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An Iowa Garden Wedding Finished With a Round of Greek Dancing

By Alexandra Macon | Photography by 

Aly Carroll

Event planner Katheryn Allen and physician Krishan Jethwa first saw each other as they were walking to and from the tennis courts at Gustavus Adolphus College. “I was smitten from the moment we exchanged smiles,” says Katie. Fast forward six years, when she says “the stars finally aligned,” and the two began dating long distance. A year after, the young couple attended a Christmas event at their alma mater. After the service, Krishan asked Katie to take a picture with him outside. “After we went back and forth on where to take the photo, I could tell something was up,” she says. “All of a sudden, he bent down on one knee and said the kindest and most heartfelt words that brought me to tears. I have never said yes faster or gotten my left glove off quicker!”

After they were engaged, the couple decided on hosting an intimate celebration in Katie’s hometown in Iowa. As a wedding and event designer, the bride quickly knew what she wanted for her own big day. “Nothing overly fussy or designed, but detailed, beautiful, and intentional,” Katie explains. She planned most of the event herself with the help of former co-worker and friend, Karissa Kjos, who owns Plan To Gather. “I drew inspiration from California climbing roses and wildflowers, Italian estates, Audrey Hepburn, garden parties, candles, and twinkling lights.”

Working with wedding stylist Cynthia Cook Smith, Katie first pre-ordered a silk taffeta Brock Collection dress a year before her June wedding date to wear to  their rehearsal dinner. She loved the dress’s floral print so much, she had invitation artist Janelle Sing hand paint the whimsical flower pattern onto the rehearsal dinner invitations and stamps. On the actual day, she paired the dress with blush colored Stuart Weitzman heels and Céline tear drop pearl earrings.

As for her wedding day dress, Katie went with an Oscar de la Renta gown. “The moment I put it on, I felt there could be no other dress that was more me,” she says. She accessorized her dress with family heirloom jewelry, Alexandre Birman shoes, and a blue Julie B linen handkerchief gifted to her by her mother, which was embroidered with her monogram and wedding date. The groom, meanwhile, wore a deep navy custom Canali suit.

Each bridesmaid picked her own dress, pulling inspiration from soft tones and flowing materials, while flower girls wore hand embroidered white linen dresses by Los Encajeros, a clothing brand from Spain.

The wedding weekend kicked off with a welcome dinner at Katie’s family home, where a Mexican-inspired meal was served. “We wanted to take a moment with our family, friends, and bridal party to give them each a card and gift special to them,” she says. Welcome bags filled with Lou Lou Baker playing cards, cherry doughnut nuggets from Jaarsma Bakery, and welcome booklets illustrated by Janelle Sing were handed out, too. “Every last detail spoke to our warmth and appreciation.” A rehearsal dinner at a family friend’s home followed, where mixologist The Beard Behind the Bar created cocktails adorned with edible flowers, and Indian-inspired appetizers were on offer.

The day of the wedding, an early evening ceremony was held at the gates of a private residence overlooking the Iowa countryside. A violinist played music while guests were greeted with a glass of prosecco. “During the ceremony, we incorporated my Greek heritage with a tradition called “Stefana” to symbolize our newfound unity in marriage,” Katie explains. “My godmother placed flower crowns tied together with a ribbon on our heads to emphasize the holiness of the connection.”

After the ceremony, guests made their way to the garden for cocktails and appetizers. A flower box overflowing with roses and peonies held envelopes with each guest’s name calligraphed along with their table placement enclosed. After everyone took their seats under a Sperry tent, the couple entered the dinner to an acoustic rendition of “Just The Way You Are,” performed by their wedding band North Star.

During the meal, Krish’s brother and two of Katie’s bridesmaids delivered heartfelt and funny toasts. Hours of dancing followed, and after the decadent chocolate cake was cut, the newlyweds gave a speech to all of their guests. At one point, Krish grabbed Katie’s hand and led her outside of the tent. “We stood back to admire the night and the tent glowing with all the people inside the we loved most,” she says, of one of her favorite moments of the evening. “And no party is truly over without Greek dancing,” Katie adds. “All of our guests participated and Krish even lead! We had complete and pure happiness.”