I just received another amazing gift from Groovy Groomsmen Gifts – https://www.groovygroomsmengifts.com/products/personalized-docking-station to review. Are you looking for gift ideas for all of your groomsmen, but wanting something just a little bit different than the normal gifts. I highly suggest the products on this website.  I liked this particular item because it will look good on my husband’s bedside table. It gives him a place to store all of his important items like his keys, watch and of course a place to plug in his cell phone making it not only easier to remember where you put everything, but a nice way to display it. This site has a lot of other great goodies too and almost everything can be personalized! So while there are some great gifts for all of the groomsmen in your wedding party there are also some great thoughtful gifts for dads, grandparents and partners! Check them out!

 

I had a really busy Fall with a ton of bookings already for 2020 wedding couples which kept me busy doing engagement portraits while the weather was nice. I love doing engagement photos! It’s a great way to get to know the couple and how they photograph and it also allows me to find new and different spots to take photos! This location was one I had covered a previous small/elopement wedding at close to Denver and has an amazing mountain view! Rachel & Kyle will be tying the knot this Spring at one of our favorite venues, Willow Ridge Manor! Since they will have more of a red rock look to their wedding photos we were going for something with more pine trees and a view of the mountain range and this location just fit the bill! It’s the perfect way to share their new home off to all of their Chicago friends and family.

Very much looking forward to working with this laid back outdoorsy couple for their big day next year! Enjoy their romantic engagement photos below!

I photographed this lovely dusk maternity session with Becky and her family at the end of Summer. She was looking for a location that showed off the entire mountain range along with a lake in the background close to her home. Standley Lake checked all of the boxes for what she wanted. It had been a few years since I’ve taken a portrait session here. It was great getting back to this amazing spot. There had been so much rain over June and July and because of that the lake was so high that there wasn’t a beach that we could do photos on. Even though I was disappointed about a lack of a beach the location itself was still wonderful! It has a beautiful unobstructed view of the full mountain range and says “Colorado” in every sense of the word. We got some amazingly adorable photos with the kids and I was very happy with the results! Stay tuned for when I post some images from the newborn session!

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

Senior portrait season is pretty much over for the year… yeah, we may get one or two that still have a later yearbook deadline date or someone who never got their photo taken, but would like to have something before their commencement ceremony, but otherwise it’s over. I thought I would post a few of this Brighton High School’s senior session. We did an early morning session just a week before they were due, he was a great subject and I had an awesome time photographing him! Hope these will be some great memories for the years to come! Enjoy!

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

 

I’m a little behind again posting other types of portrait sessions that we’ve been busy doing… Senior portrait season is winding to a close now so I’ll be sharing a little bit of my work with all of you! This handsome young man is Connar! I met his mother over 12 years ago when she was working an Arbonne business and was doing bridal shows with me. She did the make-up for all the bridesmaids in my wedding and we’ve stayed in contact through Facebook all these years. She’s an amazingly creative person who created a business painting kitchen cabinets and also restoring or re-creating furniture. Anyways, her son is doing his senior year at Littleton High School and needed to do his senior photos. We had a great time doing these right before the leaves started turning and the weather was still warm. Check them out!

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