Planning Your Wedding Decor & Flowers

Hilltop Logo


Below is an article from one our awesome partner vendors, Hilltop Weddings.  Learn more about Hilltop Weddings online at: You can also check them out on Facebook at:  OR if you prefer just give them a call!  (319) 404-0009.


1. before choosing your decorator /florist coordinator, collect pictures of flowers, colors, and décor that you like.  You can find these on websites, facebook pages, magazines, etc. have a picture of your dresses if you have them picked out.  Also have a sample of your fabric color for your coordinator. This will assure that the colors will be as close as possible for your lighting, flowers, fabrics, etc.  Know an approximate number for your guest count. That number will fluctuate as time goes on of course, just keep your decorator/florist coordinator informed. If you can’t decide on colors and décor likes, meet with a decorator/florist coordinator and let her /him give you suggestions on things that will work for you and your venue.


2. shortly after picking your venue you will want to make an appointment with a florist/decorator coordinator to decide on your wedding flowers and décor.  Check to be sure that your professional is established in your area and has experience. You should have your florist/decorators cell phone and email address so that you can contact him or her at any time whenever you should have questions or comments. Is this person understanding your tastes and can handle putting the details together without bothering you every couple of days? Will this person take care of problems that arise and handle them like a professional? Does she/he return your emails, texts, and calls within a timely manner? Can you trust this person to get things done as the contract reads without bothering you on your wedding day?  These are all questions you should ask yourself.


3. The florist/decorator should give you a detailed contract including all items and pricing of everything you discussed.  This contract should be sent to you shortly after your first consultation. Know ahead (preferably in writing) what the payment expectations are along with times and amounts of these installments.  Be sure that you make your changes for your flowers/decorating in a timely manner and have those changes in writing so that there is no confusion as your wedding day approaches.  If you have concerns or are confused about any of the details in your contract, contact your coordinator as soon as possible and discuss your concerns with them.


4. Let the florist/decorator guide you as to a more price effective way to use your money.  Be open with your florist/decorator so that he/she understands your priorities. There are many ways to get the same “feel” without busting your budget. Relax and let the decorator take care of the details, problems and legwork so that you can have an enjoyable day!!!

To view our other preferred vendors visit our vendor page:

Posted in Uncategorized

Life 101.9′s Valentine’s Day LIVE Vow Renewal!


Last month on Valentines Day we had the privilege and honor to help Life 101.9 with their Live Vow Renewal.  The local Waterloo Christian radio station had a contest to nominate a couple to renew their vows LIVE on the radio and we were able to help Ken & Susan by providing them with pictures of the entire event.  


The couple was also able to receive flowers from Newport’s Flowers, a cake from Kathy’s Pies, and a second honeymoon at Country Inn and Suites in Galena!  Read more about it online here:




Life 101.9 is a great station with both positive and uplifting music.  It’s on my radio in the car regularly.  You can learn more about the station online here: or check out their Facebook page here:  They are having a Spring Share coming up, so if you’re interested be sure to check out how you can help support them.  They are a listener supported station, and anything can help.  If you call during the Spring Share you may just get me answering the phone!




Posted in Uncategorized

Easter Promotion!

Gift print packages at up to 50% off, starting at only $149!

Come join us and receive our special Easter savings!  Available at limited times in March & April, contact us today through the form below or by calling 319-230-6893.

We’ll have several options to choose from, including some great soft bunnies and fluffy chicks!  Weather permitting we’ll head outside as well.  $24 of your $75 session fee of will also be donated to Operation Smile as part of our Celebration of Smiles day promotion (learn more here:

Beyond that we’ll have in-studio specials on some great products and up to 50% off gift print packages, some of which include digital files, all starting at just $99~!

So what are you waiting for?  Contact us today and get your kiddo in for their very own Easter session!

Posted in Sales & Promotions

New Digital File Purchase Option!

UPDATE: We’ve released a new way for you to purchase your digital files. Facebook files will remain free for all purchased prints 4×6 and up (just friend us and request the files, we’ll upload & tag you!) For print release digital files we’re now offering a credit based pricing, so your entire order & session fee (some exclusions) acts as credit towards your digital files, so you can get your digital files for as little as $50! Contact us for more information:

Posted in Uncategorized

Celebration of Smiles Day 2014

Easter Children Photography

Children’s Photo Sessions – Benefiting Operation Smile

Join us in Saving a Smile!

For a minimum donation of $24, you’ll receive the gift of a portrait mini-session and a desk-size portrait of yourself or a loved one. 100% of your donation goes to Operation Smile, which can repair a smile for as little as $240! For every 10 Smiles Sessions we photograph, a precious smile is saved! So tell your friends and neighbors, and bring them with you!
Discounted package pricing up to 50% on additional prints will be available but NOT required.

Learn more about the Celebration of Smiles Day online here:

Posted in Charity Highlight, Sales & Promotions

Online LOCAL Wedding Planning Resources

Are you looking for a great local resource to help with planning your wedding? Well head on over to our friends at the Cedar Valley Wedding Guide, they have a great publication that’s completely free as well as online resources like planning worksheets, a vendor directory and other helpful information.  Check it all out here:

If for some reason you’re not able to find exactly what you need or you have questions about the wedding day process in ANY way please comment here, or feel free to email us at as we’d love to help you out.  To give the best service possible for our brides we have a great list of vendors that can help you with every aspect of the day, we have books all over that can help answer the question and we’ve been around enough weddings (about 120 so far!) that we’d be more than happy to help you out however we can.  Even if you’re NOT a wedding client of ours we want to help you out!

Want to see what we mean by our list of vendors?  Check out the list below, they’re all vendors that we’ve worked with before and we would LOVE your help in continuing to grow this list.  We do have a pretty simple rule though, we need contact info and we must have worked with the vendor already.  We put our personal stamp of approval on EVERY vendor that we refer, so because of that if we don’t personally know the service and how great it is we’re sorry but we can’t give an honest referral.  We do have a list here at the studio of some vendors that we’d love to start working with though, so please feel free to ask us about that when we talk with you.  We’ll just let you know that we’ve heard good things but personally haven’t worked with them yet at a wedding.



Reception Location

Annie’s Alterations
Cedar Falls, Iowa
(319) 277-3320
Ultimate Entertainment
Cedar Falls, Iowa
(319) 266-0717
Centennial Oaks Golf Club
Waverly, Iowa
(319) 438-1765 (ext 13)
Park Place Event Centre (PIPAC)
Cedar Falls, Iowa
(319) 277-1255
Waterloo Center for the Arts
Waterloo, Iowa
(319) 291-4490

Bridal Shops


Reception Location, Cont.

Simply I Do
Cedar Falls, Iowa
(319) 277-1117
Cedar Falls, Iowa
(319) 268-0772
Heartland Acres Event Center
Independence, Iowa
(319) 332-0123
Brides Corner Boutique
Waterloo, Iowa
(319) 232-2809
KJ & Kompany
Waterloo, Iowa
(319) 232-9177
Electric Park Ballroom
Waterloo, Iowa
(319) 233-3050
Makeup By Sarah Thompson
Waterloo, Iowa (travels)
(319) 215-8894
Rotary Reserve
Waterloo, Iowa
(319) 433-7275

Bridal Shows


Specialty Items & Misc

Park Place Event Centre
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Date: November & March
Cedar Falls: (319) 277-2250
Waterloo: (319) 233-7641
White Flyers Dove Releases
Cedar Falls, Iowa
(319) 404-2987
Northeast Iowa Bridal Fair
Independence, Iowa
Date: January
Chain Reaction Carvings
Waterloo, Iowa
(319) 296-1718
Waterloo Wedding Extravaganza
Waterloo, Iowa
Date: January
Black Diamond Limousine
North Liberty, Iowa
(319) 626-5466


Music (Live)

Nutrition & Weight

Scratch Cupcakery
Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Des Moines & Coralville
(855) 833-5719
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City
(319) 895-8474
(319) 230-6893
Call us direct with questions, Dan uses
Advocare regularly and is a reseller.
Cakes by Isabel
Waterloo, Iowa
(319) 833-7107
Complete Nutrition
Cedar Falls, Iowa
(319) 575-0750
Cakes by George
Tama, Iowa
(641) 484-5443




Waterloo, Iowa
(319) 234-7523
Hilltop Garden Weddings
Cedar Falls, Iowa
(319) 266-5729
Cheshire Moon Films
Ames, Iowa
(515) 313-5795
Randall’s Meats & Catering
Hudson, Iowa
(319) 988-3377
Ladybugs Event Planning & Rental
Waterloo, Iowa
(319) 429-5516
McElroy’s Catering
Winthrop, Iowa
(319) 835-4000
Posted in Wedding Planning Tips Tagged , , , , |

Upcoming Promotions

Don’t miss out on these exciting upcoming sessions and promotions!

Birthday Sessions

Attention October birthdays! We have a special just for you! Call for a free portrait session and 8 keepsake wallet-size portraits.

Cyber Monday Sale

Leave the holiday rush to the procrastinators this year. Our Cyber Monday sale is the perfect way to cross every name off your list without leaving the comfort of your home. From Friday, November 29th to Monday, December 2nd, you can get an unlimited number of $100 gift certificates and pay only $75 each! Order by phone at 319-230-6893 or email at to reserve yours today. Then just relax, put on your bunny slippers, eat some leftover turkey and pumpkin pie, and pat yourself on the back. Your holiday shopping is done for the year!

Little Heroes Limited Edition

Our Little Heroes Limited Edition portraits make a great gift for a deployed parent or for a veteran. With our special Limited Edition pricing in effect, these precious memories are affordable for any budget. The session fee $75 is waived for active duty military families, and packages start at only $99!

Family First

Celebrate the most important thing in your life—your sweet family! Our Family First portrait sessions can be customized to fit your family dynamic, size and personal style. Invest in these precious moments and enjoy them for a lifetime!

Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland

Is there anything more romantic than a day in the wintery outdoors with your true love? I think not. Our Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland engagement portraits are held at our outdoor studio, complete with hot chocolate, apple cider and time spent warming up with our four-legged assistant! Our extensive selection of Save the Date cards and other wedding products are the perfect complement to these romantic, tranquil memories.  Completely free, even if you’ve already scheduled another engagement session, for all our wedding couples!  Want a “just because” winter session?  No problem!  Promo rate of $50 for the session, save $25.

Availability for these exciting new sessions is limited, so call to reserve yours today! 319-230-6893 or email:

Posted in Sales & Promotions

Our Mission, Vision & Core Values

We are proud to introduce our newly adopted Mission, Vision & Core Values for our business.

The vision and mission of Dan Phillips Photography is to impact the lives of our clients and enhance our family by providing a long lasting memory of life’s milestones, joys and everyday moments because every moment deserves to be remembered.

Our core values then are 1) Harmony of our family, business and personal time; 2) Passion in our family and work life; and 3) Service to God and community.

Posted in about us updates! Tagged , , , |

I’m in Chicago!!

Rather excited to be in Chicago. (Ok, a suburb, but close enough!). Although it may not be for fun, it’s great to be here. So why am I here? I’m attending Skip Cohen University which is summer school for photographers.

Those who know me know that I’m passionate about my education & love attending seminars and conventions. Yes it means time away from Rachel & Jazmine as well as time away from accepting sessions, but it helps be grow and learn so that I can be a better photographer for you!

It’s the same reason why I became a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) and oddly enough I’m still the only one in Cedar Falls! Come on fellow photogs!!

Here is a quote that is great for describing why I’m here learning:

“Most people give up when they’re about to archive success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown.” ~Ross Perot

Photography changes every day. New styles, new techniques, new software and equipment. I always want to be successful in this business because if I’m not being successful then I’m not doing the job right for all of you.

So what are you learning today??

Posted in about us updates! Tagged , , , |

Holiday Season is Here! Check these dates for holiday orders.

With the holiday season upon us, I wanted to post some dates that will help with your order planning. The following are dates that will guarantee print & product delivery by Christmas.

- Wedding albums & other design work: we need to have the order to us and images submitted by November 15th

- Print orders where you want them mailed/shipped to you: to us by December 10th

- Print orders where you want to pickup the order: to us by December 15th

As you can imagine our schedule will be somewhat full over the holiday season. With any pick-up order we ask that you contact us first to arrange a time for pickup. We try to keep several times open up through the week prior to Christmas, however just like you, we’ll be spending time with our families over the holidays as well.

Any orders submitted after these dates will still receive our full attention, however due to lab time, processing time & shipping times we cannot guarantee delivery by Christmas after these dates.

Thank you and have a GREAT holiday season!

Posted in Sales & Promotions