This past July, I got the opportunity to photograph at the Deer Creek Mountain Camp in Baily, Colorado, located 30 minutes west of Denver. Aside from it being a gorgeous venue, it's also unique in that it allows you to rent out the whole location, including cabins for you and your guests to celebrate your wedding for the whole weekend! Our Bride and Groom we're DIY'ers and this venue provided the perfect opportunity to do all of the setting up the day before the wedding, which was very necessary considering that our Bride created nearly 1,000 (at least it looked like a thousand) paper cranes, that she dangled above the reception! It was absolutely stunning the effect it had on the room!
When we arrived at the venue, we were greeted by the wonderful Brent and Tanja, owners of the Deer Creek Mountain Camp. Brent told us that he'd be driving the Bride and Groom, plus my associate photographer and myself, up the mountain in his jeep, to a lookout point where we would do the Bride and Groom's First Look. I'm always down for an adventure, especially if it involves photography, but I did look out onto that dirt road leading up the mountain with a hint of concern. Did I mention it was raining? Like thick mud kind of rain. Brent calmed us with some fun humor as he expertly drove us to our lofty destination. Now when I say an 'excellent view', this place is what I'm talking about. It felt like we were at the top of the world, looking out onto the surrounding mountains. Did I mention it was raining? We were nearly in the clouds and a thick mist surrounded us. It was pure landscape magic.
I also wanted to point out that on our way up, our Groom was sitting in the passenger seat, with his Bride perfectly hidden from his view in the seat behind him. When it was time for us to make our way up the trail and get into place, the rain decided that it wasn't going to let up, but our Bride (in wedges) hiked it like a champ. In fact, the rain added to their wedding story, because the Bride and Groom were prepared with fun umbrellas, and we were able to capture some really stunning pictures! Brent had a spare umbrella which he sacrificed between my second photographer and I, holding it above our heads when he could. He did his best, but after this portion of the day, we were soaked to the bone. Being a photographer in Colorado means two things- make sure your gear is waterproof, and bring a rain jacket in case you have to work in a monsoon. I only had one of those things.
Once safely down the mountain, the ceremony commenced on time despite the rain. We all knew it wasn't that "wait 15 minutes and the rain will pass" kind of days, so there wasn't really a point to wait for things to clear up. The guests in their raincoats and umbrellas made for some very colorful pictures. It looked like someone splashed every color of paint all over the benches. Thankfully, it was only a light drizzle during the ceremony and we managed to get all of the photos we wanted to outdoors. Next time I shoot a wedding in July, I think I may just bring a wetsuit.
Now for the really fun part... our Bride and Groom happen to be excellent dancers, as well as several of the attendees who also happened to be part of their dance troop. So when the Bride and Groom began their choreographed First Dance, I nearly died. I had dreamt about a choreographed wedding dance since I was little. Finally, I had a Bride and Groom who twirled around the room, their guests encircling them in awe, eyes fixed on the Newlyweds, as they moved across the dancefloor totally in sync with one another. It was incredible. Honestly, people don't do enough choreographed dancing at weddings. Can I make a plea to those couples out there wavering back and forth between taking the time to go to a few dance classes before their wedding, and say YES, DO IT! Our couple went above and beyond in all aspects of their wedding, but when our Groom took his mother out on the dancefloor and performed a dance they had choreographed together, it tugged on the heart strings for sure. What special memories she got to share with her son during their practice sessions, and now dancing with him at his wedding in front of their family and friends. I have two sons of my own, and in a couple decades when they choose their partners, I may just have to insist on a mother-son dance like this. I think I'll get it in writing now, when they are still sweet and still all-about-Mama.
As if this wedding couldn't get any more adorable, the Bride and Groom also happened to be getting married on their Aunt and Uncle's 50th Wedding Anniversary, in which they surprised them with gifts and shared their spotlight for a dance. It was really moving to see both a couple fresh in their life adventures together and another married couple who has been sharing the same remote for 50 years, out on the dancefloor. The look in both of the couples' eyes was the same- pure love for one another. And this is why I do this, folks. I get to share in these moments as a witness to the magic, photograph it, and memorialize it forever. This wedding brought a lot of surprises, a lot of smiles, and did I mention- a lot of rain, and pure, perfect wedded joy- just check out that last image where the couple during their send-off, ran hand in hand, right above my camera! What a great beginning to their journey!
Want to check out their Highlight Film and see their First Dance?! Check it out here!
Big thanks to those who made this day happen:
Deer Creek Mountain Camp
Toby Mestez Media, DJ
A Perfect Pear, Denver Catering
Beauty by Kate, Make-Up Designer
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