Real Wedding by Hope’s: Stephanie and Brandon

Stephanie met Brandon the night before Thanksgiving in 2013.  After a quick introduction from a friend, the two continued the evening with their friends, but exchanged numbers before the night was over.  Brandon sent her a text the next day, and they ended up going to a little place called Stella’s for their first date just a few nights later.  “We talked for hours and had a couple of drinks. He walked me to my car and I had a smile on my face the entire night. He was a complete gentleman, funny, smart and handsome. I just had a good feeling about him.”

Their relationship grew quickly and naturally.   On March 13, 2015, Stephanie took Brandon to celebrate with her work team after wrapping up the peak season at her job.   Brandon seemed to be in a rush to get to their next spot to meet some friends, but she didn’t think much of it since he is a timely person.  They got to Stella’s, which had become their spot since their first date there, and he stopped her as they neared the entrance.  “Do you remember this spot right here,” he asked.

Stephanie responded it was where they had their first kiss.  That’s when he dropped to one knee and said, “And this is where I’m going to ask you to spend the rest of your life with me. Will you marry me?”

After Brandon placed the gorgeous ring on her finger, she turned to see their friends had come out.  They had captured the special moment with pictures she will always cherish.  “He really was my knight in shining armor, and I couldn’t wait to spend my life with him. Every day I feel beyond blessed to have such an amazing man in my life. Brandon is thoughtful, loving, caring, and goes above and beyond to make me feel special every single day. We just go together. We can be weird together and embrace our weirdness in all its glory. We can enjoy all of life’s adventures together, hand in hand. I can’t wait to have a family of our own and see where this thing called marriage takes us.”

Stephanie and Brandon planned for a summer wedding on her late grandparents’ wedding anniversary.  They chose their favorite colors, pink and yellow, which showed their happiness and fun personalities.

She found her perfect wedding gown and a belt to accessorize at Hope’s.  “By the time it was over, I felt like part of the family. Ariel was always so excited to see me and ask how things were coming along. They always knew your face and your name when you came in. They shared the excitement right along with you. Anything I needed or wanted, they were there to make it happen. The really made my vision a reality.”

Everything came together to create an amazing day for the couple.  Stephanie had fun getting ready with her girls in her suite, where her mom did her hair.  Because of the building anticipation, putting on her dress was an emotional, happy moment.  “Our first reveal was absolutely one of my favorite moments, seeing Brandon’s face as it lit up and he gasped. He cried and told me over and over again how beautiful and stunning I was and how much he loved me. I cry all the time, so I cried as well.”

Another special moment was walking down the aisle with her dad, who she says pretends to be stone-faced, but is really soft-hearted.   “Seeing him tear up and yet be so happy handing me off to my husband was such a nice moment.”  At the reception, her mom gave a great speech that got everyone laughing, and the couple will always remember their first dance as a chance to just be together and soak it all in.   “Finding time to yourselves is next to impossible on the wedding day, so this 3.5 minutes was so sweet.”

After the wedding, the newlyweds stayed at Couples San Souci in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.  Though the resort is very spacious, it has only 140 rooms, so it felt private and romantic.  They made friends with the staff and took advantage of the many activities offered such as snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, and climbing waterfalls.  “The remainder of our time was spent on the resort eating more food than we should, drinking all kinds of drinks and being in full relax mode. Exactly what a honeymoon should be.”

Stephanie says married life is wonderful. “Honestly, it really doesn’t feel any different. But it shouldn’t. At least we don’t think so. We were happy and in love before, and that hasn’t changed. We already were enjoying life and now we continue to do that, just as husband and wife.”

She advises newlyweds to enjoy each other and spend some quality time together.  “Never forget to tell that person every day how much you love them.”  Such beautiful advice from a beautiful Hope’s bride!  Thank you for sharing your real wedding with us, Stephanie and Brandon.  Wishing you a lifetime of love and happiness!


Ceremony Venue: Rooftop of Cedar Rapids Library downtown

Reception: Cedar Rapids Marriott- Kerry Brewer

Photographer Name and Contact Info: Jane Wiggins Photography

Flowers/Centerpieces:  Raelene Swore



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