film + digital photography

How to get married in Des Moines, Iowa

You’re engaged, and you know that Des Moines is the place for you to wed, but not quite sure how to go about the rest of how to get married there. That’s where I step in! This is the complete guide to getting married in Des Moines!!

Pick your Wedding Date, Partner.
That’s the first step on how to get married in Des Moines

This is one the fun early parts of planning. You can’t really go further until you know for sure what date you want.

To help with picking your date consider these things:
– Your dating anniversary
– Your favorite season (personally it’s too hot in July in Iowa and winter weddings can be a hit or a miss)
– The day you two met
– Special numbers like 12 / 31 / 23 or (06 / 26 / 2024 — okay this is my anniversary 😝)

Other things to consider is it easier for your family to travel (if they have to) at certain times of the year.

Do you have a job that requires you take time off?

Is it a holiday weekend where your guests wont / will be able to attend?

The little questions, but can help narrow down your date!

How to get married in Des Moines? Better lock in your Venue before it’s booked

Des Moines has some of the coolest — if not most unique venues in the whole state of Iowa.

You can go full nature, light + bright, or moody + hipster!

A few awesome venues to consider for your day:

Whichever your mood and vibe, make sure you do a full walk through, ask lots of questions, and do your budget before hand so you will know what the cost is to rent the venue + food / bev / decor that the venue provides.

I also have a full blog post on more Des Moines venues you can read here

The legal part of marriage, you know getting a marriage license

Iowa is actually one of the easiest states to get and obtain your marriage license!

At first it may seem confusing, mostly because the website has confusing language, but what you need to do is simple.

Have yourself, your partner, and a witness go to your local court house and apply for your license. You will need $35 to pay for this, too.

Then you will usually wait 3 days until you can go back and pick up your license. Once you have your license in your hands, it does not expire. Just make sure to remember your paper work on your wedding day and that it gets mailed in!

ps: Want the full low down, check out my blog post on how to get your marriage license here.

The little details to make your wedding unique

Every detail matters, it’s your day, you’re allowed to be selfish and do exactly what you want. Who cares what anyone else thinks — celebrate your way!

Okay now that we got that out the way, the little details to think about when planning your wedding.

  • Wedding Planner
  • Decor
  • Food + Beverage
  • Getting ready location
  • Ceremony Venue (if different)
  • Reception Venue (If different)
  • Transportation (If needed from venues / locations / for guests to hotels)
  • Fun Vendors (Bar cart, Live painter, band, violinist etc)
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Content Creator
  • Florist
  • Invites

This list can seem a little overwhelming at first (and if it always seems overwhelming highly recommend hiring a planner) but take it one task at a time.

Hire your venue first or second if you know for sure you want a planner, then lock in your big vendors like Photographer (HEY THAT’S ME!), Videographer, florist, food + beverage.

From there you can start to plan around them and how they each can add to your day.

For me as your photographer I help you with your timeline so that you can know what we’re doing, and then you fill in that box as checked.

If you need ideas on vendors — check my post here!

Enjoy your day knowing your photography is going to be lit

Best part about your Des Moines wedding? Knowing you locked me in as your photographer. My passion is serving and you get to enjoy all the good things while I shield any interruptions to you on your wedding day.

Plus, the vendors I recommend are just as amazing and will make sure to help you every chance they get.

I can’t wait to hear from you, so make sure you fill out my contact form soon!!

My wedding season books up pretty quick these days.

bride standing in the District Venue Ankeny in her wedding dress holding her wedding flowers smiling softly at the camera


we're jamie and mark!

We help quirky and untraditional couples find joy and adventure on their special days by providing passionate and wild photography that captures the big moments of love… and all the little candid ones in between.


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