly with Cam’s that they are just pure joy to be around. Witnessing and documenting their love makes me smile so big. You’ll see why when you keep scrolling down. Fossil_Gorge_Winter_Engagement_EmilyCrall_Photo_0980.jpg

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After having met online and spending a few weeks in contact email and texting conversations, they met for sushi. “I just thought it so sweet that we both arrived early and he waited at the front door to greet me with a ginormous smile and a friendly hug,” she says. After a little mishap with the appetizer order, they spent the evening hanging out, talking the whole time. “I had a blast with [him] and wasn’t sure if it was too good to be true.”

Cam recalls knowing very early on, “like within the first couple of dates”, that she was the one, but she was still a little hesitant. “He waited patiently and it sure paid off for both of us! He’s my love and life long partner!” Even during the dating stage, things moved so naturally and effortlessly between them and just a couple of months into their relationship, Christina also realized this was the one she’d spend her life loving.

When asked what he admires most about her, he says, “She is a lady of faith, integrity, and honor. I can always count on her and she is everything I look for in a lady. She has the biggest heart. She is extremely intelligent and gifted, yet humble and empathetic towards others. She is lovely.”
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She had been suspicious of a pending proposal a few times, but knew it would happen at the right time. So when she planned a birthday trip for Cam to La Crosse, Wisconsin for their Rotary Lights show (because she loves Christmas lights!), she wasn’t initially suspecting anything, even though he kept dropping hints throughout the week leading up to it. But she was finally clued in when she asked him if she should get her nails done and he simply said, “Yep, thank you for figuring it out.”

“Friday morning December 15, I was antsy to just get engaged so we could relax and enjoy the day! God is so good though, right? I was reminded that in due time it would happen and sitting back, patiently, waiting and enjoying the moments would be far better than anything else,” Christina says.

“We stopped in Decorah, Iowa and just enjoyed the beautiful scenery along the drive. The Rotary Lights are apparently a huge deal, so we were lucky to arrive before traffic thickened up. Cam was hoping to drive over to Grandad Bluff and stop at this dive bar, Apine Inn, before the light show. We would have been stuck in traffic, so we sipped a drink at the hotel bar instead. Alpine Inn got bumped to possibly before or after dinner.

“Fast forward to the horse-drawn carriage through the Rotary Lights. I wondered if he’d propose then knowing the ring box had to be burning a hole in his pocket (likely, although I never did a pocket check).

“Cam requested we go to Alpine Inn before dinner. At this point, I realized we were about to get engaged. Being a go-with-the-flo guy, Cam doesn’t usually request much. We drove right by the Aline Inn and up to the top of Grandad Bluff. We were all alone up there, overlooking the city. It had started to flurry, the beautiful kind of snowflakes that keep their unique shape on your eyelashes and coat. Cam talked about our mutual love for God and creation/nature. He said a few more nice things of which I can’t quite remember. It’s crazy, even knowing the proposal was coming, it’s hard to remember alllll the details! The ring was so sparkly and huge! Holy smokes, he outdid himself! Cam even worked with the jeweler to design the ring. It seriously seemed to glow in the dark! Surreal– the ring, on my finger, my finger?! I was officially getting engaged to marry my love and best friend, Cam! What a lovely night!

“We stopped at Alpine Inn for fried pickles and sips of champagne (the bartender couldn’t believe we just got engaged!) and we called our parents and siblings.

We parked the car at the hotel and walked in the freshly falling snow to dinner 7 blocks from our hotel. The hostess seated us in a love seat (how perfect!!!). I wasn’t even hungry, just so excited! We shared a delicious dinner, seared tuna on cous cous with raisins and roasted veggies. In all the excitement Cam shared about our engagement, and they served us a delicious piece of chocolate cake with a candle. My cheeks hurts so much from smiling and laughing! What could honestly be better?!”

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They are just a little over 2 months away from their wedding day and I am so excitedly looking forward to spending the day celebrating their love and commitment to each other! Christina & Cam, you guys are a true joy to be around!
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January 10, 2017

On New Year’s Eve, Emily & Nick were married in her family church in Iowa City. The irony is that Emily & Nick both grew up in in town, but never met until they were in medical school together at the University of Iowa. They now live in Minnesota for their residencies, but came back to be married in the place where it all started…and where a lot of their families live!

Their stunning classic black tie wedding was a huge celebration of not only their brand new marriage, but also of the new year and the joy of many of their old friends all making it back to the college grounds where they all met!

Emily & Nick, since in medical school, started their relationship in the books. Literally. They became study partners and their first official date was actually at a coffee shop with another couple–a double date that Emily still says he tricked her into (read about it here)–that gave way to late night drinks of the non-coffee variety.

On the morning of their wedding, the ladies prepped and relaxed in her suite at the hotel. That calm environment is my favorite thing to walk into. It starts my part of the day off on such a great note and ensures that my only job (emotionally) is to continue to carry that spirit calmness throughout the rest of the day.

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Each of Emily’s bridesmaids picked out their own gown and I loved being able to use a variety of textures (the sequins!) for backgrounds in her detail shots.
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This clutch was made for Emily’s sister for her wedding. It was made from the lace and detailing from their mother’s and grandmother’s wedding dresses and has each of their monograms and wedding dates now embroidered inside.
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This Amsale gown was so beautiful. The fabric had the most exquisite texture, it was really soft and lightweight, and it was a ballgown style (which you know is my favorite)! Bonus: I loved the low back too!
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It was a really, really cold day–it is December in Iowa after all–but we lucked out with some sunshine. There was a frigid breeze, which eventually forced the decision to move family photos inside, but we tried to use buildings to help block the wind for the rest of the photos. Winter brides are stronger women than I am.
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I loved this spot to showcase some of Iowa City’s old architecture, but also as a bonus, we were able to pull some green into the photos, even though it’s terribly drab outside. God bless the evergreens.
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After the ceremony, all the guests headed a few blocks west to the Iowa Memorial Union for cocktail hour and the reception.
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Photography: Emily Crall Photography

Florals: Waterfront Hy-Vee

Cake Artist: New Pioneer Co-op

Caterer: University Catering

DJ & Uplighting: Unique Events of Iowa

Makeup: Lindsey Coblentz

Hair: Groovy Katz

Bridal Gown: Amsale from Posh Bridal Boutique

Maids’ Gowns: Nordstrom

Suits: Men’s Wearhouse

Invitations & Paper Goods: Zephyr Weddings

Strings: Preucil School of Music

Venue: Iowa Memorial Union

Ceremony: First United Methodist Church

December 27, 2016

Leading up to the day, the chances of Emily’s dream winter wonderland wedding were looking good. She was hoping for “nice weather with a light quiet snowfall right at 5:05pm.” The chances of snow were 60%, but the closer the wedding day got, the colder the temperatures crept. Saturday arrived with bitter winds, a barely double digit temperature, and, swirling, whirling snow flakes!

Summer weddings—particularly in August—are challenging in that I have to work incredibly fast while taking photos so that no one gets heat stroke. The humidity is brutal. Winter weddings provide the exact same challenge with the opposite effects; instead of heat stroke, we are fighting against frost bite. With only a 20 minute window before frost bite sets in (and a 2-minute window before miserable cold sets in), I had the choice of either working completely inside or strategically and quickly capturing some of the magic of the snow fall.

I knew Emily & Derek would be game since the day we took their engagement photos last winter was nearly as cold as their wedding day and not even as pretty (i.e. no falling snow). So with safety as our first priority, we took about 5 minutes of quick photos outside the hotel before heating back up inside and then gathering the bridal party for photos on top of a nearby parking garage. (Yes, a parking garage! It was absolutely perfect!) Thankfully, the DoubleTree connects to a parking garage via a skywalk. The parking garage also has indoor stairs & elevators so we could gather inside while I took the bridesmaids out, then back in, the groomsmen out, then back in, the whole bridal party out and back in. The key to photographing in either extreme cold or extreme heat is to direct efficiently and shoot quickly. Working with a great wedding party makes it all so much easier and I have to give so much love to Emily & Derek’s group of friends for braving it all for me and, ultimately, for them. The memories they all created together are going to be more special as time goes on.

Emily & Derek, your dream winter wonderland wedding was perfect. I’m so excited to show these images to you and how they give you the best memories of the most magical day.
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Their first look was so sweet and beautiful.
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Look at all that falling snow! It was crazy outside!! And so so so beautiful!
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They don’t even look cold. How awesome is this crew for braving the freezing outdoors?!
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The couple’s kids were in the wedding as ring bearer and snowflake girl. Ainsley thought the wedding was hers–naturally–and was so thrilled to wear her beautiful wedding dress.
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Emily’s dream of a winter wonderland (not Christmas) reception was beautifully put together with sparkles, candles, and lots of contrasting blues and whites. It was beautiful.
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Photography: Emily Crall Photography

Wedding Coordinator: Abby Dean

Videography: Diamond Label Films

Florals: Toni Horning

Cake Artist: Classic Cakes by Design

DJ: DJ NYJ

Makeup: Lindsey Coblentz

Hair: Groovy Katz

Paper Suite: ClearyLane

Bridal Gown: Essence of Australia from I Do Bridal

Maids’ Gowns: Jasmine B2 and Belsoie from I Do Bridal

Suits: I Do Bridal

Venue & Catering: The DoubleTree by Hilton

January 20, 2016

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

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He was DJing; she requested a song. “I got pretty busy and hadn’t gotten to her song yet (something by Bloodhound Gang). I had a pretty packed dance floor and didn’t want to kill the mood that her career-ending request,” he said.

She continued, “After what I thought was more than enough time to hear it and hadn’t, I walked right back up there to request it again. He told me I was beautiful and that he wanted to take me out to dinner sometime…and that my song request was queued to play shortly. I wasn’t going to text him at all after our encounter because I was of the mindset if he wanted to talk to or see me again, he would get ahold of me. [My friend] thought that was stupid and took me phone from me and texted him. We agreed to meet for dinner. So I went to his house where he made me dinner and watched movies. This was on April 10th, 2012. I had butterflies in my stomach the whole time. He was so very sweet and I know it is cliche to say, but I knew that night I was going to marry him.”

It was a rough 11 degrees outside + freezing winds when we met up for their Kent Park engagement session. But despite the cold (and it was cold), they brought their smiles, laughter, and love. Given that they are planning a winter wedding, I am glad we got the cold out of the way now. We’re all hoping for 40 degrees and sunny this coming December.
Kent Park Winter Engagement by Emily Crall_0005.jpg Kent Park Winter Engagement by Emily Crall_0006.jpgEmily described Derek as a “snow bunny” at our first meeting. After joking with both of them about their choice of such a cold day for their session, I learned that Derek likes snow sports where he’s properly dressed to be in the snow. I guess jeans and a jacket don’t count as snow gear. 🙂
Kent Park Winter Engagement by Emily Crall_0007.jpgI love how she laughs when she’s with him.
Kent Park Winter Engagement by Emily Crall_0008.jpgFor the proposal, Derek said that after he purchased the ring, he wanted to get it on her finger as soon as possible. He thought that having “family photos” done somewhere nice with the kids would be a good cover up. Emily says there were so many hints along the way–him getting a call from their photographer for a change of location on their way there, him not complaining about said change of location and extra drive time, and the photographer asking him to go grab something in the car that she had forgotten. After some family photos, the photographer took some photos of just her and Derek. “She made Derek move away from me and was taking what I thought were pictures of me by myself when in actuality, it was a picture of me with him in the background on one knee. … Finally she said, ‘Okay, Emily, go walk towards the water.’ So I did and when I turned around I saw Derek. On one knee. Ring box in hand. I was shocked. I bawled like a baby. It was perfect.”
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I’m so excited for this wedding! These two have such a special love and it’s an honor to be able to witness it.

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