Wedding WOW me please.

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Here ya go. I’ve been photographing weddings professionally since 1989… yeah – that’s right – 27 years. Yes… I am that old… and yes I started with medium and large format cameras (the stone age). So… after 900+ weddings – I can pretty much say I’ve seen it all. I’ve photographed in 40 states and 6 countries… from weddings with 500+ attending, to a Grateful Dead wedding a mile back in the woods in a field… goth weddings… balloon weddings… I don’t even know where to start.
 
I NEED SOMETHING CRAZY FUN. It can be an elopement or big wedding. I’m offering 50% off any one of my packages to the first wedding couple that can WOW me with the wedding they have planned.  Please e-mail my right hand Jenny at jennyb@fototails.com and I need a theme, a plan, your wedding date, your wedding location, how you met or your story, and why your wedding is going to be something I’ve never seen before. 
ENTRIES must be received before November 1st, 2016.  I MUST have your wedding date available to qualify.Jeanine Thurston_RR3

Rocky Mountain Bride Feature

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Check out our Rocky Mountain Bride feature on their blog today at VINTAGE WOODLANDS STYLED SHOOT!

This was a truly epic bridal styled shoot we did a few years ago – and it proof positive that you can photograph a wedding in a style that doesn’t date your wedding. Keeping it romantic and timeless will fit every year now and in the future… and I’m still in absolute love with everything about this day, the amazing vendors, and the models!

Flowers – Julia Kaaren of Mulberries Flowers

Coordinator/Designer Isabelle Kline Design

Dresses – Danielle Banfield of Blushing Bride

Cake – The Makery Cake Co.

Make-up & Hair – Samantha Koch Beauty

 

Melissa, Kirsten, Brittany… couldn’t have done it without your beautiful faces!!!

What is a referral worth for your wedding vendors?

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THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A “GOOD” VENDOR REFERRAL FROM ANOTHER VENDOR.

There are many unwritten rules of playing fair within any industry… the line is faded and frustrating.  Many years ago, when you were a photographer, videographer or other vendor you saw referrals based on quality and trust. It is amazing to get referrals from other brides and grooms, from planners, from venues… and the list goes on.  But that line of why we are referring someone is becoming quite jaded, and we need to keep our eyes and ears open for little ques that make a “referral” not so sweet or solid.

The biggest issue that has come to light is that vendors have learned that over the years they can get “paid” by other vendors for referrals.  This is the first line that was crossed some time ago, when some venues and vendors decided that you had to only be of “average” quality and pay a huge chunk of money and they would put you on their referral list.  There ARE some upstanding vendors out there that choose their referral list by experience, merit, value, quality of work and customer service ~ but definitely not everyone is in this category.

Things to look for that can be “red-alarms” when getting referrals from vendors, and questions that are important to ask.

1. Don’t be afraid to ask:  Do vendors on your referral list pay to be on your referral list?  That doesn’t mean that they are bad referrals, however, if they have paid to be there… you need to dig a little deeper.  Check and double-check their experience, quality of work, and try to find other people who refer them as well.

2. Vendors that offer HUGE discounts if you go with ONE vendor only.  If you are a professional, you should work well with multiple other vendors.  Offering 30%- 50% off your services ONLY if they book with a specific other vendor should set off a HUGE red flag. They may be just new to the industry and are trying to align themselves with some great other vendors to pump up the quality of their own work, but playing well and being able to refer multiple other vendors that they work well with shows that they have more connections and people that they can produce well with.

3. Tell me about your referrals.  When meeting with a vendor and getting references from them, ask them to tell you about the references and why you are referring them – be in tune to how excited they get about them and how much detail they can give about how they work, their style or how they service their clients.  They should be able to do this about ALL of their referrals they are giving, including their experience, maybe how well they shoot in different environments, or how helpful and present they are with their clients.

In the wedding industry, referrals are the best form getting the best combination of vendors, which equals your best chances of getting top-notch results from them as a team.  So after you ask the hard questions go with your gut… but vendors that play fair with other vendors and that are knowledgeable about their referrals means you are getting the best referrals.  And vendors that can give you a few referrals from each service and that can describe to you why one or the other may be a great fit for them means they are concerned about what is best for you as a bridal couple too!  However, a vendor that says you MUST go with a specific vendor to get a discount from them, OR locations that refer based on them being paid… let the red flags start flying.

The wedding chronicles.

The planning.  You meticulously plan your beautiful wedding day.  Planning consumes your time and thoughts.  You pull inspiration from every corner of your life.  Exhaused – the last few days before the wedding bring excitement and maybe a little anxiety while you have to finish a few tasks, welcome guests into town, and realize that you will be walking down the isle shortly.  You can breathe deep if you have had little to no drama in the process, while others are overwhelmed and just want to skip to the fun part… the honeymoon.

The wedding day.  A few months or maybe a year or more have passed and the wedding/ceremony day is here.  You may loose some sleep the night prior; but now it’s time to let go.  Remembering that you are the ones that everyone is there to celebrate.  Letting go may be the hardest thing you do, because up to this point – you have detailed a minute by minute plan of how your day will flow.  Regardless of how long the day actually is – it will fly by in a few blinks of your eyes and you will only remember a very small fraction of what happened on the day of your ceremony. Wedding planner or not – you try hard to let go of the details and just enjoy what this day actually means to you and your loved ones, as well as the future you have ahead of you.  The day passes… and as much as you sigh partly in relief that the day is over, it is also a little sad that such an amazing event ends so quickly.  It is a roller-coaster of a day, of emotions, of excitement, and a culmination of all your hard work months previously.

The honeymoon.  Pure celebration of you being with the one you love, typically outside of your normal reality.  Fun or relaxing… it is time needed to bond, to reflect on the ceremony day, and to be yourselves.

Back to reality.  All of the ups and downs of planning, all of the crazy busy and chaos of a ceremony day has come to the end.  You come back to real life as you know it – at least you think.. but returning to work or your normal routine.  Then you realize something little may be missing… with the months of planning prior, you may feel a little bit of loss as well.  Those days scouring Pinterest, the trips to fit the dress, searching for vendors actually filled up more of your time and were more enjoyable that you remembered and many think – what to do now.  Always best to fill your time with fun stuff for a few weeks to let yourself down easy.  After a few weeks you get a chance to look at photos and videos and reminisce about your day.  Looking through the photographs you look at each other and giggle or shrug your shoulders… wondering what that person was saying when they made that funny face, asking “who was this” for an extended family member you may not know from your spouse’s side of the family, or even say “I had no recollection of this happening at all.”  The beauty of photography & video documenting your day.

5 year anniversary.  Hopefully you pull out your wedding album yearly, but now a few years have past.  You may have moved onto children, and in that case you graze over photos and tell stories of your wedding day.  You are proud to show off such an amazing event, you get flutters seeing you and your loved ones so happy together, and if you have kids – “mommy you looked beautiful” may pass their lips.

15 year anniversary.  You may have had a few or many ups and downs in your life together already.  Stresses and strains, wear and tear at you after this long.  If you have children – they are getting older and your lives together may be more about them.  If it’s just the two of you, you may have drifted a little apart to find yourselves again.   And if you’re lucky you are just in love as the day you met or more.  Regardless of your situation – you pull out your wedding album to renew your sense of why you came together as a couple.  With a few more wrinkles maybe, but your had the best photographers and all you see in your photographs are the smiles, romance, and emotions that made you love that person all those years ago.  See… we all change a little, but the wear and tear of life doesn’t change the base… you can still see the twinkle in someone’s eye if you look hard enough, you can still see how their smile is ever so slightly changed if you look hard enough.  Your photographs of your wedding day are gold at this stage – snapshots are fun and great too – but photographs that can show you the love and connection you have/had with one another have become priceless in reminding us that no matter how much life has changed around us that there where amazing things at play to bring you together and fall in love.

50 years together.  You still visit your wedding album together, and you can feel an amazing sense of accomplishment that you have been tried and true and weathered many storms together throughout the years.  You have build a legacy through your children and grandchildren.  Or if you decided no children.. you have still accomplished great things together.  If you do have grandchildren, your wedding albums are mesmerizing to them.  They see how beautiful you are, they come to realize the value in both their grandparents and parents and the love that made this happen.  You as an individual, and you as a couple have affected this world in some way, and most likely many ways.  If you have passed your love down to other generation – just seeing the love in photographs from your wedding day can give your children and grandchildren hope that they too can find that kind of lasting love.  You may assure them that it wasn’t easy – but that it’s about the journey, it’s about caring for someone maybe a little more than yourself, and a legacy to leave them.  

Every day is a gift.  Every love is a miracle. Give 100% and only expect 20% in return.  Forgive, and move forward.  Treat your loved one like they are a queen or a king, and be their support always. And look at your wedding photographs closely and often – there is a reason you connected… look hard and find it over and over again by reminiscing about the beginning of your life together.Image

My dream wedding. COLORS

When you dream of your wedding day, what colors come to mind & where do you find your inspiration?  There is so much planning – and just shouting out “PINK” at the top of your lungs seems to be such an easy answer. The colors you choose for your wedding can really set the tone for the entire day.  It can make people feel festive, romantic, crazy fun, heart-warming…

So where is a good place to start?

What do you love most? Sunsets or sunrises

Where is your happy place?  Hiking in the woods, in the city, or at the local ice-cream parlor?

What inspires you???

What most people do is go and HIT the Pinterest pages and start clicking the heart on everything that they like.  And although it is quite fun to do, at times… that causes a hodge podge of wedding design with nothing quite melding together.  As much fun as you’re having browsing the local boards, it is so much more fun making your wedding about you and not about making your wedding about how someone else may have had it.

And… this brings us back to colors.

Having a hard time narrowing it down?

ANOTHER OPTION:

Maybe too much of seeing everyone else’s color combinations…. time to go to the local home store (Home Depot, Lowes, Benjamin Moore)  Those little paint sample cards can be priceless.  It allows you to look at colors that YOU fall in love with – without the persuasion of wanting a color pallet EXACTLY like that other bride.

AND YET ANOTHER OPTION:

Pick a destination, a fruit you love, a plant or a vegetable, a mushroom, an animal… something in NATURE, that you find completely beautiful and attractive to you.  Base your color pallet off of the colors of that object.  Funny… nature kind of has a way of knowing what looks good all on it’s own.

But… in the case that maybe you just want some options and don’t want to think about it quite that much… here are some inspiring colors in nature!

Lavender fields

Lavender fields

Purple trees of Scottland - by Sam Abell

Purple trees of Scottland – by Sam Abell

Blue Lagoon in Iceland

What tops your list? Wedding Vendors/Venues/Details.

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Yes, I want to hear from you!  Tell me who/or what are the top 5 things on your list for wedding vendors/venues/details.  No particular order, I just want to know the 5 most important things you choose first to shape your wedding day. This is a poll, so we want to get as many responses as possible – so please pass this around to EVERYONE.  It doesn’t matter if you are not married, getting married, or already married – we want to hear your top 5! I’m not going to lead this with a list of options… i just want the top 5 things straight out of your head!

No vendor business names please – we want to keep it simple & no advertising.Thank you!

Here is your chance to help us get an accurate poll….Go…. and keep it going….

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Bridal Bootcamp by Sysbro Fitness

 

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I wanted to take a minute to introduce Andrea Cordova and Bridal Bootcamp.  I talk to a lot of brides who all seem to chatter about dieting for their big day, and I think this is such a good alternative – and it produces great results.  Please visit her website at SLIM DOWN FOR THE GOWN!

The Ultimate Bridal Package by Sysbro Fitness offers an exciting 12 week exercise, health, and nutrition program for future brides and anyone wanting to lose weight and feel great!  We are on a mission to help brides and grooms jump start their new lives together feeling strong, sexy and confident!  It is our goal to create an effective health and weight loss program for the individuals committed to Sysbro Fitness in Northglenn.  It is important to us that each person receives special attention which is why we limit the class sizes to 12 people per class.  At Sysbro Fitness, we understand that achieving quick and effective results is of great importance to our members, so we focus on muscle confusion when designing our exercise programs, reassuring members that they will not plateau, but improve with each week!  The Ultimate Bridal Package is more affordable than personal training and members receive more personal attention than they would working out at the local gym.  We offer our brides and grooms more than health and nutrition; each month after breaking a major sweat during workouts, our members enjoy a salon visit where our partners pamper them helping them look as good as they feel!  Although this program is only 12 weeks long, it is a part of our mission to coach the current members well enough so they can easily continue on the correct path to health and wellness and live happily ever after.

Give them a call for more details today at (720)934-7157 and follow them on twitter at @slimdwn4thegown

 

More importantly, it gives you a boost of confidence on your wedding day so you feel as beautiful as you look!

 

Reminisce. Your wedding day should always give you butterflies.

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rem·i·nisce

/ˌreməˈnis/

Verb
Indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events.
Synonyms
remember – recollect

Have inspiration meet romance for your wedding day.

Have your cheeks hurt from smiling so much on your wedding day.

Look at your new husband/wife on your wedding day and feel the butterflies

Then… don’t let anyone tell you to cut back or cut corners on your wedding day.  This is one of the most romantic and love filled days of your life.  You are starting a new path together and have a huge future filled with learning, living and loving.  There are ups and downs and all of it is part of living.  Create a wedding album of beautiful images that show reflection, love, laughter and your romance and butterflies for each other so that no matter how tough life gets – you can look back at your beautiful wedding images and feel it all over again.

Your wedding album should:

Make your cheeks hurt from smiling

Make you remember how many people shared the day with you and love you

Make you feel the butterflies you had on that day

Make you realize how important reminiscing is for you, for your family, for your children, for your friends for decades to come.

Your day is your day…

Remember

Recollect

And feel all the love because you did it right with a team of experienced vendors that are there to make your perfect day something amazing to remember from start to finish.

Live. Laugh. Love your wedding!

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A message to new photographers.

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To any new photographers out there. Please do not WORRY about the competition. It is way more important to create what you love, not what someone else loves. You will rise to the top much faster by being true to yourself and only comparing yourself to what you were yesterday – with your eyes continuing to look at how you can improve yourself tomorrow.

~Jeanine Thurston