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Viceroy Snowmass Wedding Photography: Alex and Louis

Snowmass Wedding Photography:  Alex and Louis Ortiz, March 29th, 2015

Boy oh boy, have I been dying to feature this wedding!  Over a year and a half in the making, this spring wedding at the fabulous Viceroy Resort in Snowmass, CO was one that I will never forget.  It was a fast-paced weekend starting with the casual rehearsal BBQ around the pool, to a first look with the bride stepping off the gondola, to a double ceremony (Persian/traditional) on the top of the mountain, to an epic party back in the ballroom of the Viceroy.  I absolutely loved this couple, their families, the ridiculously talented vendor line-up, the music, the food, the location, the energy…literally everything about this wedding was to die for.

It was not an easy weekend by any stretch of the imagination.  However, anyone who knows me knows that I thrive on challenges and new situations/opportunities. This wedding provided me with that, hand over fist. This was a full two day event for me, which I love because it gives me an opportunity to meet the family and close friends ahead of the wedding day and to get a grasp on who’s who.  The wedding day itself was amazing and with a lot of moving pieces and parts. Nearly 300 guests had to get from the base of Snowmass mountain up the gondola to Elk Camp where the ceremony was.  It was a  gorgeous blue-bird day without a cloud in the sky (literally), and although it was warm and beautiful, this also presented some major challenges with lighting.  The ceremony was not only back-lit, but also in front of a mountain of glaring white snow.  It doesn’t often happen that I get intimidated by a location, but as soon as I saw exactly what I was dealing with, my formal photography education came rushing in to the rescue.  (Thank God!) I am so proud of the images I was able to capture in one of the most difficult outdoor scenarios I have ever encountered on a wedding day.  Bright light + bright snow+ a white dress and a black tuxedo can without question be a recipe for a disaster! But Julia, my rock star associate and second shooter, and I nailed it.

This was the first wedding executed in Colorado by the incredible wedding coordinator and designer, Jolene Peterson, the owner of Laurel and Rose, and she and her team were nothing short of miracle makers.  Really.  And, Cindy Ollig from the Perfect Petal did a beyond incredible job with the decor for both the ceremony and the ballroom.  It was ridiculous.  The team, the talent, the uniqueness, the love, the energy…  I truly cannot say enough.

Choosing which images to feature was SO hard!  In the end, I decided to pick the ones that were personal favorites and also ones that tell the story of this wedding weekend from the sweet moments, the opulent details, the gorgeous people, the amazing energy and the truck loads of LOVE seeping out of every corner.

Thank you SO much to all of the incredible vendors that made this wedding weekend come to life.  A massive thank you also to Susy Shams, the mother of the bride, without whom this weekend would not have been even remotely possible.  She was truly and unquestionably the mastermind behind the entire event.

Alex and Louis, you are an a perfect match.  I love the way you love each other! I love your spirits, your joy, your enthusiasm, your trust, your commitment… I wish you all the best for the rest of your lives! Call me when you have babies!

The Team:

Four Seasons Denver Wedding: Amy & Steve Keefe

Four Seasons Denver Wedding:  My first wedding of 2015 was a special one indeed!  Not only is the bride a very dear friend that I met as a result of my business several years ago, but she is someone I have been cheering on as a wonderful person, a gorgeous woman, and a fantastic friend deserving of all the love this world has to offer.  The day I met Steve, I knew she had found “the one.”  Steve was equally as warm and friendly as my beautiful friend, and I could tell immediately just by the way he looked at her that he was going to adore her for the rest of her life.  They were not engaged at that point, but I knew it was coming.  Last fall they took a trip to Euorpe together and will never forget the day I got her Facebook message- “We’re engaged!!  Do you want to be my wedding photographer or come as a guest?!?” You can guess my response.  There was no way I was going to miss the wedding and there was no way I was going to let someone else photograph it either!

I was thrilled when Amy hired Ann Marlin of Cloud 9 Weddings & Papers to coordinate the big day and ecstatic when I found out it was going to be at The Four Seasons in Denver.  I always love working with Ann, as any wedding she is involved in is sure to be fabulous.  And, given the modern luxury of their chosen venue, I had everything I could ask for to “do my thing.”

The only real challenge for me that day, was the weather.  On Feb. 21st, Denver got hit with a massive blizzard that did not lend itself to the romantic outdoor photo ops we had envisioned.  If you don’t remember that particular weekend, think snowing sideways.  The staff at the Four Seasons was incredibly accommodating and did everything they could to help us, including opening up their most deluxe suite (you know, the one where Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, and the like stay when they visit Denver) for Amy and Steve to do a private first look in.  It was to die for.

From the stunning floral decor by Swank Stems, to the lighting and draping by Artistry Events and Design, to the plush linens and chiavari chairs and the flawless execution by Cloud 9 Weddings, Amy and Steve truly had a dream wedding.  And not only that, but their friends and family were all so welcoming and warm, it felt as if I were actually a guest too.  Albeit, a guest with a camera and a really big responsibility. :-)  I couldn’t be more honored to have been a part of this A-team wedding day if I tried.

Thank you to Amy and Steve, from the bottom of my heart, for trusting me with this most special day in both of your lives.  Thank you to Jennifer Winder, my incredible associate and second shooter for working so hard and taking such fabulous images. And thank you to all of the fantastic vendors whose joint efforts truly created a magical experience for the couple and guests alike.  It’s wedding days like this that make me truly love my job,  love my clients, and find great satisfaction in capturing the beauty of true love.

Santa Barbara Wedding Photography: Valeska & Nelson

Santa Barbara Wedding Photography:  This year I round out my 2014 wedding season with a very special wedding on October 4th- a destination wedding (for me) in the place where my photography career began- beautiful Santa Barbara!  Not only that, but the bride, Valeska, is one of my very nearest and dearest friends, who I met in my years in CA over 10 years ago now…

It was 2001- I had just started photography school at the Brooks Institute of Photography; Valeska had just moved to Santa Barbara from Germany with her boyfriend, Jonas, who was also attending Brooks. Jonas and I had classes together and became friends and I first met Valeska through him.  Valeska and I quickly became buddies and started taking walks on the beach together with Cheyenne.  Valeska was my favorite go-to model at the time whenever I needed someone to help me with a school project.  It turned out we also had another friend/couple in common and our history would keep us connected over the years.  My old boss turned BFF knew Valeska too and between the two of them, I have been returning to Santa Barbara every year since I left.  The first time I met Nelson, I instantly loved him!  He is funny and talented and sweet and smart and warm and silly…I could go on… but really it’s all just to say that I knew right away that Valeska had found her #1 man.

Their wedding ceremony and reception were hosted at Orella Ranch on a beautiful, (albeit, hot!), day where a family from Germany and a family from Alaska came together on the mountain top to celebrate the union of their common thread.  My incredibly talented friend, Jessica Van Pelt, drove up from San Diego to photograph with me (THANK YOU JESS!!!!!) and we had an amazing time and were able to capture some of the most beautiful moments.

I am so honored that Valeska and Nelson wanted me to be the one to capture this day for them, but also that I was able to be a guest at their celebration!  I love my job, I love my friends, and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this for the world.  Valeska, I love you sweetie!  Nelson, I’m so happy that you and Valeska have found each other and I look forward to getting to know you for many, many years to come.  I wish you both a lifetime of love, adventure, and laughter together…  MUWAH!  XOXO

Crooked Willow Wedding: Jessica & Matthew

Time to officially brag about my associates!  YAY!  Melissa was the lead photographer on this amazing Crooked Willow Wedding and Telly was her second shooter.  They ROCKED it and I am so proud to have them on my team!!

At the beginning of the year I had an epiphany about my business- and I hired four more people.  Amber, my new business manager (Who is ah-mazzzing!! Game changer kind of amazing) and three fabulous associate photographers- Melissa, Telly and Jen.  Julie’s been with me for almost 6 years now and together we have grown from our quiet little fantastic duo into a female powerhouse of 6!  It’s been a very exciting year for me and I have more news that I will share shortly about some big changes- but for now, I will just say that I need these girls to help shoot weddings with me for a reason. And they are killing it!

Jessica and Matthew, arguably the most adorable couple in the world, got hitched on Oct. 3, 2014 at one of my favorite venues outside of Denver proper.  Crooked Willow Farms in Larkspur truly never disappoints.  And this wedding was extra special in that Jess works with the horses at Crooked Willow and her beautiful horse got to be a part of the wedding day (as well as their two doggies)!  I was jealous that I wasn’t there shooting it honestly.

Thank you so much to Jessica and Matthew for trusting my team to document your stunning wedding day!  Working with you has been such a pleasure for me from start to now and I sincerely hope that you will continue to come to us for any and ALL of your future photo needs as your family grows.  Congratulations again!!  You are officially hitched with a lifetime of love and adventure ahead of you.