how to plan a des moines wedding

navigate the process with ease

You’re getting married – congratulations! Now it’s time to plan the wedding of your dreams! There’s a lot to planning a wedding, which is why many brides-to-be feel anxious and overwhelmed. But don’t worry – help is here! In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know to have a fabulous Des Moines wedding. From the venue, dress, and cake to the photographer, florist, and DJ – we’ve got you covered!

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Des Moines Wedding Venues

selecting your perfect wedding venue

One of the first questions you may be asking is, where do I get married? The venue is one of the most important aspects of your special day. Knowing the location can help you to narrow down the date, which may depend on the venue’s availability. 

Choosing a venue that fits your budget, your schedule, and your wedding style can be difficult. There are so many gorgeous wedding venues in Des Moines and all over the state of Iowa – from wineries and hotels to barns and gardens, the possibilities are truly endless. 

First, know what your vision is before you begin looking at venues. It’s a good idea to make a list of what both you and your partner want in your ideal venue. Do you want a private location, or a backyard garden wedding? Will it have a theme, and will it be casual or elegant? Think about what you both want and don’t want for your wedding venue. Establish non-negotiables, as well as location details or amenities that are less important to you. This is also a great time to discuss your budget for a wedding venue. 

Other things to consider when choosing a venue:

  • The size of your guest list – More guests mean a bigger venue.
  • A spiritual or religious wedding ceremony – The ceremony may be in a place of worship and the reception at another venue.
  • The needs of your guests – You may need a venue that can accommodate elderly or physically disabled guests.
  • The time of the year – Some wedding venues are better for winter events while others were made for warmer months.

Do your research, but don’t make any final decisions until you visit the venue in person. If the venue is outdoors, be sure to ask about a rain plan or back-up option. 

Des Moines Wedding photography

how to choose the right wedding photographer

Your wedding day is more than a one-day celebration of your love. You want to remember it forever. A professional wedding photographer captures the best moments of your big day. From the exchange of your heartfelt wedding vows to breaking it down on the dance floor, your photographer really does help you remember your day for years to come. 

The most important thing to remember when choosing your photographer? Make sure they connect with you—not only as far as visual style goes, but also as a human. Your photographer will be able to capture your emotions and bring your stillness and joy to life when you have a genuine connection with them. Your wedding photographer will be with you as much as any other person on your wedding day, so make sure that you have a good connection with them. This is why I love engagement sessions. Often times, engagement sessions with me end with a meal or a drink and just hanging out, getting to know each other better.

Another great way to make sure you have a connection with your wedding photographer is to arrange a meeting or video chat before booking. Ultimately, you want to find someone you feel comfortable with because you are trusting them with your most precious memories. 

Consider the lighting at your venues – it can make or break photos. When you interview potential photographers, ask about situations and timelines that give the best lighting possible throughout the day and make sure they’re able to handle low lit parts of your wedding day well also. Selfish plug, be sure to go check out my work to see how I handle all lighting situations! 

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Wedding dress shops in des moines

tips on finding your wedding dress

Finding your wedding dress is possibly one of the most important aspects to planning your nuptials. There are plenty of wonderful wedding dress shops in Des Moines, but before you head out to try on dresses, consider the following:

Begin your search early. If possible, start looking for your wedding dress about a year before your wedding date. If you’re ordering a gown that requires alterations and/or customizations, it takes at least 6 to 9 months to deliver. While dresses can be rush delivered for extra fees, it’s best to plan accordingly and order in advance.

Decide on a realistic budget. Knowing how much you can afford makes shopping for wedding dresses in Des Moines a lot easier. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of alterations, tax, and deposits. Consider buying off-rack if you’re looking to save some money.

Consider silhouettes. Bridal gown silhouettes fall into six broad categories: ball gown, empire, A-line, sheath, fit-and-flare, and mermaid. Before you go shopping at wedding dress shops in Des Moines, you should know which silhouettes work the best with your shape. This can help to narrow down the huge range of gown options. While other details are important – length, neckline, etc. – decide on the basic silhouette first and go from there.

Think about how you want to feel in your dress. Do you want to look traditional and demure? Or sexy and daring? Maybe you want a lacy, romantic dress. It’s all about how you feel in certain styles. Be sure to share your vision with your stylist.

Move around in dresses when trying them on. You should be able to walk, sit down, and dance in your wedding gown. If you struggle to breathe because it’s too tight or need to keep pulling it up at the top, go on to the next one.

Choose the dress that’s right for YOU. You should feel beautiful and confident in your wedding dress. No one can make the right choice except for you. Sometimes, brides choose a dress that their family or friends love. That’s certainly not the way to go! If you love a dress so much that you don’t want to take it off, it’s a sign you’ve found the one.

Some of the best wedding dress shops in Des Moines are:

  1. Bridal Boutique Des Moines
  2. Something Blue
  3. Perry Bridal
  4. Modern Dress
  5. Bridal Connection

Best wedding cakes in des moines

how to find the sweetest deals on the sweetest treats

When it comes to the best wedding cakes in Des Moines, choosing one can be fun but also daunting. You want a perfect design, flavor, and overall presentation of the cake, but what should you do first? Our initial advice is to hold off on choosing a cake until you’ve made your major wedding style decisions. That way, your cake will complement your dress, flowers, menu, and venue.

Other considerations:

Decide on your budget – Before you go tasting, know how much you want to spend. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when everything tastes good and you’re running on a sugar buzz! Wedding cakes are usually priced by the slice, and more flavors equals a bigger price tag. Want lots of handmade fondant flowers and other details? The prices will go up.

Consider the weather – Is your wedding outdoors and/or in a hot climate? Consider summer icing options that hold up against the heat. Buttercream, whipped cream, and meringue will melt!

Taste lots of flavors – Tasting cakes is one of the best parts about choosing a wedding cake in Des Moines. Chocolate and vanilla are delicious, but don’t be afraid to experiment. Try exotic flavors and sample different fillings.

Know your frosting – Fondant or buttercream: that is the question! Buttercream is generally less expensive and more delicious than fondant. However, fondant icing offers a smooth, surreal look that’s hard to beat. Consider combining the two types of frosting – buttercream with a top layer of fondant is a great option.

A wedding cake consultant can walk you through the entire process and ensure your dream wedding has the perfect cake to match.

My favorite wedding cakes in Des Moines are:


Glorious Desserts

Let Them Eat Cake

Our Creation

Creme Cupcake

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Wedding Planner in Des moines

tips to find the perfect wedding planner

It’s no secret that planning a wedding can be stressful, even for those who thrive on the planning process. That’s why many brides set aside around 10 percent of their budget for a wedding planner in Des Moines. Now, if you enjoy making all the decisions, you don’t necessarily need a planner.

If hiring a wedding planner is right for you, below are some things you should know:

Look for a personal connection. The relationship between the bride and the wedding planner must be strong – she must feel comfortable enough to express her tastes. When you both have a good relationship and are on the same page, the planner can speak up for you during consultations. They can also get the most out of your money – not by getting the best discounts, but by shopping smart.

Budget for a wedding planner. Some brides put the planner’s fee outside of their budget, especially if it’s paid by a third party. However, not having a clear focus on all your expenses can lead to overspending.

Know what to ask during consultations. The consultation is the time to get to know the wedding planner’s experience, certifications, and training. Look for a wedding planner in Des Moines who is current on industry trends and other specifics.

Carefully look at the contract. Some wedding consultants structure their fees according to the businesses they promote, so make sure you read the contract before signing. Reviewing the contract carefully can avoid surprises on your wedding day.

Great wedding planners in Des Moines include:

  1. Honey and Joy
  2. Make it Happen Events
  3. White Willow
  4. Perfect Events

Wedding DJs in des moines

choosing the right dj for your wedding reception

Decided that you want a DJ to provide music for your reception? Hiring the right wedding DJ in Des Moines sets the tone for the reception and ensures your guests have lots of fun. You also want to get the best entertainment possible within your budget. Make a list of a few DJs in your area and interview them. Ask them about their equipment – is it state-of-the art? Do they have an extensive music library with tunes you love? Their music collection should have every style you’re looking for, with thousands of songs in their database.

While it may be tempting to hire someone you know as your wedding DJ, don’t let your relationship with them be the determining factor. Do they qualify as your DJ? If so, you may choose to go with a friend or family member. Either way, make sure that you are in a contract that spells out everyone’s obligations.

One more very important thing about finding wedding DJs in Des Moines – check to see if they offer uplighting. Venues that are lit nicely have an elevated look and overall ambiance. Not to mention, uplighting drastically improves reception photos from your photographer!

DJ Das

Hitz DJ

A Special Event

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Wedding florists in Des moines

how to find your perfect florist

Choosing your wedding flowers involves a matter of preference and narrowing down which flowers to arrange. A wedding florist in Des Moines can help you with inspiration for bouquets, centerpieces, and décor. And don’t forget other arrangements, like boutonnieres and cocktail table clusters.

Of course, like all other aspects of your wedding, the first thing to decide is your budget. Know that flowers are a big chunk of your overall budget – 10 percent is a good figure to set aside. Once you know how much you can spend on wedding flowers, begin to find inspiration. A good place to look online for images is Pinterest. If you have your heart set on a certain flower that is outside your budget, ask your wedding florist for inexpensive alternatives.

Don’t know what will be in season? A wedding florist in Des Moines can tell you what’s blooming when you’re getting married and try to make those stems the mainstay of your arrangements. If your favorite blooms won’t be in season, your florist can find look-alikes that achieve the same style. There are also gorgeous flowers – such as roses and hydrangeas – that are available year-round.

When it comes to flowers for a wedding, one thing to keep in mind are your guests. You don’t want your table centerpiece flowers to be in the way during conversation and eating, so make sure that they are high or low enough. Remember to consider your venue when choosing your flowers. If you’re getting married outside in a vineyard or garden, opt for making a big impression with fewer blooms. Arrangements should look like they belong, such as wildflowers on a rustic table setting.

One way to get the most bang for your buck with flowers is to use them in multiple ways. For example, the bridesmaid bouquets can elegantly line an exit archway, and aisle arrangements add color to the cake table or escort card display.

When you meet with your floral designer, bring fabric swatches of dresses and inspiration boards. This will help them to design one-of-a-kind pieces. However, be willing to modify and substitute according to your florist’s advice.

There are amazing florists in Des Moines, IA here are a few:

  1. Shelley Sarver
  2. Adina
  3. True Vine
  4. Lavender Blue
  5. Something Chic

in conclusion

There’s so much to planning a Des Moines wedding – from the venue, dress, cake to the wedding planner, cake, DJ, and flowers. We hope the above advice will help you make the right decisions when planning your incredibly special wedding day! If you’d like to check and see if I’m available for your wedding date or if you have more questions for me, please fill out the form below!