We recently were blessed to document the wedding day of James and Lexee at the Celebration Farm in Iowa City. It was a beautiful day for a beautiful couple with a beautiful story. We started the day watching the hubbub of decorating happen in the DoubleRound barn while the girls took turns having their hair and makeup done for the day. Among the decor, I saw a set of peculiar items that didn’t seem to belong. Were those . . . decorative, color-coordinated fly swatters?? I thought they were going to end up on each table as part of the centerpieces, but apparently not. More on fly killing contraptions later though. Lexee eventually had the bridal suite all to herself as she had her hair and makeup done up, which I’m sure was a nice respite away from the busyness of the decor setup happening just outside.
James was excited to learn that he would be able to see Lexee before the ceremony, even though he should have been aware of that, considering he was involved in the planning process for that decision. He apparently didn’t know exactly what ‘first look’ meant, but I suppose that’s another perk of doing a first look before the ceremony—you get to spend an extra 2-3 hours with your love on your wedding day. For a summer day, it was unseasonably cool and cloudy. Lexee stepped outside for the first time in her dress and had goosebumps. Though James would probably like to tell you that the goosebumps were in anticipation for her first look with him, I think it was more that there weren’t enough degrees at the moment. But, we can say the drama of the moment added to it. Speaking of that first look, just look at James’ face the first time he saw her. He looked like a kid on Christmas. I love capturing such raw emotion!
They got a few minutes to soak in the reality of the day before we transitioned into portraits of them and their wedding party. As we made our way around the property taking ridiculously beautiful photos, a decent amount of our conversation revolved around Lexee’s disdain for insects. She and I are not unlike each other in that way, though, her level of insect disapproval goes far beyond even mine, which is really saying something. As she was getting ready, I spotted what I thought was a badminton racquet. I’m like, “Who is playing badminton today?” Then Lexee corrects me and says, “Oh, no. That’s a ‘Fly Zapper 3000.’ It electrocutes flies when they touch it. I have two of them. One of them is pink.” I also learned that she considers it extremely satisfying to let the dead insect roast a bit longer after she has already killed said fly or spider with the contraption. As I’m writing this, I really regret not capturing an elegant photo of Lexee holding the electrical racquet, similar to a bouquet. Missed opportunities . . . Shame. We did venture out into nature a bit for their portraits—it’s almost impossible not to at the Celebration Farm—and surprisingly, she did not carry along the Fly Zapper. She could have used it, as a grasshopper and cricket got caught in her dress as we were taking photos. Perhaps she needed some sort of electrical current running through her train. Now we’re thinking!
There was a bit of a break before the ceremony to get all those things cleaned up. When it was finally go time, Lexee’s dad walked with her to the top of the amphitheater steps and began the descent to her soon-to-be husband, who was waiting—barely composed—under the beautiful trio of arches. As they walked, I swear I saw roughly 1/3 of their guests tearing up. They wrote their own vows for the ceremony, and while they were somehow able to stay composed, they practically had everyone else in tears. They sealed the deal with a kiss, and Lexee walked back up the stairs with a new man at her side. Crazy the subtle symbolism in wedding ceremonies, right?
At that point, it was dinner time and soon to be party time. Mirabito’s served an amazing dinner and DJ Clife was the DJ and MC for the evening. He always seems to find new ways to surprise and delight his clients, and this evening was no different. His taste and ability to mix music are the best in the wedding industry in our area, and he is able to consistently maintain an energy and full dance floor. Speaking of surprises, James and Lexee had a first dance mash-up planned, much to the delight of all their guests, complete with money guns that sprayed Benjamins all over the barn. No one rushed to claim them. They were fake. Perhaps more surprising later in the night, it was the first time that I had heard Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” played at a wedding. There was decent crowd participation for the vocals, which was . . . really something. We escaped for a few photos toward the end of the evening at what was supposed to be sunset. But the clouds that were out during the daytime weren’t about to leave . . . for another 3-4 days. I always say, even if it’s completely cloudy at sunset, it’s still worth going outside to capture those dramatic photos, and I think we got some sweet images in the few minutes that we spent out there. A totally different look, for sure.
James and Lexee, congratulations! We’re so happy for you guys and really appreciate your story. Thank you for choosing to have us be a part of your day! We wish you guys all the best for a lifetime of love and happiness together!
Hair/Makeup – Steph Mueller
Cake – Nothing Bundt Cakes
DJ – Clife DJ Company
Video – Developed by Duver
Dress – The Bridal Shop (Coralville)
Catering – Mirabito’s
Photographers – Carter Photography