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Jen & Paul’s Galena Wedding

Jen & Paul’s Galena wedding was full of heartfelt moments and beauty that was just incredible.  This wedding was special for me because I first met Jen almost 7 years ago at another JWP wedding for Glen and Abby.  Jen was the maid of honor for Abby’s wedding, and she’s just one of those people that you never forget.  She is friendly, kind, and has a bit of dry whit – it came in handy during the toasts on her own wedding day!  Somehow after 7 years, Jen remembered me as well, and reached out to me when Paul popped the question to see if I would be interested in photographing their wedding.  It was an easy yes!  Not only would I be reunited with some absolutely wonderful people, when she shared her vision for her day, I knew it would be so special

Their wedding was held on a piece of land owned by Paul’s family, and the place for their eventual future home.  When we first talked, I remember Jen sharing that Paul does woodworking and was planning to BUILD a space for their wedding!  While that didn’t end up being the final plan for their date, what I loved is that they really wanted to put as much of themselves into their day.  From the location they chose to the food they ate to the people they shared their moments with, it was a true reflection of them as individuals and a couple.  One particular moment I loved was hearing each of their parents share a toast, sharing memories of their kids growing up.  Jen’s dad sharing a story of praying for her future husband, and Paul’s mom reminiscing about the revolving door of girls in their household (he has a LOT of brothers!) There were so many smiles from friends and family throughout the evening, sharing the joy they have together and celebrating with Paul and Jen.

Congratulations to you both – what an incredible day!  We may not have had picture perfect weather that we had hoped for, but that’s not nearly as important as the rock solid foundation you guys have together!

Venue: Private Estate
Planning & Coordination:  Red Heels Wedding & Event Design
Florals: Hand Pickd 4 U
Rentals: Bel Aire Rental
Cake: Wedding Day Bakery
DJ: Alexxus
Video: Taylen Anderson
Transportation:  Galena Trolleys
Wedding Dress: Hope’s Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie
Makeup: Blue Elements Salon & Spa


We started our day off after a HUGE downpour hit the entire eastern Iowa area and sadly washed away our plans for an outdoor ceremony.  One thing I am grateful for is Jen just goes with the flow.  She was bummed, but had a good perspective on the whole ordeal and was just excited to get married!  We photographed her beautiful dress from Hope’s Bridal and these adorable velvet shoes!

Jen’s mom helped her into her dress.

The incredible flowers from Hand Pickd 4 U were perfect for a spring wedding!

After putting on the finishing touches, it was time for the first look!  The sun was just starting to peak out and dry things off just in time.

I love that Jen surprised Paul with an engraving on his wedding band.

One of my favorites from their day!

We headed into downtown Galena for portrait time with their bridal party – and we had a blast out in the streets!

If you’ve been to Galena, you know of the infamous staircase.  If you’ve photographed a wedding in Galena, you also know that there are LOTS of people that use these stairs for their workouts.  While we were photographing group photos, we had one runner pass through TWICE!  That’s one crazy workout if you ask me!

These two are perfect!


Don’t they look beautiful!
Wedding party celebrating in the streets of galena

Galena wedding Desoto House

We stepped inside the Desoto House briefly for portraits on this historic staircase.  The manager was gracious enough to let me rearrange some furniture to get these shots!

When we were driving up to Paul’s family property, I spied the absolute most PERFECT location for some portraits, and it even had a weeping willow tree, which I love!  They humored me and stopped for just 5 minutes for a few quick portraits before we rushed back for family photos.  I’m gad we stopped because it ended up being some of my most favorite photos from the day!

Galena weddingGalena wedding

A little high five and patty cake fun – lol!


bride and groom kissing under weeping willow tree

Finally, before their ceremony, we took a quiet walk out to the original site where they were hoping to exchange vows.  I love when couples can share a little time alone prior to their ceremony, and this was particularly special because I knew how important this place was to them.  

Where their story will continue on…overlooking the Mississippi, just outside of Galena.

We gathered back under the tent to begin their ceremony.   Even though it was set up for a reception, it worked wonderfully well for a ceremony!

When I first arrived early in the day and stepped inside the tent, I gasped.  Their reception was stunningly beautiful.

Tented wedding reception in Galena


There may have been a slight issue with the ring fitting – I’m pretty sure Paul’s fingers were swollen from helping setup earlier in the day and the crazy humidity!

Almost there…



A huge shout out to Shannon and her team from Red Heels Events – she pulled together an extraordinary day!  Everything was beautiful!


Beautiful white tent wedding held in Galena with farmhouse tables, cross back chairs, and stunning floral arrangements


My new favorite idea for centerpieces – old milk crates (at least I think that’s what they are) with individual glass vases and stems of florals!  It was perfect!

Beautiful tented reception with wood cross back chairs, farmhouse tables, beautiful floral arrangementsWedding centerpiece featuring an antique metal milk crate with flowers and rosesmetal milk crate floral centerpiece

One bonus of having the ceremony inside was using the arbor for their decor – how incredible does this look!?!

wedding cake with wooden arbor decorated with flowers

A fun little airstream bar serving peach Bellinis – they were popular!

Garden roses and florals that were to die for!

Jen & Paul entered to cheers, cut their cake, and chowed down on delicious food from top chef contestant Kevin Sharpf.  It was seriously the best wedding food I’ve ever tasted.

Bravo to the amazing chef!  It was an incredible dinner.

We danced the night away under the stars!


Congrats to Jen & Paul!  Your wedding will be one I never forget, and I can’t wait to be back in Galena for more!

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