Joan & Russ’s Wedding in Ames Family Style Reception at Gatherings

From the beginning of the day until the very end, the one thing that I loved most about Russ and Joan’s wedding was that it was all about family.  They included those who matter most to them in every part of their day.  Joan’s sweet little nieces and nephews paraded down the aisle as flower girls and ring bearers (and sign bearers too!) as total pros, she had a first look with both her mom and her dad (one of my favorite moments!), Russ shared a very gracious toast to their parents and grandparents, but it wasn’t even the visible moments that told the story.  It was the quieter ones – when Joan clung to her grandma so tightly after their wedding ceremony.  Or when she shared a dance with grandpa who was ALL smiles!

If that weren’t enough, the beauty and love was everywhere.  Joan has had her eye on Russ for quite some time, and today was FINALLY their day!  Joan was accompanied by her closest friends throughout the morning as we prepared for the day at Farm Pond Inn in nearby Nevada, and it all started with this AMAZING dress from Pure Bridal.   Truly stunning!

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In loooooooove with these invitations!

If you want the perfect place to get ready for your wedding in Ames or Nevada, Farm Pond Inn is top notch.  It’s operated by the same group that owns Gatherings in Nevada.  There’s plenty of room for everyone, and who can argue with perfectly placed hooks for dresses!

LOVED these personalized tumblers!

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Matching PJs and a group hug before everyone gets into their dresses.

matching bridesmaids PJs

I am seriously in LOVE with this dress!  The gorgeous long sleeved lace sleeves and the asymmetry of the tulle in the gown – GORGEOUS!

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gatherings wedding photographer nevada iowa

Joan shared a brief moment with both of her parents before she saw Russ for their first look.

Russ surprised Joan BIG TIME during their first look with a surprise diamond wedding band that perfectly matched her engagement ring.

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Joan, you were TOTALLY meant to be a bride!

I don’t normally share many family portraits, but I know how important these people are to Joan, and I couldn’t help but share them!

Stepped outside for a few couple’s portraits on a super cold and SUPER windy day!

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This willow tree – the PERFECT spot for portraits!

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We headed to Ames for their ceremony.

The sign every photographer LOVES to see!

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There’s something about this sweet moment as they were walking to the altar for their vows.  I love it.


This moment.  It’s everything.

We stopped by Memorial Union at Iowa State for bridal party portraits, and I have to give a huge round of applause to everyone.  It was FREEZING cold and insanely windy.  We somehow managed to knock out all of these photos, and a lot more, in less than 10 minutes with not one complaint.  You guys were the best!

memorial union wedding ISU iowa state wedding amesmemorial union wedding ISU iowa state weddingmemorial union wedding ISU iowa state wedding amesmemorial union wedding iowa state amesmemorial union wedding iowa state amesmemorial union wedding iowa state ames

Had to stop by a favorite bar to warm up after that!

And the ONE shot we couldn’t miss!  Joan’s family owns Great Plains Sauce & Dough, and she had always dreamed of this photo!

Everyone came together for a wonderful celebration for a family-style reception at Gatherings in Nevada.

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Donuts for dessert!   Seriously, they know me far too well!

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All THREE rings together now 🙂

ring box

The best popcorn bar!

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Just taking wedding photos with the governor….no big deal!

Dancing was kicked off by Pianopalooza – dueling pianos!

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One of my favorite moments!

dueling pianos

A little serenade for Joan.  The guys pulled off “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” pretty dang well!

wedding serenade

Congrats to the newlyweds!   You guys are wonderful, and I am so honored that I could be part of your best day ever!

Preparation Location: Farm Pond Inn
Ceremony Venue: St Thomas Aquinas Church
Reception Venue:  Gatherings
Photographer: Jennifer Weinman Photography
 Leah Rose Productions
Bridal Gown: 
Pure Bridal
Tuxedos:  Milroy’s
Makeup: Powder Studio
Hair: Valor & Violet
Mary Kay’s Flowers
Desserts: The Dutch Oven Bakery
Invitations: Doe a Deer
Calligraphy: Written by Robin
Dueling Pianos:  Pianopalooza



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