Typically my Photo Ops locations are very distinct and able to be mapped. In this case, the location is variable and even on the move! Summer in Colorado is full of opportunities to find traveling carnivals, county fairs, and even fixed amusement parks like Eliches, Lakeside, and Heritage Square. They make for such fun places to do an engagement session with lots of colors, lights, and artwork. Who doesn’t love the carnival? Except those who are afraid of clowns maybe. Amanda and Richard had a really fun and colorful carnival engagement session thanks to Melissa Sue Photography. What a fun way to spend the evening!
Bride: Cassidy Willey, 25 – Drama Teacher
Groom: Eric Lamb, 25 – French Teacher
Date: September 7, 2013
Location: Leroux Creek Inn and Vineyards, Hotchkiss
Oh man! Ryan Dearth Photography submissions are among my favorites. You needn’t look farther than the image of the necklace on the bride’s dress, the ring shot, the vineyard shots…oh hell everything…to understand why I say that. You can practically smell the food and feel the energy with this wedding in particular. And it seems like unique couples in the know choose his services as well which makes for a great overall submission with lots of unique details and genuine moments to love. I mean, how beautifully styled is this wedding? It feels like nothing I’ve ever published before and I love that! Furthermore, it is truly unlike any other wedding I’ve published because there was no officiate AND it takes intimate to a whole new level – 20 guests! So enjoy this southwestern vineyard wedding that disguised itself as Arizona so well that I had to check the location on the submission before accepting!
Eric and I met the first week of college in the dorms at CU Boulder. We got engaged six and a half years later on Ocean Beach in San Diego, CA. We were married on the 7th of September, one week before our 7th anniversary of dating. – Cassidy
- The wedding only had 20 guests, no wedding party, and no officiate. Instead, a small collection of friends and family members spoke at the ceremony and the couple read from journal entries they had made about each other when they first started dating as part of their personalized vows. How great is that??
- The stunning tribal necklace worn by the bride was a gift from a Berger woman they stayed with while backpacking in Morocco. (Anyone else getting the impression that this couple would be really fun to know?)
- Cassidy’s vintage engagement ring was from an antique store in San Diego near where they got engaged.
- Their cakes were made by friends and the floral arrangements were all put together by friends and family. (They did good!)
- Look! Corgis!
The Best Part:
My favorite part of the wedding was how intimate it was. There were only 20 guests. Although the decision to keep our wedding small was, by far, the toughest one we made, it was also the best one. We felt so relaxed and truly connected to every single person there. It was a magical weekend. Also, the moment that I shared with my parents before the three of us walked out to the arbor and guests was really special. – Cassidy
Venue, Catering, Wine: Leroux Creek Inn and Vineyards | Photography: Ryan Dearth Photography | Bridal Gown: David’s Bridal | Shoes: Toms | Groom’s Attire: Alfani | Rings: Fine Things Jewelry | Band: The Strolling Scones
Shiver and quiver, my little tree. Silver and gold throw down over me. – “Cinderella” by The Brothers Grimm
Like many fairy tales, Cinderella had far less sweet origins than the Disney version we know today. (The stepsisters had their eyes pecked out in the Grimm’s story…no lie.) In the original, Cinderella thrice daily laid upon her mother’s grave under the hazel tree weeping. If she were in need of a favor, she would ask the tree and her wishes were thrown down to her by a generous white bird in the tree. It was this bird who repeatedly gave her the wardrobe to visit her prince. But I think neither a magical bird nor a fairy godmother could have bestowed her with the bitchin styling in this shoot. Somehow the Gothic-inspired heavy handedness of the clothing, accessories, and makeup that would normally swallow up a model were but a mere compliment to the vivacious energy of these ladies. Even over time as I forget smaller details of this shoot, my overlying memory will be the intense magnetism of this couple on film. I really felt like I was watching a series of private moments where two people were discovering their fates together. It’s ultimately pretty hot amiright?
Set in the historic Niwot Cemetery and envisioned by my girl Sarah from Painted Primrose Florist, this Gothic cemetery wedding shoot was such a welcome surprise in my inbox. I loved it the moment I set eyes on its thumbnails in a gallery and that love grew as I studied each image in full. With so many fantastic elements from the photography to the styling of the set to the styling of the women…I can’t even find a place to start with the compliments. So many props to the whole team who made me wish I could live in this moment with them. And probably eat that whole cake.
Location: Niwot Cemetery | Photography: Green Blossom Photography | Original Concept and Floral Design: Painted Primrose | Dresses: The Ritz Costumes | Jewelry Design: Lady Luck Jewelry | Makeup: MENTE Freelance | Cake Design: Shamane’s Bake Shoppe | Models: Marika McMeans and Emily Olson
Happy Independence Day! As is my way with holidays, I wanted to share something out of the ordinary and delightfully delicious with you. So for this sultry afternoon, I’m thrilled to show you a sexy antique pickup engagement from The Photogenic Lab. Their signature style imparts an even more dramatic feeling to the day that surpasses the “cute” and heads straight toward downright cinematic. Saturated colors, artistic angles, a vintage truck, and a downright sexy couple make this Americana session epic. I grew up in the country. Though it was never really my style, I think it’s ingrained in me from birth to think that a strong man in an old truck is the hottest thing alive. Pair that with a woman who clearly knows how to move in front of a camera and you have gold! This was another one of those submissions were culling the images to a reasonable amount was difficult. Take in every detail!
Look at these two. Amanda & Tony were so natural and intimate with each other, this was easily one of my best sessions so far. Being sexy, comfortable, and confident goes a long way in a shoot and they absolutely NAILED it. What also helps? A 1969 Chevy C10 pickup truck, restored by Tony after a promise to his late father to bring his pride and joy back to life. You should hear the roar of that engine. Reminds me of their passion for each other. We lit up on some country roads with a cooler of beer and enjoyed a nice rocky mountain sunset. – The Photogenic Lab
Amber and Joshua met in college and got engaged right before he left for boot camp. They had a very small wedding between boot camp and his first deployment. Their honeymoon was moving across country to a new naval base. Needless to say, things were a whirlwind for this couple and they weren’t totally pleased with their wedding photos. Fast forward EIGHT years. Joshua is still in the military and they are the happy parents of a three year old son. They are once again facing a major move in the name of duty. They have fallen in love with Colorado and wanted to capture something special here before they go. So they recruited friend and photographer Misty Hudson of Folly Photography to help them capture a second attempt at beautiful wedding photos. They wanted something worthy of putting on the wall this time and they certainly got it! They recruited dress designer Maggie Burns of Marie Margot Couture (a favorite on this blog) and scored an incredible dress. With a body that very likely makes other moms of toddlers hate her (I kid, I kid…kinda), she rocked the hell out of an amazing vintage inspired slip dress. Blooms on Buckley provided a beautiful bouquet and Alchemy Artistry made her sparkle even more with hair and makeup. Next to Joshua in his dress blues, they are a magnificent pair in this vintage navy wedding shoot.
Photography: Folly Photography | Dress and Hairpiece Design: Marie Margot Couture | Hair and Makeup: Alchemy Artistry | Floral Design: Blooms on Buckley | Location: Downtown Littleton and Elk Meadow in Evergreen
Most couples base their initial choices on the vendor’s website. This is only natural given that they spend so little time in wedding land, have no idea how to go about their search, and research happens in off hours. Unfortunately, much the same way that hot guy on the dating website might be a huge freak in real life, vendors on the internet aren’t in any way obligated to tell the truth. And some of them take that to the extreme. This seems to be particularly true among photographers for some reason. And while that creepy creeperson from the dating site might ruin your Friday, the faux-tographer might just ruin your wedding day and your tangible memories thereof.
When I first started hearing these stories in the industry, I was dumbfounded that anyone could be so brazen and figured it was not a widespread phenomenon. You are probably reading this with the same conclusion. Let me assure you that the more you talk to industry professionals, the more you find out how commonplace this deception really is. But today I’m here with great advice to share with you on how to tell if your wedding photographer is a fake. This is going to be a long, but important post. To make it more fun I will go ahead and throw in something for which the internet is unequivocally awesome: Pirate Jokes!!
Q: What brand of camera does a pirate prefer? A: A Canon!
(Okay. Slightly rough start but I made that one up to be contextually relevant and I’m still proud.)
Just like any other aspect of life, lies run the spectrum from fibbing to full on pants-on-fire. Often times the little white lies are perpetrated by folks who are new to the industry and simply want a shot in hell of competing in an over-saturated market. Sneaky things like fibbing about the number of weddings they have shot or what equipment/training they have had are not great but somewhat forgivable. They are also nearly impossible to confirm.
Your photographer may simply be a noob if their portfolio seems to contain a very small amount of actual couples and real weddings.
- Does that one model appear in every one of their photography categories? Hint: She’s probably a friend or family member who is more than willing to help her photog friend “practice”.
- If the photographer is inexplicably well-connected despite their newness (it happens I swear), all of their material will be from styled shoots.
- Finally, including lots of detail pictures and few pictures of humans in a portfolio allows it to seem like there are more weddings there than truly exist since the details aren’t as obviously connected as a seeing a person repeatedly.
The best way to tell how much actual work your photographer is doing is to read their blog and pay attention to their Facebook page. But it’s not necessarily the worst thing in the world if your photographer is trying to build their portfolio and needs more clients. Everyone starts somewhere and one of my favorite photographers right now seriously came out of nowhere and has talent for days. If you like them but are wary, consider an engagement session first or perhaps hiring them as a second shooter. (Update 7/1/14: Some photographers will only let you book a package deal with e-session and wedding. These are usually your big name folks but it also helps you save money to book a package. Also, you have to work with your first shooter to arrange a second shooter to avoid a huge fight.)
Q: Where did the one legged pirate go for breakfast? A: IHOP!
Your photographer may be kind of a jerk or all-out lack creativity if they steal non-visual content from another site. Not everyone can write like Shakespeare and you can’t fault them for that. But you can question someone’s integrity if they stoop to plagiarism. One of the pettier “crimes” in this arena lately has been photographers stealing custom web formatting or text. I know of at least three photographers off the top of my head who have had their website text lifted directly. Two of the ones that come to mind have had their ABOUT SECTION stolen! And all three of those mentioned photographers had their content stolen by local people whom they have known for years! Awkward! And that’s just the ones they know about because they heard it through the local grapevine or happened upon their sites. The problem could be far more widespread. It takes a real winner to not even be able to write your own story and professional motivations. That is a person you should probably avoid. But these lies don’t necessarily hurt the client and are simply a sign of a shady person. They mostly just irritate the bejesus out of other photographers.
Your photographer may be an all-out fraud if they use images or blog posts directly lifted from another source without permission or credit. Some photographers may not be great with words or internet formatting and therefore fall prey to our previous category. But they damn well better be good at creating art on film because that is THE reason you hire them in the end. No matter what the motivation, implying that another photographer’s work is their own is extremely dubious. There are actually “photographers” out there who steal whole blog posts – images and text – and then change the names/locations to make it sound like they took the pictures. That takes some serious cojones and is frighteningly deceptive. The worst part is that, when confronted, they tend to lie, blame others, and then keep doing it! It becomes a tactical and financial nightmare to the photographers who actually took the pictures to stop these types and it’s incredibly unfair to their defrauded clients.
The photographers who fake their pages range from those with little talent who desperately want to book clients (that they then totally let down) to those who have no intention of ever showing up to your wedding and want to steal your money. One such case recently in Nebraska involved several couples having NO PHOTOGRAPHER on their respective wedding days because of a fraudulent photog who took their money and never showed up. And the word on the street is that said photographer has relocated to Colorado. Scary stuff! Fortunately, most of the photo stealing in this state seems to be going one way (our talented folks are getting stolen from) but you should still safeguard yourself from hiring one of the thieves.
Q: How much did the pirate pay to have his ears pierced? A: A buccaneer!
Things to look for:
- It seems too good to be true – So of course it probably is! If a photographer is offering you all of your images, an unbelievable price, or multiple services, you have reason to be suspicious. It may be the sign of a very new photographer who is desperate for business or a fraud. Either way, it’s probably not a good thing to risk it on your wedding day. Leave that for a photo session that isn’t once in a lifetime.
- Consistency – If the consistency in photo quality or style is widely variable, this is a sign that they sampled photos from various sources or augmented their own crummy photos with professional ones. Real artists will have a specific style that they can’t help but shoot their photos in and rarely change it up. This is also true for how they write their blog posts. (Like if one day my posts got really short or I stopped using lots of parenthesis and commas, you would be onto something weird here on this blog.)
- Subtle editing - Strange cropping or bizarrely blurred areas of photos are a sign that watermarks have been removed with varying levels of success.
- No contract - This is one I cannot stress enough. It protects both you and the photographer and is a must. Especially where children or boudoir are concerned, it might even become a personal safety issue for you to not outline how the images are shared or used. Do not let creepy-creepersons have access to your private images. A lack of contract may be the sign of an extremely new photographer but it is more likely a way to avoid recourse when they defraud you.
- No website – Who in this day and age can’t make up a free website with Wix or Weebly? Someone who isn’t putting any time or effort into their business. Someone who doesn’t deserve your business.
- No blog – Blog posts (except those completely stolen from others like mentioned above) are very difficult to falsify. Some photographers hate to blog and that’s a pity because it’s a really good way for clients to feel comfortable with their vendors’ work and personalities. I’ve talked with brides in the past and their #1 way of evaluating a vendor’s web page always seems to be their blog. Don’t completely discredit those who have little time to blog. But for those who do, it can be a big sign of professionalism, love for their work, and genuineness.
- Reviews only available on their site – Anyone can put a fake review on their site. Photographers like to sprinkle them on there for an added personal touch but they should honestly be taken with a grain of sand. This is particularly true if they give very little information about who supposedly gave them the feedback. If you can find the actual couple in their portfolio or blog that gave the review, chances are that it’s legit.
- Reviews on other sites raise red flags – By this I mean a couple of things. 1. Everyone gets bad reviews sometimes. Even the best products on Amazon always have neigh-sayers. And it is entirely possible that a particularly crazed client could make lots of reviews under different names to try to bring someone down. However, if negative reviews mention the same types of things and are clearly spaced out in time and location, there might be something to it. 2. The opposite could be true and they could have scores of glowing reviews…that they wrote. I had a photographer* who used to moderate comments for a large wedding review site offer me advice on how to tell a fake and this is what I learned to look out for:
- Far too many reviews given the amount of content on their website/blog/social media. This may mean either the number of photo sessions or the photo quality is inconsistent with their supposed notoriety among clients. You can’t get 30 reviews from 10 total clients and you can’t get 50 stellar reviews in 2 years if your pictures aren’t amaze-balls.
- All reviews basically the same length. Especially if that length is only a few sentences. Real clients who take the time to review will offer much more than just, “John Doe was an awesome photographer!” And a variety of clients certainly won’t generate the same type or length of review repeatedly.
- Repetitive phrasing or formatting. If too many reviews in a row start the same way or use the same terms, it could be a bad sign. Also look for the same spelling errors as a quick way to tell.
- Review periodicity – Do the reviews happen at a particular frequency – like once a day, week, month, etc.? Or do they all seem to happen immediately after the supposed event? This is highly unlikely behavior for organic reviews.
- Has the reviewer ever reviewed anyone else? - Some sites will let you click on the person and see all of their reviews given. Chances are they liked more than one of their vendors.
- Past tense – One tidbit that surprised me was that real clients will usually speak in past tense about the vendor because they are not undergoing a continuing relationship with them on a day to day basis.
- Personal anecdotes – If you loved your vendors, you probably had a particularly touching moment with them that you want to gush about. Like how the innkeeper at my venue came downstairs in her jammies at midnight to let me back into my suite when I locked myself out. A lack of all personal details doesn’t jive with the incredible urge to inconvenience yourself by getting online and writing a review.
Q: How much did the pirate pay for his peg and his hook? A: An arm and a leg!
- National Professional Organizations – This one is tricky because it’s not necessarily a bad sign if your photographer isn’t a member of major groups like the BBB or APA. Vendors have to pay to be part of these groups and it’s often not a good use of money for fledgling photographers. But it is a bonus good sign if they are affiliated and in good standing because it shows that they take their business seriously and are profiting from it. On the flip side, it’s a very BAD thing if they are rated poorly with sites like the BBB so it’s worth a quick check to be sure.
- Ask for more – Ask to be shown a large blog post (good), a wedding album in person (better) or a full wedding (best). While showing clients a full wedding can be a pain for professionals, it’s often a worthwhile one for their bottom line. If they keep a private link or PASS gallery for clients to see a full wedding they are particularly proud of, it can instill a lot of confidence. Even if you don’t look at everything, it ensures the kind of numbers, quality, and format you can expect from this professional. I prefer this format because sometimes even blog posts can be deceptive if the blogger is good at what they do. As a blogger, I’m really good at picking the best images and spend a ton of time putting them in a good order, pairing them, etc. to make the most of a submission and ensure that it looks consistent. What people don’t get to see is how many terrible images often make it my way. A couple doesn’t want 30 good images, they want a day full of cherished memories. They want that quiet moment with their mom in the hotel to be as beautiful as their radiant portraits in the golden light of sunset.
- Are they already notorious? – Because this kind of thing has become so common in recent years, sites like Stop Stealing Photos.com have sprung up to publicly ridicule/inform. There might be some names you recognize on there. The only problem is that it’s very difficult to search easily on this site by region or even town. And when you search for photographers that have been stolen from you don’t see which photos are theirs unless you hover over the “Original Source” and look at the hyperlink address. =( But the stories the posts contain will let you know how bad the situation is getting.
- The ol’ reverse Google image search – Pick a few key images from the photographer’s site, save them, and then use them for a reverse Google image search. You can find out where they have been featured or potentially where they have been stolen from. This may seem extreme for a client but is the best way for photographers to find out if they are being stolen from for sure. For Google’s official tutorial, click here. I also covered it to some degree in this post.
A pirate walks into a bar with a ship’s steering wheel in his pants. The barter asks him, “Sir, did you know you have a steering wheel in your pants?” He replies, “Ay, it’s driving me nuts!”
Why It Matters
Believe it or not, the relationship that you have with your photographer is an important part of your wedding day and the planning that leads to it. The minimum offenses I mentioned above can jeopardize the trust relationship or portray the photographer as someone they are not. It will affect how the images turn out and your general ease on the day of the wedding. Or it may result in complete disappointment when the photographer and their product does not match your expectations. As the offenses escalate in their degree of deception, you are really seeing violations that are outright illegal. Couples end up with photos that are nothing like they had hoped for or no photos at all. The loss of money is hard to swallow but the loss of memories can be unbearable. Sure the original photographers are peeved, but the people it really hurts are the clients who have their memories destroyed and never see it coming. Professionals can pursue legal action when their images are stolen; with the biggest blow being to their pocketbooks, time, and patience. No amount of money or other retribution that a couple sees from court can bring back their photographs that are ruined.
I’ll leave you with a story about a couple who narrowly avoided a catastrophe on their wedding day by booking an engagement session with the faux-tographer first. (Submitted by a local photographer*)
I had a bride contact me in March. She had been on the Wedding Wire and hired somebody on page one who had over 60 positive reviews. She told me flat out that she didn’t even consider anybody with less than 10 reviews, let alone consider that reviews could be fake. She liked the work on his site, put down a deposit, and got her engagement photos. They came 2 days after their session on a disc – 200 unedited photos of the same pose in terrible light. Nothing like she saw on his site and nothing that reflected his ‘amazing’ reviews online. When she called him on it, he said that he had very little wedding experience and only did 2-3 per year (so, where did the reviews come from!?). He refused to edit the images, so she contacted me and two other photographers to replace him. We weren’t a good fit (church weddings are not my target bride) and she chose another one she had met with, but we had a great consultation and talked about her frustrations on this one. She lost her deposit – and lost all trust in photographers in general.
[*Editorial Note: To protect their business from unforeseen backlash in this small professional community, I have opted to omit all names from this post.I assure you that all stories and tips did come from real humans who have a history with this issue. =) ]
Bride: Kate Smith, 30 – Associate Scientist
Groom: Eric Fossell, 32, Mechanical Engineer
Date: May 10, 2014
Location: Golden Ponds Park, Longmont
I’m very happy that as a blog I have chosen not to limit myself to certain styles of weddings. The versatility and creativity of Colorado couples knows no bounds. There is so much beauty and love in weddings from the simple backyard weddings to the opulent hotel weddings. Today I have the former. Kate and Eric’s bicycle themed wedding at the park is delightful. Every details is brimming with character and meaning. I love this wedding to pieces and can’t believe how talented their friends and family are to have created it themselves – including that incredible cake!
We were on our way to The Growler, a mountain bike race in Gunnison, CO. We stopped at Monarch Pass, where there is a gondola that takes you up to the top of the peak with spectacular views of the continental divide. We always talked about stopping here, and this time, at Eric’s suggestion, we finally did. As we got into the old crickety capsule and started our ascent, the wind began to howl and caused the whole thing to sway side to side. We were both nervous, but only later did I find out, it was for different reasons. Our feet firmly on solid ground, we climbed up to the observation deck and took in the view. As we were looking out at the mountain tops, Eric popped the question and I said Yes! – Kate
- All of the bicycle themed touches were very personal to the couple because they met and fell in love through their mutual love of cycling.
- 9 very close girlfriends were given blue pins to act as Kate’s “something blue” in lieu of having a large wedding wedding party. (Love this idea!)
- The wedding party’s attire was all either pre-owned or bargain shopped to make sure they would wear the clothes again. (Very thoughtful)
- An incredibly talented group of friends and family members helped bring this wedding together looking completely professional. All the planning was done by the couple and their friends. Eric’s sister, Kristen, made and decorated the cake. A friend of the bride made all the floral arrangements and was the ceremony musician. The groom’s brother in law officiated. The invitations were designed by a friend and printed at the bride’s uncle’s printing company. Wow…do they ever know the right people!
- “The pictures of the grandparents were very special to us, Eric’s great grandparents’ frame had a dollar bill and a piece of juicy fruit gum taped to it because his great grandma always sent him cards with those things in it,” said Kate.
- Kate’s grandmother’s dress was disassembled and used for pieces of her wedding attire – including a clutch, garter, and shoe appliques. She carried a handkerchief from her other grandmother as well.
- The wooden slabs on the table were from a birch tree on the bride’s family’s land in Minnesota.
The Best Part:
Venue: Golden Ponds Park, Longmont | Photographer: Melissa Sue Photography | Hair and Makeup: Inspire Salon | Rings: The Gold Market | Caterer: Oskar Blues Brewery | Floral Design: Julie Wagner (Friend) | Rentals: Robin Event Rental | Invitations: Brenda Neigbauer (Friend), Printed at Parkway Printing | Transportation: Oskar Blues Trolley | Officiate: Erik Lampe (Groom’s Brother in Law)
Being able to have our family and close friends out here in Colorado to show them where we live, what we love, and share our lives we’ve built here together with them. Not many people have been able to come out here and visit us and we don’t get to see our family that often, so it meant so much that they made the trip out here and for us to be able to show off the mountains, our hobbies, our favorite restaurants, and share a piece of our lives here with the most important people to us. It was amazing seeing all of them together, all there for us, and all in Colorado, that was truly incredible. As mentioned before too, having a very personal intimate, small, meaningful ceremony was the best and exactly what we wanted…having our family and friends contribute their talents in different roles in it was also very special. – Kate
Editorial Note: This was not a paid tasting nor is it a sponsored endorsement. I was invited to see for myself and write a piece if I enjoyed my experience. I’m not even sure there are words for how much I enjoyed it and that is with no strings attached. In addition to how impressed I was with the vendors involved, it was probably one of the most enjoyable networking events I’ve been to without even trying to be one. =) I’m ashamed that it took me so long to get this piece on the blog (pregnancy is rough man) because I really do want to pay homage to the folks who gave me a fantastic baby-free night out and so clearly care about their customers.
Sometimes you meet a vendor in this industry who just goes way above and beyond to please their clients. A Wild Thyme Catering is certainly one of those and they blew my mind with the level of their service when I was invited to a special tasting. Each of the couples who were having their tasting that evening were treated to more than just food. Tables were set up based on each couple’s wedding vision with custom linens and florals to inspire them. Because their tasting took place with other couples, they got to try a variety of foods in addition to their own selections. Going into the tasting, I thought I knew which selections would be my favorites but I was surprised over and over again. So I’m sure it was great for the clients to be delivered the same opportunity to open their minds to additional options. Overall, I was astounded by the level of specialized customer service from a vendor. I think I’m with the 99% of people who didn’t have anything remotely that awesome when our tasting happened. That is a LOT of work to please their clients and help them picture their big day. I would say that A Wild Thyme made an already cool experience (Personalized food! Yay!) and took it up about 15 notches. But it wasn’t just the atmosphere and the overall party it created that impressed me, the food was A-mazing as well!
I tend to shy away from what I consider to be fancy dinner parties or events because I lack an appreciation that so many have for certain foods (like goat cheese, mushrooms, capers, etc.). I think I’m not alone in that feeling so wedding food can be really hit or miss depending on the caliber of the affair. But everything I had from the fun mashed potato bar to the fanciest plated items knocked my socks off. Even with the broad spectrum of choices, I don’t think there was one thing that night I wouldn’t eat again without hesitation and I’m picky! The knee-jerk whiny elementary schooler part of me cringed when I heard that we were having candied peppers because I’m a wuss for spicy things. But I’m so happy I tried everything because I’m pretty sure that now I want to eat them on everything. I need to find a supplier stat because I had no idea what I was talking about. It just proves that in the right hands, ingredients can be magically transformed into stellar food. By the time we got to the last shared course, everyone was stuffed. So I pigged out on a serving of the best steak of my life with very little competition from the non-pregnant folks who were saving room for the alcoholic ice cream. I hope the moaning of my food-gasm was silent in my head like it was supposed to be. If it wasn’t, I was at least politely ignored by my fellow guests. ;)
Quesadilla with Port Infused Pear, Caramelized Onion, Brie
Chicken Saltimbocca Bites
Watermelon Cube with Blackberry-Balsamic Reduction and Grana Padana *
Chicken and Candied Poblano Flautas **
Buffalo Chicken on a Mazina Chip
Mashed Potato Bar ***
Coffee Cured Pork with Pickled Onions and Cider Sauce
Mediterranean Braised Chicken in Tomatoes, Olives and Garlic
Slider Trio: Guacamole Beef; Chicken, Kale, Sweet Potato; Greek Lamb ****
Barbecue Boneless Chicken Breast *****
Rosemary Trout with Chunky Tomato-Corn Salsa
Medallions of Beef Tenderloin over Creamy Potato “Risotto”
Grilled Petit Tender of Beef ******
* Who knew that pickled watermelon was so damned good??
** I want to eat these every single day for the rest of my life.
*** Again with the delicious candied pablanos and the creamy sauce was delish.
**** How on earth can someone make a chicken hamburger and have it be that moist?
***** I always say BBQ chicken would be my last meal if I were on death row.
I’ll be contacting A Wild Thyme if I’m ever in the clink.
****** Best steak I’ve ever had. Like butta! And I barely had to share!! Mwhahah!
A special mention has to be given to the other vendors who were so doting that night as well. InVINtions Winery (Water 2 Wine at the time of the event) graciously provided a space for the event and made custom bottles of wine for each couple as a parting gift. The table settings and florals were great for all 5 tables/themes. The alcohol-infused ice cream (yes, you read that right) was super neat and fashioned after some of my all time favorite drinks. I was very surprised by the texture and how little it tasted like the negative aspects of alcohol. Of course, I only got the tiniest lick off each sampling spoon because I was one month pregnant at the time. But, I want to do a post exclusively on that soon! It was just a great time!
Photography: Pippin’s Pictures | Venue: InVINtions Winery (Formerly Water 2 Wine) | Catering: A Wild Thyme | Floral Design: Bella Lu Floral | Event Design: Muse Events | Rentals: Event Rents | Ice Cream: Twisted Cream
Bride: Abby Metcalf, 22 – Nanny (of triplets!)
Groom: Rhett Welsh, 24 – Senior Credit Consultant
Date: September 1, 2012
Location: Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Lafayette (Ceremony)
Renaissance Flatiron Hotel, Broomfield (Reception)
Today I have a more traditional church wedding and hotel reception. A lot of emphasis is placed on on the “rustic” wedding in Colorado and barn weddings seem to take all. But there are certainly lots of couples who still like the comfort of their home churches and prefer the more distinguished look of a ballroom reception. Abby and Rhett’s pink and grey wedding feels fresh and modern with touches of tradition. The lovely photography from Aventura Photo Video highlights the beautiful touches and understated details.
Rhett and I met at the University of Oklahoma. He was a catcher for the baseball team and I was on the track and cross country teams. We met in study hall while wearing sweat pants and no make up. He told me to help him with his crossword puzzle he was struggling with and was impressed with how quickly I answered it. ;) From then on, we were inseparable best friends that grew into a strong relationship. On our two year anniversary (about four years after we met), he took me on a trip to celebrate. He rented out Arrowhead Bed and Breakfast in the mountains of Colorado (Morrison). I walked into a beautiful room and noticed a bottle on the bed. There was a note inside that was a hand-written poem Rhett had written that asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. After I finished reading it, through the tears in my eyes, I saw him down on one knee with my dream ring. After, he took me to dinner on the mountaintop. It was beautiful. We celebrated the entire weekend at the B&B. - Abby
- The rosary wrapped around the bridal bouquet belonged to Abby’s grandmother.
- Their “guest book” consisted of wooden letters that spelled their last name.
- A sign they made had a timeline of their relationship. (Cute!)
- Flower girl dresses and accessories were homemade.
- A friend of the bride and groom played piano during the ceremony.
The Best Part:
Venue: Renaissance Flatiron Hotel | Photographer: Aventura Photo Video | Bridal Gown: Allure Bridals via d’Anelli Bridal | Hair: Jillian Jenson, Salon Republic | Groom(smen) Attire: Mens Wearhouse | Rings: Helzberg (Bride) and Shane (Groom) | Floral Design: The Little Flower Market
One of my favorite wedding memories was doing our personal vows to each other. Rhett made me feel like every woman should feel on their wedding day. He cried and expressed with all the perfect words what I meant to him. - Abby
Abby + Rhett from Dylan Burr on Vimeo.
Bride: Shelby Smith, 29 – Commercial Interior Designer
Groom: Wyatt Guddeck, 30 – Sales Representative
Date: December 31, 2014
Location: Peaceful Valley Ranch, Lyons
Shelby and Wyatt’s New Years Eve wedding at Peaceful Valley Ranch is one for the books. I love winter weddings because they allow so much glamour without feeling trite. Metallic tones, fur stoles, and sparkle feel right at home on New Years Eve. And, it provides twice the reason to party! A model beautiful couple with great posing skills, cute story, and EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY make this one worth spending a little time on today. Please be sure to note the header photo, bride’s reflection in the wine glass during the getting ready photos, the group shot of the whole bridal party…everything! HAUTE I tells ya!
[We met when] we were juniors in high school and my best friend at the time had developed a crush on Wyatt. So she had arranged a couples outing. When he walked in my house for the first time to pick me up, I knew right away some day I would marry him. I think everyone else realized it too. Over time Wyatt and I became best friends and we even tried going out on a date. We chalk it up to the timing wasn’t right. But we always stayed in touch. – Shelby
At the time of their engagement, Shelby and Wyatt worked in two different states. With their anniversary nearing that weekend, Shelby was expecting a proposal to come then. But Wyatt made sure to throw her off track by being unavailable that weekend. In fact, he was quite unavailable all week with work. So little did she know that Wyatt was in Phoenix and taking her parents to dinner to ask for their blessing on Thursday night.
Saturday morning came, and I had been told by my sister that we were going on a hike to take some photographs for marketing purposes of my friends business. So I made sure to look cute, fix my hair, and put make up on. We were running late as always. When we arrived at the mountain, all my friends and parents were there. We hiked about half way up the mountain and stopped to take photos. After a few minutes of photographs, I felt someone grab my hand and realized Wyatt was standing in front of me. He had to get down on his knee 3 times because I was in such shock and kept backing away from him. But I said yes, on a mountain with friends and family all around us, and we spent the rest of the weekend celebrating.[...] He nailed it! He used to ask me what I imagined an engagement to be but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I did know that I wanted to celebrate with the people we loved and I wanted it documented so I could remember the moment always. – Shelby
- Shelby and Wyatt’s wedding was held over New Years Eve and was decorated with a winter theme to coincide with the celebration.
- She had traveled to Peaceful Valley as a child and her mom always raved about the chapel there so it is where they chose to marry.
- The couple rewarded their guests with a 2 day extravaganza. The day before the wedding included snow tubing and BBQ.
- Shelby and her mother gilded a whole lot of pine cones and used them to decorate the ceremony and reception space.
- Gold snowflake ornaments of many kinds were collected and used as both chair decor and favors.
- The gold table runners were made by Shelby’s mom. The bride also collected lots of mercury glass leading up to the big day to match.
- The s’mores bar at the reception featured snowflake shaped marshmallows homemade by the bride and her mother.
- A sparkler entrance (vs. exit) was used to make sure that everyone got to be part of the fun, no matter when they had to call it a night.
The Best Part:
Venue: Peaceful Valley Ranch | Photographer: Studio Moirae | Bridal Gown: Oleg Cassini | Necklace: BCBG | Shoes: Chinese Laundry | Hair and Makeup: Face Forward by Larry Chowing | Bridesmaid Attire: Various | Groom(smen) Attire: Calvin Klein | Ties: Burberry | Rings: Cornelis Hollander (Bride) and Spexton (Groom) | Cake Design: Shamane’s Bake Shoppe | Caterer: Peaceful Valley Ranch | Floral Design: The Painted Primrose | DJ: Top Hat Entertainment | Invitations: Trotter Creative
Wyatt and I think all the special moments with all the people who traveled near and far to share our special day with us was pretty amazing. We felt so loved and supported by everyone who attended. For me there was a moment when I was in the bell closet of the chapel with my sister, a quiet moment before I became a Mrs., and it was pretty entertaining to see me there in my dress all tucked away from the world. - Shelby