When this gorgeous Miami bride-to-be contacted me to talk about her wedding that was being planned in the Colorado mountains I was all ears! There is something really special about working with a couple and their friends and families for several days in a row. First of all, I am the kind of photographer that takes a vested interest in getting to know my couples as much as possible before their big day. This helps me to understand who they are as individuals, as a couple, and what kinds of images are going to be the most important to them. Besides that, I believe that I do my best work when I feel connected to my subjects. And, it's not always possible given that many of my couples hire me sight unseen from other states, as in this instance. But even when that is the case, I ask a lot of questions to help me get to know them ahead of time. When Marisa and I spoke on the phone it was immediately clear to me that she was my ideal bride. She was sweet and spunky; she knew what she wanted, but was open to suggestions; she loved my work and was trusting of my advice about which parts of the weekend should be documented. We had an instant rapport on the phone and she hired me after only a couple of conversations. When I was finally able to the bride to be in person, along with her parents, Ruth and Steve, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that the wedding was going to be off the charts fun! I loved them! And apparently the feeling was mutual because when I saw them all again the weekend of the wedding, they welcomed me with open arms and treated me like part of the family. The groom, Mitch, and his family, were equally warm and inviting.
I arrived on Friday afternoon to get checked into my room and had a welcome bag full of goodies waiting for me in a very plush king-deluxe room at the Vail Lodge only a minutes walk away from the center of the village. Sa-weet! The first event was the welcome party at the Shakedown bar that night. Everyone was SO excited about being in Colorado and for the weekend ahead. There was a live band, the drinks flowed liberally, and there wasn't a single face without a smile on it. It was so much fun to meet everyone and to get charged with amazing energy that was consistent among friends and family alike. The next morning I met the ladies on the lawn next to the Eagle Bahn gondola for a sunny group yoga class. It was a gorgeous blue-sky day and I felt the love and support for Marisa literally vibrating like waves of light around the group. I didn't even need to participate in the yoga work to be enveloped by the serenity that was emanating in all directions from this gorgeous group of women. With every photo I snapped I felt myself sinking deeper and deeper into the Zen. Mmmmmm. Afterwards, I hoped in my car and drove over to the Eagle golf course about 20 minutes away to meet up with the groom and his posse of golfers. He had a golf cart waiting for me and I zoomed around the gorgeous course to capture each of the six teams getting their game on. I don't personally play golf, but I can appreciate a gorgeous course when I see one, and gorgeous it was!
Saturday night I met the group once again at the Blue Moose Pizza joint just around the corner from the Arabelle Hotel where more drinks, more food, and more fun was had by all! Again, I was invited to eat and drink like one of the guests and I loved the easy going vibe as many of the guests gathered around the bar TV's to watch the Miami Heat game and root for their home-town basketball heroes!
When I woke up on Sunday morning, the day of the wedding, the skies looked ominous, the temperature had dropped, and the rain was already coming down. I knew that Marisa had her heart set on having their wedding ceremony outside, so I started my visualization process immediately. The rain will pass, the rain will pass, the rain will pass... Ohm. :-) And miraculously, right about the time we had scheduled for the first look, the clouds lifted, the rain stopped, and Marisa and Mitch had a magical first look outside! I'm a BIG fan of the first look, and this one didn't disappoint in the slightest. As the wedding party looked on through the windows of the hotel, the smiles on Marisa and Mitch's faces said it all. And not only that, but the rain actually held off long enough for us to take wedding party photos outside next to the river AND to have the ceremony outside at the Donovan Pavilion, as planned! What luck!!
The reception was flawless too. Between the hilarious speeches, the delicious meal, and the rocking band, a fantastic time was had by all. I honestly didn't want to go home! It's amazing how quickly you can get to know a couple just by spending time with them on their wedding day, much less spending three days with them though various wedding festivities! I got lots of hugs goodbye and even took a selfie with Marisa's dad! Ha!
Thank you SO MUCH to the Marcus family, to all of the Sklawlers, and to everyone involved in this deliciously fab weekend. It was one of the most fun weekends I have had in a while, and what was supposed to be "work," sure felt like play-time. Lucky me! Thank you also to Sarah Fischer, my wonderful second shooter for the wedding day. You killed it as usual and I appreciate your talent and energy more than you know!
And finally.... The emails I got from Marisa and her mom after I released her photos just made my day. Marisa said: "OMG!!!!! I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!!!! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!" And from her mother, Ruth: " Hi Frances, I absolutely love the pictures!! You captured the emotion, fun and the events in such a fantastic way!!! WOW! I just start to cry when I see how happy Marisa and Mitch were that week-end. Marisa was absolutely beautiful and your pictures really emphasized it. THANK YOU so much!"
It's probably pretty easy to see why I love what I do : )
Location: 675 Lionshead Pl Vail, Colorado.Keywords: Arrabelle Hotel (3), creative wedding photography (33), creative wedding photos (42), Vail wedding photography (3). 1/500; f/3.5; ISO 500; 200.0 mm.
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