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Des Moines, IA
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Wedding Day Advice For Engaged Couples

The big day is here! Sometimes all the anticipation makes us forget what the wedding day is all about. After all, you have spent MONTHS planning the best day of your life, and you just want everything to run smoothly! Read on to see our Wedding Day Advice for Des Moines couples on their wedding day to make it a little easier and more memorable.

First Dance, Father-Daughter and Mother-Son Dance Song Ideas

With so many options for a traditional wedding dance songs, where do you start?

Most wedding couples say that this portion of their wedding was the most emotional and memorable part of the evening. As a result, searching through Father-Daughter and Mother-Son wedding dance songs is important and never easy.

Similar to your first dance song search, you should take your time finding these songs. Given that this is such a special moment to share, the selection of the songs should be one that means something to each of you. Whether this is a song you listened to as a child, a song with a message or shows your special relationship. Below are our favorites and popular requests from our clients in 2020!

 

Complete Weddings + Events Reviews from 2020’s Most Recent Des Moines Newlyweds

While 2020 gave us quite a few unexpected curveballs, many lucky couples were still blessed to be able to host the day of their dreams. 2020 weddings have come in all shapes in sizes, with varying regulations and adjustments to make these magical days quite the successful miracle. From micro weddings to massive ones (prior to mid-March), we loved playing our part for every event!

Despite the challenges, our Complete Weddings + Events team in Des Moines has been continually reminded of why we love what we do. Luckily, the happy feelings we have about helping couples throw the best day of their lives is mutual! Here is a recap of 2020 reviews from this year’s most recent newlyweds! 

Popular Wedding Features to Stay in 2021

We can all agree 2020 was uncharted territory. For those ready to get married, 2020’s restrictions and mandates posed many challenges, but fortunately, wedding professionals continued to help guide couples to wedding day success! With new event elements, technology, and services brought to light in 2020, weddings and large gatherings in Des Moines, Iowa, will never be the same! Learn more about these popular wedding features to stay in 2021, and some to stay for years to come!

Micro Weddings in Des Moines Ideas – How to Plan & Where to Start

Considering having micro weddings in Des Moines? These smaller events are not only a cost-saving alternative to a traditional wedding with 150+ guests, but they’re an intimate affair that can be as unique as you and your partner. Since they are on a smaller scale, there are more options for locations, catering, seating, and activities that can’t easily be recreated at a large Des Moines event.

 

What are Micro Weddings in Des Moines?

Imagine a normal Des Moines wedding celebration, just on a way smaller scale. Micro weddings most still have a ceremony and reception with dinner, decor, cake, and entertainment. The event is typically 40 people or less, with the majority of micro weddings in the range of 15 to 25 guests. A smaller guest list means less seating, centerpieces, linens, food, and the list goes on. According to The Knot’s 2019 Real Weddings Study, the average wedding last year cost over $33,000, when a micro wedding can be achieved under $10,000. Talk about major savings!

But a smaller wedding doesn’t mean a micro wedding can’t be lavish. While the guest list for micro weddings is limited, this doesn’t necessarily mean the couple is throwing a frugal, thrifty wedding. Micro weddings allow a couple to bring their true wedding day vision to life with more budget for anything they can dream up! If you’re looking to splurge on a unique venue, a customized catered meal, or lavish decor, you can still save money in the end when the guest list is limited. Micro weddings give your budget more freedom to splurge on something you simply could not fathom providing for 300 people.



First Steps in Micro Wedding Planning

Similar to planning a standard wedding, the first step in microwedding planning is to think about your ideal timeframe and solidify a venue. The biggest difference here is that micro weddings allow for many more event location options, inside or outside. From the stage of theatre to a shady spot in your best friend’s backyard, micro weddings don’t have to be confined to a standard wedding venue. Understanding the estimated number of guests and your vision for the day (urban, bohemian, formal, garden, ethereal, modern tropical, rustic, etc.) will help guide you on what type of location to be looking for. 

Check out smaller venues in Des Moines that offer ideal micro wedding locations like:  The Greenwood Park (Claire and Mile Mills Rose Garden or Sylvan Amphitheater) or The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

The Edited Guest List

No more agonizing or arguing over whether to invite every single cousin or the fallback of implementing a no-kids policy. Simply invite your parents (or not!) and besties, and be done with it. When the guest list is cut by 90 percent, most people understand if they didn’t make the cut, especially with everything going on in the world right now! Will Great Aunt Gloria lose it over being left out? Weigh that against being able to recognize—and be truly happy to see—every face in your crowd.

The Doable Decor

Lusting after that limited edition French china on Etsy? Go ahead. Buy a set or three. Dreaming of that florist you found on Instagram to make a table arrangement? Go ahead. DM her. When you’re just decorating one table (think: a super-chic dinner party) or one small room (hey, dancing is mandatory for you), the pressure’s off—especially when it comes to your wallet.

The “Anything Goes” Attire

Walking down the “aisle” of a courthouse, a garden, a restaurant or your own backyard doesn’t call for a 25-foot couture train—or the months of fittings that go with it. Want to wear a badass jumpsuit à la Solange? Do your thing. And if you do want the big gown, that’s your decision to make as well. The point is, you’re controlling things, not the dress code or other people’s expectations. (P.S. That also means no need to force your BFFS into matching bridesmaids dresses either. Just sayin’.)

You Still Get To Have Your DREAM Wedding

An incredible cake, dreamy flowers, a photo booth, the playlist you’ve been curating since you were nine? None of these things need to be nixed just because you’re celebrating on a smaller scale. In fact, because there are fewer guests, you can splurge on the things you care about without going bankrupt, whether that’s a chef-made meal or your flower crown. Space is limited, but when it comes to your wedding fantasies, the sky’s still the limit.



Micro Weddings in Des Moines Services

Photography

When throwing a micro wedding, we still suggest hiring a photographer to capture your unique day. Quality photos of you and your spouse are a must! Time and effort were put into every detail of the day, plus your favorite people in the entire world will all be together! You’ll want all this captured to look back on for years to come!

Music

Whether you want a dance off to emerge or an evening of sing-a-long tunes around the fire pit, music helps bring your space to life! Set the atmosphere with music from when guests arrive to the final slow dance of the evening. Hire a DJ to make announcements, provide microphones for any speeches, and to create the soundtrack to the day of your dreams. 

Videography

With a small guest list, many individuals you enjoy simply won’t be able to make the slim list. Choosing videography and/or live streaming for a micro wedding is a great option to be able to share the day with extended family members, coworkers, high school friends, your gym buddy, your mom’s hair stylist, and all those who wish they could have made the tiny invite list.

 

Complete Weddings + Events in Des Moines, IA

Take the stress out of hiring multiple vendors by choosing a vendor who can cater multiple services for your day. Complete Weddings + Events offers budget-friendly packages on photography, DJ and videography perfect for a micro wedding! Having a photographer, DJ, and videographer who work well together is something you won’t take for granted! Complete Weddings + Events, Des Moines’ leading provider of event and wedding photographyvideographylightingDJ services & photo booth rental.

Wedding With A View: Taylor + Dragos’s Lake Panorama Wedding

It’s still summer, and we are still feeling the heat. Who wouldn’t love attending a wedding on Lake Panorama, on a holiday weekend no less! Well, that is exactly what Taylor and Dragos treated their guests to. They couldn’t have asked for better weather (even though it was a little hot) and  better company!

Lake Panorama Wedding

The day started with a ceremony by the water in their lake house backyard. All of their closest friends and family were in attendance, as well as some boaters that passed by as the couple said ‘i do’. After the ceremony that was performed by a very good friend of the couple, the bridal party said to heck with a party bus, and opted for a party pontoon instead!

Wedding Reception

As the guests started to head to The Port for the reception, Taylor did what all brides want to do on their day….a dress change! The grand entrance set the mood for the evening and that is when the party really began! With Darcy and Jamie as DJ and emcees for the night, Eli capturing those special moments for the couple’s video, and Jenni, the couple’s Complete photographer, getting all the shots she could (super pregnant BTW), it really turned into a party that they will remember forever. The couple spent the next few hours enjoying the music with their friends and family, as well as the groom giving the bride her own personal dance during the garter toss! The bride got him back during the cake cutting though!

With a special sparkler exit, the couple set off to start their lives together as husband and wife, and gave us some really great scenes and adorable moments for their photo and video!

If you are looking for an amazing outdoor space close to the water to say your ‘i dos’ we highly recommend Lake Panorama and The Port.

 

Complete Weddings + Events in Des Moines, IA

Take the stress out of hiring multiple vendors by choosing a vendor who can cater to multiple services for your day. Complete Weddings + Events offers budget-friendly packages on photography, DJ, and videography perfect for a micro wedding! Having a photographer, DJ, and videographer who work well together is something you won’t take for granted! Complete Weddings + Events, Des Moines’ leading provider of event and wedding photographyvideographylightingDJ services & photo booth rental.

 

 

 

Complete Des Moines Reviews from 2020’s Most Recent Newlyweds!

 

While 2020 gave us quite a few unexpected curveballs, many lucky couples were still blessed to be able to host the day of their dreams. 2020 weddings have come in all shapes in sizes, with varying regulations and adjustments to make these magical days quite a successful miracle. From micro weddings to massive ones (prior to mid-March), we loved playing our part for every event! Despite the challenges, our Complete Weddings + Events team in Des Moines has been continually reminded of why we love what we do. Luckily, the happy feelings we have about helping couples throw the best day of their lives is mutual! Here is a recap of 2020 reviews from this year’s most recent newlyweds!

Complete Des Moines Reviews from 2020’s Most Recent Newlyweds!

Lindsey S:

“Working with Complete Weddings and Events was so easy! Trevor did an amazing job videoing our day and worked so well with our photographer on getting all of the important shots. Jamie did an amazing job keeping things flowing for our guests and getting everyone involved. Sue was in contact with me constantly through the whole process of changing dates and making sure everything was seamless! Thank you to everyone!”

 

Peggy W:

“I like the communication the company had with me. It really helped remove the stress level.”

 

Morganne M:

“You guys were very easy to work with and had great communication. Our DJ, Andy, made sure everyone had a fun night and that it flowed smoothly. The photobooth attendants were also very nice and helped everybody have a great time.”

 

Victoria W:

“It was extremely easy to book each service with Sue! We just had our engagement session with Keely and she was FANTASTIC! She was so laid back and fun that it made out session effortless. Can’t wait for everything else on the big day!”

 

Jill P:

“Wonderful service…Quinton kept us dancing all night! Thank you!”

 

Taylor M:

“I liked how COMPLETE offered a variety of services in one package. Their staff was very professional and personable which made the experience so much better. Very well planned even with all of the chaos that surrounded the event.”

 

Chase P:

“Kevin was Fantastic. He found out what our crowd liked and there wasn’t a time where the dance floor was empty. I remember looking at the dance floor and noticing almost everyone was dancing! He communicated very well before our wedding and made sure we were happy. I would recommend him to any couple getting married!”

 

Rachel B:

“We just had our engagement photos taken and Jennifer, our photographer, was great! I do not like being in front of a camera, but she made it such a fun night and I felt comfortable. She’s very personable and knew great spots to take the photos and had unique ideas for poses. Can’t wait for her to shoot our wedding!”

 

Carissa W:

“I most appreciated Nicole coming on my wedding day and helping to get me down the aisle! It was much needed!”

 

Ivy C:

“Darcy was willing to listen to us and playthings outside the norm for a wedding, which was important to us!”

 

Jocelyn W:

“Kevin was awesome! He went above and beyond to make sure that our night went as smoothly as possible! He wasn’t just our DJ that night but he was a friend and part of the family. We loved all of the entertainment he had planned for us and all of the games. The crowd loved these too. We couldn’t have asked for anyone better to help us through the day! THANK YOU KEVIN!!”


Complete Weddings + Events in Des Moines

Contact us to begin creating your team of professionals that will make your wedding a memorable and enjoyable one, no matter what else 2020 or 2021 may bring! Complete Weddings + Events, Des Moines’ leading provider of event and wedding photographyvideographylightingDJ services & photo booth rental.

 

How To Thank Your Wedding Vendors, Especially If They Were Awesome!

How many of your wedding vendors did you hear about through your friends, family, or just anyone else around you that has been married?  Your wedding vendors are your “Ride or Die” up until your big day and beyond!  Yes, we all love our wedding party, but they are there to help you have a good time, and celebrate the night with you;  your vendors make sure that your hair looks amazing, the food is all everyone talks about after, the dance floor is crowed, and every last detail of your day is perfect.  So with that being said, how do you properly thank those people who went above and beyond for you & your celebration? Don’t worry! We have some ideas.

wedding vendors


Write a ‘Thank You’ Note

A personalized ‘Thank You’ card is a great way to let your vendor know you appreciated all their hard work with your wedding day. Think about when you get a hand-written note, don’t you just love it?  Plus, you are more than likely already sending out ‘Thank Yous’ to your guests, so why not include your vendors!?  Here is a great template to use:

“Dear [Name], Thank you so much for being part of our wedding day! We loved getting to work with you to bring our dream to life. We appreciate your help in creating unforgettable moments that will last a lifetime. [Address specific moments here.] Our love and gratitude, [Your names].” 


Leave a Tip After Your Wedding (or as the evening is coming to a close)

Although it is not required, tipping your vendors is always appreciated.  They have set time away just for you and your day, so if they showed you some extra love, why not return the favor? Not only is a tip a great way to thank your team for their hard work, it won’t go unappreciated. Since many of your wedding pros are small businesses, they’ll be grateful for the thought behind your gift. Some of your vendors may already have the tip included in your final estimate (like caterers, musicians, wait staff, etc) but most of them (DJ, Photographer, Videographer, Photo Booth Attendant, Coordinator) do not… so check the fine print beforehand.  Not sure exactly where to start? Here is  a great cheatsheet!


Write Your Wedding Vendors A Glowing Review

One of the best vendor thank-you gifts you can give is a review.  Plenty of couples find their pros online, and if you use tools like The Knot, WeddingWire, Google, or Facebook to find your wedding team, there’s a good chance you’ll head to the reviews to see what other couples are saying.  If you had a great experience with your vendors, go to their online storefronts and write a few lines about your experience with them.  Share the ways they went above and beyond, and include your favorite aspects of working with their business. Your pro will be so thankful for your words. If  you want to go one step beyond that, offer to be a reference for other potential couples to contact about how your day went and how the vendor stood out to you!

Thanking Wedding Vendors


Send Them a Gift

Did one or more of your wedding vendors really stand out in your mind?  If you had a particularly exceptional experience with a wedding vendor, express your appreciation by getting them a gift. Keep in mind this isn’t mandatory—vendor thank-you gifts are often best given in combination with a good review and a tip. But if you feel inclined, you can purchase a gift for those that exceeded your expectations. To keep things simple, consider getting your pros a pre-made gift basket, a bouquet of flowers or a gift card.

Wedding Vendors Gift Ideas

c/o KNACKshops.com

Don’t Get FOMO: Things Couples Wish They Would Have Done

Let’s think into the future… your wedding day is finally here and you cannot wait to marry the person of your dreams! You have been planning for months, maybe even years, and now the day is actually here! You more than likely woke up extremely early because you could barely sleep, you have your coffee or mimosa in hand and you are ready to enjoy every last moment of YOUR day. I’m sure that you have heard many times, from everyone, that the day goes by so fast that you won’t even remember half of it (especially if you opted for an open bar).  So let’s take some advice from couples that have already “been there done that” and make sure that you don’t spend weeks after your big day with major FOMO.

Don’t Get FOMO: Things Couples Wish They Would Have Done

couple des moines wedding photography

Lesson #1: Get A Videographer.

Yes, we know, it is just one more thing to add to the budget! But take it from this bride who said, “While my dad was giving me away, he said something absolutely hilarious that made everyone laugh. He passed away six months after our wedding, and I don’t remember what he said. Because I didn’t get a videographer, I may never remember.” Worried about cost? Pro Tip: ask your videographer to cut down their time to maybe just the ceremony and part of the reception. That way you get all the important stuff (like speeches and that first kiss) without having to break the bank!

des moines wedding videography Don't Get FOMO

Lesson #2: Stand Your Ground.

Your vendors are what make your dreams a reality, but at what cost? Hallie said; “I wish I had been more assertive with my vendors. For example, my florist suggested a few yellow flowers in my bouquet, which I didn’t really want, and my DJ played some awful songs at our reception. Looking back, I wish I hadn’t caved into them because I wanted to be an easy bride.” Vendors are there to make your day exactly the way you envision it. Yes, since most of them plan a lot of weddings each year, they will have suggestions for you, but never think you are going to hurt their feelings if you say no to them.

It’s OKAY to be polite and say no to anything you just aren’t feeling. Pro Tip: you may have a complicated vendor in the mix. Ask your other half, or perhaps someone from the wedding party to come to the next meeting and discuss your worries, and if you are still getting push back from your vendor, to heck with them! Find someone else who is willing to create YOUR vision, because trust us, they are out there!

Wedding Ceremony Decor Ideas It doesn't have to be a "White Wedding"

Lesson #3: It doesn’t have to be a “White Wedding”.

This one is pretty simple. If you don’t want to wear white because you are worried about getting your dress dirty, can’t find the right shade, or whatever your reason is… don’t! Jessica said; “I 100% regret wearing white! I hate how I look in white, so I was so uncomfortable, and I felt like a giant marshmallow all evening.” We are seeing more colors coming down the bridal runway every single season! Just because it’s “tradition” doesn’t mean you have to follow. Be your own kind of bride! Pro Tip: having trouble finding dresses that aren’t white? Do some online research. You can find companies that would be willing to dye your dress, artists that are willing to paint on your dress, or even custom make your dress!

Complete weddings + events Blog Your Day, Your Rules.

Lesson #4: Your Day, Your Rules.

We all have heard about the “Karens” of the world by now, right? Well if you have those types of people in your life and don’t want to invite them to your wedding….don’t! Maybe you have that third cousin twice removed that you know will drink too much and attempt to take over the DJ Booth. Or you have those few acquaintances in the office, and they hear you in the breakroom with your work besties talking flowers and honeymoons.

Don’t feel like you have to invite them just because they gave you the website for some great honeymoon package deals, or referred you to the caterer you are going to use. Take it from Kim, “Inviting certain people just so we didn’t offend them, only to have them show us exactly why we didn’t want to invite them.” Pro Tip: if you think they are going to make your wedding memorable and make sure you have a great time…invite them!

funny wedding moments des moines iowa Mental Photographs.

Lesson #5: Mental Photographs.

Pam Beesly’s aunt said it best, “Hey my aunt told me something neat. She said, everything with the wedding goes by so fast, we should try to take mental pictures of the high points.” Slow down right before those big moments, take a breath, and take it all in… trust me, people will wait for you before starting the speeches! Don’t worry about anything that is no longer within your control the day-of. You spent enough time planning and worrying, so today is YOUR day, so take time to remember it!

Couples Wish They Would Have Done

C/O The Office

 

Complete Weddings + Events in Des Moines, IA

Planning your dream wedding or event should be simple and fun, and we firmly believe that having all our services under one roof makes planning easier for you. So relax. We’ve got this. Our job is to make this easy for you, your job is to enjoy the party! Complete Weddings + Events, Des Moines’ leading provider of event and wedding photographyvideographylightingDJ services & photo booth rental.

Meet the Complete Des Moines Team

Meet the Complete Des Moines team the Complete Weddings + Events team here in Iowa. Members of our DJ and Photo Booth staff have been performing events for over 25 years, so our team has nearly seen it all! We’re familiar with every venue in the Des Moines area, and have worked with many of the event and wedding vendors you may choose for your big day!  Visit our website, desmoinesweddingvenues.com, for a list of venues in the Des Moines area and their contact information and our website’s partner page, completewedo.com/des-moines/vendors, for a list of our recommended vendors.

Feel free to reach out to us with any of your event-related questions, or to learn more about what we do to make sure you’re completely taken care of leading up to and on your event day. We’d love to hear about what you’re planning for your event, and see how we can help!!

Meet the Complete Des Moines Team

Sue Bennett, Owner

Years in Industry:  10+Sue Bennett, Owner

Sports Team: Cornhusker Football ~ Sorry Iowa 🙁  You can take the girl out of NE, but not NE out of the girl!!

Favorite Phone App: Scrabble GO

Super Power:  Multi-Tasking

Quarantine Activities: Red Wine & Netflix

Say hello to Sue Bennett!  She is the Owner of Complete Weddings + Events Des Moines.  Sue moved to Des Moines from Omaha, NE, in April of 2019, and took over the company from the previous owner.  She’s very hands-on and oversees all aspects of the business on a daily basis!!  Sue loves to spend time outdoors and has fun exploring the Des Moines parks and bike trails over the past year.  When she’s not working to help you plan your “perfect” event, she can be found walking with her Mini Australian Shepherd, Gus, or riding her bike in her neighborhood!   In the evening Sue enjoys a glass of red wine and reading a few pages in a good book when time allows.  Sue is available anytime for your wedding and event needs at [email protected]

 

Gus, Office Dog

Gus, Office Dog

Super Power:  Making Treats Disappear

Quarantine Activities: Long Walks & Long Naps

Speaking of Gus, he’s become our loyal office dog…  Gus is almost 4 years old.  He loves to come to work with Sue and always greets our guests at the door with a friendly welcome!  He especially enjoys when we get Mail and Fed Ex deliveries because they are always ready with some extra attention and sometimes a special treat for him.  Gus also loves long walks & Starbucks Pupachinos.

 

 

 

Nicole Anderson, Event ConsultantNicole Anderson, Event Consultant

Favorite Phone App: PhotoGrid

Super Power:  Mind Reader

Quarantine Activities: Board Games & Yard Work 

Meet Nicole! She is our Operations Manager, Marketing Guru, Social Media Ninja, and Bride Whisperer! Nicole is always just a phone call, e-mail, or text away to answer any questions you might have about your big day! As a bride-to-be herself she knows how stressful things can get, and she always wants to make sure you are taken care of! She loves weddings, has five dogs, and encourages you to #ShopLocal
Bride Carissa said, “I most appreciated Nicole coming on my wedding day and helping to get me down the aisle! It was much needed!”
Have questions for Nicole, or just want to say hi? Feel free to drop her a line: [email protected]

In addition to these amazing members of our Des Moines Weddings + Events office team, we have over  20 other team members including DJs, Photographers, Videographers, and Photo Booth attendants who work with us to provide you with an amazing experience for your wedding or special event!  We’d love to be a part of your day whether you need DJ and emcee services, a photo booth for your guests to enjoy and share fun pics, or a photographer and videographer to document your memories for you to enjoy for years to come!  Visit our website to request more information and to view the bios of other members of our team and examples of our work: https://completewedo.com/des-moines/

Complete Weddings + Events in Des Moines, IA

If you’re planning a wedding in Des Moines, IA, then you’ve landed at the right place! Now that you’ve said YES! to spending your life together, you have some exciting decisions ahead. At Complete Weddings + Events planning, wedding events is what we do best. We’re here to guide you through the planning process so you can enjoy the big decisions and leave the details to us.  Complete Weddings + Events, Des Moines’ leading provider of event and wedding photographyvideographylightingDJ services & photo booth rental.