Driftless Wedding Series: A winter wedding for the Weymillers

Callie (Bottorff) and Mitch Weymiller were married in a winter ceremony Jan. 14, 2023. (Photos by Sarah Griggs Photography)

By Zach Jensen,

Callie (Bottorff) and Mitch Weymiller were married in a winter ceremony Jan. 14, 2023. (Photos by Sarah Griggs Photography)

Modest and straightforward isn’t how most couples describe themselves or their weddings, but Callie (Bottorff) and Mitch Weymiller of the Lansing/New Albin area might choose those exact words for themselves, their relationship and, looking back on it, their wedding.

The couple was married Jan. 14, 2023. 

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Mitch of the big day and 13 months after. “It’s hard to believe it’s been a year ago already,” added Callie, “I couldn’t imagine it being any better.” 

Mitch, son of Gary and Diane Weymiller of New Albin, and Callie, daughter of Gary and Carol Bottorff of Lansing, met at Shep’s in Lansing on New Year’s Eve 2020. 

According to Mitch, Callie caught his eye as soon as she walked into the room. He bought her a drink from across the bar and walked over to introduce himself. But, Callie, being super shy, clammed up and acted like she wasn’t interested at first. Callie said that “a kind stranger named Joe” helped break that ice between them, and from then on, the two were inseparable. 

Mitch and Callie enjoyed their relationship for the following two-and-a-half years until one fateful evening in June 2022, when Mitch popped the question.

“Mitch was hauling bulls out to pasture, and he invited me along,” Callie said. “He made me walk through tall weeds to a lookout point overlooking a valley, and when I turned around, he was on one knee. I said ‘Yes’ without hesitation. We went home, ate a frozen pizza and waited to share the news with friends and family until the next day.”

While planning their big day, Callie said that, because they chose to have a January wedding, keeping everything easily accessible was of utmost importance. This meant that the ceremony and reception were just two blocks from each other, and, as Callie put it, “Cocktail hour started immediately after the ceremony so guests did not have to find somewhere to go in between.”

“We chose January, because we didn’t want to sweat our butts off in the summer heat or interfere with planting, calving or harvest seasons,” Callie said. “We also planned it all in six months. Booking vendors was super easy, since January is downtime for most of them.”

Mitch and Callie chose the Red Geranium of Lansing as their florist, while Jessa Kelleher of Touch of Class in Lansing did Callie’s hair for the ceremony and Hidden Beauty Studio of Waukon did her makeup. Callie’s dress was from The Dress by Morgan Lynn of Decorah, while the groom’s attire was from Teslow’s Formalwear of Waukon. Cindi’s Catering of Clermont provided the food, and the couple gave out can koozies from Riverland Expressions of Lansing as wedding favors. TJ Hunter’s Banquet Hall in Lansing was the venue for the reception.

Of all the different aspects of their wedding day, the most sacred to Callie and Mitch were their rings and the location of the ceremony. While their wedding rings were purchased from Elliott Jewelers of Waukon, Callie’s engagement ring was her grandmother’s.

Callie was two months old when her Grandma Bottorff passed away. As a child, when nobody was looking, young Callie would sneak peeks of the ring in her mother’s dresser, and although the band was worn through, Callie’s mother had the ring restored at Elliott Jewelers as an extra-special high school graduation gift. Callie said her mother was always nagging her to wear the ring, but Callie was saving it to be her engagement ring.

“The ring is Art Deco style with three round-cut diamonds in a gold setting,” Callie said. “It’s nothing fancy, but it’s unique. I’ve never seen another ring like it. We still have the original ring box, so we know the ring was purchased at A.R. Zolnosky Jeweler in Webster City.”

“I was very grateful that I didn’t have to pick out a ring myself,” added Mitch. “Callie let me know early on that she wanted to be proposed to with her grandma’s ring. She gave it to her parents shortly after we started dating and told me I had to ask them for the ring and their permission when the time came.”

It was also essential for Callie to be married at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church of Lansing, and Fr. Joseph Sevcik officiated in kind.

“IC Church is my home parish where I was baptized and confirmed,” Callie said. “My parents were also married in the same church, so in a way it’s a family tradition which is important to us. Fr. Joseph moved to the area in July 2022, so we didn’t know him before our marriage prep meetings. He is very kind and was very welcoming to Mitch who is not Catholic.”

As for the décor and style or theme of the wedding, Callie and Mitch decided this was one area they could save some money and be more practical than other more-conventional receptions.

“We decided the easiest and most frugal thing to do was use what we have,” said Callie. “My mom and I have always shared an interest in thrifting and finding unique pieces from decades past. My mom has quite the collection of vintage items. The table centerpieces were old glass luncheon trays with cups that were used at card clubs. These were gifted to us from my uncle, who bought them years ago at an auction. We had vintage suitcases on display, which were given to us by a family friend. We purchased other vases at a thrift store for 10 cents each. Our biggest purchase was a vintage oak secretary desk from Facebook Marketplace. My mom intended to keep the desk after the wedding, so it had a dual purpose. It was such a relief that we didn’t have to rent anything or try to re-sell it after the wedding.”

Mitch and Callie also agreed their photographer was a nice addition to the day.

“We loved our photographer and received so many compliments on our pictures,” Callie said. “Sarah Griggs and her husband Aaron (who is her second shooter) were wonderful to work with.”

“They knew how to make us comfortable and laugh when the time was right,” Mitch added. “They were recommended to us by friends who got married before us.”

Mitch and Callie also saved money on their DJ, because the groom’s brother, Morgan Gavle, is a professional DJ, and he provided his services free-of-charge for the newlyweds.

The couple also chose not to have a wedding cake and opted to have Callie’s mother and aunts bake cookies and bars instead.

“I’ll choose a scotcharoo or a chocolate chip cookie any day over cake,” Callie said. “I’ve never really been a fan of cake. I have many aunts who offered to bring a couple pans of bars or dozen of cookies. We return the favor at wedding/baby showers, graduation parties and other family events. We plated up the few leftovers the next day and people took them home without argument.”

Above all though, Mitch said he’ll remember the feeling of relief “after the marriage license was signed and sealed”, while Callie said she’ll most-easily recall how much her face hurt from laughing and smiling so much.

As for what they learned from their wedding day, Callie said it’s important to remember that it’s a team effort and to do what you want on your special day.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for advice/help,” she said. “Our families and friends were happy to help anyway they could – from decorating the day before to cleaning up the day after. Also, do what makes you comfortable. If there’s a tradition you don’t like, don’t feel pressured to do it just because everyone else did. Make the day your own.”

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