After a relaxing evening photographing Ali and Drausin rehearsal dinner at the base of the Vail ski mountain at the Manor Vail Lodge Friday night, I turned my attention to documenting their big wedding day. The two Yale alumni chose to have their wedding day at this cute ranch called 4 Eagle Ranch outside of Vail, Colorado. For many of my clients, choosing the venue is a big decision. The venue is the keystone in which all other vendors and wedding task fall in line behind. Once you have it, everything else tends to fall into place a lot easier. For them Ali and Drausin, who were simultaneously planning/executing a long distance destination wedding, moving from Philadelphia to New York City all the while figuring out their honeymoon plans to China, picking their venue was as easy as seeing the background landscape in a photograph on the website and asking where to sign the dotted line. Go figure. I appreciate working with a couple that knows what they want. Getting hitched surrounded by their loved ones while engulfed in the beautiful surrounding Colorado rocky mountains scenery was a recipe for a great time. You could not have asked for a prettier day. With the help of my assistant Josh Couper, we were able to document the fun well into the night including a surprise flashmob dance party coordinated by Ali’s sister. I am so excited for these two. I wish them all the very best and many years of laughter and happiness. -M

To view Ali and Drausin’s entire wedding, you can view them here.

I returned to the rocky mountains of Colorado a couple weeks ago to document the wedding weekend of Ali and Drausin in Vail, Colorado. It was a wonderful crossroad of my past and my future. Ali, has been a buddy of mine for years now. Back in college, while my journalism peers were seeking out newspaper internships, I opted instead to work two summers as a summer camp counselor at Cheley Colorado Camps. Ali was a campfire counselor at the adjacent girls camp. It was a job that paid pennies but rewarded you with an entire summer exploration of the surrounding mountains while sharing your passions, skills and goofiness with great outdoorsy kids. It’s amazing how certain places in your life really leave an impact on you. My two summers in Estes Park, Colorado and the people I met there, like Ali, played a big role in making me a better person. Besides helping to shape me on my path, the experience gave fruit to really great friendships. I was lucky to keep in touch with her.

When Drausin and her emailed me about photographing their wedding rehearsal and wedding day back in the mountains stomping grounds of my earlier youth, I was stoked. I love mountain weddings! The soon to be newly weds decided to have a causal relaxing rehearsal “dinner” at the base of the Vail ski mountain at the Manor Vail Lodge. It was quite the place. Instead of a formal sit down dinner, they had a tapas style buffet and a bar which worked out really well. It allowed everyone to go at their own pace and socialize.

They also spread out the toasts throughout the evening rather than one right after the other. It gave each speaker a chance to really express themselves without feeling rushed. It was so special to listen to the incredibly eloquent speeches from friends and family in such a warm (and green!) setting. There is a lot of love and support for these two newlyweds. Here are some of my favorite images from the evening. I’m hard at work finishing the wedding photos. So excited to show you all. It was quite the weekend. Stay tuned… -M

To see the entire rehearsal dinner photo shoot click here.

What a weekend! I’ve begun editing through and reliving the fun wedding photos of Ali and Drausin’s celebration I made last weekend at the 4 Eagle Ranch in Vail, Colorado. I wanted to share a sneak peek of some of their wedding photos. Many more to come. My work is cut out for me. Congratulations to Ali and Drauslin! Stay tuned. -M

When Erin & Ryan hired me to photograph their wedding weekend in the Denver, Colorado area, they made it apparent to me that it was going to be a huge celebration. The two have made a successful careers working in Palo Alto, California – Erin at Facebook and Ryan for the AGC of California and they wanted a wedding that could accommodate all of their friends coming in from all across the country. After the last three and a half weeks of processing their wedding photos, I can honestly say that it was one of the biggest weddings I have photographed. My day began with an early morning start with Erin getting ready with her bridesmaids at the home of her aunt and uncle in Parker, Colorado. It was a huge, beautiful custom-designed mansion complete with antique furniture and big windows that cast in a lot of natural light. It really set a nice scene for the pre wedding preparations. It reminded me of being in some fancy European castle.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, photographing Erin’s wedding was a mini reunion for me because I knew her and many of her bridesmaids from high school in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It was so great to see them all again. As the girls got ready, they sipped champaign, laughed over old high school stories and helped Erin get ready for her big day. Once they were finished with their make up and hair by the stylists from L Raymond Styles Hair Salon, they got situated into their black, designer dresses from Rent the Runway and we were able to do some Vogue fashion style formal portraits. As the wedding start time approached, we loaded up into a stretch Hummer and made our way to the church. Erin and Ryan decided to have a more traditional catholic wedding held in the Ave Maria Church in Parker, Colorado. It was there that my hired assistant Justin Edmonds, a photojournalism friend and fellow Eddie Adams Workshop Rust teammate, arrived and we worked together to document the story of their wedding day. Having a second photographer to help photograph a wedding allows me to have multiple angles and to provide a much more thorough coverage of my client’s wedding day. It really makes a huge difference and if it’s something you are considering for your own wedding day, I can’t emphasize benefits enough. He was a big help.

Erin got a lot of assistance with all of the wedding details and decoration ideas from her wedding planner Stacy Pisani, of Alexan Events. Where the wedding ceremony followed a tradition catholic undertone, the reception was a stark contrast of hip, luxurious style and design. A large air conditioned tent was setup in the backyard of Erin’s aunt and uncle’s house where you could find a full dance floor with DJ music from Scratch Weddings, a club style lounge with couches, table settings and chairs from Event Rents, an assortment of gourmet food stations from Epicurean Catering and fine wines from The Wine Experience Café scattered through out. It was an incredible evening complete with delicious food, a fun, Greener Visuals photo booth that I set up and the guests danced well into the early morning. These guys know how to have a good time.

This is a sample of some of the photographs from their wedding day. You can see all of my favorites from the day under my wedding stories section hereYou can view and purchase all of the photos from the day here.

Wishing Erin and Ryan all the best with their new life together. Congratulations!

I’m just about finished with their Colorado wedding photos. Stay tuned…..

Sometimes it’s the little things that can make a wedding peak over the top of awesomeness. A couple weeks ago, I helped Erin and Ryan do just that by setting up a photo booth for their guests to play in and take photos of themselves throughout the reception. What I love about offering photo booths to my clients is that they are totally customizable by the fun props and backdrops clients provide and are limited only by the creativity of their wedding guests. I have yet to keep a straight face while editing a photo booth take. So often they yield hilarious results. Being a high up the totem pole in the marketing department over at Facebook, Erin really wanted step it up a notch and have a social media aspect to her wedding day. She approached me about a concept of having her photo booth photos posted straight to Facebook throughout the evening so her friends and family could tag themselves and share the photos. I thought it was a pretty cool concept that I had never tried before but was up to the challenge. Through the help of my trusty photo assistant and local Denver photographer Justin Edmonds, we were able to figure out a solution using presets in Adobe Lightroom 3. The result was a couple easy clicks (on my computer which was tethered to my camera) and the photos uploaded straight to her Facebook page dedicated to her wedding day. It was a huge hit with her wedding guests and a new challenge I was pleased that we were able to conquer. In the end I couldn’t resist and stepped in to make a couple photos of myself. Too much fun. Here are a couple of my favorite images that were made during Erin and Ryan’s wedding. You can view the full photo shoot here on my archive site. Stay tuned for their wedding shoot. Coming soon. Until then, -M

I love shooting the weddings of friends especially one’s I haven’t seen in a while. Last weekend I had the pleasure of traveling to Denver, Colorado to photograph the wedding of an old high school friend Erin who was tying the knot with her college sweetheart Ryan. The two hired me for a full weekend coverage starting with their wedding rehearsal dinner at the beautiful Wine Experience Café & World Cellar in the southeast corner of Aurora, Colorado part of the greater Denver area. I flew out to Denver Friday morning from Sacramento and arrived mid afternoon in the mile high city. Being back Colorado, I had forgotten how much I missed it. While in college, I worked a couple summers at a outdoor summer camp in Estes Park, CO where I quickly fell in love with the front range of the Rocky Mountains. I had not been back much since and was looking forward to a return. Erin and Ryan had met years earlier while attending undergrad studying Marketing at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado and the two now live and work in Palo Alto, California – Erin at Facebook and Ryan for the AGC of California.  Sharing the same love for Colorado as I do, they decided to have their wedding there where they would be closer to family and friends not to mention having a stunning mountain backdrop for their wedding weekend.

Erin and Ryan wanted their rehearsal dinner to be a relaxed evening event before their big day. They brought their wedding guests to the Wine Experience Café & World Cellar for a wine tasting and light dinner hosted by family friends and owners Rita and Eldon Larson. It was a photographer’s dream location. The cafe had a huge large windows that cast a beautiful soft window light across all of the guests, both local and from out of town, as they wined and dined with smiles on their faces. You could feel the excitement from everyone in anticipation of the wedding the next day. One of the things I’ve been seeing a lot at weddings I’ve photographed this wedding season is couples opting for small samples of many different types of foods served in a tapas style format. I like it because it turns the meal experience into an adventure where guest can really get a feel for the food artistry of the chef. It’s a pretty cool concept and the best part is if there is something someone doesn’t like (a rarity) they know they have more delicious samples on deck. The guests (and the lucky photographer) were served in rounds based off the wine that was being served at the time. As people were starting to trickle in, an assortment of small flavorful dishes like Asian Seared Ahi Tuna paired with a San Quirico Vernaccia di San Gimignano or a Tenderloin Bruschetta with horse radish cream paired with a Gundlach Bundschu Mountain Cuvee wine were served as a starter. As we moved into the seated meal, the food changed course and started with a Apple Spinach Salad or Calamari served in a tempura style with jalapenos and french green beans that was then paired with a Sparr Dry Riesling or an Emyael Off Dry Riesling. As the night progressed onward, the main entree’s were served. It was an assortment of awesomeness. Guests had their choice of Seared Sea Scallops paired with a Chateau Ste. Michelle Horse Heaven Sauvignon Blanc, Wild Boar Fettuccini with sauteed mushrooms paired with an Arrowood Chardonnay, a Filet Mignon with garlic mash potatoes paired with a Luigi Bosca DOC Malbec (a personal favorite), or Pan Seared Chicken Breast with smoked ham and broccolini risotto paired with Century Oak Cabernet Sauvignon. In all it was a really nice evening filled with fine wines, good food and great conversation between friends and family. It was a meal memory won’t soon forget.

These are some of my favorite photographs from their rehearsal dinner. You can view and purchase all of the photos from the evening here. Now onto editing down and toning close to 6000 images I made from the wedding day. I have my work cut out for me. So many great images to choose from. I’ll post them as soon as I finish. Until then, -M