Mt Princeton Hot Springs Wedding Photographer | Lindsay and Dominic | Buena Vista Wedding

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Lindsay and Dominic | Mt Princeton Hot Springs Wedding
Savannah Chandler Photography | Buena Vista Wedding Photographer

 

 

My first job when I was the old age of 15 was at a little Italian mom-and-pop restaurant off 92nd and Wadsworth called Amici’s.  All of us that worked there were like family.  We hung out at the restaurant as well as in our personal lives.  I worked at Amici’s from for over 6 years, as did many of the people I was employed with.  The owner called us his “Amici’s Angels”.

One person that worked with me all throughout my high school and late teenage years was Lindsay.  We were both waitresses at the restaurant and attended Legacy High School.  We used to drive around in her blue Nissan listening to Good Charlotte (and attending Good Charlotte concerts and getting INCREDIBLY lost), hang out at parties on the weekends, and your general teenage shenanigans.  I got to know Lindsay’s family quite well during that time as well.

Over the past decade, Lindsay has since moved out to San Diego with her beau, Dominic.  When she wrote me saying that they were tying the knot, I was ecstatic for the two of them.  They love the Buena Vista area, and Mt Princeton Hot Springs happened to have one Saturday left available in all of 2017 – two months away from the day that they booked the venue.  😳  They planned a destination wedding in Colorado in less than two months, with some absolutely stunning details and had many of their loved ones able to attend.

I love Buena Vista, I visit quite often to hike in the summer and fall.  I’ve actually attempted to climb Mt Princeton three times but the weather or sickness has made each attempted date not work out (I’m coming for you in 2018 Princeton).  Even though I’ve lived in Colorado my whole life, I’ve never visited this mountain town in the winter!  Colorado winters can be quite touch and go with weather, so I watched the forecast for 10 days leading up to December 16.  The day of the wedding came, and it was GORGEOUS outside.  Over 50* out (AT 9,000 FEET!) and sunny.  We couldn’t have asked for a better day.

When Lindsay and Dominic were planning their wedding, they asked for the best time to hold their ceremony (which in winter, I’m always more than happy to help plan for light).  Just as they began to say their vows, the sun crested over Mt Antero and gave off the most majestic, beautiful light.  It felt quite magical witnessing.

After their vows and intimate ceremony, we headed a little up the road to an open field that Lindsay and Dominic had found the night before and wanted to photograph in.  It was great to gain some altitude, as we were able to catch more light as it was falling behind the mountains.

One of the things that I really loved about their reception was that instead of having a dedicated first dance as husband and wife, they snuck in a dance after open dancing had started.  She let me know what the song was ahead of time so I could be prepared, and once I heard Into The Mystic by Van Morrison being played by the band I knew it was their dance.  All of their family and friends surrounded them and danced along with them.  By the way, if you want to make me shed some tears – play Into the Mystic.  I think it’s one of the most romantic and beautiful songs ever written.

Thank you for inviting me to celebrate your wedding with the two of you and your families, Lindsay and Dominic.  It was truly an honor.  And it was great to see all of the Nordholm family again as well. 😊 I wish the two of you all the happiness in the world.

Venue:  Mt Princeton Hot Springs

Band:  Wash Park Band

Florals:

Dress Designer:

Shoes:  Christian Louboutin 

Second Shooter:  Melissa Minkner

Savannah Chandler Photography | Colorado Mountain Wedding Photographer

Based in Denver, CO | Available for travel worldwide

Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement | Jenna and Chris | Sprague Lake

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Jenna and Chris | Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement
Savannah Chandler Photography | Estes Park Elopement Photographer

 

Whenever couples contact me from out of state about taking Colorado Mountain portraits, I suggest Rocky Mountain National Park.  You can’t go wrong with the amazing views, it’s accessible year round (well, some areas are at least 😉 ), and there’s every kind of trail in the area from handicapped accessible to trekking up Longs Peak.

Jenna and Chris were coming out to Colorado, originally to take a look at wedding venues in Durango.  A few weeks before departing Arizona, they decided to elope while they were out here.  Jenna got a STUNNING golden gown (that sparkled ever so amazingly when the sun hit it) and Chris got a dapper blue suit.

We met at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center on Black Friday.  We began by heading to Moraine Valley and the Beaver Brooks, one of my favorite valley views.  The grass in November is always a beautiful straw color and the water is either frozen or low in the brooks.  We’ve had quite the warm winter this year out here in Colorado, so the water was running but was low (and warm) enough for me to venture out into the middle of the pond.  I really do need to start keeping waders in my car – I’ve done this multiple times now and always end up soaked for the rest of the day 😂

After catching some sun at Moraine, we headed up Bear Lake Road to Sprague Lake to walk around and get some portraits.  The sun started to go behind the clouds and the sky turned an amazing black with the approaching storm.  We could see the clouds forming over Deer Mountain and the wind was headed our direction.

We headed a little ways up Trail Ridge Road, in attempt to see if Many Parks Curve had a view to capture, but the entire park turned into nearly a white out by the time we got there.  Not wanting Jenna and Chris to experience terrible driving conditions on the roads and in the canyon back to Denver, we decided to seek lower ground.

Jenna and Chris had a celebration in Arizona once they returned, where they said their vows that a friend had written for them.

Thanks for coming along on a winter Colorado Mountain adventure with me, Jenna and Chris.  Congratulations once again, and I hope to see you out here in Colorado again here soon!

Aspen Engagement Photographer | Regan and John

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Regan and John | Twin Lakes and Independence Pass Engagement
Savannah Chandler Photography | Aspen Engagement Photographer

 

One of my favorite spots in all of Colorado is Twin Lakes – you’re surrounded by majestic mountains in all directions yet still low enough to get aspen groves.  The highest mountain in Colorado, Mount Elbert, booms behind the lakes standing at 14, 439′.

When Regan and John said they had just moved out from Tennessee to Colorado and wanted the mountain engagement experience, I knew exactly where to suggest.  Our fall this past year was an interesting one – the leaves began to change a few weeks earlier than normal and didn’t stick around for long.  We timed our engagement session just right – all of the aspen groves along the lake and upwards towards Independence pass were at prime.

We met at the small town of Twin Lakes and headed down towards the water while we still had some light out.  I had looked at the sunset calendar, and knew we had to be at the top of Independence pass by 6:00 to catch the last glimpse of the sun.  After spending some time at the lakes and along the creek on our way up the pass, we made it up the hairpin turns to 12,095′ just in time for…. snow.  Foggy skies and snow.  This was Regan and John’s first experience in high altitude, and seeing snow in September is always a bit of an interesting feeling.

We headed out to a few of the alpine ridges, trying our best not to freeze.  On our way back to the car, once we had decided we were “done shooting” we saw the sun start to peek out behind the fog.  It was quite an otherworldly sight – which was the perfect ending since Regan an John are huge Star Wars fans.  I must admit, I know nothing about Star Wars – but I do know that Lightsabers at dusk are pretty cool.  And fun.

Thank you for coming along on a Colorado Mountain Engagement journey with me this past fall, Regan and John.  I can’t wait to see images from your Memphis wedding this upcoming summer!  Congratulations once again.

 

Savannah Chandler Photography | Colorado Mountain Wedding Photographer
Aspen Engagement Photographer | Based in Denver, Colorado | Available for Travel Worldwide

Lily Lake Wedding | Ashley and Aaron | Estes Park Wedding Photographer

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Savannah Chandler Photography | Ashley and Aaron
Lily Lake Wedding | Estes Park Wedding Photographer

 

Ashley and Aaron had an intimate wedding at Lily Lake, nestled in Rocky Mountain National Park near Allenspark.  In my years of photographing, I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a couple’s ceremony location be so important to their relationship as Lily lake was to Ashley and Aaron.

When they first began dating back in 2013, they were traveling around and living in a portable house boat.  The couple loves to climb, so they set out to climb Jurassic Rock – the formation that jets out behind Lily Lake.  We’re known for our crazy weather here in Colorado, but in September 2013 we experienced what has since been called the “100 years Flood”.  Estes Park was hit very hard with rain and flooding, leaving Ashley and Aaron stranded in the Lily Lake area without road access.  During this multiple weeks time they were isolated, they met one of their dearest friends, Jim Detterline.

Fast forward a few years (and two kiddos) later, when the time came to tie the knot, the location of their vows was selected.  The place where their relationship was founded, Lily Lake.  Their friend, Jim, was set to officiate as well until he unfortunately passed in a climbing accident.  In honor of Jim and his climbing legacy (he was world renowned), we made sure to photograph with Jurassic Rock in the background for their portraits.

When the day of their wedding came, I met Ashley at their rental townhouse along hwy 36 on the entrance to Estes Park.  We spent some time getting her ready and set out to drive to Lily Lake shortly afterwards.  I try to help with what I can on wedding days, I truly feel as if my job is to make sure that my bride’s days run as smoothly as possible.  Part of Ashley and Aaron’s day was putting car seats into multiple cars to ensure that all the kiddos arrived safely.  I made sure that Ashley wasn’t in her lovely lace gown attempting to put seats into a car – those of you who’ve done that before know how it can be a pain in the butt to get them secured properly. 🙂

After their emotional vows, we spent a little time venturing around Rocky Mountain National Park to take some couple’s portraits.  After our time at Jurassic Rock, we headed to the Longs Peak Trailhead.  Long’s Peak is one of Denver’s iconic 14,000 ft mountains, as you can see the mountain from nearly all of the front range.  Long’s Peak was another incredibly important location to Ashely and Aaron, as they have plans to climb the Diamond Route that their friend Jim had established before his passing.

While we were photographing at the lookout, the sun began to beam from behind the peak.  We ended our time together on a beautiful and emotional note.

Thank you again, Ashley and Aaron for inviting me to be a part of your wedding day.  It was an honor to spend the afternoon with you and your loved ones <3.

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Colorado Engagement Photographer | Heather and Mike | Twin Lakes Engagement

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Savannah Chandler Photography | Colorado Engagement Photographer
Heather and Mike | Leadville and Twin Lakes Engagement

 

 

Heather and Mike’s Twin Lakes Engagement

Back in high school, nearly another lifetime ago now, I played fast pitch softball both for school and competitively.  I’ve always loved sports, and softball was “my sport” (side note – I still love softball and play on an adult Fast Pitch league in the summer between weddings).  On my team at Legacy High School back in the early 2000’s was Heather – she played 3rd base while I played Left or Center.  We spent a lot of time together, both on the field and off.  Fast forward to 2017 – when I got the news that Heather and her beau, Mike, were engaged and getting married in Estes Park.  Needless to say, it was so great to spend some time with Heather and meet her soon to be husband for during their Leadville engagement session.

Twin Lakes Engagement

Whenever I’m suggesting a location and time for a Colorado engagement, I always throw out some new/fun adventurous locations and typically ask if they want to meet at sunrise.  Some people think I’m crazy.  Some (awesome) people go along with my wild Colorado engagement ideas and meet me nearly 3 hours away at 5:30am to catch the sun hitting alpenglow.  As a Colorado adventure photographer, I love finding new spots that are nestled in gorgeous mountain scenery.  I found this stunning spot, at 10,200 ft elevation surrounded by peaks on all four sides.  We were able to photograph facing Virginia Peak, Huron Peak, Ervin Peak, and Mount Hope.
Colorado engagement photographer

Twin Lakes Engagement

Another interesting thing about Colorado in the fall is the timing of when our trees begin to turn.  Typically, in higher elevations, mid September is when you begin to see large patches of yellow leaves.  Once the sun came over the ridge on this September 8th morning, you could see incredibly large groves of Aspens that had already begun to change colors.

We spent some time up in the field, then on our way back down the pass we stopped in a few aspen groves.  At around 8:30-9:00 am, we all decided that we needed COFFEE and headed back towards town.

I can’t wait for this upcoming July to photograph your Wild Basin Lodge wedding, Heather and Mike!

Twin Lakes Engagement

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