Saturday's wedding is definitely going down in my personal history book as one of the most exciting and terrifying celebrations I've photographed. It all started off normal enough. Shannon and Chris prepped separately at the Comfort Suites off of I-70 and Evergreen Parkway and then headed over to the Pines at Genesee where the wedding celebrations would take place. It was a nice laid back day leading up to the ceremony which took place at the downhill Aspen Wedding Terrace. If you've ever been to the Pines at Genesee you know that on this particular terrace the entire crowd sits in chairs that are facing downhill. The bride's sister was in the middle of her reading when suddenly Sarah (the wedding planner) shouted "Everyone stop!" For a brief second I thought that perhaps this was some sort of pre-planned prank the bride and groom had forgotten to let me in on. But then Sarah continued with "There's a bear!"
All of us turned to look behind her and sure enough a somewhat small black bear was casually making his way down the hill right toward the ceremony. All of you bear enthusiasts out there should know that where there is a baby bear a large and protective Mama bear is probably not too far off. I was hoping that this was a teenager bear that had recently been out on his own with no mother around to protect him. At first we all froze. We were in a big crowd and no one wanted to start running and attract the attention to them. Of course I started photographing him.
At first he just wandered off to the side of the ceremony and looked at us. Then he decided to meander over to the back area of the ceremony to inspect a stroller (thankfully there were no sleeping babies in it!) and for a split second I about had a heart attack thinking he was going to walk down the aisle! But then he turned and walked back over to the side of the ceremony to see what the musicians were up to. They wisely and calmly stood up and walked away from the bear. My poor assistant Erica was seated right in front of the musicians and was practically sitting in the lap of the guest next to her to get some distance from the bear.
At this point we all realized that the bear seemed like he wanted to stay and hang out for the rest of the celebration so we all started cheering and clapping our hands to make some noise. This seemed to do the trick. He got spooked and ran over to a tree about 20-30 ft. away where he stood up on his hind legs to inspect the scene one last time before deciding to head off into the woods. After a few minutes of excited chatter and relief the ceremony finished without a hitch.
Later I heard that at the rehearsal dinner Shannon had mentioned that she wanted to see a bear on her wedding day. Hey Shannon, when you read this post, can you please say the following out loud? "I would like April O'Hare to win the lottery!" :)
The rest of the wedding was a huge success. They had friends and relatives from all over the place including Georgia, Minnesota, and a ton of Chris's family from South Africa came to Colorado to celebrate as well. This was really special since they so hardly get to see each other and it's one of those things about weddings that I just love. Chris and Shannon are so in love and are totally best friends which I think you can tell by looking at the photos of them together. They laugh so easily with each other and I love to see that in a couple.
Shannon and Chris,
It was my pleasure to photograph your wedding day. And what an exciting day it was! It'll obviously go down in your family lore. I wish you all the best and we'll be in touch:)
Shannon's veil was created by her aunt and used material from her mother's wedding gown.
Kim Jerome Friend of the bride
The wedding crashing black bear makes his grand entrance.
Haha, I love Chris's worried expression.
One of my favorites:)
My friend Kristy and I used to skate together years ago for the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls. She actually met her partner (now wife!) Holly when she joined up to skate for us too! Sadly, they have both moved on to other life pursuits and don't skate for us anymore. I was really excited that Kristy contacted me about photographing at the Webb building at midnight on Tuesday night which is when the state of Colorado began officially recognizing same sex civil unions. Of course I said yes!
It was a beautiful night with so much love bursting out from every corner of that huge room. There were different stations with volunteer officiants and photographers there to provide their services for the happy couples who had just received their civil union paperwork. I brought my husband along on this night to help me as my lighting assistant and afterwards we couldn't help but spend the car ride home talking about how proud we are to be Coloradoans. We both grew up in this great state and it has changed a lot throughout the years. We recalled that it was a mere 21 years ago when we were both kids that we became known as the "Hate State" due to the infamous Amendment 2 (if you are so inclined, read about it here: http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2012/11/colorado_swing_state_2012_hate_state_1992.php?page=2) And here we are in 2013, a swing state that is finally granting basic human rights to same sex couples. I love it:)
I have selected just a small selection of some of my favorite moments captured on this wonderful, historic night. And I want to give a quick shout to a few other people who volunteered their time and effort at this event. First and foremost, I know that Kristy worked her little butt off as an organizer and volunteer on this evening. She is actually starting her own event planning business specializing in same sex celebrations. Check out her website below!
And one of the officiants I worked with that evening was the Reverend Nathan Woodliff-Stanley who is the executive director of the ACLU of Colorado. I also had the pleasure of working with Judge Mary A. Celeste who proudly let us all know that she was the first out lesbian judge in Colorado. You can check both of them out in the video posted below from the Denver Post.
I also wanted to point out that one of the most popular officiants to volunteer her time was Congresswoman Diana Degette.
And lastly, HUGE congratulations to all of those happy couples out there who finally get to have legal recognition of their love for each other. I'm wishing you all many happy years to come!
Westword Article about Colorado as the "Hate State"
Denver Post A video from that evening
Mile High Civil Unions Kristy's new business venture
There's Diana Degette performing some ceremonies:)
Seriously? Look at that beautiful smile:) It truly was a special, joyous evening for all involved!
Rev. Nathan Woodliff-Stanley officiates for these young gentlemen
I totally ate some of that sugary goodness. Such a fun cake:)
I was hoping some of the couples would get all decked out:)
Hell yeah. This one is my favorite because that thumbs up totally says it all:)
Joanna & Patrick and I met up in the Lodo area of downtown Denver to get some springtime engagement pictures before their wedding day up in Steamboat Springs this summer. I think this session wins the award for most ground covered during one session because we basically started at Coors Field and made our way over to the Modern Museum of Art and on to Confluence, Riverfront, & Commons parks before ending near Little Man Ice Cream in the LoHi neighborhood. Our feet were sore by the end, but we such a great variety of photos it was worth it:)
Joanna & Patrick,
It was so fun hanging out with the two of you. Hope you love the sneak peek and I'll be in touch soon with the rest of them!
Outside the old Salvagetti building on Little Raven Street
With all of the late snowstorms we've been getting not a whole lot is growing or flowering just yet. Still we managed to get some pretty plant life in some of the shots:)
Sunset silhouette on the Highland Bridge
Breanne & Jon's got married at an intimate wedding celebration on Saturday at Narrow Trail Ranch which is a private estate in Estes Park, Colorado. The timing was perfect, nestled right between the late spring snow storms that Colorado has been getting this year. The sun was shining and it was just a perfect day with close friends and family in the mountains of Estes Park. Breanne's dress was one of my all time favorites; a stunning display of intricate beading and she looked amazing in it. I am a huge fan of Downton Abbey and it reminded me of a modern take on a gown that would be worn on that show.
Breanne & Jon,
You two are so obviously meant to be together:) Watching you and your family spend a relaxing afternoon together was so uplifting. You are all such wonderful people. Thank you for choosing me to photograph your beautiful celebration!
Sue Wong Found at Nordstrom
Joseph Abboud Custom suit
One of my new favorite dress shots. Love the mountain (with snow still on it!) in the backdrop.
Breanne, you should be a perfume model:)
How pretty is this?!
Would you guys believe that they totally set themselves up like this? They are naturally gifted at posing themselves:)
Breanne & Jon married on the patio.
I have the kiss shot too, but I just really love this one:)
Narrow Trail Ranch is a big beautiful house with lovely window light all over.
The real cake almost made it to the house but on the last hilly climb it toppled over. Luckily Vows, which is located in Estes Park were kind enough to let Breanne & Jon borrow their display cake for photos. What nice people they are over there!
Breanne's nephew was so adorable and followed her around all day:)
A beautiful Estes Park day!
Not fair! Some girls get all the looks:)
During the ceremony, Breanne & Jon had each guest put one flower each into the vase to create a beautiful bouquet.
There is a huge gorgeous long table at Narrow Trail. Perfect for a dinner party.
Just some of the decor at Narrow Trail Ranch
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