I Do…

It is hard to believe it has already been two months since our wedding.  Time flies when you are having fun!  Everyone tells you to remember each moment because the day will go by so fast.  That is the absolute truth!  I feel like the day flew by and it was hard to remember every moment, thank goodness for all our wonderful photos done by Life Art Photographs. She was able to capture so many of our magical moments.  This post may be a little long but I wanted to share with you all the fun details about our day and of course some of our photos too!

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We got married at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.  It is located in the heart of downtown Des Moines.  When you enter into the botanical gardens, you feel like you are stepping into a tropical oasis.  It is simply stunning with all the flowers, plants, waterfalls and lush greens surrounding you.  It even has that tropical island smell.  When we were first planning our wedding, we were set on a destination wedding.  We wanted to get married somewhere tropical and on a beach.  Once we really started to think of all that goes into a destination wedding, we started to rethink our plan and searched for a local venue.  We knew the minute we walked into the Botanical Center that it was where we were supposed to get married.  Not only was it gorgeous and gave us that tropical feel without the travel, the event staff was so nice and helpful.  They answered all our questions and helped us schedule the perfect date.  Being huge Iowa Hawkeye Football fans, we both agreed to schedule our wedding around the upcoming football schedule.  Even though we booked our wedding back in January not many days were left.  We decided to be untraditional and get married on a Friday night, which worked out perfect.

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Keeping with the theme of a non-traditional wedding, we decided to have a taco bar for the dinner. We used Gateway Market to cater our wedding and the food was delicious.  I can’t tell you the number of people who came up to us to comment on how good the food was and how they liked it was something fun and different.  Gateway Market was wonderful to work with, from the food tasting to making sure everything was set up perfect; they were professional and did an outstanding job.  We were so happy with our choice to use them.

With our wedding being at the end of August in Iowa, we were not sure what type of weather we would get. Typically, it is really hot and humid at that time of year.  However, on Friday August 25th, the sun was shining, there was cooler breeze in the air and the temperature was in the low 80’s.  A perfect day.  To go along with a summer wedding we wanted to create a signature cocktail.  Earlier in the year, we attended the Bravo Gala put on by Bravo Greater Des Moines.  They served the most delicious cucumber drink.  We both loved it so much we wanted to try and recreate it for our wedding.  With the help of Trellis (they provided all our liquor for the wedding) we were able to create one of the best drinks I have ever tasted. From what I hear from our guests, they could not order enough of these refreshing drinks.  They were definitely a crowd pleaser.

Not following the traditional route once again, we decided to have cake balls instead of cake.  Patty Simmons, one of the women I work with, is an outstanding cook.  Every year for Christmas, she makes us homemade cookies, chocolates and cake balls.  These cake balls are to die for.  When we decided to go with cake balls instead of a traditional cake I reached out to her to ask her if she would be interested in baking them for our wedding.  She happily agreed and made four different favors.  I surprised Brody with a smaller cake to use for our cake cutting.  It was an Iowa Hawkeye themed cake made by Creme Cupcake.  Once again very untraditional.

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View More: http://lifeartphotographs.pass.us/tarabrody

Our flowers were done by my dear friend Sara Brown.  She is not a full time florist but she has a passion for it and it shows.  She did an amazing job on our bouquets and table arrangements.  I can’t thank her enough for the time and effort she put into making sure everything look beautiful.

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View More: http://lifeartphotographs.pass.us/tarabrody

I had a truly outstanding beauty squad.  Sara Fisher was there to do hair and Martina Lee did our makeup.  Thanks to both ladies for helping us all feel and look beautiful.  You both have true talent.

You know the saying “I get by with a little help from my friends”?  Well, that was a 100% true for the day of the wedding.  Two of my best friends, Tia Bagan and Paige Strawn were there to help me every step of the way.  My incredible sister-in-law Molly Walter was also there.  My friend Jen Goemann graciously offered to help be my personal assistant that day.  Out of the kindness of her heart she helped organize and keep everything on track, even cleaning everything up after the wedding was over.  Our wedding day ran smooth and everything turned out beautiful because of these ladies.  I feel very blessed and fortunate to have had them there with me on our special day.

The reception was decorated by yours truly.  Besides the flowers, I picked out every last detail.  My friends helped set it up the morning of the wedding but I spent months planning everything out and was still ordering items up to two days prior to the wedding.  I was so happy the way everything came together.  I didn’t really have a color scheme but it seemed like rose gold, gold and champagne were the colors I stuck with.  When everything was put together it looked elegant and simple.  It was not over the top, just perfect for us.  It was exactly how I imagined it to be.

My dress was also very untraditional.  It was a champagne color with a lace overlay.  The straps were beaded and it was more of a mermaid style fit.  It had a vintage feel to it.  I purchased it at the Bridal Boutique located in the East Village. The dresses there are simply stunning it was hard to narrow it down.  But, I knew when I tried on my dress it was the one.  I had a long veil that had the most beautiful lace trim.  When I put on the veil I truly felt like a princess. My jewelry was all from Bridal Boutique as well.  I did wear the necklace Brody gave me for my 40th birthday.  It just fit with the dress and I loved that it had special meaning.  My something blue was a gift from Brody.  A David Yurman Blue stone ring.  It is unique and I absolutely adore it.  It was the perfect final touch.

The guys got their suit, shirts, ties and shoes from The Backroom Clothing in Beaverdale.  I found them at a local bridal show here in Des Moines.  I thought it was a great idea for the guys to buy their suits rather than spending the money on a tux and not being able to keep it in the end.  Everyone at the Backroom was great to work with and made it very easy for the guys to come in and get everything ordered just the way we picked out.  They all wore black suits with champagne ties.  Simple and elegant.

Our rings were all purchased from Josephs Jewelers in West Des Moines.  From the beginning of our ring search they were amazing to work with.  Their attention to detail and customer service goes above and beyond.  Just like our wedding our rings are untraditional and unique.  If you are thinking of getting engaged or just looking for a piece of jewelry to give that special someone, they are the place to go.  


Our wedding invites and programs were done by my good friend Jeremy Winter.  He spent so much of his time designing and putting together everything for us.  Each program had to be hand tied and he offered to do all of it for us.  We can’t thank him enough for all he did.  I loved his creative ideas that once again gave our wedding that unique touch.

As I mentioned in the beginning of my post, our photos and video were done by Life Art Photographs. Laura Beekmann is not only my go to photographer but also a dear friend.  I can’t recommend her enough.  I actually just finished putting some photos up today and putting together an album.  Looking through all the photos made me realize how precious the photos are to me.  They are our memories. All the smiles, tears, friends and love captured forever.  She is able to capture the “real” moments.  Thank you Laura for giving us such a wonderful keepsake.

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My parents also helped make the day so special.  We could not have done it without them and we are eternally grateful for their love and support.  We are thankful for everyone who came to the wedding, who traveled to be there, who helped us celebrate our love.  It meant the world to us.  We truly have amazing friends and family!

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So much time and effort went into planning for this day.  I don’t know how wedding planners do it. It is stressful and a lot of work, but in the end all that really mattered was marrying my best friend.  Even though our ceremony was short, we still managed to say our own vows which meant so much.  We spoke from our hearts and declared our love in front of our family and friends.  Saying “I Do” and becoming Mrs. Brody Harms and the Bonus Mom to two beautiful little girls was the happiest moment of my life.  All the planning and time that was put into the wedding was worth it for that special, wonderful, unforgettable moment.  I am so blessed to have found my person and I will always thank God for bringing him into my life.

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To all the girls out there getting ready to start planning a wedding or are in middle of planning one.  My advice is this, don’t get stressed out, in the end it is all worth it.  Remember the day is about you and your husband, make it about the two of you.  And, the biggest piece of advice I can give is to just have fun!  Soak up the moment of being a bride and getting to marry your best friend!

Cheers my friends!





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Tara Lynn Harms is a lifestyle blogger from Iowa. Tara Lynn created her blog as a way to share her personal story about life after 40 and all the adventures that come a long with it. Her blog is a mixed bag of posts about her blended family, lifestyle, fashion, beauty, fitness and healthy living, travel and everyday life. She recently was married to her husband Brody and gained two beautiful stepdaughters. She is the proud owner of two English Bulldogs. Follow along with her as she documents her life after 40. Feel free to contact her with any questions or collaborations.

4 thoughts on “I Do…

  1. Absolutely beautiful! You did have a special day but u deserved it as u are beyond special! Probably one of the most beautiful weddings i’ve Ever been too!
    Needless to say u were the most beautiful bride I have ever seen. Thank u for acknowledging everyone. Love you with all my heart, mom


  2. Tara…I just read your blogposts for the first time, and wanted to congratulate you on your marriage! Love seeing the pictures of you! They brought back so many memories of you and Mel, (and a few others) when we lived in Iowa! Seems like there was always drama, parties, plans! (NKOTB mania!) may you have a wonderful married life and motherhood!

    Sincerely, Soni


    1. Hi Soni! Thanks SO much for your message. It is wonderful to hear from you. I see Instastories and posts from Melanie with you in them. You look wonderful. Love reconnecting and following Mel, she is an inspiration! Hugs!


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