When Sarah and Mark first got in touch with me about their Iowa State Fairground wedding in Des Moines, I was so excited – they were planning a romantic outdoor wedding with tons of real floral and natural landscape. The fairgrounds is really such a gem of a place to explore outside of fair days. So many photo opportunities and stunning gardens. Sarah and Mark seemed like really fun and relaxing people and I couldn’t wait to shoot their wedding!

Getting Ready

I began the morning at Prairie Meadows, where the couple was getting ready separately with their 8 groomsmen and bridesmaids. It was so relaxing, because everyone was in a good mood. Sarah didn’t want to have to wear a full wedding gown all day/night so she decided on a two piece. She found both pieces at Modern Dress in Boone, Iowa. and Mark wore a suit from Joseph A. Banks and they both looked so incredible. They each let their bridesmaids and groomsmen have their own touch to their outfits. The girls found their cute skirts from amazon ( hello savings) while each finding their own top to pair it with. On our way out of the hotel, Sarah got a phone call from her future husband. As Iowa weather would have it, they would need to change their ceremony set up to take place indoors where the reception would be held. Everyone worked really quickly and it all turned out to be beautiful regardless.


The wedding took place at the Youth inn on the fairgrounds , and was filled with so many loved ones. Their guests all sat at round dinner tables as they made their way down the aisle. Giant curtains separated the venue so that you couldn’t see the wedding party coming in. They said their vows up on the giant stage which turned out to be so great. The stage really made it unique as they were raised above eye level for all to see easily. After the ceremony we made our way to the shuttle bus, and then were able to make different stops around the fairgrounds. We were lucky to catch a break in the rain! One of my favorite all time photos came from their wedding day. You will spot it below - the couple is standing in front of what looks like a floral wall but really was just giant bushes in front of the old house at the fairgrounds.


The wedding reception took place  at the Youth inn as well. I thought it was so sweet that the bride danced with her father and then also invited her mother and sister on stage too. The whole wedding party and guests really enjoyed busting moves on the dance floor. During the reception they served yummy food from Hy-vee and had one of the most delicious dessert tables, which Earl couldn’t resist trying out ( he’s got the biggest sweet tooth).

The couple’s advice to future wedding goers would be - “Although it is a big, important day, try not to take it too seriously. The purpose should be to celebrate the love that you share and the life that you are building together. It's easy to get caught up in details and to worry about what others might think of your decisions, but it's your process, your celebration, and your love that you are celebrating. Stay focused on the love, and everything else will fall into place.” I couldn’t agree with them more.

Here’s their romantic, minimal wedding!

Dress Designer/Store : Modern Dress

Tux Designer/ Store: Joseph A. Banks

Floral Designer? Hy-Vee

Dessert Shop? Hy-Vee

Food Catering Service? Hy-Vee

DJ/ Band? BCP Weddings

Getting Ready Location : Prairie Meadows

Ceremony : Youth inn - Iowa State Fairgrounds