Chautauqua Park Destination Wedding, Boulder CO

Venue Chautauqua Park, Boulder, Colorado
Hair/Makeup Ember Salon


What’s a wedding without a little mishap, right? Let’s be honest, no matter how much we plan and organize and agonize over every. little. detail., something will inevitably go sideways. It’s the law of the universe. I learned this from my own wedding and have never met a bride or groom who said, “My wedding went exactly as planned…minute by minute…organized, executed, and wrapped…I got exactly what was in the brochure…nailed it.” Puhleeeeease.

So what can we do when all of these unplanned things start happening? All we can do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the moments unfolding before us with the ones we love. Even if the weather doesn’t cooperate or the vendors pull out last minute or the officiant doesn’t show…at least there’s you and the one you love, surrounded by all the people you both love the most. Forget all the other fluffy stuff…that alone is pretty darn incredible.

Boulder is a special place for Christina and Andrew. Both philosophy professors, Christina teaches at a college in Michigan and Andrew teaches in New York. Every year they attend a philosophy conference in Boulder – and it was at this conference where they first met. Destination wedding in the city where you first met? I love it. When I got to Chautauqua Park, things were already a bit scattered. Plans weren’t going to plan, and I expected to meet a disheveled bride surrounded by family and friends reassuring her that everything would turn out just fine. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Upon walking through the door I found Christina surrounded by family and friends laughing, chatting, taking turns styling one another’s hair and catching up on years spent apart. Wait a sec…is this the wedding I’m supposed to be photographing? Christina motioned me to come on in and gave me a big hug. After updating me with the latest news, she kicked back and said, “You know, whatever happens, happens. We’re just gonna do this thing!” Hell yeah. We’re gonna do this thing and it’s gonna be awesome, I thought. And it really, really was.

Brides (and grooms!) planning a wedding can spend hours Googling their little hearts out (we all do it…), but from my experience speaking with numerous couples, at the end of the day there are only three things that are the most important to tell yourself on the big day:

  1. Things aren’t going to go exactly according to plan. Kick back, laugh it off, and roll with it.
  2. Focus on the people and places that are meaningful to you, and forget all the other stuff. You are all in this one place together, everyone came here for YOU and they love the hell out of you. It’s all gonna be just dandy.
  3. Do exactly what you two want to do. If you don’t want family formals, don’t do ’em. If you don’t want flowers or music or matching invites or rings, do your thing. If you want the whole shebang and then some, go all out. IT’S YOUR DAY.

Christina and Andrew seemed perfectly relaxed on their wedding day, and they set the tone for the whole event. Everyone was laid back, full of love, and genuinely enjoying themselves and one another. There are so many favorite parts of a wedding for me as a photographer, but I think my favorite is the first look. No matter how calm, cool, and collected you are, the moment before a couple sees each other for the first time before their wedding is absolutely priceless. You get chills. You might shake a little bit from nerves, but mostly from shear excitement.  You’ve spent all day making everything perfect, sometimes running around nonstop. Then all of a sudden it’s TIME. The excitement rolls up through your body uncontrollably and manifests in all kinds of beautiful ways – uncontrollable laughter, unstoppable tears, uncountable hugs and kisses…it just comes out! Andrew and Christina’s first look was one of my faves to date (you’ll see what I mean!). Their shiny personalities illuminated the whole day and their love resonated through everyone present and made for such a genuine, love-filled and FUN wedding. You guys, it just doesn’t get any better than that. I’m so grateful to Andrew and Christina for including me in their special day. Cheers to a lifetime of philosophy nerding, love, and all the adventures to these two beautiful humans.

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