Andrew Clark with Andrew Clark Photography captures awe-inspiring images that will take your breath away. I’m excited to introduce you to this incredibly talented person…
How did you get started in photography?
My grandmother had watched me spend meticulous hours making pictures with oil paint and brushes, so she gave me a camera for my 21st birthday – the world’s best selling camera at the time, Canon’s AE-1 Program – and it quickly became the fastest way I could make a lot of highly realistic “paintings”.
I started turning professional about 13 years ago and have yet to feel any discernible difference from being a keen hobbyist, except for being a lot poorer. I found wedding photography to be an electrifying niche which combines a very wide range of photography types on a single assignment; portraiture, sports, photojournalism, architecture, product detail, editorial, fine art, landscape, travel and probably several more. when photographers say they specialize in “weddings and…” it always makes me chuckle.
After 17 years in a soul-destroying career in commercial real estate, I cold-switched overnight to wedding photography and never looked back. At 11:59 on New Year’s Eve, 2000, someone asked me what my New Year’s Resolution was. Slightly inebriated, I looked at my watch and said, “In about 45 seconds I’m going to be a professional photographer”. The next day I woke up with a sparkling hangover, tore up my real estate license and started buying expensive cameras.
What is your favorite part of being a photographer?
For me, part of the thrill comes from working under this extreme pressure: we are required to capture great imagery anywhere, any time, in any light, with slightly unwilling subjects (and we get no redos). If you screw up, you are out of business. It’s exhilarating to me to finish a wedding knowing that we didn’t miss anything and the bride will be overjoyed when she sees our pictures. If this all takes place at a five-star hotel on a desert island, I’m even happier. Last year, we did just that in Mauritius, and this year we head to the west coast of Mexico and Treasure Cay in the Bahamas for a couple of really beautiful private affairs.
My favorite part of being a photographer is the creative interaction with new friends every time I go to work. They love the experience of looking at pictures of themselves and seeing something they haven’t seen before. When I spontaneously hear from a client, “wow; I never looked that good before”, I know I am in the right profession and thank my lucky stars I can do what I love every day and bring happiness to other people every time I do it.
What is the most memorable image you’ve ever taken?
After more than a million snaps, my personal favorites are the rare few portraits of me and my two daughters; they are eleven and 13, and refuse to have their picture taken at every opportunity (and I thought wedding clients were hard to capture). I guess it’s always the picture of the dearest people or a treasured moment which lingers in the mind the longest. Those images become the ultimate family treasures. Wedding pictures are always some of these most important and wonderful memories, and are therefore truly essential to our lives. Once or twice, I’ve been asked to supply a certain picture I’d taken at a wedding of a relative who later passed away; these pictures mean everything to a family, and may become their final memory of a loved one. It’s important to remember how significant our work becomes with the passing years.
I love vintage family portraits of great-great grand-relatives, with barely discernible faces in fading sepia prints; they are truly irreplaceable and have enormous value to their descendants.
I also think it’s often a picture that is visually arresting; a charming surprise. If you Google “underwater dog pictures” you will find Seth Casteel’s wonderful close-up shots of dogs diving into a swimming pool after a ball. They are radically unexpected, and hilariously great.
I once entered a competition hosted by the Tattered Cover bookstore entitled “Reading”. We were invited to submit our best photographs of people reading their books. I think it was a quick way for them to assemble some advertising collateral. I photographed the hands of a blind person feeling a page of braille. It didn’t show any book they sold, but it won a $10 gift certificate (to the Tattered Cover) in a hurriedly created category called “Other Creative Work”. I bought a cup of coffee there and a magazine about how to take better photographs.
What tip(s) do you suggest to brides and grooms to prep them for their photos?
Find your photographer through referral because the best professionals are the most experienced, the most frequently recommended, they don’t advertise any more and they are the hardest to find unless you know the right people to ask. Top wedding planners and venue managers will always have a list of the most reliable and personable professionals. Check length of experience, pedigree, past clients and references very thoroughly. Don’t skimp on your photographer; you will sorely regret it.
You should feel free to be your authentic self on your wedding day because a good photographer will capture the true you and always make you look your natural best without intrusive cheesy posing. Your experience should be elegant, memorable and unique. Find a photographer who understands this above all else.
Meet your photographer well in advance and take time to work with him so that you build a friendship prior to the wedding; your pictures will look better as a result.
Finally, please avoid plaid, underwater ceremonies, receiving lines and relatives who offer to photograph your wedding for free…
ISES Denver recently visited the gorgeous new Colorado venue, Castle Cliff Estate. Settled in the hills of Sedalia, this is a little treasure of an event venue. A former home of the Buell family, this estate is now available for weddings, corporate events, retreats, and even includes lodging! The chateau’s beautiful lush European garden hosts parties of around 150, while the indoor venue entertains 90 or so. This is a wonderful option for any type of event.
The venue features:
- Gorgeous lawn and tiered grounds perfect for wedding ceremonies
- Stone patio in a courtyard offers a secluded feel for the event – and a dance floor for those on a budget
- Four bedrooms available for overnight lodging
- A few indoor spaces for receptions, dining, etc.
- Incredible details – including a pond, antique-style furnishings, and double-grand staircase
- Outdoor sound system
- Fire pit
- Spa room
- Use of the full home (except offices)
You have to see it! Here are some images, courtesy of Grant Oakes Photography.
Other things to know:
- They do require an event planner on-site.
- Shuttles are available from the hotels near I-25 & Lincoln.
- Bikes and other items available for use by overnight guests.
- Golf and fitness packages available.
For more information or a tour, contact Catherine. She’d be happy to answer your questions.
Castle Cliff Estates
7007 Daniels Park Road
Sedalia, Colorado 80135
720.222.9492 Ext. 2
Meet Hope from The Wedding Studio…
We’d like to introduce you to Hope from The Wedding Studio. Her background in interior design and wedding planning makes her a talented professional to help plan a memorable and beautiful day. Check out our interview with Hope.
How did you get started in wedding planning?
My start into wedding planning sort of happened by accident. I first started working in the wedding industry as a manager of a couture bridal salon in Chicago. During my years there, I met hundreds of bride’s every season and formed relationships with as many as possible. I guess my passion for the wedding industry was pretty apparent to most because it wasn’t long before I had my brides asking me for a recommendation of a good florist or a great photographer or even to be with her that day to help make sure everything runs smoothly. I would happily oblige whenever I was available! However, at that point, wedding planning and day-of coordination felt more like a hobby to me – or better yet, a guilty pleasure.
When my husband and I moved to Colorado, I followed the same path of managing a local couture bridal salon and moonlighting as an informal wedding planner. Several years later, I took a short break from the wedding industry to complete a life goal of finishing my bachelor’s degree, which I did, in Interior Design. I worked in my new industry for about 2 years until it was clear that my true passion lies with weddings. So, armed with all my experience at more weddings than I can count, my degree in hand and my proven expertise in project management, I decided to start my own business doing something that feels like a part of me, helping couples plan their perfect wedding. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else.
What’s your favorite part of a wedding day?
Oh my goodness, where to begin?!? There is so much I love about a wedding day. Right up there would have to be when the bride arrives on site to get into her gown. Hair and make-up done, veil in place and maids in tow, there’s not many a bride that doesn’t glow with excitement and anticipation. That is such a wonderful moment.
A close tie to that moment would be the couple’s first dance. Working with a couple to plan their wedding puts me in contact with them nearly daily for an average of a year, so I get to know them and their relationship pretty well. To stand back and see them talking and laughing together to a meaningful song fills me with such happiness for them and for the wonderful day we’ve put together. I tear up every time.
Who and what inspires you in your designs?
The couple – without a doubt!! As an interior designer I’ve become quite accustomed to listening to my clients and creating a design that is a reflection of them. The same is true in wedding design. The more I can be around a couple to hear stories of how they met, where they’ve been on vacation or significant moments in their relationship, the more I can contribute personalized, meaningful design ideas that are unique to each couple. Having said that, I’m not one to “take over” the wedding design but rather to enhance it. I see my role as one of service and support; wanting each bride and groom to feel like their wedding is a perfect reflection of them.
What top three tips would you give a bride and groom?
First, hire a wedding planner!! Even if someone is super organized and has lots of time, they can still benefit from a wedding planner! Wedding planners have resources and connections that have been developed over seasons and can be of great value to a bride. A good wedding planner will also take the pressure off of a bride’s need to rely on close friends and family to do things like load the wedding gifts in the car or stay to help clean up after the reception. There’s really no end to the list of things a good wedding planner contributes to a wedding!
Second, once you’ve hired your wedding planner, before you’ve booked any other vendors, allocate your budget and stick to it!! There are always additional costs that come up when planning a wedding and there are lots of people that need money from you. To start signing contracts and booking vendors without a clear, honest budget allocation is a sure way to come in over budget. You can always up grade your flowers or add another entrée to the buffet later – those things don’t need to be finalized until 30 days prior to the wedding, but start off on the right foot to reduce your stress by sticking to the budget.
Third, remember to take time out of wedding planning to continue developing your relationship. Wedding planning can be all consuming if you let it. Make sure, maybe even once a month, to plan a date night where you promise not to talk about the wedding. The closer a couple gets to the wedding date, the more important this becomes in centering the couple and allowing them to remember the love they have, the relationship they share and the reasons they decided to commit their lives to each other.
What do you see as the next trends in wedding design?
I’m seeing a big return to a plated dinner vs. buffet. I’m also seeing the use of gold tones as opposed to silver is increasing as well as saturated or jewel tones over soft, pale colors. Though I have to say, I think it’s important to be inspired from the trends but always stay true to your own aesthetic. 10 years after their wedding, each bride should be able to say when looking at pictures from another wedding, “that’s beautiful, but what I did is more ‘me’”. I think that’s when you know you’ve created a successful wedding design.
There’s a little known gem right in my very own backyard called the Highlands Ranch Mansion. I had the absolute pleasure to meet up with Maggie Glass the Mansion Manager to learn more about this beautiful and unexpected venue tucked away in the heart of Highlands Ranch! The Mansion has always provided a welcome retreat and with stunning mountain views along with pathways and doorways that continue to invite everyone to enjoy the namesake of Highlands Ranch. The Mansion has recently been renovated and expanded, and is now a premiere site for breakfast meetings, luncheons, cocktail parties, dinners, weddings and corporate events. The historic ranch, which dates back to the 1800s, will also undergo major landscape improvements to ensure the popularity of the park for future generations.
Rich with old Colorado heritage the mansion provides –
- Gorgeous mountain views
- Historical charm with original stone fireplaces
- Large private spaces
- Luscious gardens for wedding ceremonies & special occasions
- Large ballroom
- Re-opens June 1,2012
To learn more about the Highlands Ranch Mansion contact the Mansion Manger, Maggie Glass, and she will be more than happy to assist you in booking your very memorable event. Don’t forget to mention that you discovered the Mansion on the Splendor website and let the good times roll!
Written by Lori Ryno
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Gina Malefyt, the fabulous owner of Organically You Events. Gina is full of energy, fun to be around, and has an incredible background in event planning. Her passion for events and for her clients is unmatched. She mentioned that she loves planning a variety of events, from small private parties to large social gatherings, and elaborate weddings, we want to help you every step of the way.
Gina has invested time in building strong relationships with the best Denver professionals. I know she will make sure your event is amazing and truly as you dreamed. Whether you need help planning from start to finish, or just day-of assistance, Gina and Organically You has the tools and experience to make your event a success! They can take the stress out of planning your event so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your party!
- Baby Showers
- Rehearsal Dinners
- Company Parties
- Bachelorette/Bachelor Parties
- Holiday Parties
- Private Dinners
- Fundraising Events
- Golf Tournaments
This summer, Fresh Events worked with Arrowhead Golf Club to create an open house to show off their gorgeous venue to Colorado event professionals. We were thrilled when they asked us to incorporate our products in the tablescapes at the event. Even better, top event photographer and friend, Joe Keum of Studio JK, captured wonderful images of the designs.
During the evening, ominous clouds rolled in and a huge thunderstorm took hold. The event was split between their two reception locations: the clubhouse and the permanent tent they use for events. In the words of Suzanne Barlow, owner of Masterful Musicians, “Splendor to rescue… AGAIN..Thank you for supplying the means by which to travel with style at Arrowhead Golf Club…you saved us all from looking like drenched kittens!” We were so glad we could help.
Thanks again to Studio JK for these fantastic images!
Do you love browsing photos of vintage-themed weddings? Dreaming of having one, but don’t want to invest time and money in browsing thrift stores and estate sales? Don’t have space to store cool antique furniture you’d like to have at your wedding reception?
Lucky for you, there’s A Vintage Affair – vintage event rentals! I recently met Jessica Strong, the owner, who is truly passionate about her business. Splendor is smitten with A Vintage Affair Rentals! Perfect for weddings, showers, birthday parties, and even photo shoots, A Vintage Affair has the unique pieces you’ve been seeking. Check out our interview with Jessica about her company.
How did you come up with the idea of A Vintage Affair?
When planning my own wedding, I became dismayed at the lack of vintage resources available for brides that wanted to add a vintage feeling to a portion or all of their wedding. I thought the traditional cycle of buy and attempt to resell was burdensome for brides and made the entire process more difficult. As a result, I started A Vintage Affair with an eye towards providing brides with the option to rent vintage items and add that special, timeless touch to their weddings.
Why the vintage theme?
Because like true love, certain things are timeless. Also, because they remind of us the past, when love was simpler. How will future brides save money with your site? Every wedding should have those little touches that take it from ordinary to extraordinary. The problem is that those little touches often carry a big price tag. I want to provide those little touches to brides at a reduced cost. There’s no reason that chic vintage style and cost effectiveness can’t coexist.
What is your goal with starting up the company?
My goal is to be resource for brides while do something that I have a passion for.
When did you begin planning for the site’s launch, and how have you prepared?
I began planning for the sites launch in February 2011, but have been collecting for months at estate sales, flea markets, and online. I have also prepared by researching current trends in the wedding world, going to classes (cakes classes, stamping classes, sewing classes, photography classes) which I think will help me with the business.
Give us a sneek peek of what we can find on your site!
On my site you can find posts about fun ways to integrate vintage items into your own wedding, current wedding trends, posts about my own experience in the wedding planning process, and of course my current inventory.
All images courtesy of Laura Murray Photography.
It’s not often that I’m at a loss for words, but today is one of those days. I just returned from one of the most awe-inspiring, beautiful venues in Colorado, The Club at Flying Horse. Located on the north side of Colorado Springs, at the base of the mountains, it offers gorgeous views of the mountains.
The space is truly spectacular. Your guests will enjoy a beautiful outdoor ceremony, with perfect views of the Colorado mountains. After the ceremony, they will enter the building for your reception and will immediately feel as if they’re in a Tuscan villa. The “wine tunnel” will lead them to the ballroom. With a brick ceiling and floor, it truly looks like old-world Italy. At the ballroom, guests will enjoy cocktail hour on two wonderful patios overlooking the private golf course and mountains. The reception will be one fit for royalty in their classic ballroom. Truly an incredible venue for Colorado.
- incredible views
- warm, Tuscan feel
- amazing architectural details
- wine tower – fun for photos!
- wine tunnel that guides your guests to the ballroom
- 5-star service
- ballroom with two patios
- private spaces
- various areas for your entire wedding weekend (rehearsal dinner, bridal luncheon, and reception!)
For more information and a tour, contact their fabulous Special Events Director, Diane Bice. You will be blown away by this place! Please mention that you heard about them from Splendor. We’d love for them to know.
We were thrilled to get some love from The Knot Colorado in their Spring/Summer 2011 edition. Check out the yellow box for our highlight. We’re also excited to be featured with some of our other favorite Colorado companies. Congrats to all. And thanks so much, The Knot. We love you back!
Need inspiration? Feeling like you’re the only stressed-out bride? Want recommendations for local wedding businesses from another bride? Check out A Colorado Courtship. Season, the blogger, adds a sense of levity and humor to what can become the most stressful time of a girl’s life – wedding planning. Through bridesmaid dress shopping hell to waxing tips, this girl shares her adventures and advice in order to help others on the same path.
This blog is not only funny, but informative. What started as a blog about her wedding as an application to be a Weddingbee has now turned into its own stand-alone site. She says she will continue to include personal stories, advice, and DIY. She’s also now expanding the content to include real Colorado weddings, brides, and event companies, like Splendor! (Read her post about us)
Her content is not endorsement-driven, as she stated at the end of the wonderful post she wrote about Splendor. Everything she writes is sincere and honest – good or bad. We LOVE reading this blog and hope you do too. Here’s to Colorado brides!