Wedding Planning Woes?


Planning a wedding can be a daunting task, as many couples have never planned such a large event, and it's especially hard when you're planning in an area you might not be very familiar with. After I got engaged, I wanted to jump in with both feet (what can I say, I'm a planner) but wasn't sure where to begin. When Josh and I began looking for vendors and venues, we very quickly determined that we definitely wanted to work with people who genuinely seemed to want to be a part of our day. This means different things to different people, but to us it meant that the vendors were professional, easy to work with, and wanted to do their best to make our day as smooth as possible.

With that said, I wanted to share some of the vendors that we personally used for our wedding a few years ago. None of these people have paid me to say these good things about them (this is not an infomercial!), I just thought that it might be useful to another bride that is planning an Iowa City/Coralville/North Liberty wedding and might not know where to start.

Reception - South Slope
We looked at several venues, and I know that a few new ones have popped up since we got married but South Slope was wonderful. I liked that the room was basic and we could decorate pretty much however we wanted to make it our own. I also appreciated the fact that we could chose our own caterer, which helped keep costs lower than some other venues we checked out.

I can't say enough good things about The Bread Garden, and neither could our guests! The food was phenomenal, the staff was so helpful and professional, and I loved that they arranged all the rentals for dining (glasses, plates, silverware, etc) based on what I wanted.

A DJ, in my opinion, can make or break a wedding reception. If you want someone who will play great music and keep the dance floor full, you should definitely check out Murphy Sound. I especially appreciated how he made announcements as requested, but otherwise kept a low profile (there's nothing worse than a DJ who thinks he's the star of the show).

Jewelry - Colin Andre
We weren't sure where we wanted to purchase Josh's wedding band, but his sister had a great experience with Colin Andre so we made sure to take a look. I was very impressed with the selection, price, and the fact that it's locally owned.

Flowers - Heaven Scent
I LOVED my flowers. They were 100% exactly what I wanted, prices were reasonable, and they looked gorgeous all day/night.

Tuxedos - Nedrebo's
Straightforward and easy to work with, and we had no issues with fit when the guys went to try on their tuxedos the day before the wedding. We got the groom's tux for free with a certain number of rentals, and 50% off of two others which we offered to the ring bearers since their tuxedos were half the size.

I adore everyone at the Michael Tschantz Salon, the atmosphere is just what a salon should be and it was perfect on the morning of the wedding. Katie C. did my hair and it was exactly what I wanted. I felt beautiful, natural, and best of all - no one had any crazy bridesmaid helmet hair!!

Photography - Mindy Myers and Paige Peterson
Although they aren't from the Iowa City area, I can't go without mentioning our photographers. Although I wasn't doing photography at the time, it was something that was extremely important to us and we adjusted our budget accordingly. Mindy and Paige are absolutely amazing, and incredibly sweet. In fact, Mindy (and possibly Paige as her second shooter) is photographing my sister's wedding in January and I can't wait to see her again. (Click here to see some of our photos on her old blog.)

*Note: Both Josh and I were happy with pretty much every vendor we chose, but some (like where I bought my dress) are not listed here because they are out of the area or have closed their business to pursue other ventures (such as the place where our cake was from).

Nicole and Jordan

Wow, what a weekend! As I mentioned in Friday's post, my cousin Nicole got married on Saturday and what a gorgeous day for a wedding!! Perfect weather, a beautiful bride, a handsome groom, and a fantastic party...what more could you ask for?

I was just a guest at this wedding...however, you didn't think I would leave my camera at home did you? I had to take the opportunity to get some wedding photos to show you all, and that's what this post is all about. Please keep in mind that as a guest, I had certain limitations that a wedding photographer wouldn't have on the big day, such as being restricted to a church pew during the ceremony (and trying to stay out her photographers' way so they could do their job). Regardless, I think I got some great photos and I am so excited for everyone to take a look.

I've included some of my favorites below, but you can see even more photos by clicking HERE to view a slideshow I put together (the photos below can also be seen in the slideshow as well as several others not seen here).

The day began early, with Nicole inviting me to the salon to take some photos of her getting all dolled up for the big day. This is one of my favorite parts of the day, the air is full of excitement and anticipation! I absolutely ADORE her hair, isn't she stunning?
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After hair was finished, we headed to the church so Nicole could get her makeup done. I also took some detail photos during this time, including her beautiful dress and sparkly shoes! Once her photographers arrived, I headed home to get myself ready for the wedding.
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When I returned to the church, family members were milling around and I captured this photo of my grandparents, which I love.
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The ceremony was beautiful, and the vocalists were absolutely amazing. I have to admit, I got a little teary during the final song (and I know I wasn't the only one!). I think my favorite shot of the ceremony is this one sort of looking over the shoulder of my uncle (and father of the bride).
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You could tell Nicole spent a lot of time and energy on the reception decor, and since Josh and I were reception host and hostess, we were able to photograph some reception details before everyone else arrived.
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How many cousins does it take to fasten a bustle? This photo was taken by Josh...I'm the one in the purple dress!
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Again, this photo of the first dance was taken by Josh.
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Party time!
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And finally, the newlyweds have a quiet moment near the end of the night (I especially love this photo because Nicole's entire family is in the background - her mom is to the left and her dad is dancing with her sister to the right).
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Vendor information:

Florist - Becker Florist
Reception venue - Opera House
Cupcakes - Creative Cakes by LuAnn
Centerpieces - Uptown Elegance

It's a Nice Day for a White Wedding

There's just something about weddings, and I'm not 100% sure what it is that makes me love them so much. Could it be because it's one of the only times I get to witness my nearly 7 ft tall younger brother doing the worm across the dance floor? Possibly...but I don't think that's it. Honestly I think it might be because it's such a hopeful and exciting time for a couple as they declare their love in front of their friends and family, making a promise to stick by each other despite life's challenges. I also love weddings because they remind me of how I felt on my own wedding day three years ago. It was the most wonderful, perfect a nutshell, one of the best days of my life.

Although I'm not exactly looking forward to the Chicken Dance (just wondering, does anyone really like that song or is just tradition at this point and people feel it's not a wedding reception without it?), I AM looking forward to witnessing my cousin Nicole and her fiance Jordan tying the knot tomorrow. It's going to be a beautiful day, and I'm hoping to grab a few photos in between getting teary eyed and busting a move.

Have a great weekend everyone!