Photographers in Durango CO help couples plan their wedding – Part 1

You’ve just become engaged? So Happy For You – Congratulations!

This is part one of how we work with and photograph couples who are planning a wedding.

We are photographers in Durango CO and have photographed lots of weddings and spoken to lots of couples, and we realize that planning a wedding is a daunting task. Of course, if you’re planning a small wedding or an elopement, it’s much easier, but a large wedding with all your family and friends can cause some couples to throw their hands up in the air and say “Help Me”. We also realize that most couples have never done this before, so we love to help out any way we can.

You can hire a wedding planner or even a “day of” wedding planner and a lot of that WILL be taken care of for you. If you’re not hiring one of those, we will help out as much as you need by sending you a list of our recommended vendors and also helping steer the day of the wedding in the right direction so that nothing is missed. Many times we work with the DJ, who also has a vested interest in keeping the day on track.

When we first meet up with a couple or chat on the phone, we find out where they’re getting married and the time of the ceremony. I realize many couples want to get married early in the day so they can have their reception and everybody can enjoy themselves. I totally get that, but having your ceremony outdoors (most weddings in Durango CO are outdoors) at high noon makes the lighting extremely difficult. If you’re having an outdoor wedding and you can move the ceremony time, it will make the photographs much better – the time depends on the month you’re getting married. We do use an off camera flash with an umbrella during the family and couple’s photos to offset the sun, so it’s not impossible.

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This was a wedding photographed outdoors in bright sun.

If you decide you would like to work with us, we have a Wedding Photography Agreement and a Wedding Information Form to be filled out. I have these on line so it makes it easy for couples to fill these forms out. Usually one half of the investment amount is paid at the time of signing and the other half is paid two weeks before the wedding. I do have payment plans if you’re unable to make just two payments. We are really easy to work with.

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Groom carries bride off over his shoulder – Fun couples are the best!

If the wedding is at a venue where we haven’t been before, we will arrive a little early to scope out good locations for the family/wedding party/couples portraits. If we’re doing “getting ready” photos, we’ll also find a nice spot to photograph the dress, shoes, bouquet, jewelry, and other items that the bride will want to remember. Then we will photograph her and her girls getting their hair and makeup done. If the groom is getting ready at the same location, I’ll go back and forth between them so I capture all those moments that they won’t have seen of each other. If the client is getting a Wedding Album, we like to tell the story of their day from beginning to end.

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Wedding at Purgatory Resort

Be on the lookout for Part 2 coming soon.

Long Live Love

Karen Skelly Photography

Durango CO Photographers

www.karenskelyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

We are always here to help. Let us know if you are getting married and would like more information.

 

 

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Kristy and Dave’s Wedding by Durango CO Photographers

Ken and I are photographers in Durango CO and we love to photograph weddings. From leaving our house in the morning until arriving back home at night, this wedding took us roughly 12 hrs – long day, but so worth it because Kristy and Dave are the best!

Kristy and Dave have been together for almost 5 yrs. Dave popped the question in NY at his on the front lawn of his childhood home on May 27th, 2018. Kristy is a project manager who works with homeless veterans, and Dave is a police officer right here in Durango.

Bride getting makeup done by durango photographers

Bride getting makeup done

Bridesmaids and flower girl admire bride by durango wedding photographers

Bridesmaids and Flower Girl admire the beautiful bride

They were married at St Columba’s Catholic Church in Durango CO. It was a beautiful ceremony with lots of family and friends in attendance. During the ceremony their wedding sponsors looped a large rosary, called a lasso rosary, around them.

The “lassoing” act is a symbol of unifying the couple together in marriage for their entire lives. This custom is similar to the lighting of a unity candle used in many Catholic weddings. The couple is to share the responsibility of marriage and raising a family. The figure eight also represents the mathematical symbol for infinity–no beginning and no end. The number eight in the Bible is also the number of new beginnings. The use of rosary beads in this ritual is also significant; using a rosary reflects that the bride and groom are forever bound together in unity by God. Kristy and Dave also did the candle lighting ceremony to honor their deceased parents.

Church wedding ceremony by durango co photographers

Beautiful church wedding ceremony

Lasso Rosary around wedding couple by photographers in durango co

Wedding sponsors lassoing the couple with a large rosary

Bride and Groom lighting candle by durango wedding photographers

Bride and Groom lighting unity candle

Bride and Groom's first kiss by photographers in durango co

Bride and Groom’s First Kiss

After the ceremony we photographed the entire family of both the bride and the groom. Then everybody headed up to Silverpick Lodge for the reception.

Wedding family portrait by durango photographers

Wedding family portrait

We’ve done quite a few weddings and receptions at Silverpick Lodge, so we had planned on doing some more family, wedding party, and couples portraits up on top of the hill where there’s a beautiful view. However, we had sooo much snow this winter that there was a six foot wall of snow at the entrance to the path, so that plan was nixed. We did most of those portraits on the patio behind the lodge.

After we finished all of the portraits outdoors, we went inside for dinner, toasts, cake cutting, first dance, bouquet toss, removing the garter (with groom using his teeth of course), and mingling among the guests. Steve from Southwest DJs was great at helping keep everything moving because I had put a timeline together for everybody, and it ended up running around one hour late because dinner took way longer than expected. So I am thankful for him doing that.

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Wedding party acting goofy

Bride and Groom cutting the cake by durango co photographers

Bride and Groom cutting the cake

Bride and Groom's first dance by durango photography

Bride and Groom’s first dance

Bride tossing the bouquet by wedding photographers in durango co

Bride tossing the bouquet

groom removing garter durango photography

Groom removing garter with his teeth

When the sun started going down, we took Kristy and Dave outside again to get some magical light photos. Kristy’s parents are both deceased, and Dave’s dad is deceased, so I had them bring photos of their parents to take with them on their wedding day.

Bride and Groom with photo of her deceased parents by durango photographers

Bride and Groom with photo of her deceased parents

Bride and Groom in bear hug by photographers in durango co

Bride and Groom in bear hug

Bride and Groom silhouette by wedding photographers in durango co

Bride and Groom Silhouette

Then we all moved into the lower level of Silverpick Lodge for some dancing with all the guests.

Bride and Groom dancing by durango wedding photographers

Bride and Groom dance with guests in a circle around them

Thank you for reading about this spectacular wedding.

Long Live Love

Karen Skelly Photography

Durango CO Photographers

www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

 

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Elopement Wedding Tips by Durango CO Photographers – Part 2

This is Part 2 of a two part post on Elopement Wedding Tips by Durango CO Photographers (that would be my hubby and me). You can access Part 1 here.

5.  If you are going to do your own hair and makeup, research some youtube videos to get some ideas as to how you want to look and how the makeup will look in photographs. If you’re going to be outdoors, you’ll want to wear sunscreen under the makeup, but don’t use one that has zinc as an ingredient. It can make you look washed out in photos.

6. Do research also when looking for a photographer. Some couples want to bring a friend along, but that’s not always a great idea. If the friend doesn’t know the area, they aren’t going to know where to go for the most beautiful locations. Also, I’ve heard from many brides that their friend didn’t do such a great job and they don’t love their wedding images.

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Bride looks back while walking down road

7.  Don’t stress out when things don’t go quite as planned. Even an elopement can run into snags. Laugh when things go wrong and then laugh when things go right. I love lots of laughter in wedding photos. Enjoy each other and those special moments will show in your images.

8.  In this area, I would suggest wearing comfortable shoes. You will be walking in dirt, grass, and on rocks – and possibly snow if you come in the winter. If you want photographs of you in different clothing after the ceremony, that’s no problem. It’s great if you have some props – champagne and glasses, cupcakes or a small cake, sunglasses, or anything else you like.

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Bride and Groom in their elopement outfits

9.  Do check for the marriage license requirements in the state you are going to visit for your elopement. The rules can vary. You may need photo ID, birth certificate, passport (if coming from a different country), and divorce papers if you’ve been married before.

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Wedding Rings on hand prints in the snow with Bouquet

10. Have fun, love your intimate time together, and party afterwards!

Thank you for reading these tips.

Long Live Love

Karen Skelly Photography

Durango CO Photographers

www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

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Elopement Wedding Tips by Photographers in Durango CO

This is Part 1 of 2

My husband, Ken, and I are photographers in Durango CO and we love to photograph elopements. It’s usually just the couple and us at the location of the ceremony. Sometimes there’s an officiant, but it’s not required in Colorado. You can marry yourself and just sign the Marriage License and you’re all set. We’ve acted as the witnesses many many times.

Elopements are great for both the couple and the photographers. There’s less stress and more time to capture all those great couples portraits that we sometimes don’t have time for during a full day wedding. We photograph a lot of elopements in Durango CO because it’s a beautiful destination wedding location.

Here are some tips that you can apply (or not):

  1. Should you keep it a secret? Well, this is up to you, but make sure you have a good reason ready to tell your loved ones and friends who might feel hurt that they didn’t get to attend your special day. There are also some elopements where the parents and siblings are at the ceremony, and that works out well for some couples. You can always have a reception back home once you’re married. Most of your family and friends will be happy with this. If you’re doing this, let us know because we will definitely have the photos ready for your reception date so you can show everyone a slideshow.

    Bride and Groom with sign, photographers in durango co, durango co photographers, durango photography, durango wedding photographers

    We Eloped!

  2.  I know I’m a bit biased, but the photographer should be the first vendor you contact. I always help my clients who are coming to Durango from somewhere else. They usually need a florist, a hair and makeup artist, and maybe an officiant. I know all the best ones, and will email their contact information so they can get a bouquet, special pampering with hair and makeup, and someone to marry them. If the couple decides to have us at their elopement, we have an on-line Wedding Photography Agreement and a Wedding Information form that we send to them so everything is super easy and stress free. We also know some beautiful spots to have your elopement and can send you photos so you can choose the one you love. This one was during the winter, but it’s also lovely in the summer and fall.
    Bride and Groom having a snowball fight, photographers in durango co, durango co photographers, durango wedding photographers, durango photography, wedding photographers in durango co

    Bride and Groom having a snowball fight

    3. You can go on the tourism site for the city where you are going to elope. The Durango Tourism website (Durango.org) has a wealth of information, including things you can do while you’re visiting here, because obviously you will want to make a vacation out of the elopement. It’s a great place for a destination wedding because there are so many fun things to do while you’re here.

    Married on the Colorado Trail, by Durango CO Photographers, photographers in durango co, durango photography, durango wedding photographers

    Married on the Colorado Trail and then hiked the entire 500 miles

     

    4. Your budget is totally up to you, of course, but contact different vendors to get an idea of how much everything will cost and then you can make better plans. If you want to get fancy, we know of a company who provides small tables with elegant dishware, glasses, pillows to sit on, candles, and other gorgeous decorations that you can use to serve up some champagne and a couple of cupcakes. These will make for some excellent photographs.

     

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Bride and Groom sitting at beautifully set table

I’ll continue Part 2 soon, so stay tuned, and thank you for reading this post.

Long Live Love

Karen Skelly Photography

Photographers in Durango CO

www.karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

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5 Tips for your Wedding Planning by Photographers in Durango CO

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Wedding Rings with Heart Shadow in Bible

Karen and Ken Skelly, who are Photographers in Durango CO, would love to share some more tips to help make your wedding day planning a little easier. If you missed the first 8 tips that were posted last week, you can go here to view them.

1. Hire Professional Vendors: I know everyone has a budget, but believe me, your wedding will run so much smoother when you have a seasoned professional helping you out. I’ve already talked about a professional hair and makeup artist, but it does make a huge difference in the way you look in your photographs. A professional DJ or band will help coordinate your reception. A wedding planner, even just a “day of” planner will make sure everything is in place and running smoothly. A florist will make sure your flowers are delivered on time and in beautiful shape. And, of course, a professional photographer will capture all those memories for your kids and grandkids to ooh and aah over. Let your friends and family enjoy the wedding without worrying about getting the images you want of your wedding.

2. Designate a Family Finder: This is the person who helps round up the family and bridal party who have wandered off during the formal portraits. The photographer doesn’t know everyone you want in your photographs and we don’t want to miss anyone.

3. Plan the Day with your Photographer: A detailed timeline that you have prepared either yourself or with your wedding planner/dj/band, etc will help the photographer be ready for big events during the day. During the getting ready stage of your day, have the flowers, rings, dress, veil, shoes, jewelry, and anything else you want to include in your images available for the photographer. Try to have the room where you’re getting ready as tidy as possible, unless of course you want to have the chaos of the day shown in the photographs (which is also fine).

4. Posing for Beauty: The photographer will show you poses that will help you look slimmer, taller, and more relaxed. Here are some things to practice: Put one foot forward (the one closest to the camera), bend the knee of your front foot, and put all your weight on your back leg. Lean forward just slightly, roll your shoulders back just a little. Lowering your chin just slightly will open up your eyes and hide any double chins. Breathe through your mouth with your lips sightly parted. You can also have your ladies practice these poses also. Practice in front of a mirror. Being silly and dancing around make great photographs. Relax and have fun!

5. Don’t Procrastinate: Putting things off in your planning is only going to make things more stressful. Make a list, make decisions, and you can cross it off. “Just Do It”.

Let us know if you need help with anything. Long Live Love!

Thanks, Karen

Karen Skelly Photography

Photographers in Durango CO

www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

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8 Tips for your Wedding Planning by Durango CO Photographers

So you recently got engaged and you’re all excited to start planning your wedding day. I can relate because I remember planning my wedding. It will be one of the happiest times of your life, but can also be stressful. I’ve put together 8 tips that might help you out (I’ve got 5 more, but I’ll put those in another post). My husband and I are Durango CO Photographers and we want you to have a wonderful wedding day:

  1. Have an Engagement Session: I can’t stress enough how important this is for you. Your photographer can do a good job at your wedding without an engagement session, but imagine if you do the engagement session and you, your fiance, and your photographer get to know each other pretty well. You’ll be more comfortable in front of the camera, you’ll be more relaxed, and have a better time at your wedding. The photographer learns how you move, how you interact with each other, what your hobbies are, and how you like your photographs edited (straight, vintage, colorful, black and white, etc). Now you’re going to have amazing wedding images. Also, you can use those engagement images for save the date cards and in a guest signing album that will wow your guests and you can proudly display it on your coffee table with all those well wishes family and friends have written in there for you.
  2. Don’t buy a dress that is too small: I know, I know, you’re going to diet and exercise and get into great shape to fit into that dress. It may or it may not happen. Life (and wedding planning) get in the way. If you do drop a few pounds, you can always have the dress tailored. If you don’t, well, your dress isn’t going to fit very well. Even when you buy a dress off the rack that fits, you will probably have to have some tailoring done just to tweak it to fit your body better. Please don’t buy a dress on line. I’ve heard all the horror stories.
  3. Schedule your ceremony for late in the afternoon: Bright sunshine coming directly down on your face is not very flattering (think raccoon eyes). A professional photographer can use a flash to
    offset that to some degree, but your images still won’t be as beautiful as we want them to be. Having your ceremony in a shaded area is also preferable to an open area. Late in the afternoon, when the sun is lower in the sky makes the lighting more beautiful. And we love beautiful light.
  4. Schedule more time for getting ready: Whatever amount of time you think it’s going to take to get your makeup and hair done and get into your dress, add another hour. Most weddings run late because it took longer to get ready than you thought.
  5. Allow more time for your photography: I don’t mean that you need hours, but if you want some of the photographs taken before the ceremony, see above #4. A First Look is a wonderful idea so we can have more time for the two of you. This is where the groom will be standing at the bottom of a stairway, at the end of a hall, or outside somewhere. The bride will come up behind him and turn him around to have a look at his future bride and you get to enjoy the view in private and he can tell you how beautiful you look. This adds a whole new set of images to your wedding album. The amount of time spent between the ceremony and reception for family portraits and bridal party portraits is very dependent on the size of the family/bridal party.
  6. Include your Personality: When couples include their hobbies and/or their jobs into their wedding, the images are so much better. They become very personal and make the wedding special to them. I love to photograph couples who have fun hobbies that we can include. Tell your photographer everything you like to do – you may be surprised at some of the ideas we can come up with.
  7. Make a back-up plan for bad weather: Yes, it does happen. I’ve been to outdoor weddings where it rained, got very cold, and even snowed (in June). Anything can happen here in Colorado. Make sure your venue has a tent they can set up if they don’t already have one. You may need large space heaters as well. Bring something to wear in between photos, like a shawl, jacket, or a cape.
  8. Include your future hubby: He may not think he has opinions on many parts of the wedding planning, but if you start showing him specific items (like two different types of flowers, two different djs or bands), he might just want to help.

Hope you enjoyed these tips. Stop back in for the other 5 that I’ll post later. Follow my blog for the rest of the story:) See the Follow button on the bottom right.

Thank you,

Karen Skelly Photography

Durango CO Photographers

www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

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Alexis’s Senior Portraits by Durango CO Photographers

Alexis came with her dad and step mom from New Mexico to have Durango CO Photographers take her senior portraits with some beautiful scenery. She currently attends a Charter School in New Mexico and would like to attend school to become a certified physical therapist once she graduates.

She played softball for 3 yrs at school, loves chocolate milk, and her favorite movie is Top Gun. She describes her biggest accomplishment so far as learning to become independent. That can be a difficult achievement at such a young age (she’s 17 years old).

If she could meet and have a conversation with anybody, it would be Freddie Mercury. Even though I’m in a different generation than Alexis, I am also a fan of Queen, so music can transcend generations.

Alexis likes to spend time with her boyfriend, friends, and her grandparents. She’s very close to her dad and they love to watch baseball together. I loved photographing her because she was fun, outgoing, and she loves the outdoors (just like me!).

I hope you enjoy some of the images from her session. Thanks for looking.

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Sitting on a rock by the river

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Holding my homemade Senior sign

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Standing under a bridge looking cool

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Sitting in a chair surrounded by fall leaves

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Sitting in a window frame overlooking Durango

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Standing by river with fall colors all around her

Need family portraits, having a wedding, or a senior graduating, get in touch for more information

Thank you, Karen

Karen Skelly Photography

Durango CO Photographers

www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

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Durango Photographers capture Goodin Family Portraits

The Goodin Family includes mom Anna, dad Robert, 3 yr old Catherine, and 8 month old Eliza, along with their two dogs who are elderly, but still getting around good. They won the gift certificate provided by Durango Photographers to the Garden Project of the Southwest for their silent auction.

Anna, is a lawyer, but is currently writing children’s books. Robert loves to ski in our great Durango Colorado area. Catherine loves Frozen and Moana movies and little Eliza is teething (poor baby). They all like to go hiking together and play with their dogs.

The day we did their family portraits turned out to be cold and windy, but they persevered and we got some great images for them (had to do some head swapping because hair was blowing into Catherine’s face in some of them). The two little girls are wearing dresses made by their great grandmother, so even though they were chilly, they did a marvelous job of looking like they were happy about doing the family photos – haha.

I hope you enjoy their portraits. Thanks for taking a look.

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Family sitting on rocks by the river

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Family walking across the bride swinging Catherine

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Catherine sitting on a rocking chair

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Catherine and Eliza snuggling in the leaves

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Family with their fur babies

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The family sitting on window frame above Durango

If you need family portraits taken, have a wedding coming up, or a high school senior graduating, get in touch with us to have those memories captured for you.

Thanks, Karen

Karen Skelly Photography

Durango Photographers

www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

 

 

 

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Mattie and Jason’s Wedding by Photographers in Durango CO

Mattie and Jason live in Bayfield CO which is near where we live. We call ourselves Weddings by Photographers in Durango CO because Bayfield is a very small town and more people look in Durango for photographers. They both love horses and worked at Parelli Natural Horsemanship. Jason is an IT expert and Mattie worked on the professional administrative team.

The Wedding Day

They were married at Lemon Lake Lodge on a rainy day. The ceremony was supposed to be outside, but luckily they had a tent and that’s where they were married. The rain stopped right after the ceremony, so we were able to get all of the family, wedding party, and couple’s photos outdoors. This area is in a severe drought and there was very little water left in Lemon Lake. They are actually standing in the lake where there used to be water. I love the stormy looking sky and the colors in the images.

They got engaged on Thanksgiving day in 2017 after having been together for a year. There first date lasted 37 hours and was life changing for both of them. Mattie had actually given her two weeks notice at her job and was planning to move to Florida. After that date, she decided to stay and they are happily still living in Colorado.

This is how Mattie described the proposal:

“It was after dinner, Jason had planned it with our pastor (and friend) to do it then. He had even arranged for my parents to be there. We went around the table telling everyone what we were thankful for. Jason went last and made a little speech about how blessed he was to have me in this life. He ended with asking me to spend every Thanksgiving for the rest of our lives together while he slid the ring in front of me. By that point, we were both crying, so I think I croaked out ‘of course, yes!’.

Morgan is 12 yrs old and is Jason’s daughter. She was a bridesmaid for Mattie and you can tell they love each other just like mother and daughter. They are so happy to be celebrating their lives together.

Mattie and Jason both love to hike, fish, and explore the outdoors together. They love the towns of Durango, Salida, and Silverton. I can’t blame them (I’ve only been to Salida once a long time ago) – but I do love Durango and Silverton.

Enjoy their beautiful wedding day images.

 

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Bride and Dad walking to the tent in the rain

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The ceremony inside the tent

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Mattie, Jason, and their family and friends

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Mattie, Jason, and Morgan

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Portrait of Mattie

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Jason and Mattie walking in the field

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The big dip

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Jason and Mattie kissing at sunset

Thank you, Karen

Wedding Photographers in Durango CO

www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

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Durango Photographers with wedding at Strater Hotel

Georgia and Brooks currently live in Texas, but chose to get married in Durango CO because the weather is cooler and we have mountains. Durango Photographers all love people from other states who enjoy our scenery.

Georgia is from China so unfortunately her family wasn’t able to attend the wedding, but Brooks’ family became hers and you could tell that she loves all of them as well. Brooks was visiting his cousin in China who teaches English there, and Georgia was a good friend of his cousin. They met, dated, fell in love, and Brooks proposed. This is how he described the proposal – so sweet:

“Georgia was helping me pack up my old apartment so I could move closer to where she went to school. I mentioned I wanted to leave this stage of our relationship with this apartment and proposed”.

Georgia is currently a grad student and is studying to be a teacher. Brooks is a cyber security startup founder. They would both love to live in Durango, but obligations keep them in Texas. As Durango Photographers we would love to have them move here – we need teachers and computer geeks:)

Georgia and Brooks had their wedding ceremony at the Lions Den which is near Ft Lewis College and overlooks Durango. They held their reception at Strater Hotel. The Strater Hotel event coordinator, Emily, sets up both the ceremony and reception for the couple. She does an amazing job making sure everything runs smoothly and the couple has no stress on their happy day. The Strater Hotel is a beautiful place that was built in the late 1800s and embodies the old western style with some Victorian touches.  Many famous people have stayed at the Strater Hotel and it has been renovated many times over the years.

After the wedding ceremony, Georgia changed into a traditional Chinese dress. Durango Photographers love having variety with beautiful people and beautiful dresses. Georgia speaks perfect English and was funny and sweet.

Enjoy the photos:

 

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The Wedding Ceremony at Lions Den

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I told them to pretend I wasn’t there. They did a fabulous job of that.

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Standing in front of the Strater Hotel

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Bride’s sparkly shoes with wedding rings

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Wedding guests line dancing

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On the roof of the Strater Hotel

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Groom carrying the bride over the threshold into honeymoon suite at Strater Hotel

Thank you for reading this post,

Karen

Karen Skelly Photography

Durango Photographers

www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

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