Real wedding by Hope’s couple Zach and Sarah enjoyed their first date at a wedding reception. Unbeknownst to them, they would be celebrating their own three years later!
The couple met at Iowa State, when Zach was living with some of Sarah’s best friends. When he invited her to keep him company on a drive to a wedding reception after a long day at an Iowa/Iowa State game, she was happy to help a friend. Sarah remembers the night:
We headed off… munching on Casey’s chicken strips and Kit-Kat bars in his cousin’s old Toyota. We talked and laughed and got to know each other. After a dance or two after arriving at our destination, I had the strangest twinge while gazing across the room at him as he chatted with friends and family. The thoughts were pouring into my head, “He is pretty cute.”, “I really enjoyed talking with him.”, “He is not as shy as I thought he was!”, “That dancing wasn’t too shabby.”, “Uh-oh… I think I might like him!”
The following week, the two shared a “real first date” at Hickory Park. However, they soon graduated college and found themselves accepting jobs two hours away from each other. They drove countess miles every weekend to see each other and figured out how to make it work.
Zach popped the question December 15th, 2013. After returning home from dinner at Hickory Park, Zach had to tear Sarah’s attention away from the dishes and laundry to give her a letter. As she read the heartfelt words, her heart started to pound.
When I got to the bottom of the letter, I looked up to see Zach on one knee; ring box in hand, trembling from anticipation. He looked me in the eye and the world stood still. With a shaky voice and a nervous smile, he said “Sarah, will you make me the luckiest man in the world and be my wife?” I couldn’t believe my ears and the biggest smile came over my face. “Is this really happening!?” I replied. It took me a few moments before I finally said, “YES!!” I couldn’t sleep that whole night and was nearly late for work the next day. Oh love.
They planned their August 23rd wedding with a goal of showing their guests who they are as a couple. The style they created was a mix of rustic, chic, romantic and fun. They started with base colors of soft whites and greys, added antique elements, some burlap and chevron, and pops of bright colors in the flowers, bridesmaid dresses and tuxedo vests.
The “most important element”- Sarah’s dress- was purchased at Hope’s. She found a soft, romantic Essense of Australia style. “I have never felt so beautiful and comfortable in my own skin. That dress was made for me… I just know it!” she said.
She also found the bridesmaid dresses from Venus in the perfect color that proved hard to find. “The staff relentlessly worked to help me find the perfect fit for the look we were going for.” Sarah explains why she worked with Hope’s for her wedding:
The staff cares. I struggled getting the “that’s my dress” feeling you hear about. I had to decide on something while my whole arm was in a cast after an elbow injury, and I was struggling finding confidence enough to want to even try things on. Everyone at Hope’s was so patient as I tried and tried and tried. When we finally went back to one of my first picks and I realized the dress was what I was looking for, they celebrated with me just as much as my mom did. It was really special, and I believe it was something that could only be found there.
Sarah’s advice for brides is to not get too caught up in the planning part. “You’re so busy trying to be fit, glowing, and well prepared. But it isn’t – The. Best. Day. – Of your life. I said those words so many times that day. And even just a couple of months later, I can tell you, I was wrong. It is the start of a journey to so many more Better Days with that person standing at the end of the aisle… waiting to start this walk with you. That is what it is about. All of it comes down to that promise.”
Sarah and Zach were able to take it all in when they snuck away to dance just as a couple in Main Street Traer. Special memories include a surprise dance with Sarah’s grandfather and taking pictures at Zach’s grandfather’s acreage after he passed away in May. The farm had been in his family for almost 100 years, and now they call it home!
We took an “entering through the threshold” photo by the front door where Zach’s grandpa used to greet those who came to visit, and now we get to display that picture in the home it was taken at. Something that not everyone gets to do.
They honeymooned in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a trip planned entirely by Zach! As far as married life, Sarah calls it an “adventure” and points out there’s lots to learn when you move in together!
It is fun learning more about someone you thought you knew and working together to build a life. Some days are routine, and some are really memorable and special. It is so neat to grow together. We love to work on home improvement projects together and he has been working on teaching me how to play cards. Silly little things, but they add up to be a big part of the story. We love it!
She advises those saying “I do” to take your time and enjoy the little things, from breakfast together to playing cards. “Life is busy, but that’s your person. Enjoy time together. It really is our most valuable asset.”
Thank you, Sarah and Zach, for sharing your beautiful love and special day with us. And thank you for the wisdom and reminders! Many blessings on your journey together!
Photographer: Taylor Creery Photography
Invitations, flowers, backdrops, lighting, decorations, event coordinator, and all-around support system: Carol’s Barnyard Creations – Amana, IA
Cake: Cakes by Kathy– Cedar Falls, IA
Catering: Randall’s Meats and Catering – Hudson, IA
Band: WAGG – Cedar Falls, IA