We find that receptions that start between 5:00pm and 7:00pm tend to be a little more fun.  The reason for this is because most folks are simply not in the mood to be doing the Cha Cha slide at 3:00 in afternoon.  It also gives more of your guests a chance to get out of work and be a part of your special day (and you may just need those extra few hours to get all of those pins in place).

If you are taking pictures after the wedding, it is a great idea to have a slide show playing in the reception hall while your guests wait for your arrival.  If you are feeling really nice, you might want to consider providing a snack buffet and refreshments.  The pictures are a very important part of your wedding, and you can smile even more knowing your guests are being entertained and waiting in comfort.

Be sure to have your maid of honor or best man carry an extra piece of gum for each of you. That way when it comes time for the Dollar Dance you can have fresh breath while dancing so closely with your fifth cousin twice removed.

Limos are cool; however, riding around for two hours while your guests wait at the reception can be a little annoying for them.  Instead of taking a limo to the reception, why not take a limo ride after the reception so you can see the downtown lights and stop at a few bars to celebrate this big day. That way everyone has a good time and no one has to feel neglected.

When it comes time for the toasts, be sure to be prepared. The best man usually goes first, followed by the maid of honor.  After that, the mic is fair game for the parents or any other members of the bridal party.  Last but not least, it is customary for the Bride and Groom to give a thank you toast to all of their guests for buying them so many fancy crock pots and toasters.

Wedding Pastor

Tod Smith is funny, professional, and will help you make your ceremony so much more than the typical “we are gathered here today."  Check out his website at www.iwedu.org


Why in the world would I put another DJ company on here?  I would do it because I respect them.  There are many DJ companies in Des Moines, but only one has impressed me and is an all around great guy as well.  If we are booked up you should check out www.knight-life.com

Vendor Resources

If you need help finding the right vendors for your special event, we recommend the following companies:


If you're going to pick up the tab for hundreds of guests, you want them to still be talking about how good it was months later, right? If so, call Catering DSM while they still have your date available! They offer a menu that will make even the pickiest eater's mouth water. Check out their Vegetarian Wellington for the herbivores and health conscious on your guest list! If you want amazing food and service that won't break bank, visit www.cateringdsm.com

Wedding Cake

I certainly get to eat my fair share of cakes.  However, there’s always one cake that’s almost too gorgeous to even cut into.  If you are one of those brides who simply must have the absolute best for your wedding you need to check out www.pearles.net They pretty much take the cake if you know what I mean. I think it’s important to remind everyone that the more freedom you give your vendors to create something unique for your special day, the more creativity they can put into your event.  You wouldn’t walk up to Led Zepplin and tell them how to play a song; you would simply give them an idea of what you’re looking for and let them make the music. (If you don’t like Led Zepplin you can insert your own version of greatness, perhaps the backstreet boys...wait, bad example)

Glorious Deserts is my favorite cake company, speaking from experience.  Gloria made the cake for my wedding and I was more than thrilled to find that she managed to match the frosting to the lace on my wedding dress.  This was truly an outstanding touch, and it was absolutely delicious.  The best part is that their prices are very affordable. You can visit their web site at http://www.gloriousdesserts.com or call (515) 279-4944


If you are looking for the most beautiful floral arrangements in town, give DiVine Flowers by Saley a call. They simply go out of their way to create unique pieces that will bring elegance and beauty to your special day. You can visit their web site at www.DiVineflowersbySaley.com or call (515) 288-5451


If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the wedding planning process it might be time to call in a pro. Always an Elegant Affair never ceases to amaze me in their attention to detail, creative style, and endless patience. They can take care of all of your arrangements and they just might surprise you with their vast knowledge of the wedding planning process. If you truly want to sit back and enjoy your wedding day with out any worries, I would suggest giving them a call at 515-733-5303 or you can check them out online atwww.alwaysanelegantaffair.com


If you are looking for a run-of-the-mill photographer, go ahead and stop reading the rest of this.  If you want amazing wedding photos, contact Crystal Ryan.  I honestly can’t say that I’ve ever been more impressed by any other photographer. I don’t know how she does it, but I am more than certain that if you check her out you will see what I’m talking about.  She has a way with light and an ability to capture people at that perfect moment.  You can view her work at theformatphotograpy.com

If Crystal is already booked the weekend of your wedding, you should check outwww.somethingnewproductions.com I love working with them.  They are actually out of Omaha, but they travel to Des Moines for a reasonable fee. Their equipment is top notch and their professional way of doing things has really impressds me. Megan can put any bride at ease and she will capture the true joy of your wedding day.

Hair / Salon

When it comes to achieving your desired look on that special day, not all salons are created equal.  Our talented stylists at Salon Utopia specialize in creating a look that will make your wish of breath-taking hair and makeup a reality.  For a Bridal Brochure, contact Jennifer at jennifer@experienceutopia.com. Or visit their website at www.experienceutopia.com

Wedding Registry

Are you excited for your first home cooked meal as a married couple, but having trouble figuring out how to make it with plastic cutlery and paper plates?  Or are you trying to find a place to register that everyone on your invite list can access, from your next door neighbor to your cousin studying abroad in Zimbabwe?  If you're looking for a solution to either of these dilemmas, or if you just want a stocked kitchen, visit Cameron Gowdy's Pampered Chef site at at www.pamperedchef.biz/camerongowdy and check out all the free stuff you get for setting up your wedding registry online!

Reception Booking and Planning Form

If you need help choosing songs for your reception you can give us a call or visit http://www.mobilebeat.com/top200.php - this information is provided by www.mobilebeat.com andwww.djintelligence.com