Real Colorado Wedding: Mary and Christopher | Cielo at Castle Pines Wedding

By Season Hurd | | Comment


Bride: Mary, 22 – Specialist at the Boys and Girls Clubs | Groom: Christopher, 23 – Mechanical Engineer
Date: May 29, 2015 | Location: Cielo at Castle Pines, Castle Rock


Today’s Cielo at Castle Pines wedding is outwardly very traditional. The pink, gold, and navy color palette is a classic. The stately venue and lace gown are timeless. But the sheer beauty of it is not why I’m sharing it with you. Feast upon the details and the beautiful photography for sure; but make sure to read the bio on this one to fully appreciate the silly nature of this couple. Mary is an entertaining writer (want to moonlight on a wedding blog?) and does a great job of telling their story. Once you know what a fun bunch they are, you start to see it even more in the images. Theirs was a wedding day full of joy. And it all started over bad knitwear and meatballs….

Their Story:

Chris and I met at an ugly sweater Christmas party while we were both still in college. Chris went to CSU and I went to UNC so it was pretty random that we were actually at the same party. Ugly sweater parties are my favorite so I didn’t hesitate in going all out, whereas Chris didn’t get the ugly memo and looked really nice. We were both invited by mutual friends but we really didn’t know anybody there and ended up eating meatballs at the appetizer table and talking and laughing for the entire night. That night was the beginning of a mutual love for meatballs and something really special. About a year and a half after we had started dating Chris decided to propose.

Chris had talked for a while about taking me up to a mountain lake near his hometown. We love hiking and backpacking so in no way did this seem out of the ordinary. So on a sunny summer Sunday, we packed up our backpacks and he loaded up the 4-wheeler behind his truck. We made the drive past Cottonwood Lake to a point where we had to unload the 4-wheeler. We splashed our way through mountain streams and the 4-wheeler climbed higher and higher until we had to finally get off and continue on foot. We hiked until finally we came over the ridge to the breathtaking view of Ptarmigan Lake. Chris told me to pick a spot for us to have lunch. I wanted the best view possible so I made him hike around for 20 minutes or so until our boots were muddy and my view was picture perfect. Little did I know that I was picking the exact place where he was about to propose! We put our bags down and minutes later Chris was on one knee with a beautiful ring asking me to be his wife. I was so shocked that it took me a couple of minutes to finally answer. Then he surprised me with a Nalgene full of my favorite wine and two tiny wine glasses that he had snuck into his pack. At an elevation of 12,154 feet, the man of my dreams asked me to be his wife. But Colorado thunderstorms roll in fast when you’re up that high and we had to make our way back down the mountain. Chris would look back at me on the 4-wheeler every once in a while and catch me holding my hand out and admiring my perfect ring – I was so obsessed with it. When we were almost off the mountain we stopped at a tree that we had carved our initials into months before and the rain started. It was my favorite kind of rain, the kind that still lets the sun shine while it falls. When we got back into town I was surprised with about 30 of my favorite people waiting to pop champagne and celebrate with us on our engagement. July 13, 2014 was the most perfect day. – Mary

The Details:

  • Chris, Mary, and her family created the centerpieces from tree branches from their family ranch. They potted, painted, and decorated them all! What an undertaking!
  • All of the signage at the reception was painted by the bride.
  • The couple made wildflower seed packets for their favors.
  • Mary and Chris’s sister made the streamers for the sendoff.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4 was printed onto the pillows held by the ring bearers.
  • The couple had a tree planting ceremony. They used jars of dirt from important places to them. (Love that extra touch!)
  • Something Old: Shoes were from a previous holiday | Something New: Earrings | Something Borrowed: A ring was borrowed from her best friend | Something Blue: A heart shaped swatch of fabric from one of her father’s shirts was sewn into her dress. (Awww)
  • Meatballs were served during the cocktail hour to honor their mutual love of spherical appetizers…and the night they met over said food. (I personally think an ugly sweater was needed somewhere as well.)

The Best Part:

My favorite part of the wedding was the dancing. We love to dance – and knowing that everybody out on that dance floor was dancing to celebrate with us made the night that much sweeter. We had a blast, and if there was anything that we could change it was that we felt like it went by way too fast. – Mary

The Soundtrack:

  • Processional: “Don’t Stop Believin'” – Journey – String Quartet Version
  • Bridal Processional: “Canon in D” – Pachelbel
  • Tree Planting: “Divine Romance” – Phil Wickham
  • Recessional: “My Dear” – Bethel
  • First Dance: “Kiss Me” – Ed Sheeran
  • Father/Daughter Dance: “My Little Girl” – Tim McGraw
  • Mother/Son Dance: “The Perfect Fan” – Backstreet Boys


Venue: Cielo at Castle Pines | Photographer: Katie Corinne Photography | Bridal Gown: Maggie Sottero “Emma” via Dora Grace Bridal | Earrings: Petite Delights | Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Hair and Makeup: Elegance Delivered | Bridesmaid’s Attire: David’s Bridal | Groom(smen) Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Cake: The Makery | Caterer: The Food Designers | Floral Designer: Bella Lu Floral | DJ: DJ Rickochet | Officiant: Charlie Stoumbaugh, Cornerstone Church


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Real Colorado Wedding: Melissa and Alex | Spruce Mountain Ranch Wedding

By Season Hurd | | Comment

Colorado wedding, Annabelle Denmark Photography

All photos by Annabelle Denmark


Bride: Melissa, 35 – Electrical Engineer | Groom: Alex, 34 – Software Architect/Developer
Date: September 5, 2015 | Location: Spruce Mountain Ranch, Larkspur


I always say that I fall in love with weddings that prominently feature young people, old people, and/or pets. This wedding has some of those things and takes it up another notch beyond my wildest dreams with…wait for it…animal masks! Not only are those horse heads on the bride and groom, they are on the teeny-tiny bride and groom that stands on their cutting cake. Holy moly. I love these people! (For those who are familiar with my own wedding from the blog, my husband and I sported cow and duck masks at our wedding reception. So I think Melissa and Alex are the bomb.) It’s touches like that which make me insta-accept a wedding submission. And I can’t say enough about the dynamic between the kids and the dog. They are as drawn to that creature as his hair no doubt is to their dress clothes. And the little ring bearer with his vest unlatched as he walked down the aisle is so chill. He’s full on honey badger. Melissa and Alex’s Spruce Mountain Ranch wedding is one of those that is beautiful on so many levels and seems like it would have been a kick in the tail to attend.

Their Story:

Alex and Melissa met at a mutual friend’s birthday. Melissa and her sister spent the night getting to know Alex and his friends at Tarantula Billiards. According to their wedding website, “Alex thought, ‘Hey, these girls are cute!’ Melissa thought, ‘Hey, this guy is loud!'”  Fortunately, Melissa was not dissuaded. This would be the first of many group get-togethers including the duo. In January 2010, Melissa was set to invite the group to a concert at the Bluebird. After inviting Alex, however, she decided to nix the group outing and make it a date! They took a cab to a sushi restaurant before the concert…only to find out that it went out of business. But they had pizza and the concert instead and still refer to it as the best date ever.

The Proposal:

It was Alex’s 34th birthday, December 13, 2014. We went up to stay in Dillon, Co with several mutual friends for a ski weekend. Saturday morning, on the first lift up at Keystone, Alex suggested we take a group photo for his birthday. I found this odd since he’d spent the last 5 years talking his way out of photos. We posed for our group photo at the top of the mountain for Epic Mix. Then Alex asked for a picture of just us. I found this even odder since I’m always bugging him for pictures of us and say we never have enough. He got down on one knee then and asked if I’d be his birthday present. His birthday was the one day of the year I wasn’t anticipating a proposal! – Melissa

Epic Mix wedding proposal, Colorado ski proposal, mountaintop proposal, ski run proposal

The Details:

  • The wedding party consisted of men and women on both sides. In Melissa’s words, “We had 4 groomsmen, 2 groomswomen, 4 bridesmaids, and 2 bridesmen. We had ring bearers, a dog bearer, and a flower girl.” (I think this is a beautiful and modern way to keep the people you love closest to you at the altar and not grouped by gender.)
  • The bride’s veil belonged to her mother. The circa 1974 cathedral length veil was shortened to a chapel length and given a ribbon edge embellishment. (I love this idea!)
  • Melissa and Alex included several sweet ceremonies into their wedding. They gifted their mothers flowers, had a sand ceremony, enjoyed a reading from “Love is Like Owning a Dog”, exchanged their own vows, and did the traditional Jewish breaking of the glass. (Again..love this…ceremonies are the most meaningful part of the day and always so short!)
  • Regarding the famous horse heads, Melissa explains, “My husband has been known for his ‘creepy horsemask’ at many a parties, weddings, and family holidays. He wanted the horse head cake topper. He hadn’t bought it yet because he was waiting for my approval. I never said no, but never said yes either. Then it showed up in the mail along with a white horse mask from my college roommate, so naturally we had to put them to good use. We ducked behind the counter and came out wearing them to do our cake cutting. We shoved cake in each other’s horse mouth trying to find our actual mouths laughing hysterically.”
  • All of the floral arrangement were done by the bride with flowers from Costco.
  • Cocktail napkins were custom printed with the lyrics to the couple’s first dance song, “All of Me” by John Legend.
  • The couple was married by Melissa’s Uncle, Mike, who is a justice of the peace.
  • The diamonds in the bride’s rings are lab grown. The synthetic diamond is called a moissanite!
  • The table runners were all made by the bride’s mother and her best mom’s best friend.

The Soundtrack:

  • Family Processional: “Imagine” – John Lennon (Instrumental)
  • Wedding Party Processional: “Marry Me” – Train (Instrumental)
  • Ring bearers, Flower Girl, Dog: “All You Need is Love” – Beatles (Instrumental)
  • Bridal Processional: “Over the Rainbow” – Israel Kamakawaiwo’ole (Instrumental)
  • Recessional: “On Top of the World” – Imagine Dragons
  • Wedding Party Introductions: “Sugar” – Maroon 5
  • First Dance: “All of Me” – John Legend
  • Father/Daughter Dance: “Landslide” – Fleetwood Mac
  • Mother/Son Dance: “In my Life” – Beatles


Venue: Spruce Mountain Guest Ranch | Photographer: Annabelle Denmark | Event Planner: L’Atelier Weddings | Bridal Gown: Maggie Sottero via Amanda’s Bridal | Alterations: Phyllis Aschenbrenner | Bridesmaid Gowns: Bill Levkoff | Groom(smen) Attire: Men’s Wearhouse | Hair and Makeup: Antoine Du Chez | Rings: Charles & Colvard | Cake: Nothing Bundt Cakes | Catering: Buffalo Gals/Picnic Basket | Rentals: Event Rents


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Photo Ops: Canoe Engagement Photography at Evergreen Lake House

By Season Hurd | | Comment


Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily. Life is but a dream. As promised, I have another great sunrise engagement session for you. The couple, Jessica and Jason, didn’t start their session quite as early as yesterday’s post. But I think the spirit of the morning is still very much represented. If you have ever been out on a lake at sunrise or sunset, you will find that is the time when the lake is like glass, rowing is an almost melodic act, and you feel a magical peace. Together with Shebli Nikkole Photography, they made the very best of this time of tranquility. An outdoorsy couple by nature, they were at home on the lake with their oars and fishing poles put to use alongside other adorable props like engagement themed coffee mugs. I love their little coffee break and moments spent canoe-dling. (See what I did there?)


Submitted by Shebli Nikkole Photography


Sunrise over a lake, Shebli Nikkole Photography Sunrise engagement session on Evergreen Lake, Shebli Nikkole Photography Canoe engagement, rowboat engagement, couple in a red canoe at Evergreen Lake House, Shebli Nikkole Photography Engagement photos on a lake, couple in a red canoe, Shebli Nikkole Photography Morning engagement photos in black and white, couple holding coffee cups, Shebli Nikkole Photography Canoe engagement, rowboat engagement, couple in a boat, Evergreen Lake engagement, Shebli Nikkole Photography Morning coffee engagement photos, Shebli Nikkole Photography Evergreen Lake House engagement photos, Shebli Nikkole Photography Fishing engagement session, couple holding fishing poles, wedding ring on a fish hook, Shebli Nikkole Photography Engagement photography, couple holding a coffee mug, Shebli Nikkole Photography

Photo Ops: Sunrise Amphitheater Engagement Session

By Season Hurd | | Comment


For me optimism is two lovers walking into the sunset arm in arm.
Or maybe into the sunrise – whatever appeals to you.
– Krzysztof Kieslowski



Styled Shoot: Ethereal Bridal Shoot at Highlands Ranch Mansion

By Season Hurd | | Comment

Highlands Ranch Mansion bridal shoot, styled shoot at Highlands Ranch Mansion, Stori H. Photography

All photos by Stori H. Photography

Here’s something special for a snowy day! Snowstorms in Colorado have a very special quality, an eerie silence generated by the insulating effects of the snow and the stillness in the air days after the storm moves on. I feel that in every bit of this winter bridal shoot at Highlands Ranch Mansion. I can hear her heels breaking the silence as she walks the grounds on the cleared walkways. Some say that the mansion is haunted and it would certainly sound that way. I have to imagine if Highlands Ranch Mansion did have a phantom in its midst, she would be this elegant and striking. The bride’s incredible eyes are piercing and her look is both regal and a bit punk rock at the same time. According to the shoot’s creators, the inspiration was “Elsa meets Rapunzel”. The bride’s 38″ long braid obviously played an important part in that mashup! But I see the Frozen reference in more than just the snowy setting. Elsa is a feisty, commanding character with vulnerable moments thrown in. That feeling is very present with their chosen model. Both stories share a common element of being entrapped. As she stands at the gates, you have to wonder if she’s being held in or keeping everyone else out. A strong story to tell in a dozen images.


Venue: Highlands Ranch Mansion | Photographer:   Stori H. Photography | Dress: La Sposa via Brilliant Bridal | Hair and Makeup: Salon Breezy | Floral Design: Norah Kissell


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Guest Post: How to Hire a Boudoir Photographer – With Brooke Summer

By Season Hurd | | Comment

How to hire a boudoir photographer, denver boudoir, Brooke Summer Photography


Valentine’s Day is around the corner and boudoir photography is on many minds. With a barrage of Groupons and other deals, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. More daunting yet is knowing whom among the sea of prospective photographers is talented, friendly…and not a total perv or criminal. Brooke Summer, the premier Denver area boudoir photographer, offered to write a post about the considerations involved when hiring a boudoir photographer. She has had hundreds of happy boudoir clients and takes the art form very seriously. In her beautiful, light filled studio, she turns everyday women into models with her fun, encouraging, and genuine personality. As an incredible talent, she also finds herself becoming a safe haven for those who have experienced “boudoir gone wrong”. Her stories range from bad lighting/angles to legitimately dangerous situations. While you should certainly hurry if you want pictures by Valentine’s Day (it takes time to edit them, deliver them, and even more if you want physical prints!!), please take the time to do your due diligence and ensure an incredible experience that will be a keepsake for a lifetime. – Season


It’s that time of year again!f

The holidays are over, everyone is taking a collective sigh of relief, and we’re starting to look forward to what the year has to offer. Next up, Valentine’s Day!

Ahh yes, the holiday of lovers. The sexy holiday. The holiday filled with romance and love!

Sometimes, Valentine’s Day doesn’t always play out like that, am I right? We have these expectations based on what we see around us, and it doesn’t always work that way. Life gets in the way. BUT – while life may throw us some curveballs when it comes to our holiday plans, you can still get an amazing gift for the person you love.

No, I’m not talking about chocolates. Isn’t it ironic that one of the top candy holidays falls right after new years resolutions are made?

I’m talking about a little something sexy. A little something different. A little something…. fun.

Boudoir makes an amazing gift for any holiday, but Valentine’s Day is particularly big! A holiday to celebrate romance, what better than a sexy little book to show him the side of you that he doesn’t get to see every day? And right after Valentine’s Day we start sliding into wedding season. Bridal boudoir is an amazing and sexy groom’s gift, a reminder of the hot chick he’s marrying.

Valentine's Day boudoir photography, boudoir session with a red heart-shaped box of chocolates, Brooke Summer Photography

It all sounds so perfect, right?!

Yep, it really is, but it can turn into a nightmare quickly if you aren’t careful.

Sorry, not trying to be a downer here – let me introduce myself. I’m Brooke of Brooke Summer Photography. I am a top Denver boudoir photographer, and have worked with hundreds of women in my studio to get those amazing shots of a sexier side of my clients. Oftentimes they come in to get a gift for someone else, but leave with a gift for themselves. Why? Because boudoir should be an EXPERIENCE, not just an assembly line of taking your clothes off.

So what is this nightmare I speak of?

Fly by night boudoir photographers, with questionable reputations and even more questionable business practices.

Yep, it can be scary. Taking your clothes off in front of someone is scary enough, especially when they will be capturing those images for posterity.

I have worked with so many clients lately that have had negative experiences with their boudoir photographers, so I want to share with you my top 5 tips for choosing your boudoir photographer!

Denver bridal boudoir photographer, wedding boudoir, bride with a bouquet, Brooke Summer Photography

  1. TALK with your boudoir photographer BEFORE booking. Okay, it doesn’t have to be talking in person, email or phone is fine too – but really talk with them. Get a feel for who they are. Is this someone that just wants to have you take your clothes off and make a quick buck? Or is this someone that is passionate about working with women, and making sure that they are really comfortable? Don’t book sight unseen. If you have questions – make sure to ask them, even if they’re embarrassing. Remember, not only are you going to be hiring this person to take photos, but you will be in a vulnerable position – make sure this is someone you trust.
  2. During this conversation – find out how much experience this photographer really has. And not just photography experience, how many BOUDOIR sessions has this photographer done? Anyone can pick up a camera, but boudoir is a very different genre. There are different poses that are flattering for different figures, and there are definite NO’s during a boudoir session. If a photographer doesn’t work with boudoir consistently, they may not be familiar with the ins and outs of photographing someone in their skivvies. Furthermore – does this photographer work with a specific type of woman, what do you see in their portfolio? Do you only see one size of woman, one specific age? Do they do couples boudoir as well, if this is something you’re looking for?
  3. Find out the specifics of your session – does this photographer have a studio, or will you be working in a hotel room? I have heard horror stories of creepy basements too! Does the photographer have an assistant present? This isn’t always necessary, but if you are working with a specific gender, you may want the other gender present as well. Which brings me to another point – WHO will the photographer be? It sounds like a silly question, but there are several assembly line type operations that don’t assign photographers until the day of your session – so you have no idea who you will be working with.
  4. What is this photographer’s privacy policy? There are a few things to think about when it comes to privacy – who will be present at the session? Can anyone just waltz into the studio at any time? Will there be team members going in and out, potentially causing you to be uncomfortable? Discomfort will show in your photos, you want to make sure you’re in a situation where you can relax. Another very, very important privacy question – what happens with my photos after we are done? Are they going to be posted online for everyone to see? Sold? Is my name attached? Will there be a billboard of me on a major highway? It sounds silly but again – these are serious considerations. US Copyright law states that the person who takes the photo (the photographer) owns copyright. There are requirements for model releases and usage of your likeness, but be careful, and make sure to ask!
  5. Finally – do your homework. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Check out social media. Look on Facebook. Look for reviews online that are NOT on the photographer’s website. What does this person’s reputation look like, have they been working with women for a long time? Do they have a lot of negative reviews they have to contest? Everyone can have one or two, but do you see a consistent pattern of unhappy clients? Or do their clients seem not only happy, but ecstatic with the entire experience, including the photos?

Bridal boudoir photography, Brooke Summer Photography

Taking your clothes off for photos can be daunting. Make sure that you trust your photographer fully. Go with your gut – if someone doesn’t seem like a good fit, they probably aren’t. I have had clients fly in from as far as Hawaii for their sessions – because they couldn’t find anyone locally that they trusted.

A boudoir experience should be fun and empowering – you should leave feeling amazing, never cheap or uncomfortable.

If you are considering boudoir for a gift, I would love to talk to you further to see if it is a perfect fit for you! You can contact me directly to ask questions, or to book your session.


I am so privileged to be a top Denver boudoir photographer! My clients’ privacy is a top priority for these intimate portraits. Any and all boudoir images that are posted have been shared by the subject with written permission. I am honored that my clients choose to share their images with the world, and talk about their experiences with those images.

Brooke Summer


Real Colorado Wedding: Jason and Landon | Morning Wedding at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

By Season Hurd | | Comment


Grooms: Landon, 44  | Jason, 40
Date: September 27, 2015 | Location: Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Avon


I love all of my weddings on A Colorado Courtship Blog for so many different reasons. But some weddings really feel like an honor to publish. When I receive a full album for a couple, it is with mixed feelings. It’s always great to have a lot of material to choose from (1000+ images in this case), but it tends to make my posts very long because I cannot seem to eliminate shots. The reason, I feel, that this happens is because the storytelling of the photography makes me feel like part of the couple’s day. It’s like reading the book instead of watching the movie. I feel like I get to know the people involved. I cry when they cry and smile at their celebratory shenanigans. That’s the power of pictures. With the written word, you have the ability to add backstory and context. Combine the two and soon you feel like you were there. You’re totally rooting for them because nobody who produces this many happy tears on their wedding day could be anything but awesome. A day so many years in the making and we get to be “there” for it – I call that an honor.

Their Story:

Jason and I met in 2004 after we had both joined the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus.  We had been together for 11 years when we finally said “I do” in the fall of 2015.  In fact, our wedding day was exactly 10 years to the day we had a very small commitment ceremony on Laguna Beach, the day we had always considered our anniversary.  We would have married much earlier in our relationship but as a same-sex couple, this wasn’t a legal option for us. We’d always said we would walk down the aisle legitimately if Colorado ever legalized SSM and in October of 2014, they did!  Our engagement wasn’t so much an event as it was a realization that we could FINALLY come together in front of our family and friends, and profess, legally, publicly, that we were binding ourselves to one another.  It’s a day and a feeling I’ll never forget! – Landon

A Creative Two-Day Affair:

Jason and Landon were married in a weekend-long, reverse order wedding. Landon explains, “The date of our wedding was actually very important to us because . . . our previous non-legal ceremony on the beach 10 years ago was September 27, 2005 and we really wanted to be legally married on that same day.  Unfortunately, the date fell on a Sunday, so we had to get creative.  Jason and I both really wanted to have an evening reception with food, cake, dancing, etc. but nobody wants to do that on a Sunday night – particularly in the Colorado Mountains and then try to drive two hours back to Denver.  So, one unique thing we did was switch the order of our events.  We decided to have a pre-wedding celebration on the Saturday night before our wedding.  We did it pretty traditionally with a stand and eat buffet with three stations, open bar, first dance (and a surprise second dance!), we both danced with our mothers and a very special dance we shared with our daughter, Shayla!  After that, it was dance party USA, just like every other wedding you’ve attended.  It was a blast!  The next morning, we took formal pictures before our ceremony, followed by the ceremony at 10:30am and a sit down, gorgeous brunch!  From there, people could leave and head back down the mountain.  It was awesome!” I personally think this is a brilliant approach! (I am, however impressed that they managed to wake looking so refreshed, eager, and handsome for their morning wedding after the revelry of the previous night.) Another uncommon choice that I love was that Jason and Landon got ready together, allowing for more private moments to be captured. They are one of the most effortlessly affectionate couples I’ve seen. Clearly their nerves about the day were eliminated due to an impressive 11 years of companionship that preceded it!

The ceremony included a lot of meaningful touches. The grooms were walked down the aisle by their respective mothers. They were serenaded by 14 members of a choral group to which the couple belongs, Kantorei. The chorus performed two songs during the ceremony, including “La Rose Complete” composed by Morten Lauridsen and “This Marriage” composed by Eric Whitacre. “This was extremely special to have this amazing group, that we also sing WITH, actually singing to us.  I’ll never forget it.  Also, because we have been together for so long, we didn’t really have an expectation for gifts at our wedding, so in lieu of gifts, we suggested our guests make a donation to Kantorei, which is a non-profit entity that works solely off donations and grants,” elaborates the couple. ” We also did a ring blessing, where our rings were tied with a ribbon and passed around to each of our guests to ‘wish upon’.  When it was time for us to put our rings on, they had already been held by all of our guests.  I loved that!  The final thing, that I thought was really fun, was just after the pronouncement.  We had the DJ play “When can I see you again” by Owl City, and just when the music started playing, we had hidden white beach balls with our gobo initials on them, just under the first row of seats.  Everybody started throwing the beach balls up in the air and keeping them afloat while Jason and I were in the middle of the aisle, playing along.  It was a really fun little celebratory moment rather than just scampering down the aisle and into a receiving line.” Readings by guests, including their daughter, upped the personalization factor even more and there were few dry eyes in the crowd.

The Look:

Bachelor Gulch, so named because it was founded by a group of single men, has become a hotly desired location for couples looking to wed. The secluded jewel of this gorgeous locale is the Ritz-Carlton.  The timing of their wedding ensured an incredible display from the fall trees in the area. The couple kept it very classy with traditional tuxedos and understated boutonnieres. They coordinated a beautiful series of contemporary looking events with the help of their friend and celebrated wedding planner, Mark Paquette of Mark Christopher Weddings and Events.  The Saturday celebration had opulent linens and lots of sparkle to fit the mood of a party-driven event. The following day was more subdued with a lot of crisp white and neutral touches. The professional flowers and natural beauty of the backdrop stole the show for the outdoor ceremony and reception. Keeping certain elements like the flower choices consistent made both days feel like a cohesive event. A beautiful weekend for sure!

The Best Part:

There were many wonderful moments but I have to say I really loved that we made it a weekend-long event.  Since our events spanned multiple days (reception on Saturday, ceremony on Sunday) we really felt like we got to spend real quality time with our guests, many who came from other states.  It was like a little weekend getaway with 88 of our most beloved and cherished friends and family! – Landon

The Soundtrack:

  • Reception Entrance:  “Dynamite” – Taio Cruz
  • First Dance: “Helplessly, Hopelessly” – Jessica Andrews
  • Surprise Second Dance: “Honey I’m good” – Andy Grammer
  • Mother/Son Dance:  “A Song for Mama” – Boyz 2 Men
  • Dance with their Daughter:  “Isn’t she lovely” – Stevie Wonder
  • Processional: “La Rose Complete” – Composed by Morten Lauridsen and performed live by Kantorei
  • Mid-ceremony Song:  “This Wedding” – Composed by Eric Whitacre and performed live by Kantorei


Venue, Catering, Cake: The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch | Photography: Megan Newton Photography | Event Planner: Mark Christopher Weddings and Events | Ceremony Attire: Michael Kors “Midnight” Navy Tuxes via Al’s Formal Wear | Reception Attire: J. Hilburn (Custom) | Rings: XEN Jewerly | Floral Design: Bella Calla | Rentals: Colorado Tents and Events, Linen Hero, Couch,  | Ceremony Performances: Kantorei | DJ: Shindig DJs | Favor Truffles: The Chocolate Lab | Officiant: Rev. Dr. Robin A Miller, Conscious Journey Ceremonies | Transportation: All Mountain Transportation | Alterations: Cherry Creek Tailor and Alterations | Calligraphy: Pretty Writing


Day 1

Foothills Sunset, Megan Newton Photography, Mark Christopher Weddings and Events Sequin tablecloth wedding decor, Megan Newton Photography, Mark Christopher Weddings and Events Glamorous wedding decor, fabric petal tablecloths, Glam modern wedding, Megan Newton Photography, Mark Christopher Weddings and Events Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch reception, lounge setup at hotel wedding, Megan Newton Photography, Mark Christopher Weddings and Events Grooms entering the reception, Megan Newton Photography, Mark Christopher Weddings and Events Two grooms giving wedding speech, same sex Colorado Wedding, Megan Newton Photography, Mark Christopher Weddings and Events Square tiers wedding cake with black stripes and ink orchids, grooms cutting cake, Megan Newton Photography, Mark Christopher Weddings and Events Grooms feeding each other cake, Megan Newton Photography, Mark Christopher Weddings and Events Black and white photo of grooms cutting cake, Megan Newton Photography, Mark Christopher Weddings and Events Grooms first dance, black and white, Megan Newton Photography, Mark Christopher Weddings and Events Grooms choreographed first dance, Megan Newton Photography, Mark Christopher Weddings and Events Grooms dancing, same sex wedding first dance, Megan Newton Photography, Mark Christopher Weddings and Events Collage of wedding dancing, black and white, wild wedding party, Megan Newton Photography, Mark Christopher Weddings and Events Breakdancing at wedding, Megan Newton Photography, Mark Christopher Weddings and Events

Day 2

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Real Colorado Wedding: Kari and Sam | Palisade Winery Wedding

By Season Hurd | | Comment


Bride: Kari, 25 – Attorney | Sam: 25 – Engineer
Date: October 3, 2015 | Location: Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Grand Junction (Ceremony) and
Amy’s Courtyard at Maison La Belle Vie Winery, Palisade (Reception)


It takes a village to pull off a wedding. If you’re very lucky the helping hands you need are already in your contacts. Kari and Sam are among the lucky few whose friends and family are so exquisitely talented that their wedding looks like it’s out of a magazine without the aid of a planner. To look at this wedding, you would never has guessed which items were DIY. The continuity of color throughout their album alone usually implies that a planner was involved. Even the decor of the church, normally a major detraction from the wedding look, is spot on. Basically, this wedding is just plain beautiful. But all of that is to be expected from a loving, fun, and interesting couple like this. After all, the bride doesn’t just celebrate, she celebrates a la hoop! (A nice Dr. Seuss reference for you non-parent types.)

Their Story:

We met at the beginning of our senior year of college while Sam was at CU and I was at Regis University. We actually met at the Walrus Saloon in Boulder on a Sunday night; which is kind of embarrassing/hilarious if you’ve ever been to that bar and know what it’s like. My friends and I were minding our own business when Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ came on, and Sam and his friend burst into our circle and started belting out the song to us. I guess Sam caught my attention because we talked for the rest of the night and now we’re married!

After we both graduated we had to do the long distance thing for a few years, since Sam took a job in Grand Junction and I started law school at CU in Boulder. At the beginning of my third year of law school, Sam came to visit and asked me to go geocaching with him to try out his new GPS. Turns out that Sam and his friends had set up a series of clues and little gifts at several GPS coordinates along the Mt. Sanitas Trail outside of Boulder, and when I found the final cache at the top Sam proposed!  – Kari

The Details:

  • The couple chose to do pies for dessert instead of cake.
  • Kari’s mother designed and hand-sewed the beautiful lace cover-up that she wore during the ceremony. (As I was working on this post, my mother in law was looking over my shoulder in awe of the dress. Neither of us knew at the time that one of our favorite details was actually an add-on! Kari’s mom is a very talented seamstress!)
  • Sam’s cousin created all of those gorgeous floral arrangements!
  • The super cute blue getaway truck was on loan to them by one of their groomsmen who had restored the charming antique.
  • The stationery was all designed by Kari’s sister.
  • The wedding welcome sign was painted by a family friend.
  • A fishbowl full of peanuts was present as a reminder of how they met. (The fish bowl was a real authentic one from The Walrus.)
  • The ceramic owls on their table were painted by Kari’s dad.
  • Sam designed the couple’s monogram logo that was featured on their pint glass favors.
  • The couple made the yard games, including hula hoops!
  • Kari went antiquing to find gold frames to hold their family photos on the guestbook table.
  • Something Old: An antique handkerchief gifted to her by her grandparents | Something New: The dress | Something Borrowed: A small item from a bridesmaid right before the ceremony | Something Blue: A single blue ribbon on her garter.

The Best Part:

I don’t think I have a favorite moment, but a couple of memorable moments were the speeches by our dads, the best man, and my sister – definitely some tearjerkers! I also loved dancing with my dad (I picked a fast father-daughter song, and we didn’t practice at all…but I think we pulled off some pretty good country-swing for non-dancers!), my grandpa (a big polka-dancer), and Sam (who says he doesn’t like dancing, but stuck by my side on the dance floor all night long). I also really liked hula-hooping with my friends – it’s something we used to do in college, but we haven’t been together to do it since then! In the end the best part was having fun with the love of my life and seeing everyone have a great time together as well. So much joy! – Kari

The Soundtrack:

  • Bridal Party Introductions: “Walking on a Dream” – Empire of the Sun
  • First Dance: “Desire” – Ryan Adams
  • Father-Daughter Dance: “Forever Young” – Bob Dylan
  • Grandfather-Granddaughter (Polka) Dance: “Roll Out the Barrel” – Frankie Yankovic
  • Inside Joke Song: “Don’t Stop Believin'” – Journey


Venue: Amy’s Courtyard at Maison La Belle Vie Winery | Photographer: Burlap & Lace Photography | Bridal Gown: Stella York via d’Anelli Bridal | Groom(smen) Attire: Perry Ellis via Macy’s | Hair and Makeup: Euphoria Day Spa & Salon | Rings: Trice Jewelers | Floral Design: Molly Todd | Desserts: Palisade Pies | DJ: Merik Music | Limo: Absolute Prestige | Alcohol: Fisher’s Liquor Barn


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Bridal Hair Inspiration – Brides in Bloom

By Season Hurd | | Comment

Bridal hairstyle inspiration, brides with flowers in their hair, Moriah Riona Photography, Studio Blooms, Orchidée Salon and Spa

I have a little something different for you today. On the heels of our boho bride and her magical floral crown, here are more great examples of using live flowers to complete your wedding look. Floral hairpieces are not restricted to one type of bride. This beautiful shoot shows us that there is a type of blooming hairstyle for every bride. (And I’m sure the guys could rock a little something too if they want.) Here is the motivation behind the shoot:

Inspired by imagery of whimsical woodland nymphs and the current trend of bridal updos adorned with flowers, I approached two of my favorite Northern Colorado vendors, Orchidee Salon and Spa and Avenue Blooms, to create this Brides In Bloom series. My intent was to create several looks that were highly stylized and artistic, perhaps even a bit “over-the-top.” As a team, our ultimate goal was to provide inspiration to brides-to-be for their own bridal beauty.We had originally wanted to have four different looks. During our initial planning session, while searching for a theme, we decided to use only one color/color family per look. We were so inspired by the thought of each style having its own color that we ultimately decided to create six different looks: orange/yellow, white, pink, purple, green and marsala.Orchidee Salon and Spa developed six unique hairstyles for our photo shoot ranging from loose and airy to intricate updo. The hairstyles worked beautifully with the six distinct floral pieces from Avenue blooms, which included everything from a single bloom to a luscious and overflowing floral crown. Our vendor team agreed upon simple makeup and no jewelry for our models so the focus could remain on the beautiful marriage of hair and bloom. – Moriah Riona


Photography:  Moriah Riona | Floral Design: Avenue Blooms | Hair and Makeup:  Orchidée Salon and Spa


First up we have a more formal style. This bride is looking so soft with angelic makeup and a sideswept updo. The roses and waxflower in her floral hairpiece are classic choices. But the very cool way that her veiling is interwoven in her hair is anything but expected.

Bridal hairstyle, Bridal updo, veil woven into hair, Bride with veil and white flowers in her hair, Moriah Riona Photography, Studio Blooms, Orchidée Salon and Spa


Next up is a full floral crown of purple blooms. A purple-hued lip is a perfect accent to this look. Color is the focal point of this look. The fun turquoise eye makeup and dramatic hairpiece feel very nymph-like. This look is straight out of A Midsummer Nights Dream.

Bridal hair inspiration, bride with a purple floral crown, purple flower hairpiece, Moriah Riona Photography, Studio Blooms, Orchidée Salon and Spa


In contrast to the previous model, this bride is wearing warmer tones of orange and yellow and the flowers are more understated. The star here is really the shape of the hairstyle. A soft twist along the hairline (an informal alternative to a braid) moves into a cascade of flowers. Here, the floral piece feels like a continuation of the hair itself.  Very romantic!

Bride with sideswept hair and flowers woven into her hair, Moriah Riona Photography, Studio Blooms, Orchidée Salon and Spa


In another take on a floral crown (A.K.A. floral headband, floral wreath, etc.), we see a simpler version of the popular trend. This one feels a little more whimsical and much softer with blush hues framing only one side of the face. A high pony tail with wild curls brings the hair away from the face so that the grapevine-style headband is visible beneath the hairline. This look showcases the texture more than color/shape.

Wedding hair inspiration, Bride with a flower headband, Floral crown with a side cluster of flowers, Moriah Riona Photography, Studio Blooms, Orchidée Salon and Spa


The next look is very earthy and organic in shape, texture, and color. The all-green wreath is comprised of seeded eucalyptus. The leaves almost blend into the messy updo with loose strands draping in the back. The subdued nature of this bridal hairpiece simply serves as an accent to the beauty of the model and brings out her striking eyes.

Irish bride with a seeded eucalyptus crown, all green floral crown, Moriah Riona Photography, Studio Blooms, Orchidée Salon and Spa


Finally, a young bride is blushing in soft pink makeup and a large pink chrysanthemum in her hair. A braided band of hair drawn across the hairline creates interest with funky angles and a touch of intricacy; a lovely contrast to the overall softness of this style. The curly wisps of hair hanging on either side of the face, straight braid in the hairline, and exposed shoulders create a natural frame around the bride’s gorgeous natural beauty. Those angles are offset by added height in the hairstyle and the colorful bloom draws the eye upward. Four distinct planes of pink unite the whole look.

Bridal hair inspiration, bridal updo with a large flower, Spider mum in a bride's hair, Moriah Riona Photography, Studio Blooms, Orchidée Salon and Spa

Styled Shoot: Boho Bridal Session

By Season Hurd | | Comment

Bohemian bride, boho bride, bride dancing in the rain, April Maura Photography, Farm at South Mountain


Bohemian qualities or bohemian style have equated to a great many things throughout time. Modern bohemian style (or “boho” for short) is really an homage to the free spirited. Boho brides are unfettered by society’s ideal wedding concepts.  They opt for simplicity and embrace the natural. In this case, nature threw in a rainstorm. So what’s a boho bride to do? Dance in the rain of course! This simple boho bridal shoot used the existing beauty of a delightfully quirky farm and added a few perfectly chosen organic floral arrangements to throw it over the top. This appeals to the bohemian love of nature and appreciation for austerity. The unconventional bride explores the property in a simple dress, unfettered by the heaviness of a gown. Her wild hair is topped with a crown of purple flowers and her only jewelry is a turquoise ring. The floral arrangements include more conventional choices like lisianthus, freesia, sweet pea, tulip, etc. but also sneak in items like cacti, succulents, and citrus fruits to keep things interesting. A boho bride is nothing if not a harmonious collection of disparate styles. At the end of her frolic on the farm, the drizzling rain brings a new magic to the scene. Shimmering droplets of life-giving water are a punctuation mark on the shoot – though less a period and more an exclamation point.


Photography: April Maura Photography | Venue: The Farm at South Mountain | Floral Design: Mountain Flowers of Aspen


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