We spent this last Saturday with Alex and Riley to document their wedding day at the HarMac in downtown Cedar Rapids. In what has been a miserable spring weather-wise, they were blessed with a beautiful, sunny day and warmer temperatures. Despite it being super nice outside, we actually did most of our photo work inside because I couldn’t help myself. Can I just talk about the HarMac for a second? The HarMac has got it going on. I think Alex and Riley would agree. It is instantly in my top 3 wedding venues in the area because it has it all—industrial character for days, a designated indoor ceremony space, rooftop access (sunset ops), huge windows with natural light, tons of indoor photo ops, tons of outdoor photo ops within walking distance, great staff, spacious bridal suite, spacious groom suite, and probably the best bar of any wedding venue in the area. It’s about ideal for couples and photographers alike. I’m all about places that make it easy and let you spend the whole day in one place.
We started the day with the girls getting ready in that spacious bridal suite with hair, makeup, Drake and Nicki Minaj. After getting ready, Riley was feeling herself. She looked in the mirror at the finished product and said, “Oh, hell yeah.” 🙂 I loved it. After getting into her dress, Riley did a reveal for her girls, which made one of them cry and all of them squeal. They agreed with her previous sentiment.
Next up was Riley’s first look with Alex. It was a sweet moment with tears of happiness. I didn’t hear anything they said, but I’m pretty sure Alex was at least thinking, “Oh, hell yeah,” too. We transitioned from their first look into photos of the two of them, and then eventually added in their wedding party. Again, I was perfectly content shooting everything inside, because when I’m shooting, there are generally 3 things I’m looking for—light (big windows=check), character/visual interest (check), and space (again, check). I guess you could say when I saw was available to me inside, I was like, “Oh, hell yeah.” We did go outside for 10 minutes or so, which was nice, if not just to get out and enjoy the weather!
Alex and Riley’s ceremony was small and intimate, and also importantly, short. The vision for the day was to yes, get married, but also just simply enjoy the company of friends and family in a very casual atmosphere. With that in mind, their wedding day, and specifically their reception, didn’t look like most wedding days. I’m all about that. Be you. Do what makes you comfortable and happy on your big day. They didn’t have an exact start time for the reception and it was supposed to be more of an open house kind of feel. They had wood fire pizzas from Maggie’s Farm made fresh throughout the night, so there was never a sit-down dinner (in fact, most people ate standing up). There were no toasts, no spotlight dances, no bouquet toss, no garter toss, no cake cutting. There was however, plenty of catching up and enjoying the company of those you were close to. IMO, that is more important than following a traditional checklist just because you have to. There was some dancing at the end of the night, because Riley loves karaoke and rap music. So the day began and ended with Drake and Nicki Minaj.
Alex and Riley, thank you for choosing to have us document your big day! We appreciate the fact that photos were still a box on the checklist that you had to have, and we hope that you are pleased with the results!
Hair & Makeup – Reiny Felstead (The Style Shack)
Appetizers & Wood Fire Pizzas – Maggie’s Farm
Photo Booth – Unique Events
Photographers – Carter Photography