Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ryan and Bri. Cold Hands Warm Hearts.

A few months back Cori's sister Bri contacted me to do her wedding. It sounded nothing short of ideal. A tiny town nestled in the Colorado Rockies on New Year's eve. I envisioned the snow covered mountains, the unusual clothing she'd picked for the occasion and I already had an attachment to the family since doing her sister's wedding. Done deal. I would make the 7 hour drive. It's not that I totally didn't consider the possibility of a huge storm hitting the area, it's just that I hoped my incredible streak of photogenic wedding weather luck wouldn't run out for her wedding. Alas though... not only Colorado but the whole South West saw a massive storm that would last the full 36 hours preceding her wedding. It would close the two passes we would usually use to drive to Ouray and force us to drive via Grand Junction - a 13 hour harrowing journey on slick roads and blinding snow with a two year old in tow. (and a hubby who graciously drove the entire way).

Somewhere between Monticello and Moab when the weather intensified to a level that had me wondering whether it was wise to proceed any further the phone rang. It was Bri. She sounded pretty relaxed... a little bummed at the weather and a 3rd of her guests having to cancel... but calm none the less. "You know... I just want you guys to be safe. Stop wherever you are... if you don't make it that is COMPLETELY okay. I just want you all to be okay and I don't want you risking your life to get here". I think it was likely pregnancy hormones but I think I actually shed a tear when I hung up. In the world of weddings you come across a lot of people who completely loose perspective. It's a production. A show rather than a right of passage into another humans life. I had come across someone who cared more about me than the photos I would take and when we finally made it to Ouray I told Ryan how very lucky he was to have found a girl like Bri. When I watched him marry her I knew for sure that he did.

It was such a pleasure to be back with this family. Cori's wedding was all warm colors. Bri's all cool. Both just have an amazing imagination and an incredible ability to weave people into all the details that surrounded them at their wedding. Enjoy a few of my favorites of their day!

Their rings were made by a friend. One water. One mountains.

Bri's grandma once again made an amazing keepsake as she does for all her granddaughters. A garter made of Bri's mother's wedding dress and buttons taken from all the other loved ones dresses.
DIY very unusual bouquet made out of area trees.

And the DRESS! Seriously... gotta love a bride willing to break out of the box. You should check out this designer's site for some really unusual dresses

Ouray is famous for it's ice climbing. With the scenery surrounding the town we HAD to get some outdoor shots but with temperatures at around twenty below that day it was difficult to do so. Bri and Ryan were TROOPERS... and I'm grateful. I think it was worth a few minutes of misery.

The men are outfitted by Carhartt. Pretty awesome!

They gave their guests sparklers to walk from the church to the reception down the street. A lovely idea!

Their weddings details were all DIY and all beautiful!
They used maps to create hanging ornaments and to wrap mason jars with.

The placeholders were mason jars with the guests' name written on one side and a personal message on the other.

Bri made her cakes herself from her grandmother's recipe and used lemons, logs and driftwood to decorate the table that seated them.
Alaskan King Salmon (in honor of their hometowns in Alaska) was served. VERY delicious and once again prepared DIY style.

They did a traditional German activity of cutting a log together which represents the couple's first challenge that they have to work together on. My favorite part is that they used the saw as a guestbook which they will hang above their door at home.

Thank you for having me not only as a photographer but as a guest. It was SUCH a pleasure being with your family and friends again. :) I hope you continue to bless those around you like you did me.

P.S. Blog readers - be sure to check out Cori's photography blog for her takes on the day.


  1. The Switzerland of America! These are lovely, Sarah! Ouray is a favorite ice climbing area for us, so this was especially exciting to view! Beautiful work!

  2. I thought Cori's wedding was my favorite wedding that you have photographed but this one certainly rivals it! I love this family's uniqueness!

  3. Sarah... these are incredible. I had some ideas of what you'd create, but these blew me out of the water. Love, love, love them.

    Thanks for the shout out :)

  4. UNfreakingBELIEVABLE. Sarah - your pictures are stunning. I'm pretty sure I'll be seeing this wedding featured all over the blogosphere...it's breathtaking!!!

  5. What an inspiration. Loved your photos and your bride/groom! I love the DIY, the personalization, and the thought gone into each part of their wedding. Thank you for sharing!

  6. How gorgeous! The wedding looks lovely and all the details are incredible!

    And what a great location! LOVE Ourey!

  7. Some of the most amazing shots I've seen to encapsulate an incredible day. You've captured the little details that tell the story of who they are. Great stuff!

  8. Lovely Sarah, just lovely. My favorite is also the first one. I love that dress, Bri -- so very perfect for a cool winter wedding. Well done. Did you arrive in a Subaru?


Thanks for the comments... I love hearing all of them!