Oh, where do I start? I feel blessed by every couple that chooses me to be their photographer, but these two were pretty special. I showed up on rehearsal night and then ended up staying for dinner and hanging out with this super rad group of people. I never once felt awkward with them, and melted right into a group that felt like they had all known each other forever, even though they had all come from different places and states to be together for “the Nicks”. It’s not every day you meet people who make you feel like that.
The Renwick Mansion is this towering home up on Tremont Avenue hill overlooking the Mississippi river and downtown Davenport. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1877 and when you walk in, it’s like taking a few hundred steps back in time. “The Nicks” had their wedding party staying with them over their wedding weekend in the nine bedrooms on the second and third floors. With everyone running around and yelling to each other, seeing them here on there on the grand staircase, coming out of some eccentric nook of the hallway, in and out of bedrooms, yelling across floors and hallways to each other and laughing, it felt kind of like the Wayside School stories or the Burrow for my fellow Harry Potter fans. I loved it.
The Mansion has a ton of history. In 1907 it became part of St. Katherine’s School. In 1973, it became part of a nursing home complex. In 1997 it was fixed up and turned into a senior apartment center. In 2007, Senator Joseph Seng turned it into a venue for weddings, reunions and overnight stays. It is now owned by Quad-City natives Dane and Sarah Moulton, who purchased it in 2017. They now host a whole variety of events in the mansion, including comedy shows, concerts, and even a ghost hunting expedition (sorry, they didn’t find anything).
Nick and Nic didn’t see each other before their wedding ceremony, but could hear each other throughout the many rooms and staircases of the mansion as they ran around getting ready. We all definitely got our workout running up and down the three floors all day long (yep, no elevator). On the top floor, you could peer over the banister and see all the way down. It gave Christina, my second shooter, a bit of vertigo. I made sure I held onto my camera (I forgot my freakin’ harness that day). Some of our favorite parts of the mansion and wedding day in no specific order:
The unique windows; The constant running through the halls and stairs; The window-doors leading to the back porch where the wedding party made their grand entrance to the reception; The many rooms and staircases and the chaos of not knowing who was where; The fourth floor tower with windows on all sides and spiral staircase; The unique craftsmanship and care to details in the design and woodworking; The affinity of the people their wedding brought together; How there was a fireplace in every room; The third floor rooftop balcony which you entered through (you guessed it) a window; The slanting afternoon light coming through the floor to ceiling windows (okay, we liked the windows a lot); The intricate, old-timey chandliers/banisters/wallpaper/etc; The ceremony that was just perfectly suited to them; and the reception in the warmly glowing tent with the almost-full moon rising over it.
It was a blast spending the day with Nic & Nick. Nic is an actual comedian and performer, but both were hilarious all day long. It warmed me up to see how nervous they both were. Nick kept taking deep breaths all day, getting a gentle squeeze and reassuring look from his matron of honor, Murphy. Nic’s energy filled the entire mansion as he strode through the halls, making quips and brushing his teeth more times than necessary. The stories were endless, the jokes were on point, the celebration was contagious, the drinks were flowing, and they danced the night away under the glowing moon. It was fantastic.