A Modern, Urban Wedding at Cowles Commons in Des Moines, Iowa

Sarah Madden and Luke Frieberg pulled off an effortlessly elegant affair with a sleek, modern edge. “We wanted the skyline of Des Moines in the background, and we loved the view of the city from Simon Estes Amphitheater,” Sarah says of choosing the perfect spot to exchange vows. Luke’s brother officiated the waterfront ceremony, and instead of lighting a unity candle, the pair opted for a unity cocktail and whipped up a zesty Moscow mule. After the ceremony, the newlyweds hopped around town for pictures, then joined their guests at Cowles Commons for the reception. The venue captured the chic, cosmopolitan feel Sarah and Luke were after. “We loved the city noise in the background, the fountains and the sculpture of the cityscape,” she says. A crisp, monochromatic color palette dominated the décor. White table linens gave way to cascading bouquets of orchids and calla lilies punctuated with textured palm leaves, and a canopy of white balloons hung over the dance floor. Ghost chairs echoed the contemporary aesthetic, while palm and monstera leaves introduced an element of freshness and natural appeal. The light-up dance floor was one of the evening’s standout details. “Paired with the live band and the outdoors element, it felt like a concert,” Sarah says.