Ep. 026 – Wedding Dream Team, Justin Straw + Sandra Nichols


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Booking the wedding dream team is an absolute must. Justin Straw Designs and Indigo Blue Photography are flawless together. I have had the great pleasure of working with these two on more than one count now.

The wedding dream team here in the Black Hills, Justin Straw and Sandra Nichols joined me and talked about everything from themselves to what couples should look for in photographers or designers when planning their big day.

This episode is packed with so much information. Here are some more talking points we go over:

  1. Hiring the professionals that are going to be a good team, together.
  2. When it comes to decor and planning, be different. Be You.
  3. Setting personal boundaries between clients and vendors.
  4. Being in love with love and weddings.
  5. Trusting the vendors and professionals you hire to handle all the little details when something isn’t going exactly as planned.

And of course we talked about the theme of the podcast: art and advice for other artists. #COMMUNITYOVERCOMPETITION. It’s a mindset.

Wedding professionals, Justin and Sandra are a blast to plan with and some amazing people all around. Here is a little bit about each of them!

photo by Sandra with Indigo Blue Photography
Photo by Sandra with Indigo Blue Photography

Justin Straw

Justin is the sole owner and operator of Justin Straw Designs. A a small town guy who was born and raised in South Dakota, he attended South Dakota State University and studied interior design. Art and design was instilled at a very young age. Justin shares, “In the 90’s my mom was one of the lead jewelry designers at Coleman Co. and my father had the honor of being a mountain carver on Crazy Horse Memorial.”

In addition to being a very successful wedding professional and creative, Justin has a beautiful and busy home life with his husband, four children, and dog named “Sunny.” Follow his journey on:

Sandra Nichols

Not from the Hills originally, Sandra joined us in 2013 after moving from Minnesota. She combined her love of people and photography and began her business Indigo Blue photography. Over the course of these last nine years, Sandra has photographed hundreds of weddings and says that she’s loved every single one of them. “Meeting my couples and their family and friends is one of the best parts of my job,” she shares.

Follow her journey on:


INTRO: You’re listening to The Pulse, an artist podcast based out of Rapid City, South Dakota. Let’s chat about all things weddings!

I’m your host Sarah Grassel. Mother, wife, and entrepreneur.

I am a full-time destination and travel wedding photographer/videographer with a passion for telling stories through photo, video, and writing.

I’m also a published writer in several South Dakota magazines including Black Hills Lifestyle, Unveiled, Siouxland Woman, Motor Market, Black Hills Woman, and a few others. (Read more about me).

Thank you for joining me and for tuning into the show. Be sure to like and subscribe, and leave a comment on the episode to share your voice!

Marriages, like a garden, take time to grow. But the harvest is rich unto those who patiently and tenderly care for the ground.

Darlene schacht

A note to my audience: I was going to transcribe this episode, but IT’S AN HOUR LONG. My free trial for my transcription service ran out so it would probably take me… I don’t know… forever to transcribe this. As much as I wish to cater to audiences of all kinds, I unfortunately don’t have the manpower to transcribe this episode at this time. If you would like a better recap of some of the advice and have a disability or are unable to listen to the episode on the platforms where it is hosted, please contact me. I would be happy to sit down with you.

episode Recorded 03/15/2022  | Released 04/02/2022

Wedding Dream Team Vendors from Generations Styled Shoot

Check out these photos by Indigo Blue Photography in collaboration with Justin Straw Designs! I was the videographer for the shoot, and here are the other vendors that were involved:

  • Venue – Generations Weddings + Events
  • Makeup – Create Beauty Studio
  • Hair – Wild Hair AS
  • Models – Kenzie + Alexis
  • Dress – Bridal Boutique + Bling
  • Suit – Main Street Menswear

OUTRO: Every artist lives in their work.

Pulse is defined as an arterial palpation or a strong regular beating or throbbing. In this podcast, discover artists in the Black Hills who uncover new techniques and live passionately for their work to bring brides and couples something beautiful for their special day.

This podcast started as a connection with artists in The Hills and now focuses on wedding related artists and vendors. From florists to stylists, bakers, and more. Thanks for tuning in!

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