Jim and Melissa and their friends were fun, kind and adventurous. There really isn’t anything more beautiful than a Rocky Mountain meadow for a Colorado destination wedding. It’s a small risk with the weather, but with a tent and the right vendors it can be quite luxurious. I loved her beautiful custom made dress by Wai-Ching Studio. It’s pretty amazing what a skilled caterer like Black Belly can do even at 8,300 ft. The music by amusicplus had people dancing on and off the dance floor. If there are more people like this fun group from Seattle I have to visit.
Hope and Tom had a small, intimate ceremony at the Flagstaff House in Boulder, Colorado. They had to postpone the ceremony because of rain, but this gave us the most beautiful light to photograph the details on the covered deck. I love the soft light that makes the flowers look like they were photographed with Fuji film. Rabbi Scott Segal from Aspen officiated at this beautiful ceremony and Ketuba signing and Austin Ellis provided some amazing acoustic guitar. Mozel Tov!
It’s a mixed blessing that anyone can marry you in Colorado. On the one hand you get to have someone with a meaningful history to officiate at your wedding, but on the other, it’s probably their first time officiating and they probably haven’t thought of these things that help the ceremony and the wedding photography run smoothly.
- Ask the guests to stand when the bride comes down the aisle and sit before the ceremony begins. People need this direction and the green light when it is ok to sit back down.
- Talk about an exit strategy after you walk down the aisle. When I was starting as a photographer I kept getting this terrified look and question after the ceremony from the bride and groom – “Now what do we do?” Figure out ahead of time what you want to do. Are you takeing 15 minutes in private, doing a receiving line, or going to a special spot for family photos? The end of the ceremony with 200 people watching isn’t the time to figure it out.
- The officiant should move after announcing, “You may kiss the bride”. Otherwise, you will probably have a strange partial head in the photo looking at your first kiss as husband and wife.
I’ve seen many ceremonies performed beautifully by first timers so hopefully these recommendations will help make it go even more smoothly at your ceremony.
Michelle and Steven had a beautiful April wedding at Rembrandt Yard. Before the wedding we walked up to the Bitter Bar before they opened to recreate a dyptic painting, or two individual pieces that work together as one (kind of like a marriage!). On the way back we stopped at a few of my favorite downtown Boulder locations. One thing that struck me about this couple is how much they enjoy each other’s company. Once they start talking the rest of the world disappears – great for getting candid shots of them. It was a pleasure working with them and Shayna from cherry-bomb events.
Surrounded by their grown children, their grandchildren and many friends, Rosie and Tim’s wedding at the Greenbriar in the foothills of Boulder was an inspiring event. Highlights for me were Rosie’s red wedding dress and the dance done by Tim’s daughter and brother (both professional dancers) telling the story of their courtship. It’s never to late for a second chance to find true love.
Sometimes people have such an infectious laugh you just can’t help but smile and join them. Jonna and Chris laugh a lot. In making each other happy, they make everyone else around them happy. It was a joy to be their wedding photographer. The day started with getting ready at the Hotel Boulderado and the ceremony was at the Greenbriar Inn, just outside Boulder. I loved the scalloped icing on this wedding cake, mirroring the shape of the rose pedals.
After more than 15 years in business, here are 8 important questions I think you should ask a wedding photographer.
1. What is your style and how do you approach the wedding day? Every photographer has their own style. A style can be natural or edgy, real or imaginary, traditional or photojournalistic, and even fun or serious. Ask photographers to explain their styles so you can find the one that resonates with you. It can be helpful to ask a photographer to walk you through a typical wedding day. I like to think of the wedding as a play with different acts; getting ready, first look, ceremony, reception, etc. After the wedding, the couples album design just falls into place like the chapters of a storybook.
2. Who are your second photographers? How long have you been working with them? Are they professionals? The second shooters I work with are all competent professionals who also shoot weddings on their own. Also, they are able to cover for me should I get sick. Your photographer should have a list of equally competent professionals, who have each other’s backs in case of sickness or an emergency.
3. Do we need any special permits? The City of Boulder Open Space requires a permit to photograph professionally on its lands. It would be a real dissappointment to arrive at your dream location with your wedding party only to be shut down and receive a ticket.
4. Are you open to incorporating some of our creative ideas? Your photographer should be open and flexible to your ideas. I’ve learned so many new things from creative brides, who share images with me on Pinterest before their wedding.
5. Do you shoot RAW files or jpeg files? Your photographer should be shooting RAW files. This allows him/her to adjust each one for the correct exposure and color on their computers after the shoot. Even the best shooters’ files still need a little adjusting.
6. How many weddings do you shoot a year? Are you going to be one of ten clients or one of forty? If you’re one of forty, does the photographer have the staff to manage it? Otherwise, you may be waiting months for your images. Does he/she shoot more than one a day?
7. Do you include a wedding album? Wedding albums are important for reliving your event and last a life time. Your photographer has a front row seat to everything so he/she is the best person to design the story. Be sure to ask how many revisons are included. A professional album design, retouching, and printing is the best way to show and preserve your wedding images. And let’s be honest, are you really going to do it yourself?
8. Who edits the images? Believe it or not, many photographers have a service that edits the images for them. Even high end photographers charging $10,000 a wedding do this. How a wedding is edited can change the overall look and feel of the images. An editor in another state or country can’t know about all the subtle intricacies that will happen on your wedding day. Your photographer will have a front row seat to everything, and how it is edited is almost as important as how it is shot.
Here are a few of my favorite spots that have the best of the Rocky Mountain scenery blended with pampering luxury. These venues provide not only the gorgeous mountain wedding photography opportunities but also an excellent client experience.
1. The Little Nell, Aspen, CO
The Little Nell has the best of both worlds. Amazing Rocky Mountain backdrops and the luxury of a five star hotel. The wedding deck is a stunning place for a ceremony, and riding the gondola back down on a clear night is a magical experience. The end of September and beginning of October are a great time to be in Aspen. It’s not too crowded, generally much less expensive, and the changing Aspen trees are stunning.
2. Della Terra, Estes Park, CO
Located just outside Rocky Mountain National Park, the site is gorgeous. This boutique hotel has a beautiful ceremony venue as well as European charm. Don’t be surprised if you run into a herd of mountain goats! The staff of Della Terra is just amazing and go above and beyond.
3. The Sanctuary, Sedalia, CO
This country club has awesome views of the rolling sagebrush landscape between Denver and Colorado Springs. Unbelievable for sunset photography of the bride and groom. It also has a great separate dining and outdoor reception space with views of the mountains.
4. Ritz Carleton Bachelor Gulch, Beaver Creek Colorado
I’ve shot weddings here since they opened and it just keeps getting better. There are some secret nearby spots with amazing views of the valley. The lovely stone Beaver Creek Chapel is a nice venue for a more religious ceremony.
5. Devils Thumb Ranch, Tabernash, CO
Just outside Winter Park, Devil’s Thumb Ranch is an excellent wedding venue. There are rustic cabins and hotel rooms to stay in and a wedding ceremony site with views of the horses and mountains. The enormous deck outside is not only great for cocktails but getting a group photo of all your guests from above. Walking together down into the open meadows allows for spectacular, intimate images.
Chelsea and Steven’s wedding ceremony was at Cheeseman Park Pavilions in Denver, just a short walk outside the Denver Botanic Gardens. After some photography around the gardens dinner was at the Woodland Mosaic Solarium. As the sun set, it glowed something magical. Consequently, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Harry Potter, Ron and Hermione meeting there. After dinner and toasts, everyone made their way to the main building for dancing followed by a fantastic send off with sparklers. Chelsea is an artist and nutritionist. As a result, her desserts were fantastic. You can view her beautiful, organic work at honeybewell.com.
Kristi and Dave had a gorgeous wedding ceremony on top of Sunshine Canyon and then a classy evening wedding reception at Rembrandt Yard. My good friend Carol from Video Bravo did a video of the ceremony that was then shown to all the guests at Rembrandt Yard who all couldn’t be at the ceremony. It was great to see to the smiles, tears and laughter in the room. The food by Savory Cuisines was fantastic, the flowers by Fiori, and a big thank you to Christy for all her help planning.