What a beautiful day we had to celebrate and document Trai and Allison’s wedding day at the Celebration Farm outside of Iowa City this weekend! As photographers, it is definitely a wedding venue that we look forward to shooting at. When we get a perfect day weather-wise, we are really set up to create some awesome images.
We started the day off with all the girls getting hair and makeup done as we huddled in the bridal suite and exchanged incidental elbows in the densely populated room. As a dude and veteran of countless weddings, I have become totally accustomed to—and comfortable with—being the only guy in these bridal suites. From the feminine smell of beauty and oppressive hairspray, to girls walking around in their bras, breastfeeding, talk of periods, nipple ‘pasties’, and sharing opinions on men, I’m right in my element. I spent a few minutes photographing the guys getting ready as well. When Trai was getting ready and got down to his skivvies as we were having an eye to eye conversation, that was the most uncomfortable situation I encountered. There was no warning at all, bro! Fortunately there was distracting banter from the rest of them about how one of their friends pooped their pants during a run, and the horrid smell that resulted.
We segue smoothly from that story to Trai and Allison’s first look under the sun and arches of the Celebration Farm’s amphitheater. What a beautiful setting and moment that was. It was even better because the space didn’t have all the chairs out since they were not using the space for their ceremony. Super easy, super clean! The first look happened around 12:30, and photographers ought to understand that shooting outside at that hour is not exactly a walk in the park. We were right in the heart of solar noon, which was around 1:00, where the sun was at its apex overhead, and the shadows were at their shortest. That meant no shade, and many of our typical go-to spots out there were unusable. That said, I’m really proud of the photos we were able to create in the difficult lighting circumstances, and it was fun to explore and look at the property in a different way as we searched for new photo opportunities. Of course, there are photo ops abound to be discovered out there!
The ceremony was in the Timber Frame barn, which ended up being a good call, because the brick ‘stage’ in the amphitheater was getting near brick oven status in the abundance of sun and warmer temperatures. It would have been hot, and there would have been sunburns. Inside, they were able to focus more on each other and the sentiment of the ceremony. Trai and Allison wrote their own vows, which I’m a big fan of. The bridesmaids were a hot mess behind them. I saw you guys reaching for your eyes every ten seconds! My favorite part of the ceremony was when Trai and Allison’s friend and officiant transitioned into the lighting of the unity candle. He explained that Trai wanted to do a ceremonial mixing of black and white sand instead, but Allison would not allow it. 😂 That’s just a glimpse into the character of these two.
After the ceremony, they got things turnt up with a party bus for the wedding party. Trai specifically requested a playlist that was ‘ratchet’, and I believe I got to experience that. Their primary stop was at the very classy American Legion in Solon—Stinocher Post #460, and with the mass of humanity that they were, they totally took over the place. I think it’s safe to say that their 90 minute joy ride was ‘productive’ and achieved its intended result.
After returning on the party bus, the wedding party made their entrance into the Double Round Barn for the evening’s main event. Trai’s friend from work catered the reception, and even though he doesn’t have a business, he totally could. The prime rib and grilled chicken dinner was among the best that we have enjoyed in the past couple years. At the tail end of dinner, I witnessed some serious dragging out of several party bus attendees, and it seemed like a scheduled nap time might have been welcomed. More proof of the trip’s ‘productivity’. Nevertheless, we pressed on, and they got a second wind. Heartfelt toasts followed the dinner, along with the first dances. It was such a beautiful evening that many congregated outside on the patio, but from our experience, inside on the dance floor stayed fairly ‘ratchet’ the whole time. Just another perk of the Celebration Farm to offer those different settings for the comfort of all of your guests.
Trai and Allison, thank you guys for choosing to have us as your wedding photographers! It was a privilege to spend the day with you guys and we wish you nothing but the best!
Hair & Makeup – Eden Salon & Spa
Flowers – Sueppel’s Flowers
Cake – Molly’s Cupcakes
Dress – Heart to Heart
Bartender – 2 Dogs Pub
Transportation – Black Diamond Limousine
Photographers – Carter Photography