You know those weddings that instantly cause that warm, happy feeling all the way down to your tippy toes? You know the ones – the first peek brings a smile to your face that doesn’t end for days. Well this wedding is the queen of those weddings. From Amy Allen Photography‘s very first image, I knew we were in for something special – something heartwarming. And after spending a whole lot of time in the gallery you can rest assured that this is definitely something VERY special + heartwarming!

Click here to see the whole soiree in the gallery!

Dan and I are both from the same town, but didn’t officially meet until my freshman year of college. Through mutual friends, we were introduced and began spending more and more time together. We graduated college, both started our careers, and eventually made our way back to Cedar Rapids. After seven years, we decided to make the big jump into marriage and haven’t looked back!

I knew I was in trouble when I started finding projects on Pinterest and wedding blogs to create for my wedding before I had even gotten engaged. Once we were engaged, the hard work really started. I have to give my crafty mom all the credit for helping turn my vision into reality. I knew I wanted a smaller wedding, thus allowing me to create a more intimate setting in two beautiful historic venues in downtown Des Moines.

Our ceremony was held in a traditional Lutheran church close to the Iowa State Capitol. I loved the old fashioned feel of the church and the warm welcoming people we got to know there. Because the church itself was so beautiful, we left the decorating to a minimum. Our only addition was to add two grapevine wreaths to the large front doors. During the ceremony, we had two of our closest friends read passages from our favorite book and poem. Following the ceremony, guests were able to toss rosemary and lavender from cones my mom and I had carefully crafted out of complementary colored scrapbook and tissue paper. I had decided on a color scheme long ago of mostly blues, greens, bronzes, and hints of burlap brown. These must have been a hit because we were covered!

Once guests arrived at the reception, they were treated with hors d’oeuvres and our signature drink of white peach sangria. To add to their sangria, we handmade custom drink stirrers with cute phrases on them. My mom and I crafted our seating chart out of an old wooden frame we picked up at a craft store and hooked twine on the back. We  clipped our table listings to the twine with mini clothes pins. I bought a mailbox and had my dad paint it a beautiful slate blue. He carefully stenciled our name along the side to create a unique card collector. Instead of the traditional guest books, my husband and I each picked out a coffee table book we would like and had our guests leave their well wishes.

To add to the decor, my mom and I stocked up on over 100 mason jars and added strips of burlap around the middle of the jars. We tied a bow of twine, and filled the jars with sand and a candle. This gave the venue a glow all evening. I wanted to make sure our guests had a great time, so I made postcards and placed them at each person’s seat. I asked our guests to give us their marriage advice (and drop in our mailbox, of course). This proved to be a huge hit! It was so fun going through and reading everyone’s response. I made sure to save these for Dan and I to go through again over the years. We hauled an old whiskey barrel 2 hours from my hometown to place our cake on and it ended up working perfectly with the scheme of the wedding.

My favorite element of the decor were the umbrellas I had carefully selected to hang over the dance floor. I rented these from a store in Seattle and they were exactly the unique touch I was looking for.

With a wedding of only 90 people, we closely knew each one of our guests. Our goal was to make them feel welcomed and appreciated, with the opportunity to kick back and have a great time! Between the welcome bags filled with goodies on arrival to their hotel up to Jimmy John’s being catered at the end of the night, I know our guests (and ourselves) had a wonderful evening.

Photography: Amy Allen Photography / Flowers: cynwhd b designs / Event Planning & Design: Laura and her mother / Ceremony Location: Capitol Hill Lutheran / Reception Location: Zart 1312, Downtown Des Moines, IA / Invitations: Zephyr Weddings / Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Dress: Paloma Blanca / Umbrella Rentals: Bella Umbrella / Custom Purses: Jenna Lou Designs / Custom Postcards: Vistaprint