Destination Wedding in the Colorado Mountains

By, November 02, 2011

We had the chance to catch up with one of our beautiful brides whose wedding we photographed this fall near Denver, Colorado. Kristin and her husband Ryan met in the mountains of Colorado, so a wedding tucked away at a private mountain retreat was the ideal place for this couple to tie the knot. Even though the couple now lives in Philadelphia, they look back with fond memories of their chic celebration!

Everyone I have shared our photos with has been blown away. I have received countless comments about the ‘best wedding pictures I’ve ever seen.’ – Kristin, Bride

San Diego Wedding Photography: Bride and groom kiss at Red Rocks Park in Colorado during reception

It actually took me a year to choose Boettcher Mansion as our venue. We wanted to do a small mountain wedding in a rented home, but our families’ guest lists ended up prohibiting that! So finding the same type of feeling with enough room was a huge challenge. To complicate things, I was searching from Philadelphia, and only got to check out venues when I flew home. Boettcher is one of those places that you really don’t get a feel for until you’re standing on the property. As soon as we walked through the archway at the entrance, I loved it.

San Diego's Top Wedding Photographer: photographed couple at their wedding at Boettcher Mansion in Colorado

We were going for rustic elegance with a bohemian flair… if that makes sense!  As a designer in the wedding industry, I was overly aware of all the trends out there. I knew what I did not want. But every day I found new ideas and trends that I loved. It was hard to stay focused on what represented us and not just what was cool. Ryan and I met running ski trips in the mountains of Colorado, so in the end I knew I had to stay true to the environment because that was the most meaningful element.

San Diego Wedding Photographer: True Photography captures bohemian style wedding in Denver colorado

I am incredibly lucky to have a lot of creative people in my life! Ryan is an audiophile and a very talented guitar player, and I wanted elements in the party that represented him. I also wanted a cool alternative to the traditional guestbook. That’s where the guitar and canvases come in. We found a cool acoustic on Craigslist for people to autograph, and I set up canvases for guests to paint on. The guitar is awesome. The end vision is to hang the canvases and guitar together on a wall in our upstairs studio.

San Diego Wedding Photographer: Guitar guestbook for wedding guests to sign and canvas guestbook to paint

The lightning shots in the meadow rock! Standing in the open with a metal umbrella was a little scary while that thunderstorm rolled in. But NOBODY has a wedding picture like that. It was worth the risk of electrocution! Haha!

Denver wedding Photography: Bride and groom with red umbrella during lightening storm during Colorado wedding

My father is incredibly handy – he’s a carpenter in his free time. I saw some basic aspen candle holders on Etsy, and I knew they would be perfect for our reception. I showed the idea to Dad, and he took it from there. It was his idea to cut trunks in half vertically and lay them flat.  I’ve suggested to Dad that he ought to open up his own little Etsy shop selling the candle holders! Maybe a nice side job when he retires. I also have to give major props to my florist and friend, Michael Ann Austin… I loved how creative she was with elements like the purple artichokes and the fiddlehead ferns. She opened my eyes to just how expansive the world of flowers is!

San Diego Wedding Photographers: Mountain themed wedding with wood tree trunk centerpieces and candle holders. Unique flowers with Billy Balls

I design stationery, so it was basically my opportunity to show off. I spent a weekend holed up in my studio illustrating all the elements, but it took me weeks to finalize it all. The invitation cards were printed on aspen wood. There’s a great company, Cards of Wood, that did this for me. I highly recommend them. The rest of the stationery was printed on bamboo, a very eco-friendly material to print on because bamboo grows like crazy.

San Diego Wedding Photography: Bohemian wedding invitation and stationary printed on bamboo

Hands down, the shots of Ryan and I posing in front of the red door are my favorite photos. There are eight or nine of them, I think, and we love all of them! Aaron gave us a pair of sunglasses and basically just told us to vogue. We did it separately, so I had no idea how Ryan’s would come out, and vice versa. HILARIOUS. And awesome. Two of those are getting printed and hung side-by-side in our house. Big, like concert posters.

San Diego Wedding Photography: Bride and groom having fun doing Vogue poses during wedding reception in Denver Colorado

The string lights were a slight obsession of mine. If there was any area I became bridezilla over, it was the lights. Amazing how expensive it can be to string those little guys up!  I wanted to create a liveable space outside and not just have guests feel like they were sitting on a patio…The lights did the trick, and connected the indoor dancing to the outside patio. Plus, the photos with the string lights came out amazing!  I love the pictures of us twirling around in the forest… little do people know we were a couple drinks in at that point, and spinning around without eating a tree trunk was not easy!

San Diego Wedding Photography: Outdoor wedding reception with twinkle lights and string lights for ambiance

I’m honestly so thrilled with our wedding pictures. I want to have another reason to hire True Photography… maybe an anniversary session? Thirtieth birthday party? If my actual life was as colorful as our wedding pictures, it would be a dream!

San Diego Wedding Photographer: True Photography captures bright and colorful photos of bride and groom at wedding in Denver, Colorado


“Cheery” Temecula Winery Wedding at Lake Oak Meadows

By, October 20, 2011

We photographed Kelsey and Kyle’s engagement shoot in Pacific Beach back in June, and ever since we’ve been excited for this fun and energetic couple to tie the knot!  Their Temecula wine country wedding was full of brightly colored Gerber Daisies, clever wine themed escort cards, and plenty of their own unique flair!  With Kelsey being a competitive cheerleading coach, and Kyle, an avid skateboarder, there’s no doubt where the “cheery” but “laid back” vibe came from.  Kelsey shared with us a few details from their celebration at Lake Oak Meadows private estate and winery. Check it out!

All outdoors, beautiful flowers and thriving landscape, lots of space for guests to roam —  the venue was ours for the entire day!  No other parties or onlookers that you usually get with the other wineries.  Temecula isn’t far from my hometown of San Diego, but far enough to make it a retreat, and I love wine!  Most of all, the fire pits and heaters, ambient lighting (candles, twinkle, paper lanterns, etc), and a variety of flowers,  it reminds me of my parent’s backyard, but can fit hundreds of people! 

San Diego Wedding Photography: Paper lanterns, candles, firepits and nature at Lake Oak Meadows Winnery in Temecula, California

My two favorite shots of Kyle and I are our first dance when we’re grinning ear to ear and look so ecstatic and in love, and the one where he’s kneeling and kissing my hand – it shows my typical sass!

San Diego Wedding Photography: Bride and groom smiling and kissing during first dance at Temecula winery weddingsSan Diego Wedding Photography: Funny photo of bride and groom after ceremony at Temecula winery wedding

Since the men’s attire wasn’t the typical suit or tux I figured the boutonniere shouldn’t be typical either.  We used mini skateboards instead!  Looped ribbon as the leaves were topped off with the skateboard wheels as flower buds. 

San Diego Wedding Photographers: Laid back wedding with skateboard boutonnières and black and white checkered ties

The vibe was  fun, laid back, “cheery” and unexpected, just like me.  It wasn’t so much a wedding reception I wanted to have, but a typical “Rahn party!”.  When I heard guests saying the event was “totally you!”, I knew I had done it right!

San Diego Wedding Photographer: Laid back and cheery wedding at Lake Oak Meadows private estate and winery

Just before the ceremony began, the guests were greeted and asked to choose a beverage of their choice for the pre-ceremony toast to my father, Ted, who passed away just about a year ago.  He made the most amazing margaritas, which we call Ted-aritas, and we all know of his love for Jimmy Buffet tunes.  The toast happened at exactly 5 o’clock, because it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere!  This photo shows my two sisters/matrons of honor, my mom and myself during the toast just after they finished walking me down the aisle to give me away – ALL 3 of them, with the help of my dad from above too!

San Diego Wedding Photography: Toast for father before the ceremony at Lake Oak Meadows private estate and winery wedding

I needed a fun entrance and this I what I thought of.  My sister and I had a teal 57 Chevy Barbie car when we were younger and that is what I envisioned.  The cars turned out perfect and every male at the wedding couldn’t stop talking about them. My mom always made the team banner for my softball teams when I was younger, so when I had the idea of my two nieces carrying a “here comes the bride” sign down the aisle she immediately started the process.  We took it one step further and had a second banner rolled up behind the first that was revealed at the end of the ceremony…it said “Mr. & Mrs. Varonfakis!”.

San Diego Wedding Photographer captures bride entering on a classic car and flower girls holding "Here Comes the Bride" sign

I’ve grown up spending my summer vacation at my favorite spot in the world – Balboa Island.  They have an ice cream treat called a Balboa Bar, which is chocolate dipped ice cream on a stick coated with your choice of topping.  I wasn’t going to have a cake in the first place so this was a perfect idea as dessert, and reminds me of those vacations growing up!

San Diego Wedding Photography: Wedding dessert of old fashioned hand dipped ice cream at Temecula Winery Wedding

There are so many wine labels out there and I thought it’d be fun to give each table an unusual or quirky wine label in place of the typical table numbers.  I matched the labels to the people sitting at that table too, it was great.  Mine & Kyle’s was “Monogamy”, very fitting!  A few other examples…“Jargon!”, “Barefoot”, “Insatiable” and “It’s a Headsnapper”. The ladder display came straight from a favorite store – Pottery Barn.  We took the idea and ran with it. It came out even more spectacular than I thought.

San Diego Wedding Photographer: Unique escort card display and reception tables named after wine labels

Our experience with True was amazing!  From the engagement shoot to planning the timeline of the big day it went smooth and painless.  After seeing my engagement pictures I knew the wedding shots would be absolutely stunning, and they are!  Every member of the True staff I have dealt with has been welcoming and helpful and had a genuine interest in our event.  I’ve already told girlfriends to go to True for their upcoming weddings!

San Diego wedding photography: Photo of light shining on bride and groom during first dance at Temecula wedding