Archive for Small Events

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

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 as 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

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

 

Moose Lodge at Crooked Creek Wedding – Jordan & Kyle from Jamie Striplin on Vimeo.

This destination wedding for this couple from Missouri was amazing! So many couples coming from the plains to get married in the mountains lately! It’s awesome! And this couple did it right… they came with just their close family and friends. There were only about 20-30 people total for the sharing of their nuptials in a field by this Air B&B rental. No caterer to pay for, no large venue, a friend grilled steaks for everyone, no florist, even a friend did their photography… this opened up their budget to have me videotape this important event for them! It was a great day… but any day I get to spend in the mountains is a great day! Enjoy this highlight video from their perfect day!

I’m starting to see a trend of smaller bridal parties for weddings this year. I’ve covered quite a few this Summer that only had a maid of honor and best man or no attendants. I think people are looking to have a little bit more of an intimate affair. They are picking their best friends or siblings to stand up with them and then just inviting their friends to attend the party. It’s a great way to save some money and also avoid conflicts, but still have an amazing wedding. Check out Erin & Jerod’s intimate event below we had an amazing time capturing this special day for them! Enjoy!

Willow Ridge Manor Wedding – Erin & Jerod from Jamie Striplin on Vimeo.

They say it’s lucky on your wedding day to have rain. I’m not sure the person who came up with that saying has ever had to tell a bride that rain was going to push back their ceremony! Regardless of the weather these two had an amazing day. The venue had umbrellas for all of the guests and the couple were still able to share their vows outdoors! We took all of the family group portraits up under the portico and when the skies finally parted we went back down to the red rocks to do some more of the small wedding party and just the two of them. I always love how bright the colors are in everything after a quick shower! And we even got a rainbow in some of the photos (it was pretty bright so a little hard to see)

 

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue: Willow Ridge Manor

Caterer: Rocky Mountain Catering

Disc Jockey: DJ Connections

Florist: Hawk Flowers

Cake: Gold Mine Cupcakes 

Hair and Makeup : Bel Viso

Photography & Video: Crystaline Photography and Video

 

I absolutely adore Winter weddings and especially when they are centered around a couple’s love of skiing and the mountains! Welcome to Colorado! Katie knew from a young age that she would someday tie the knot at her family’s favorite vacation spot, Copper Mountain Resort! Their beautiful chilly day wedding was perfect from the beginning to the end. Low stress, fun for friends and family and a true celebration for the couple. Here are some of my favorite photos from the day!

The bride insisted on skiing down the mountain to her waiting groom which took a little bit of planning to facilitate because she had to wait for the last chair lift up the mountain at the end of the day. We decided to do a first look with her and her groom before the ceremony so that they could also get in some photos with the fabulous covered bridge in the village! Love, love these photos!

Here she is getting in to the gondola with some friends for the ride up the mountain and the lovely ceremony that followed…. Luckily, they found out there was a warming hut at the top of the gondola to wait in for the 4:30pm ceremony time!

Everyone was treated to hot chocolate as they waited for the ceremony to begin and each seat had a cozy blanket to warm up with! The ceremony was set up as a come as you are dressed event so that guests could enjoy skiing right up to the ceremony start time. After the ceremony and a few formal portraits the guests went back to their rooms to change into their more formal attire for the reception held back in the magically transformed ski lodge! What an amazing day!

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue & Caterer – Copper Mountain Ski Resort

Florist – Lucy’s Flower and Design

Musician & DJ – Gordon Avenue

Photography – Crystaline Photography & Video

 

We’re very excited to share the highlight video above and favorite photos below from Chris & Julia’s end of September wedding in Denver at the historic Grant Humphrey’s Mansion.  Chris and Julia put a lot of love and care into their big day! The bride made all of the gorgeous paper flowers herself for not only the bouquets, but also for each and every one of the centerpieces for this wedding. They were absolutely stunning! So much so that I told her she should start a business of just doing this for other couples! Not that she would have any time because she is playing violin with the Denver Philharmonic! She even took the time to share a piece with her guests before the dinner service started at the mansion. We ended up with a very beautiful warm day for this event and it was great being back at this iconic wedding venue in Denver! Thanks for having us capture your special day!

Vendors who made the day possible:

Venue: Grant Humphrey’s Mansion

Caterer: Relish Catering & Events

Disc Jockey: Soundmaster Entertainment

Baker: Gateux Bakery

Paper Flowers by The Bride Herself!

Bride’s Dress: Vera Wang

Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie

Tuxedos: JoS A Bank

Photo & Video: Crystaline Photography & Video

In a wedding that is just a small step up from an elopement Joshua & Rosa decided to hold their event on a mountainside in Genesee Park one morning in July! With just their immediate family and one close friend (just 10 guests). The park offered a beautiful picturesque view without a lot of hassle. A few rented chairs, an officiant, flowers put together by the bride, a bluetooth speaker and their photographer (me) and they were all set. Again proving that love doesn’t have to wait for thousands of dollars to host an event. After their nuptial vows and some formal portraits the couple along with their family headed back down the mountain to have a celebratory luncheon at Maggiano’s in Denver. A beautiful day for a beautiful couple.