A Road Trip and Iowa Wedding :: Anoka Area Photographer

So, remember that trip to Nebraska that I mentioned a few times?  You know, that one I was going to be taking with a friend, to photograph that wedding I was all excited about?  Well, I took that trip and it was amazing!  Four days before leaving, I found out I would be making the six hour road trip alone though–so, I quickly booked a hotel room for a couple of nights, and rented a reliable car for the long, boring, trek through farm country.  (I know some people love driving alone like that…but, seriously, that was the longest time I had sat without internet since high school.  It wasn’t really that fun.  The freedom to just think though–that was nice.)

I left Friday afternoon after getting my youngest down for nap; and, after an hour and a half to just get out of the Minneapolis area–I was finally on the road.  Turns out, Iowa is super lame to drive through.  My only entertainment was all the storms around me.  Since the land was so flat, you could see the individual storms everywhere.  Driving through the storm pockets though–well, that was a different story.  A terrifying story, in fact.  The storm pictured below was right as I was entering Nebraska.  The rain came down so hard, as the sun was setting, that even my fastest wipers weren’t fast enough.

Iowa Nebraska Storm

I made it to my hotel around nine, but realized I hadn’t eaten since I left Minneapolis and that I really wanted a beer.  So, I drove around to find food and booze to bring to my room–turns out, Nebraska and Iowa don’t really have liquor stores–they just sell it all in their regular stores.  I ended up with gas station pizza, some candy and a Coke, and I, happily, called it a night.  (The next day I discovered, while grabbing a Rockstar at Walgreens, the whole alcohol in the regular store thingy.  It was mind-blowing.)  I finally checked in around ten, took a couple selfies in the cool mirror in my room, was blown away by my view right out onto the Missouri River, watched an Ancient Alien marathon while enjoying my awesome food, and I crashed.

Saturday was a whirlwind of a day for me–I can’t even imagine what it was like for the bride!  I had coffee and breakfast while watching some cartoons, updating social media for work, getting ready (looking wedding pretty and photographer professional takes a bit of work), and packing up all my gear.  I met up with the bridal party, at a salon in Omaha around 9:30 am.  I shot all the ladies while they went through hair and makeup.  After they looked gorgeous-er than normal, I had a tiny break and stopped off at the hotel.  (I hadn’t planned on this–it just worked out beautifully.  It happened to be a crazy windy day–and, I happened to be dressed in a crazy cute, yet super flowy, dress.  That thing LOVED to flip, and fly, with every gust of wind.  The hotel staff was kind enough to borrow me office supplies in order to clip my dress down; but, it didn’t work well with all the movements I would be doing throughout the day.  Thankfully, I had packed a decent looking outfit for the drive home; it worked perfectly for the day.)

After about a half an hour at the hotel–I was back on the road and headed to a vineyard called, Bella Terre.  The drive there took me through winding, country, roads and through hills and fields that left me breathless at times.  It was stunning.  The reception hall and vineyard was, out-of-control, beautiful.  I shot everything from the bridal party getting ready, to the wedding details, to the family formals, to the ceremony, to the dinner, to the last dance.  It was a gorgeous, picture-perfect, day.  The bride has been a friend of mine since the third grade.  (She was actually one of my FIRST friends when I moved to my new school!)  It was just incredible to get to be a part of her big day–like, who would have seen that coming, during kickball at recess, when we were ten?  She was so mellow, and chill, about everything and just happy to have it all coming together.  Her sense of humor never faltered, and she was a pleasure to work with, and hang out with.  (As I KNEW she would be.)   I, really, truly, wish more brides were like her–they would enjoy their day so much more while making amazing memories for all.

I made my exit from the wedding sometime after the first dance, and I got back to my hotel room around 9.  I had made sure to grab some whiskey, and a few boxes of candy, that morning while I was at Walgreens–so I was SET for my night.  After all, I had nearly 2,000 photos from the day to get a start on and triple back up; plus, a, ‘My 600 Pound Life’ marathon to tend to that evening. My feet were so sore that, while laying on my stomach, editing, I couldn’t kick them into the headboard, like I like to, without pain shooting through my toes.  My photos though, and everything I got to be a part of throughout the day–well, that made it all worth it. 🙂  My, lovely, bride was sweet enough to call me when they were headed back to the hotel, around midnight, so I could head over and party with them if I wanted to–but, I just couldn’t do it.  I was beat.  (I owe her a rain check next time she’s in town.  That’s for sure.)

Sunday morning came quickly.  Checkout was at 11:30, but I set my alarm for 7:30, so I could enjoy some work time, and quiet time, before heading back up to Minnesota.  I had an incredible breakfast of biscuits and gravy, thoroughly enjoyed, and laughed whole-hardheartedly, at a Golden Girls marathon, got a load of editing and a bit of posting done, hit the treadmill for a quick mile and a half run, grabbed a couple of fun gifts for all the kids back home, packed everything up, checked out, gassed the car up and hit the road again by noon.  I was in Woodbury by 6:30 to pick up my oldest child from my sisters, and home by 8 to get the youngest into bed.

Monday, my mom came over to help me return my rental car, and we made a stop at Hans Bakery--since we were driving right by and they’re awesome; and my husband took my rented lenses back–I was home again.  For awhile, anyway. 🙂  The next wedding I shot, was the next weekend (this past weekend), in a little town called Dassel, MN.  (Remember the couple I did the engagement shots for awhile back?  Yup.  Them!)  It was another road trip–though this one was only, about, an hour and 15 away.  I’ll post about that wedding next–it was another stunner.  (And, another LONG one!)

Next on my calendar is shooting three, three year old’s.  Yikes!  One is moving to Florida–so, we’re going to have a super, Minneapolis-themed, shoot with her, and her two MN-besties.  For some reason, I feel like my long road trips, and super long days, may just be easier than what I’m walking into next?  😉

Iowa Wedding

First Look Wedding Photography

Family Wedding Photography

Ring Shot

Bridal Portrait

Here’s a little cell phone, collage, of most of what I mentioned above…

Clockwise, starting with the upper, left hand, photo: my view of the Missouri River (thanks to my mom for telling me what I was looking at); a storm off in the distance in the middle of Iowa; my Sunday breakfast; a rainy, downtown Minneapolis; my coffee maker and adorable coffee cup; me, before making the change out of my ‘wedding shooting’ dress; my ‘arrival to Nebraska’ shoes–yup, I felt the need to wear cowboy boots; and another Iowa storm.

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