Neutral and Sweet Iowa Outdoor Wedding

There is so much sweetness in this Iowa wedding captured by Hunter Berry Photography! Due to Covid, just a few months before their big day, Michelle had replanned their entire wedding so they could still have the wedding of their dreams, even with Covid restrictions. Keeping things outdoors kept things safe for guests AND incredible beautiful!

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In their own words

How did you meet?

Michelle Erwin & Dylan Wertz met in 2012 at Mid-Prairie High School, in an American Literature class. It wasn’t until Dylan’s senior year, Michelle’s junior year that the two crossed each others path. Seats were not assigned, so Dylan sat directly behind Michelle. They were partners together for a few group projects, and Michelle may have helped Dylan out on a few homework assignments. Dylan and Michelle dated for a period of time before college took them in two different directions. Dylan played football at Iowa Western Community College and Michelle attended Iowa State University.  In 2014, Dylan transferred back home to attend Kirkwood Community College, and Michelle transferred closer home to attend the University of Iowa. Their lives crossed paths once again, & it didn’t take long for either of them to realize that their hearts still beat for one another. The rest as they say, is history.

What is your proposal story?

Dylan proposed to Michelle on November 9th, 2019 at Palisades-Kepler State Park in Mount Vernon, IA. The day started by going to breakfast with Dylan’s sister, Ally. We drove around for a period of time, before Dylan’s cousin (Kelsie Berg) who just happens to be a photographer, was shooting an engagement session in Mount Vernon. The plan was to meet up with her for a few drinks since we were both in the area, and it ended up with Dylan and Michelle next to the Cedar River. Dylan dropped down to one knee at the same time a drone started flying above us. The timing was perfect! :)

Tell us a little a bit about your wedding (your vision, color, style, and location choices).

I wanted our wedding to be elegant and timeless. My vision came to life with the help of Hannah Long (Event Designer). She absolutely nailed everything that I wanted – lots of greenery, lots of lighting. I did not want a specific color to set the theme for our wedding, and instead wanted the navy blue from the tuxes to be the primary pop of color. The bridesmaids dresses were taupe which helped keep the color scheme neutral. If I had to say what my colors were I would say: Nude, Green (floral), White, Navy Blue.   As for location choices, we actually had to change our location one month before our wedding. HA! We were originally planning on having our ceremony and reception in a catholic church and catholic parish hall. With the restrictions of COVID, this was just not going to work. To be honest, because of this last minute change in locations, we had no idea if we were going to be able to get married. We then reached out to to Kate Merck, who’s family owned a venue called The Barn in Wellman, IA. Michelle had been to this venue multiple times for local Flea Markets, and knew that they had also hosted weddings there previously. Joni & John Yoder (Kate’s Parents) welcomed us with open arms onto their family property and we were able to utilize both The Barn venue itself as well as a large tent set up by a local Amish family. The day was PERFECT! Ryan Merck (Kate’s husband), was the handyman himself – and hung all of the lighting under the tent as well as helped brainstorm how to hang a giant chandelier (made out of a trampoline hoop) right above our dance floor. The plan B wedding that we put together in one month, was WAY better than our plan A traditional wedding ever could of been. We are forever grateful for the Merck/Yoder family – they made our day beyond perfect!

Tell us about your attire choices.

I wanted the color scheme to be neutral. I’ve always loved the color Navy Blue, and Dylan wanted Navy Blue tuxes himself – so thats what we went with! I saw a a picture on Pinterest of neutral bridesmaid dresses, and instantly fell in love! The taupe dresses from Show Me Your Mumu are stunning in person! I wanted every bridesmaid to be comfortable, and let them pick out whatever style they felt most beautiful in.   The neutral taupe and navy blue looked beautiful together!   As for my dress, I wanted something that was timeless. I tried on so many dresses that looked amazing, but they just weren’t “me”. I also wanted a dress that I would be comfortable with wearing all night on the dance floor – and trust me when I say that my dress exceeded all of those expectations ;)

What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?

Dylan has been saying since for as long as I can remember that he wanted to have an open bar for our wedding. So with that, we had every alcohol that you could possibly think of. HA! (Even bought a lime slicer to have sliced limes with liquor drinks).   I had been researching wedding videographers/photographers WAY before Dylan and I got engaged. It was important to me that our day was captured perfectly so we could look back on those memories forever. I had told Dylan one evening when we were just dating, that I wanted Graphic Formation Films as our wedding videographer. Shortly after we got engaged, Ben Libby (owner of Graphic Formation Films) reached out to me via Instagram inquiring that he wanted to shoot our wedding. I WAS BEYOND EXCITED! I had also seen the incredible work of Hunter Berry with Hunter Berry Photography. The dates that Graphic Formation Films and Hunter Berry Photography had available both aligned with August 1st, 2020-   I would say our biggest splurge was the event design. However, they helped us set-up/tear down all of the tables and chairs under the tent. They also helped design/place all of our floral arrangements, helped set up table decor/linens, set-up our backdrop behind the head table, set-up our dance floor. They literally did it all! And with one month to plan it due to our changes – it was well worth it! The morning of our wedding, Hannah Long (event designer) stopped by the hotel suite that the girls were getting ready at and told me that I was going to love what it looked like under the tent and that it was absolutely beautiful. To say that least, she made our wedding vision come to life. This splurge was WELL worth it!

What were your favorite parts of the day? (memories and stories)

Seeing all of our closest friends and family. Both of Michelle’s grandmas as well as Dylans grandma from Arizona were all able to make it which was so special. Truly just being surrounded by great people. Everyone that attended our wedding made it so special to us.

Please describe any DIY, handmade, or personal details.

I am the only child, and had a heart shaped patch sewed on the backside of my dads tie with a picture of the both of us saying “I loved you first”. It was such a special touch to add in to our special day, and something that my dad will always have.   Dylan and I decided to do personal vows. This was hands down the most special part of our day. The raw, real emotion that both of us were able to express in front of all of our family and friends was incredible. I didn’t think Dylan would cry, but he did ;)

Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?

Enjoy it!! It goes by so quickly, and before you know it it will be here and then it will all be over with. I loved planning our wedding – and love to give brides any advice that I can! Don’t sweat the small stuff – we gave ourselves 9 months to plan, which was perfect because it didn’t give us any time to second guess any of our planning decisions.   My uncle, also got us disposable cameras for our guests to take pictures throughout the entire day. These were SUCH a great idea and so fun to look back on! We got all of the pictures developed and it was so fun to see everyone having a great time!   Also, HAVE THE WEDDING. This special day is for both you and your significant other. The guests that feel comfortable attending will attend – and it will be much more special than you ever imagined. We got married in August 2020, and a very special lady – my Grandma passed away in January 2021. She was able to attend our wedding and had the best time. I am so glad that we followed through with our date because our wedding was such a highlight for her since I was her only grandchild.   TIP: make a personal wedding email. That way you can email all of your vendors from one location and it doesn’t get confused with other personal emails.  This is also nice so you don’t have a ton of wedding subscriptions being sent to you after the wedding.

Did any of your wedding pros deliver a standout experience? Let us know the details!

We had the best team of wedding vendors to help our day go smoothly!!   Hunter Berry Photography – she’s truly the best. She helped me with the wedding schedule, she helped adjust my veil in my hair, she does it ALL! Our engagement pictures were absolutely incredible, and our wedding pictures were beyond perfect.   Graphic Formation Films – Ben Libby and his team captured our day perfectly. Dylan and I go back and re-watch our videos often! He shot an engagement video for us, as well as some sneak peaks before our official wedding video was finished.   A Special Event DJ – our DJ kept the dance floor occupied all night long. It was the best party!!   Flamin’ Flips BBQ Pit – Owner Kevin Kron and his family did an incredible job with the catering of our food. We had brisket, pork loin, mashed potatoes, green beans, cole slaw and a dinner roll all of which were incredible!   Hannah Long (event design) – Hannah was the sweetest person to work with. She made the planning process go so smooth. I can’t say enough great things about her! She made my vision come to life, and it was more than I could have ever asked for!   The Barn (venue) – The Yoder/Merck family will forever hold a special place in both Dylan and I’s hearts. They truly went above and beyond for the both of us to have the most perfect day – and that we did.