Tag Archives: colorado wedding

J + TJ’s Love Shoot

08 | 04 | 2011

Sometimes it works out to do engagement photographs before the wedding with a destination wedding. Other times, it doesn’t. Jess met me for her bridal photographs in Los Angeles, but TJ couldn’t come. So we took an hour the morning after the wedding (yes! we were all a little groggy) to capture some images of the two of them together. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: I love how relaxed and sweetly intimate post-wedding portrait sessions always are. Really, it’s the recipe for perfect portraits …

That’s a wrap! Now, we are drawing near to Jess and TJ’s first anniversary and I am quietly wishing them, as I wish all my clients, a marriage as marvelous as—or more marvelous than—their wedding!

photographs: Gia Canali

FacebookTwitterPinterest

J + TJ’s Rustic Handmade Colorado Ranch Wedding (With Rainbows and a Rodeo Arena Reception)!

08 | 03 | 2011

Now, finally on to Jess and TJ’s actual wedding day!  By the morning of the wedding, it really did feel—as Jess and TJ had so hoped and schemed—like everyone there was one big family.   We woke before dawn to take in the “jingle” with some of TJ’s cousins.  Then, everybody else began readying themselves for the day.  I’m not sure what I could really say to do this wedding justice, so I’m keeping my notes uncharacteristically brief.

Jess and TJ saw each other for the first time in a wide open field, a couple of hours before the ceremony was scheduled to start.  We had planned to make a bunch of portraits during that time … but it started to rain just as they finished with that first quiet moment, so we retreated to stay dry.  Wedding party and immediate family portraits were made in the little sliver of shelter under the eaves of the barn.

Jess’s grandfather was quite the photographer in his day, and he even used to make carbro prints (the vintage photographic process on which I have the second biggest crush).  So when he asked me to make a portrait of him (with his bow tie!), I obliged using one of my favorite vintage cameras.

Jess and TJ’s wedding ceremony was perhaps my favorite part of the whole weekend.  It took place atop a cliff overlooking an incredible valley.  We loved how they made the ceremony so, so personal … and got everybody involved!  One friend officiated, others did readings, or sang songs.  Their dog, Midas, was the ring bearer (bearing the real rings). And Jess and TJ’s guests had sent them pieces of fabric with their reply cards to make a quilt that was incorporated into the ceremony.  Here’s what Jess says:

“I wrote the ceremony (which I would also recommend since it made it sooo personal for us) and as part of that, we did a “community blessing” where everyone in the audience held hands and connected all the way to us—as we were wrapped in the quilt with pieces of them all around us. It was one of my favorite moments of the ceremony, and maybe one of my favorite pics from the entire wedding (maybe also because this was when it started to pour rain!). We then used the quilt as a backdrop for our photo booth which was fun because people got to go up and pick out where their piece was on the quilt. TJ and I now have the quilt on our bed and it’s an awesome reminder of that amazing moment.”

I did my best to hide under an umbrella while the rain pour downed and keep my cameras (more or less) dryish while I was shooting (although I was more conspicuous than I would have wanted to be for sure).  But I love the photos from the recessional, with light reflecting through raindrops on my lens glass.  By then, I think I’d dashed out from under the umbrella!

Guests moved to the indoor rodeo arena for dinner, dancing, and bull-riding.  Despite the enormity of the space or the fact that it was really (really!) just a barn, Jess and TJ made it feel cozy, welcoming and even (kind of, but not too) fancy.  The warm happy color palette seemed especially appropriate after a day that had gone from clear and beautiful, to dark and stormy, to rainbows …

Below: Jess and TJ’s first dance and the beginnings of a long, happy night of dancing.

The photo booth was so fun!  You might recognize the quilt, re-purposed …

Maybe the best thing, though, was the mechanical bull!  I loved seeing everybody’s best wild west moves!  Jess made the operator buck her off (although she really, really didn’t want to buck the bride).  It was so funny!

The wedding is featured {here} today on 100 Layer Cake (hooray!).  Be sure to stop back tomorrow and Friday for photographs from Jess’s bridal session and Jess and TJ’s post-wedding love shoot, plus a peek at some of their paper goods …

photographs: Gia Canali

wedding planning: Stacy McCain; wedding design, Duet Events (the bride and her friend’s design company); florals, Sweet Pea Flowers, Denver; lighting & other magic tricks, Pink Monkey Solutions; dj: DJ Smiles Davis; dessert buffet, Tee and Cakes; venue and catering: C Lazy U Ranch

FacebookTwitterPinterest

J+TJ Rehearsal Dinner Party

08 | 02 | 2011

After Jess and TJ’s guests thoroughly wore themselves out in the field day tournament, everyone dressed up for a tented rehearsal dinner party.  It was the weekend’s most formal event.  Guests dined in a tent that opened up on a little pond and it was embellished with dressy-up, woodsy decor and lots of sweet, handmade touches.  We especially loved all the wooden table numbers, the tree-bark wrapped “vases,” and the escort card heart made of stones with each guest’s name.

{click any image for a closer view}

We stole Jess and TJ away for a few minutes, just before sunset for photographs along the dirt road out to the horse pasture (and spa!) at C Lazy U.   Taking a few minutes here and there out of a busy wedding weekend schedule—particularly in moments with perfect light—to make some beautiful portraits always has a huge impact on the overall coverage of your wedding. We’ll hurry you back to your guests, promise …

I think getting great wedding photographs is one part trained eyeballs (by which I mean vision) and two parts time-management, both on the part of the photographers and on the part of the couple. One little great time-management helper with multi-day weddings is to space out the group photographs across the events.  Not every family photograph needs to be on the wedding day.  We photographed Jess and TJ’s extended families separately at the rehearsal and then TJ requested this lodge-style combined family photograph, which I just love.

Jess and TJ’s friends and families also made almost all their toasts at the rehearsal dinner.  Except for a quick welcome toast from the bride’s father at the wedding reception, this freed them up on the wedding day for an uninterrupted party (!) … a fantastic bonus since it always goes by too too quickly, even when you have four days of celebrating.   This was a sweet way for everyone to get to know each other, too.

~♥~

The event is also featured {here} on 100 Layer Cake!  Come back tomorrow for more from Jess and TJ’s wedding day!

photographs: Gia Canali

event design: Duet Events (the bride’s design company); planning, Stacy McCain Events; venue and catering, C Lazy U Ranch; florals: Lisa Anderson, Sweet Pea Flowers; dessert (aka tower of awesomeness), Shamane’s Bake Shoppe, Boulder CO.

FacebookTwitterPinterest

On the Ranch: C Lazy U

08 | 01 | 2011

c lazy u ranchGia Canali Photography

On the morning of the wedding, my husband, brother, and I got up in the pre-dawn dark to drive to the ranch for the “jingle” when the horse wranglers bring the horses in from pasture. I can’t believe I saw it only once in the days we were there making photographs.  All that raw power is so exciting and so very, very beautiful.  We also went up to the clifftop vista where Jess and TJ were married later that day for some photographs of  the site, called “woodsie.”  I have to confess: I can’t wait to go back to C Lazy U.  I’m really hoping for a family horseback riding vacation with my whole family, with lots of chances to ride and to see and photograph that jingle again!

photographs: Gia Canali

FacebookTwitterPinterest

J+TJ Hoedown!

08 | 01 | 2011

Those of you who have been reading the blog a long time know that it’s pretty rare for me to feature a whole wedding (that’s not what my blog is about!), but this wedding is going to be an exception, multiple times over to go with the myriad events that made up Jess and TJ’s celebration.  When Jess first called me about photographing her wedding at a guest ranch in Granby, Colorado, I was excited to return to the landscape of my youth.  My parents had a tiny horse ranch in the mountains nearby when I was a little girl, and I’ve always thought Colorado possesses some kind of real magic.  I thought the events of the weekend, even the ones I wasn’t slated to photograph, sounded so fun—a hoedown, a poker tournament, field day, a tented dinner party, a wedding reception in a rodeo arena—but I had no idea how exhilarating it would be to show up to an event where I would end up shooting in my mom’s old cowgirl boots and it actually made sense (really, was practically required). Nor did I realize the kind of camaraderie Jess and TJ would be cultivating amongst their friends and family before the wedding.  So often two families can’t really get to know each other before a wedding and, at least when you think of a wedding as a big send off into married life—a show of support from a couple’s community—there’s no better way to get everybody really “in” on the send off than to get folks together for days of fun together.

The hoedown was the welcome party.  And it was a real hoedown, complete with bluegrass music, bbq, lots of dancin’, a big bonfire, and cowboys “branding” guests’ boots and belts with the C Lazy U brand.   I have to think that this is one of the best weddings to be a guest at that I’ve ever been a part of.   100 Layer Cake is featuring the wedding all this week, too, and their post for the hoedown can be found {here}.

photographs: Gia Canali

event coordination / production: Stacy McCain Events, SF; event design: Duet Events (Jess’s wedding design company!); location: C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, CO; florals: Lisa Anderson, Sweet Pea Flowers, Denver; delish silverware sleeves, Miss Pickles Press.

FacebookTwitterPinterest

J + TJ’s Wedding Featured in Brides Local Magazines

07 | 31 | 2011

Jess & TJ’s Colorado ranch wedding weekend is featured in all the local editions of Brides magazines (Southern California, Northern California, Colorado—of course!—as well as New York, Chicago, DC, Atlanta, et cetera)! Hooray! So pick up a copy at a newsstand near you.  The article shows insight into how Jess and TJ planned what turned out to be a pretty incredible three day celebration for themselves and their friends and families.   This epic wedding brings to mind the phrase “one for the books” and we’ll be sharing lots of different images on the blog here this upcoming week.  (It’s also featured on Brides.com and can be found here, if you’d like a peek).

FacebookTwitterPinterest