Karena & Luke’s Wedding at The Graduate & hotelVetro in Iowa City, IA

He Took His Shot

It was the 13th evening in October. The leaves were crisp, and the bars in Iowa City were packed. Karena and Luke were out with separate groups of friends, but fate brought them both to Pints to close out the night. Luke pulled some smooth moves in his “hot” magenta shirt with the floral pocket. They bantered back and forth for a few minutes, and then Luke asked Karena the most romantic question there is… “Do you want a tequila shot?” They say the rest is history.

The Proposal – Gondola Ride & Gullible Bride

Luke convinced Karena that he had planned a surprise date night to celebrate their five year anniversary with reservations for a fancy dinner. Little did Karena know that Luke had ulterior plans involving a gondola, drone, message in a bottle, and the same “hot” magenta shirt he wore the night they met.

As they boarded the gondola, a photographer approached them and asked if she could ride along to take some shots for a brochure since her models had no-showed. Karena tells us she was gullible in that moment and accepted it, thinking they were going to be brochure-famous.

A couple of glasses of champagne in, the gondolier asked Karena to grab a glass object out of the water so it didn’t damage the boat. She crawled up to the front of the gondola as instructed and retrieved the bottle. As this took place, Luke was frantically stripping off two layers of shirts to show off the maroon shirt she loved so much, and got down on his knee to propose. Karena said yes as a drone buzzed overhead, and a crowd had formed erupting with cheers.

Planning with Soirée

Planning a wedding isn’t always easy, especially when trying to plan it from across the country. Karena and Luke reached out to us exactly 365 days before their wedding date. They knew the wedding had to be all about Iowa City and incorporating their love for the city was so important to them. Day-of coordination was a must, and any other services were a huge bonus to them.

They had booked the classic Graduate Hotel and wedding planning was already in full swing on the West Coast. It was our pleasure to support her in the continuation of the planning and decision-making process, making the Essentials Package perfect for them.

An Iowa City Local’s Dream Wedding

This couple’s love for Iowa City had to be acknowledged on their wedding day. Their First Look took place at Pints to recreate the moment Karena and Luke met for the first time, followed by bridal party photos all around the Iowa City area.

Since the weather was a tad stormy, the ceremony was held at hotelVetro in the Ballroom. With 11 bridesmaids and 11 groomsmen and plenty of loved ones, the couple was not lost for guests. The large windows in the venue let in lots of natural light to watch the couple exchange vows, and the floral and design work was simple yet elegant.

The evening moved swiftly to The Graduate Hotel for dinner, drinks, and so much dancing! Continuing on the path of being Iowa City’s #1 Fans, the couple brought in the Iowa Pep Band to play a few songs during speeches. This was truly a night to remember for any University of Iowa lover, and we were so excited to be a part of this planning experience.

Congratulations, Karena and Luke! Even if your new life together doesn’t always take place in Downtown Iowa City, we wish you all the best.

Special Thanks to the Vendors:

Weekend-of Coordination: Soirée Wedding Planning
Florist + Rentals + Design + DJ: Unique Events
Cake/Dessert: Tip Top Cakes
Photographer: Ivory & Bliss
Videographer: Toast Wedding Films
Hair: Eden Salon
Make Up: Pretty Lane
Ceremony Venue: hotelVetro
Reception Venue: The Graduate Iowa City
Caterer: Bread Garden Market
Officiant: Justin Kavanagh
Dresses: Azazie, Bella Bianca Bridal Couture
Suits/Tuxes: Combatant Gentleman
Stationary: Minted