Friday, December 6, 2013

Why Should I Elope to Colorado?

The romantic notion of slipping off into the night, hand in hand with your loved one, is an age-old
imaginative picture of elopement. When you see that happen in the movies the characters are always down to their last dime and running away from something. Real life isn’t quite that dramatic and planning your elopement in Colorado can help you save money while still capturing that flair of true romance.

Instead of planning a huge, fancy, extremely costly wedding, plan to elope to a resort or retreat. Plan ahead, invite those closest to you if you really want them by your side during your special moment, and keep your bank account in the black!

In fact, we offer special elopement packages that keep the ceremony simple and let you focus each other instead of the budget. All you really need is a marriage license and some of our soft suggestions. These packages include such services as:

·         Arrange an officiant of your choice
·         Arrange hotel reservations
·         Arrange dinner plans
·         Co-ordinate photographer, musician, cake, flowers, hair, make-up, etc

These packages take away the horrible and stressful planning portions, co-ordination elements, and costly additions to large weddings. Some feel that weddings have almost become commercialized, with entire industries working to push you into spending more money on their services.

Your wedding should be about what YOU want. If you want to elope and keep it simple, then we can help. Retain the burning flame of romance that should always underlie each wedding ceremony, keep more change in your pocket, and don’t become overburdened with stressful decision making.

Many people that choose to elope to Colorado are getting married for the second time. Perhaps the first time you realized that money played too important a role in the planning. Don’t go through that stress again! Work with us to create a wedding you will truly enjoy from beginning to end. I can perform the ceremony or you can choose to have me find them someone else for you.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

To See or Not To See

Congratulations to all of you who recently got engaged!  There are so many decisions you must make and the trick is not to feel pushed into them by family or friends.

One of the questions you might be asking yourself is do you want to see each other before the ceremony or not?  This is a very personal decision and one you want to make because it's what you want! 

This blog is from a great photographer, located in Denver, CO, but who does travel all over the world.  Garrett is not only a wonderful photographer, but a great guy and super easy to work with.  He's my guest blogger addressing this question.

To See or Not to See?

Should a couple see each other before the ceremony in order to have photos taken?  Will they be cursed by the myth of bad luck or, perhaps even worse, the scorn of traditionally minded parents? The bottom line is, it is your day, and your photographer will accommodate either.

However, I will share with you a few practical considerations based on 15 years’ experience as a wedding photographer.  

First, by doing staged photos before the ceremony, you are freed up to mingle at your reception and enjoy your time with friends and family, many of whom have traveled far and wide to share your day with you.

Second, make-up, hair, dresses and tuxes are at their finest at the very beginning of the day, particularly if you are having an outdoor wedding.

But my third point is perhaps the most important; a personal and emotional factor that many couples have not considered. I have observed that couples who choose to see each other privately beforehand really have the opportunity to be in the moment and cherish it, as opposed to seeing guests, heart pounding, maybe thinking: “I hope I don’t trip.  Dad is squeezing my arm too tight.  Who invited her?” while your honey stands at the end of an aisle that seems a mile long. With the whirlwind of surroundings, concerns and emotions on your walk to happily ever after, that “first look” can fly by in a blur.

You will be seeing each other for the first time on your wedding day and in your wedding splendor one way or the other—whether it is before your ceremony or on your walk down the aisle. Why not slow this precious moment down and enjoy the intimacy? When you and the person you’ve chosen to spend your life with meet eye-to-eye in a calmer, more private setting, you’ll remember it, your photographer will be able to capture it from every angle and you may choose who you want present for that wonderful moment in time. 

Guess what else?  You will have more precious time with your sweetheart on a special day that will go by all too fast as it is!

Garrett Hacking, owner of Photography G, is a Denver, Colorado based wedding and portrait photographer who is available for events and   sittings worldwide.
Visit his on-line portfolio at or reach him directly at 303-444-6994
Be sure to visit his portfolio as I know you'll be as impressed as I am! 

Happy Planning and remember, if you need assistance from hourly consulting to full wedding planning to having a Planned Elopement, give me a call at 303-779-0395 or email me at

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Selecting Attendants

I've talked about this before, but with so many new engagements, I'd like to reiterate how important it is to keep certain things in mind when selecting your attendants:

Selecting your Attendants

A romantic dinner and the question you’ve been waiting for is asked...”Will you marry me?”  You quickly answer “Yes”, and your head immediately starts filling with all kinds of thoughts.

You arrive home and start calling friends and family to inform them of the good news when someone asks “Can I be one of your bridesmaids?”  Of course, you immediately respond with an enthusiastic “yes”. 

This is the first item of wedding planning you probably will deal with.  Many brides don’t realize many of the issues involved with selecting attendants before they start inviting friends and family to be part of the wedding party.  Taking the time to answer a few questions will save them a lot of problems and heartaches.  These are some of the questions that need to be answered prior to asking someone to stand up with you.

1.     What style wedding do you want? 

2.    How many bridesmaids/attendants do you want?

a.    1-2 attendants = casual wedding

b.    3-4 attendants = semi formal wedding

c.    5 + attendants = formal wedding

Next are the questions you need to ask yourself about the people you’d like to be in the wedding party:
1.    Can they afford to be an attendant?   Typically, this would include the cost of the dress, if travel is involved, flight, hotel, expenses, a wedding gift and possibly shower gifts and last but not least, the cost of attending a bachelorette party.

It’s not often but on occasion, the bride’s family will cover these costs.  If you aren’t in a position to do so, be considerate of your bridesmaids especially when selecting their attire.  If you have someone you really want to be part of the wedding party that can’t afford costs, you can consider helping them out, quietly of course.  I’ve had brides put a set amount towards everyone’s dresses and then outright purchase the one for the bridesmaid who couldn’t afford it on the sly.  This way, everyone is included and treated fairly and you have not left out a special friend.

You, as the bride, can also help out by making your gift to your attendants, their jewelry and other accessories they need to complete their outfits. 
2.    How does everyone get along?  If you have one prima-donna in the crowd, you are asking for a lot of problems by the time the wedding comes around.  You want to have people who get along with each other as their main concern will be to help you!
3.    Don’t be hurt if someone says no.  They may feel their budget can’t stretch to cover all the expenses of being a bridesmaid.  If they do plan to attend the wedding, there are many other jobs they can assist with that won’t require out of pocket money. 

4.    Be reasonable about showers and bachelorette parties.  Many brides, today, like to go to exotic places like Mexico or Las Vegas.  Take your attendants into consideration as this may be a hardship on them. 

5.    Feel free to have a man stand up with you as its fine if a woman stands up with the groom.  Sometimes couples have brothers and sisters who they are extremely close to and want to have them as Maid or Man of Honor.  This is perfectly acceptable.  I’ve had all male attendants for brides and all female for grooms!  Men are willing to hold a bride’s bouquet, but do ask one of the women attendants to fluff your train! 

6.    If you are especially close to your mother or grandmother, you can also ask them to stand up with you.  The same for the groom if he’d like to include his father, grandfather, uncles etc.  This is also an honor for them!

Above all, remember who your attendants are!  These are people who are special to you and want to be part of your special day.  Treat them with love and respect.  They aren’t hired help.  You want them to enjoy your wedding as much as you do. 

For help in planning your wedding, contact Tanya at , or call 303-779-0395.  I do travel to your site in or out of State and limit the number of weddings I do in a year.  Don't hesitate to contact me to see if your date is still available! 


Friday, November 23, 2012

'Tis the Season!

Hope everyone had a blessed and relaxing Thanksgiving.  I know I did!
I started this morning by performing a wedding ceremony for a lovely military couple.  What a wonderful way to start off the Christmas/Holiday season!

Many couples will be getting engaged now through the end of the year.  My advice is that you enjoy your engagement for a while before getting into the throws of wedding planning.  The one exception may be to book your wedding coordinator so you'll know you have someone booked who will help you when you are ready to start. 

Enjoy the holidays!  Don't get so caught up in wedding planning that you forget to take time for yourselves, family and friends.

Wishing you all the blessings of the season...and when you are ready, give me a jingle! or

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Expert Photography Advice- Make the Right Choice

Well, the elections are finally over and we go forward!  One thing that remains constant is Wedding Planning! 

I have the opportunity to know many wonderful, and professional vendors, who I will be asking to do a guest blog to help you as you make decisions for your wedding.

This week, I've invited Grant Oakes of Images by Grant Oakes Photography.  I've had the privilege of knowing Grant many years and can recommend him as one of the top photographers available, anywhere.  Grant often travels to many destinations outside the US as well as inside the US to take those unforgettable moments for couples.  You can contact him at: 
Grant Oakes
Welcome Grant!
Your wedding is an event that cannot be done over. The moments are real and unscripted, the emotions are not rehearsed, therefore they have a priceless quality to them. You owe it to yourself to have someone who is truly qualified to document this once in a lifetime experience, someone that has the experience and expertise to help you to relive those moments, YOUR moments, though beautiful imagery.
Over the past few years there has been a very disconcerting shift that has been occurring within the photography industry. The number of self proclaimed wedding photographers has exploded! Since most people posses a digital camera and they know how to push the button many have thought how hard could it be to become a wedding photographer and make a nice side income.  Since all they need is a nice website with a few good images, business cards and their camera, they can simply set up shop. DON’T BE FOOLED! Many of these new photographers are pretenders and have little to no professional training. Think of them as either hobbyists or enthusiasts. There seems to be a mentality of “fake it until you make it” by many of these newcomers and you are the target of their training. I have seen a lot of questions posted on numerous forums and Facebook photography groups that tell me they don’t even have the basic photographic skills necessary to operate their equipment. The advice of “buyer beware” is truer in our professional today than at any other time that I have seen. You need to ask questions and be knowledgeable as to what a good answer is. You can find a good photographer and weed out those that lack the necessary dedication by asking the questions listed below and gauging them against the appropriate answers.
Q  How many years of experience and how many weddings have you photographed as the main photographer?
A  As with any profession they’ll get better with time and experience. Some may only have 2nd shooter experience or photographed event for friends and relatives. While everyone has to start somewhere the amount of experience they’ll have is something you’ll ultimately have to find a comfortable threshold with.
Q  Do you have back up equipment?
A  This is an absolute MUST! Even new equipment can fail so not having 2 sets of camera bodies is grossly irresponsible at best and at its worst is a ruined wedding day.
Q  What type of cameras do you shoot with?
A  At the very least mid-level DSLR’s are needed. Nothing other than Canon or Nikon are used by professional photographers. Digital Rebels and Nikon D80’s or lower grade cameras are not up to the demands that weddings can create.
Q  What lenses do you have?
A  Professional grade glass should have a minimum aperture (lens opening) of f2.8 (or smaller number). Kit lens that come with the cheaper cameras have very wide focal length ranges (18mm-200mm) and variable apertures like f3.5-6.3. These are not acceptable for wedding photography but are fine for amateurs.
Q  Do you have liability insurance?
A  Any serious professional that intends on staying in business would not even consider walking out his front door without insurance. Many venues wouldn’t allow a vendor on their premises if they suspected they weren’t covered. A one million dollar policy is common and frankly is not that expensive. A cheap photographer will try to get by without this necessary business expense.
Q  What formal training, workshops or photographic conventions have you attended?
A  If the answer is none, then run in the other direction! Continuing education is paramount in ALL professions, so at the very least they should be attending WPPI, Imaging USA or state PPA conventions often as well as getting additional workshops under their belt to help them continue to improve their skills.
Q  Do you have a trade name affidavit (DBA), business or sales tax license?
A  While the state of Colorado does not require any type of licensure like an electrician or real estate sales person, not having at least some sort of business entity recognized by the state is another indication the photographer is flying by the seat of their pants. A sales tax license IS required by law, now matter how they spin it. If you receive ANYTHING tangible that item is subject to sales tax, plain and simple. Any photographer that says otherwise is cheating the system or getting very bad advice from his accountant.
Q  Do you shoot in Raw or Jpg?
A  Raw is a format that allows for greater latitude in exposure and tonal changes than Jpg. Although the files are larger, require more CF cards and larger hard drives as well as time to process the files it is a necessary business expense for the serious professional.
Q  Do you have a colorimeter and calibrate your monitor often?
A  Ever notice at Best Buy they’ll have 20 TV sets tuned to the same channel and the colors all look different? Which one is right? A colorimeter is a device that every photographer that processes or retouches his own images has to have so that his monitor displays the correct color. If they don’t use one how can he properly adjust his images?
When planning your wedding, please check out my website for important information that will be beneficial or contact me directly at or call 303-779-0395.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Create a New You for Life!

Hi Everyone,
Last month, I attended the Wedding MBA in Las Vegas.  It was very informative, had over 2400 attendees from all over the US and other countries and I was a participant on one of the panels! 

One of the things discussed was bring new ideas to our blogs.  I have decided to have some guest bloggers to help you with various areas of your wedding planning. 

As a bit of introduction for this first one, John,  owner of Life Warrior, is a personal trainer.  I met John and as of several months ago, he's also my trainer.  I decided if I was going to recommend something to a client, I needed to try it first!  I highly recommend John to anyone, male or female who is interested in getting fit and healthy!

Warrior Weight Loss

By John Austin- If you are tired of weight loss programs, dieting, and always having to begin something anew, here is a post that will give you the basics for the last “program” you will ever need. But rather than a program, I offer you a mindset and an inside out approach…I offer you a way of life vs. starting anew every Monday, every other month, or every New Year.

The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar industry in America. Everywhere you look, from your computer to the television to magazines at the local supermarket’s check-out isle, you are bombarded by “new” programs and images of what you are “supposed” to look like. A sexy, new you is the ongoing promise of a very profitable enterprise.
Here, I challenge you to question this very conventional approach to weight loss. Obviously something is not working since you are poorer than you were yesterday and no better off, while others are getting filthy rich.
I then challenge you to look deeply within yourself and ask a basic question, “Are you happy?” And by asking yourself this very simple question, I’m going to open the door to a new way of looking at your health and fitness.

When will you be happy?

When you lose 10 pounds? When you get rich? Or when you go on your next vacation?
Have you ever noticed that when you have achieved certain goals in the past, your mind immediately finds the next thing to focus on. Maybe you experience a brief moment or even a few days of satisfaction, but surely enough you inevitably start focusing on the next thing to give you your dreams.
Or how about when you go on vacation? Most often, while on vacation, you are so consumed by your plans, relationships, and various other types of drama, that you forget to enjoy the beautiful beach in front of you. Soon enough, the vacation is over and you are back to the daily grind of every day living.
So if you are tired of thinking that your life will be better tomorrow, I offer you a solution.
The solution is simple. Stop!
Stop stressing yourself out!
Relax and enjoy the moment, because chances are that you are missing it.
Live in the here and now. Go for a walk or a hike because it’s nice outside. Eat a healthy delicious meal because it’s what your body is really craving. Don’t stuff yourself because you never feel good after eating too much anyway. Take a yoga class because you want to treat yourself. Exercise hard because of how good it feels when your body is releasing endorphines, cleansing itself through sweat, and rejuvinating the heart and lungs.
Maybe you’re not completely there, but I can promise you that the only people who create a sustainable nutrition and weight loss “program” are those for whom it isn’t a program at all. It’s a way of life…and that my friends is warrior weight loss. Cheers and here’s to unlimited possibilities for you in this life. – John Austin, founder of Life Warrior Coaching, phone #303-562-8798
Contact John today to learn how to create a sustainable and enjoyable workout program. By learning how to enjoy exercise and live in the present moment, you will learn how to see results faster than you would with conventional approaches to training.
Change your mind, change your life!
Wishing you a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving!  It's not to soon to start planning your wedding or Elopement! or  or call 303-779-0395.  We also do private parties - such as Holiday Parties both corporate and private! 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day of Service - REALLY????

It's the season of weddings.  There are many brides who has chosen to plan their own weddings, but find that in order to enjoy it, they need assistance on the day of the wedding.  Thus was born the concept of "Day of Wedding Coordinators". 

What exactly does this intel and what should you expect.  First, anyone who offers to do your wedding the day of and doesn't start at least two months out, should be avoided.  The reasoning for this that no one can possibly know what agreements you have with the vendors, what you expect from the vendors or any potential problems that may crop up.  (I'm on a need to know basis and I NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING!)  This includes any family situations that may arise like blended families or divorced parents who may need to be seated at separate ends of the reception. 

You need to be able to sit down with the coordinator and go over everything with him/her.  They should be able to discern if any mistakes have been made that can be corrected or if you have forgotten something. 

Many brides are on a fairly tight budget and think that a coordinator who charges $500 is a bargain.  They might be, but you generally get what you pay for. 

Here's what I offer for day of services:

Day of Services

(Services include time involved with organizing the below list.  Any materials needed will be the client’s responsibility

 Supply Emergency Kit

Pick up Dress and deliver to wedding site (if dress is purchased at a Denver Salon)

Timeline and Confirmation for Wedding Day sent to Vendors
Choreograph Rehearsal – if having one
 Coordination of Wedding and Reception Activities 
(Coordinator on site)
Unlimited access to coordinator for questions and guidance during remaining planning process.
Fees are determined by the location and expected expenses
I work closely with all vendors, and contact each one prior to the wedding day, to be sure we are all on the same track. 

After working with brides for a while, I decided that another type of package was needed.  This is the Partial Plan, which I coined about 20 years ago.  This package is perfect for the bride who wants to do her own footwork but have direction and assistance as needed. 

This is what the Partial Plan consists of.  It will give you an idea of how much more is and should be included and what you should expect from any coordinator  you hire.  Don't be afraid to ask them for a list of what services they do include in their fee. 

Consultant shall perform the following Services for Client:  PARTIAL PLANNING

 (Services include time involved with organizing the below list.  Any materials needed will be the client’s responsibility

 Supply Emergency Kit
Assist in finding Ceremony and Reception Site Location
Vendor Referrals to Include but Not Limited To:
        Musicians (Ceremony and Reception)

Accompany Client to Vendor Planning Sessions
Timeline and Confirmation for Wedding Day sent to Vendors
Choreograph Rehearsal
Pick up and Deliver Wedding Dress to Dressing Location
Coordination of Wedding and Reception Activities 
Long distance phone calls and faxing.

Copy of WEDDING PLANNING GUIDE, A Bride’s Workbook

Fees are determined by the location and expected expenses

Assembly of Invitation and Mailing (Additional Charge)
Assembly of Favors (Additional Charge
Distribution of In-Room gifts (Additional Charge)
Planning and Arranging Rehearsal Dinner (I will include in this package if you need assistance)
Planning and Arranging Bridesmaid’s Luncheon (Additional Charge)

Bridesmaids and Groomsmen’s gifts
Bridal Accessories (including but not limited to)
                Guest Book and Pens
                Cake Knife and Server
                Toasting Glasses
                Ring Pillows/Boxes
                Unity Candles

The next level is for the bride who is wanting a lot more help.  When I do a wedding, it doesn't matter which plan, it's YOUR wedding, not mine.  One of the reasons brides are hesitant to hire a coordinator is because they are worried the coordinator will "tell her what to do and plan the wedding without much input by the bride".  When interviewing a coordinator, observe how they listen to you.  Do they ask questions about you and your fiance?  Do they inquire about what you enjoy doing together - which is important to help you define the type of wedding you want.  You want your wedding to reflect your personalities.  When your guests walk into the reception, you want them to know it's your wedding and not be like the last three they attended! 

I enjoy blending heritage and personalities to bring out the best of both families.  It can be as simple as including rosemary in a bouquet to naming tables after candy bars for someone from Hershey, PA.

For additional comparison, here is what I offer for full planning: 


(Services include time involved with organizing the below list.  Any materials needed will be the client’s responsibility (example:  Calligraphy charges, stamps, maps, placecards, favors, gift baskets,
amenities ,etc…)

 Budget Analysis
Month to Month Timeline
Ceremony and Reception Site Location
Hotel Accommodations
Vendor Referrals to Include but Not Limited To:
        Musicians (Ceremony and Reception)
Assembly of Favors
Lighting/Sound - assisting with selection
Rental Items - assisting with selection
Appointment Setting
Participating in Planning Meetings
Save the date letters, Accommodation letters (if not provided by hotel)
Taking invitation to Calligrapher, stuffing, stamping, mailing
Program Organization
Place-card Organization
Distribution of In-Room gifts
Place Restroom Amenities if Needed 
Timeline on Wedding Day
Vendor Confirmations
Pick up and Deliver Wedding Dress to Dressing Location
Rehearsal Assistance
Coordination of Rehearsal, Wedding and Reception
Long distance phone calls and faxing.

Planning and Arranging Rehearsal Dinner (Additional Charge)
Planning and Arranging Bridesmaid’s Luncheon (Additional Charge)
Bridesmaids and Groomsmen’s gifts
Bridal Accessories (including but not limited to)
                Guest Book and Pens
                Cake Knife and Server
                Toasting Glasses
                Ring Pillows/Boxes
                Unity Candles
            Candle Holders

When selecting a coordinator, feel free to use this information when interviewing.  You want to be sure you get the best service for your money.  Whether you are planning a Colorado wedding or one out of the country, I do travel to anywhere so if you'd like to visit with me about your wedding, please feel free to contact me at 303-779-0395 or 303-594-3480; or

Happy Planning!!!!