Blake and Mercedes were nearly a wedding day casualty of the pandemic. Their plans to wed on the beach of Lake Michigan no longer feasible, the couple struggled to find an Iowa venue that was available and met their needs. What they found was a brand new venue- River View Lodge in LeClaire, Iowa- and renewed hopes for a magical wedding day.
I first met these two a year or so ago when I did an engagement session model call. They were amazing models, and I knew we were a perfect fit. Fast forward almost a year to a frustrated Mercedes and I chatting weekly via text regarding wedding updates and guidelines. We finally had a plan to move forward in early June and it was such a relief to know that their wedding day would go on (nearly) as planned.
I arrived at the River View Lodge around 10am to a bustling bridal suite, a sleeping flower girl, a poofy Pomeranian named Chenille, and a mimosa bar. Because the bride and groom each had suites on separate floors (how awesome is that?!), I was able to bounce back and forth for details, conversations, and gift-giving. Blake was moved by the custom tie Mercedes had made for him, complete with the last picture he had taken with his father printed inside the tie. And Mercedes was equally surprised by a pair of amazing diamond studs and her favorite perfume.
The weather forecast was pretty sketchy, and we kept a close eye on it all day. But, around the time of their 3 o’clock ceremony, the radar cleared and we didn’t see a drop of rain all day. They married on the River View Lodge grounds surrounded by about sixty of their closest friends and family. Blake and Mercedes wrote their own vows and made all the ladies cry. There were talks of margaritas, tacos, their pets (Chenille, Dulce, and Louis), and Blake’s late father. Very heartfelt, genuine, and honest. The love was palpable.
After the ceremony, the bridal party surprised the couple with a party bus, and we jetted off to downtown LeClaire for some fun pictures.
The reception was full of surprises too! Mercedes and her dad started their dance with the traditional “Butterfly Kisses,” which quickly morphed into a medley of top 40 hip-hop songs. After donning their shades and showing off their moves, the mother of the bride joined her daughter in a sweet dance. Blake also showed off his super spiffy dance moves when it was time for the garter toss! It sure was a sight! :-p
And the night ended with a sparkler send-off while fireworks boomed across the neighborhood and somewhere behind LeClaire. It was entirely coincidental yet entirely awesome.
Ultimately, Blake and Mercedes took what could have been a disappointing date and made the absolute best of the situation. They focused on their love and celebrating with friends and family. It was truly beautiful and such a fun wedding to be a part of.
To the happy couple– thank you so much for allowing me to capture your engagement and wedding day. You have an awesome relationship full of laughter, respect, and love. I can’t wait to see where life takes you and all the beautiful babies in your future!
Second Photographer- Kim Ritchie Photography
Ceremony and Reception Venue- River View Lodge
Bridal Gown- A Storybook Ending
Groomswear- Men’s Wearhouse
Hair and make-up- Lavish Salon
Bride’s ring- James Allen
Groom’s ring- Larson Jewelers
Entertainment- Grand DJ Entertainment
Linens- I Do Events
Sarah DeMaranville Photography is a Midwest/ Quad Cities wedding photographer providing timeless, joyful portraiture for the crazy in love. We specialize in outdoor photography and love to shoot at locations like The Armour House, Oakwood Country Club, Allerton Park, Honey Creek Resort, and the Illinois Beach Resort. We accept a limited number of weddings each year. To schedule your engagement, proposal, or wedding portraiture, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by inquiring here.
We are so excited to love and serve you on your wedding day! You just take it all in, and we’ll be there to make sure your wedding day is as magical as you always envisioned!