One of the finest blessings of this industry comes when vendor friends come together to build someone’s dream day, but the blessing is finer still when that big day is their very own! Today’s bride is not only a bridal shop owner, but a very dear friend of photographers Ivory+Bliss — a connection which reads in every sweet frame. What a gift indeed to be able to share in so memorable a day as this!
A word from photographer Ivory+Bliss:
“Kelli and Mike are great friends of ours, with Kelli owning one of our favorite bridal boutiques in the area, we have worked with her for many years, and her and Mike are one of the sweetest, kindest, loving people we have had the pleasure of knowing! Kelli has collaborated on many of our styled shoots that we have been lucky enough to have had published and featured, and is always on hand with a bag of snacks, and always ready to help wherever is needed! She is truly as hard working and amazing as they come. It was an honor to be there for her on her special day, giving her all of the special treatment and pampering! The day was full of love and warmth, despite the winter conditions! It made our job effortless. We are SO happy for our friends, The Kureks!”
Love notes from the couple, Mike & Kelli:
How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another?
Kelli: “We are a Tinder success story! Ha! We actually matched ‘in Iowa, on the app, a few months before Mike was set to move back to his hometown of Chicago. (He told me on our third date that he was moving. #buzzkill) But the spark was immediate, and it was a long distance relationship from that very first swipe! Two years later — with lots of driving, every other weekend — and we were married. (Our wedding officiant even had the entire congregation yell, out-loud, ‘Swipe Right’ during our ceremony. It was a hilarious highlight.)”
Tell us a funny story relating to your relationship!
Kelli: “Although Tinder ultimately brought us together, we have several missed connections” ‘throughout our journey to find one another.
We went to the same college (University of Iowa) but never met. The Engineering building and the Journalism building are only one block apart. We frequented the same bars and restaurants. Our apartments were only one street away from one another. And Mike’s twin sister lived in the exact same dorm, on the exact same floor, as me.
Following graduation, Mike moved to the Quad Cities and got an apartment in the same city as my family and hometown. And that’s when the universe (with a little help from technology) finally made it’s match. Timing really is everything!”
What part of your wedding day was most important to you?
“Our candle-lit ceremony was definitely the most important part of our wedding. We had a wonderful emcee and officiant, who hand-crafted our ceremony and told the entire story of ‘us.’ It was unique, and heartfelt, and romantic.
We started off by surprising our guests with a top-secret video, of our intimate first look. Absolutely no one, including our family or bridal party, knew we had filmed a video. So the entire congregation was crying before Kelli even walked down the aisle. (Mission accomplished!) We followed that with having everyone fist-bump their neighbor, we told funny stories about being long distance, honored our parents in a detailed passage about what we’ve inherited from them, told quirky stories about the couple, and then recited custom, personalized vows (including a few words from our dog!) It was the most perfect half hour, and everyone was laughing through the tears.”
If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be?
“Be true to yourselves. Your wedding is a reflection of who you are, and what you are as a couple.
Don’t get caught up in tradition, or requirements, or age-old etiquette, or other people’s expectations. This is the start of your life together, so plan the event with purpose and personality. Make your guests feel welcomed and loved. Pamper your friends and family. And most importantly, enjoy the tender moments with your partner.”
photographer: Ivory+Bliss / venue: East Bank / stylist, planner, florist, and designer: Lindsay Goedken, Unique Events / dress designer: White Willow Bridal / dress boutique: Casablanca Bridal / cake designer: Take The Cake Desserts / makeup artist: Melissa Banes, Dollup Beauty/ hair stylist: Trisha Denning / men’s formalwear: Calvin Klien / rentals, accessories, and decor: Unique Events / paper goods: Allegra Iowa City / wedding party hair stylists: Libby Slife + Shelby Capouch