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.
I just did a couple quick photos of this album before Pat came to pick it up from me because I hadn’t sold a memory book album with a leather cover and embossing on it and wanted some photos for reference. This mother of the groom had fallen in love with the couple’s wedding album, but wanted something for herself. Even though the wedding was in 2016 she hadn’t forgotten about wanting an album and contacted me just a month ago. She wanted her album to sort of match the album she had from her other son’s wedding many years ago. I knew she meant an “old school” leather slip in the photo prints type of album. So I suggested doing the memory book with this cover because it not only sets it a part from the album the couple had made, but can somewhat match her other son’t book. I love how it turned out and how we were able to personalize it a little more so for her side of the family with more photos of her and her son and their side of the family.
Parent albums are an add-on option that we offer… couples can just order duplicate albums of their own at a reduced price or they can custom tailor an album to each set of parents. They make excellent parent gifts, especially if they are footing the bill for the wedding! Plus they are something you can do after the event when not ever dollar you have is being put towards your grand affair. Or parents can purchase their own if they wish!
One of the last of my clients to pick up their wedding album from 2018 events just picked up their amazing book today! Stacie & Carols had a fabulous wedding at Wedgewood’s facility at Brittany Hill in Thornton last summer. They chose so many photos that we ended up having to design them a larger book than what was included in their package, but that’s not a bad problem to have! I hope you enjoy your wedding album for many years to come! Thanks again for having us there to document your day!
Just delivered another amazing wedding album to another gorgeous couple from their Fall 2018 wedding! Loved this twilight wedding at this fabulous venue.
Just delivered the Summer wedding album to one of the funnest couples from 2018, Eve & Jon! We did a beautiful simple design for this couple who liked a clean, sharp simple book. This 20 page album covered just the highlights of their awesome event. Here are some photos of the finished book with a couple of my favorite spreads!
Here are some photos of Cassie & Ray’s wedding album that was finally completed after a year of back and forth reviewing and correcting to make sure they received exactly what they wanted in their wedding album. The couple opted to add a few more pages to the album that was included with their photography package so it would cover even more of their beautiful mountain event. This was such a cute wedding with both the bride and groom taking turns on the skateboard which is one of Ray’s favorite pastimes. Thanks for having us cover the photo and the video of your amazing day! So fun to see the final album!
The day I receive a couple’s wedding album is always one of the best days for me! It’s a day where I get to see all of our hard work in print the way it should be displayed. The best images from the day are organized in a storytelling fashion that captures the essence of this beautiful moment as a young couple begins their lives together. Our Riveli albums are the the flush-mount albums that are included in our Gold Wedding package and are printed by a professional grade photo lab on the highest quality of photographic paper and they are just stunning. I can’t wait for Sarah & Jason to finally see the end results!
Delivered this album right before Christmas to Wendy & Jeff from their holiday themed wedding from last year at the same time of year. They had a lovely event at Wellshire Event Center in Denver using all the beautiful Christmas decor at the venue to save on decorations for their big day! Beautiful facility to get married at located on the South end of Denver.
Just dropped off these awesome wedding albums to a couple from last year. They went with our coffee table style book with companion parent albums that were personalized for each set of parents. Beautiful couple, amazing wedding and now a great way to display all of their memories!