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Des Moines Wedding from Amy Allen Photography

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

Badgley Mischka is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here.
Des Moines Wedding by Mark Kegans Photographs

Weddings tend to strike a separate cord in all of us, and this personality-filled Iowa fête by Mark Kegans Photographs is the perfect example of what tends to strum every cord in my wedding-obsessed heart. Because not only was this wedding held in the chicest of lofts filled with the most sophisticated details (hello fabulous ceremony backdrop!), but when the best man also has the rings flown in by a remote-controlled helicopter and the couple had their hands in every special detail – you just know this entire celebration is strike-a-cord-worthy. And after scrolling through the images of the couple’s oh so perfect day in the full gallery of images, I guarantee you’ll agree.

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From the bride… From the get go, Kyle and I knew that we wanted to have a large role in the pieces that would make our wedding day whole. We struck a fine balance between knowing when to ask for help and knowing what we could handle ourselves. Sometimes it was a bit stressful, but in the end, it all turned out perfectly. Kyle and I got engaged in a photo booth on Christmas Eve, and though we knew having a photo booth would be important to us for our fall wedding, Kyle (an industrial designer) decided to put a unique spin on things: he built our photo booth himself. Not only was craftiness a large part of our wedding, but so was locality. I’m from Iowa, and Kyle is from Michigan, and we tried to have the wedding reflect our appreciation for all things local: our food included Iowa prosciutto and local greens, the honey we used as our party favors was from Iowa, and our salad had Michigan dried cherries. All of our paper materials were provided by a Michigan paper company, and our beer and wine were purchased from the restaurant where I worked all through high school and college. Kyle and I are proud of our roots, and we wanted to pay homage to them in every way we possibly could.

While we take the tradition of marriage seriously, we did want to have at least a little bit of fun with our guests — which is why we enlisted the help of Kyle’s brother, best man, and sister-in-law to help us stage a spoof in which the best man “forgot” the rings and had a remote-controlled helicopter bring them over to him. It was the best surprise ever — from everyone’s reactions, you can see that we were able to keep that one a pretty good secret!

Aside from the photo booth, Kyle designed our invitations, programs, menu cards and honey tags, and I wrote the copy for everything. Nothing felt better than knowing the majority of what we’d come up with we’d also been able to execute and create ourselves. We had friends do the chalk art, arrange songs to be played during the cocktail hour, and help us assemble the photo booth. We were lucky enough to have had Kyle’s father, a judge, marry us. Looking back, nothing is cooler than seeing the parts that so many wonderful people played in helping us with our wedding day. The day was wonderful, from top to bottom. Kyle and I knew that above all else, our hard work was only an element of the event. We wanted to have a good time and not sweat what we couldn’t control. That was the easiest (and best) decision we ever made. The night flowed perfectly, thanks to our coordinators; the decor was absolutely stunning; and every moment was filled with laughter and wonderful conversation.

Wedding Photography: Mark Kegans Photographs / Event Planning, Design + Flowers: Magnolia 105 by Divine Flowers / Wedding Venue: Sticks in Des Moines, Iowa / Wedding Cake: Cake Me, I’m Yours! / Food + Catering: Lisa LaValle / Wedding Invitations: Kyle Lawson, Groom / Shoes: Miss America / Wedding Dress: Tara Keely

Hayley Paige and Jim Hjelm Occasions are members of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. JLM Couture, Inc is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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