Archive for Formals

I have just one more couple from last year to finish up on their wedding album and that couple’s wedding is being featured on my blog today! The day started out with our associate photographer, Chris going to the couple’s apartment to get photos of the guys getting ready and I went to the mother of the bride’s home to get pictures of the ladies. After that we traveled to Genesee Mountain Park to do a “first look” of the groom seeing his bride and wedding party photos before the ceremony being held at Christies of Genesee. We had some lost wedding party members, but we persevered and were able to get just a few photos of the large wedding party completed before the rain started to come down. After a mad dash back to everyone’s vehicles we continued on to the venue to prepare for the ceremony and moved the rest of the formal portraits to after the ceremony. The day just flew by! Before I knew it we were staging the requested night shots with the full moon in view and seeing the couple out the door for the end of their evening. Sometimes weddings just go so quickly you barely get a chance to take it all in and today was certainly one of those days.

Large wedding parties can always be challenging (especially when you lose a few members). I always recommend booking a package with at least two photographers if you are planning on having more than four bridesmaids or groomsmen and/or if you are getting ready at different locations or even if you can’t utilize the venue for your preparation space. Christies of Genesee is a wonderful venue, but it only has a very small dressing room that can only really accommodate 2-3 people, thus the reason for the separate preparation quarters on this event. Having two photographers ensured that every aspect of this couple’s big day was captured.

Reasons we love this venue: 1.) Close proximity to Denver 2.) Mountain and city views 3.) Affordable price range for couple on a budget 4.) Outdoor and indoor space 5.) Gorgeous picturesque views nearby 6.) Friendly and courteous staff

 

 

Vendors who Made this Day Possible:

Venue, Catering & DJ: Christies of Genesee

Photography: Crystaline Photography & Video

Bride’s Dress: The Bridal Collection

Groomsmen’s Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse

Bridemaid’s Dresses: Birdy Grey

 

Sanaz and James were a couple that had to postpone their event multiple times due to Covid. Luckily, we were able to accommodate them all along the way and we were able to finally see them through to a fabulous 2021 summer event at Willow Ridge Manor. I know this one was a particularly challenging wedding for my husband to DJ due to the Persian music Sanaz and her side of the family requested, but Mike was a champ. I watched him go through their special requests for days on end prior to the event and it paid off big time! I saw him receive high fives from some of the guests and was told what an amazing job he did. Most of the bride’s family didn’t think that hiring a DJ that doesn’t specialize in Persian events was a good idea, but they were wrong. He did an excellent job of blending classic American tunes with the fun energetic cultural music that the bride’s family loved. That’s what makes him a great Disc Jockey… a personal desire to make an enjoyable event for all the guests! It was an amazing day with lots of love, laughter and dancing!

We even got to see a wedding tradition that neither one of us has ever seen even in our over twenty years of covering weddings. It’s called a Persian Wedding Knife Dance…. The dance begins with one person performing a typical Persian dance, holding a knife and asking the couple for money. The couple is expected to give money to the dancer in return for the knife. Once the dancer gets the money she passes the knife on to the next dancer. This little game is played in good humor for some time until one of the dancers decide that they have been won over by the given money and will give the bride and groom their cake knife in exchange so that they may cut their cake. It was a cool tradition that honored the bride’s family heritage.

Check out some of my favorite photos below.

       

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue – Willow Ridge Manor

Caterer – Rocky Mountain Catering 

Disc Jockey – Digital DJ

Photography – Crystaline Photography & Video

As a wedding photographer/videographer I see a lot of wedding trends come and go. Some of the classics stick around for a good while, but even some of the die hard wedding traditions are starting to move their way out of the limelight. I thought I’d take a peek at the fun trends that are making their way to couples this year and with a mention of the ones on their way out. Let’s see if you agree…

TRENDS ON THEIR WAY IN

1.) Weekday Weddings – We saw quite a few of these over the last year just due to couples needing to work within venue’s availability after they had to postpone their 2020 event. Don’t expect them to go away. Lots of venues offer special savings when a couple is willing to host their event mid-week. Almost everyone has a limited budget, so couples all over have found this is a great way to save big on their wedding!

2.) Customized Weddings – These have already been really popular. Engaged couples want to do something different that stands out and makes their event more memorable. I see a lot more couples wanting to do their wedding “their” way instead of the “traditional” way. This can mean having a food truck instead of a sit down dinner, having a cocktail hour before the vows,  coming up with their own unity ceremony instead of a candle, etc. I already have two “brunch” weddings booked in 2022 for breakfast lovers everywhere! Anywhere a couple can put their personal stamp on their event they will be doing it!

3.) Electronic Invitations – The pandemic made electronic ways to stay in touch with your guests more acceptable due to all the postponements and reschedules. And now they are here to stay. Electronic save-the-dates, invites, RSVPs are a great way for couples to save money, even if you just use a wedding website to get all that extra information out for instance like where to stay, and how to get there. A small QR code placed on a physical invite even gives your guests a quick way to go to your wedding website.

4.) Destination Weddings and Elopements – We’ve covered a lot of these in the past few years and when Covid lockdowns happened couples still wanted to get married, so they chose the most exotic place they could get to within the US borders. We had quite a few couples coming from areas without snow, or from the flat plains to Colorado just because they wanted to get married on a mountain top. And in reverse a lot of couples in Colorado going to locations with beaches!

5.) Renting a Vacation Home for Bachelor & Bachelorette Parties – People looking for ways to avoid crowded clubs and bars are looking into staying with their close friends at a large home they can rent through sites like Vrbo.com and Air BnB. And then they are even hiring a photographer to come out and document it! This can be a long golf or ski weekend or  maybe a great location like Nashville or Las Vegas for fun shows and gambling!

 

TRENDS ON THEIR WAY OUT

1.) Bouquet and garter toss… Many, many couples today are deciding to drop this steadfast tradition. Some of the reasons are because couples are waiting to get married later in life and it just doesn’t seem right singling out  one or two of your last unattached friends. Also your dance floor is rocking, who wants to slow down a party for this out dated tradition.

2.) Things on Guest Registries – Also a sign of the times with couples waiting until later in life to tie the knot; a lot of couples are already in a co-habitating scenario and don’t need stuff.  I see a lot of couple’s that have honeymoon registries or a site for saving for a down payment on a home. Young couples today are not interested in china patterns. Some are even asking for donations to charities in lieu of a wedding gift.

3.) Wedding Favors – Most couples are ditching the wedding favors in order to afford other items like a video record of their event, or higher end entertainment. Over the years I have found that the largest waste of money goes to wedding favors. People often forget the trinkets given to them by the couple leaving most items behind. The exception to this rule is if you give them something you know they will use like food or drink. I remember one couple that provided a bottle of wine to each family on their way home from their family owned vineyard. Now this is something we all know will get used! Photo-booths have also become a popular favor replacement because it gives guests a memorable experience and a memento that you know they will save and cherish.

4.) Extra Large Bridal Parties – While couples have a lot of friends many are opting to go with small 1-2 attendants or none at all. It gets really hard trying to coordinate schedules of a lot of people for dress fittings, parties, and more. Couples are finding that they’d rather have their guests be guests instead of having them full-fill the obligations of a wedding party. Not to mention how you’ll need a larger alter space in the ceremony to fit a large bridal party. Group photos also take twice as long to do with large entourages.

5.) Receiving Lines – I will go as far as to say this one is pretty much already gone. When I ask couples if they are going to have a “receiving line” I often get a blank stare followed up with the question of “what is that?” A lot of today’s couples have never even seen one unless they’ve been to a very traditional church ceremony. If you’ve never seen one  here’s a brief explanation: it’s where the couple and their parents stand in a line to greet and shake the hands of each and every guest after the ceremony and it can take 30-60 minutes depending the amount of guests you have invited. One of the main reasons this one has disappeared is because of the amount of time couples have to do their formal group photos after the ceremony. Most of the time the photos take precedence over a receiving line. Covid pretty much put a complete kibosh to this tradition. A lot of couples now greet their guests while dinner is going on at the reception after they have eaten.

 

 

I always love covering a classic wedding for a young couple in love. A simple ceremony at the couple’s hometown church with a reception held at the same location proves that you don’t have to spend a fortune on your event to have a beautiful heartfelt wedding. Corinne’s mom reached out to me only a couple months leading up to their big day in Strasburg, Colorado and the rest they say is history. The plan originally had been to host the ceremony outdoors in a field near the church, but the weather had other plans that day, so with storm clouds gathering the ceremony moved indoors and we opted to do most of the photos inside as well. We were able to step outside to get a few photos of the wedding party and the couple alone, but luckily the church still offered a beautiful backdrop for their event.

It was wonderful seeing their faith brought to the forefront of their wedding and all of the friends and family that came to celebrate. It was a lovely day that will be full of memories in the years to come for this couple. Enjoy some of my favorite photos and the highlight video below.

Check out the highlight video from our video services for their event:

Vendors who Made this Day Possible:

Venue – Mountain View Fellowship Church

Photography & Video – Crystaline Photography & Video

Another beautiful summer wedding at Willow Ridge Manor with just the cutest couple ever! Kelly and Matthew bonded over their love of adventure and bicycling which also made for a very cute an adorable wedding theme. Our team had a great time capturing both photo and video for this couple for many years of enjoyment to come.  When couples host their event during the Summer at Willow Ridge they can have a grand affair utilizing the outside deck for seating with still more room inside for all of their guests. This beautiful venue looks great anytime of year, but  it’s especially beautiful when the grass is green and the flowers are in bloom. Just perfect with the black and white color scheme with green accent colors! Enjoy the highlight video above and some of my favorite photos below!

 

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue – Willow Ridge Manor

Caterer – Rocky Mountain Catering 

Disc Jockey – Digital DJ

Photography & Video – Crystaline Photography & Video

 

We covered quite a few elopements again this year. I think some couples were just done dealing with Covid and wanted to get married. Ashley & Nicholas came all the way from Florida to tie the knot in April. They found us and all of their vendors online for their simple elopement at Legacy Ridge Golf Course in Westminster, Colorado. This public golf course has some amazing views of the mountains from within the suburbs of Denver and was the perfect place for their quick ceremony with a handful of friends. Ashley had never seen snow in person so it was a real treat to still have some peaking through on the mountains behind them. Mike and I were there to capture the event on both photo and video for those that could not attend. It ended up being the perfect day for the both of them!

            

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue – Legacy Ridge Golf Course

Florist – Mossholders Floral

Photo & Video – Crystaline Photography and Video

Pinning the boutinear on the groom Bride with her dress Unique ring photo on an ornament

Stolen kisses

bridesmaids All family photo

Winter is on it’s way and so is a magical time to get married! Emily and Luke like most couples who got married in 2020 had to face a multitude of challenges including closed wedding venue, losing their caterer to the business going under and more! Their wedding date changed with us no less than three times! The last time I got notice a couple weeks before they decided to tie the knot. After everything the couple just wanted to say “I Do” and they exchanged their elaborate mansion wedding for a quaint wedding in the living room of the bride’s parents’ home with just immediate family and a few close friends. I was still privileged for to get the opportunity to document their special holiday themed event.
Luke apparently spent hours setting up the decor in the home and making it look lovely. We were also able to go to nearby 17 Mile Farmhouse Park to get some beautiful photos in the snow. It ended up being a really beautiful day and I’m so excited that I got to be there for them.

wedding party intimate photo on the farm Living room ceremony Exchange of vows first kiss Photos with holiday lights

Whether you love all the group photos taken at a wedding with friends and family or would prefer to spend more time smoozing with your guests the reality is that the only way to guarantee a photo with grandma is to plan to take one. These type of photos are the formal portraits at a wedding and I’m going to chat a little bit about how to do them quickly and efficiently so you can get on to the partying!

There’s been a trend in the last couple decades of couples wanting to have more of a photo-journalistic style of wedding coverage. A true photo-journalist should never stage a photo as they are there mainly to document the event. While this can often times capture some of the most emotional and memorable moments at a wedding, choosing a photographer who only offers this type of photography can often mean you miss getting photos with a lot of the people who are important to you that a traditional portrait photographer will take.  You can have both styles of photography and the best wedding photographers will offer both!

Large family photo

I started out assisting my mother with weddings back in the nineties during the days of film when each wedding you photographed had a limited amount of film to shoot for each event. Photographers had to choose their frames very deliberately. In those days you took maybe 2-3 frames of each group shot and just hoped someone didn’t blink. You took one shot of the cake and maybe 2-3 of the cake cutting. Delivering 300-500 images back then was considered a lot! I’m thankful to have learned photography during that time period because not only does it make me appreciate the ability to take as many photos as I want at an event, but also it did teach me a lot of skills that I still use today to help with facilitating the formal portrait session quickly.  Here are some tips for couples planning a wedding:

1.) First, if at all possible find a photographer that has a portfolio that includes group portraits and speaks about the importance of taking these types of photos at a wedding. This will ensure that you get a photographer that will be proactive in making sure the photos you want with others get completed and not missed.

Bride and groom with parents

2.) Ask the photographer to walk you through their process of doing group portraits. Each photographer will probably have a way of doing things that works the best for them. This way you can hear about any potential “red flags” they may state like “I really hate taking group photos, so I do the bare minimum” or “I’ll do group photos if you really want me to” or my favorite “Just grab me whenever you want a photo” That last statement is fine in conjunction with a well laid out plan for how and when you will be doing the bulk of the portrait photos and should be in addition to those photos not in lieu of a planned group formal photography time. The last thing you want to be doing on your wedding day is being in charge of grabbing all the people you want to take photos with, this is the photographer’s job.

Nice family shot

3.) Most couples utilize the cocktail hour immediately following the ceremony for the time period to take these group photos. I am starting to hear more often that couples would prefer to enjoy some of that time-frame to meet and greet guests and are opting to do some if not all of the group formals before the wedding. If you are planning on doing this it’s imperative that everyone you’d like to be in these photos knows the time-frame that you will be starting the photos. I also suggest telling them a start time 30 minutes prior to the actual start time to make time for late comers (especially if you know you will have a few of these). Even if you plan to do all of the group photos before the ceremony leave some time directly following the ceremony to do just a few more in case someone doesn’t get the memo or you run out of time before the ceremony. If you don’t need the time it will just give you some extra moments with your new spouse and maybe some extra time for more relaxed photos of just the two of you which really are the most important photos you’ll want from the day!

Fun wedding party pose

4.)  Utilize your wedding officiant or DJ/MC to make announcements for photos. Simply stated, if you plan to have the officiant tell the guests where they are supposed to go following the ceremony recessional, it’s a great idea to also have him/her mention that the couple has requested that immediate or all of the family of the couple should stay behind for a few moments for some family photos. This tells Uncle John that he can’t make a B-line to the bar just yet! And saves a lot of time looking for the family members needed for the group photos. Less time taking photos means more time to hang out with friends after wards. Family photos can be done as quickly as 15-20 minutes if everyone is present. The overtime comes when a photographer or another person has to go and look for someone who is missing.

Family with pictursque backdrop

5.) Start with the largest family first or with the side that has the most jobs to still do if they are helping out with the reception set-up or meal. Do the extended family photos first if you are doing them and whittle them down to smaller groupings and complete one side (if at all possible) before moving on to the other spouse’s family. If you have any specific groupings you’d like to have photographed give a list to your photographer. Every photographer should have a basic list of what they usually cover to show or tell you about (if you’ve been doing this for 20 years like me then your list can be in your head, but they should easily be able to tell you what their normal groupings are) and then you can decide if there are special groupings you want that are not on that list for instance: generation groupings, just cousins, just aunts and uncles, etc. This will ensure that the photographer knows what’s important to you.

Fun groomsmen pose

6.) A loud boisterous photographer who is willing to direct people will get things done a lot quicker than a timid person waiting for groups to arrange themselves. If you get the feeling that your photographer is not going to be good at this, but still really like their work then utilizing a family member who can help with this is really recommended. A loud Aunt or Uncle who knows all the key family members and that wants to help is a great person for this role! You can also ask them to keep an eye on your dress and/or other things as the photos are being taken. A detail orientated photographer is great, but an extra pair of eyes is also helpful.

Large group of bridesmaids

7.) Put the kibosh to others wanting to take  photos while the photographer is doing formal portraits. I can’t stress this enough! I know the urge for the mother of the bride to want to take a duplicate photo of every photo the photographer is taking, I really do, but every time the photographer has to stop in the middle of their group arrangements to allow someone else to take photos it adds on to how long it takes to do the group photos. This also results in photos with people looking everywhere, but at the paid photographer’s camera. The couple is going to get a high quality large resolution digital images back from the photographer that they can share with everyone so why would they want a dark, crooked underexposed low quality cellphone picture of the exact same thing? The shocking answer is they won’t want them. Half the time they won’t even see those images as they will get forgotten about and never downloaded from the person’s phone. The best thing a couple can do is set expectations before the wedding by telling everyone that they think will want to take photos that it’s best to let the photographer do their job so that they can get through the photos quickly. This always sounds better coming from the couple rather than the photographer.

Sometimes there’s a real shutter bug in the family as well that likes to bring his/her DSLR which is great, but can also sometimes become an issue. For example if they are taking key members of the wedding party away to do photos of their own while the contracted photographer is trying to get their shots. This has happened to me on more than one occasion and it’s really not helpful and again makes the portrait session take longer. I think it’s great when another photographer comes up and introduces themselves to the photographer and asks permission to take photos. When this occasionally happens I can tell them exactly what they should and should not do. The most beneficial way to take additional photos is to get photos of things the contracted photographer can’t take. Examples of this would be photos of the guests at cocktail hour and dinner or even covering the rehearsal the day before. If someone in your family has expressed interest in taking photos at your wedding it’s imperative to chat with the photographer you have hired beforehand to discuss what this might look like. Most photographers have clauses in their contracts that won’t allow a second professional unless they are hired by them and this is to ensure another photographer is not impeding their job. Having an extra person covering stuff that contracted photographer can’t cover is a great way to utilize someone else with a camera.

8.) Overall, if you really feel like group portraits are not for you, at least consider doing photos with your immediate family with you and your new spouse in them immediately following the ceremony.  A few frames of each side of the family should at least be enough to appease mom and dad. These can take as little as ten minutes. If you are worried about it turning into a long session tell the photographer up front that you only want “X” photos. This will let them take control of the situation should more group photo requests come up on the day and allow you an easy way to escape the multiple groupings if you don’t want to do them.

The last wedding we photographed  in the fall of 2020 was Alyssa & Zakery’s chilly but beautiful wedding at Willow Ridge Manor. With a bit of chill in the air today; I thought about them and their one year anniversary coming up next month. I realized  that I never did a blog post with photos from their event. I guess I was busy making albums and then the 2021 wedding season took off. I’ve just been behind on blog posts ever since. So without further adieu here is their amazing event held on the mountainside in Morrison, Colorado! It was the perfect end to a rough season with re-bookings, cancellations and more. It was great that we were still able to service so many weddings in 2020 and most of the couples that had to re-booked their events in 2021 as we heard that not everyone in the wedding industry fared as well. As we pass into Winter I often reflect on how lucky we are to do what we love and spend some of the happiest days with our clients! The 2021 wedding season has been the busiest year we have ever had with us covering a wedding or two almost every single weekend and we’re not done yet! So bare with us as we update the blog over the coming Winter months!

Vendors who made this day possible:

Ceremony & Reception Venue – Willow Ridge Manor

Disc Jockey – Digital DJ

Caterer – Rocky Mountain Catering

Hair & Make-Up – LesliesArts

Photography – Crystaline Photography & Video

Fall has got me thinking about this beautiful church wedding Chris photographed last year. I was already booked for two weddings on the most popular date to get married on in 2020 which was 10-10-20. Leia and Zach had put off booking their photographer due to the pandemic and not knowing if they were going to be able to host their event, but luckily Chris was available to cover it for us! This poor couple like many last year had many hurdles to overcome for throwing a wedding. The golf course that they had planned to host their ceremony at was not allowing events during the pandemic so the couple opted to move their reception to their parent’s back yard. It ended up being very lovely and the perfect wedding that suited their personalities! Their indoor catholic ceremony was beautiful with all the colors of fall and all the important people attending! And the bride and groom were even able to swing by the golf course that was supposed to be were their reception was going to be to do some photos of just the two of them before heading on to the backyard reception. Check out more of the photos below!

It’s just a testament to “love conquering all” because in the end it’s not about the fancy party, but about the person you are deciding to share forever with… Here’s to all the 2020 and 2021 couples still navigating a worldwide pandemic!  I didn’t think we’d still be dealing with whether or not to host a wedding one year later, but here we are! Whatever you decide to do just know your true friends and family will back you up!