{valerie and danny} hotel vetro | iowa city iowa


Danny and Val.  I still remember shooting their engagement session: Valerie was wearing this black leather jacket, which made her hair practically glow, I remember just feeling this admiration for how effortlessly cool she was.  Every pose she just melted into; I could not help but feel jealous of how she just owned red lipstick.  When I try to pull off red lipstick, people typically ask if its Halloween yet.  Valerie is one cool chick.

Danny is so kind and easy going.  His family!  Wow, so sweet.  I could not help but notice when we did group pics, his mom was up with her 3 boys (Danny the first to get hitched) – like how neat to have a daughter now, right?  I think that quite often during formals (vise versa for all daughters, or all sons), maybe I am babbling, but how special that will be someday, that content feeling, when your kiddo has found the one, and you have this celebratory day symbolizing you, kind of handing them off {obviously James + I have had about 200+ ceremonies contemplating this (Reese told him she wants their dad/daughter dance to be Mickey Mouse Hot Dog Dance, so we have some time)}.

James + I had two goose bump moments on this particular day:

One, when Valerie was putting on her dress, she was flipping through a sparkly clutch (reserved for special occasions) and found the ring, that became hers when her father passed away/was hospitalized.  Valerie had searched up and down (forever) for this ring, and chalked it up as a loss when it never appeared anywhere.  Here, standing in front of the mirror with her earrings sparkling, she was completely dressed head to toe, snapped open this clutch only to find THE ring!  We all sort of stood with our jaws to the ground.  I believe he picked the absolutely perfect moment to show his presence, love + support.  It was truly beautiful.

Goose bumps #2 was during the reception, when Danny asked all his fellow troops to stand up.  That was incredible.  I have never felt so proud, honored and grateful to be in such a room!  All these guys deserved to be displayed as we gave them a hearty round of applause.  They deserved more than that.  It was truly, genuinely an honor to be in the company of these great men that served our country!  Not to mention the two who attended the reception (and ceremony!) in Dumb + Dumber tuxedos (its on Facebook, so hop and there and experience their charm for yourself).

xoxo to Danny + Valerie!


Thank you Danny + Valerie for a beautiful + sweet day! -MD

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katie and josh {engagements!}


Ah. Beautiful!  We were asked to visit a cozy little cabin in Marengo IA, and whoa, did they deliver.  The mother of the groom organized the entire shoot down to which locations she liked best and converted the back of her vehicle into a dressing room.  It was so cute!  James + I are used to dictating the shots/locations, even offering outfit suggestions and sometimes pretzeling our own selves into a pose to show the couple what we had in mind (unfortunately/fortunately we usually think exactly alike).

So we arrive to bright, intense sun (um, excuse me, NOT in the forecast) and it was crazy humid, not to mention peek allergy season.  Katie and Josh were back in Iowa, visiting family where he originally was born, but live + are to be married down south.  So, today was the day to shoot, like, no matter what before they hopped a plane back.

They were so amazing!  Katie planned a jean jacket (and did you notice the skirt that she made herself {swoon!}!?) and was owning it, despite us taking water breaks.  I can honestly say it was the most humid engagement session we shot this summer.  Who would have thought looking at the photos?!  They were so sweet, no complains, and Josh would do like a huge sneeze, we rapid fire a bunch of shots, then James would do a huge sneeze.  We were SUCH a positive team!

We had taxi service of a Gator, which brought us to exciting locations, past haystacks, up muddy hills, down thistle fields to and from our spots.  I wanted to thank you, Tammy, for doing all this planning + work for us.  What a treat to show up + shoot, enjoy good company, pretty scenery and feel inspired.

Congrats to Josh + Katie who will be tying the knot next August.  We simply wanted to thank all three of you for your kind words, happy spirits, welcoming arms + fun adventure!

xo MD


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rexine and karl | SURPRISE WEDDING!

Wow.  After 150 shares from just OUR Facebook page, I sort of forgot to get this gem up on the blog…but here it is!

So many things going on: Rex was surprised by the breathtaking engagement ring (that I got to see first thing that AM, and had to keep a secret until the proposal) or how about that sweet marriage certificate Karl gifted?  Yep, another top secret.  All the surprises you see unfold in this video are one hundred percent real, one hundred percent genuine.  The teary proposal, the bridesmaids dresses fitting like a glove, the conversations, the calls, the gorgeous vintage chairs we spontaneously swept from the kitchen…it all melted together into one dreamy, perfect, surreal, magical day.

Thank you Karl + Rex for all YOUR hard work, you guys brought all the material AND handed creative control completely over to us, which is such an honor.

Thanks for all the kind comments!  We enjoyed creating this as much as you enjoyed savoring it.

- James, Chad, Rachel, Missy, Josh

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