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Drew Speer, dressed in his gray tuxedo with its crisp white shirt and vest, stood on the back porch and gazed out into the nearby woods. He was a little nervous, but tried not to let it show.

“I was told to go out on the porch, so I did. I’m used to getting directed, and I did what I was told,” he recalled, smiling.

It was time.

Alex Wright, his fiancé, stepped onto the porch, glowing in her soft white wedding gown with its frothy skirt and ivory satin sash. Her great-great-grandmother’s pearl necklace was clasped at her throat.

Drew turned, and the sight of his bride took his breath away. “She was beautiful. Getting married got a little more real for me in that moment,” he says.

That first look was just one of many special moments they shared that day. The couple exchanged vows June 28, 2014, at St. John’s Bennington Church before 250 guests. Pews were marked with paper cones made from sheet music and filled with wildflowers. It was a heartfelt, traditional ceremony with bridesmaids dressed in short, deep purple dresses and groomsmen in gray tuxedos. The bride carried a wildflower bouquet, and stickers on the soles of her purple high heels read “I do.”

“I grew up on an acreage near Dunkerton, and a romantic, rustic wedding is the idea I’d had forever. We wanted our wedding to be comfortable, a little laid-back and have our guests help us celebrate. We wanted everyone to have fun,” says Alex.

More than 300 guests gathered at Electric Park Ballroom for the reception. Family and friends had decorated the venue, topping round tables with white tablecloths, burlap squares and Mason jars wrapped with sheets of love songs, filled with wildflowers. Votive candles and Hershey kisses were scattered on the tables.

“Keep it simple” was key to their picnic-style buffet with hamburgers, brats, chicken, cheesy potatoes and more. There were oatmeal, sugar and pecan cookies (the couple love cookies!), and a groom’s cake shaped like a Iowa Hawkeyes helmet. A small wedding cake for the cutting ceremony, crowned with wildflowers, was displayed on a wooden cake stand.

For their first dance, the couple two-stepped to “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show. Initially, Drew as a bit self-conscious. “Everyone was watching us, and I didn’t want to trip or miss a step,” Drew says. But everything fell into place when he took Alex in his arms and twirled her around the floor.

For Alex, it was a that moment the realization hit. “We were really married,” she says, smiling. “Our first dance as a married couple made me feel happy and loved.”

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