Backyard DIY Jamestown Wedding with Emily & Joel

This has to be one of the cutest weddings I’ve been fortunate to photograph.  Emily & Joel recently bought a house just outside of Jamestown and they decided to do the wedding there.  They did dinner and their reception in their yard right outside of the house which is a beautiful forest and the ceremony was in a nearby field in open space right just a short walk away.

Trails to the field connected to their backyard so family and friends took a casual hike down to the ceremony site.  They had a little help from vendors with flowers, music and food but they did a ton themselves.  Joel being an arborist used his talents to create so many fun things out of tree trunks, way-finding signs, a gorgeous sweetheart table, coloring boards for the kids, stands for flowers, boutonniere & hair pin holders, appetizer boards, etc.  Emily finalized the signs helping direct people where to go with notes to guests about when things were happening and how to get to places, along with a ton of other planning.

This has to also be one of the most casual weddings I’ve attended, which gave it a warm and inviting feel with the group, all close friends and family.  Their dog Parker of course attended the ceremony and had a honorary bandanna which was very handsome.  During the ceremony they brought out a wheelbarrow full of refreshments for guests and a sign encouraging people to sit our stand wherever they’d like.  Kids sat and played in the grass and drank their soda while Emily and Joel said their vows in a field with a stunning backdrop.

One other thing that makes me smile from this wedding was the speech from Joel’s father.  It was short and sweet.  Emily and Joel met while walking her dog and Joel’s father incorporated that into his speech.  He said something like “Joel’s mother and I met in front of a donkey, and these two met in front of a dog, cheers!”  I never did hear more about the donkey, but that cracked me up.

Emily and Joel, it was a such a pleasure to be part of this day with you all.  I love all the energy you invested into your wedding, you guys made it so beautiful and truly a representation of your personalities and your love for one another.  From the little time I’ve gotten to know you both, you seem like such a wonderful fit for each other.  I’m so happy for the start of your new life together, much love to you guys!!

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The Creative Team:

Wedding Planner & Decor – Emily & Joel

FlowersLyons Farmette 

CatererSavory

Wedding Dress RetailerBHLDN

DJ – DJ Tom

PhotographyNichole Emerson Photography

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The Pines at Genesee Wedding with Ashley & Ryan in Golden, Colorado

It was a pleasure to photograph this wedding with Ashley & Ryan at the Pines at Genesee in Golden, Colorado.  The venue cleared tables out of the way making room for the dance floor in the reception hall as the sun set behind us.  Large panels of glass walls showed off a view of beautiful pine trees and rolling hills.

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The dance I liked the most was the family dance between Ashley, her parents and her three sisters.  They all moved around the dance floor seamlessly, swapping dance partners as the song went on, swinging each other around in large movements.  Towards the end they all held hands and circled around while moving in and out towards and away from each other with joyous smiles.  I thought this was so cute and fun!

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I started my day with this adorable couple by doing a first look a few minutes away from the venue.  Ashley and Ryan wanted to have some mountain views so we drove up a winding road where there was a small lookout, perfect for some beautiful photos of just the two of them and the wedding party.

 

We picked out the location before hand which included a small trail that wasn’t entirely flat.  Ashley laughed as her dad helped her walk down the trail in her high heels.  Ryan stood waiting patiently with his eyes closed ready to see his new bride to be.  The trail was a little challenging but Ashley was amazing and made it over to Ryan with grace tapping him on the shoulder.

 

Like any wedding there are so many details that make the day special.  Ryan works as a firefighter so they chose to have the ring bearer bring out the rings on a small toy fire truck.  I loved this idea!  The moms on either side participated in a rope tying ceremony to signify the strength of love and family.  On Ashley’s bouquet,  they placed a small military badge, wings in the form of a pin, that belonged to Ryan’s grandfather which was so sweet and touching.  One of the coolest things out of the day, was a small prayer book Ashley’s mother pulled out after the ceremony.  It was a tradition to have couples in their family sign the back of the book, which showed off signatures dating back to the 1930’s.

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Ashley & Ryan,  thank you for entrusting me to capture this special time with you and your family and friends.  You guys are adorable together!  May your home be filled with much love and laughter as you enter into this new chapter of your lives together as husband and wife!

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The Creative Team

Venue & Caterer – The Pines at Genesee 

Florist – Veldkamp’s Flowers

DJ – Mountain Music Co.

Wedding Dress – Little White Dress Bridal

Photography – Nichole Emerson Photography

 

7 Tips to Set Yourself up for Wedding Photography Success

Your wedding day is going to go by so fast, that’s why I’ve come up with these 7 tips to set yourself up for wedding photography success.  Read on to find out more about making the most of planning so you’re able to capture photographs you’ll love on your big day.

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1. Plan your ceremony around the sunset.  If you’d like outdoor images in a natural setting during the most flattering time of day, schedule your ceremony time 2-3 hours before sunset.  This will give you some beautiful light to take photos in as a newly married couple after the ceremony.

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2. Allow for extra time as a buffer, don’t try to cram too many things in at once.  A lot of times things don’t always go as planned but you can adjust as need be.  If you’re trying to do too many things at once, most likely some things will get missed when taking photos.  Trust your photographer and talk to them to see if they agree that you’ll be able to capture all the desired photos in the amount of time you have.

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3. Don’t forget about the details.  Gather some things that are meaningful to you and set them aside for the photographer.  This could be things like: invitations, jewelry, pocket watches, your something borrowed, something blue, etc.  These detail shots work great for creating albums and they are a wonderful reminder of all those little pieces that make the day so memorable!

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4. Create a timeline!  You’re day is going to fly by so chat with your photographer beforehand about a timeline.  Usually photographers will suggest a timeline to their clients.  Its important to have so you can work to make the most of your time together, creating beautiful photographs from your wedding.

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5. For family photos, plan for it to take about 2-3 minutes per grouping and make sure family knows when and where they’ll be needed for portraits.  Get your maid of honor or another helper to communicate this to individual family members before the day and then remind them with an announcement on the day of.  Usually the DJ or officiant can make a quick announcement after the ceremony letting family know to stick around for photos.  That way you don’t have to track down uncle Bob at the bar and things will be more efficient so everyone has more time to have fun and party!

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6. Communicate to your photographer what’s most important to you. Do you love candids of family and friends?  Are you super excited about your dress and want to show it off?  Do you want to make sure you capture romantic images with mountain views?  Make sure your photographer knows.  That way as they’re shooting they can prioritize to ensure capturing images that are meaningful to you.

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7. Have fun!  Once the day starts, your only job is to have fun!  The schedule might change slightly, you might have blue skies, you might get some good luck rain…but the most important thing is marrying the one you love.  Enjoy the moment and great photos will always come from being in that state of love and joy!

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Creating Images with Avid 4 Adventure

For the past 3 years I’ve been fortunate to photograph images for Avid 4 Adventure, an outdoor kids camp based out of Boulder.  This year I was able to drop in on a variety of the camps including kayaking and SUPing, climbing, mountain biking, and skate boarding.  The instructors do a great job of keeping the kids engaged, giving them activities and games to do while exploring the outdoors and teaching them new skills, while the administrative team keeps things organized planning for fun new places for the kids to go around the Boulder and Denver area.

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One of the cutest conversations that sticks out in my mind with one of the kids went something like this…

Kid: “why are you taking photos?”

Me: “I’m taking photos so other kids and parents can see all the fun you guys are having and what its like to be here at camp.”

Kid: “you should take photos of us while we’re hiking, its not fun at all.  We walk sooooooo far.”

Me (while laughing): “it’s good you guys are doing stuff that’s hard, its making you stronger.”

 

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That kid was part of an overnight camp where they did a variety of activities including hiking, obviously hiking was not her favorite part.  The activities are a great mix of challenges and excitement.  Its so cool to see their faces light up as they do activities that push them out of their comfort zone a little, like going through a wave in a kayak on the creek or mountain biking down a hill and through some water.

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The instructors do a great job ensuring safety is  a priority.  When they send kids down the creek on boards or kayaks, they have two instructors waiting at the end of the run to make sure they get out safely.  They also signal to each other before starting them out to make sure everyone is ready.

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I greatly enjoy being part of capturing what happens during camp, even hiking!  Avid 4 Adventure’s founder started the company with the idea to give kids a love of outdoor activity and to ensure the future caretaking of our planet.  I love that thought and am so glad I contribute to helping Avid 4 Adventure grow so they can be a positive influence on more kids!  Click on the below link to find out more about them.

Avid 4 Adventure 

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Outdoor Portrait Engagement Session with Deanna & Jason at Mt Falcon Park

We drove up the windy road up to the west side of Mt Falcon Park.  Deanna & Jason followed behind me so they wouldn’t get lost.  To get to Mt Falcon Park the road goes through the small town of Indian Hills  and then continues up a slow windy residential area before popping out onto a ridge that overlooks the mountains to the west and Denver out to the east.

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Deanna & Jason have been super busy lately, so getting them out to do a portrait session to celebrate their engagement was awesome.  I’m so glad we were able to make time to get together.  On top of planning their wedding for this coming October, they are in the process of combining their households and moving in together.  Deanna just sold her townhouse and moved to Jason’s home, now their new home together in Parker.

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They were a pleasure to hang out with for this session.  Both of them are very casual people and easy to be with.  They both love going to games, baseball, football, etc.  They told me most of their photos were selfies from games, so it was fun to do something different and have a portrait session with them.

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As we walked along the trail they laughed about how they were able to find their dining room table that day while unpacking and how that was a great victory.  On top of moving they are also remodeling their new home as well.  They shared the colors that they have picked out for the house and how they were unable to use their bathroom for a time while it was being remodeled.  Their life is in a steady stream of chaos at the moment but its going to be wonderful when its all done.

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Deanna & Jason, thanks for getting together with me last week.  I had a wonderful time hearing about your lives and taking photos of you two.  I’m so excited to see you soon in October to photograph your wedding!  I know life is a little crazy right now but looking into the future for you guys, it’s going to be wonderful once you get settled into your new home with all the fun new changes.  See you soon!

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Outdoor Engagement Portrait Session with Emily & Joel in Jamestown, CO

I met Emily & Joel at their new home which they bought a little less than a year ago in the mountains just passed Jamestown.  They showed me around their property and the nearby community trails that wandered in and out of meadows with views of the mountain range off in the distance.

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Their dog Parker tagged along with us, making a few guest appearances in the photographs.  It was so peaceful.  I’m so excited that these two found a house and piece of property that they can call their own.

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It suits them completely.  Joel works as an arborist and Emily with an outdoor camp for kids.  They both love to be in the mountains, fishing, paddleboarding, etc.  So this was a great find for them.  We climbed an outcropping of rocks to take some images on top looking out over the mountains and trees behind their property.  They told me they sometimes have dinner up there.  I can see why, what an amazing place!

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It was so cool to get a sneak peak into their lives and their home.  They got engaged on a fishing trip out by Crested Butte in their tear drop trailer that they made together.  So of course we had to take photos of them with the trailer!

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They’re sorting out the finishing touches of their wedding which they’ve decided to do on their property.  Joel has done some beautiful woodwork, creating a table and some signs from a tree they fell from their land.  Emily finished the signs with a chalkboard paint and white chalk markers creating way finding messages so their family from out of town doesn’t get lost during the wedding.

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Emily & Joel, I’m so excited to come back to your place soon to shoot your wedding!  It’s so fun to see what you two have created.  Your place is going to be beautifully transformed to celebrate with your friends and family.  Its so fitting for you two.  See you guys soon!

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Light the Fire Series- Favorite Adventures: Backpacking the Devil’s Thumb Loop just outside of Nederland, Colorado

“We got to plan another trip”  we often say to each other, my husband Craig and I.  Its easy to get caught up in the monotony of day to day life spending time on things that are necessary but not of value to fuel our hearts and souls.  Something that’s always strengthened our love for life and each other, and kept the fire alive in our relationship has been adventures, big and small.  In this series I’d like to share with you some of my favorite adventures I’ve had with my husband over the past 10 years we’ve been together.  I encourage you to light the fire with your own relationships and make time for a new adventure whatever that might be and see where life takes you!

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The second day of this trip was my favorite!  It was also the most difficult.  I could feel my heart pounding as we headed up about 1,000 feet in elevation gain in a quarter mile.  I stopped a few times to catch my breath  but was trying to move quickly because of the clouds on the horizon.

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No one wants to get stuck in a thunderstorm while on a exposed ridge at 12,000 feet….but my body could only go so fast also.  A older man in his 70’s with his son passed us by going down on the trail.  I thanked him for the excuse to take a break while letting him pass.

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As we got to the top of the ridge this day the trail steeply dropped off around us, with rock cliffs and beautiful views of mountains, lakes and trees fading off into the distance which seemed to go on forever.

 

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I love that this is less than an hour from our house.  It blows my mind sometimes how beautiful Colorado is and all the wild places there are to explore.  This loop which is just outside of Nederland, Colorado was 14 miles.  We did it in a leisurely 3 days which was nice.  Since it was so close to civilization we could hear the sound of planes and helicopters as we fell asleep in our tent, which was such a weird juxtaposition.

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As the sun started to go down on the second night Craig and I spent some time sitting on a rock checking out the view and just hanging out.  He shortly crashed and I stayed up a little longer.  As I sat quietly marmots jumped around the rocks calling to each other, a pica scurried out from a rock next to me with its mouse like ears and then quickly ran away after seeing me.

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We ran into other hikers who had seen bears and moose but we didn’t run into any along our trip.  In some ways, that’s good.  We were being responsible in our food management and not inviting bears into our camp.  But they still would’ve been fun to see along the trail.  Well, I guess we’ll have to go back out again another time to search for wildlife.  Craig says I scare them off with my stampy feet, which is probably true ;).  We did run into a Rock ptarmigan.  Craig almost stepped on it.  They blend into their surrounding like a pro.  Its actually in the photo below, see if you can spot it…its totally like where’s Waldo 🙂

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We had a great time on this trip and I’m so glad we made it a priority to get out and spend some time with one another.  I feel so blessed to have a man in my life that values nature, being outside and challenging adventures!