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Tips From Couples Planning a Destination Wedding by Durango Photographers

Destination weddings to Durango CO are a big part of my business (as well as other photographers in town).  Most of us also do a lot of elopements here, but those aren’t included in this article. This is more about couples who have arranged weddings with guests and wedding parties.  I’ll talk about elopements that couples have arranged in Durango in another post. These are the tips from brides and grooms in their own words:

Lizzy and Richard Moore – They had just recently moved to Durango when they called us about photographing their upcoming wedding. We were extremely delighted that they chose us and have since become friends – they actually moved to a house last spring that is right up the road from us.  Their wedding was held at Antlers on the Creek Bed and Breakfast in Durango.  Susan is the owner and proprietor and does a fabulous job of taking care of her guests.  It was a small wedding with around 25 guests, with a maid of honor and a best man.

Lizzy’s tips are to delegate, delegate, delegate (at least as much as you’re comfortable with), so you can focus on enjoying the experience. The day of, keep it low key with the only priority being getting ready and saying “I Do”.  Don’t try to do too much.  Eat!  Don’t forget to eat breakfast and make time at the reception to eat.  It will help with nerves and absorb alcohol.  I (Karen) would add that you should also drink water all day long.

Have a plan for the day after:  If you need to return rentals or drop off the marriage license, make sure those things are planned for.  Let things roll off your back. If someone cancels at the last minute, or family is being family, don’t get caught up in the drama that will take away from having a perfect day.

Lizzy’s dress came from Occasions Bridal in Durango (I love Donna, the owner – she has the most amazingly beautiful dresses), and her officiant was Chessa Gill.

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Bride and Groom arm in arm walking away


Maggie and Nick Kusmit –  They came to Colorado from Georgia where they were living at the time.  Nick was in the military and stationed in South Carolina, just across the border from Georgia. He wore his gorgeous military blues for the wedding.

Maggie says that arranging a destination wedding has its challenges.  Finding a local caterer and baker who can understand your vision took some work, and then there are the climate differences (they were married on New Years Eve, so it was cold and they weren’t used to that). But, with patience and perseverance, it can be the most wonderful outcome and truly amazing day. Photographers can be hard as well. It took me 3-4 calls to other photographers in Durango before I found Karen Skelly Photography.

Near the end of their wedding, we went outside with their bottle of champagne.  I had Nick shake the bottle just a little, and when he opened it, champagne spray went everywhere. I just love that shot.

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Groom pops champagne and spray goes everywhere 



Lisa and Jon Peterson – They came from California to get married at Silverpick Lodge in Durango CO.  Lisa is a special needs teacher, so it’s a given that the has lots of patience. Jon works in IT and is an army reservist. They’re both funny and fun to be around.

They had around 100 guests at their wedding, as well as 3 bridesmaids, 3 groomsmen, 3 flower girls, and 3 ring bearers (including their dog, Siren). I designed a 10×10 hard paged wedding album for them that they absolutely love and will cherish forever, and pass down to their children and grand children. Since the wedding, they’ve had a baby and adopted another fur baby.

Lisa’s tip is to stay on top of the wedding day timeline (so all of the vendors are in sync), and keep open lines of communications. It helps to take suggestions from vendors you are working with to find other vendors you need for the wedding. Take trips to visit the location, twice if you can. Keep an open mind and try not to get worried about small stuff.

Her flowers were designed by Cindy at Wildwoods Fine Flowers, the DJ was Steve from Mr Soul Entertainment, and the cake was made by Jocelyn at Skillfully Decadent.

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Bride and Groom dancing in the dark

Christine and Rosie – They came from Texas and knew they wanted to get married and share their love with family and friends in Durango CO. After searching for wedding venues, they found Silverpick Lodge in Durango CO.  Chris at Silverpick Lodge is a friend and colleague, so we trust and refer each other to clients.  That’s how Christine and Rosie found Karen Skelly Photography. Both Chris and I helped them find other vendors like Steve at Mr Soul Entertainment for their DJ, Cindy at Wildwoods Fine Flowers, and Luda who is a cake artist.

Christine said she had been looking for a photographer in Durango and after chatting with me, she knew they were in good hands.  Her tip is to talk to people and you’ll find what you’re looking for.  Also, go with the flow because if you worry about every little thing, you’ll miss your perfect day.

There was a blizzard the morning of their wedding day, so the ceremony was moved in doors – you never know what might happen around here.

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Newly married Christine and Rosie

I hope these tips and ideas help other couples who are planning a wedding here in Durango. If you need help or other information, please let me know.


Thanks, Karen

Karen Skelly Photography









Wedding Time Line – Durango Photographers

Raise your hand if you have recently become engaged and are sooo excited to start planning your wedding.  Do you know where to start?  No?  Well, here you go – I have the perfect Wedding Time Line to help you get started and keep that planning proceeding at a no stress pace.

My hubby and I have photographed so many weddings that we can also help out with your planning and recommending other vendors who are super good at their specialties.  We know that this is probably your first time planning a wedding and it can seem really daunting.  Give us a shout and we are there for you.

I know this is a little hard to read, but you can hold the Ctrl button on your computer and zoom in using the scroll on your mouse.  Or, you can save it to your computer and open it in another picture viewer.  Let me know if you have any problems.

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Luv, Karen

Durango Photographers


Wedding Planning by Durango Wedding Photographers

I Love finding amazing information for anyone who is planning a wedding, or will be in the future.  I’m posing the link to a blog that you can jump on over to and read, but I had a few things to add to her information.

I photographed Monica’s wedding last summer and she had her hair and makeup done by the same gal who does hair and makeup for Stevie Nicks.  Monica knew her thru family, so it was awesome.  Her hair and makeup was so beautiful, I didn’t have to retouch her skin at all.  This is one thing you should make a priority for your wedding.

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Bride getting makeup done

Do a First Look.  This is where the bride and groom meet at a spot that is private and they get to spend a little time together before the ceremony.  They also get a whole bunch of different images for their album.  Believe me, the groom will still have a big ole smile on his face when the bride walks down the aisle.

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First Look Session

Have Fun!

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Wedding Party dancing down the aisle

Go on over to this blog and read some more great information about wedding planning:

Luv, Karen

Durango Wedding Photographers






13 Wedding Planning Tips by Karen Skelly Photography

Durango Photographer by Karen Skelly Photography

It’s wedding season here in Durango CO, and pretty much everywhere, so I’ve attached a pdf file of suggestions for your wedding planning if you’re getting married, or if you know someone who is getting married.  I know when you are getting married for the first time, there are so many things you don’t know (I remember that time).  I’ve been the photographer at so many weddings now that I have learned a lot of things most first time couples would really appreciate knowing.

I hope you will find these tips useful.  Feel free to comment any other suggestions you may have, or questions you have on the items I have listed.  Thank you for reading my blog.  Let me know what you think.

You can visit my website at

13 Suggestions for Your Wedding Planning pg 1 and 2

Luv, Karen

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Wedding Planning Timeline

I found this awesome Wedding Planning Timeline on Pinterest given to us by Marry This.  Most couples planning a wedding have never been married before, so this is super helpful information.  I think it also helps bite that procrastination bug right in the behind, if you know what I mean.  The only change I would make is to add doing an Engagement Session 5 months before so you can use one of those images for your Save the Date cards, and also have a guest signing book made using your engagement photographs.  These are super popular with my wedding clients.

Another thing to think about when booking vendors is that they want to be able to plan their summer vacation, so if you wait until a month or two before your wedding, they may already have set your date aside to be gone.  Vendors appreciate having the dates booked way in advance so they can do their own planning.

You can feel free to share this with anyone you know who is getting married.


Luv, Karen

Durango Wedding Photographers


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10 Suggestions to get the Best Wedding Photography

These are great suggestions for getting the best out of your wedding photography.  I would also like to add that taking lots of cigarette breaks will also eat up the time you have for beautiful wedding photographs.  I know, I know, you’re under a lot of stress and need that break.  I used to smoke myself (a long time ago), and I don’t feel any more stressed than I did back then, so I don’t really think it helps.  If you’re going to do this, pad some extra time so you don’t miss out on photos.

Hope this helps out couples who are planning their wedding anywhere, but especially in Durango CO.

Luv, Karen

Durango Wedding Photographer


5 Ways to Not Waste Your Wedding Flowers

Wedding flowers can be quite an investment, so if you can do something with them after the ceremony and reception, you’ll feel much better about spending the money.  Unfortunately, they’re going to die anyway, but in the meantime, they can be used in different ways.

Hope this gives you some great ideas, or maybe you have some ideas of your own.  Let me know if you have another idea I can pass on to other couples getting married.  You can comment here, or email me at

Luv, Karen

Durango Wedding Photographers


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