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Tips from Couples who have Planned a Wedding by Durango Photographers

My husband and I are Durango CO Photographers and we love to photograph weddings. Every couple is different and special. They are ALL fun!

I decided to ask some of them for tips that they could share with other couples who are currently planning their own wedding. I got a few great responses and I’ll throw in a few of my own.

This tip comes from Autumn and Tim. They were married at Ridgwood Event Center and had around 80 guests. We spent 6 hrs with them at the wedding and reception doing everything from the getting ready photos to the dancing.

They have since had a baby and I get to follow their lives on facebook:) Autumn is a kindergarten teacher and Tim is the manager at a Golf Course. They live in Grand Junction, but love the Durango area so came here to get married:

“My advice to couples going through the wedding planning process it to book everything as early as they can, that way they get exactly what they want. I would also say that they should just go for the things they really want, you only get married once and if you want a horse and carriage make it happen. Also, enjoy the day. They should give themselves plenty of time to get ready, plenty of time to take pictures and plenty of time to party.”

Bride and Groom kissing by a lake, photographers in durango co, durango photography, durango photographers

Autumn and Tim kissing by a lake at Ridgwood Event Center

This tip comes from Ryan and Kristen. They live in Gallup NM, but have relatives who live right on the river near Durango, so they had their wedding ceremony there. We then moved on to El Morro Tavern for their reception. The tavern closed to everybody except the guests.

Kristen is an elementary school principal, and Ryan is a school consultant. Kristen has an adult son from a previous marriage and he was their wedding ceremony officiant. It was an intimate wedding with around 50 guests and we spent 3 hrs with them. They found us by googling Durango Photographers and other vendors the same way. They researched the websites and then did phone interviews. We were honored and delighted to be chosen.

“Just have fun and let other people take care of as much of the planning that they are able to do” (less stress on the couple – haha).

Groom carrying the Bride by Photographers in Durango CO, Durango CO Photographers, Durango Wedding Photographers, Wedding Photographers in Durango CO

Groom carrying the Bride

My own tips:

  • I know how hard it is to select all the vendors for your wedding. If you work with us, I am very happy to supply you with recommendations. We’ve been photographing weddings for 11 yrs now (7 in Durango), and we know all the best vendors who do great work. I have many of them listed (with links to their websites) on my website here.
  • If you’re having an outdoor wedding and reception, make sure the venue has a big tent. If they don’t, rent one – we all know the weather in Durango is volatile.
  • If you don’t hire a wedding planner, I will work with the DJ and any other vendors and put together a time line for your day so everything runs as smoothly as possible.
  • Most weddings are held outdoors here in Durango, so even though many ladies love those high heeled shoes, just know that you are probably going to sink into the grass and wobble on the gravel paths. You could bring along a pair of flats to wear while you’re walking and then change back into the high heels.
  • Brides – wear a button down or zipped shirt when getting your hair and makeup done, and go to the bathroom before you put on your dress. Also, have the hair and makeup person come an hour earlier than you think you will need them – it always takes longer than you think.
Wedding Ceremony at golf course, photographers in durango co, durango photography, durango co photographers

Wedding Ceremony at Golf Course

Okay, that’s it for now. I hope these tips help you out and let me know if you have any questions.

Long Live Love

Thanks, Karen

Karen Skelly Photography

Durango Photographers

www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

 

 

 

 

How Photographers in Durango CO work with couples planning a wedding – 4

This is Part 4 of us explaining how we work with couples planning a wedding and during their wedding day. If you missed the other parts, here they are:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

This will cover how we photograph the reception and the normal order of events. If the couple has hired a DJ or a band, we like to coordinate the timeline with them so we are all on the same page. We consider the reception to start as soon as we are done with the couples photos and they are announced into the reception area.

Bride and Groom entering reception hall, photographers in durango co, durango co photographers, durango photography

Bride and Groom entering reception hall

Usually after the bride and groom enter the reception hall, they will be surrounded by well wishers and given hugs and kisses by everyone. We’ll take a few photos of that happening, but not too many. If we have been hired to only attend a small portion of the reception, we will get the DJ to work with us to get photos of the cake cutting (even if it’s fake), the first dance, and the bouquet/garter toss.  We prefer to be there for most of the reception so we can photograph them as they happen logistically, but some couples budgets don’t allow for that.

If we are there for most of the reception, dinner will usually take place shortly after the couple arrive. They usually have arranged to feed us poor starving photographers, so that’s very much appreciated. After dinner, there are generally toasts by parents, maid of honor, and best man. We ask the couple to stand near the toaster so we can get all of their reactions, toasts, hugs, etc.

Dad toasting bride and groom, photographers in durango co, durango photography, durango co photographers

Bride’s dad toasting (and roasting) the couple at the reception

During the dinner, we will take photos of the guests at their tables so the couple has the memories and a record of who attended their wedding. If there are 100 or more guests, we have prepared business cards with instructions on how the guests can view the photos once they’re ready and on our website. We pass these out while we’re taking their photos. We also take photos of the food, signs, the DJ, the flowers, and any other items the couple would want to remember. We also take the bride and groom’s wedding rings and photograph them in various places. As we always say, the food and the flowers will be gone after the wedding, but the photographs last forever!

Wedding rings in bouquet, photographers in durango co, durango photography, durango photographers

Wedding rings in bouquet

After dinner and the toasts, the cake cutting is usually next so people can enjoy their dessert during the first dances. Since the couple has usually never been married before, I generally give them some basic instructions on how to hold the knife and how to cut a small piece to feed each other. Every once in a while, they will smash it into each other’s faces, and yes, it is fun!

Bride smashing cake into groom's face, photographers in durango co, durango photography, durango photographers

Bride smashing cake into groom’s face

Bride and groom cutting the cake, photographers in durango co, durango photography, durango photographers

Bride and groom cutting cake with no smashing into faces

Next we move on to the First Dances. The bride and groom are first up, then the Bride and her dad, then the Groom and his mom. After these three dances are completed, everybody gets on the dance floor for some fun (and to wear off the calories from the dinner and cake – haha). We also get many photos of everybody dancing later in the evening.

Bride and Groom's first dance, photographers in durango co, durango photography, durango photographers

The First Dance

The last things that usually take place are the bouquet toss and the garter toss. The bride usually has a spare smaller bouquet that she uses for the toss. After that the groom needs to remove the garter from the bride’s lovely leg. Many times we’ll tell the groom he has to crawl to the bride and without using his hands, remove that garter.

These are so much fun with lots of single ladies and men trying to catch the prize, although I have seen some people in the groups actively trying to AVOID catching the prize. For these shots, since it’s somewhat dark by then, I have a flash on my camera either with a bulb softener or bouncing off the ceiling to light the bride and Ken holds another flash with an umbrella to light the ladies. Same thing for the groom and his guys. After the bouquet and garter have been tossed, I get a photo of the winners with the bride and groom.

Bride throwing bouquet, photographers in durango co, durango co photographers, durango photography

Bride throwing the wedding bouquet

Groom removing bride's garter, photographers in durango co, durango photography, durango co photographers

Broom searching for the garter

When the sun is getting ready to set, or if it’s already dusk, we’ll take the couple out for a few more photos.

Bride and Groom reflection,Durango Wedding Photographers, Photographers Durango CO, Durango CO Photographers

Wedding Reflections

Bride and Groom with moon, photographers in durango co, durango photography, durango photographers

Bride and Groom with moon

These 4 posts are based on a typical 6-8 hr wedding. There are many variations and differences in everybody’s wedding day. I hope these were informational and would love to hear your opinions.

Long Live Love!

Karen Skelly Photography

Photographers in Durango CO

www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

 

 

How Photographers in Durango CO work with couples on their Wedding Day – 3

I’ve been writing about how my husband and I, who are photographers in Durango CO, work with and photograph couples who are planning their wedding. This is Part 3. If you missed Part 1, you can see it here. If you missed Part 2, you can see that here.

Part 3 is going to cover how we photograph the families, wedding party, and the couple. These portrait sessions are probably some of the most important photos for the bride and groom because they will have all of their loved ones and friends, who they sometimes don’t see very often. I love to capture everybody, especially grand parents who will pass away one day and then the couple has these memories of them.

Wedding Family Portraits, Durango Wedding Photographers, Wedding Photographers Durango CO, Durango Photographers, Durango Photography

65 People and a Dog

Normally, the portraits are taken right after the ceremony and before the reception. I ask the bride to name a person who can corral everybody to make sure we don’t miss someone. Since we don’t know all of the family and friends, the person who gets everyone together needs to be a close family member or friend who knows everyone. As soon as we get to the wedding venue, Ken and I look around and find a spot that will be beautiful for these portraits, so we already have that set up so we don’t waste time having to look around after the ceremony.

Bride with Mom and Dad, Durango Photography, Durango Wedding Photographers, Wedding Photographers Durango CO, Durango Weddings

Bride with mom and dad

Bride with her grandpa, Photographers in Durango CO, Durango Photographers, Durango Photography

Bride with her grandpa

Once we have everyone together, we get everybody situated into a spot so we can see everyone’s face. Tall people in the back, medium height people in front of them, and younger people and kids on the ground. I show the people on the ground how to pose their legs, then I show the people standing how to pose their legs as well. There really is a way to pose legs so that people look their best (read, thinner). Starting with the feet and legs automatically adjusts people’s posture.

Wedding Family and Friends Portrait, photographers in durango co, durango photography, durango photographers

Wedding Family and Friends

Once we have the big group picture, we start removing people so that the couple starts getting their closest relatives for a closer up shot. We move people in and out so that we get all of the bride’s family, all of the groom’s family, and special family members. Then we move onto the wedding party portraits. We’ll do the entire group with a few different poses, including fun things like wearing sun glasses, walking towards me with fist pumps or flowers in the air, or drinking beer/wine/whiskey. I’ll do anything the group wants to do. Then we take separate photos of the bride with each of her girls and the groom with each of his guys.

Groom and Groomsmen, photographers in durango co, durango photography, durango photographers

Groom and Groomsmen having a beer

We then send everybody, except the bride and groom, off to the reception. We’ll take the couple to a few different spots around the venue to capture their love and happiness – they are newly married after all. After we’re done, Ken and I get ahead of the bride and groom so we can capture them coming into the reception area (the DJ and I have coordinated this). We’ll also take the couple out later on for some sunset photos if that’s possible. If there’s no sunset, we still get some photos later when the light is softer right before sunset.

Bride and Groom at Sunset, photographers in durango co, durango photography, durango photographers

Bride and Groom at sunset

Next post will cover the reception. Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts.

Long Live Love,

Karen Skelly Photography

Photographers in Durango CO

www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

 

 

How Photographers in Durango CO Work With Couples Planning a Wedding – 2

This is Part 2 of my post about how my husband and I work with couples to photograph their weddings in Durango CO. You can view Part 1 here .

One of the things I missed in Part 1 concerns engagement sessions. As Photographers in Durango CO we love to do engagement sessions because then we are able to get to know our clients so much better and they get to know us as well. We have lots of fun and they have another special day to remember. Many of our clients have us put together a guest signing album using their engagement images. We have hard paged albums where we put the engagement photo on one side of the page and leave the other side blank for guests to sign at their wedding reception. Of course, if you live out of state or are eloping, an engagement session probably won’t work for you.

Dog with engagement ring on nose, Photographers in Durango CO, Durango CO Photographers, Durango Photography, Durango Wedding Photographers

What is on my nose?

Now to continue where I left off in the last post. If the girls are getting their hair and makeup done, I try to keep everything on schedule by letting them know how much time they have left because it’s so easy to lose track of time and get behind. Sometimes we do a First Look with the bride and groom, which I find to be super special because we’ll have the bride walk up behind the groom and maybe put her hands over his eyes or tap him on the shoulder. He then turns around and gets to see his soon to be wife in all her beauty. After we take some photographs, which adds more to the couple’s collection, we let them be alone for a few minutes. This definitely does not take away from the way the groom reacts when he sees his bride coming down the aisle. If the bride and groom don’t want to do a First Look, sometimes we’ll do it with the bride and her dad.

Bride and Groom First Look, Photographers in Durango CO, Durango CO Photographers, Durango Photography, Durango Wedding Photographers

Bride and Groom First Look

Sometimes we also do some of the family or wedding party portraits before the ceremony, depending on how much time we have and the time of the day. If the sun is high in the sky, we need to find a shady spot to put everybody in so they don’t have raccoon eyes and they’re not squinting. Both of those are not acceptable. During the family/wedding party/couple’s photos, my husband holds our umbrella with a flash so we can light everybody’s faces so they all look great. Ken, my husband, calls himself my lighting technician:)

Photographer's umbrella with flash, Photographers in Durango CO, Durango CO Photographers, Durango Photography, Durango Wedding Photographers

Ken holding the umbrella with flash during a family portrait session

During the ceremony, both Ken and I take photographs of everything going on. We love to capture all of the smiles, the tears, the emotions, and any other moments that happen. Some couples have a special thing such as a sand ceremony, an exchange of roses, or something else special to them. This is one of the things we ask about in our Wedding Information form so that we’re prepared when it happens. We make sure to capture the vows, the ring exchanges, and the first kiss. Sometimes we have to yell out “slow down the kiss” so we can capture the moment – haha. Then as the couple is walking back down the aisle, I have them stop at the end of the chairs and do another kiss. This usually gets an applause from their guests.

Wedding Ceremony at Dalton Ranch, photographers in durango co, durango co photographers, durango photography, durango wedding photographers

Wedding Ceremony at Dalton Ranch

Stay tuned for Part 3 where I’ll talk about the portraits of the family, wedding party, and the couple.

Long Live Love

Karen Skelly Photography

Photographers in Durango CO

https://www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

Get in touch for more information about having us photograph your wedding or family portraits

 

 

How Photographers in Durango CO work with couples planning a wedding -1

You’ve just become engaged? So Happy For You – Congratulations!

This is part one of how we work with and photograph couples who are planning a wedding.

We are photographers in Durango CO and have photographed lots of weddings and spoken to lots of couples, and we realize that planning a wedding is a daunting task. Of course, if you’re planning a small wedding or an elopement, it’s much easier, but a large wedding with all your family and friends can cause some couples to throw their hands up in the air and say “Help Me”. We also realize that most couples have never done this before, so we love to help out any way we can.

You can hire a wedding planner or even a “day of” wedding planner and a lot of that WILL be taken care of for you. If you’re not hiring one of those, we will help out as much as you need by sending you a list of our recommended vendors and also helping steer the day of the wedding in the right direction so that nothing is missed. Many times we work with the DJ, who also has a vested interest in keeping the day on track.

When we first meet up with a couple or chat on the phone, we find out where they’re getting married and the time of the ceremony. I realize many couples want to get married early in the day so they can have their reception and everybody can enjoy themselves. I totally get that, but having your ceremony outdoors (most weddings in Durango CO are outdoors) at high noon makes the lighting extremely difficult. If you’re having an outdoor wedding and you can move the ceremony time, it will make the photographs much better – the time depends on the month you’re getting married. We do use an off camera flash with an umbrella during the family and couple’s photos to offset the sun, so it’s not impossible.

rose exchange during wedding ceremony, photographers in durango co, durango co photographers, photographers durango co, durango photographers, durango wedding photographers

This was a wedding photographed outdoors in bright sun.

If you decide you would like to work with us, we have a Wedding Photography Agreement and a Wedding Information Form to be filled out. I have these on line so it makes it easy for couples to fill these forms out. Usually one half of the investment amount is paid at the time of signing and the other half is paid two weeks before the wedding. I do have payment plans if you’re unable to make just two payments. We are really easy to work with.

Groom carrying bride over shoulder, Photographers in Durango CO, Durango Photography, Durango CO Photographer

Groom carries bride off over his shoulder – Fun couples are the best!

If the wedding is at a venue where we haven’t been before, we will arrive a little early to scope out good locations for the family/wedding party/couples portraits. If we’re doing “getting ready” photos, we’ll also find a nice spot to photograph the dress, shoes, bouquet, jewelry, and other items that the bride will want to remember. Then we will photograph her and her girls getting their hair and makeup done. If the groom is getting ready at the same location, I’ll go back and forth between them so I capture all those moments that they won’t have seen of each other. If the client is getting a Wedding Album, we like to tell the story of their day from beginning to end.

Couple kissing on a ski lift, Photographers in Durango CO, Durango Photography, Durango CO Photographers

Wedding at Purgatory Resort

Be on the lookout for Part 2 coming soon.

Long Live Love

Karen Skelly Photography

Durango CO Photographers

www.karenskelyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

We are always here to help. Let us know if you are getting married and would like more information.

 

 

Snowy Elopement by Photographers in Durango Co

Stephanie and Rick chose Ken and I, as photographers in Durango CO, to capture some wonderful memories during their elopement. They came from Texas and wanted to get married in the snow. At the time of their elopement, there wasn’t as much snow in Durango as there is now, so we traveled up the mountain because I knew an area that would definitely have snow and they weren’t disappointed. They were very happy indeed.

They actually met on Match.com and met at a restaurant for their first date in January of 2015. They were engaged in March of 2017, and are now a happily married couple and Stephanie tells me they are also best friends. They both have two adult children each who are all in the same age range. Stephanie’s daughter attended the ceremony.

Stephanie is a real estate broker, and Rick is an engineer. He loves photography and videography. Stephanie’s daughter, Alex, ran the video during the ceremony, and Rick used our photographs along with the video and made an awesome slideshow.

There were only the couple, her daughter, Ken, and me present so it was a beautiful, stress-free time and we laughed a lot. After the ceremony and photos, they took off to go skiing in Telluride.

I hope you enjoy their images. Thanks for taking the time to read their story.

Bride reading vows to Groom, photographers in durango co, durango co photographers, durango wedding photographers, durango photography, wedding photographers in durango co

Bride reading bows to Groom

Groom reading vows to bride, photographers in durango co, durango co photographers, durango photography, durango wedding photographers, wedding photographers in durango co

Groom reading vows to his Bride

Bride and Groom's first kiss, photographers in durango co, durango co photographers, durango wedding photographers, durango photography, wedding photographers in durango co

Bride and Groom’s first kiss

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Bride and Groom’s first dance in the snow

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Groom dips the bride

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Bride with her wedding bouquet

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Groom carrying the bride in the snow

Bride and Groom walking down a snowy road, photographers in durango co, durango co photographers, durango wedding photographers, durango photography, wedding photographers in durango co

Bride and Groom walking down a snowy road

Blooper - Groom slips in the snow, photographers in durango co, durango co photographers, durango photography, durango wedding photographers, wedding photographers in durango co

Blooper – Groom slips in the snow

Bride and Groom kiss after wedding ceremony, photographers in durango co, durango co photographers, durango wedding photographers, durango photography, wedding photographers in durango co

After wedding ceremony kiss

hand imprints with wedding rings in the snow, photographers in durango co, durango co photographers, durango photography, durango wedding photographers, wedding photographers in durango co

Hands and wedding rings in the snow

Bride and Groom having a snowball fight, photographers in durango co, durango co photographers, durango wedding photographers, durango photography, wedding photographers in durango co

Bride and Groom having a snowball fight

Long Live Love

Cheers, Karen

Karen Skelly Photography

Photographers in Durango CO

www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

Kristen and Ryan’s Wedding by Photographers in Durango CO

Kristen and Ryan live in New Mexico but hired my husband and me as photographers in Durango CO because they come here often to ski, hike, and have lots of fun in the mountains. I may be a little biased, but Durango has so much beauty that many people come here to get married or have their family portraits taken.

Kristen is a principal at an elementary school, and Ryan is self employed as a school consultant. He was also a principal before going out on his own.

Their wedding ceremony was held at a relative’s home in Durango which has a large backyard and the river runs through the property. It was a gorgeous venue for a wedding. Unfortunately, the river was quite low due to the extreme drought we have been having here. They then all gathered at El Morro Tavern, also in Durango for their reception. My husband and I, as photographers in Durango CO, love downtown Durango where El Morro is located. It’s an old fashioned western style town with many of the buildings dating back to the 1800s.

They each had a sister standing along with them at the ceremony as witnesses, along with Kristen’s son Abraham. It was a very sweet and loving ceremony. Kristen’s other son, Justis was the officiant, so they definitely included much of their family in their special day.

I hope you enjoy their wedding ceremony and reception images.

Bride and Groom toasting by Photographers in Durango CO, Durango CO Photographers, Durango Wedding Photographers, Wedding Photographers in Durango CO

Bride and Groom toasting after wedding ceremony

Bride with her girlfriends by Photographers in Durango CO, Durango CO Photographers, Durango Wedding Photographers, Wedding Photographers in Durango CO

Bride with her Girlfriends

Bride and Groom having fun by Photographers in Durango CO, Durango CO Photographers, Durango Wedding Photographers, Wedding Photographers in Durango CO

Bride wants to dance and have some fun

Bride and Groom kissing by Photographers in Durango CO, Durango CO Photographers, Durango Wedding Photographers, Wedding Photographers in Durango CO

Bride and Groom kissing behind the aspen leaves

Bride, Groom, and their 2 sons by Photographers in Durango CO, Durango CO Photographers, Durango Wedding Photographers, Wedding Photographers in Durango CO

Bride, Groom, and their 2 sons

Groom carrying the Bride by Photographers in Durango CO, Durango CO Photographers, Durango Wedding Photographers, Wedding Photographers in Durango CO

Groom carrying the Bride

Bridal Portrait in black and white by Photographers in Durango CO, Durango CO Photographers, Durango Wedding Photographers, Wedding Photographers in Durango CO

Bridal portrait in black and white

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Groom in the thinking pose

Bride and Groom first dance by photographers in durango co, durango co photographers, durango photography, durango wedding photographers

Bride and Groom during their first dance

If you are in need of a photographer for your wedding, family portraits, high school senior portraits, or a boudoir session, get in touch for more information. I would be honored to be your photographer.

Thank you, Karen and Ken

Karen Skelly Photography

Photographers in Durango CO

www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

 

 

 

 

 

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