YMCA of the Rockies Wedding

YMCA of the Rockies Wedding | Estes Park, CO | Jamie + Kristen

I first met Jamie and Kristen because they were searching for a Tahoe based photographer on Thumbtack that would be willing to photograph an unconventional engagement session in which a yeti attacked them in the woods and their dog rescued them and thus, they all lived happily ever after.

I was the perfect fit.  Duh.

After that, I was so enamored with these two that I couldn’t imagine not photographing their YMCA of the Rockies wedding in Estes Park, CO.  While we briefly flirted with the ideas of ziplining in wedding attire, climbing mountains and etc, in the end, we decided we didn’t have time and you know what, that was ok.  Their day was absolutely perfect just as it was: complete with rubber animal masks (not a first), berry cobbler instead of cake (be still my heart), a ring bearer dressed as Frodo, incredibly wonderful friends and family, and a relaxed atmosphere.  Kristen’s former advisor expertly relayed stories from when the two first met in her lab in college as she officiated a ceremony peppered with quirky hysterical readings.   The YMCA of the Rockies is an epically beautiful location that offers an exceptional place to hold a wedding on a DIY shoestring budget.  Your friends and family can all rent cabins or rooms for reasonable rates and very little decor is needed when you’re standing on a hilltop gazing at Rocky Mountain National Park.  At the end of the day, this wedding was exactly what I think a wedding should be: a day where you surround yourself with the people you love the most and you don’t worry about the rest.

I frequently get compliments on the days of weddings from guests who watch me work, or who have recently been to a wedding where the photographer was a nightmare not fun to work with, which lead to stories that are both fascinating and educational to hear.  Generally I am told things like, “You are working so hard!”  And, “You’re so great at family formals, that wasn’t terrible at all!”  At Jamie and Kristen’s wedding, one of their guests gave me both a new compliment and the best compliment I’ve ever received: “I can tell by how much you’ve been smiling and laughing today that you really love your job.”  

I do really love my job.  I really love my job because it means I get to hang out with wacky people who love their friends and family that aren’t afraid to buck tradition and be themselves.  With mixed wedding parties (because why should it be girl vs boys?), with friends who sing songs for their first dance, or run around in circles in animal masks during their portraits, or dance even when they are the only one dancing.  I love surrounding myself with awesome and Jamie and Kristen are definately in that category.  

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Venue and Catering: YMCA of the Rockies | Musicians: Ptarmigan String Quartet | Bride’s Attire: White Lace and Promises | Groom’s Attire: Jackson & Connor | Wedding Party Attire: Convertible Wrap Dress and Jackson & Connor

Yosemite Park Wedding

Tenaya Lake Wedding | Yosemite, CA | Catherine + Josh

One would think that I would have photographed a ton of weddings in Yosemite National Park already thanks to it’s proximity to Tahoe and my adventurous outdoor spirit.  Unfortunately, I hadn’t yet had the opportunity, which is why I was especially excited to be connected to Catherine and Josh via Thumbtack.  They were planning on holding a Tenaya Lake Wedding in Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park.  Since they were both traveling from afar for their elopement, it was important to Catherine to have someone who not only knew how to photograph outdoors, in harsh sunlight, but also would make the entire day easy and uncomplicated.

I was especially excited about the day because they wanted to have me photograph their small intimate ceremony on the edge of the lake, and then go romp around various places in Tuolumne for portraits.  It was SO MUCH FUN.  I even convinced them to wade through the lake for an epic lake portrait!  Thanks Catherine and Josh for being adventurous!  I think our work paid off!

Venue: Tenaya Lake in Yosemite National Park | Officiant: Rev. John Paris | Florist: Yosemite Weddings | Bakery: Mimi’s Cookie Bar | Reception and Catering: The Westin Monache Resort | Bride’s Attire: Watters | Bridesmaid Attire: Francesca’s | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: J Crew | Make-up: Jenny Sickler

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“Lauren was such a pleasure to work with for our wedding. Our wedding was in Yosemite National Park and because of Lauren’s creativity we have wedding photos that are absolutely incredible. Lauren has ideas for photos that I don’t think many photographers would come up with which produces some unique and beautiful photos – especially if your wedding is in a destination location.”  

-Catherine and Josh

Isla Mujeres Destination Wedding

Isla Mujeres Destination Wedding | Cancun, Mexico | Brittany + Crystal

I should quit my job now because I’m sure I’m never going to be able to top the amount of love I have for these two ladies and their Isla Mujeres destination wedding.  I want to share all their photos but I have rules against that because I’m pretty sure no one really looks after 10 images anyways, so I tried to keep it together and not go overboard.  That being said,  it was a priority for Britt and Crys to really take advantage of their location so after getting ready and their first look at the hotel, we had hours to cruise around the island on our golf cart Joaquin and take loads of amazing portraits inspired by the ridiculously awesome place we were in.  There’s a few other of my favorites that I didn’t double up on over on their sneak peek from last week.

These two gorgeous gals hold a special place in my heart: they are former neighbors of my best mate Haley.  It was an unbelievable honor to be asked to be their photographer and I hope I did them justice and that they love their photos as much as I do.  Half of my job is already done when friends or acquaintances hire me.  So much of what I do involves creating a relationship and a quick connection in order to bring out genuine moments in folks and when I already know you, that hurdle is non-existent.

This was not my first time to Isla Mujeres, and although it’s changed quite a bit since I stopped in here on my way home from Cuba in 2008, it still has the heart and soul of the island I originally fell in love with.  Isla Mujeres is relaxed: the best sort of island time.  There is inexpensive delicious ceviche at every restaurant, cold cheap Mexican beer, smiling faces and warm hearts everywhere you go.  There are no massive hotels, no high rises, and no fancy private beaches for the most part.  You can get $2 fish tacos from a man in a plywood booth that presses his own tortillas.  You can rent a wonderful apartment on Airbnb for very little.  It’s off-the-beaten path travel at it’s best and it made the most wonderful backdrop for a wedding.

After we spent the whole day jaunting around the isle, Britt and Crys were wed in front of friends and family at the Zama Beach Club, which is officially in my top five favorite venues of all time now.  Instead of cake, they had a churro cart.  Instead of a special cocktail, they had fresh coconuts handed out to drink from as guests walked in.  Shoes were expected to be removed.  Toasts were made.  Sunsets were watched.  Crowd-surfing happened.

Britt and Crys, I can’t wait to come visit you and all of your amazing friends in Philly.  I know that your life is going to be filled with dancing, laughter and unicycles, and I wouldn’t wish anything less for the two of you.

Venue: Zama Beach Club | Wedding Planning and Day Of Coordination: Sunhorse Weddings | Invitation Design: Karith Gingrow | Bridal Gowns: BHLDN, Lace and Liberty, and The Wedding Dress Shoppe | Second Shooter: Julie Pizzo

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White Sparrow Barn Wedding

White Sparrow Barn Wedding | Quinlin, TX | Teddy + Janet

Teddy and Janet are awesome.  I’m 110% certain that you can’t mention Teddy in my family without someone exclaiming, “I LOVE JANET!”  Teddy, this is your future: being overshadowed by love for your wife.  To be honest, I’m also 110% certain that Teddy is absolutely overjoyed for this to happen.  He will be the first to tell you that Janet is not only the most important person in his life, but the best thing that’s ever happened to him.  I know he’s secure in himself enough to be okay with the situation because frankly, there’s no lack of love for Teddy in my family, or any of the families that surround him.  And now, this love extends and envelopes Janet as well.

Teddy grew up with my “little” brother and they have a very tight knit group of friends to this day.  Despite Teddy’s distance and independence from the rest of the group, most of whom still live in Dallas, everyone adores him.  Woe be upon the friend who moves away from the group!  They now all also adore Janet.  I can’t imagine what it was like for Janet to meet Teddy’s boisterous friends for the first time, but I can say with confidence that I’m glad I grew up with them, instead of having to be introduced to them.  As my brother would say, “Dukes for life.”

It was hard to pick just a few frames to share from Teddy and Janet’s wedding.  Teddy’s family hails from Liberia, Africa and with almost 200 people in attendance, half of which were in traditional African wedding attire, it made for an incredibly colorful wedding.  My mother makes an appearance below, learning how to twerk.  The infamous plastic vuvuzela made an appearance not only to introduce the ceremony, but through out it.  Teddy’s mother and her church members catered the entire dinner, offering some traditional African dishes that were amazing!  She made the best cabbage I’ve ever had!

I’m so happy for Teddy and Janet.  Much like the rest of my family, I absolutely adore both of them.  They are an incredible powerhouse dynamic duo: bright, smart, adventurous go-getters that remind me of myself.  I know that they will achieve each and every one of their lofty dreams in life, together.

Venue: White Sparrow Barn | Invitations: Papersource | Florist: Whole Foods | Bakery: Sugar and Ice Custom Cakes | Bride’s Attire: Bridal Warehouse | Veil: Alain Patterson Couture | Bolero Designer: Alter My Heart | Groom’s Attire: Jos A. Bank

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White Sparrow Barn Wedding

A White Sparrow Barn Wedding | Teddy + Janet | Sneak Peek

I’ve been looking forward to Teddy and Janet’s wedding ever since they traveled to Tahoe last summer to visit and take engagement photos with me.  They picked an amazing, fairly new venue, an unbelievably fantastic rustic barn in Quinlin, TX, just outside DFW, for their White Sparrow Barn wedding.  They really wanted a big boisterous epic party and I knew they could bring just what they desired to their evening.  I have to admit, I was woefully underprepared for what was to come at Teddy and Janet’s wedding day and to be honest, I think they were as unprepared as I was!  Teddy’s family is large and hails from Liberia, Africa and even Teddy wasn’t sure how many of them were going to be in attendance.  Over 200 wedding guests later, half of which were clad in beautiful and bright traditional African wedding attire, I came away with some amazing photos and a strong need to drink a beer.   That being said, what seemed chaotic and disorganized while I was standing in the middle of it, went off in a wonderfully planned day that went exactly as it should have and insanely delicious food, all prepared by Teddy’s mother and her church group.  The end result is going to be some wildly colorful wedding photos for this adventurous loving couple, but since I’m buried under editing, they probably won’t be ready until Thanksgiving week.  Until then, here’s a few more than I normally share to hold you over.

Oh, and I almost forgot the best part: there should be no age limit to being a flower girl.  Grandmothers as flower girls may just be the best thing ever.

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Trois Estate Wedding

Trois Estate Wedding | Aaron + Ellen | Sneak Peek

It is perfectly fitting that Aaron and Ellen wed at one of Aaron’s favorite places in the world: The Trois Estate at Enchanted Rock.  Aaron has spent the majority of his adult life with an all-consuming obsession with climbing.  I’m allowed to say this because he’s one of my best friends in the world.  In fact, there’s probably not many people that can tick off my own obsessions, faults, and quirks as well as Aaron can.  Aaron’s pursuit of climbing dominates his days off, his vacations and I’m certain he went climbing on his wedding day.  So basically, everything was as it should be.

Aaron and I have known each other for 17 years.  We’ve worked at 4 different companies together and followed each other across states.  Aaron is one of the most competant people I know and my favorite person to toss back a beer or two on a porch with.  He’s a homegrown Texan, which means that slow languid small talk comes easy to him which is exactly why he’s done so well in the retail world.  Ellen is adventurous, unbelievably smart, super laid back and one of the best people he’s ever brought into my life.  Not only am I unbelievably happy that two of my good friends were wed, but I’m incredibly honored to have photographed their intimate Texas destination Trois Estate wedding.

In short, this is an incredibly awesome pair of rad people who I feel incredibly lucky to consider friends.  I mean, really, who doesn’t want friends that can sabrage a champagne bottle?  That’s a skill y’all.

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Gar woods wedding

Gar Woods Wedding Photographer | Published at Borrowed & Blue

Borrowed and Blue is one of my favorite wedding blogs to contribute to.   They manage to keep things fresh with individual blogs for various locations.  Over the years they’ve been extra kind to me, publishing me at their Napa wedding blog, their Bay Area wedding blog, and now, for the seventh time, at their Lake Tahoe wedding blog.  They always write really fun, kind, complimentary things which gives you extra warm fuzzies inside and their post on Brooke and Blake yesterday was no exception.  I’m so honored to have been chosen as Brooke and Blake’s Gar Woods wedding photographer.  Their day was exceptionally amazing from start to finish and it was so worth getting in the Lake for that group shot on the pier.

Follow this link to relive Brooke and Blake’s wedding, featured on Borrowed & Blue Lake Tahoe.

You can also follow Borrowed and Blue on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

North Lake Tahoe Wedding

Cordova Alaska Wedding

Alaska Destination Wedding | Jessie + Nate

When Jessie told me she was getting married she immediately followed it up with the words, “…and you’re our wedding photographer.”  “Great!” I replied, “When is it?”  “Well, I’m not sure that we want to have one….”

When Jessie told me they were thinking of being married in an intimate mountaintop ceremony in the town that Nate works in every winter in Alaska, I about melted to the floor.

Emphatically YES TO ALL OF IT.

Big thanks to the crew and staff that Nate works with who housed us, fed us, and entertained us that week while we wandered the streets of Cordova, the rain forest nearby and the glaciered peaks of the area.  I had such an amazing time staring at otters, photographing eagles, and generally just stuffing my face with halibut.

I have a ton of photos from our week in Cordova, but I’ll leave you today with Jessie and Nate’s Alaska destination wedding photos only.

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Bell County Courthouse

Killeen Courthouse Wedding | Angela + Glenn

 

There is something special about a courthouse wedding.

A bride.  A groom.  A small intimate grouping of select friends and family.  Their pledge to spend the rest of their life together.

Glenn is in the military and will deploy for South Korea this June.  It was important for the two of them to wed before he left.  Angela is super smart, bright and bubbly.  She was absolutely radiant in one of the most beautiful wedding dresses I’ve seen lately and ladies, I’ll give you a big tip: she rented it from Rent The Runway!

I’m so happy I was able to be part of this young couple’s Killeen Courthouse Wedding.  What an honor.

Venue: Bell County Courthouse | Dress: Rent The Runway

Fire House Museum Wedding

San Diego LGBT Wedding | Jen + Lauren | Sneak Peek

 

 

Jenny is the greatest employee I ever had, probably because she was completely overqualified for the job.  As an manager who often rarely saw my employees, I used to leave a lot of notes behind for them.  When Jenny left, she literally covered my store with notes: hundreds of them!  I was happy to hear during Jen and Lauren’s ceremony that the tradition has continued and that she leaves post it notes for the love of her life as well.  I have so many stories to share about this amazing power duo from San Diego but those will have to wait a few weeks until I’m finished with their wedding.  In the meantime, I’m just still so honored and tickled that I was asked to be their wedding photographer!

Until then, here’s a few sneak peeks from Jen and Lauren’s San Diego LGBT Wedding at the Firehouse Museum in Little Italy.

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Fire House Museum Wedding
LGBT San Diego Wedding