Archive for the ‘Weddings’ Category
October 20, 2014
I always try and get an idea from my brides what their wedding day is going to be like by studying their timeline and asking about any possible hidden surprises. There is nothing worse than being on the wrong side of the room when something important happens. I’m not above sprinting across the venue to photograph something important, but it makes me look unprofessional “Not Cool”.
Joy, my bride for Oct 12th called me and explained their wedding was going to be “nontraditional.” I listened intently as she explained her vision to me.
Joy explained that they would start the day casually and did not want us to photograph their preparations or even them getting dressed. That’s when I started to sweat, Getting dressed is the part of the day where I get to know the bride and her friends a little more. Then she went on to say they were having a cocktail party before the ceremony even started, more sweating for me. A friend was the officiating the ceremony, more concern…. A buffet dinner would follow, and the music was just going to be an iPod. No DJ to keep everything on track, now I’m really worried.
Sometimes these non traditional plans work fine but sometimes a more traditional timeline helps all the vendors (us, florists, catering, DJ) provide our best services. Joy’s wedding planner http://ladolceeventsboulder.com/ confirmed the arrangements and soothed my concerns “Everything is under control” she said.
Wedding photography is a lot like skiing in powder; keep your knees bent, stay flexible, and everything will turn out ok. If you get too rigid, you are going to make a fun time very unpleasant not only for you but everyone else. Some days I have to repeat this strategy to myself frequently.
We arrived at the Koenig Alumni Center in Boulder Colorado http://alumni.colorado.edu/services/koenig/ eager to get started. The bride was dressed and ready to go. The groom showed up and off we went. The first hour we spent walking around CU campus making formal wedding photographs. It was spectacular. I know those are pretty big words, but I can’t say enough on just how beautiful the campus was that day. The trees were full of fall colors. We found a beautiful pond with a rock bridge across one corner of it. Near it was an old building with rock archways, rock steps and ivy growing everywhere. The sun this time of year is lower in the horizon all day long providing great light.
The day only improved from this great start. The cocktail party before the wedding gave us opportunity for informal groups and discreet casual portraits of the wedding couple, family members and special friends. What Joy hadn’t mentioned was that most of their friends and family had traveled from far away for the wedding. Most had come from New York and Chicago, some had come from as far away as Germany, and one couple came from Dubai. No wedding traditions could have improved this celebration, and it truly turned out to be a celebration of two people joining their lives together. The Hora dance started immediately after the ceremony kiss and the breaking of the glass. After the buffet dinner the party lasted late into the night, The dancing never slowed down as the iPad play a special mix prepared by the groom. This was certainly the most successful non-traditional wedding we have ever been a part of. Mazel tov!
October 10, 2014
Last weekend at the Tapestry House 3-year-old Walton had the honor of being his aunt’s ring bear. Pretty easy duty, all you have to do is hand off the ring when they point at you, right. Nope, that was not how it went down.
The bride and her sister had come up with the plan; Walton could ride his brand new red Radio Flyer tricycle down the aisle in front of the bride. What 3-year-old wouldn’t want to ride their brand new tricycle in front of everyone. It was all trekked out with a bell and everything. He even had a sign announcing the bride ” Here comes the bride.”
Walton waited in queue at the back of the ceremony site with his father. He was all dressed up in his new black suit, argyle socks, bow tie and a boutonniere on his lapel. His dad talked with him quietly as they sat on the bench and watched the wedding procession headed towards the alter.
The bride had three bridesmaids and one matron of honor . Each was escorted in traditional fashion on the arms of a groomsman. I can only image what his dad was telling him, as I wasn’t close enough to hear the conversation. It looked as if there were some high stake negotiations taking place. Walton watched closely as each girl took the arm of a gentleman and disappeared down aisle. To the three year old the aisle to the alter must have looked a mile long, AND thousands of strangers were watching. Talk about “stranger danger“.
The officiant was in her place. The wedding party in their places and the music changed. All eyes went to the back of the ceremony site looking for the next person to enter. Walton’s dad stood up and took the three year old by the hand. This was his son’s big moment, but I have a feeling it must have been like “dead man walking” for poor little Watlon. His eyes got big but he bravely mounted his trusty tricycle. The same tricycle I’m sure he has had many hours of fun on.
His dad wheeled him into starting gate under the ivy arbor. Kind of like a horse in the Kentucky Derby ready to run free. His dad bent down and whispered something into his son’s ear and gave him a little push. Walton took off like a shot peddling as fast as he could. He looked so happy for about three seconds. He was announcing the bride’s arrival. “Here comes the bride.” The moment I’m sure his parents had prepared him for with many hours of practicing involved.
His father blew out a sigh of relief thinking his little man was actually going to pull this off. Walton’s gaze lifted from just ahead of his front wheel up to smiling faces of the wedding guests. He stopped cold in his tracks. He slowly surveyed the crowd hoping to find someone he knew. His mom was at the other end, but that was about a mile away he didn’t find her. Grandma was calling his name, but he couldn’t hear her.
Wedding guests started to encourage him. “You can do it” a gentleman near the back yelled out. “Your mom is down there” another helpful lady whispered. You could see the panic building on little Walton’s face. A amphitheatre full of strangers and he was the center of their attention. Hundreds of thousands of eyes on him and him alone….
He slowly looked around for his safety person, his dad. By this time, his dad had squatted down four steps away under the arbor and was encouraging Walton. “Just keep peddling, Mom is at the other end.” Walton did not budge. “Grandma is calling you. Can you see her.” He pointed in the direction the Radio Flyer was facing.
Walton’s lower lip started to quiver, and his big brown eyes got even bigger. His father said a few more encouraging words but by then the little guy was having none of it. He took in a deep breath. You know the kind of breath where they fill their entire lung capacity with air , the quiet pause just before they blow…….
It was downhill from there. His dad swooped in rescuing him from the terrifying moment and off they went to a safer place.
The flower girl waited for all the shenanigans to clear then made her entrance. The look on her face was pure determination because she was a mature girl. We all know four-year-olds don’t act like that.
Better luck next time Walton, we’re all pulling for you.
October 3, 2014
Little America in Cheyenne Wyoming turns out to be quite the wedding venue. We have had several weddings at Little America this summer www.Cheyenne.LittleAmerica.com .The hotel its self is very large and can host many overnight wedding guests. They have 188 rooms in total and last time I was there they were in a huge room renovation remodel. All the old furniture was being replaced with new, and the rooms were being painted and redecorated.
I counted three weddings, one 18th birthday celebration and a beauty pageant happening simultaneously in their convention center. The grand ballroom has the option of being partitioned into three smaller ballrooms. The wedding I was photographing had at least 170 wedding guests. There was plenty of room for the guests to move comfortably around the tables. The room also included cake table, candy table, DJ and dance floor. Each ballroom has a private bar/ reception area that the hotel staffs. One of my weddings even had an ice sculpture with the bride and grooms initial frozen into it. At the top of the sculpture, alcohol could be poured through an opening chilling on the way down before exiting out the other side. It was like a mini water slide for booze. This was a fun thing for wedding guest to enjoy, and the kids got a kick out of watching it.
The ballrooms can be decorated in the brides and grooms taste from tall vases with very large flower arrangements to something a little more simple like candles and mirrors. I peeked in the sweet 18th birthday ballroom before the guest arrived, and it was full of pink balloons. Very cute.
The wedding couples have a choice of a sit down plated dinner or a buffet. The catering staff runs both efficiently, so the food is not cold by the time it gets to the wedding guests. The food also tasted good. Sometimes with big events the food can look good and taste terrible. The dinner rolls were my favorite cover in butter YUM.
The weddings I have photographed were at a churches in Cheyenne Wyoming and Little America hosted the receptions. The ballrooms are big enough to host a wedding ceremony and then flip into the reception or the party could be moved to a different ballroom.
This facility also has a nine hole golf course on property so the groom and his guys can spend the morning on the course before the wedding ceremony doing the guy thing. The best thing about the golf course is it makes a great place to take wedding photographs. There is a pretty big pond near the hotel, and it is easily accessible to walk to for the bride and groom. I try not to make the bride hike miles in her high heel shoes which we all know as girls can be very painful. Mature trees line the pond, and small clumps of cute cattails are near the edge. We got lucky in one of our sunset photographs as a flock of geese flew over.
Thanks, Little America I will totally recommend you to my future Cheyenne Wyoming wedding couples.
September 27, 2014
Colorado fall weddings are a great time of the year to get married. The weather is not too hot or too cold and the wedding photography can be extra beautiful because of so many elements that are unpredictable.
We had an October 6th wedding a few years back. The day of the wedding we awoke 6″ of snow covering the ground. It wasn’t that late in the season and the trees had not dropped all their leaves yet. It was surprising to wake up to a winter white world. It was not like this ceremony was in the high Colorado Mountains where snow can happen 12 months out of the year. This wedding was right in downtown Fort Collins. The ground was covered in a fresh white layer and yet the trees were still blooming with yellow, red and orange leaves. Luckily enough the ceremony was indoors in a church so we didn’t have to worry about changing locations at the last minute or thinking about how to keep the wedding guests warm on such a cold day.
The bride and groom were good sports about everything because really… “what can you do?”. The bride hitched up her dress and off we went into mother nature for bride and groom portraits. At one point the snow got a little deep so the groom picked up the bride and carried her over his shoulder. Bonus photo! Everyone laughed and had a good time with it all.
The members of the wedding party also got into the spirit of the snowy day but didn’t have snow boots with them so we tried to keep them on the pavement. It’s important to keep the flow of the photos moving so no one stands around too long and gets cold. This is pretty much how we work at every wedding regardless of the weather. Standing around can get boring and everyone gets tired so we move quickly and try a bunch of ideas. This helps keep the energy up, it also helps me find new and different things to photograph. I see a new perspectives, different angles and things I wouldn’t have if I was just shooting from one location.
The nicest thing about something unexpected like snow is that it can completely changes a venue. You end up with unique photographs and something completely different. You will always remember how a simple fall wedding turned into a beautiful winter wonderland.
Bill and I tell our potential clients we think on our feet extremely well. This comes from our many years as photojournalists. No photo shoot is ever perfect no matter how much preparation is put into the day. The bride, groom or even a well prepared wedding planner can’t change the force of the weather or another unexpected situation. It is a good idea to have a contingency plan and lots of good people in place ready to help. As your photographers our job is to help your special day run smoothly no matter what chaos may lie ahead. Our decades of experience seeing hundreds and hundreds of events adds to what we bring to photographing your wedding. I want my couples to think “I’m not going to worry…. Sherri and Bill have it under control”.
September 19, 2014
Caitlin and Joseph had an airplane themed wedding the first weekend in September at the Tapestry House www.tapestryhouse.com. It was a lot of fun. The groom is a pilot and graduated from the Air Force Academy, you know your basic “fly boy.” This celebration started with engagement session where I photographed the couple with a Stearman Biplane. It was very vintage looking as if it just arrived from WWII. I was thrilled to photograph them with it, bright yellow, big, fun, very photogenic.
The couple worked very hard on the details of their wedding day using the airplane theme throughout. The day began with the bride wearing a shirt with the words proudly scrolled across the front “co-pilot” before changing into her wedding gown. Wedding Programs were passed out to the arriving guests folded into paper airplanes. The flower girl sprinkled the sidewalk with rose peddles and paper airplanes. The card box where the guests could place their envelopes in was a suit case ready to travel.
The dinner seating chart for the wedding guests were written on paper airplanes. Once the guests found their seats for the reception and dinner part of the day, a luggage tag with their names was waiting for them confirming they were at the right place. The tables were easily identified with a numbered airplane and map. The napkins had the bride and groom’s last name on them and they also had an airplane. If I remember right the bride and groom’s first dance was to “Come Fly With Me” by Frank Sinatra. Everything was tastefully done and very classy.
The big surprise of the day came from the groom to his bride. She had wanted a fly over but he said it was not possible. Something about he could not be in two places at once. Little did she know he had already arrange this with his pilot buddy to grant his bride’s wish.
It rained that afternoon (of course) and the wedding ceremony was delayed by about 30 minutes. There were a few technical problems between the communications person on the ground at the wedding and the airplane pilot sitting at the Loveland Airport waiting for a break in the weather. The plan was to fly over (at the correct FAA regulation altitude) right after the kiss. What really happened was the beautiful yellow Stearman Biplane made its appearance somewhere during the family formal photographs. It did not matter the guests were thrilled, the bride was ecstatic and everyone waved and cheered to the pilot.
In the end what I witnessed was two people in love, going out of their way to make their wedding day a little more special for each other and their guests.
August 23, 2014
I recently photographed a wedding that was full of little details which came from Etsy www.Etsy.com . I was really impressed by the uniqueness of this bride and groom’s items. They had champagne glasses for the wedding toast with Mr. and Mrs. and the wedding date engraved on them. This alone isn’t that unusual but wait there’s a lot more.
I had never seen “celebration sticks”. I don’t know what to call them so I made up that name. Sticks that the guests waved as the bride and groom exited the ceremony. In lieu of blowing bubbles, throwing flowers petals, rice or bird seed the guests waved these sticks. They were small wooden dowels/rods with an assortment of ribbons attached to the end. They were very festive looking and no one had to pick up afterwards. This is a great idea for venues that don’t want the extra mess.
Scattered around the tables at the wedding reception were small bags containing the dice game “Farkle”. I did not actually see anyone playing the game that night but it was a nice little gift for the wedding guests to take home with them.
The guest book was not a book at all. The wedding guests signed a piece of wood with the bride and groom’s name and wedding date “Established in 2014”. This could be framed by itself or they could build it into a piece of furniture. What happy memories they will always have when they look at it. At my wedding I had a standard wedding guest signing book and I have no idea where it is now.
The next great detail was the groom’s shirt collar stays. I had no idea what they were until Bill enlighten me. They slide into the corner of a man’s shirt collar to keep the corners of the collar straight down. (See how I got around not using the terms “stiff” and “pointy”.) They were sterling silver and hand cut. One of the collar stays was stamped with the latitude and longitude coordinates of their wedding venue Della Terra www.DellaTerraMountainChateau.com . The other one was stamped with their wedding date and a little love note from the bride to the groom.
The reception dinner place cards were arranged on a rustic wooden plank with a slot for each card. This kept all the cards in an orderly fashion and easily accessible for the wedding guests to find their card. Simple but cute.
The wedding favors were individually wrapped bags of trail mix which was very fitting for a mountain wedding in Estes Park. They were neatly arranged in personalized glass jars which could later be used for a candle holder, jewelry box or candy jar.
The last thing was my very favorite. Personalized wedding forks. Both forks were hand stamped with the wedding date on the handle. On the prong end one fork was stamped with “I do” and the other fork was stamped “Me too.” All of these different and fun details made for some unique wedding photography.
Now that I have discovered Etsy, I am finding (and buying) all kinds of stuff I probably don’t need. They have a wide range of items from art, clothing, wedding and home supplies. It is a great place to get ideas for do it yourself projects as well. Move over Pinterest, now I can waste hours and hours on Etsy.
August 8, 2014
My favorite air guitarist
Amy and Jeff were married last weekend at the Tapestry House www.Tapestryhouse.com . Their 8-year-old son, Eli, has moved into the top position as my all time favorite air guitarist. I have photographed air guitar performances many times as a Fort Collins wedding photographer so I speak from experience.
The styles range from impromptu to exacting duplications of famous guitarists like; Stevie Ray Vaughan the blues man, Jimi Hendrix the Blues rocker, Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones and notorious Eddie Van Halen. You know the type they grab the guitar, drop their hips and become the music. Then you have your more energetic air guitarists like Slash from Guns ‘n Roses, Rhandy Roads from Ozzie Osbourne or Metallica’s Kirk Hammet hard core metal rockers. These guys are body and soul performers with everything in motion from their heads to their toes. Whatever the style of the “Air Guitarist” they make great wedding photography subjects.
Neil and Beth Carlberg who own Too Much Fun DJ http://www.toomuchfundj.com/ bring a unique service to the wedding reception. They are great DJ’s keeping the wedding on time and fun for the guests. When the dancing starts at the reception they pull out all the stops. They come prepared with a line up of custom made wooden guitars and encourage the weddings guests to get involved. The guitars are painted in a wide variety of designs to suit every air guitarist’s “inner rocker”.
They ease into it with songs very user friendly well known guitar riffs. Fun but not over the top. The momentum builds from there as they move the crowd into the competition part of the evening; boys vs girls, bride vs groom, bridesmaids vs groomsmen. All craziness breaks out at that point until everyone’s inner Judas Priest has them sliding across the floor on their knees pounding a riff on the wooden guitar. Photographing all of this really is really “too much fun”.
Back to my new favorite ax man, Eli. His own distinct style was somewhere between John Belushi and Jimi Hendrix with aspirations of giving Dimebag Darrel a run for his money. He is a guitarist at heart no doubt. Eli was working it at every opportunity; while getting dressed before the wedding, during family formal photographs and throughout the cocktail hour. I’m sure he would have played while he escorted his mother down the aisle if she would have allowed it. My personal favorite presentation from this up and come rock star was during his parents first dance. Eli quietly stood in background strumming a romantic ballad with a smile on his face as he watched his parents seal the deal.
August 1, 2014
Last Saturday we photographed our first wedding at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts www.denvercenter.org The Complex is located in the heart of the Denver Theatre District in Downtown Denver, Colorado.
The wedding day began with everyone getting dressed at the Magnolia Hotels www.magnoliahotels.com . The hotel website had this information about the property. In 1993, the company purchases its first building, a vacant 85-year-old former bank building in the core of downtown Denver’s business district. The property underwent a multi-million dollar renovation and was restored to reflect its original appearance. The hotel opened in 1995 under the name Holtze Executive Place, later changed to the Magnolia Hotel.
In a big city moving a wedding party and family from the hotel to the actual wedding venue can resemble a Chinese fire drill. Coordinating the rides and times for the bride, bridesmaids, groom and groomsmen can be very stressful. It always takes more time then expected. Thank goodness they took my advice and planned for the needed extra time.
Megan and Tim had their “first look” under the marquee in front of the Seawell Grand Ballroom with the wedding party peeking from the upper floors of the parking structure. They chose to see each other in advance of the wedding so we would have more time to make formal wedding photographs. We spent the next hour making wedding photographs in this dynamic architecturally rich environment bursting with angles, layers and light. The atrium roof provided welcome relief from the sun and later the sprinkling rain. We were thrilled to have a new visual playground and a wedding couple willing to schedule additional time for us to create wedding day imagery for them.
The Seawell Grand Ballroom http://denvercenterevents.org/ is large enough to host both the wedding ceremony and the reception. This wedding they draped the room into two parts, both were dramatically lit.
The Ballroom website says they deliver memorable, inspiring and unique events. “Your guests will marvel at the panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains and iconic elements of Denver’s Lower Downtown Skyline — offering an incredible view of urban architecture and mountain peaks. As the sun goes down, the ceiling transforms into a star-filled canopy above this 10,000 square-foot dream space, lined with mirrors to reflect your theatrical event.”
After seeing what they were able to do to the ballroom I would agree. The ceremony side of the room was beautiful and the reception area was breath taking.
The caterer was Epicurean Group – Denver Catering www.epicueangroupco.com . They are rated in the top 25 caterers in the world by Special Event Magazine. The food was served buffet style and was delicious. The main course was stuffed pork tenderloin with roasted tomatoes and asparagus. My favorite part of the meal was the mashed sweet potatoes.
After the traditional toasts, cake cutting and ceremonial first dances the party really started and the place got bumping very quickly. The wedding guests danced up a storm underneath a 4-foot disco ball that hung from the ceiling. We were exhausted by the end of the night but Megan and Tim’s wedding was truly a beautiful event. Certainly a highlight on our summer Colorado wedding photography calendar. Thanks guys!
July 25, 2014
Happy Anniversary to Stephanie and Shawn.
Stephanie and Shawn were married at Fort Collins City Park last July and had their reception at the newly remodeled Club Tico. We weres fortunate enough to be their wedding photographers.
Stephanie and her bridesmaids got ready at the Inn at City Park www.innatcitypark.com . It is located a couple blocks from City Park and was the perfect location for the wedding party to start at.
The Inn at City Park is a Bed and Breakfast and was one of the original two bedroom bungalows in the City Park District of Old Town Fort Collins dating back to around 1949. The property used to be a greenhouse & nursery, which explains the beautiful lush landscaping that surrounds the house. The home has been updated into a quant and charming Country French cottage style Bed & Breakfast. The five guest room Inn can also host smaller weddings on the property.
The location was absolutely perfect for Stephanie’s wedding. I was able to make a few formal wedding photographs before the horse-drawn carriage arrived to take Stephanie to the outdoor wedding ceremony.
The Fort Collins based Colorado Carriage and Wagon www.coloradocarriage.com provided the horse drawn carriage. They also service Southern Wyoming, Northern Colorado including Estes Park. You are probably already familiar with them as they provide carriage rides in Old Town Fort Collins.
Their horses are beautiful giants. I do not know anything about horses other than what would be considered completely obvious, size and color. The only other thing I can add is they were tan in color.
Something about a bride arriving to the wedding ceremony in a carriage drawn by beautiful giant horses is magical. I’m sure it has to do with those fairytales we read as little girls. If you can’t have a little fairytale on your wedding day when can you have it?
The wedding ceremony was held under a canopy of huge Cottonwood Trees in City Park. All of Fort Collins Parks are very well taken care of and City Park certainly benefits from the great care it receives. The ceremony turned out fabulous. A gentle breeze kept the guests cool on this hot July day as a variety of birds serenaded them in the background.
After the wedding the party strolled around the lake and over to Club Tico. http://www.fcgov.com/recreation/clubtico.php Club Tico is located right on Sheldon Lake in City Park near downtown Ft. Collins. It was established in the 1920’s and has an 80 year history in the community of being a place that people gather to celebrate. This unique and beautiful building is tagged as the best ballroom in Northern Colorado and some beautiful wedding photographs can be made there.
The building was renovated in 2013 to update it’s decor, refinish the wood floors and various other improvements including efficient air conditioning. The Club Tico stage area is perfect for a band and the New Air conditioning was tested as the guests and wedding party danced and engaged in fun wedding toasts. Club Tico is large enough for weddings with up to 299 guests. The rounded archways and unique round hanging light fixtures help to make it a unique location for a wedding reception.
Thanks Stephanie and Shawn for trusting www.SherriBarber.com for their wedding photography.
July 3, 2014
The second part of my crazy photography last weekend happened on the following Sunday. This wedding was held at the Tapestry House http://www.tapestryhouse.com/ in Laporte Colorado. I know I have said this before it is one of my favorite venues to photograph a wedding at because they are very organized and the staff is incredible.
The bride, Megan and the groom, Elliot decided to see each other before the ceremony so we could do formal wedding photographs of them. This was probably one of the best decisions they made. Everything went according to schedule I photographed the bride getting ready and putting on her wedding gown. I photographed the groom tying his tie and putting on his hoes and socks, normal stuff.
After the bride and groom had an quiet moment together we made some great portrait wedding photographs. Megan and Elliot were naturals. They were very comfortable with each other, great sports and easily coaxed.
We finished the photographs and it was time for the ceremony. Jenn from the Tapestry House checked on the bride. I got into place and the music started. The guest were in their seats, down the aisle come the grandparents, the officiant, the groom walking the mother of the bride down the aisle and then returning to walk his parents in. Everything and everyone was in place and ready for the bride.
In comes mother nature. The sky had turned extremely dark in minutes and was threatening to rain. Some rain at the Tapestry House is not really a big deal. They always plan ahead and had already passed out umbrellas to the guests as they were being seated. The giant trees on the property offer a canopy to the bride and groom shielding off the rain. I wasn’t worried until a searing flash of lightning exploded through the sky followed immediately by a thunderous boom. Really Close! The rain drops that had threatened now started. The officiant welcomed everyone and then promptly told the guests they must leave. The lightening was too dangerous to continue with the wedding ceremony outside.
About 20 seconds later the rain started coming down like we were standing in a carwash. The guests headed for shelter but a crowd of 100 takes a little time to move. The rain which was annoying then turned into hail. The groom, friends and a few family member grabbed the flowers arrangements lining the aisle saving them from the pounding rain and hail. All the while the bride watch helplessly from the window as the events of the day unfolded and six months of planning her perfect wedding quickly morphed into plan B.
Megan eventually did walked down the aisle on her father’s arm but inside not outside. Everything was moved to the reception pavilion where the bride and groom said their vows and were married in a more intimate dry setting. The sun came back out shortly after the ceremony like nothing had happened. We were able to make family group wedding photos on a damp lawn and driveway with the wet trees and flowers as colorful as ever.
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