Archive for Weddings

Here’s our first and now our only Spring wedding of 2020! Mandy & Kaleb were so lucky to be able to have their Willow Ridge Manor event in March before all of the Corona Virus Social Distancing Orders starting coming down. It was the best and amazing day for it as well! It was close to 70 degrees on their big day, but still snow peaking through on the mountain backdrops behind them. We had a few firsts for this wedding as well… first time the groomsmen got in a little fun by giving the bride a prop “ball & chain” to pin on her husband after they said their vows and also the first time I’ve ever seen a man in a bunny suit give a toast! You can tell this couple both have a very light hear-ted attitude about life and it was just a great environment to be in! Thanks again for having us be such an important part of your day! A lot of love was shared and captured for years to come!

For all of you folks out there worried about your upcoming 2020 event or  those already planning a post-postponement we feel your pain. This is going to be hard for all of us! We had two events in March cancel, four events in April cancel and so far four weddings altogether postpone with May events in jeopardy as well. The canceled events will not be re-booked so we’re out all the income that those would’ve generated for our business. The saving grace has been the fact that people still want to get married and don’t want to lose all of the money they have already invested in their big events. There are still options to postpone until a later date in 2020 and postponements instead of cancellations are what’s going to save a lot of small businesses. The talk about this lingering on for quite a while has people concerned about their Summer plans as well. We are encouraging all couples to take a wait and see attitude with all Summer dates with the hopes that our self isolation measures will kill this virus off before June.  Stay safe Colorado and the rest of the world, we’re all counting on all of you to become couch potatoes for the next couple months! We’ll be back soon and better than ever!

 

Vendors Who Made This Day Possible:

Venue: Willow Ridge Manor

Caterer: Rocky Mountain Catering

Disc Jockey: Digital DJ

Officiant: CoCreative Journeys – Paul Paiva

Photography & Video: Crystaline Photography & Video

 

I know Amanda, Alec and their families have been waiting patiently for me to finish their wedding video! And the time has come to release their highlight clip and get their photos and images back to them! This was an amazing wedding with a lot of moving parts to it and also not without it’s challenges, which makes me even happier to see the final results of their photos and video. Having a Winter event is always a bit of gamble especially if you are planning it the mountains of Colorado. Taking a chance on this Silverthorne Pavilion wedding was well worth it for them and even though the Eisenhower tunnel closed for a period of time on this day, almost all of the guests were able to make it to the ceremony on time! The couple notified their guests through their personalized website that due to the ski traffic and unforeseen weather issues that people should allow extra time for travel. That warning seemed to pay off for them! I would highly recommend that any couple planning an event do a little research on the area they plan on getting married at for what’s going on around the time of year they schedule it. Many times I’ve seen couples run into things like a festival being scheduled in the town at the same time as their event so accommodations for rooms being scarce, or unforeseen road closures due to construction or weather. If you know about these types of issues beforehand and let your guests know this can help them prepare for traveling and an on-time arrival for your event as much as as they can!

This venue boasts beautiful mountain and creek-side views, but because the sun goes down quicker in the Winter months we had to plan to do all of their formal portraits prior to the ceremony. This lead to a decision to do a “first look “between the bride and groom so that we could get their formal portraits out of the way before the ceremony. It ended up being a really touching intimate moment that they shared on the bridge. It was completely magical which fits in with their magical Disney themed wedding! Loved the romantic photos in the snow. And all of the children that participated in the ceremony singing songs was adorable!

The reception had a lot of unique elements as well. First, the bridesmaids did double duty as bartenders for the cocktail hour where the couple served their guests “Mocktails” which were non-alcoholic fun fruity drinks. This is a great idea for someone either looking to save money on their bar tab or for couples with religious or other reasons for not drinking. In Amanda and Alec’s situation they still served alcoholic drinks they just opted to wait to open the liquor bar until after dinner when the paid bar staff took over.  It was so cute seeing all the bridesmaids wearing rain smocks over their beautiful dresses to prevent them from getting dirty and I think it also gave another level of entertainment to the many young guests both attending and in their wedding.

Amanda’s brother was the DJ/MC for their event. In most cases I would also try to dissuade couples from using a family member for this important service, but in this case her brother had a background in entertainment having worked for a company that hosts parties and provides games and more for their clients. He did an amazing job not only running games that were entertaining for both the kids and adults, but also keeping the dance floor full.  The reception was also very unique in having a line up of different performers that were chosen from their friends and family who sang at different points in the evening. Amanda and her dad even chose to do a duet instead of a typical father and daughter dance. It really put a personal stamp on the event by including guests that were near and dear to them in the festivities.

We had a ton of fun doing the photography and video for this fairy tale event! I hope it will be a moment that they cherish forever!

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue: Silverthorne Pavilion

Caterer: A Perfect Bite

Photography & Video: Crystaline Photography & Video

This couple wanted to have a wedding that was not like anything anyone else they knew had done! So they planned a destination wedding in the mountains of Colorado from their home in Tennessee.  Friends and family that were willing to make the journey were treated to a beautiful morning event complete with brunch after their short outdoor ceremony. The plan was to make it a wonderful ski weekend! So as soon as the ceremony was over they headed for the slopes in Keystone for evening skiing. Destination weddings are becoming a huge draw here in Colorado for those looking for amazing views and something different. It takes a lot of trust on the part of the couple to book vendors strictly off their websites and skype meetings! Luckily, Colorado has a lot of amazing vendors willing to put their best effort forward to satisfy their clients.

Planning a Winter event is also not without it’s difficulties…. we booked a room for the night before the event in Silverthorne because Winter conditions can often shut down the roads in and out of these ski mountain towns. It’s highly recommended that couples do a back-up plan for a Winter event or for all of their guests to arrive early by even a day or two to alleviate any of these headaches. This day was also one of the coldest days so far this Winter! I was worried about my camera not working under such conditions and so was Mike, my husband and DJ for their event. He was worried about his gear seizing up due to the temperatures. Luckily, the ceremony was short that we didn’t run into many difficulties. Our batteries drained quicker, but luckily we come prepared with a lot of extra back-ups!

This truly was a beautiful wedding with unique touches from the couple! My favorite part was their “Grand Exit” They opted to change into their retro looking ski gear and run through smoke bombs! While it made for really cool photos, hindsight I think we should’ve spread out the guests more on a path or in a field rather than on the bridge. Guests were a little too close and the smoke so thick that it was not only hard to see the couple through it, but also a bit hard for guests to breathe. Since this was a first for me… it will just be something to consider when planning more smoke bomb photos!

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue: Silverthorne Pavilion

Caterer: A Perfect Bite

Donuts: LaMAr’s Donuts

Disc Jockey: Digital DJ

Photography: Crystaline Photography & Video

I got the privilege of delivering Henry & Bethany’s wedding album and parent albums to them yesterday! Nothing is better than getting to see the faces of my clients when they see the final product from all the hard work we put in. I get to spend almost a year with couples at one of the best moments in their lives starting with the process of picking their photographer when they are doing the interviewing and deciding. Working with them in most cases for months leading up to their big day by discussing wedding timelines, photo ideas and more. Sometimes even giving advice on other vendors and how to accomplish an activity that they want to do on their big day! When the actual day comes there’s preparation work that takes almost an entire day beforehand… cleaning gear, charging batteries and more! The day itself goes by so fast! We spend a good 8-10 hours working almost non-stop, making sure we get all of the photos the couple wants and more.

After the wedding our job is only half done. We have many, many hours of editing work ahead of us along with, posting the photos, uploading them to the USB and disks for the clients and then sometimes we meet again to present them with those photos and go over options for their album. The album design process is something we work on over the Winter months during our down time. We take the client’s choices along with some of our own favorite images to design a beautiful album that tells the story of their entire day from start to finish! Working with them during the design process to make sure that the book is just right! It’s an heirloom that will last for generations to come and we want to make sure that it is perfect.

Henry & Bethany also chose to purchase the accompanying parent albums to give to their parents so that they would also have a beautiful memento from the wedding. These books make great gifts for your loved ones!

Congrats again to this amazing couple…. many more album designs to come in the weeks leading up to our Summer season… so stay tuned!

It’s not often that a photographer gets to photograph a family member’s wedding (unless of course they have a huge family!). I was honored with the privilege of being able to capture my brother’s intimate backyard wedding to his sweetheart, Heather this past September. With a strict budget and a can do attitude they were able to put together a beautiful backyard BBQ at Heather’s parent’s home in Evans, Colorado. It was the perfect day with the perfect weather! Heather even included a bouncy castle to keep the many children in attendance entertained all day! I didn’t see much of my two boys because they were playing with their cousins all day! They also lucked out to have a sister and brother-in-law in the wedding industry that made sure their photo, video and DJ needs were met. My brother and his groomsmen also smoked all of the meat for this affair while other family members helped with side dishes. It was truly a community effort to send these two off on their life together.

It again just goes to show you that a wedding can be anything you want it to be. While I love beautiful ballrooms or majestic mountains as well, sometimes a simple event with family and close friends can be just as rewarding as an elaborate party.

Here are some tips for the “Do It Yourself” wedding planners:

1.) First set a budget and list items needed in the order of most importance to you. And plan on spending more for the things that are most important to you.

2.) If you are doing an event at a private home take into consideration add-on items needed to host an event that would otherwise be provided by a wedding venue such as: tents, tables, chairs, porta potties, serving items such as chaffing pans, etc. Sometimes these items can add-up quite quickly and it’s almost just as expensive to host your event at a venue that provides all of it. If you have ample resources and can keep under budget with an event on private property by all means take the leap!

3.) Consider how much of it you want to do yourself and how much help you will need from friends and family. Sometimes it’s less of a hassle to hire a caterer unless you have a lot of family members who want to help. Don’t just assume that people will just pitch in. It makes sense to sit down and chat with everyone involved to hand out duties and figure out what areas people are willing to help with. You want to avoid resentment from those who end up having to pick up the slack in areas that weren’t covered by coming up with a list of needs early on.

4.)  And have fun! Make sure to give yourself a lot of time to plan and put together all of your DIY items. Weddings can be stressful, but they don’t have to be. Most weddings are planned out a year or more in advance to allow a lot of time to get things just right and also spread out the expenses. But if you are itching to get hitched you also may be able to find a lot of savings out there for hosting events at venues with dates still available 1-2 months out from the big day. If you go that route be prepared to make quick decisions on everything from the dress down to the flowers.

Congrats again Heather & Cad! Here’s to a Happy and Successful Marriage!

Vendors who Made this Day Possible:

Disc Jockey: Digital DJ

Photography & Video: Crystaline Photography and Video

 

Destination weddings in Colorado have become big business in the wedding industry. Couples from all over the world are imagining themselves saying their nuptials with majestic peaks in the background. Maybe the couples has previously vacationed here and fallen in love with the state or perhaps like one of the couples I photographed a couple years ago the bride had never seen snow before and had always wanted to get married on a snow covered mountain top! Whatever your reason for getting married in Colorado it’s now easier than ever to do! The internet has given everyone the key to searching out thousands of venues and vendors. Couples can check out photos and videos of properties, search by price point and even view reviews from others who have used the vendors in the past. Tools like email, FaceTime and Skype make is easier to do virtual meetings to discuss your needs and concerns that some couples choose to book some or even all their wedding vendors without ever meeting in person! If this is something you plan on doing here is some tips to help you navigate choosing the best vendors!

1.) Consider hiring a Wedding Planner – I’m all for do it “yourselfers” that want to save money, but sometimes a planner is a huge help in facilitating the wedding of your dreams; especially if you don’t live or know anyone where you plan on hosting your event. A planner can have more insight on particular venues and vendors and can even in some cases save couples money by helping them find the best value for what they want to spend. If hiring a planner isn’t in your budget, look for venues with amazing on-site coordinators. When booking a site that includes an on-site coordinator make sure you get a list of their duties so you know what you’re getting. Some venues provide a coordinator purely to  protect their own interests. The coordinator is just there to turn on and off the lights, show you what you can and can not do and make sure guests don’t destroy the property. Others offer full on planning services as well. They help with decorating, organizing guests and the wedding party and more. Just make sure you are aware of what they will and will not do especially if you are paying extra for them.

2.) Hiring Pros…when to choose someone from home and when to go with someone locally – Hiring some local vendors are much more obvious. Hiring a caterer from home and expecting them to haul out all of their gear etc. can become very cost prohibitive. So looking at local caterers is probably recommended. Others might not be so cut and dry… not to shoot myself in the foot, as I would love your photo and video business, but sometimes you have built a repertoire with a photographer who lives near you and you really want to use them. I completely get that! I myself have covered a number of destination weddings for people who have grown to love my work. I’ve covered weddings in Florida, the Virgin Islands and even Costa Rica! But sometimes choosing a photographer who lives and works in the area you’re getting married in can be very beneficial. They might work at your venue on a regular basis or know some amazing off the beaten path spots to take photographs. Consider the travel costs you might have to cover when bringing a vendor with you. Sometimes these costs can double the cost of the service they provide.

3.) Do your research and set a budget in advance – Talk with all the parties involved to set-up realistic budgets for each service you are looking for prior to meeting with venues and vendors.  In your research don’t be afraid to ask the business what their starting prices are and a rough estimate of what their services would cost for what you need. Caterers this might go off of an estimated guest count and food preference. Photographers and videographers might charge for how much time you want them to document your event and whether or not you want more than one cameraman present. Disc Jockeys and musicians usually start with the time-frame they will be playing music and then add-on for things like extra lighting. Once you have found a few vendors in your price range only set-up meetings (whether they are on the phone or in person) with vendors who are in the range of your budget.

4.) Visit your Destination Location – If at all possible schedule a scouting trip to the area you are looking to getting married at during the time of year that you plan on hosting your event. Photos of a property are great, but we all know that photographers have ways to take the photos showing the venue off in it’s best light and can doctor the images using Photoshop! It’s good to see and meet vendor in person whenever possible. Remember that great venues and vendors book up quickly so while I recommend doing your due diligence with all services, if you have a particular date in mind it might be wise to do this sooner than later because for most vendors once they are booked they’re no longer available to take on more work.  Don’t be afraid to ask for past client referrals!

5.) Get it in writing! – Make sure the vendors you hire always use a contract and be sure to review the contracts before signing. Bring up any concerns to the vendor before you sign and give them a deposit. If the vendor doesn’t provide it for you, ask them for an itemized list of everything that is included in the quoted price. At a destination wedding, it’s especially important to make sure things like pick up and drop off of items are being handled by the vendor and everyone is on the same page of timing and what’s included. Be sure to think about things that make it easier for guests traveling to your destination like room blocking at hotels and shuttle service to and from ceremony and reception locations.

6.) Go with your Gut – If after meeting with a vendor for any service something feels “off”, but you can’t put your finger on it listen to what your subconscious is trying to tell you.  Some red flags to consider: disparaging talk about a current or past clients (unless it’s to explain how they handled a challenging situation without naming the clients), how quickly they return emails and phone calls (sometimes with emails it’s just technology failing, don’t hesitate to pick up a phone and call them), trying to strong arm you into features or add-ons that you might not need or judgemental comments about your budget and an unwillingness to work within it. While vendors all understand budgets please don’t call a vendor that says their prices start at “X” price expecting them to do basically the same service they are advertising for at a 1/3 of the price! There may be a little wiggle room in some vendors prices, but don’t expect over a 5-10% difference.

Finishing up on our final Willow Ridge Manor wedding for the year… this amazing wedding of a couple that has shared 29 years of their life together before they were able to finally tie the knot! Marta and Sheri had an amazing wedding with a ceremony that started out with pure entertainment from a flash mob as they walked in. I’m not sharing the music that they danced into in their highlight video due to copyright concerns from the big league artist’s songs they used, but it was awesome! It was the first time we’ve captured a scene like that for a couple. I’m guessing it took lots of practice not only for the dancers, but for the lovely ladies too.  I also wanted to mention their floral arrangements as well. The couple chose to go with eco friendly alternative flowers that were absolutely stunning and did not look like “fake” flowers at all. I was quite impressed with both the style and quality of these arrangements. Chris and I had a blast doing photos and video for this happy couple! Enjoy some of my favorite photos below.

 

Vendors Who Made This Day Possible:

Venue: Willow Ridge Manor

Caterer: Fresh Tracks

Disc Jockey: DJ Guy

Cake: Nothing Bundt Cakes

Favors: PB Love CO and MODma

Florist: Flintwood Floral and Design

Photography & Video: Crystaline Photography & Video

The beautiful early fall wedding of Frank & Kayla’s Willow Ridge Manor event is featured below along with their highlight video. My crew and I had a wonderful time covering this event. This couple with their little baby girl was the sweetest couple ever, so much love and admiration between the two of them made it an extremely easy wedding to photograph.

I really don’t know how we avoided the rain on this event, but working quickly and saying a few prayers we were able to do just that. One of the amazing things I want to point out about this venue is Lawrence and Gregory’s attention to detail. When those storm clouds started rolling in the two of them were right there handing out umbrellas for all the guests to use and even though they didn’t end up needing them, they were there and ready just in case! Just par for the course with this amazing wedding venue!

Enjoy the photos and the video and congrats again you two! ~Jamie

 

       

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue: Willow Ridge Manor

Caterer: Occasions Catering

Disc Jockey: Digital DJ

Florist: Flowerama

Photography: Crystaline Photography & Video

 

We finally had a hot Summer day at this August wedding at Willow Ridge Manor! After multiple rainy and cloudy events this Summer this was a welcomed change. Kori and Chris had a pretty decent sized wedding party as well, but everyone was having such a great time that they were pretty easy to manage! I also really liked the red, white and blue theme. When I asked one of the bridesmaids if there was a significance to why they chose this color pallet I was told Kori is a die hard “Patriots” fan. (Sorry Broncos fans!) I thought the colors worked really well on the red rocks. I also loved that the bride got all of the ladies tennis shoes to wear for later in the evening when their feet would be hurting. It was a thoughtful and cute idea!

Another amazing day that seemed to pass too quickly! But that’s how I know it was an awesome event when everything turns out perfect and almost effortlessly after all of the hard work of putting it together you can’t ask for much more! Congrats again you two! ~Jamie

    

Vendors Who Made This Day Possible:

Venue: Willow Ridge Manor

Caterer: Rocky Mountain Catering

Disc Jockey: Digital DJ

Photography & Video: Crystaline Photography & Video

Time to chat about the non-traditional/traditional wedding… which really seems to be the way  a lot of today’s couples are going. It’s really a way to put your own stamp on your event. Ryan and Anna really wanted to do their wedding in a manner that was special to them and stayed within their budget. Their Harry Potter theme was awesome! Anna wore a non-traditional black wedding gown and a black opal wedding ring set. They also opted to have a food truck serve all of their guests which not only kept their catering costs down, but made amazing cusine. This venue is great in that it allows couples to use any vendors that they want which can save you a ton of money in the long run. It has amazing views and a rustic charm that is perfect for Colorado.

Anna contacted me because not only had I photographed her friend’s wedding last year, but also because we’re recommended by the venue. It had been a couple years since we’ve covered an event here. A lot of improvements have been made to the facility in that time. The first being getting ready areas for both the bride and the groom. This helps a lot! All of your wedding party can get ready on site making it easier for your photographer to capture those moments along with keeping you on schedule for all of your events. I had a lot of fun photographing these two… we had amazing weather, an awesome wedding party that was willing to go above and beyond for these two and lots of helpful friends and family that really helped to put this event together. Thanks again for having me capture your special day!

     

 

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue – Evergreen Red Barn

Caterer – The Cravings Food Truck

Photography: Crystaline Photography & Video