Cindy and David hosted a very small wedding in the chapel at Ralston Crossing Event Center last Spring. It was the perfect venue for this couple to share their sweet vows to each other and celebrate with cake and first dances in the pavilion behind the chapel after the ceremony. Ralston Crossing has both an indoor and outdoor ceremony site. The chapel works well as back up location for when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate. For this couple their plans were to use the chapel from the beginning due to their small event size and the time of year they were getting married. We utilized some of the amazing features on the grounds for taking photos with their wedding party and alone. Checkout some of our favorite photos from this lovely day!
Our annual Fall Mini Portrait Sessions will be taking place again this year with limited morning sessions on two days only! We are offering 20 minute sessions booked on the half hour on Saturday, September 16th and Saturday October 21st only. Sessions will begin at 7am with the last one starting at 11am. The session price is $175.00 and it includes 8 high resolution digital images from the photoshoot. Addtional digital images, prints and holiday cards will also be available to purchase in addition to the included digitals. You may also purchase all of the photos from the session after you view them for $250.00. This year both sessions will be taking place at Majestic View Nature Center – 7030 Garrison St, Arvada, CO 80004. We will be meeting in the parking lot right next to the center (not at the park entrance off 72nd Ave.) The center has restrooms available and some great photo opportunities near by! This is our one and only time a year that we offer short sessions at a discounted rate. The dates, timing and location are all set by our company for this special!
If you have never participated in a mini session before I want to share a little bit about the concept. Mini sessions were developed to give clients with stricter budgets a quick photo-shoot with their family in order to accommodate a large amount of groups in one day! This session is perfect for families with children with short attention spans looking to just capture the growth of their family for holiday cards and the like. These sessions are not intended for groups that may need a bit more time and care with their photos such as large extended family shoots, families with pets or families looking to pick and choose their location and willing to spend more time getting lots of different poses, looks and or clothing changes. A grandparent or two can also tag along with one immediate family, but grandparents with multiple children that have families of their own may need to look at purchasing at least two back to back session spots. We also will not allow pets to be included in these sessions because while we love pets, the sessions are just too short for us to have the time devoted to both getting the the attention of the animals and their family members. These sessions are also more suited for people that can be on time or early. We run a tight ship on mini session day and since sessions are booked back to back photos will start immediately at your contracted start time and end 20 minutes later. Late comers will only get the time-frame we have allowed for them, so once their time is up we’ll be done and moving on to the next group. All sessions are paid for in full to reserve your time-slot with no refunds unless we have a really bad weather day and have to reschedule. In cases like a bad weather day we will reach out to each family to see if there’s a day we can reschedule the session for and if there isn’t a mutually agreeable day within the next 2 months we will refund your money.
Check out some sample photos from last year’s session at Crown Hill Park –
Each session will include a couple different full family poses, separate groupings such as individual parents with children, children alone, parents alone and individual shots with a few different background options. Majestic View offers a lot of options in a close proximity while we won’t be moving around the entire park in a 20 minute session some walking will be needed. If anyone has any disabilities or needs special accommodations please let us know.
One thing we can not guarantee is how much the trees will have changed or the weather! I try to set these sessions around the peak of the fall foliage season with weekend dates that we still have open, but it always varies from year to year. This year we only have a couple Saturday mornings open because we are fully booked with event coverage on the weekends until November. I cross my fingers for a beautiful day with abundant color and leaves still on the trees! Be aware that nature is going to do what nature does and we’re just at it’s mercy! If the forecast calls for cloudy and overcast, but not torrential downpours we will still be doing photos! So please dress accordingly.
Our mini sessions can also be used for a special occasion, not just for a family portrait. We’ve had people utilize our mini sessions for quick engagement pics, maternity announcements, a 50th wedding anniversary, headshots and more! We’ve even accommodated a quick senior portrait session for a student that hated having his photo taken and was doing just the bare minimum photo in one outfit for a yearbook photo and some pictures for his parents. We will be happy to let you utilize your 20 minutes for any quick small portrait session you may need. If you are needing something other than traditional family photos please let us know when you reach out for booking so we can make sure to focus on what’s important in your photoshoot.
If you are interested in booking a time for one of these sessions please email us – firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include your family’s name, contact numbers for any adult participating, names and ages of everyone and date and preferred time slot. Please include two times in case we book your first choice. All bookings are first come first serve are not guaranteed until a contract and full payment has been received. If you have a larger family and are not sure if you will need extra time or not please give us some details and we’ll let you know if we think you will need two time slots.
Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs is one of the most iconic locations to tie the knot. It’s a very popular place to elope or host a very small wedding in our state and you can see why from the photos below. I captured this amazing couple last summer in this beautiful location! And had a great time following them around for an hour taking photos before their sunset ceremony. One of the perks of this location is that as of 2023 they do not require a permit to do an elopement or take photos here, but because of the popularity I don’t know if that situation will last for much longer as the city of Colorado Springs is already floating the idea of charging at least a photo permit. This location is probably one of the busiest spots in our state for both tourist visits and weddings. If you are thinking about eloping at this location here are some tips to help make this an experience to remember for a lifetime. Here’s a link to their site to keep up to date on requirements – https://gardenofgods.com/events/weddings/
1.) Keep it small! An elopement should be either just the two of you, the officiant and the person(s) documenting the occasion. If you do want to have a few friends/family present I would highly suggest keeping the guest list to 10 or less. You can have up to 50 guests, but having that mean guests at this location is very difficult. It’s very hard to coordinate large groups of people especially at a location where you can not reserve a spot to exchange vows.
2.) DO NOT ELOPE ON A WEEKEND! This couple chose a Thursday evening on my recommendation and we still had to wait for parking spots to open up and for other couples that were utilizing the amazing scenery to finish up so we could also take photos. Choosing a more off season time-frame will also help. November through April are a little slower for visits to the park.
3.) Choose vendors who are familiar with the location and can help you pick the best spots to do photos and take pictures at. An experienced photographer can recommend the best time to do photos, how to pose and come up with creative shots (even if it’s just the two of you!)
4.) Keep it relaxed and fun! No need to stress for an elopement!! If you’re doing a destination wedding here from another state just make sure you make an appointment before your arrival to get your marriage license a few days beforehand. And touch base with your vendors the week of the wedding to make sure everyone is on the same page.
We’re here to help make your day amazing! Reach out if you’d like to chat with us about elopement options. ~ Jamie
This beautiful spring wedding held at the Ken Caryl Vista by Wedgewood was a fun one to cover. The bride & groom also had an interest in Super Heroes so they also incorporated some fun props into their wedding photos. A great way to celebrate an event with my first time back at his venue in over a decade. A lot has changed since Wedgewood took over the operations here. It’s a great place to tie the knot with amazing photo opportunities on site and just a couple minutes from the venue at South Valley Park. Check out some of my favorite photos from the day!
Venue & Caterer: Ken Caryl Vista at Wedgewood
Photography: Crystaline Photography and Video
I photographed Rachel’s mom’s wedding to her step-father over a decade ago in the early years of my business. Having her trust me to also cover her big day as has been one of the biggest joys of my career! It’s a crazy feeling knowing that their daughter is all grown up and ready to start a family of her own! It also makes you realize how short the passage of time really is and also how important it is to have someone there to capture the memories because they go by so fast. One of the bride’s mother’s biggest regrets from her own wedding was not hiring us to do video at her event, so they made sure to have us capture that for Rachel & Brandon this time around! They also hired my husband’s DJ company, Digital DJ to take care of the entertainment. The couple’s amazing early Spring wedding was held in Denver at Wedgewood’s Brittany Hill location. It was great getting to utilize all the beautiful natural sunlight that streams through all the windows at this venue for their morning/brunch themed wedding.
Check out some of our favorite photos and their highlight video below!
Vendors who made this day possible:
Venue: Wedgewood at Brittany Hill
Officiant: Amazing Colorado Weddings and Ceremonies
DJ/MC: Digital DJ
Photography & Video: Crystaline Photography and Video
Tasha and Liz’s fun blended family engagement session was featured on LGBTQ.com and so I wanted to just share it with everyone else! We’re so excited to not only photograph their amazing family, but to also be photographing their wedding in June! Here’s the link to the article on that site – https://lgbtqido.com/engagement-at-red-rocks-liz-and-tasha/
When love is in the air and you don’t have the big budget for a huge celebration a simple elopement can also be a great way to tie the knot! Couples get married for a ton of reasons, and sometimes those reasons require a quick and easy solmization at the local courthouse. This doesn’t mean they should also skip the capturing of memories! I’ve captured many elopements in my over 23 year career! Some of my favorites are held at the Downtown Denver Courthouses. These majestic buildings offer an amazing background for your photos and are also close to some great restaurants, museums and other parks that not only make for great picture opportunities, but could also be amazing for a small celebration after the vows are exchanged; either just the two of you or with a small group of friends and family. Check out these photos from a beautiful Winter elopement I captured for this couple wanting to tie the knot before a big move out of state. It allowed them to capture the city they fell in love at with a few friends with some great memories!
If you are at the beginning stages of wedding planning or fully engulfed in the process unless you are a royal with an unlimited budget then you more than likely have some sort of budget in mind for your event. Some couples have a large 20,000+ budget, some have a modest 10,000+ budget and some are working with just a few thousand dollars. Did you know that the average price of a wedding in Colorado is now $30,000? The picturesque venues start at around $7000 for a weekend event and most caterers are charging $100+ a person per a meal. Those costs alone are going to add up quickly and with a very modest budget are not going to leave you much for extra for all the other vendors needed at a wedding. The best way to start figuring out your budget and how much to spend on each vendor is to prioritize what is most important to you.
If you have a $10,000 budget I highly suggest not blowing it all on the venue. There are options out there for couples with this minimal budget such as parks and recreation rentals or even churches offer a more affordable alternative to the high ticket wedding venue. If you have a $20,000+ budget then by all means book that amazing venue. A location with a beautiful view and lovely decor might even save you some money in decorating just because it may not need much more. The time of the year you host your event might also effect the pricing. Some venues even offer savings for hosting an off season event. Depending on the venue this time-frame in Colorado is typically November through March.
A trend in the wedding venue companies is to now offer all inclusive packages. These venues advertise as a one stop shop that is supposed to save couples money and the hassle of looking for all of their other vendors. I’ve worked at a few of these types of venues over the years and can see the advantages and disadvantages to them. The main benefit being that you will probably be able to host an event for under the cost of the average Colorado wedding (sometimes) if you use all of their vendors. The disadvantage of this concept will be that because vendors on these lists are often making their services available for under the market value they are also having to pay their employees under the market value for their work. For instance the DJ hired to fulfill these packages is often a college kid with maybe one or two events under his belt and you won’t be allowed to chat with him directly before your event. This person may not know how to keep a dance floor full, what announcements that need to be made or even how to handle a problem with equipment should it arise. My thoughts about this is to make sure you are able to vet all of the vendors they use. Make sure that you are able to replace vendors with your own when necessary and that it won’t cost you extra to use your own. There are still advantages to being able to create your event the way you want it to be even if it may cost a little more.
Some venues that do not provide food onsite might also require that you choose a caterer off their preferred list. Typically, there are reasons for this requirement. The main one being they’ve worked with these vendors a number of times already. The venue knows the quality of the service they provide and want to make sure that the same quality is provided to the guests they are hosting as it reflects poorly on the venue if the service is bad. If the venue you want to book has a list of caterers you must choose from then request a list of them before you book the venue so you can reach out them to figure out the average pricing. I’ve seen it a hundred times… couples book a venue because they are offering a great deal only to find out after the fact that the caterers on the venue’s list are all out of their price range! Ask questions!!!
After you list all of the items needed to service your wedding, rearrange them in order of importance and then research the average cost of each service and decide on how much you’d like to spend on each item. Leave a little wiggle room in your budget for services that are of the most important to you. For instance if photography is at the top of your list and you’ve budgeted $3000 for it but you found a photographer who’s work you love and personality clicks with yours but they charge $3500 don’t compromise on that service, instead take that $500 off your budget somewhere else. Maybe you had $500 earmarked for wedding favors, but do guests really need some tchotchke that will more than likely end up in the trash after the event? Probably not, but if your wedding photos get screwed up you will remember that forever! Don’t be afraid to ask vendors if they can work with your budget. The worse they can say is no.
Remember that there are also a lot of little items that add up quickly as well. I once covered a beautiful DIY wedding held in a tent on the property of the bride’s parents. The day of the event she told me that she thought they were going to save money by hosting it themselves, but by the time they rented everything they needed (including the porta potties, something they had forgotten about) they were at the cost of the most of the venues they toured, but had all of the hassle of having to set up everything themselves! Her biggest regret was not having researched the costs of everything that would be needed to do the event themselves and having to beg friends and family to do all the heavy lifting!
The biggest take away you should get from this article is to do the research. Ask questions from your top picked vendors, read reviews and research some more before you sign on the line. Prioritize what’s most important to you and understand that priorities are different for every couple. Just because your best friend dropped a ton of money on a band at her wedding doesn’t mean you have to if hiring a DJ will still fit within your vision and save you some dough.
Happy wedding planning!!! Reach out if you need some advice. We’ve worked at tons of venues throughout Colorado both big and small. We truly believe that every couple deserves to have the wedding of their dreams no matter what their budget!
November is becoming a more popular time of year to get married, due to it being a little bit off “wedding” season. There are usually savings to be had if a couple chooses a venue during their off peak times. And if you book around the Thanksgiving holiday you might still get a time when all your relatives are planning on gathering anyways! It’s typically not a great time to get married outdoors because the weather is hit or miss and the trees have lost all of their foliage, but with a beautiful venue with indoor photo options it can still be a wonderful event.
Ashlee and Jacob still wanted to host an outdoor ceremony, but provided blankets for guests to warm up. The ballroom at this venue is really close to the outdoor ceremony site so guests were able to view the quick outdoor ceremony and had straight up to the mansion to warm up and enjoy the cocktail hour while we finished up with a few more photos of this couple with their small wedding party. Check out some of our favorites from an awesome venue we love working at Willow Ridge Manor in Morrison, CO.
1. The Photo-Booth Guest Book – Not only does this fun idea give your guests a fun activity, but it can also serve as your wedding favors. Your guests will have a memorable moment that is captured, printed and to take home with them. The photo-booth guest book option allows you to also get photos of all your guests attending along with leaving space for the guests to leave some well wishes to the couple. Most booth companies (the booth our company offers) also include digital files that can be downloaded by anyone from the internet too!
2. Found Items to Sign – Typically this is an item that means something to the couple that has been turned into a piece of art for collecting the signatures of their loved ones. The top photo is a motorcycle gas tank as the couple getting married were avid riders and had a shared passion for bikes. The photo below the tank is a custom made snowboard that not only fit the Colorado theme, but the couple’s snow filled ski weekend wedding.
3. Postcards and Mailbox – Set out postcards that guests can write a longer message to the couple with a fun unique way to collect them. The mailbox will also be a cute addition to the couple’s new home once they purchase one!
4. Custom Signage – Lots of sites such as Etsy and Amazon offer custom made signage or if you have a craftsman in the family that can create one for you. It can be created from a wood piece or something else that will make an awesome piece of art to hang on your wall after the big day is over.
5. Photo Guest Book – Take some of your amazing photos from your engagement session and turn them into an awesome photo guest book. An album with pictures will be looked at a whole lot more than your standard blank guest book with just signatures. Remember to use archival pens that do not smear.
6. Little Pieces for Memories – Adding your name to a wooden heart or personalized puzzle is another fun idea. The puzzle can be enjoyed by the couple everytime they put it together and the heart display box will make a lovely home decoration for the couple.
7. Framed Mat & Photo – Set-up a large mat for collecting signatures with an open space for placing one of your amazing wedding photos in it. While it’s on display at your wedding venue make sure you use it as an opportunity to display one of your favorite photos of you as a couple before the big day!
8. Keys Attached to Advice – The “Key” to any good marriage is lots of helpful advice. Set up a space with keys attached to tags for wedding guest signatures and lots of helpful advice.
9. Custom Books, Coffee Table Book or Book Special to the Couple – A few weddings I’ve been to used a coffee table book with photos from the area they were getting married at to collect signatures. The top photo shows a couple that created their own fabulous book for signatures. The bottom photo is from a Superhero themed wedding. They used a comic book depicting Superman & Wonder Woman in love to collect the signatures of friends and family.
10. Video Toasts – Not really a “Guest Book” per se but giving your guests the option to say something to you on your wedding video helps you to capture your family and friends in a special way that 2D doesn’t offer. We offer this to any couple that has booked one of our full wedding video coverage packages with two videographers. We can either set up a dedicated space to collect “well wishes” from guests or go around during the cocktail hour to see if people have anything to say to the couple. Years from now it will be wonderful to hear the voices of your loved ones on your wedding video!