It was our thirteenth year covering the graduation of Jefferson Academy’s High School! I can’t believe how fast time flies! I’m not sure if a lot of our clients know that we cover many different types of events, not just weddings! This particular school we offer video coverage of the entire commencement along with photos of every graduate receiving their diplomas, candids of the ceremony and then posed portraits of those who would like one on our backdrop in the lobby of the venue. Every year I love covering this event because the students are so articulate and they always choose a very inspiring commencement speaker. Thank you to the JA family for continuing your business with us for so many years! We look forward to servicing your community for many years to come. Additional photos and copies of the video can be viewed via our “client galleries” on our website.

I’m so very happy for Annje & Jim who were married in a very small ceremony at Peace Lutheran Church in Arvada, Colorado. The couple shared their vows in an intimate setting and held a small dinner afterwards at The Butchery, a restaurant located not far from the church. While Annje was getting ready she shared with me her “something old” which was a pocket watch that was her fatehr’s who had recently passed away. I made sure to photograph it knowing what a special memento this was for her. I loved that she could carry it in the pocket that was in her dress!  I’m also glad I was able to talk them into stopping over at a park on their way to the reception venue to get some more relaxed photos of the two of them with our famous Colorado mountain views! An extra fifteen minutes gained them an additional set of photos that we will treasure for years to come. Best wishes to you both!

 

Spring has sprung and had so many great images from Cole’s six month portrait session with his family that I just had to share a lot! Cuties! All of them! We were lucky to get some of the crab-apple blossoms at the park before they started to blow off the trees! Yeah! This is my favorite time of year although it’s not for my allergies! If it wasn’t for those pesky sniffles I’d be outside all day everyday! Enjoy these awesome photos! ~Jamie

The same company that runs Groovy Guy Gifts contacted me to do another review of a product from their sister site, Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique. I was so impressed with the gift that I received for my husband that I decided I would love a wallet of my own and agreed to write another review for them.  I’m equally impressed with the quality of the item as I was with the first wallet I received. It came with a beautiful monogram of my initials on the front and was presented in a sheer gift bag.

The inside of the wallet has more than enough room for all of my credit cards, money and more. I like that it also zips and buttons up preventing me from losing any of the items that I would place in it, which was definitely a problem that I had with my old wallet that didn’t always close correctly. There’s also a handy wrist strap which is nice for carrying the clutch when you don’t feel like lugging your entire purse along.

Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique also carries a bunch of other wonderful personalized gifts that are perfect for all of the gals in your bridal party! Including some of those fabulous robes that all of you ladies are looking for lately! Check out their site! https://www.bridesmaidgiftsboutique.com I know you won’t be disappointed by the quality, the price and even the fast delivery service that this company has to offer! Happy shopping!

The first thing I noticed abut this couple was that the groom, Craig has an infectious smile! He was seriously grinning from ear to ear all day long and from what I understand this is a fairly common look that he carries. Nidia is lucky to have such a happy fella to count on! These two teachers met at a school they were both teachers at. Their love of teaching brought them together! I think it’s especially fitting to share this post today when thousands of teachers are walking out here in Colorado to protest better pay and funding for schools. I believe that all teachers should receive a livable wage and a great retirement. Since the costs in our state are continuing to go up so should the amount of money we pay as taxpayers. Having better educated citizens will benefit everyone in the long run! And who doesn’t want to support people like these two!

So enjoy this lovely Spring event at one of the most picturesque venues in the foothills near Denver! These guys were a joy to work with and I can’t wait for them to get their final video and photos!

 

Here also is the highlight wedding video of their ceremony!

 

With Summer wedding season just around the corner I thought it would be helpful to share some ideas for warm and sunny day events. While there might not be as many weather challenges as when you host a Winter event there can still be some hiccups in your big day and also ways to make your event more special. Here are some really great tips for Summer Weddings! And if you are interested I also wrote a blog post about “Plan B” for a Rainy Day and it’s here if you want to check it out: http://crystalinephoto.com/blog/2017/04/28/what-to-do-if-it-rains-on-your-wedding-day/

1.) Have a non-alcoholic drink station set up for guests upon arrival. Whether you are having an outdoor or indoor wedding during the Summer the one thing you will be dealing with is the heat. Offering your guests a way to cool down and to stay hydrated is a really great idea, especially in the higher altitude states like Colorado.

2.) Speaking of drinks, it’s a good idea to refrain from opening your bar too soon! Allowing guests to partake in cocktails before the ceremony on empty stomachs can be a recipe for disaster. Often times the wedding party might do a celebratory toast with either the bride or groom in their preparation rooms, which is a really nice photographic moment with one or two drinks, but allowing the guests access to unregulated drinks can sometimes result in unruly guests. Save the open bar for the cocktail hour and also save your pocket book.

3.) Consider a not so formal wedding. Floor length gowns and black tuxedos can get quite uncomfortable in 70-100 degree temperatures. Picking shorter dresses for your wedding party and having a more laid back affair can sometimes be the best thing for mid-Summer events when the days are scorching hot! While you still might want to have some sophistication by not have everyone show up in their jeans you can just list your wedding as semi-formal or dressy casual attire on your invites or if fancy dress is not for you go ahead and open it up to “come as you are”! It’s your wedding do what you feel is right for you!

4.) Stock bathrooms with items to freshen up that you can grab from any travel size section at a store such as mini deodorants, face blotters, sunscreen, bug spray, wet wipes, mints, mouth wash, feminine products, mini water bottles, etc. Guests will appreciate the extra thought and effort you put into this tiny detail!

5.) Try not to plan your outdoor ceremony to take place right in the middle of the day when the sun is at it’s highest point (bad for photos and also the hottest point of the day). But if you must do it around this time provide relief for your guests like a basket of sunglasses as wedding favors, or inexpensive paper fans, or paper parasols (I would save those parasols for after the ceremony so as not to block the view of other guests). There’s a lot of ideas out there for creating wedding programs that also double as fans!

 

6.) Here’s an idea that florists will appreciate… Order a couple back-up boutonnieres and a few extra replacement flowers for larger designs if you plan on re-using your floral arrangements for decorations at the reception. Hot sun can wilt flowers quickly, especially if they are a more delicate type flower. Also I’ve seen flowers on boutonnieres fall off a groom or groomsman before the ceremony and photos, having a quick replacement avoids unnecessary repair work on a boutonniere.

7.) Providing chair covers for an outdoor ceremony not only adds elegance to an event, but it protects bare legs from getting burned on hot chairs that have been sitting in the sun. While again it’s not an absolute necessity, it’s a nice touch!

8.) If your Summer reception will take place somewhere outdoors or without air conditioning than serving foods that will stay fresh in hot weather is also a great idea. Here is a list of the most common foods to avoid for hot weather – Chocolate (melted hot mess chocolate covered strawberries, yuck), hot soups, salads made with mayonnaise (if they will be left out for a long period), cheese products (also a gooey mess), fresh fruit can quickly brown, seafood, and deviled eggs.

9.) If your ceremony is going to be near water or in an area known to have a lot of bugs and mosquitoes strategically placed citronella candles are a must! Use them to decorate the ceremony aisle or even place them in your table centerpieces, along with providing some nicely scented wearable bug spray for guests you can help save them from getting eaten alive!

10.) My favorite thing to see at Summer weddings is a bride & groom send-off of any kind. The sunlight lasts longer, the evenings are warmer and guests tend to stay later at these events so it’s quite easy to have your DJ round-up your guests at the end of the night for a special send-off. If your venue will allow sparklers these are always a crowd pleaser, other ideas are: glow in the dark sticks, bubbles, flower petals, and a balloon release.

Looking forward to those long Summer days ahead and some amazing events! ~Jamie

 

 

Lindsey & Jeff’s Intimate wedding at Black Canyon Inn located in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado. Perfect location for their small ceremony with close friends and family who mostly came in from Texas to enjoy the mountain views. Loved being able to capture this special day for the two or should I say three of them! Congratulations again!

Special Shout out to all the other vendors –

Ceremony Venue – Black Canyon Inn,  Reception Venue – Twin Owls Steakhouse, Photographer – Visual Poetry, Hair & Make up – Estes Park Bridal Co, Florist – Enchanted Florist, Cake – You Need Pie Video – Crystaline Photography & Video

I completely dropped the ball on posting photos from this fun couple’s engagement session at the Evergreen Lakehouse back in January! Oops! I had even picked out the photos for it and in my mind I had already done it…. I’ve been crazy busy this Winter though which has been abnormal for me, but also really great because it made the Winter pass by really quick! I can’t believe we’ve already changed to daylight savings time!

Anyways… Michelle & Bryan were awesome! We started talking about ideas on where to do their engagement photos and Michelle said she really wanted pine trees and mountains in the photos and I suggested doing them in Evergreen because it’s close to the city and there’s a lot of great locations to do them. When I mentioned a Winter session at the Evergreen Lakehouse she mentioned it could be busy because of the ice skating rink that they maintain on the lake, which I never knew about. But then I said we can even have you ice skate in some of them! Then she said that’s a great idea because I’m a figure skater and Bryan plays hockey and going to Avalanche games is one of our favorite hobbies! A great idea that involved some of the favorite hobbies of the couple was born! Due to how warm the weather has been this year we almost didn’t get to do the ice skating portion of the photos, but I’m so glad we did! These are completely adorable!!

I can’t wait to shoot your wedding at Willow Ridge Manor this Summer! Thanks for making me a part of your big day! ~Jamie

Most of us have been to a wedding where the couple getting married takes off right after the ceremony to do photos with family members, the wedding party and some photos by themselves. This happens and we don’t see the couple we are there celebrating for about an hour, there are a few different ways to alleviate the amount of time spent on these photos and I will list those really quick so that you have them as well, but this post is mainly to help with some ideas to entertain your guests if you have to do the bulk of your formal portraits immediately following the ceremony… So if you are looking for some fun and creative ideas to keep your guests busy while you are getting some important photographs taken please read on…

But real quick…. to take the least amount of time possible with your formal portraits after the ceremony here are three suggestions:

1.) Do a First Look with the Bride & Groom and schedule all of your formal portraits or a vast majority of them before the ceremony. This is for the couple that doesn’t care about the tradition of seeing each other before the ceremony. Often times it requires adding extra time with your photographer before the ceremony to ensure that you have enough time to do them before the ceremony is slated to start. You will also want to add a little extra wiggle room in case preparation and getting ready takes longer than expected. Plan on guests beginning to arrive about 30 minutes prior to the ceremony start time. You will want all of your photos slated to be done or just finishing up with the groomsmen at that time. If you don’t want to do a first look try and do at least the bride and bridesmaid photos beforehand and groom and groomsmen photos as well to get some of the formals out of the way.

2.) Tell everyone that you want to be in your photos that their presence is requested and when and where these photos will be taken, don’t assume that your aunts and uncles will stick around after the ceremony for photos… Give them a heads up beforehand… sometimes handing out a timeline at the rehearsal and/or putting something on your wedding website alleviates confusion and precious time looking for people who have wandered off.  It doesn’t have to be a lot of details something like this (being specific to who you want and where you want them) –

3:00pm Ceremony

3:30pm – All Family Photo of Bride’s Side by the Alter (all relatives are requested to be in the photos)

3:45pm – Immediate Family of the Groom’s Photos at the Front of the Building

Doing this one simple task can make the difference between family photos taking 20 minutes or an hour!

3.) In most cases couples will receive all of their digital images from their photographer or the very best of the group photos taken so with this in mind, it goes a lot faster if the photographer doesn’t have to stop every few minutes to let someone else take a photo of something they just took. If you have a limited amount of time to do formal photos…for example if you’re getting married in a Catholic Church and they gave you precisely 30 minutes to take photos after the ceremony before parishioners come into the sanctuary for confession. If time is absolutely of the essence, any deviation from the photographer’s job will effect the outcome of your photos and the amount you can actually take. It’s best if you as the couple just ask everyone else to put their cameras away and let the photographer do their job because it sounds better coming from the people paying for the photographer than the actual photographer themselves.

Most couples will usually still use the “cocktail hour” following the ceremony for the time period to take their photographs. Traditionally, this is the time that guests will mull around the venue, chat with other guests, eat appetizers and have a few beverages while searching for their seats for dinner. It’s also the perfect opportunity for you as a couple to put your personal stamp on the event by introducing some fun items to entertain guests and here are some ideas for entertaining those guests –

1.) Lawn Games or Table Games – Many companies rent out lawn games like the photo of “Connect” below, other items they might rent are large chess pieces, Jenga Blocks, Corn-hole and more. These are perfect for a laid back wedding with more of down home feel to it. Board games are also fun and can be used at more of an indoor location. Both ideas give guests who might not know each other a way to bond.

2.) Photo Booth – There are many companies in Colorado that offer the old school photo-booth with print on site capabilities. We offer a portrait station which is similar, but rather than print on site we just provide all the images along with your wedding photos and you can share them with your guests after the wedding either in digital form or print one out and mail it with your “thank you” cards. This option allows for more space for larger group photos and is less expensive than printing on site. (Print on site option are also available, but require an additional assistant and thus cost more). We’ll include props for no additional charge (only available with a 2-photographer package).

3.) Live Band or Musician – If you already are having a live musician for your ceremony you can see if they will stay through the cocktail hour to give your guests a more unique experience. I’ve been to some events that just hired a musician for the cocktail hour. A musician like a piano player, flutist, or bagpiper would be great for just that.

4.) Hire an Entertainer – Examples: A Magician, A Celebrity Impersonator, A Belly Dancer, Etc. I’ve seen Frank Sinatra impersonators belt out tunes and walk among guests during the cocktail hour, belly dancers, and even balloon artists hired to entertain at a wedding with a lot of children. A medieval themed wedding with fire jugglers would be amazing to see! Anything that really sets your event apart from others is awesome!

5.) Interactive Food Stations – Examples: Make Your Own Cupcake, Make Your Own Omelette (great for a morning wedding), Roast S’mores Over a Fire, Wine or Beer Tasting Station, Etc. Nothing is more Colorado than camping, so as a nod to that, let guests do their own S’mores either during the cocktail hour or as a late night snack over a fire pit or fondue pot. Setting up fun food stations with exotic foods is also a great way to incorporate the food tastes of a couple. Watching a chef flambe’ something is always fun!

6.) An Interactive Video Booth Where You Can Leave Messages to the Bride & Groom – Here’s another one we will offer if you are doing a two person videographer package for no additional cost.  This way you have a videographer to go with the guys and one with the gals while they are getting ready and to get more angles of the ceremony. Then one videographer goes with the couple while they are doing photos while the other sets up in a quiet area as guests enjoy the cocktail hour to get “well wishing toasts” from the majority of guests before dinner. Do this in lieu of a guest book and you’ll be glad that you did!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having a smaller more intimate event can sometimes be the best way to spend your Big Day as Cyndee & Sammy found out on an extra warm day in February! We lucked out with 60 degree weather in the middle of Winter for this event and were able to get all of the formal photos completed before this sunset wedding. This simple one room, park and recreation location is for super small events. It has a lovely fireplace to stage your ceremony in front of in the colder months or you can also utilize the gazebo outside when it’s warmer. We used the gazebo to set-up a first look for Sammy & his bride before we got into all of the other portraits. It was a beautiful quiet moment that the two got to share before the craziness of the wedding started!

 

Images from the couple’s cozy ceremony.

A couple reception shots… The first time I’ve ever seen the groom smash cake in his own face during the ceremonial cutting and feeding of the cake! Absolutely priceless!

It was a great day spent with close friends and family to this obviously very much in love couple! Thanks for having me be a part of your event!