Kate and Sungie's Fairytale Wedding - Horning's Hideout, Portland, OR

Kate and Sungie got married on a beautiful afternoon at Horning's Hideout outside of Portland, OR. The rain came down minutes before the ceremony and stopped just in time to allow this gorgeous wedding to happen in a fairytale-like forest setting amongst the pines. The bridesmaids wore an assortment of pastels and the bridal party carried white tulips that stood out against the greenery of the forest. The groom and bride each had a groomsmaid and bridesman - people that were every bit as important to them as their male and female counterparts. The wedding party was a jovial, fun-loving group of people and the families on both sides were very proud and celebratory. The wedding was as perfect as a fairytale could be in a setting that matched. 

Perins Peak Sunset - Durango Family Portrait

Sarah and her family were so much fun to work with! We chose a color palette of navy, light blue, coral and tan to complement the soft light from the early summer evening shoot. Her two young girls were exuberant and sweet and the whole shoot was a delight. We got the posed shots out of the way first thing and then let the girls play in the dusk glow with Perins Peak in the background, shooting real moments of sisterly love as they played. I truly believe that family photo shoots should be a fun experience for both children and adults, and should reflect the sense of playfulness, creativity and love that the family brings to it.  This shoot certainly does just that. Thank you to the Douglas family for spending this lovely evening with me in some of Durango's most iconic scenic places.

The importance of getting ready photos

Consider this situation. The second book in your favorite three-part series just came out. You have been waiting for this book to come out for months. Would you immediately skip to the middle and start reading? No! most likely, you would not. You would start at the beginning, savoring every word until you finally turned the last page, sad for it to end but elated from the story. Your wedding day is a story - an edition in the series of your life. The story of your wedding day begins as you gather with your bridesmaids and your mother to start getting ready. 

It is the awkward curlers in your hair, the insistence of the flower girl to wear her shirt backwards, It is a friend practicing a speech on the back porch, it is your carefully chosen location- often beautiful and worth a memory.

It is the the champagne toasts in matching glasses, the dresses hanging in the window waiting to be worn. It is the groomsmen goofing off until the last minute when they change into pressed shirts and ties.

It is the color of the light coming in through the windows on the day of your wedding, It is excitement, anticipation, laughter and that certain sleep-over-like quality that happens when we get all of our best friends in a room together. 

These are moments that you don't want to miss. They are fleeting, candid and one of a kind. 

Furthermore, getting ready photos provide the photographer with an important opportunity to build rapport with the wedding party and families. The photographer is able to build familiarity with those close to the bride and groom in a relaxed atmosphere. This later adds an element of trust, enabling people to be themselves in front of the camera and the photographer for wedding portraits and reception photos. The more time the photographer gets around your family and friends, the more trust builds and the better the photos will be. 

Safety Kelly Tries Out Pregnancy - Durango, Colorado Couples Photography

Kelly first told me she was pregnant the day after we had come back from a lift-served downhill mountain biking trip in Northern New Mexico. This was the same trip that left my husband with tiger striped scars across his entire shoulder, another friend with a concussion and an unfortunate tree with a bike-handle-sized chunk taken out of its trunk.

Kelly is one of those people that exudes joyfulness and embraces life. She always pushes her abilities whether it be climbing, biking, skiing, cooking or in her career as a successful engineer. These qualities rub off on her friends and you can find yourself doing things you never thought you would do when are with Kelly. She is one hell of a special human being – as is her wonderful husband, but that is a story for another day.

Now that you know Kelly, lets get back to the pregnant downhill mountain biking. Don’t get me wrong, Kelly isn’t rash or impetuous. In fact, she is quite the opposite. We call her Safety Kelly because although she is adventurous, she is calculated and analytical. She makes decisions based on excel spreadsheets with complicated algorithms that weigh pros and cons, statistical evidence and scientific facts. The decision that brought Kelly to go downhill mountain biking at this point in her life was, I assure you, very well thought out so as to deliver her safely to the bottom of the lift each run.

Moral of the story: You have one amazing woman with the exceptional ability to live life to the fullest whilst maintain a balance between work, play, love, adventure, well-being and happiness. There is no question that Kelly and Tae will be wonderful parents. I can’t imagine a luckier child. And for the record, Baby Otis’ first mountain bike trip was from the womb, careening through aspens, around bank turns and flying through the forest.

I had the great opportunity to share an afternoon photographing this lovely couple. I hope you enjoy these photos as much I do. Thank you Tae and Kelly for sharing this intimate time with me. 

What does staying young, skiing, boudoir photos and tractors have in common?

bachelorette party

The bachelorette party is an often overlooked and understated part of wedding planning. Bachelorette parties have gained attention only for being ridiculous drunk fests and ‘last fling before the ring’ opportunities—often encompassing copious amounts of alcohol, awkward games that involve flashing cops, dancing on bars, hitting on random men, penis cakes, and a sad undertone of dying youth. The myriad of bachelorette party games and swag available to purchase emphasize in one way or another that this singular event marks the passing of any good times you may ever have with your girlfriends again. I am hopeful that this is not the case for you!

While drinking and penis cakes are a ton of fun, my beef with bachelorette party marketing is the caveat that marriage will prevent the bride from another ladies weekend, or that it marks the ultimate passing of youth. Bachelorette parties are a great excuse to do something adventurous with your best friends, but by no means should it symbolize your last chance!

Photo by Becky Milner

Photo by Becky Milner

I recently had the opportunity to plan a bachelorette party for one of my very best friends. We decided to memorialize the event by spending a glorious weekend skiing and celebrating with six of our best friends in Crested Butte, CO.  It was a wonderful weekend spent doing boudoir photo shoots in the snow, adventuring, sharing stories, starting shuttle bus dance parties to Journey, and plenty of laughter— the best part: it certainly isn’t our last!

Seize the bachelorette party as an opportunity to spend quality time with good friends. Surround yourself with love and giggles, be adventurous, be playful, and stay young forever - if you dare!

Photos by Esmé Cadiente unless otherwise noted.

Photo by Becky Milner

Photo by Becky Milner

Durango, We Love This Place! - Rosi and Ian's Colorado Wedding

Rosi and Ian are the couple that romantic movies are written about—the kind that you watch with two girlfriends and a tub of ice cream after a break up, or that you make your significant other watch with you, knowing that he secretly feels warm and fuzzy inside too. Rosi and Ian are movie love. They truly are THAT couple!

Rosi and Ian asked me to be their photographer at another, mutual friend’s wedding. I was ecstatic about the offer. I love photographing couples like Rosi and Ian. They make photographs easy—you can literally see love emanating from them! What I didn’t know going into the day was how extremely wonderful their families and friends were also. The love between the families and friends, and their love for the couple was tangible.

 The day progressed like a fairytale. Even the rain was wonderful! The slight rainstorm before the ceremony added a mysterious dimension to the clouds—a touch of texture and sense of renewal. The ceremony was held at The Lion’s Den, a beautiful stone overlook set on top of a hill overlooking Durango, CO. The sweeping views of the San Juan Mountains and the ribbon of Animas River weaving through the quaint town of Durango couldn’t have been better.

A bike parade commenced after the ceremony that followed the hill from the Lion’s Den to the Powerhouse in Durango where the reception was to be held. About thirty of the guests rode their bikes—dresses, ties and all, to the reception. Rosi and Ian rode a decorated tandem bike that signified their new union and Rosi had a veil trailing off her bike helmet, of course!

The reception was every bit as wonderful as the ceremony. The speeches were my favorite part. Rosi’s dad had the whole wedding laughing and crying at the same time as if we were all pubescent teenage girls with a slew of hormones coursing through our bodies. Family who had traveled all the way from Germany sang and danced, and friends gifted the couple their ridiculous talents on the mike. As the night darkened, stars poked out to illuminate the venue and the dancing commenced for hours until it was nearly the next day. Rosi and Ian’s wedding couldn’t have been more fun—a fact that remains indicative of the couple themselves.  

Without further ado, here are some photos that highlight their wonderful day. 

If you were a guest at the wedding you will receive a notecard from Ian and Rosi with the URL and password of a gallery online where you can view all the photos and order prints if you wish.