Aptos Wedding | The Forest of Nisene | Kat and Tim

 Aptos Wedding | The Forest of Nisene | Kat and Tim
Savannah Chandler | California Wedding Photographer | Destination Wedding Photographer

 

The California redwoods and sequoias – a photographer’s dream to photograph.  When I talked to Kat and Tim about their Aptos wedding, and she told me about the Forest of Nisene, I may have done a happy dance in the car.  Not only was the wedding being held in the forest, but it was on a trail Kat grew up hiking, and at a fairy circle (where the base of the trees begin to grow together, creating a circle enclosure).  My amazing secondary photographer (the awesome Molly) and I drove straight to Aptos after arriving at Santa Cruz, arriving to see the amazing light falling through the trees and onto the forest floor.

I knew that Kat had a surprise first look planned for Tim, but to actually see the T-Rex costume idea unfold was probably the hardest I’ve ever laughed behind the camera.

To say that their day was full of love and laughter would be a gross understatement.  Kat and Tim’s handwritten vows to one another were incredibly heartfelt.  I try my hardest to remember the small moments during ceremonies that touch my heart – and Kat talking about the reasons she chose Tim really tugged at my heartstrings.  She said something that I’ll never forget – that relationships are a choice.  And how true that statement is, and seeing two people choose each other, to commit themselves (for life!) is a big moment.  It can be easy to forget how large that moment actually is, and that you should remember to embrace it.  Kat and Tim had a wedding that was truly about the two of them creating a union, and not about the fluff that can sometimes pop up in the wedding industry.  The emotions were so raw, so real, that Kat and Tim both reached for a comforting smooch mid ceremony.

After their touching ceremony, I got to see the fun loving side of Kat and Tim.  One of the “traditional” things Kat and Tim didn’t want for their Aptos wedding was a bridal party – but they did want fun photos with their loved ones.  All of their friends felt like family, and all of their family were so genuinely happy to be there celebrating.

I’m a firm believer that things unfold a certain way for specific reasons.  Call it fate, call it the cosmos, call it ol’ fashioned luck – but whatever your choice word is definitely was the case for Kat and Tim’s Aptos wedding.

 We originally were set to do all of their couple’s portraits before the ceremony, but as with many weddings, things were slightly behind, leaving us to finish our  couple’s portraits after the family portraits.  As we were finishing up our time in the forest and getting ready to head back to their reception, the sun fell lower into the horizon and began streaming through the trees.  I saw the streams of light, and immediately knew this was why everything was pushed back – so we’d be able to catch this amazing, awe inspiring light.  As we walked up onto the road, some dust caught the light and gave me the idea to have a car kick up some dust for us.  The first attempt was a dud, and I thought my idea was bunk.  But if at first you don’t succeed, try asking someone with a 4WD vehicle instead of the tiny Nissan to burnout on the dirt road. 😉  Once the truck passed and kicked up dirt – the amazing, beautiful dirt – Kat and Tim ran out (quite literally) into the road to get some of my very favorite images to date.

Intimate weddings are always so fulfilling to be invited to capture, and thank you again Kat and Tim for inviting us to celebrate your Aptos wedding in the Nisene forest with you.  I wish you a lifetime of happiness, and a lifetime of choosing one another. <3

aptos-wedding-photographer

Savannah Chandler Photography | Colorado Wedding Photographer | Available for travel worldwide

California Aptos Wedding Photographer | Forest of the Nisene Marks Wedding

Boulder Wedding | Jiovanna and Kevin | Wedgewood on Boulder Creek

Jiovanna and Kevin | Wedgewood on Boulder Creek
Savannah Chandler Photography | Boulder Wedding Photographer

I met Jiovanna and Kevin last year at Wedding Wars, a modern day Colorado based bridal show, where I was positioned right next to the bar.  We all know that’s the best place to be – next to the free booze.  After obtaining some of their provided yummies, Jio and Kevin stopped by to check out my work for their June 9, 2017 Boulder wedding.  After talking for a bit, they happened to win my complimentary engagement session.  It had to be fate, as Jio and Kevin are my kind of people.  We headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park for their adventure engagement session (which you can check out HERE), and had a great time spending the afternoon out in the wilderness.  They even brought a whole camping set up to photograph with – not gonna lie, it was pretty awesome (Rocky Mountain Bride agreed – check out the publication of their engagement session HERE).

Once June finally got here – I was so excited to meet up with Jio and Kevin again to celebrate their wedding day.  I just knew it was going to be a fun day all around.  When my second photographer (the very talented Ashley Kidder) and I arrived, the first thing I obsessed about was her hankie.  “Keep Your Shit Together”.  My new favorite wedding detail to date.  Once Jio was ready to go see her groom, we headed up Flagstaff Mountain to just over 8,000 feet at Lost Gulch Overlook.  If you’ve never been, it’s a lovely lookout area, overlooking the Indian Peaks Wilderness and Longs Peak.  For their first look, we made our way out onto the stunning rocky overlook (flats were DEFINITELY a good choice here.  After spending a few minutes up at Lost Gulch, we headed back to the cars to head down the mountain towards their venue and stopping at Chautauqua Park for a few photo ops – Where I NEARLY STEPPED ON A SNAKE.  I watched it wriggle away from my foot and got the willies – but there was no rattle on the tail so at least it was only a Bull snake.  #NoThanks

We spent the rest of the evening at The Wedgewood on Boulder Creek – a lovely venue along Boulder Creek up on Canyon Road.  They were so genuinely happy to get married, as I know it was a LOOONG time coming.  Nearly 10 years I do believe.  They were surrounded with their friends and family for the evening, where they hosted a variety of games as well as a S’mores bar.  We ended the evening out in front of the full moon rising up over the canyon, it was a lovely day.

Thank you again so much for inviting us to be a part of your wedding celebration!  Congratulations, Jio and Kevin!


Savannah Chandler | Colorado Wedding Photographer | Colorado Engagement Photographer

Boulder Wedding | Wedgewood on Boulder Creek

Colorado Based, Available for Travel Worldwide

Maroon Bells Engagement | Aspen Engagement Photographer | Jean and Nick

Jean and Nick | Aspen |  Maroon Bells Engagement
Savannah Chandler | Maroon Bells Engagement Photographer

 

When Jean and Nick asked if I would be willing to drive to Aspen for their Maroon Bells engagement, there was only one answer:  HECK YES.  Even as a Colorado native, I had never been to the Maroon Bells.  For those that don’t know, this stunning location just outside of Aspen is the most photographed location in all of Colorado.  If you’ve seen a “stock photo” of Colorado, it’s most likely from this stunning lake.

On a Friday morning, I left my house fairly early to head over Independence pass into Aspen for Jean and Nick’s Maroon Bells engagement session.  I took my time, taking in the views through Leadville, over the pass, and into the town its self.  When I took the right curve where the peaks come into view – I nearly was in tears.  It was truly a sight to see, and a sight that I had been waiting a long time to experience.

I met Jean and Nick up at the lake, where we took the Lake loop to get a few different areas of the surrounding wilderness for their Maroon bells engagement.  As much as they would have loved to have done a full hiking session, Nick was recovering from a motorcycle accident that unfortunately made that not possible for this moment in time.  (I would love to go hiking in that area at some point – hint hint 😉 ).  We started taking the loop, getting the greenery as well as some stunning red rock formations in the background.  As the sun started to hit the horizon off in the distance, we headed back to Maroon Lake for some images just as dusk approached.  The mountains only alpenglow (that “bright red” look) at sunrise, but the dusk light was also quite magical and simply stunning.

I’m so excited to celebrate with the two of you this August for your Keystone wedding!  Thank you for adventuring into the wilderness with me for your Maroon Bells engagement!

Savannah Chandler Photography
Colorado Wedding Photographer | Available for Travel Worldwide
Maroon Bells Engagement Photographer | Aspen Wedding Photographer

Colorado Proposal Photographer | Lost Gulch Overlook | T.C. and Ashley

T.C. and Ashley | Lost Gulch Proposal
Savannah Chandler | Colorado Proposal Photographer

 

I met T.C. a few years back at Brad and Jessica’s Asheville wedding that I photographed (you can see that here).  T.C. was a groomsmen, as well as a fellow photographer.  When he contacted me about photographing his Colorado proposal, I was super stoked for him and his soon to be fiancee.

Originally, we were supposed to photograph at the Lights Fest just west of DIA – however, we were rained out.  Twice.  My heart went out to T.C. – holding onto a secret (and a ring) for that long couldn’t be easy.  After the second postponement, we decided to head to Lost Gulch Overlook near Boulder on a lovely afternoon to capture their Colorado proposal.

After we set the date and time, I arrived a few minutes early to be sure that I was ahead of the couple.  I sat on the bench that leads up to the rocky overlook, pretending to take selfies.  I did end up getting a fun selfie with T.C. and Ashley arriving in the background 😉  My secondary photographer (the awesome Shelli) and I hid behind the rocks until I got the eye contact from T.C. that he was about to drop to one knee.

Ashley was genuinely surprised!  Her reaction was priceless, and pure joy.  T.C. later told me that he exclaimed frustration at his shoe continually coming untied to draw Ashely’s attention away from the fact he was dropping down on his knee.

Once the initial moment of impact and surprise was over, T.C. revealed our positions and we took a few moments to take some amazing photographs up on Lost Gulch overlook.

I am so honored to have been a part of this special day for the two of you, and I can not wait to celebrate with you next June for your Wild Basin Lodge wedding.  Thank you again so much for trusting me with your stunning Colorado proposal!

Savannah Chandler Photography
Colorado Wedding Photographer | Available for travel worldwide
Colorado Proposal Photographer | Boulder Engagement Photographer

Rocky Mountain National Park Engagement | Trail Ridge Road | Molly and Brad

 

Molly and Brad | Trail Ridge Road | Estes Park Engagement
Savannah Chandler Photography | Estes Park Engagement Photographer

 

It’s no secret that that I love photographing in Rocky Mountain National Park for an Estes Park engagement – the rugged terrain and amazing lighting never disappoint.  There is everything from a short walk from the car to over a 10 mile hike for photographs (and yes, I’ve dragged gear over 10 miles for a session!).

For Molly and Brad’s Estes park engagement session, we began lower in elevation at Moraine Park – which offers lovely valley views of the surrounding mountains.  In the spring, the beaver ponds fill up and there’s a lovely river that runs through the valley.  As we began our session, the sun came out in full force, providing a lovely glow.  Molly’s skirt was the perfect contrast to the lush greenery surrounding us.

On our way up the mountain, we stopped along the Ute trail to get some portraits along the tundra.  The Ute is a trail at just above 11,000 feet that extends out into Rocky Mountain National Park for roughly 5 miles.  One of my favorite things about this location is you only need to walk about 100-200 feet to get the amazing views of the Never Summer mountains and Long’s Peak.  As Brad was twirling Molly around the alpine terrain, he performed a few very well executed dips – which was so fun to watch!

To end their Estes Park engagement, we headed up Trail Ridge Road to a “special spot” right off the road – which provides some of the most spectacular views and drop offs I’ve ever seen.  As a photographer, there isn’t really anything better than a jaw dropping location, perfect light on the horizon, and a stunning couple willing to walk out onto a land peninsula.

As the light began to dip behind the horizon, we were greeted with an amazing display of light.  Molly and Brad’s Estes Park engagement was on the Summer Solstice, and I’m now convinced that should be a day to photograph on each year.

Congratulations again, Molly and Brad!

Looking for more Rocky Mountain National Park engagements?  Click here!

Savannah Chandler

Colorado wedding photographer | available for travel worldwide
Estes park engagement photographer | rocky mountain national park

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