Archive for Reception

I’m going to start off by saying that I am not a wedding planner, but as a wedding photographer who has been covering weddings and events for over 23 years I have a unique perspective on planning weddings… what works and what doesn’t. I’m also going to say that a wedding planner is almost always worth the investment even if you can only afford the “day of coordination” services. I always remember the story about a mother of the bride that came up to me after the event. I told her it was an amazing day and she had done such a good job setting everything up and coordinating with all of the vendors and then she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said “I feel like I missed my daughter’s wedding because all I was doing was taking care of everything so that she could have a perfect day!” After that day I started looking at wedding planners as more of a necessity than a luxury, especially if you want your friends and family to enjoy the event instead of spending all their time working.

We still do work with tons of couples who decide to do it all them selves whether that’s because they don’t have a budget for a coordinator or because they really, really enjoy the planning aspects of party planning. Sometimes it’s because the venue or the caterer also offers some sort of set-up and/or breakdown service for the event. And when this happens we often run into no concrete plan on how things for the day are going to go and I find myself helping the couple come up with a timeline that not only makes sure there’s enough time planned for all the special events, but also enough time to get all those posed photos that they want too! Because of this background I thought I would share some helpful tips for planning your wedding timeline especially if you are going to host an event in Colorado. Because of our beautiful scenery a lot of Colorado weddings are held outdoors (at least for a portion of the event). Outdoors can bring a whole extra set of challenges that you need to consider such as time of year, weather, location and guests’ comfort. I’ve seen it all – Winter weddings held outside with a snowy landscape to Church weddings on one side of town and a reception over an hour away. All of these things can effect a timeline. So here are some things to consider when you start planning out your timeline.

1.) Are you hosting the ceremony and reception at the same location?

If your ceremony and reception are being held at completely different locations then you have to remember to include drive time between the two venues in your timing. Make sure to leave in extra time for things like traffic problems and construction. If you are having a shuttle bus take guests between the two locations or from accommodations to the venues make sure you find out if they need multiple trips or if a large bus can be used to take all the guests who would be using it. Again make sure you have extra time planned in the timeline for things that come up.

2.) What time of the year are you getting married?

Sure there are savings to be had for couple willing to brave hosting a wedding in the middle of Winter, but it’s also not without risk. Colorado ski towns are notorious for getting blocked in with snow that close down roads in the Wintertime. If you are having a mountain wedding in November-March you should prepare for all scenarios with the worst being yourself, guests and vendors unable to make it to your venue. I highly suggest that you plan an extra day for arrivals prior to the wedding to ensure that yourself, vendors and others can at least be able to get to town prior to the wedding date. We covered a wedding in Silverthorne in 2019 where the bride mentioned frequent tunnel closures and ski traffic in her invitations. She suggested that guests give themselves an extra hour to get to the venue and because of that all of her guests were able to make it just before the ceremony started because the Eisenhower Tunnel had a closure. It’s a good idea to see if there are any festivals, planned road closures, or other travel issues in the area during your planned wedding date and take all of that into consideration when planning a timeline. And offer up alternate routes than what the map on your phone will give or suggestions for time management.

Next, the time of year can most definitely effect when you should plan an outdoor ceremony. The sun starts to go down earlier in the Fall and because of the mountains you may loose light for photos even sooner than other locations. If you are planning a sunset ceremony than you should plan to do the bulk of your formal portraits prior to the ceremony because once it’s dark out a photographer can use flash, but no amount of flash will bring those beautiful backgrounds back into the light and all that money you spent on a venue with views is wasted for your photos.

3.) Start your timeline early… from when you are planning on getting ready.

When you choose hair and make-up artists tell them the time that every person in your wedding party must be done for photos starting plus half an hour to an hour. The artists should know how long it takes for themselves and/or a team of stylists to complete the job and they will tell you what time you need to start getting ready. I’ve been to many weddings where someone from a stylist’s team doesn’t show which puts everyone behind or one of the bridesmaids hates their hair and they have to start over. Having that extra wiggle room for time will either be needed or it will give you some time to just relax.

If you are planning on doing any of the decorating yourself utilizing family and wedding party members then I highly suggest doing all of this either the day before your event (if at all possible) or plan on it being completed by the time you need to get ready as you can’t do both at the same time. Couples often forget that a lot of the wedding portraits can be done before the wedding as well and if you are too busy setting up instead of taking photos then you are just paying your photographer to stand around until you are ready. Also you probably don’t need the photographer there for all of the 3-4 hours of the wedding party is getting ready. One to two hours before the ceremony should be sufficient to capture the last minute touch ups and getting dressed. The photographer and videographer’s start time will depend on whether or not you are doing a “First Look” and how many portraits you plan on doing before the ceremony.

4.) Utilize the experts in the industry.

Talk to the owner or coordinator of the venue and ask them what timelines work the best for the time of year you are getting married. Chat with the caterer to find out what order for service works the best for them because if they have a way that they normally do things sometimes if you change anything up it can also affect the level of service they can provide you. Take into consideration time for things like “room flipping” which is when the same room the ceremony is held in is switched during the cocktail hour to a reception set-up. If you have to do this at the venue you have chosen then plan a little bit extra time for your cocktail hour in case things take longer to do. Of course talk to your photographer and videographer about the important things you want to make sure are covered from your day so that you can utilize their coverage time the best.

5.) Distribute your written timeline widely.

You should have a nicely typed out timeline that is given out to all of your vendors, as well as anyone in the bridal party and important family members. This way everyone knows where they are supposed to be and when. Having to look for a missing groomsmen or waiting on a family member to arrive can not always be prevented, but it’s a lot less likely to happen when everyone knows when and and where they are supposed to be. It can also take some of the stress off of everyone involved.  Make sure your venue and/or a trusted wedding party member has a copy of it so they can help keep you on track if you are not using a wedding planner.

Again I am a bit behind on my blog posting for 2020. The end of the year was a whirlwind… wedding date changes, venue changes and more kept us quite busy! Hailey and Andrew’s wedding was supposed to take place at Boettcher Mansion in September, but because that venue is ran by the county when Covid hit it was also one of the last venues to open back up. Couples with plans at any government ran facility were the hardest hit due to mandates that regulated the amount of guests that could be had at smaller venues.  I was willing to change things around for them, but they really wanted to host their event on their planned date and because I knew Willow Ridge Manor had been able to stay open I sent them over to Gregory and Lawrence. Luckily, there had been another couple that canceled on their date and they were able to move their event one town over to this facility. It ended up being a beautiful day with special touches that really personalized the event. The couple’s grandparents were musicians so they provided a song during the ceremony and also performed during the cocktail hour. The couple even rented a classic white Ford Mustang for the day which was a great addition to their wedding photos and a lot of fun! Having the car all day also made it easier to do more photos with the vehicle throughout the day instead of just at the end during the send off. It was a pleasure working with you both! Best wishes. ~Jamie

Bride at Willow Ridge Manor Willow Ridge Manor - Groom Willow Ridge Manor - Pocket Squares Willow Ridge Manor -  Bride in the mirror with her gals Willow Ridge Manor - Groom and Ford Mustang Willow Ridge Manor - Groom in a Mustang Willow Ridge Manor - Fun group shot  Willow Ridge Manor - Bride and Groom Portrait Willow Ridge Manor - Bride and groom with Mustang  Willow Ridge Manor - Presenting the bride Willow Ridge Manor - Veil Shot  Willow Ridge Manor - CeremonyWillow Ridge Manor - Romatic photo Willow Ridge Manor - Marriage License Willow Ridge Manor - Grandparents perform Willow Ridge Manor -  Toasts

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue – Willow Ridge Manor

Caterer – Colorado Catering Company

Alcohol Provider – Applejack Liquor

Ceremony Music – Pianist – Jimmy West

Reception Music – Guitarist – Jeff Matchette

Photography – Crystaline Photography & Video

Video –  Miranda Adame Productions

 

Carly and Matt were one of those couples that just rolled with the punches in 2020! We were all set to take photos at their wedding in April and then Covid hit! Putting a complete hold on to their celebration…. The couple decided to elope in their backyard on their original date, but then still were able to hold their celebration in September with a small selection of guests and wedding party. Luckily, everything worked out and I was still able to capture their beautiful event at Willow Ridge Manor. I’m excited to share some of my favorite images from their event below! Enjoy!

 

Vendors who made this day possible:

Ceremony & Reception Venue – Willow Ridge Manor

Caterer – Occasions Catering

Bakery – Das Meyer

Photography – Crystaline Photography & Video

I just love how my career has allowed me to experience many different cultures and celebrations. I had photographed a few Indian weddings before, but never had I had the privilege of covering one of the Singh faith. It’s amazing how different religions have similar elements and then again how different they can also be. Sahiba & Yash had to also downsize their event due to Covid, so they planned a weekday wedding at their temple with a beautiful garden brunch at the Denver Botanic Gardens. It was simple and elegant. Since a lot of their overseas friends and family could not attend we also did a video with a full download of their ceremony the next day so that they could do a viewing party with everyone.  Enjoy this intimate Colorado wedding!

   

Vendors who made this day possible:

Ceremony Site – Colorado Singh Sabha

Reception Venue – Denver Botanic Gardens

Florist & Calligraphy – Paper in Blume

Caterer- Serendipity Catering

Photography & Video – Crystaline Photography & Video

Beautiful early Fall wedding at Willow Ridge Manor with Kayla & Devin’s friends and family. Another event that we were so lucky to have happen before the Covid cases started to go up again. The weather was amazing; so a lot of time was spent outdoors just enjoying the warm amazing day. Lots of love and joy for these two! It was a pleasure capturing your special day!

I also have to give props to the amazing job Rocky Mountain Catering has been doing all Summer with the pandemic concerns. They showed up to every event with their masks on and got the job done! Their food was still amazing in the middle of all of this what an awesome company!

 

Vendors Who Made This Day Possible:

Venue: Willow Ridge Manor

Caterer: Rocky Mountain Catering

Disc Jockey: Digital DJ

Photography: Crystaline Photography & Video

 

I’ve been a bit behind on my blog posts again due to a crazy end of Summer and Fall wedding season. A lot of couples from the 2020 early season had to push their events back to this time period this year due to Covid… so busy, busy, busy and now finally getting caught up on the little things like blog posting. Charlotte & Drew planned their whole event from out of state so they booked me just from a few emails and a couple phone conversations. Covering a wedding at Copper Leaf Event Center after having it been numerous years since I’ve been here was a real treat. I started out my career taking photos at this venue over 20 years ago and to see how much it has changed under new ownership was awesome. A lot of work has gone into making this venue a great little venue in a city location with amazing food. The owners who also own The Gourmet Kitchen Catering for many years prior to purchasing this venue have done a lot of work to update the getting ready rooms, the gardens and more! So not only are you getting a beautiful and affordable venue to host your event, but you are also getting their award winning food and service as well! I can’t say enough great things about this place!

And what to say about this amazing day! This couple was what I’m calling the quintessential millennium couple! They were low fuss, simple and just wanted to have fun with friends and family. They incorporated their quirky favorite music, had a lovely personalized ceremony Because of their good nature and ability to just go with the flow they had a wonderful heart felt event that incorporated some of the most important people in their lives. You could just feel the love oozing out of everyone for this event which is just easy to capture in photographs!

Again, thank you for having me document your special day! I highly recommend this venue for the food, service and beautiful surroundings! What a special day!

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue: Copper Leaf Event Center

Caterer: The Gourmet Kitchen

Photographer: Crystaline Photography & Video

 

 

We were so grateful to be able to cover the amount of weddings that we could this year with the Covid pandemic going on. The cases were really down over the Summer and with all of Colorado’s beautiful outdoor venues we had a great time capturing the day of many happy couples! Since a bunch of Spring/Early Summer weddings were postponed the past few months have been a whirlwind for me… lots of events and lots of editing. I guess I will be busy updating my blog over the late Fall and Winter months for your enjoyment!

Ashlyn and Zach were able to still have a pretty great shindig! They came all the way from Nebraska to host their destination wedding. Beautiful pastel pinks were a great choice for this venue and their carnation flower curtain hung on the arch was over the top! I understand it was a labor of love created by Ashlyn’s mother! What an amazing day for an amazing couple! Check out their getaway vehicle! Awesome!

Vendors Who Made This Day Possible:

Venue: Willow Ridge Manor

Caterer: Rocky Mountain Catering

Disc Jockey: Digital DJ

Officiant: Jane’s Personalized Weddings

Florist: Sara Mica Design

Bakery: Das Meyer

Dress: Blue Bridal Boutique

Make-Up: Faced by Ariel

Hair: Michael Jay Hair

Photography: Crystaline Photography & Video

 

Another summer event that was effected by the Covid Pandemic…. Taryne and Fred had to downsize their event to just 50 of their closest friends and family to celebrate their nuptials this past August. And while it wasn’t as large as previously planned it was still quite the party! One of the unique things about this couple was that they are starting their lives together at the end of their working careers. Fred just recently retired and I believe Taryne is or will be retiring soon. From all the speeches given that night it sounds like they are the perfect match for each other and will be enjoying lots of travel and adventures together in the years to come. It was a pleasure capturing the love and commitment that they both have for each other. Enjoy the highlight video and some of my favorite photos below.

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue & Caterer: Wedgewood at Brittany Hill

Officiant: Amazing Weddings & Ceremonies

Disc Jockey: Digital DJ

Photography & Video : Crystaline Photography and Video

Will they or won’t they was the theme for this wedding…. Not because the bride had cold feet, but due to that pesky Corona Virus. Katie & Ben were supposed to tie the knot back in May during the heart of the pandemic lock down and so they postponed until December and then a date opened up in July and everything was moved up again! I don’t blame them for wanting to still host a Summer event especially when they picked such an amazing venue with a gorgeous outside view! We’ve been so lucky that we were able to accommodate every couple’s wishes this year… the year of all years! It did end up being a perfect day. The weather was amazing all the important people made it! We’re so happy to be able to be a part of your amazing day. Enjoy some of my favorite photographs from the day below!

Vendors Who Made This Day Possible:

Venue: Willow Ridge Manor

Caterer – Occasions Catering

Disc Jockey: Digital DJ

Photography & Video: Crystaline Photography & Video

My first wedding in July was a great one and a long one! My photography services covered twelve hours! Starting at the couple’s home to document the getting ready process of the bride, then the catholic ceremony at Queen of Peace Church in Aurora. Followed up by formal photos at the church and at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado. Ending with more portraits and reception coverage at Willow Ridge Manor. Even though it was a long day it was an amazing day with really great people that were just a joy to work with which always makes my job easier and puts me in a creative state of mind! John and Elena also were dealing with pandemic concerns as are all of our 2020 couples. Their large event condensed down to  just 100 guests that all had to social distance during the ceremony and reception. But even with all of that they still had an amazing event filled with love and joy! It was great getting to photograph a wedding at Queen of Peace after it being quite a few years since I covered my first event there. One of the very first weddings I ever photographed after I started my business was at this location and made me reflect on how much I have seen and how much my skills have grown over the twenty years of being in business. It’s truly humbling to still be doing this career after so much time. Check out some of my favorite images from this event below.

Vendors who made this day possible:

Ceremony Site – Queen of Peace Catholic Church

Reception Venue – Willow Ridge Manor

Caterer – Occasions Catering

Disc Jockey – Digital DJ

Photographer – Crystaline Photography & Video