Real Weddings by Hope’s Bridal: Morgan and Jim

This Real Weddings by Hope’s Bridal features the beautiful Quad Cities news reporter Morgan (Ottier) and Jim Swanson.  The two just married on October 4th in a blustery outdoor ceremony in rural Davenport.  From her on-air engagement to her fashion-forward bridal gown, we just love Morgan’s story!

Morgan described how she and Jim met.  “We met while I was in college, working at a golf course restaurant near Iowa City. The day I came in for an interview, Jim was working in the kitchen and wished me luck. We spent a few years as friends, actually, before we started dating. I always had a crush on Jim so you can imagine how happy I was when he asked me to be his girlfriend on October 25, 2008! We just celebrated our 6th “dating” anniversary … although we’ve only been married one month.”

Jim really wowed Morgan with his proposal.  She explained, “I work in TV news and one day, while I was filling in as anchor on the news at noon, Jim surprised me. I was telling a fun story about a man who asked a woman to marry him at a baseball game, on live TV. At that point, I said, ‘Wow, I feel like it would be embarrassing to be asked on live TV!’ Then, Jim walked on set and got down on one knee! I was shocked, not embarrassed like I thought I would be. It was perfect.” You can watch Morgan MAKE the news while she’s reporting the news in this YouTube clip!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2Jhu58JGZU

The planning began!  After shopping for her wedding dress with a group of people, she came back to Hope’s on her own and found the perfect dress all by herself!  She said yes to “Juliette” by Maggie Sottero.  When asked about her experience with Hope’s, she said the best part about it was the staff.  “Hands down. All the ladies I worked with were kind and understanding. It’s not easy to get practically naked in front of a stranger! But the Hope’s girls make you laugh and feel comfortable. They’re also very easy to work with when it comes to specifics/details. From your belt to your hem, they’re there for you.”

She learned a lot from her shopping experience, offering this advice: “Keep an open mind. When it comes to the dress, you may think you know what you want but don’t limit what you try on. I thought I wanted a fitted lace mermaid but I was disappointed with that look. I surprised myself by purchasing a big organza gown. When I tried it on, I knew it was mine. Also, when it comes to buying the dress, you may also want to limit how many people you take with you. While it’s nice to have feedback, too much feedback could leave you with buyer’s remorse. I brought people once and it was fine. But when I went back alone, I found THE dress.”  We totally second her advice!

She continued, “Also, do everything as soon as possible. It’s nice to have the major things planned out right away so you don’t miss out. Your venue has to be booked immediately. But don’t forget about other details like cake, flowers, transportation for the wedding party and your guests. These vendors book faster than you think.”

Morgan was able to book fabulous vendors that she would highly recommend.  Giraffe Photography did her pictures, and the ladies all got hair and make-up done at Haus of Heir- great options from our brides’ experiences!  She absolutely loved the way Hope’s Preferred Vendor Clazzy Designs was able to achieve her desired bohemian look with the flowers, and she said her guests had fun with our Preferred Vendor Shutter Booth at the reception.

The day was a blur according to Morgan, who also said she was really nervous!  “I’d have to say the best part was seeing Jim at the end of the aisle, and then never leaving his side for the rest of the day.”

Things slowed down when they were able to enjoy a relaxing honeymoon together immediately after the wedding.  They left for the Riviera Maya on Monday morning.  “We thought about all the exotic places we could go while planning our honeymoon. But, in the end, we decided all we wanted to do was relax and not spend any more money! At that point, we knew we would be going to Mexico. It’s reasonably priced for a couple on a budget and if you stay at an all-inclusive resort, you only need to bring money for tips and any excursions you may take.

I was so tired the day we arrived, I slept more than 10 hours overnight! We mostly relaxed and sipped cocktails by the pool. We had dinner on the beach one night. I came home with a sunburn but we had a great time!”

Morgan said not a lot changed for them after the wedding, but described something special: “There is a small something, though, that makes you feel like you’re married. It hit us when everything went back to ‘normal’ after the wedding. Now, when we look at each other, we know we have this bond and it’s an incredible feeling.” And her marriage advice at this point is perfectly simple:  “Just be kind to one another.”

Morgan clearly has the makings for a lasting, happy marriage.  “Jim is such a kind person and he’s so funny. He always knows how to make me smile and laugh. It’s a priceless quality. He’s my best friend and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.”

We can’t wait to see either.  Thank you, Morgan and Jim, for sharing your special relationship and wedding day with us!  We were so grateful to be a part of your big day, and we wish you all the best!

Faith, Hope & Love,



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