Real weddings: Peter Jessen and Ryan Crane, West Des Moines

Real weddings: Peter Jessen and Ryan Crane, West Des Moines

Our biannual Juice Wedding Guide comes out this week, but we just couldn’t hold our excitement. Here’s another sneak peek at some of what you’ll see at and in Wednesday’s issue. Look for more real central Iowa weddings, wedding week style, the central Iowa venue guide and more, online and in print this week. 

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Newlyweds: Peter Jessen and Ryan Crane, West Des Moines

Six years ago, on the University of Northern Iowa campus through the Gay-Straight Alliance, Peter Jessen and Ryan Crane met and they’ve been inseparable ever since.

Over the course of falling in love, living together and finally tying the knot, a significant legal precedent was set.

“On April 3, 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court laid the groundwork for us to be legally married with their unanimous decision,” Ryan said. “We are so grateful and proud to be Iowans.”

Oct. 11, 2013, was many things to Peter, 25, and Ryan, 30, — the six-year anniversary of their first date, UNI’s homecoming, and the day where they made their tenured love official in the eyes of the law and of their 200 jubilant guests.

“Being married is pretty much the same,” Ryan said, having just returned from their late honeymoon in Washington D.C. “We’ve been together for a long time, lived together, our families already knew each other and loved us, so getting married was great, but not a huge change.”

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Big-day prep

Ryan and Peter looked to Anthony Marinaro, owner of Out of Box Events and Catering, to make their wedding day wonderful in every way. He started with the invitations (Out of Box offers printing services, too) after designs by Tim Schultz were complete., 515-710-6658,

Decor: Marinaro incorporated the couple’s colors, orange and purple, into the centerpieces. Small oranges stacked in a tall vase provided a complementary contrast to a small bunch of violet lilacs. Tea light candles floated atop a water-filled vase with a twisted, suspended orange peel. The central centerpiece featured an arching upward flowered branch based in large green and orange leaves. A beautiful chalked wall-length sketch featured “R & P” engraved into a tree.

Suit and tie: Peter and Ryan both donned dark gray matching suits — one with an orange tie, the other with purple, found at Younkers.

“The orange was a nod to the fall wedding and purple is one of our mutual favorite colors,” Ryan said.

Shop the style at Younkers Jordan Creek: 101 Jordan Creek Parkway, Suite 6000, West Des Moines, 515-457-7635,

Sweet, simple ceremony

“The theme for the day was mingling and chatting with friends; the day felt like a relaxed, high-end cocktail reception,” Ryan shared.

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Vivacious venue: Modern, sophisticated Sticks studio served as the location for vows of love, truth and respect. The tear-evoking ceremony involved no bridal party, but a hand-binding scarf tradition was included as a gesture to “the religious folks in the room.” Floor-to-ceiling windows brought in the peaceful woodlands surrounding the venue.

3631 S.W. 61st St, 515-710-6658,

Smile, don’t say cheese: Mark Kegans shot a whole lot of memories that day. Guests laughing, a baby sleeping and Peter and Ryan straightening ties and slicking hair before the ceremony. Photos of just the happy couple were set to the background of the venue’s woodlands.

Contact Mark Kegans at, 515-707-5150,

Priceless party time

Sticks Studio transitioned from a ceremonious to a boisterous mood for the food, open bar, speeches and laugh-infused formal, laid-back reception. The couple cut down on costs by playing music over the speaker system through an iPod.

Grand feast: Becky Smith Catering — she’s also the co-owner of El Patio — was enlisted, as a preferred vendor for Sticks, for a menu featuring a large cheese spread, veggies, bruschetta, meatballs, mini-burgers and a salad.

A chocolate and white wedding cake, featuring an “R & P” on each slice was served as a sugary end to a sweet reception.

Contact Becky Smith through her working relationship with Anthony Marinaro at

Little ones: They can be great fun in the ceremony but potentially challenging if desiring more of an adult, alcohol-infused fest. The couple welcomed their guests’ kids to partake in the celebration.

Take it from them

Their joyous, seemingly stress-free wedding may evoke envy in all newlyweds-to-be everywhere. How do you take all the many logistics — flowers, food, seating charts — and execute them just right so the wedding is one to remember for years to come?

“Hire a planner and don’t sweat the details, especially if your reception has dim lighting,” Ryan recommends. “No one will remember if you had matching napkins or not … just breathe.”

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About the Author

Mackensie is a contributor to Juice.

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