We have been waiting for this day at Sugar Grove for quite a while! Molly and Brayton first contacted me while I was living in Spain, during a particularly difficult season for me. I was homesick and longing desperately to reconnect with friends and get back into photography. As we exchanged emails and chatted about their wedding (which was over 18 months away), my excitement grew. A spring wedding at one of my favorite venues, and a wonderful couple that was a dream to work with. It gave me just enough hope to get through things.
This probably all sounds slightly self-centered and maybe a tad pathetic. And looking back on things, I would agree. But at the same time, it also reveals just how much I really do LOVE what I do as a wedding photographer. Connecting with people on their best day ever is such a wonderful privilege. Being able to capture the beginning of their family legacy, walking alongside them through all of the excitement, the changing plans (more on that in a minute…) and ultimately, presenting them with their first family heirloom – it is a blessing. I know as a photographer, technically I am working for the couple that chooses me and they are on the receiving end, and yet, I can’t help but feel honored and like I receive even more. Somehow at the end of the days and months of communication, I’ve gained new friends and a small window into another couple’s life. For Molly and Brayton, it’s a window into the joy they share together. It is contagious. They love to laugh, and even better, they love each other’s laugh! It’s how laid back and relaxed they are. It’s their slight obsession with bloody Mary’s and good chips and salsa.
All of this is to say thank you to Molly and Brayton. You had the most amazing wedding day! It was a bit of a rollercoaster with the changing weather, and you took it all in stride. Thank you for trusting me and for being so amazing! And thank you for being just the thing I needed to look forward to – you may not have known it at the time, but it was a blessing!
Their wedding was held at Sugar Grove Vineyards in Newton, Iowa. It is one of my absolute FAVORITE places! The barn and grounds are gorgeous!
In love with the balcony at the Sugar Grove barn!
Molly’s promise ring from her dad.
A toast to get the day started!
Molly has the most STUNNING red hair! I have major hair jealousy. She looked amazing! Huge thanks to I Do Pretty for her perfect hair and make up.
Sugar Grove has a beautiful lane that is lined with oak trees and lilacs. Molly and Brayton were married right in the middle of peak blooming for the lilacs, and were rewarded with the most beautiful setting for their first look!
Love all of these! It was IMPOSSIBLE to choose favorites.
I mentioned earlier that we had a bit of a rollercoaster that day for weather. When I arrived, the skies were blue. Yet, it was starting to get cloudy and dark. As we got closer to their first look and I looked at my weather app on my phone, it was very obvious that it wasn’t a matter of if it would rain, it was a matter of when. This was one of those moments where I was so incredibly grateful that they trusted me. We drove out for their first look and ALL of these portraits were done in less than 10 minutes. We actually got done sooner than I expected and had a little extra time while we waited for the bridal party to arrive! And of course we just kept on going! I knew we had to work FAST and it would begin raining super soon, but I also knew how much they really REALLY wanted portraits at this particular location. And it was totally worth the effort to move quickly and efficiently, and to have a willing bridal party that could go with the flow!
As you look through these bridal party photos, you’ll notice it getting windier…and windier. I think when I looked back at the timing for this, we got all of the group photos and individual photos done in 12 minutes, which is probably a record for me with a 12 person bridal party!
Back over at the barn, we gathered together to get ready for their ceremony…and it was at this point, that it started POURING outside!
They were seriously the BEST group to work with on this day!
About 30 minutes before their ceremony, it was raining very hard. Molly and Brayton made the difficult decision to move their ceremony indoors. And as guests started arriving and tables were being moved, Brayton and I stepped outside. The rain was letting up, and if you looked to the west, the skies were parting and the sun was shining. It was blue skies everywhere! A quick check of the radar confirmed that if we could manage to wait about 10 more minutes, we’d have the perfect window of time for their ceremony. After a quick check in with Molly…the ceremony was back outside. Friends were gracious and patient, ushers were wiping off chairs, the musicians were moving and setting up for the second time, but everyone was smiling and excited – this was about giving Brayton and Molly their best day ever. Even if it meant switching things up a second time and waiting a little bit longer. Their DJ was incredibly accommodating, their friends were excited – I was just so impressed with the people they have chosen to surround themselves with!
This photo is looking towards the east – you can see all of the storm clouds and rain off in the distance that had just gone past us.
Congrats to the new Meekers!
Love this one!
After cocktail hour and mingling with guests, we headed back into the barn for a delicious dinner.
Homemade bloody mary mix as their favors!
A few Dutch treats from their hometown of Pella.
We snuck outside for a few sunset photos! My favorite time of day.
You guys – this group knew how to DANCE! And a huge thanks to ASEDJ who did a PHENOMENAL job keeping the dance floor packed! Even the dancing carseat!
And finally, gotta end with this gem!
CONGRATS you guys! What an amazing day!
Venue: Sugar Grove Vineyard
Florist: Shelly Sarver Designs
DJ: A Special Event DJ
Rentals: Borrow My Vintage
Cake: Cakes by Linda
Photography: Jennifer Weinman Photography
Videography: MDL Events
Hair & Makeup: I Do Pretty
Dress: Modern Dress
Caterer: Country Catering
Invites: Blissfully Melody