Strawberry Creek Ranch Wedding Photographer | Jessi and Jake | Granby, Colorado

Jessi and Jake | Strawberry Creek Ranch Wedding
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Savannah Chandler Photography | Granby Wedding Photographer

 

Strawberry Creek Ranch is one of my favorite locations in all of Colorado to host a wedding.  I love the laid back vibe mixed with the stunning views looking back over the Tabernash hills and Winter Park mountains.  If they had been open when I got married, I sincerely think that I would have opted to get married here.  Back in 2016, my brother Alex did get married at Strawberry Creek Ranch… so it must be a family affair.  I *may* have suggested he take a look at it.

Jessi and Jake have an amazing story.  They’ve been together the past seven years and are high school sweethearts.  At a party they both attended when they first met, someone thought they were such a cute couple that they “married” them back in 2011.  One would think that this was an obvious joke, however, they had to explain to friends who saw their facebook status (and eventually change said status) so people knew they weren’t actually married.  On July 28th, 2018 – they were ACTUALLY married.  You know – the legally binding, saying vows, throwing one massive party kind.  In the past seven years, before saying “I Do – Again”, Jake has gone to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Jessi studied abroad in France and modeled in New York City.  They’ve already endured hardships, long distance struggles, and have remained strong throughout.

The morning of the wedding, I continually looked up the weather report.  We were in a streak of weather that entire week – as often happens on July afternoons in the mountains.  Nearly the entire state of Colorado was showing thunderstorms.  As we pulled in to Granby, you could see dark clouds yet there seemed to be a decent break floating above us.  As the ceremony started, we watched all of the dark skies swirl and twirl above the distant mountains, but they never came our way.  The coordinator – Rami with PickMe! Weddings (check her out- she’s AH MAZ ING) let me know that all the other mountain towns were getting pounded with rain.

As we set out to take their couple’s portraits, the skies were absolutely fantastic.  We spent some time walking through the fields (and of course by the amazing reflection pond) before we headed back to what would turn out to be one hell of a party.  Jessi had family fly in from Helsinki, Finland (where her dad is from) to celebrate, and even play a lovely song for the father/daughter dance.  Being high school sweethearts meant that they had a ton of friends in common, and a large group of Air Forcemen provided tons of dancing, chair lifting, and near the end of the night – whiskey throwing.  I think I can honestly say that this was the first wedding that I came home smelling like whiskey.  The entire night made for a ton of fun, and some really epic photo taking.  I always tell my couples, I love it when there’s lots of events happening or a the party gets really cray cray – it’s an awesome opportunity for us to photograph a bunch of different things going on.

Thank you, Jessi and Jake, for inviting us to celebrate with you.  And thank you for your kindness and patience.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the next seven(ty) years for you two.

 

 

Vendors:
Venue: Strawberry Creak Ranch Wedding
Wedding Coordinator: Rami with PickMe! Weddings
Florals: The Stalk Market
Catering: Smokin Moes BBQ
Bar: Peak Beverage
DJ: Encore Events

 

Colorado Elopement Photographer | Esslie and Nathan | Loveland Pass Elopement

Esslie and Nathan | Loveland Pass Elopement
Savannah Chandler Photography | Colorado Elopement Photographer

 

 

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I love elopements.  There’s something so wonderful about two people heading somewhere together just the two of them to start their journey of marriage together.  Another thing I love – Colorado Mountains.  🙃

When Lilli of Sweetly Paired, Colorado Wedding Planner connected me with Esslie and Nathan, I knew right off the bat that they were my kind of amazing people.  They were so excited to start a life together, and would also be welcoming a new little one into their lives in 2018.  To celebrate their union, they were heading West from Missouri and eloping up on Loveland Pass.  Loveland Pass sits at 11,990 feet elevation and has 360* mountain views.  The Continental Divide sits alongside the pass, and you can see views of Greys and Torreys (some of Colorado’s most famous and most widely climbed 14er’s).

I met Esslie, Kendra (the amazing planner who worked with us on the day of), and Scott (the officiant) up at the Pass to prepare for the couple’s first look.  We decided to ascent up the ridge a little bit to get a better view of the East wall of Arapahoe Basin – where Nathan would see his bride for the first time.  We had a super special guest with us for their first look – Tyson the doggie, adorned with the cutest flower collar ever.

To say their Vows to one another, Scott led a beautifully touching ceremony that included knot tying to signify Esslie and Nathan’s promises to one another.  Trying to portray the feeling watching a couple get married mountainside just the two of them is incredibly difficult – the words never seem to fully describe how magical (and honoring) it truly is to be a part of.  I certainly caught myself choking up listening to Esslie and Nathan recite their handwritten promises to one another.  Or there was an onion up in the alpine.  Yeah, that must be what it was. 😃

Once the emotional portion of the day concluded – we began our time together for their couple’s portraits.  To say that Esslie was a trooper would be a severe understatement – she was pregnant, from sea level and hiking as fast as I was up and down the ridges at nearly 12,000 feet of elevation.  I’ve seen burly men hike slower and complain more than she did in that altitude.  She was definitely one Badass Bride.

We began on the Southfacing ridge, and made our way across to the Northwest side of the ridge as the sun began to crest over Hagar Mountain.  The look of light falling behind a mountain and giving off a glow as it crests is one of my absolutely favorite things to photograph.  I think the light is so dramatic and beautifully bold.  On the night of Esslie and Nathan’s Colorado elopement, we sure caught a light show.  The sun would hit behind the ridge, and we’d slightly ascend up the trail to catch the light from a slightly higher angle until daylight faded.  Throughout our phone conversations, I had told Esslie and Nathan about Alpenglow, and that Loveland Pass is unique in the fact that you can catch the pink colors at sunset due to the Eastern facing mountainsides.  Colorado did not disappoint – the entire East Humboldt Mountain Range turned amazing colors of pink and red.

Thank you again, Esslie and Nathan, for inviting me to be a part of your Colorado elopement up on Loveland Pass.  It was such a lovely evening and I wish the two of you all the love as you venture into marriage (and parenthood!)

Vendors:
Planner and Coordinator: Sweetly Paired
Officiant: Scott with WedLock Officiants
Florist: The Olive and Poppy

Photographs on Loveland Pass by Colorado Elopement Photographer Savannah Chandler

Esslie brought out a family Heirloom necklace to attach to her bouquet <3

If you’re looking for a Vendor team that will help with any/all the things you need for a Colorado Elopement – Sweetly Paired was awesome.  Kendra helped watch sweet Tyson, ran back to the car to grab things as needed, and was there the entire evening to help in any way she could.

Savannah Chandler Photography | Colorado Elopement Photographer
Based in Denver, Colorado | Available for Travel Worldwide
Photographing all along the Rocky Mountain Region

 

 

Some of my favorite locations in Colorado to Elope:
Loveland Pass, Buena Vista, Crested Butte (Gothic Road) Winfield, Estes Park, Breckenridge, Telluride, Ouray, Durango, Keystone, Twin Lakes, Aspen

Want to see more Colorado Elopement Photographer images?  Check out the blog posts HERE

Wild Basin Lodge Wedding Photographer | Ashley and TC | Allenspark, Colorado Wedding

Ashley and TC | Wild Basin Lodge Wedding | Allenspark, Colorado
Savannah Chandler Photography | Wild Basin Lodge Wedding Photographer

 

 

Where to even begin with this wedding?!?  I’ve gotten to know Ashley and TC over the past few years, and they’ve become some of my very favorite people.  I met TC back in 2014 when I flew out to Asheville to photograph Brad and Jessica’s wedding (which you can take a peek at HERE).  Looking back, I’m fairly certain that I have some images of TC being hoisted into the air by some fellow groomsmen at the end of the evening 🤣.  Last year, I got a call from TC saying that he had found “the one”, and he was going to propose.  We schemed on where and how he would propose to Ashley, and in May 2017 I sneakily met them up at Lost Gulch Overlook where TC popped the question (you can check out their proposal HERE).

When Ashley and TC told me they had chosen Wild Basin Lodge as their wedding venue, I was pretty stoked to say the least.  I’ve been in and around the Allenspark area, and have even stayed on the same road as Wild Basin Lodge, but had yet to photograph a wedding there.  As I’m sure you can tell, I’m quite mountain obsessed (really?!  That’s quite the shocker 😬).  I absolutely love how you can see Mount Meeker booming in the background at 13,911 feet elevation.  I do have a tendency to look at mountains that are in the background and get the urge to climb them.  One day, Meeker, one day.  You’re now on my “MUST CLIMB” list, so I can point and proclaim that I’ve summited the mountain behind Wild Basin Lodge.

On June 28, 2018 I headed out West alongside the St. Vrain Canyon (I’m sure blasting either some Beatles or 90s grunge) to photograph Ashley and TCs wedding.  I also knew that I’d get to see Brad and Jessica, who had just moved back to the states from Copenhagen, as Brad would now be TC’s best man.  We started getting ready and were able to take some family and bridal portraits prior to the ceremony – including a few emotional first looks with Ashley’s dad and step-dad.  I would say that was the beginning to all of the emotion of the day – which there was no shortage of.  Everyone was SO genuinely happy, and full of loving tears.

As we made the trek over to the ceremony site, the temperature began to slightly drop and the sun began to sink behind the clouds.  Ashley walked down the aisle to greet her groom on the arms of both her dads.  As someone who has seen many, many family dynamic situations, it makes my heart so happy to see families that have split love their children so much that they all function as one large, supportive family.  Just as Ashley was approaching the “altar”, I turned to notice TC had the perfect one single tear falling down his cheek.  This is the unicorn of photographing the groom seeing his bride for the first time – the single teardrop.  It just about made me tear up to see the love in both their faces.  One of my favorite things Ashley and TC did during their Wild Basin Lodge wedding was to take just a moment to look out at the view – a moment to have to themselves.  It can be so hard to find time to have a moment of silent bliss on your wedding day, and this was the perfect time to just “be”.  To conclude their ceremony, all the guests had butterflies to release into the sky.

Once we began photographing their couple’s portraits, I looked down at my arm to notice it was incredibly orange.  I’m all about light (and I have ZERO poker face when it comes to yelling out “OMG THAT LIGHT IS SO PRETTY”), so noticing the shift in color was somewhat odd for 3:00 in the afternoon.  We looked up into the sky and noticed that a huge smoke plume had formed – it turns out that a large wildfire near Grand Lake (just on the other side of the Continental Divide) had started that day.  It makes me incredibly sad to know that Colorado is on fire, but man oh man does smoke make for some amazing lighting.

For their reception, Ashley and TC decided to host their entire event outside.  Which I am a HUGE fan of, for multiple reasons.  The lighting is always fantastic outside, as long as it’s decent weather everyone enjoys being outdoors, and YOU GET TO HANG OUT OUTSIDE.  Outside is where it’s at.  😃 As the night progressed, some fantastic dancing began to break out – including TC and Ashley dancing out on the rock near the riverside.  Due to the fire bans (which clearly are a good thing seeing that a wildfire broke out already), a sparkler exit was a no go – so a “bell and ribbon” exit it was.  I still have my ribbon in my office – I love being able to take home a small piece of each wedding I photograph if it’s possible.

After the night ended, we headed over by St. Malo on the Rocks to capture some sunset portraits.  I knew the smoke sky wouldn’t disappoint, and boy oh boy was I right.  We caught a fantastic sky, and photographed until the light ran out.

Thank you again, Ashley and TC, for inviting us to celebrate your Wild Basin Lodge wedding with you.  It was truly an honor to be alongside with you on your wedding day.

 

Vendors for Ashley and TC’s Wild Basin Lodge Wedding:
Venue: Wild Basin Lodge
Florist:  Lace and Lilies 
Hair and Makeup: Estes Park Bridal Company
Cake and Desserts: Whole Foods
Secondary Photographer: Jennie Crate

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Savannah Chandler Photography | Wild Basin Lodge Wedding Photographer | Colorado Wedding Photographer
Based in Denver, Colorado | Available for Travel Worldwide
Specializing in Colorado Mountain Weddings for Bold Couples Seeking Adventure

Summit County Engagement Photographer | Cecily and Jimmy | Loveland Pass and Lake Dillon Engagement

Cecily and Jimmy | Loveland Pass and Lake Dillon Engagement
Savannah Chandler Photography | Summit County Engagement Photographer

 

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Cecily and Jimmy are having a Colorado destination wedding this upcoming August in Estes Park at the new Fall River Village.  They’ll be flying out from Virginia, along with all of their family and friends to celebrate in the Rocky Mountains.  This past month, the two of them headed West to check out their wedding venue and spend some time in Breckenridge (where their family cabin is located – and also where they got engaged) and we met up to photograph their engagement portraits.  We settled on meeting at Loveland Pass, and possibly hiking up a little ways on the initial incline that heads out towards Mt. Sniktau and Cupid Peak.  When we got to the pass – it was cold and windy AF.  The start of the trail sits at 11,990 feet of elevation – meaning there’s no trees even at the very base to help shield the wind.  As we were walking up, we found a small patch of wild flowers that were sitting alongside the trailhead and decided to hang out there and forgo hiking up any further (as it’d just mean more wind and less air).  Having to photograph in wind, I LOVE when the ladies wear flowy fabrics.  Wind swept dresses are one of my very favorite things.

After we had enough of the wind and cold, we decided to seek lower ground and head towards Lake Dillon.  I’ve photographed at the lake multiple times in the winter, but this was my first time visiting the lake in the summer!  I knew that down by the Dillon Marina was my favorite view of the Ten Mile mountain range – especially in the evening as the sun is beginning to crest over the mountains.  We got out of the car at the marina – and ZERO WIND and it was a lovely 75* outside.  I may not be a beach person, but a beach that’s mountainside – with a beautiful couple and stunning light??  Yes please.  I’ll take that kind of beach any day.

We hung out on (and in) the water until the sun set down behind Buffalo Mountain off to the West.  The day ended up being one of my favorite adventures of the beginning of this wedding season.

I can’t wait to head up to Estes Park on October 7 to celebrate with you, Cecily and Jimmy! <3 . Say hello to the East Coast for me in the meantime! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Savannah Chandler | Colorado Mountain Wedding Photographer | Colorado Engagement Photographer
Based in Denver, Colorado | Available for Travel Worldwide
Photographing across the Rocky Mountains and Beyond

Spruce Mountain Ranch Wedding Photographer | Kelly and Patrick | Mountainside Spruce Mountain Wedding

Kelly and Patrick | Spruce Mountain Ranch Wedding | Mountainside Ceremony
Savannah Chandler Photography | Spruce Mountain Ranch Wedding Photographer

 

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Back when I got married in 2011, we chose May 26th as our wedding day.  That was the year I began photographing (granted I thought I wanted to photograph newborns back then…. a big NOPE to that one now), and we must have picked a great day as I think I’ve photographed on our anniversary every year since then.  This year, I joined Kelly and Patrick on May 26th for their Spruce Mountain Ranch wedding.  Spruce Mountain Ranch has multiple wedding locations – all of which I’ve been blessed to photograph at, and they’re all beautiful.  Kelly and Patrick choose to get married up at the Mountainside ceremony site, overlooking the valley and nearby mountains.  Of all the times I’ve photographed at Spruce Mountain Ranch, this was my first time attending a spring wedding.  As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed all of the vibrant yellow wildflowers that were in bloom alongside the property and waterfront.  Spring in Colorado is such a lovely time (and the weather is typically mild yet still sunny).

My second photographer (the amazing Melissa) and I arrived on site a little early and found Patrick and a few good friends doing yoga out in front of Grace’s Chapel.  I think that starting the day of your wedding doing yoga alongside mountain views under the shade of a beautiful tree is a fantastic idea – one that I might start putting into practice before I head out to photograph.  🙂

Following their ceremony, we hung out up on the mountainside to take some portraits – and perhaps more importantly – blow some bubbles.  Bubbles – I’m telling ya, everyone loves them.  The kids, the adults, brides, grooms, photographers (guilty) – EVERYONE.  If you want to see happy guests, put out some bubbles.

Throughout the day, Melissa and I had friendly chatter going on if we’d see a sunset or not.  The sky was blanketed in some pretty thick clouds, the kind that can really mask the sun and provide a WOMP WOMP sunset.  I kept hoping that at some point the sun would peek through and give us a little color.  We headed outside to photograph a few more extended family portraits just after dinner had ended, and boy-oh-boy did the sky turn colors.  Everything turned a bright orange hue.  It was the most spectacular sunset I’ve experienced up at Spruce Mountain Ranch to date.

We topped off the rest of the evening dancing with family and friends.  Oh, and some more bubble blowing.  To end their wedding day, Kelly and Patrick exited into a ROLLS ROYCE.  Yes, a RR.  It was quite the stunning car.  I may have stared at it a little too long in awe.

Thank you, Kelly and Patrick, for inviting us to celebrate your Spruce Mountain Ranch Wedding with you.  Congratulations, and I wish the both of you a lifetime of happiness.

Vendors:
Venue: Spruce Mountain Ranch
Planner: Brandi with Cheers Wedding Planning
Florals: Bride
Band: Diamond Empire Band
Car Service: Chauffeured Events
Secondary Photographer: Melissa Minkner

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