Happy Anniversary – 3 magical years

Happy-Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to the love of my life.

Today my husband, Ryan and I are celebrating 3 years of being married. We have been dating for almost 11 years though! Woah. Time really does fly by! You hear adults say it when you are younger, but you don’t really pay attention since at that time it seems like time crawls by at the speed of a turtle. However, it’s true what they say! TIME FLIES! It really does feel like not long ago we were walking the halls of our high school hand in hand. At that time I had no idea where our lives would take us and that we would be on such an incredible journey together.

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estes park wedding *Melissa & Joshua*

Melissa and Joshua had a stunning Estes Park Wedding at a gorgeous wedding venue located on Lake Estes – The Estes Park Resort has beautiful views and is a wonderful choice for celebrating such a special occasion!

I have been looking forward to Melissa & Josh’s wedding for quite some time! I was so excited when Melissa’s mom, Patti contacted me to photographer her daughters wedding. She was so kind and sweet to me during our phone conversations! When I chatted with Melissa for the first time it was no different. She was genuinely kind and so excited to be getting married. I knew I was going to love shooting her wedding.

I asked Melissa the story of how they met. Here is her precious response… “Josh and I were introduced through my sister and her boyfriend (both who are in our wedding party). We were introduced by them and have been inseparable since then. It is a situations where we both feel we have been on a path circling around one another waiting to collide and it finally happened!!

Melissa and Josh were absolutely amazing to work with! They were incredibly laid back and so much fun to photograph! They were a bride and groom that were completely immersed in the love they share for one another.

When I arrived Melissa had a big smile on her face and was so welcoming and kind. She later was on the floor playing peek-a-boo with her precious baby girl, Lyla – who was absolutely adorable!!

Throughout the entire wedding and reception they were both so present and calm – it is a truly beautiful thing to witness and I am so grateful I was able to photograph and preserve these memories for them and their families and friends.

Brigitte with Floral Design of Europe created stunning floral arrangements! I absolutely love the colors of these flowers!!

Jay with Standing Room Only is one the best and most amazing DJ’s in the state! He was awesome and had the party going all night long!

Here are some of my favorites from Melissa & Josh’s wedding day…

estes-park-weddingCheers to the newlyweds! I wish them a life full of joy, love, and laughter!!!

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Cake – Shamanes Bakery

Wedding Dress – Modern Trousseau

Jewelry – Heirlooms

organizing styled photo shoots

I love organizing styled photo shoots! They are so much fun to organize and the creative freedom is amazing. These types of shoots are inspiring and really help me to push myself in my photography.

Styled shoots can be an incredible way for photographers to grow – especially during the off season when there aren’t as many events. They inspire creativity and are an awesome way to network and get to know other wedding vendors in your area

Here are some helpful tips for organizing a styled photo shoot …

1.) Choose a theme – brainstorm ideas, create a Pinterest board with details you love, flip through wedding magazines and check out popular wedding blogs for inspiration- it’s always a great idea to see what blogs/magazines are publishing, especially if you are hoping to submit your session for publication.

2.) Decide what time of year you want to do the shoot.

3.) Take your time to research what vendors you want to work with on the styled photo shoot.

5.) Once you have all of the vendors and details worked out make sure to get everything organized and share all of the details with everyone who is involved so that everyone is on the same page and there is no room for confusion.

6.) MAKE IT HAPPEN!! The sky is the limit – make sure to let your creativity run wild and have fun!

7.) After the shoot make sure to share the images with everyone who was involved. Post the styled shoot to your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest! Brides who are planning their wedding can’t get enough of this type of inspiration! Make sure your shoot is searchable and easy to find for brides browsing for ideas for their own wedding.

I am lucky enough to have a best friend that looks like a model and loves having her picture taken 🙂 and her husband is awesome enough to humor us! Kasie has been super helpful to me as I have grown in my business and with my photography – when I have a new idea or want to try something – she is game to help out and model for me!

Last fall I put together a styled romantic Colorado photo shoot in Estes Park with Kasie and her hubs, Phil. We headed up to the YMCA, to a location I had scouted out weeks before. However, the entire drive up it was pouring rain. We were stressing out because we had spent a lot of time planning this shoot and wanted it to work out perfectly. Well, after waiting in the car for awhile it finally stopped raining and we were able to get to work. I LOVED the shoot and was so pleased with how it turned out.

We brought a picnic blanket, old fashion basket, wine and wine glasses and a bunch of mini roses to sprinkle around. It created such a romantic scene!

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 I am hoping to work with some wedding vendors this year to organize a few unique styled shoots! I am still brainstorming on this – if you know of anyone that would be interested, please send them my way!

Check out the blog tomorrow for some behind the scenes at a bridal styled shoot!!

Wild Basin Lodge advertisments

I am super excited that Wild Basin Lodge used two of my photos in their recent promotional ads! I could not be more honored and humbled!

Wild Basin Lodge is one of the most amazing wedding venues in Colorado.. and probably the entire the world! 🙂 The owners, Denice and Nils are two of the most kindhearted and incredibly genuine people I have ever met! They do not simply run a business – they take joy in what they do and serve each of their clients to the fullest! I remember when I met Denice (years ago) and in our first conversation (after she gave me a big hug) she told me if I got married at the Lodge, she would take care of me! Well… A few years later I got married there and I never imagined how incredible it would be! The first time I took my hubs there to tour the venue I was so excited because I wanted him to love it as much as I did! When we walked in the door and Denice offered him a beer – he was sold! My wedding was a dream come true and I owe that in large part to the lovely and amazing people who run this incredible venue!

I have had the unique experience of interacting with Denice and Nils and their staff in a professional setting, as I photograph a lot of weddings there and also in the personal setting since I had my own wedding at the lodge. In both of these scenarios I am treated exactly the same! They show me the exact same kindness when I show up to photograph a wedding as they did on my own special day. I am truly touched and blessed by their kindness.

Dianna McGhinnis is one the lovely ladies that works at Wild Basin Lodge and she has been incredible to get to know and work with at weddings and on these promotional advertisements!

THANK YOU to Wild Basin Lodge!!!

The below photo on the left is an online advertisement for My Wedding – an online planning resource for couples and the photo on the right is an ad for The Knot !!

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wedding shoes

Choosing wedding shoes can be one of the most fun parts of wedding planning! There are so many different options – high heels, flats, Toms, sparkles, white, bright colors… the options go on and on!

Here are some helpful tips when searching for your perfect wedding shoes…

*Look in bridal magazines, on wedding blogs, and Pinterest for inspiration!

*Use your wedding gown and color scheme for ideas… Is you favorite color hot pink? Well, have your girls wear pink dresses and pick out matching shoes for your self. The complimenting details are amazing and add a unique touch!

*Take your girlfriends and try on shoes until you drop! Have fun with it! Try on all kinds of styles and colors… You never know what you will fall in love with!

*Make sure to break them in before your big day! There’s nothing worse than annoying blisters.

*If you have to have that sexy pair of stilettos, but can’t imagine wearing them during your dance party – buy a second pair of more comfortable shoes for once the reception starts!

I stumbled on this amazing company called Milk & Honey when I was planning my own wedding… It’s incredible!! They have fun and unique shoes! Best of all… You can design your own wedding shoes from scratch! Check it out if your having troubles finding that perfect pair!

wedding-shoes-wedding-planning-destination-weddingWhen I was little I would watch Cinderella over and over daydreaming what it would be like to be her and have my own prince charming that would search for me with my lost glass slipper… It was a lovely dream!

When I found my own prince charming and he asked me to be his queen, I was over the moon with excitement and every aspect of planning our dream wedding was magical! Picking out my shoes was so exciting – the options were endless!

Have fun with it! Be true to yourself and pick out your dream shoes!!

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wildflowers at your wedding

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love wedding flowers! They are colorful, gorgeous, and smell incredible! I am always amazed at the arrangements that florists create… It is a true art form!

Today I will be wrapping up my wedding flower inspiration posts… and to finish I asked on my amazing brides from last year, Rachel Penn how she chose her wedding flowers and what they meant to her.

1.) Did you know exactly what kind of flowers you wanted for your wedding OR did it take some time to narrow it down? Going into the wedding planning, I didn’t necessarily know exactly what kind of flowers I wanted, but I had a pretty good idea of the type of vision and feeling that I wanted them to create. I did know what kinds of flowers and arrangements I didn’t want, which helped narrow things down quite a bit. I have always loved sunflowers so I knew that they had to be incorporated in some way.

2.) What kind of resources did you use to pick you flowers? Pinterest, pinterest, pinterest! How did people plan weddings before Pinterest?! For those that are unfamiliar with the site, pinterest.com is a great resource for finding inspiration and saving it all in one nifty easy to find place. I created a Pinterest board solely dedicated to flowers and would pin anything that appealed to me and matched the vision for my wedding. Once it got closer to the wedding and the initial meeting with my florist, I copied all of the photos into a word document, printed them out in color, and brought them with me to my appointment with Brigitte at Floral Designs of Europe. Having seen Brigitte’s incredible work and knowing she was one of the top florists in the area, I trusted her to take the photos and run with it, keeping in mind the few things I told her that I did and didn’t want. She was able to come up with arrangements that I would have never been able to imagine and incorporate beautiful and unique flowers I had never seen. This is truly a time when it is in your benefit to “leave it to the experts” if you don’t have a very specific idea of what you want. I also found the Wild Basin Lodge blog to be very helpful for floral inspiration because many of the previous WBL brides had similar styles and visions.

3.) Any helpful tips for future bride when picking their wedding flowers? Come up with a few words that describe your wedding and how you want it to feel. Sharing these words with your florist and other vendors will help them to know what you are striving for and steer you in the right direction. Ask your florist if they would be willing to do a “mock up” of a bouquet and/or centerpiece so that you can see everything live before the wedding and tweak a few things if necessary. Think about what colors would complement and clash with the other colors in your wedding and communicate that to your florist. Don’t forget about the accessories – the containers that hold your flowers and what you choose to wrap the bouquets with will accent your flowers and help bring your vision to life.

4.) What made you choose wildflowers? My husband, my brother, and I went on a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park one summer and I was blown away by the beauty and wide variety of wildflowers in the area. We had to stop every 5 minutes so I could snap a photo of a new wildflower along our hike. One of the main reasons why we chose to get married at the Wild Basin Lodge in August was because of the sheer beauty of the area and we knew that the wildflowers would be in full bloom that time of year. We wanted our flowers to complement and highlight the natural beauty of the area, which is why we decided on wildflowers for our wedding. The wildflowers also fit in nicely with the rustic and mountain feel of our wedding.

Thank you Rachel for these awesome and helpful tips!! To check out Rachel’s stunning wedding photos – CLICK HERE!

I love wildflowers!!

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Have you considered having wildflowers at your wedding??

Gorgeous venue – Wild Basin Lodge

Floral arrangements created by Brigitte with Floral Design of Europe.

grooms reaction to seeing his bride for the first time…

Taking a break form wedding flower inspiration for one day…

I love every aspect of a wedding, but there a few moments that always stand out to me… One of these precious moments is when the groom sees his bride for the first time on their special day.

Months and months of planning have gone into each and every detail of their wedding and the bride has spent hours upon hours flipping through magazines, Pinning on Pinterest, meeting with vendors, tasting cake, trying on dresses, picking out flowers… all of this time and work and the wedding day has finally arrived. If you’re anything like me, you were planning your wedding day way before your groom popped the question! I remember watching Disney movies as a young girl and day dreaming of my own prince charming. My best friend and I both met our husbands in high school and a few years before either of us were even engaged we would go to the bookstore, grab all of the wedding magazines, sit down at the coffee shop and flip through them for hours! Crazy, I know – but it was so much fun for us to dream of what our wedding day would be like! Plus being a wedding photographer for 6 years before getting married often helped my internal planning process 🙂

Anyways, with all of this planning and heart felt energy that is spent to make this one day so magical… It’s finally here!!!!

Most couples will spend the morning of their wedding separate and get ready with their wedding party and families. Some are more strict with this than others, but for the most part there a sense of anticipation for that moment of the grooms reaction to seeing his bride for the first time!

If you’re going to catch the groom tearing up at any point during the wedding day.. this is it!! When the bride starts to walk down the aisle and everyone turns to face her – it is my favorite moment to turn around and catch a glimpse of the groom. It never fails to be a heartwarming expression!

Here is an emotionally beautiful shot from Mari & Andy’s wedding at Wild Basin Lodge.

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More wedding flower inspiration tomorrow!

have you picked your wedding flowers??

If you haven’t chosen a florist who will create your wedding flowers for your big day then you have to check out Brigitte with Floral Design of Europe! Her arrangements are absolutely gorgeous and smell divine! Brigitte is extremely committed and puts a lot of heart into her work! Plus her European accent is the best!  She has the cutest little cabin floral shop in Estes Park that you can’t help but fall in love with!Set up a meeting with her ASAP… You wont regret it! 🙂

Here are some tips when choosing your wedding flowers:

1.) Have in mind what type of style you want, but be open to creative input from your florist

2.) Bring color swatches, inspiration photos, and/or a photo of your dress when meeting with your florist

3.) Personalize your bouquet with a photo or charm around the stems

4.) Come prepared with how many people will be in your wedding party, how many family members will have boutonnieres and/or corsages, how many table arrangements you will need for your reception and if you will want flowers at your ceremony location.

5.) Always remember the sky’s the limit and this your special day – so make the flowers you own

Here are some samples of Brigitte’s incredible work…

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young love photo shoot – Arizona/Nevada – destination photographer

After leaving WPPI feeling all inspired and day dreaming of different ways of making my dream of becoming a destination photographer come true… I road tripped south a bit to the visit my cousin who is a senior in high school and about to graduate and go to college in Phoenix!  I am so very proud of her!!! Anyways, we had planned on doing a photo shoot for her graduation announcements while I was in town and I begged her to let me also photograph her and her boyfriend (who I would be meeting for the first time!) 🙂

Here are some shots of Caty in Oatman, Arizona – a super fun old wild west town she took me to – there were donkeys wandering around the streets!   Gez… She has gotten so beautiful!!

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About an hour before sunset we met Cody (her boyfriend) at a park by the river and had a mini photo shoot! All I can say is I was completely blown away by how genuine and kind Cody was! He was funny and sweet and a complete gentleman to my sweet cousin. It was a joy witnessing their love for one another!

couples photo shoot destination photographerThey were both so expressive and in the moment! I was loving it!

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Then came this gorgeous sunset!

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