800.798.7098   •   563.556.4200
200 Main Street   •   Dubuque, IA 52001

Category Archive: Celebrating Yours.

  1. Couple’s Spotlight: Sarah & Scott

    How did you meet?
    Scott and I met at an insurance industry holiday party in 2013.  We work for competing insurance brokerage firms. He approached me to invite me to the after-party at a nightclub in downtown Chicago.  I was very impressed with his classical dance moves!

    Tell us about the proposal!
    On the eve of the Wisconsin Half-Marathon, which would be our first half-marathon together, Scott took me for a carb-heavy dinner at the restaurant where we had our first date, Café Ba-ba-reeba.  After dinner, although I was antsy to prepare for the race, Scott convinced me to go for a stroll in nearby Oz Park.  We sat on a bench, and he rambled on about what a great gal I was.  At first, I thought it was a break-up!  He seemed nervous, though, and I quickly understood that he was about to propose.  I stammered out a “yes”!

    What made you decide to celebrate this special milestone at HJD?
    From my time at Loras College, and visiting family in the area, I had great memories of the Dubuque nightlife. My friends from California and Chicago know I am a big evangelist for the warm people and natural beauty of Eastern Iowa. When we started to look at venues, the Hotel Julien was on our short list, because of the early 20th century architectural accents, and centerpiece in the newly rejuvenated Main Street area.

    What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
    I’m looking forward to that last hour or so of the reception, after Scott and I have had a chance to thank all the attendees and have a glass of champagne.  We can then let loose a bit with our friends and bust a move as husband and wife.

  2. Couple’s Spotlight: Lara & Ron

    How did you meet?
    Lara was in the hospital and Ron was stationed in Germany.  Both were on MilitaryCupid.com and he sent an interest message first.  Lara responded and they started messaging.  They met face to face for the first time after 441 days.  The rest is history.

    Tell us about the proposal!
    Ron wanted to propose in a very permanent place in Platteville.  What better venue than the Platteville “M”.  After all, it didn’t blow away with the tornado of 2014.  The moment was captured on video.  Ron and Lara raced to the first platform.  On bended knee, Ron popped the question. She said, “Yes”

    What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
    We hope our family and friends can have an awesome time with us in a gorgeous ball room with our favorite DJ, Mark Fairchild from EA Entertainment.

  3. The Summer of ‘53

    mcgehe2It was a unique twist of fate that brought Douglas McGehe and his wife, Joan, back to Hotel Julien Dubuque.  Upon overhearing a conversation about a bus tour headed to Dubuque and Galena while visiting the Fort Wayne Zoo in Indiana, Douglas eagerly inquired about reserving seats.  “I was enchanted when I thought of the idea of going back to Dubuque,” Douglas said. “I called [them] right away and said, ‘What do I have to do? I want to go.’”

    Already thrilled about returning to his hometown, Douglas’s excitement grew immensely when he learned that he and his wife would be staying at Hotel Julien Dubuque, the exact location of their wedding reception which was held 64 years earlier.

    Douglas and Joan, both of whom are actively involved in the Towne House community in Fort Wayne, Indiana, recall many fond memories of growing up in Dubuque.  “You know, that’s where I met Joan,” Douglas said. “I graduated high school there. That’s where we were married.  There are a lot of great memories to revisit for us in Dubuque.”

    The couple met at a party in 1953, the very night that Douglas returned home to Dubuque from serving in the military.  Though they both had accompanied other guests to the party, Douglas made a point to introduce himself to Joan and invite her on a date later that week. “We went to Galena and saw a film at the Avalon Theatre… The owner knew that I had just gotten out of the service so they let us into the movie for free,” said Douglas.  “The movie was Moulin Rouge starring José Ferrer and Zsa Zsa Gabor. I took her to the Log Cabin for dinner…Anyway, we got married three months later.”

    Three months was a fast engagement even for the fifties, but Douglas was facing a job transfer from Dubuque to Columbia City and Joan wanted to make the move with him. “I told her about the transfer and she said, ‘I want to go with you’. Well, in 1953, when they say ‘take me with you’, you got married,” Douglas said.

    And fortunately so as Douglas and Joan have since proceeded to enjoy over 64 happy years of marriage, have welcomed and raised two daughters, and have made many amazing memories together.  “We’ve taken kids and adults to Europe three times.   We’ve been to Hawaii four times, taken seven cruises,” Douglas said.  “We’ve done a lot of things – we’re still doing a lot of things.”


    During their recent visit to Hotel Julien Dubuque, the couple enjoyed breakfast in the Harbor Gallery, the very same room where their wedding reception took place 64 years ago. Some highlights of their trip back to Dubuque include touring St. Luke’s church, enjoying a riverboat ride, and visiting Eagle Point Park.  They also took a drive to Galena and visited Log Cabin Steakhouse, the site of their very first date.

    “It was a phenomenal thing that we would end up back in Dubuque,” Douglas said. “I’m 88 years old so it was great to be able to do those things again.  This was just a wonderful opportunity and we enjoyed every minute of it.”

  4. Double Wedding Bells

    Sisters Sigrid and Kirsten Ulve celebrate the five year anniversary of their double wedding reception (held at Hotel Julien Dubuque on July 3rd, 2010) by sharing some of their favorite wedding day memories. Their joint wedding ceremony took place in the late afternoon at Dubuque’s Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.  Kirsten wed Kacy Ross, a radio host and producer from New Jersey.  They currently live in Manhattan where Kirsten oversees Kirsten Ulve Illustration. Younger sister Sigrid married her college sweetheart, Lyle Zaehringer, from Davenport, Iowa.  Both graduated from the University of Iowa and reside in the Quad Cities where Sigrid works as an attorney and Lyle as computer programmer.

    Kirsten reflects fondly on the special day, noting:

    “My sister Sigrid and I had a double wedding in Dubuque (where we both grew up) in the summer of 2010 on 4th of July weekend. Yes, there were fireworks! We were at the beginning stages of planning when we toured the newly renovated Julien, and the decision to have the festivities there was an easy one. I will never forget the four of us entering the ballroom for our reception dinner. As the doors opened, we were greeted by applause and the smiling faces of family and friends amid a sea white flowers and linens, the afternoon sunlight sparkling on the glassware. We had a disco band from Madison after dinner and danced with fireworks in the background over the river. Truly one of the happiest days of my life. Siggy lives in Davenport now, and I’m in New York City, but we cherish the memory of this fantastic day, and that it took place at the Julien.”

    Sigrid echoes her sister’s enthusiasm, writing:

    I have wonderful memories of my wedding day, which took place in my home town of Dubuque on a sunlit July 3, 2010. My sister and I, who are close as sisters can be, found ourselves engaged at the same time. So, with our dear husbands’ blessings, we planned a double wedding with the reception at Hotel Julien.

    We exchanged vows with our husbands in a lovely joint ceremony at the Arboretum before we ventured with our guests to the Julien for the reception. We walked up the grand staircase to greet the cheerful crowd on the mezzanine, at which time many of our guests expressed their admiration of the setting. After the guests were ushered into the ballroom, I will never forget the four of us coming through the doors to find the room filled with pastel flowers, white linens, soft lighting, and the cheers of our loved ones. The scene could not have been more beautiful.

    Other things of note: I remember how helpful the staff were in assisting us plan the event. I remember my sister and I each “hiding” from the grooms upstairs in the hotel rooms before hopping in the limousine to meet them at the ceremony site. We danced to live music while the fireworks erupted over the Mississippi. At the end of the evening, our guests gathered on the terrace outside and enjoyed the warm night air together.

    It was a perfect day, and Hotel Julien was the perfect choice.”

    In celebration of our 100th anniversary, we are looking back at the significant events that have taken place at Hotel Julien Dubuque throughout history. If you were married at the hotel (pre or post-renovation), we would love to hear your story!  Learn more about our “Celebrating Ours, Celebrating Yours” contest and how you can enter here.
  5. Dynamic Dubuque Duo: Robin & Jeff

    “We love Hotel Julien so much and had such a wonderful experience, I would love to share our memories and photos with you!!

    This June, my ‘bachelor from Iowa’ Jeff and I will celebrate 5 years together. Every year we sit down to watch our wedding video together and  reminisce of the joy and magic we experienced at our wedding reception held at Hotel Julien. The day was gloomy with mist, a tornado warning in the area that evening but no one was going to rain on our parade!   The room was filled with loved ones from near and far, Zac Brown Band playing in the background, the dance floor was full all night long and the beer/wine was flowing until midnight! Before we could even ask, the staff had already performed the needed task for us!

    Both true ‘Dubuquers’, lovers of Happy Joe’s pizza, avid Euchre players and a history of getting our dance on at the Riverboat Lounge in our younger years, we have formed our perfect team with our beautiful daughters Harper and Charlotte and our goldendoodle named Coach.  Kudos to the wonderful staff and service we received during the planning process, the night before our wedding and the night of our wedding. We are forever grateful to share these memories and photos of this beautiful venue to our friends and family! Thank you will never be enough!

    P.S. Special shout out to Chuck for keeping everyone in line that night! We were those annoying kids in college years ago chanting ‘Chuck, Chuck, Chuck’ when he was around, god love him! Oh but those days are past and so glad we were able to capture that photo with him on our special day.”

    In celebration of our 100th anniversary, we are looking back at the significant events that have taken place at Hotel Julien Dubuque throughout history. If you were married at the hotel (pre or post-renovation), we would love to hear your story!  Learn more about our “Celebrating Ours, Celebrating Yours” contest and how you can enter here.
  6. June 5th, 1946: A War Hero’s Wedding Day

    Eunice Square At Hotel Julien Dubuque, we have the distinct pleasure of welcoming incredible visitors through our doors on a continual basis.  Every guest brings with them a story that contributes to the collective narrative of this historic hotel.

    For Eunice Grabow, returning to Hotel Julien Dubuque was like stepping back in time to her wedding day in 1946. “It all really does come back to you,” she noted excitedly as she toured the hotel.  Despite extensive renovations and well over half a century’s time having passed, Eunice, accompanied by her daughters Diane and Nancy, reminisced about that special June day nearly 71 years earlier as she visited familiar, albeit transformed areas of the hotel. “That’s where I threw my bouquet,” she explained, pointing to the Grand Staircase.

    As we sat down near the front windows in the lobby, Diane and Nancy shared beautiful photographs from their parents’ nuptials.  The images of the happy, young couple sparked an amusing story about how they met.

    Joseph, Eunice’s husband and son of Dubuque’s Recreation Director, worked as a lifeguard at the city’s first municipal pool during his high school years. In an effort to attract his attention, Eunice and a friend climbed on the ropes that divided different sections of the pool, intentionally breaking a rule that they knew the lifeguards must enforce.  After being corrected on a few different occasions and pushing the envelope even further by entering an area not open to the public, Eunice and her friend were sent home from the pool and, in perfect accordance with their clever plan, were driven home by Joseph.

    Both Eunice and Joseph grew up in Dubuque.  Eunice graduated from the Immaculate Conception academy and went on to work as a bookkeeper at Edwards’ Style Shop, the store from which she would eventually purchase her bridal gown.  Joseph attended St. Columbkille’s High School and graduated from the University of Iowa before joining the Army Air Forces in March of 1942.

    (An interesting aside: Eunice’s brother, Art Roth, helped to build the Julien Dubuque Bridge while he was in college.  Construction began in 1942, during the height of the World War II when facilitating military transportation was of the utmost importance.)

    As if Eunice’s stories were not already fascinating enough, she proceeded to explain that, prior to their marriage, Joseph was recognized for his heroism during World War II.  Her daughters shared a newspaper clipping praising their father’s success in navigating his team’s B-17 to safety after being bombed over Germany:

    “Through a hall of German anti-aircraft fire, Second Lieut. Joseph C. Grabow, 21, of Dubuque, Ia., navigator of the B-17 Flying Fortress, plotted a course for the crippled plane.  After Nazi flak gunners shot one engine of the Fort away, the plane did not have enough power to hold her place in the Eighth air force formation, with which Lieut. Grabow was flying.

    Lieut. Grabow navigated a course for the crippled Fort which proved to be a successful one.  After two hours over Germany, the craft, with two engines ineffectual, made it safely to home base.”

    When Joseph returned from the war, he had much to celebrate.  On June 5th, 1946, Joseph and Eunice were married at Holy Ghost Church.  In a Telegraph Herald article saved by the family, the events of Eunice and Joseph’s wedding day are described in detail:

    “Given in marriage by her father, the bride wore a gown of white chantilly lace and net, fashioned with a lace bodice, a scalloped peplum and a very full net skirt.  Her fingertip veil featured lace flowers and pearl insets, and she carried an arm bouquet of white gladioli…Following the wedding breakfast at the home of the bride’s parents, a dinner and reception for 300 guests were held in the Art Room of the Hotel Julien.”

    (Note: The “Art Room” mentioned in the excerpt refers to what is now known as the Harbor Gallery.)

    As we continued flipping through photographs from her wedding day, Eunice fondly described the smiling young faces in her wedding party.  Her daughters shared stories with such an air of familiarity that it became clear the wedding day memories had been relived during many family conversations throughout the years.

    Our visit was marked by a palpable sense of nostalgia, a true reflection of the significance of Eunice’s return trip to Dubuque.  Her daughters planned a reunion dinner in Caroline’s Restaurant for around fifteen people, many of whom were Eunice’s former classmates.  It was then that this amazing history started coming out of the woodwork and, had it not been for a friendly conversation with our Restaurant Manager during their dinner, the fascinating details of Eunice and Joseph’s 300-guest wedding reception at Hotel Julien Dubuque in 1946 may have simply remained frozen in newspaper clippings, photographs, and records from the past.

    A mother to three: Keith, Diane, and Nancy, grandmother to four, and great-grandmother to two, Eunice now resides in Tucson, Arizona and continues to cherish the many memories that she made in Dubuque.  She shared as many stories as time would allow for in the hour before she and her daughters left to visit New Melleray Abbey and stop for lunch before their flight.  “Dubuque truly was a wonderful place to grow up,” she concluded.

    Do you have a special Hotel Julien Dubuque memory to share? We’d love to hear from you! Email dmm@hoteljuliendubuque.com.

  7. East Coast Meets Midwest: Jenny & Sam

    My husband and I got married on May 21st, 2011 and held our reception at Hotel Julien.  While I’m from Cedar Rapids originally, my husband is from Ohio and we currently reside in the District of Columbia, we decided to get married in Dubuque, in part, because we fell in love with Hotel Julien.  Our wedding celebration was such a wonderful, happy weekend, and we couldn’t have imagined a more perfect venue for us.  For many of our East Coast friends, it was their first trip to the Midwest, and they loved Dubuque and put the Capone Suite to good use.  

    We welcomed our little baby boy into the world 8 months ago today, and we’re looking forward to a trip back to Iowa to celebrate our four year anniversary.  We’re planning to leave the baby with the grandparents to go celebrate a night in Dubuque!
    In celebration of our 100th anniversary, we are looking back at the significant events that have taken place at Hotel Julien Dubuque throughout history. If you were married at the hotel (pre or post-renovation), we would love to hear your story!  Learn more about our “Celebrating Ours, Celebrating Yours” contest and how you can enter here.
  8. 14 Years in the Making: Heather & Eric

    “My husband Eric and I just celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary after dating for 14+ years! We were married at St. Anthony church and celebrated with a reception at Hotel Julien on January, 25th 2014. We are both from Dubuque and when it came time to look for a venue for our special day we did not have to look far. We both fell in love with Hotel Julien immediately. To this day we could not be happier with our choice of Hotel Julien and we continue to get compliments on our lovely reception, the friendly staff, convenient location and the comfortable rooms. Thank you Hotel Julien for making our wedding day one we will remember for a lifetime!”

    In celebration of our 100th anniversary, we are looking back at the significant events that have taken place at Hotel Julien Dubuque throughout history. If you were married at the hotel (pre or post-renovation), we would love to hear your story!  Learn more about our “Celebrating Ours, Celebrating Yours” contest and how you can enter here.


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