Archive for Destination Weddings

Since 2020 was a really tough year for not only couples planning a wedding, but for those servicing those events I thought I would do a post about planning an event this year and into 2022 to help couples still navigating these uncertain times. We were very lucky last year to be able to provide services to all but two wedding that had booked with us which is amazing because I talked to another photographer at a wedding we only did video for and she said she lost nearly 70% of her business last year! Wow! I watched a few really amazing catering companies go under and a few DJs decide to do something else for a living. So not all of us weathered the storm. I’m not going to lie, it was an extremely stressful time for Mike and I and our two businesses. But we survived by being willing to work with our couples! We were able to switch wedding dates for no additional fees, cover downsized events and even picked up a few last minute elopements. Mike and I were both really, really grateful for the clients we had over 2020 and are looking forward to servicing those that re-booked in 2021 as well as new clients! That brings me to the first hurdle newly engaged couples have in planning a wedding right now. They are having to cope with finding an open and available date with vendors for both 2021 and now going into 2022. Since many 2020 couples pushed their dates into 2021 and some couples who were planning to do their wedding either last year or this year decided they wanted to push their date even further into 2022 it’s getting harder to find available vendors. We’re already booking dates into next year! Prime weekend dates are sure to go faster then they have in previous years and if you choose a special date like one that is a palindrome or just a cool date with some significance or holiday even more so. If you are just in the beginning stages of planning here are some of the more popular dates that you might just want to avoid because of their popularity which may make planning and booking vendors more difficult:

Popular Wedding Dates 2021

  • Friday, January 1, 2021 (1-1-21) – New Year’s Day
  • Friday, February 12, 2021 (2-12-21) – Chinese New Year (Year of the Ox)
  • Saturday, February 13, 2021 (2-13-21) – Valentine’s Day Weekend
  • Sunday, February 14, 2021 (2-14-21) – Valentine’s Day
  • Saturday, April 3, 2021 (4-3-21) – Countdown Date
  • Saturday, May 29, 2021 (5-29-21) – Memorial Day Weekend
  • Saturday, September 4, 2021 (9-4-21) – Labor Day Weekend
  • September and October are the most popular months to get married during this year in Colorado! We’re almost completely filled!
  • Saturday, October 2, 2021 (10-2-21) d
  • Saturday, October 9, 2021 (10-9-21)
  • Saturday, October 16, 2021 (10-16-21)
  • Saturday, October 23, 2021 (10-23-21)
  • Saturday, October 30, 2021 (10-30-21)
  • Sunday, October 31, 2021 (10-31-21) – Halloween
  • Friday, December 31, 2021 (12-31-21) – New Year’s Eve

Palindrome Dates 2021

Palindromes are words or numbers that are the same forwards and backward, like “9/1/19” or “racecar”. Since these are easy to remember, they are very popular dates to get married on.

  • Wednesday, January 20, 2021 (1-20-21)
  • Thursday, January 21, 2021 (1-21-21)
  • Friday, January 22, 2021 (1-22-21)
  • Saturday, January 23, 2021 (1-23-21)
  • Sunday, January 24, 2021 (1-24-21)
  • Monday, January 25, 2021 (1-25-21)
  • Tuesday, January 26, 2021 (1-26-21)
  • Wednesday, January 27, 2021 (1-27-21)
  • Thursday, January 28, 2021 (1-28-21)
  • Friday, January 29, 2021 (1-29-21)
  • Wednesday, December 1, 2021 (12-1-21)
  • Saturday, December 11, 2021 (12-11-21)
  • Wednesday, December 22, 2021 (12-22-21)

Popular Wedding Dates 2022

  • Saturday, January 1, 2022 (1-1-22) – New Year’s Day
  • Sunday, February 13, 2022 (2-13-22) – Valentine’s Day Weekend
  • Monday, February 14, 2021 (2-14-22) – Valentine’s Day
  • Friday, April 1, 2022 (4-1-22) – April Fool’s Day
  • Saturday, May 28, 2022 (5-28-22) – Memorial Day Weekend
  • Saturday, September 3, 2022 (9-3-22) – Labor Day Weekend
  • Again, September and October are the most popular months to get married in Colorado!  We typically fill these first even before June dates!
  • Saturday, October 1, 2022 (10-1-22)
  • Saturday, October 8, 2022 (10-8-22)
  • Saturday, October 15, 2022 (10-15-22)
  • Saturday, October 22, 2022 (10-22-22)
  • Saturday, October 29, 2022 (10-29-22)
  • Saturday, December 31, 2022 (12-31-22) – New Year’s Eve

Palindrome Dates 2022

  • Thursday, February 2, 2022 (2-2-22)
  • Sunday, February 20, 2022 (2-20-22)
  • Monday, February 21, 2022 (2-21-22)
  • Tuesday, February 22, 2022 (2-22-22)
  • Wednesday, February 23, 2022 (2-23-22)
  • Thursday, February 24, 2022 (2-24-22)
  • Friday, February 25, 2022 (2-25-22)
  • Saturday, February 26, 2022 (2-26-22)
  • Sunday, February 27, 2022 (2-27-22)
  • Monday, February 28, 2022 (2-28-22)

Cancellation Policies

Once you get your date figured out and have booked your venue the next step is figuring out your other vendors. Make a list of what’s most important to you and your budget for each and then start with the most important ones and the ones that are quicker to fill up  such as caterers, photographers and music. Some companies can service more than one event on a weekend while others can not, so it’s good to find vendors early and with so many couples competing for dates right now it’s not a bad idea to book right away even if it’s two years out!

Next, almost all vendors had to deal with Covid changing event plans for their clients this last year and because of this have had to re-vamp their cancellation or re-booking policy. Before 2020 couples would pay their deposit and know that if they had to cancel their event for any reason they would be losing all of the money they had paid towards the venue and the services they booked. When the government created a mandatory shut-down of events due to the pandemic everyone had to come to terms with not being able to host an event even if they wanted to. Some companies were understanding and others were not.  So the big thing in 2021 is to read the fine print and discuss cancellation policies with each and every vendor you hire. Understand that once you book a business for a specific date that it most cases it comes off the calendar anyone else. Dates are often booked months in advance and re-booking them becomes more and more difficult the closer you cancel to the date which is the reason for no refunds. It doesn’t hurt to ask a vendor you are considering about their cancellation/re-booking policies and asking if they are flexible. For us we’ve decided to allow couples to re-book with no additional fees as long it’s a mutually agreed upon date and done within a year. A cancellation is a forfeiture of monies paid, but we’re not holding anyone to final payments as we have in the past and we’re still working with couples to do planned photo-shoots or elopements in lieu of the big wedding to give them something for what they’ve already paid for. We’ve split payments up to make this a bit easier and so couples would be out less money if they decide to just completely cancel their event. Since we’d really, really like to provide the services you paid us for we’re willing to do everything we can to work around changing dates during the pandemic.

Consider vendors that provide more than one service for your wedding to make it easier on yourself. It’s going to be a lot easier rescheduling services if you only have to make one call instead of five. Since my company provides: photo, video and photo-booth services and my husband’s is a disc jockey we often do events together. So this also means that we also have a lot of the same dates open together as well (not always, but better chances). If you have photo, video, photo-booth and DJ booked with us and have to reschedule it’s one call to me and we should be able to find a date that works for both you and us!

Consider Downsizing

Wedding planners are telling couples to consider making 2 or 3 different sized guest lists so that you can easily pivot to what ever sized list you have to go with due to mandates in your area. Or just consider a smaller wedding from the start. Since we ended up covering a lot of intimate weddings in 2020 I can definitely say there are some advantages to having a smaller guest count. The first being you should be able to save some money on your catering bill. Less mouths to feed means less money to spend.  Less guests also means you will have more time to spend with the ones that can attend. Weddings are a whirlwind and extra time with the ones you love is never a bad thing. If you are set on having a large 100+ person event then depending on your venue’s capacity you may just want to consider hosting your event in 2022 or later.

Health Safety

Should you require your wedding guests to either provide vaccine proof or take a Covid test before they attend your event? I covered one wedding last year where the couple was so conscious of everyone’s health that they asked all of their guests to take a test two weeks before the wedding and then to basically quarantine before the big day! If a person wasn’t “Ok” with doing that then they were asked not to attend the wedding.  While this sounds kind of like an over kill because what kind of world do we live in where you have to take a test before you can attend an event? But that wedding was one of the more relaxed and fun events I covered last year. Because in reality it is hard to feel safe in a large crowd right now and especially after the masks come off. And they will come off when everyone sits down to eat and drink and then they are probably not going back on after that (from what I’ve seen covering many pandemic weddings in 2020).

If you’re not sure where to even begin with this request, remember two things. First, when it comes to a wedding, the couple sets the tone. Second, by setting very clear, very firm rules that prioritize health and safety you are actually doing people a favor. For your guests you are removing the guess work. By being clear and upfront about the Covid-19 Safety policy for your wedding you are saving your loved ones the mental gymnastics of “What does a wedding right now even look like?” You’re telling them what your wedding looks like and then they get to decide if that works for them or if they would prefer to celebrate your wedding in a different capacity (online, zooming, sending a card, etc.).

Setting this boundary also has another huge upside. Rather than feeling awkward and sad in a room of 100 people without masks and without tests, The couple gets to experience the same privilege of a couple who got married before COVID. They would actually get to enjoy their own wedding day and not worry that their decisions may have put someone in the hospital or at worst killed them.

Wedding favors have become masks personalized with the couple’s wedding date, individual bottles of hand sanitizer at the place settings and even color coded wrist bands that tell the other guests the level of interaction with other guests that they are comfortable in sharing.  All things you can do to help provide a safe event.

Whatever you decide to do for your 2021 wedding just know that people love and support you and will do everything that they can to support your decision to get married and celebrate with you in whatever capacity that they can. We’re so happy that vaccines have been opened up to anyone wanting one in Colorado. Mike and I just got our first dose and will be getting our second at the end of April! And our excited to be covering all of the events we have scheduled for this year! Best wishes with all of your wedding planning!

 

 

I would call 2020 the year of the elopement… so many couples that wanted to have a big wedding, but couldn’t due to the pandemic decided to get married anyways because love doesn’t’ stop even for a virus. Bob & Donna were one such couple when we chatted about their wedding plans they told me how they couldn’t host a large event in their home state so they had decided on eloping at a vineyard in California. Then due to the horrible wildfires in California they decided to move their location to Colorado. At the time we were looking at going more up into the mountains here to give them that quintessential Colorado mountain look, but then the wildfires here took off as well! Ugh! I worked with them to find a spot close to their hotel in Boulder that wasn’t in any fire danger and the rest we say is history. The couple brought their motorcycle out here with them so that they could also do some amazing day trips up in the mountains while they enjoyed their honeymoon.

Getting ready at the historic Hotel Bolderado makes for some amazing photos… and guess what? They got an upgrade form the hotel to the bridal suite when they told them they were here for an elopement plus some extra help with planning from the hotel’s concierge service. Amazing! I love it when companies go above and beyond for their clients. We took some awesome photos in this grand hotel and with their motorcycle out in front of the hotel before I shuttled them up to Chautauqua Park and then on to Lost Gulch to share their vows to each other on a mountain top!

 

I loved getting to spend the afternoon with such a great couple that just wanted to make it official in an amazing location! Elopements are something that we offer special rates for when booked 1-2 months out and on a date we still have open on our calendar. Typically, they are just the couple and/or just a very limited number of guests like 10-20. If you are wanting to tie the knot without all the fuss give us a call and I can even give some suggestions on places that work well for this scenario!

Hotel Accommodations & Meal After the Ceremony : Hotel Bolderado

Baker: Das Meyer

Photo Sites: Chautauqua Park & Lost Gulch

Photography: Crystaline Photography & Video

I’ve been a bit behind on my blog posts again due to a crazy end of Summer and Fall wedding season. A lot of couples from the 2020 early season had to push their events back to this time period this year due to Covid… so busy, busy, busy and now finally getting caught up on the little things like blog posting. Charlotte & Drew planned their whole event from out of state so they booked me just from a few emails and a couple phone conversations. Covering a wedding at Copper Leaf Event Center after having it been numerous years since I’ve been here was a real treat. I started out my career taking photos at this venue over 20 years ago and to see how much it has changed under new ownership was awesome. A lot of work has gone into making this venue a great little venue in a city location with amazing food. The owners who also own The Gourmet Kitchen Catering for many years prior to purchasing this venue have done a lot of work to update the getting ready rooms, the gardens and more! So not only are you getting a beautiful and affordable venue to host your event, but you are also getting their award winning food and service as well! I can’t say enough great things about this place!

And what to say about this amazing day! This couple was what I’m calling the quintessential millennium couple! They were low fuss, simple and just wanted to have fun with friends and family. They incorporated their quirky favorite music, had a lovely personalized ceremony Because of their good nature and ability to just go with the flow they had a wonderful heart felt event that incorporated some of the most important people in their lives. You could just feel the love oozing out of everyone for this event which is just easy to capture in photographs!

Again, thank you for having me document your special day! I highly recommend this venue for the food, service and beautiful surroundings! What a special day!

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue: Copper Leaf Event Center

Caterer: The Gourmet Kitchen

Photographer: Crystaline Photography & Video

 

 

When your parents’ yard is just as pretty or even prettier than a lot of wedding venues you just have to host your wedding at their home! Blake & Katie were also extremely lucky to have made all of their plans for an outdoor event at a private residence during the time of Corona as well because it worked out marvelously for their dreamy wedding. Everywhere we looked their was a photographic opportunity! From the beautifully decorated home to the amazingly manicured yard and even the classic cars the Blake and his dad owned just made this wedding picture perfect! We covered video and photo for this event while my husband provided the music and MC services. It ended up being an amazing day! Some of my favorite photos are below. It was so hard to choose!

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue – Private Residence

Disc Jockey: Digital DJ

Caterer: Garden of the Gods Catering

Photography & Video: Crystaline Photography and Video

Florist : Skyway Creations

Table, Chair, Linen Rental: Colorado Party Rentals

Bakery/Cake: Sugarplum Cake Shoppe

Hair & Make-Up: Fuse Salon / Katherine Sikich

 

 

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

Hair & Make-Up: Rollers & Rouge

Caterer: A Perfect Bite

Donuts: LaMAr’s Donuts

Disc Jockey: Digital DJ

Photography: Crystaline Photography & 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.