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2 – BRIDAL GUIDE - February 2014 - Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Marion Times, West Branch Times, West Liberty Index, Solon Economist, North Liberty Leader, Tipton Conservative, Clarence Lowden Sun-News
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Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Marion Times, West Branch Times, West Liberty Index, Solon Economist, North Liberty Leader, Tipton Conservative, Clarence Lowden Sun-News - BRIDAL GUIDE - February 2014 – 3
From first dance to seven
decades of togetherness
By Dave Morris
Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun
lvin and Ione Lehr of rural Lis-
bon know a thing or two about
Having marked
their 70th anniversary
Oct. 7, neither has
strayed far from their
individual and collec-
tive roots.
Their 1943 wedding
took place at the Fed-
erated Church in Lis-
bon. The Lehrs have
two sons, Galen (Jan)
of Martelle, and Paul
(Karen) of Lisbon,
seven grandchildren
and four great-grand-
The two met in the
“We met when we
were at Lisbon High
School,” Alvin, 92,
said. “It was at a dance
at Danceland in Cedar
Ione, 93, added,,
“We arrived separately
and left together.”
In a recent interview with the Sun,
the two recalled going to shows at the
Paramount and Iowa theaters in
Cedar Rapids and dancing at both
Danceland and other area ballrooms,
like Hiway Gardens in Stanwood.
“I had a ’39 four-door Ford,” Alvin
said with a quick smile.
The two grew up in the area.
Ione was born east of Sutliff and
about six miles south of Lisbon.
Alvin, who has farmed all his life,
grew up on the
family farm north
of Lisbon. He took
over when he was
18. Through the
years the family
has fed cattle and
hogs and occasion-
ally sheep while
also growing corn
and soybeans.
“Back then,
you had all kinds
of animals,” Ione
Before their
sons Galen and
Paul were old
enough to help,
Ione assisted Alvin
on the farm.
“ I o n e
worked with me in
the field before the
boys got big
enough to,” Alvin
Over the years, the Lehrs’ farmland
has grown from 120 acres to 500.
Compromise the key to
Lehrs’ longtime marriage
Photo by Dave Morris
Alvin and Ione Lehr met at a dance in Cedar Rapids while in high school in Lisbon. The couple
recently celebrated 70 years of marriage.
The Lehrs, both in their early 90s, have
spent their entire married lives on a farm
north of Lisbon.
See LEHRS, Page 10
4 – BRIDAL GUIDE - February 2014 - Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Marion Times, West Branch Times, West Liberty Index, Solon Economist, North Liberty Leader, Tipton Conservative, Clarence Lowden Sun-News
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By Gregory Norfleet
West Branch Times
ouples often pick at least three
pieces of music for a formal
• The processional,
when the bride enters and
everyone stands.
• Reflection during the
ceremony, a time to con-
sider the moment just
prior to saying “I do.” 
• The recessional, when
the bride and groom walk
together down the aisle
for the very first time.
But that’s about where
the likenesses end.
Like traditional? Then
Richard Wagner’s “Bridal
March” and Felix
Mendelssohn’s “Wedding
March” might be your
Like classical, but off
tradition? Johann Pachel-
bel’s “Canon in D” is quite
popular, and there’s also
“Ave Maria,” one by Franz Schubert
and another one by the same name by
Johann Sebastian Bach.
How about something more mod-
ern, with lyrics? Then perhaps you
want something more like Matthew
West’s “When I Say I Do,” Michael W.
Smith’s “Friends” or Tammy
Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man.”
“There are books entitled ‘Wedding
Music,’” West Branch music teacher
Lou Pine said, with scores of scores
and a wide range of music from love
songs to dances for the reception.
So take your pick.
But what is it about
those pieces by Wagner
and Mendelssohn, both
written more than 160
years ago, that gave them
the strength to endure, to
become “the” music for
“They’re just clas-
sics,” 83-year-old West
Branch piano teacher
Maryann Crew said.
“They speak to you.
They’re just what you
want when you’re getting
Pine said
Mendelssohn’s “Wedding
March” captures a “tri-
umphal” sound, mixed
with sounds of celebra-
“People naturally
pick up on it,” he said.
Pine said musicologists have
argued this question for years: Why
does music convey the feelings it
Couples like classics as
much as unique songs
See MUSIC, Page 5
Photo by Gregory Norfleet
Maryann Crew sits at one of the pianos in her home, where she teaches lessons. She likes clas-
sical, though not necessarily traditional, music in weddings, but also likes some songs written
by contemporary Christian artists.
Name your tune: Musicians see
lots of diversity at weddings
Photo by Gregory Norfleet
West Branch High School
band director Staci Speer
said she prefers wedding
music or songs that break
away from tradition but still
have meaning for the couple
and the ceremony.
Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Marion Times, West Branch Times, West Liberty Index, Solon Economist, North Liberty Leader, Tipton Conservative, Clarence Lowden Sun-News - BRIDAL GUIDE - February 2014 – 5
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“Is it just tradition, or is there
something that speaks to all of us?” he
said. “No matter what decade you’re
talking about, even songs that last over
hundreds of years, this music does
appeal to us.”
It is interesting to note, he said, that
Wagner’s “Bridal March” did not have
lyrics when he wrote it. The “Here
Comes the Bride” part was added later,
latching on to become the renamed
“Bridal Chorus.”
“There’s something about the music
… that surpasses our words,” he said.
“Even here I’m having trouble talking
about it. It’s deeper than what words
actually say. The time, the centuries
don’t seem to matter. It’s innate to us.”
Even some of his younger pupils
“just eat it up.”
“It is timeless,” Pine said. “And
that’s why it’s considered a master-
West Branch High School band
director Staci Speer is not married, but
she is not a big fan of the Wagner and
Mendelssohn pieces.
“I think they’re OK,” she said. “But I
get bored with stuff used in every sin-
gle wedding. I enjoy the music, but I
don’t know if I would like to use it in a
wedding ceremony.”
Something old, something new
When Speer is asked to play for a
wedding, many who divert from tradi-
tion still go classical.
“A lot go with Pachelbel’s ‘Canon in
D’ when the bridal party is going down
the aisle,” she said, though she’s not a
fan of using that composition in wed-
dings, either, she still likes the piece.
“It’s written in the key of D, which is a
happy and cheerful key.”
Pine also mentioned “Canon in D.”
“True musicians frown on Pachel-
bel’s Canon, even though I like it,” he
Matthew West’s “When I Say I Do”
is growing in use, Speer said, largely
because of the lyrics. The opening
lines include “There must be a God/I
believe it’s true/’Cause I can see His
love/When I look at you.”
Crew recommends Ludwig van
Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonota.”
“I love that one,” she said. “It’s actu-
ally a love song.”
She is also a fan of “anything” by
Claude Debussy, but in particular
would suggest “Clair de Lune.”
“He has some wonderful music,”
Crew said. “I like the old ones the
She said she was brought up on
classical music, “and that’s what I
“It might not have words, but the
music speaks to me,” she said.
Crew also likes some contemporary
songs that appear in a book she has on
“more popular Christian classics,” like
Rick Mullins’ “Awesome God,”
Michael W. Smith’s “Friends,” and
Sandi Patty.
“I love Steven Curtis Chapman and
Amy Grant has some good music (for
weddings),” she said.
Pine said he would recommend
both Ave Maria compositions. The
Bach version is popular with Catholic
wedding masses, as well as funerals
and “quinceañeras” –  celebrations
that mark a girl’s 15th birthday, seen
as a transition from childhood to
MUSIC, from page 4
Photo by Gregory Norfleet
Lou Pine, a singer and musician, sits among many of the instruments he teaches to students out
of his home. He likes traditional wedding music that has stood the test of time, like Wagner’s
“Bridal March” and Mendellssohn's “Wedding March,” as well as classical and contemporary
songs with meaning for the couple.
6 – BRIDAL GUIDE - February 2014 - Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Marion Times, West Branch Times, West Liberty Index, Solon Economist, North Liberty Leader, Tipton Conservative, Clarence Lowden Sun-News
By Pat Kroemer
Tipton Conservative
was so happy when my youngest
son Christian and his fiancé,
Darcy, became engaged, but they
set the wedding for 12 months away.
Does it really take that long to plan a
wedding? How could I wait that long?
Darcy had some pretty definite
ideas about what her wedding would
be like, and it definitely was not a
princess wedding theme. She said she
wanted a rustic-themed wedding.
After the shock I found you could hav-
ing charming rustic without it being a
“redneck” wedding.
Rustic fits the couple. They love to
take long hikes and discover new
areas. Within three months of meet-
ing each other, Christian had Darcy
hooked on deer hunting. The first year
she watched, the second year she got
her own gun and license and climbed
right up in the deer stands with the
other guys.
As the mother of the groom, I said
I’d help wherever I could but didn’t
really expect to be doing much. That
was until I took over a few of the
bride’s ideas and ran with them.
Like many girls, Darcy had always
dreamed of getting married in her
family church in Fairbank. With that
booked, it was on to find a place for the
reception. The couple investigated
Backbone State Park and loved the
rustic feel of Stone Lodge. Built by the
Civilian Conservation Corps, the wood
and rock lodge was the perfect place
for a rustic reception.
Darcy asked her future sister-in-
law, Melissa, to make
her cake. They had sev-
eral ideas about what a
rustic cake should look
like. Darcy found a cake
topper that showed the
profile of a buck and doe
head. The profile of the
deer would flow through
the reception.
The first thing Darcy
asked my husband and I
to look for was a two- to
three-inch thick round
slab of a tree for the base
of her wedding cake. We
thought that should be
easy, but then I began
looking online and none
of the slabs were large
enough. And every time I
saw a recently downed
tree I was mentally siz-
ing it up. She was having
a 16-inch square cake
and I needed a 24-inch slab.
We spent a lot of time looking for
just the right size and were running
out of time. Quite by accident, four
days before the wedding my husband
found the perfect slab. I sighed in
relief and that part of the wedding was
The bridal flowers are almost as
important as the wedding dress, and
Darcy had an unusual spin to this too.
She wanted to use wooden flowers for
the bouquets. This was something new
to me, but Darcy ordered her hand-
crafted birch wood flowers. Melissa
again put her artistic tal-
ents to work, and was
able to design all the bou-
quets and boutonnieres
needed out of wooden
flowers and burlap
leaves, just the look
Darcy wanted.
As the flower girl
tossed flower petals
down the aisle, the ring
bearers carried a pillow
made of burlap.
Burlap is also a neces-
sity at a rustic wedding.
After I began looking up
different ideas for rustic
weddings, burlap was at
the top of the list and I
was surprised what you
could purchase made out
of burlap. When we had
the tables at the recep-
tion set up, we laid white
table covering down first
and then rolled the 16-inch wide
burlap table runner down the center.
Mason jars of various sizes decorated
with burlap and old lace were used as
flower vases and candleholders on the
Darcy mentioned she was going to
have a candy buffet for guests when
they first arrived at the reception.
After investigating this new concept, I
bought enough three-by-four inch
burlap drawstring bags for each wed-
ding guest for their candy. Next I
found a stamper and brown stamp pad
and began stamping a “K” on each bag.
This took a couple of sessions as I lost
interest very quickly. When I boxed
them up I thought they still needed a
little bling, so I put a crystal heart on
each bag too.
Later, a question of glasses for the
wedding came up and I volunteered to
get Mason jar mugs. Now that would
have been nice enough, but Annie
Schroder of Q&A Imprinters in Tipton
etched each mug with the profile of the
deer and the couple’s initials and wed-
ding date. In investigating the mugs I
found you should put a tag on each
mug for the guests to write their name
on. This way no one looses his or her
mug, or drinks out of someone else’s
mug by mistake, and they made a
great gift for each guest. This task may
have been a little ambitious, but every
time I worried about it, Annie said,
“Don’t worry.”
So our rustic wedding used a lot of
burlap, natural wood, Mason jars and
mugs and wooden flowers. Oh, and
don’t forget a few real deer antlers on
the head table.
A special treat for my youngest son
at the rehearsal dinner: After everyone
had arrived I had a three-tier beer can
cake delivered as a great beginning to
a real rustic wedding.
A mother’s musings: Yes, it takes a lot to plan a wedding
Charming wedding possible
without being ‘redneck’
A three-tier beer can “cake”
provided a perfect center-
piece for son’s rustic wed-
Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Marion Times, West Branch Times, West Liberty Index, Solon Economist, North Liberty Leader, Tipton Conservative, Clarence Lowden Sun-News - BRIDAL GUIDE - February 2014 – 7
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By Lori Lindner
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o matter how large your wed-
ding party, or where you want to
take them, Express Limousine
and Black Diamond Limousine services
in North Liberty will get them there in
One of the area’s longest-established
providers of the long, sleek black cars,
Express Limousine Service started on
Valentine’s Day 25 years ago in North
Liberty, with just one six-passenger
vehicle. Owner Mart Hutt has driven his
business to success by offering profes-
sional, high-quality service and keeping
up with the demands of a growing,
evolving market. Express Limousine
Services expanded in 2007 to include
Black Diamond Limousine, recently
added a location in Moline, Ill., and
Hutt’s operations now have a collective
fleet of 15 vehicles – everything from a
small hybrid to black sedans, SUVs, a
20-passenger Hummer limousine and
even a few party buses– that travel
throughout the state of Iowa and its five
surrounding states to get people where
they want to go.
Hutt’s most recent purchase is a
state-of-the-art, custom-ordered limou-
sine coach that can accommodate up to
30 passengers.
“It took a little over a year to decide to
buy it,” Hutt said.
He first saw the unique coach at a
limousine expo in Las Vegas.
“I knew it was just what we wanted,”
said Hutt. “This particular vehicle –
there is nothing like it around here. It
just made sense.”
With its perimeter seating, back-lit
bar, 1,600-watt sound system and four
40-inch screen televisions, privacy win-
dow shades and interactive interior
lighting, the limousine coach has all the
luxurious indulgences to enhance any-
body’s special day. More importantly, it
offers the convenience of keeping a
large party together as they celebrate.
“We have seen tremendous growth
in larger weddings,” said Hutt. “Even
the 20-passenger Hummer isn’t big
enough anymore. Often people have a
party of 25 to 30 people, and they don’t
want to have to split up into two limos to
get from the church to the reception.
They all want to be together.”
Hutt said the limousine coach is a
popular choice of transport not just for
bridal parties to get to and from
rehearsal dinners or wedding events,
but also for large groups taking wine
tours, casino excursions or celebrating
And Express and Black Diamond
limousine services specialize in tailoring
every experience to individual cus-
tomers. For example, Hutt offers bundle
packages so a bridal party can take
advantage of discount pricing and rest
assured that all transportation needs are
pre-arranged for an entire event: for
Photo courtesy of Express Limousine Services
This 30-passenger limousine coach offers the height in luxury travel for bridal parties and more. It is just one of the 15 vehicles available at Express
Limousine Services and Black Diamond Limousine in North Liberty. From small hybrids to sedans, SUV limousines and party busses, the two
services can transport parties of one to 30 passengers in comfort and style.
yourself with
limo options
See LIMOS, Page 8
8 – BRIDAL GUIDE - February 2014 - Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Marion Times, West Branch Times, West Liberty Index, Solon Economist, North Liberty Leader, Tipton Conservative, Clarence Lowden Sun-News
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example, a wedding bundle might
include taking a large group to the
rehearsal dinner the night before, trans-
porting bridesmaids to salon appoint-
ments the morning of the wedding, get-
ting the bride and her entourage to the
church on time, shuttling guests from the
church to the reception, and then whisk-
ing the bride and groom away at the end
of the evening.
“It entails multiple vehicles and multi-
ple hours, but it’s all bundled into a pack-
age so people can get discounts, and don’t
have to worry about making all kinds of
arrangements individually,” said Hutt.
Saving people from hassles is a large
part of what Express Limousine and
Black Diamond Limousine do for their
customers, said Thomas Ketelsen, who
partners with Hutt to provide the chauf-
feurs who are so important to the busi-
“To our drivers, we stress punctuality,
courtesy and a lot of patience,” Ketelsen
said. All of his chauffeurs arrive 15 min-
utes ahead of the scheduled appoint-
ment, dress professionally and attend to
every detail, he said.
Even the reservation process is a study
in details.
“No one wedding is the same as the
next,” Ketelsen said. For example, when
traveling from the church to the recep-
tion, the bride and groom might want to
stop for photographs along the way, or
take a spin around the park.
“What makes our service better is we
take the time to figure out exactly what
they want,” Ketelsen said. Because the
specifics are already in order, there won’t
be extra charges tacked on unexpectedly
at the end of the day, or drivers trying to
settle up a bill while the bride and groom
are on their way to the reception.
“We approach everything very profes-
sionally,” said Ketelsen. “We just want
customers to enjoy their day and not have
any headaches or worries.” To secure
your wedding reservation, Hutt suggests
booking transportation six to nine
months ahead of time, especially for an
April wedding, traditionally the month
for high school proms when limousines
are already in high demand.
Whether it’s an airport pick-up or cor-
porate appointments, prom or gradua-
tion, birthdays, sporting events or the
wedding of your dreams, Express Limou-
sine and Black Diamond Limousine are
on the move for you, 24/7.
To book online or get a quote, visit the
website at www.limosbyexpress.com, or
call 319-626-5466 Monday through Fri-
day from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. All requests
will receive email responses and confir-
“When it comes down to it, it’s the
quality of the service,” said Hutt. “You
can have brand new cars out there, but
we really focus on our chauffeurs being
on time, being courteous and very profes-
sional. Keeping track of it all is difficult,
but that’s what it’s all about.”
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LIMOS, from page 7
Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Marion Times, West Branch Times, West Liberty Index, Solon Economist, North Liberty Leader, Tipton Conservative, Clarence Lowden Sun-News - BRIDAL GUIDE - February 2014 – 9
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10 – BRIDAL GUIDE - February 2014 - Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Marion Times, West Branch Times, West Liberty Index, Solon Economist, North Liberty Leader, Tipton Conservative, Clarence Lowden Sun-News
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The couple said being together has
been key for them.
They have memories of their trips
around the nation, including to Wash-
ington, D.C., Niagara Falls, Colorado
and Florida.
Before they married, Ione did office
work at the Rock Island Arsenal.
If there’s any advice they would
impart to young people about the
secret to a long marriage, the couple
again mentioned just facing life’s joys
and challenges together.
“We just gave and took what came,”
said Ione.
“We always worked together,”
added Alvin.
They said their Christian faith has
been an important part of their lives.
“We both accepted the Lord at the
same time when an evangelist was
speaking at the Federated Church (in
Lisbon) many years ago,” Alvin said.
And, time flies.
“It doesn’t seem like 70 years,”
Alvin said.
LEHRS, from page 3
Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Marion Times, West Branch Times, West Liberty Index, Solon Economist, North Liberty Leader, Tipton Conservative, Clarence Lowden Sun-News - BRIDAL GUIDE - February 2014 – 11
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wedding invitations, favors, and paper goods
Corey Munson
Marion Times
s couples work to plan their per-
fect wedding, it's important to
also plan a fantastic honeymoon
to follow it up.
Anything from a few nights in Chica-
go or Minneapolis to an all inclusive
resort stay in Tahiti, travel agents can
take much of the hassle out of planning
a great get away. And it costs less than
one might expect.
“People work so hard for their vaca-
tion, we want to make sure it's a great
experience for them,” said Lisa Gilliatt,
president of Destinations Unlimited, a
Cedar Rapids-based travel agency.
She and her staff plan thousands of
trip for individuals and groups each year
that run the gamut from $1,200 to
$30,000 or more.
A big part of that business is honey-
moons and destination weddings.
For U.S. travelers, Mexico continues
to be the most popular destination.
important to a
lasting wedding
Photo courtesy of Destinations Unlimited
Warm climate locations are still the most pop-
ular honeymoon destinations.
See HONEYMOON, Page 12
12 – BRIDAL GUIDE - February 2014 - Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Marion Times, West Branch Times, West Liberty Index, Solon Economist, North Liberty Leader, Tipton Conservative, Clarence Lowden Sun-News
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Specifically, Gilliatt said a region south
of Cancun known as Riviera Maya has
been a top destination in recent years.
“A lot of people hear about trouble in
Mexico on the news and worry about
traveling there,” Gilliatt said. “But most
of the problems are along with
U.S./Mexico border. Being afraid to
travel to [central or southern Mexico]
would be like not coming to Iowa
because of crime in Texas.”
In addition to honeymoons, many
couples are opting to incorporate a vaca-
tion with the wedding by planning a des-
tination wedding. Mexico again is the
most popular spot for both destination
weddings and honeymoons, followed by
Jamaica, the Caribbean, Hawaii and
Dominican Republic.
Gilliatt said in some ways it might
actually be a cost savings, or about the
same cost, to plan a destination wed-
“Some resorts will actually give you a
free wedding [including cake, decora-
tions and a reception] if the group meets
reservation requirements,” Gilliatt said.
For those unable to afford a tropical
honeymoon, Gilliattsaid there are still
plenty of options.
“Florida is always popular,” she said,
and Destinations Unlimited can even
help plan getaways to midwest cities
such as Chicago or Minneapolis.
“It all depends on what you are look-
ing for, we can work with your budget,”
Gilliatt said.
She encourages anyone interested in
planning a vacation to contact a travel
agent as part of their research.
“Some people think it's going to cost
an arm and a leg to use a travel agency,
that it's like working with a lawyer – that
we charge per the hour – that’s not
true,” Gilliatt said. In fact, she said the
per-person cost to book a vacation
through Destinations Unlimited is $10.
She explained that their primary
source of income are the resorts and
hotels that they send people to. Loca-
tions and facilities are vetted by agents
before Destinations Unlimited starts
sending people on vacation there, and
staff are always on the look out for new
Gilliatt said an agent can take some of
the guesswork out of planning a vaca-
tion, from booking a flight to checking in
at the hotel to returning home safely.
And every step of the way an agent is
just a phone call away in case of prob-
Another popular option an agency
can offer is a honeymoon gift registry.
This allows wedding guests to buy add-
ons to the happy couple’s trip. This
could be anything from horseback rid-
ing to a nice meal, something to add to
the enjoyment of the trip that the couple
may not buy for themselves for financial
To learn more about planning a hon-
eymoon, visit www.duagency.com.
HONEYMOON, from page 11
Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Marion Times, West Branch Times, West Liberty Index, Solon Economist, North Liberty Leader, Tipton Conservative, Clarence Lowden Sun-News - BRIDAL GUIDE - February 2014 – 13
By Jacob Lane
West Liberty Index
I married the beautiful Faith
Blaskowski on Jan. 5, 2013, at the
Church of Living Water. This very
wedding guide covered my proposal
story last year, when I asked her to
marry me via large letters in the sand
(original, right?). Since then, I’ve
learned a lot
about my mate,
merry matrimony
and myself.
I’m no mar-
riage expert, but
I’ve been at it for
a year now. Per-
haps, by recount-
ing my own life, I
can give those of
you near the aisle
a preview of
what’s to come.
It’s a road paved
with golden bliss
and forks that
trail off in every
direction. So let’s
anuary: The
first month
was a dream
come true, espe-
cially after the wedding was over. Not
that I didn’t enjoy getting married, but
I now firmly believe weddings aren’t
about the two getting hitched, they’re
about appeasing family, friends and
that one odd person who attended the
event because he knows your aunt.
When all was said and done, the both
of us were happy to get away from
everybody and finally be together. We
did so by visiting a bed and breakfast
in the Amana Colonies for our honey-
It wasn’t Jamaica or the Caribbean,
but it was affordable. Wedding plan-
ning is a strenuous activity – getting
the details down to a thin wire and
expecting it to hold the 10,000 pounds
of weight known as your wedding day
is stressful. I opted for the Colonies
because they took no planning what-
soever. We called, we reserved a room
for a week, then we played it by ear the
entire time. Faith and I went out to eat
and saw movies on our own time. A
honeymoon without a schedule is like
a piece of paradise.
After that, my bride and I returned
to our new apartment in West Liberty.
With the sun in our eyes, we could do
no wrong.
ebruary-March: One thing you
pick up quickly after marriage is
how your partner sleeps. Some
go out like a light, others tread the
dream world lightly. I’m the latter. She
would kick, I would wake up. She
would kick again, I would wake up
again. For the first month I didn’t
I’m used to it now, though. She
could kick me in
the face and I’ll
just roll over
and keep snooz-
The other
thing you pick
up is your own
s p e n d i n g
habits. I never
knew it, but I’m
a glutton for
new and shiny
things. Since my
first job, a good
portion of my
paycheck went
toward digital
technology. X-
Box 360?
Check. Flat-
Screen TV?
Check. My wife,
on the other
hand, is quite
frugal with her money. For those first
few months we only bought what we
That’s when I realized it’s easy to
get caught up in the most recent
releases; it takes self-control to buy
spinach instead of the latest season of
“House.” I still struggle with it, but my
wife is there to keep me on track.
pril: The days were odd at the
beginning. I worked part-time
in Iowa City as a custodian
while finishing up my degree in jour-
nalism. Faith held a job at Giri BP. I
would head out to school or work early
in the morning, spend most of my day
at the University of Iowa, then head
home tired. She would also get up
early, head to the gas station, and put
long-standing hours behind a register.
One day in April I just sort of
broke…having a job and a full 21-cred-
it-hour college career isn’t easy. I
drove home tired and depressed, fed
up with the world and ready to move
away. That’s when Faith got a hold on
me. She comforted me and made it all
go away.
A few weeks later she came home in
bad shape. Customers are sometimes
not the smartest individuals on the
earth. I held her and did my best to
comfort her. My life lesson in April
was simple: When I’m weak, my part-
ner is strong; when she’s weak, I’m
strong. We just have to hold each
other and carry on. What a beautiful
aspect of finding your significant
ay-July: I was blessed when I
graduated from the universi-
ty, I literally had a job right
after walking off the podium with my
diploma. Due to my time at the West
Liberty Index during the summer of
2012, I was able to get in full-time at
the beginning of last summer. It was
an exciting time.
It was also a time of great learning.
I don’t believe anyone fully knows
what they’re getting into their first
time walking into a full-time career.
College can jam it down your throat as
much as it wants, but actually getting
out there…that’s different. The ebb
and flow of the city, the callous cri-
tique of my colleagues and the con-
stant chaos of putting a paper together
Reflections: One year down, a lifetime to go
Jacob and Faith’s reception after their marriage on
Jan. 5, 2013.
14 – BRIDAL GUIDE - February 2014 - Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Marion Times, West Branch Times, West Liberty Index, Solon Economist, North Liberty Leader, Tipton Conservative, Clarence Lowden Sun-News
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every week blew my mind. I’d come
home with an I.Q. beaten down to 10
and the hardship of the day etched on
my shoulders.
One day, after getting home, Faith
sat by me as I a stared blankly into the
television. She put her hand on my
shoulder and said, “You can do it.”
A week after that, she said the same
thing, “You can do it.”
A week later, she said, “You can do
Over and over again, she told me I
could do it. Oddly enough, I began
believing I could. There’s something
that your partner can do that no one
else can. Anyone else could have told
me I could do it and I would have been
encouraged for a second. Faith told me
and I actually believed it. Encourage-
ment from a partner can make or
break your dreams. I can’t imagine liv-
ing with someone who tears them
down. Partners, and the words they
say, are elevated above everyone else
in the world.
ugust-September: I think it’s
safe to say the honeymoon peri-
od had faded away by this point.
There were these little things Faith
would do that drove me crazy. I know
that I irritated her, too; in fact, I could
irritate her like no other person. Like a
sharp sword I could cut her quickly
and to the point.
Of course, that never went over
I learned a whole new step in self-
control in August. Just because you
can tear down your partner like no one
else doesn’t mean you should. She’s
got plenty of dirt on me, too, so going
that route can only do more damage
than good. Not only that, it’s just flat
out unloving. Why would you want to
hurt the person you’re spending the rest
of your life with so badly?
It’s still something I’m working on. As
for getting irritated, that’s just part of the
flow of life. I’m a neat freak, but I’m
always losing things. Faith isn’t quite as
neat, but she’s always organized. Put
those two personalities together and you
have a great place for constant conflict.
I’ve had to learn that our apartment
doesn’t need to be in pristine condition
24/7; Faith has had to learn to put up
with my anal tendency to pick up the
place and nit pick at her personal space.
Yes, we annoy each other all the time
because of this, but we’ve also developed
a great deal of tolerance.
In fact, September is when it really hit
me that marriage is great, but so is the
need for personal space. I don’t love
Faith any less, but sometimes I need
time alone. She has to hang out with her
friends as well. We have an instinct to
seek out and find like-minded people of
the same sex. If we don’t get that outlet,
the marriage becomes estranged.
ctober-December: This time of
year officially marked the begin-
ning of the holiday season. What
a terrible time to be married…is the
thought I always seem to have. Her fam-
ily wants us one place, my family wants
us somewhere else. Each holiday is a bat-
tleground for our attention, all the while
we can’t relax during this time of “relax-
The solution? We’re still working on
it. Suffice it to say, we spend many week-
ends at her family’s house because it’s
close and then travel to my grandparents
for the major holidays. As the years go on
we’ll probably carve out a routine.
Because we were married on Jan. 5,
Faith and I really didn’t have much of a
Christmas last year. We went full blown
in the opposite direction for 2013, put-
ting up a tree before Thanksgiving. On
the morning of Christmas, we woke up
and celebrated ourselves before driving
to my grandparents. That’s when I real-
ized it had already been a year.
It seemed to have flown by, but it was
also marked with learning. If I’ve learned
one thing from my one year of marriage
it’s that you’re always learning. If you
stop, the relationship stops. We’re not
perfect, but we make the perfect couple.
As our life continues I love Faith more
and more each day.
That’s one year down, the rest of
our lives to go.
REFLECTIONS, from page 13
Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Marion Times, West Branch Times, West Liberty Index, Solon Economist, North Liberty Leader, Tipton Conservative, Clarence Lowden Sun-News - BRIDAL GUIDE - February 2014 – 15
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Pick your favor Tips for gifts
Be creative
Wedding favors can be just about anything, so there's no need to stick to
Jordan almonds or wine bottle stoppers. The more creative couples are, the
more receptive their guests will likely be. For example, for an autumn-
themed wedding, fill Mason jars with the ingredients for a spiced cake and
give the recipe directions on a tag. For a summer wedding, gift guests with
a sun and surf survival bag, full of sunblock, a beach towel and sunglasses.
Complete the theme
Some weddings follow a particular theme from start to finish, and wed-
ding favors should stick with that theme. Couples who will showcase their
love of travel on their wedding days may want to give guests keychains or
purse holders that feature popular landmarks around the world. Those who
are admitted beach bums may want to present a small fishbowl with sand
and a goldfish inside, reminiscent of days at the seashore.
Go traditional
Couples who opt for universally appealing favors can lean toward some
popular options, such as silver cake servers, candlestick holders, decorative
photo frames, or engraved keepsake boxes. Aim for favors that have utility.
Otherwise, favors may end up collecting dust on someone's shelf.
Food and beverage gifts are fun
Food favors mean guests can enjoy their gifts and not have to worry
about finding space inside their homes to display trinkets. Food favors can
be lavishly decorated cookies, fine chocolates, petit fours, small bottles of
champagne or cupcakes decorated like the wedding cake.
16 – BRIDAL GUIDE - February 2014 - Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Marion Times, West Branch Times, West Liberty Index, Solon Economist, North Liberty Leader, Tipton Conservative, Clarence Lowden Sun-News
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