When you work in the wedding world as I do, you can't help but cross paths with many of the same great people and businesses over and over again. I certainly don't recommend EVERYBODY, but here are some I do. This list will grow as I meet or partner up with other businesses. Click on the business name to be taken to their website.
Gunderson's Jewelry - My wife and I bought or wedding rings here and while there are many fine jewelers in town, we truly believe the quality of diamonds and jewelry there is 2nd to none. Not only one of the best in town, one of the best in the entire Midwest. Highly recommend Gunderson's. They have also been great partners with me as they chose me to photograph their "Diamond Dash" event in the summer of 2011 and they currently include a voucher for my services in their bridal package when you purchase your rings from them. I don't know the folks up in Sioux Falls, but the staff in the Sioux City store is awesome! Get your rings from them! You won't regret it.
Tip Top Tux - This is a newer relationship for me personally, but everyone I have met at Tip Top Tux has been incredible. They really care about taking care of your needs and I think they are some of the friendliest people. I don't think you can go wrong getting your tuxes from Tip Top Tux. If you're planning on renting tuxes and haven't found a place to rent some from, check them out! I've worked with Jenni from the downtown location. She IS in Marketing though so you might not be working with her personally. If you do meet her, she's quite great to work with though. I recently became acquainted with them when they hired me to photograph a private company event they put on for their employees. Great people!
Suit Foundry - I haven't met anyone from this company yet. My experience has only been via e-mail and phone, but researching them has been eye opening for me. If you would like to own your suit instead of just renting it once and giving it back, these guys have some beautiful suits that would work amazingly well in your wedding. I personally, NEVER would have considered it in the past. I simply would have expected it to cost too much. I was shocked to see that suits start at $295. I think that's pretty reasonable considering you're going to drop some cash to rent a suit or tux anyway. It's not much more and you'll have a great suit to wear again in the future. DISCLAIMER: I am an affiliate and I get a kick back if you purchase your suits from Suit Foundry. That said, I wouldn't have agreed to be an affiliate with them (they contacted me) if I didn't think they had a great product. If you think this is something you'd be interested in, please check them out. I think it's a great idea and if I was getting married again with this knowledge, I would definitely consider this option. If you decide to purchase anything from them, please use the referral code: B2F1B . I think you get a free monogram when you use that referral code. I apologize if that's incorrect. It does help me out though either way. Thanks for your support.
6 South Designs - 6 South Designs have some of the most beautiful wedding gowns we've seen in this area! They ALWAYS put on a good show when ever we see them at Bridal Shows and we never hear anything but good things from happy brides that have used them. Becca and I recently had a chance to meet some of the management/owners and can happily say, I would highly recommend them. They are kind, professional and have many styles for you to choose from!
Acoustix Entertainment - If you're looking for a DJ who will treat you right, Damon at Acoustix is your man. I see this guy all the time at various weddings and events I shoot. He's a good guy and I highly recommend him/Acoustix Entertainment for your DJ services.
Betty's Cakes - Becca and I see Betty at Bridal Shows all the time and she is one of the nicest, most talented people we have ever met. Her cakes are absolutely gorgeous and they taste AMAZING! She has been doing this for almost 50 YEARS! You can't fake that kind of experience! She knows how to make delicious baked goods! We highly recommend her for your wedding cake needs.
Marina Inn - South Sioux City, Nebraska - This place is located directly on the river with a great view of the bridge and Sioux City. It has a wonderful restaurant inside (Kahills) and they have top notch facilities for hosting your reception. The Presidential suite is awesome for hosting the bride the night before the wedding (and after maybe for the newlyweds). The food has always been pretty good that we have eaten. All in all, we really love shooting events at the Marina. Highly recommend having your event there.
I don't pretend to know everything, but I do get asked a lot of questions from other photographers. I will add to this section over time as well. For now, here are some businesses I recommend for other photographers.
B & H Photo - I purchase almost all of my gear from B&H Photo out of New York City. This store is amazing! They are probably the most trusted photography store in the world. Their prices are always great and they always ship things quickly. Plus, if you visit the store in New York, it's like Disneyland for photographers. Just so much to see... Love this store! Highly, highly recommend them!
Canon - All of my gear is Canon gear. I am VERY happy with the gear and what it has done for me. I currently use a 5D Mark III, a 5D Mark II and a 50D for my bodies along with a bunch of pro L lenses. I think Nikon has great gear also, but for my experience, I have nothing but good things to say about Canon!
Canon Professional Services - This was something I had never heard of until I dropped one of my lenses. If you are a Canon user and have multiple pieces of gear, this is a MUST for you. Seriously, it costs me $100 per year and I get: an EF Lens Work Book, 1 Rear/Body Cap set, 1 CPS Pro Strap (I love my strap), a CPS ID card and a CPS Pin (these things are nice, but not what sold me on the program) - here's where you make your money back - You can borrow equipment on evaluation loans for up to two weeks. I believe you can borrow any particular piece up to 3 times before you can no longer borrow it. Your only cost is the return shipping! This is gold! Just to rent a camera body for a 3 day weekend would usually cost about $150. Borrow from them ONE time and you have already made your money back. PLUS, you have an Exclusive Member Hotline. (This is LEGIT - I have used it and it's REAL! I got right through to the actual person who's name was listed and he was AMAZING with his help). You get a 3 Day turnaround on repairs instead of the normal 7-10 day turnaround which ends up being a couple weeks with weekends and such. You can get a loaner after the 3 day turnaround if they're taking too long (no charge to you - just return shipping). You get 2 free clean and check's per year for your gear. You get a 30% discount on repairs! When I dropped my lens, the repair bill was $800! The discount would have saved me $240, more than paying for itself. And lastly, you get free return shipping from Canon when you send stuff in. So much value for only $100/year. It's a no brainer for me.
The ICE Society - I am a HUGE Jerry Ghionis fan. If you're not familiar with him, he's one of the top wedding photographers in the world. I try hard to model my style in the same way that he does. He has tons of great material for photographers. He is an amazing resource and the ICE Society has lots of great info as well as monthly competitions and such to improve your photography.