Big Mountains, Small Wedding

Sometimes less is more. For this couple who are both avid mountain bikers having a small wedding surrounded by mountains was their version of the perfect wedding day. And there is no place like Telluride that can offer such stunning mountain views.

Notes from the photographer Merrick Chase {LISTmember}: 

Lisa and Rob traveled from Houston, Texas to the beautiful mountains of Telluride, Colorado this summer to be married in a small ceremony on Telluride’s Valley Floor. While they were there they spent some of their time biking around the beautiful area. Just two days before they were wed, Lisa and Rob rode The Telluride One Hundred Mountain Bike Race, a race that saw them climbing over 15,000 feet in elevation gain in addition to riding 100 miles.

Lisa works as a physical therapist specializing in neurological disorders and Rob as a mechanical engineer. The two of them are also both mountain bikers. Suffice to say, avid mountain bikers- and racers. For the past few years they’ve raced one to two very challenging endurance mountain bike races each year. In 2012 and 2013 they completed the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race. Their 2013 completion included Rob’s wedding proposal on the finish line! Soon afterwards a friend of theirs announced he was putting together an epic Telluride one hundred mile mountain bike race . Lisa and Rob knew they wanted to do the race and they also knew that Colorado would be the perfect place for them to be married. Naturally, they figured that they would combine the two.

Their ceremony took place in one of the area’s most scenic locations, in the expansive meadows of the Valley Floor, and was attended by Lisa’s parents and a just a few close friends- one of whom also rode the race just two days before. Portraits of the couple shot after the ceremony were taken during a ‘photo walk’ around the town of Telluride as well as high above the town at Telluride Ski & Golf’s San Sophia Overlook, a very popular wedding ceremony venue in the area.

Interesting note —  Rob made his wedding ring out of a carbon steerer bike tube fork!

When asked what advice the bride had for others planning their elopement in Colorado, Lisa said, “Go with your heart and do what you want to do… [Our] whole day was amazing! Everyone we came across in Telluride was welcoming and made our event feel special.


Photographer: Merrick Chase {LISTmember} | Ceremony Site: Telluride Valley Floor & San Sophia Overlook at Telluride Resort {LISTmember} | Floral Desiger: Old World Flowers & Antiques | Dress Designer: Catherine Deane | Bridal Shop: BHLDN Houston, TX

The Hottest New Wedding Trends

When planning your wedding, treading the line between couture and enduring can seem like a daunting prospect. Your wedding is an utterly timeless day. You only do it once (hopefully!) and the moments of that day will decorate your home and the homes of your family, for generations. No one loves the eighties shoulder pads and big hair that characterize our parent’s pictures. The graceful lines, sophisticated styles and simple elegance of our grandparent’s big day, however, are photographs we want to keep. Here’s our inside scoop on some of this season’s hottest trends, sure to stand the test of time.


There have been a few big trends this year in dressing bridesmaids. The first is matching dresses in complementary colors. A spill over from the ombre micro trend, the contrasting tones look great in pictures shot in both color as well as black and white – providing you get the guys suits correct. They need to be a darker tone than any of the dresses and ideally a different color altogether. If your bridesmaids are in corals or sky blues, put the boys in navy or black to make sure everyone stands out. The next major advantage of this trend is…happy bridesmaids! No one should be subjected to wearing a dress that clashes with her hair or makes her look washed out.


image by Josh Luna Photography

The next big bridesmaid look of the season is pink. Yes, that’s right; pink is back. Now we’re not talking flashy pink or princess pink. Think more along the lines of nudes, peach and blush. This one works particularly well with an ivory bridal gown and is a great choice for a feminine, summer wedding.


Dressing the venue is a personal thing and very dependent on the type of couple you are. The season the wedding is taking place and venue itself will also have an impact on the overall style. The hottest trend this year has been elegant romance. A throw over from the 1940s revival we have seen in both interiors and fashion, this has already stood the test of time. You know it’s going to look good in the pictures years from now. Think ‘Gatsby Elegance’ and opt for floral centerpieces in neutral tones, polished metals and crisp white table cloths. Cut glass, white porcelain dinnerware and silver cutlery is half the look. Waiters in tails and white gloves is the other. Don’t make it look overdone, less is more with this one, and choose a light colour scheme to complement the look.


image by Autumn Burke {LISTmember}  | view full feature Gatsby Styled Shoot


The Gatsby trend has spilled over into this aspect of wedding planning too. Engagement rings showcasing multiple cut diamonds and simple wedding bands characterize this latest hot trend. However, this one differs from the vintage style in a few key ways. Diamond clusters are smaller, less proud and more practical for modern life. The rings themselves are often crafted from clever alloys with scratch resistant or high shine properties, such as those by design house Orla James. For the guys, the fashion is more masculine. Wide, flat wedding bands crafted from modern alloys rule the roost.

Whatever style you choose, go for something that feels right for you. Our parents don’t look at the big hair and glasses in their wedding pictures with horror. They see the best day of their lives.

Interview: Lisa O’Dwyer

Choosing your wedding photographer is one of many important decisions you must make for your wedding. They will be not only capturing images that you will cherish for a lifetime but also you will be with this photographer the entire wedding day. So this person needs to be a killer photographer AND someone that you genuinely like to be around.

I am pleased to introduce you to one of our newest LISTmembers List O’Dwyer.




She is cultured, artistic, well-travelled, and simply loves life!  Lisa photographs weddings in Colorado and in destinations all over the world. Lisa’s clients love her easy-going manner and attention to detail and quality. They love her use of classic film photography in a fine art style that is editorial and artistic, yet natural and stylish. Please ask Lisa about her special gift for Couture Colorado couples!!

When and why did you start your business?

I started photographing weddings in 2006 in Ireland. I lived there for 10 years, and built up my brand and reputation to be well-respected and loved. I still travel for weddings in addition to photographing in Colorado where we now live.

How did you learn your craft?

My background in Art History and a lover of art and culture has always influenced my work. I studied Fine Art in college too, with some classes in traditional Black & White Photography and developing/printing in the darkroom.

Describe you photography style and approach to weddings.

My style of photography can be considered Fine Art Photojournalism. I use traditional analogue film photography for the majority of the day. I compose every image with thought and intention, and am always looking to make my subject look and feel their best. I am to capture the wedding day as a story of two unique people in this time in history. I direct portraits to make my subject comfortable, but I also stand back and capture the real feelings and emotions of the day. I want to make sure my clients have the best quality for their albums and prints, so that they can pass their story on to the next generation.
Art & culture are a constant inspiration.

What or who inspires you?

Every person that comes in front of my lens is inspiring as a unique person with a unique story in this moment in time. I am obsessed by history and stories, and I love people!

Any awards or features/publications?

I would love to enter contests, but I feel like I don’t have the time at this point in my life. My photography service is very niche and boutique and so I concentrate on giving around 15 wedding commissions per year the best service and product that I possibly can. My weddings and shoots have been featured on many top blogs and magazines in the USA and also Ireland and the UK.

Favorite wedding location?

My favorite wedding location is usually a place with history and nature. Outdoor ceremonies amongst nature are my favorite because the lighting is usually amazing and also I feel the spirituality in nature.

Favorite wedding trend? 

My favorite wedding trend is a First Look. Having your portraits done first ensures you are not rushed to do them later when you want to enjoy mingling with your guests during the cocktail hour.

Advice for a couple planning a Colorado wedding.

My advice to a couple planning a Colorado wedding is to work with a well-respected wedding planner. They will take the stress from planning your day away, and then on the wedding day you will be able to enjoy it worry-free. Also, another piece of advice is to not stress about the weather. I have shot in all weather conditions and can assure you that the wedding is about the people, not the weather.

Where did you grow up and how did you end up in Colorado?

I grew up in the rural countryside of Western Pennsylvania. This is why I am so attracted to nature and feel the spirituality of it. However much I loved nature, I had always wanted to travel and see historic places. I studied abroad in London and Florence when studying Art History in college and then Euro-railed for the summer months to 13 different countries. After that amazing year, I ended up in New York City with an internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I discovered Japanese art there and applied for a program to teach in Japan. I lived there for 2 years and that is where I met my husband who is from Ireland. I loved there, and we lived there for 10 years. I missed America though, and predictable four season weather, and so I convinced my husband to move to Fort Collins where my sister’s family and my parents now live. We really love it here and are looking forward to a future in sunny Colorado!

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Gold Wedding Inspiration

Choosing Your Wedding Rings: Everything You Need To Know

Symbolizing eternal, everlasting love, wedding rings are an important emblem of marriage. Not only do they represent the promises made between the two of you, but also the strong bond that you share.

Exchanging rings is an age old custom that dates back further than the ancient Egyptians, who would swap simple gold bands once married. Today, however, there is a lot more choice when it comes to choosing your wedding rings.


image by Dawn Sparks | view full feature

For our ultimate guide to picking the perfect wedding ring, have a read of this.

When choosing your wedding bands, the first thing to do is to decide what material you would like them to be made from.

Yellow Gold Wedding Rings

One of the most traditional choices for a wedding ring is yellow gold. When choosing a yellow gold ring, you can choose from the following carats; nine, 14, 18, and 24. The purest gold is 24 carets, but this is the softest type available and is not recommended for a wedding ring as it would wear out too easily. If you want a wedding ring that will last forever, then it is best to pick a more durable carat of gold, like 14 or 18 carat.

White Gold Wedding Rings

White gold is a popular choice for wedding rings, as it goes well with other silver jewelry, unlike yellow gold. Although white gold is a popular choice, unlike yellow gold a white gold ring may need to be re-plated if it starts to lose its colour.

White gold is available in a range of carets; however 18 caret is recommended for wedding bands. As it is sturdier and longer lasting.

Platinum Wedding Rings 

Platinum is a white coloured metal that is a lot stronger than gold. Although a platinum ring will cost more than gold to buy, as it is a rarer metal, it will last you a lifetime. Its durable surface means that unlike a gold wedding ring, it won’t get scratched or worn.

Titanium Wedding Rings

A much more modern material, titanium is one of the strongest natural metals. It is silver colored and has a very lightweight to it. Titanium is also a hypoallergenic material, meaning that it is perfect for people who are allergic to other precious metals.

To get an idea of what metal you like best, visit your local jeweler and ask to try on wedding bands made from different materials. For instance, have weddings rings in Houston made from all different metals.

Once you have chosen the metal that you would like your wedding rings to be made of, you need to choose what design you want.

Remember that your wedding band will be worn alongside your engagement ring throughout your life. So, it is a good idea to get one that compliments the design and style of your engagement ring. For instance, if you have a traditional style engagement ring, pairing it with a modern style  band would not look good.

Once you have decided on the metal and style of your wedding rings, you should consider whether you want to include a diamond or other gemstone in it. Wedding rings set with precious stones are becoming more and more popular, for both men and women.

If you decide that you would like to incorporate diamonds into your wedding bands, have a think about what style diamond you would like. You could frost your entire ring with small diamonds or opt for one statement diamond – it’s up to you.

Inspired by Grace Kelly

The historic mansion in downtown Denver was the perfect setting for this Grace Kelly inspired wedding styled shoot. Filled with elegant, timeless, romantic details, it is simply perfection.

Notes from the photographer Lisa O’Dwyer {LISTmember}: 

I love the timeless elegance of Grace Kelly’s style and her beautiful photographs which still look modern. I wanted to use her elegant timeless style as inspiration in a styled shoot in Denver Colorado. The Grant-Humphrey’s Mansion is a perfect match for a palace in Monaco!

Pink Diamond Events of Fort Collins and Hana Style Designs {LISTmember} of Eaton designed the table settings which are elegant and historic, yet modern and light. We posed our Grace and Prince Ranier in the poses of their official portraits in the parlor of the mansion. We wanted a more European style desert option and the cake of cheese that Babette’s Feast Catering created was perfect! The calligraphy by Denver Design Studio would have impressed Grace very much!


Photographer: Lisa O’Dwyer Photography {LISTmember} | Event Planner: Pink Diamond Events | Event Venue: Grant-Humphrey’s MansionFloral Designer: Hana Style Designs {LISTmember} | Cake Designer: Babettes Feast | Makeup Artist: Alchemy Mineral Blends | Equipment Rentals: CHarming Chairs | Calligrapher: Denver Design Studio | Bridal Boutique: Dora Grace Bridal {LISTmember} | Linens and Coverings: Linen Hero by Chair Covers & Linens – Colorado | Heirlooms and extras: Wear It Again Sam

A Scavenger Hunt Proposal

One of the best proposals I have ever seen!

Heather had no idea what was in store for her the day her boyfriend Tim proposed to her. She spent the day driving around Denver with her close friends and family searching for clues for the scavenger hunt that Tim had set up. They went from clue to clue winding up in Colorado Springs where Tim was waiting for her with a ring. They celebrated their proposal with their closest friends and family.

Film by Rustic Red Studio 

A Few Tips on Wedding Dresses And Stresses

As you count down the weeks until your wedding, you may be wondering how you are going to fit everything in. You can’t get the venue you want on the date you want, and you haven’t found that perfect dress yet. At this rate, you will have torn all your hair out, and you won’t feel like having a wedding at all! If this sounds like you, don’t fret. You are not alone. Most brides feel very overwhelmed at the prospect of having to plan a wedding, even when they have hired a wedding planner! The problem may simply be too much choice…

The internet contains an inexhaustible quantity of photographs of weddings and dresses. Sadly, back in our hometowns, we are not able to get hold of anything in the real world that even vaguely resembles the beautiful designer gowns we have seen. The trouble is, once we have that design in our minds, and we’ve fallen in love with it, it is very hard to let go and settle for anything else.


image from a&be’s style book | view full feature

There are three answers to this problem. The first is to recruit a designer and dressmaker who can make you a dress that resembles the photo. This will not be cheap, and it won’t be quick either. Some University undergraduates are more than talented enough and willing enough to take on your commission, so this may be a cheaper route to getting a good dressmaker. However, they will be busy with other activities so be wary of any deadline you give them.

The second solution is easy. But the designer dress of your dreams. Yes, it costs money. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Book an appointment at one of our local bridal shops. And thirdly, be patient and wait for a sample sale or trunk show and get your dress at a discount. There are fantastic bridal shops right here in Colorado that have a variety of price points. Start your search for a dress somewhere that you can actually buy from. It’s great to get ideas from the internet in places like as you can see what styles and cuts are out there that may be right for you. Web sites will also give you great advice on how to cope with the stresses of planning a wedding.

Other stresses that a wedding may cause are those associated with money. Whatever your budget, it feels like it will never be enough. There is always something else to buy. If you don’t have a wedding planner, try using one of the many free wedding planner apps or spreadsheets to help you list what needs to be done for the big day. Once it is all down, you can keep track of your expenses too. This is especially useful if your wedding needs to be done on a budget. Big budget or not, you can have a beautiful wedding with some careful monitoring of costs.

All of us know that thinking about the money can really spoil the fairytale of a big beautiful wedding but to avoid huge debts it is important to take care when planning your big day. If you think of the enormous number of items you will need to buy, using a wedding planners list can be really helpful to keep on track of everything. If you are worried about money or you fear you may have landed yourself in difficult debt, you may need to speak to a debt advisor. Some people borrow money to cover the costs of their wedding, but you should remember that you will be paying far more for your wedding overall once the interest has been added.

Once you have your list, you can start ticking things off as you approach the big day. You may have had to change the date of the wedding or the reception venue, but you know that your wedding day will still be beautiful, and everyone will have a good time. There are ways you can save money, but to have a fairytale wedding you may choose not to scrimp and save on your big day. Some people ask family and friends to pick items off the wedding list rather than the gift registry to help them out with a perfect big day. Others choose to take on extra work to earn more money leading up to the big event. Of course, this cuts into your planning time to do so.

If you are choosing a gift registry or wish list, you need to decide if you want your gifts to be ornamental keepsakes. These may become family heirlooms. Or you may want more practical items like electrics. You may choose a mixture of the two. Most couples like a high-quality dining set of plates, dishes and silverware. Some choose a good work of art or sculpture. Others use a department store or large online retailer to pick a few dozen items that they fancy. If you are producing a gift registry, remember that some people may need to choose cheaper items. It can be lots of fun shopping in this way and then watching the list shrink down as people choose which of your gifts to get you.

Lots of couples choose furniture to furnish their new marital home. However, most couples these days have already been living together, or have their own properties. This means they may even have duplicate items. More frugal couples like to hold a swap shop meeting with their friends or wedding guests. It’s a great way for everybody to clear out their items they no longer use, and can help the happy couple pick up items they may need for their new life together. While this is very community spirited, for wedding gifts, something new and designer in quality is much preferred.

As you speed toward the big day, you may find that you are starting to enjoy the process of organizing your own wedding. There are many activities and tasks to undertake, but the jobs are getting done, and your big day is coming together nicely. Don’t be afraid to let your other half, the maid of honor, or the best man take on some of the work.

Interview: Sapphire Celebrations


I think hiring a wedding planner is one of the most important decisions you need to make. One, I highly recommend hiring one. It will ease the stress of the day and the months of planning leading up. In the long run, a good planner will save you money and make the planning fun and enjoyable. And second, I recommend hiring one with experience. And that is exactly what this Mom and Daughter team at Sapphire Celebrations {LISTmember} provides to you.

Sapphire Celebrations offers couples several levels of wedding planning services. From the Sapphire Wedding Coordination Package – providing their assistance every step of the way – to the Complete Wedding Coordination Package or the Day Of Package, you are sure to find the level of service that is right for you. A La Carte Services can be added to any wedding coordination package to meet the specific needs of every couple.  All of their packages are custom-created, ensuring that our clients get the exact level of wedding planning assistance they need.

I am pleased to introduce to Pam and Angie of Sapphire Celebrations.

When and why did you start your business?

After many years of corporate and philanthropic event planning, helping friends planning their weddings and planning Angie’s wedding, Sapphire Celebrations was officially started in the summer of 2004. We have both always loved the organization and creative outlet of planning events and love seeing it all come together at the end.

How did you learn your craft?

After 10 years in the business much of what we do for our clients is learned through experience. To keep up with the changing trends we read wedding magazines and blogs and attend educational events.

What or who inspires you? 

Our clients inspire us. There is nothing more inspiring than working with our clients to create their wedding vision and make it a reality.

Any awards or features/publications?

We have been featured in many blogs and publications.  Some of the more notable are Martha Stewart Weddings, People Magazine, Style Me Pretty, Couture Colorado, The Knot, and Confetti Magazine.

We have been named in the Best of list from theKnot several years. We were award an ICON award for this video.

What is your favorite wedding trend?

The focus on overall guest experience is our favorite trend. Couples are no longer just focusing on “their” day, but on how everyone attending will remember the special day.  The experience starts as soon as the guests arrive with welcome bags full of items to make their trip more enjoyable.  It ends with a late night snack or something special in their car for the ride home.

If you could pick one celebrity to plan a wedding for, who would it be? 

Sandra Bullock. No question. She is beautiful inside and out.  We would love to help her plan a wedding that shows her personality, beauty and love for the world.

What wedding theme would you love to work with? 

We love all trends that our clients bring to us, but would love to have a food focused event. Colorado offers so many great cuisines and a farm to table event is on our bucket list.

Advice for a couple planning a Colorado Wedding.

Early in your planning sit down together and discuss what your priorities are for the wedding day. Also write down the things that are of lower priority to you. Share these lists with your parents and make sure that you are all on the same page.  By identifying your priorities early on in the planning you will be able to focus on the important items first.

Where did you grow up and how did you end up in Colorado?

The owners of Sapphire Celebrations are both Colorado natives, with over 100 years of history in this amazing state.


image by jenna walker

image by cayton photography

image by Jason+Gina Wedding Photographers {LISTmember}


image by Hannah Photography

image by Jason+Gina Wedding Photographers {LISTmember} and This Modern Life

image by paige eden

image by autumn burke

image by james christianson 

image by jenna walker

image by jenna walker

image by jenna walker

image by dawn g

image by jenna walker

image by kern photo

image by jamee photography

image by autumn burke

Color of the Year 2014: Radiant Orchid

Pantone, an X-Rite company and the global authority, has announced PANTONE® 18-3224 Radiant Orchid, a captivating, magical, enigmatic purple, as the color of the year for 2014.

“While the 2013 color of the year, PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, Radiant Orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society.”

“An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”

Radiant Orchid for Fashion

Radiant Orchid’s rosy undertones radiate on the skin, producing a healthy glow when worn by both men and women. A dazzling attention-getter, Radiant Orchid permeated the runways during the spring 2014 fashion shows and is already making its way onto the red carpet. Fashion designers featured in the PANTONE Fashion Color Report Spring 2014, including Emerson by Jackie Fraser-Swan, Juicy Couture and Yoana Baraschi, are incorporating Radiant Orchid into their spring collections and variations of this hue will carry into men’s and women’s clothing and accessories throughout next year.

Radiant Orchid for Beauty

A modern and surprisingly versatile shade, Radiant Orchid enlivens the skin, making all who wear it feel more healthy and energetic. Blending both cool and warm undertones, purple is an appealing hue for distinctive combinations and flattering to many hair, eye and skin tones.

This multifaceted hue is seductive when combined with red and pairs well with its sister shades of lavender, purple and pink, which provides an assortment of lipstick and blush options. Radiant Orchid’s exuberance also acts as a brilliant finishing touch to nails.

Radiant Orchid for Interiors

Spruce up interior spaces by incorporating this eye-catching hue in paint, accent pieces and accessories. As adaptable as it is beautiful, Radiant Orchid complements olive and deeper hunter greens, and offers a gorgeous combination when paired with turquoise, teal and even light yellows.

Likewise, the vibrant color is sure to liven up neutrals including gray, beige and taupe. Uplifting and bold without being overpowering, Radiant Orchid reenergizes almost any color palette and provides a unifying element for diverse spaces.

Radiant Orchid for Weddings

This bold color will brighten up anyone’s big day. Perfect for spring and summer. Below you see examples of how to incorporate this hue into your wedding…….. from shoes to the bridesmaids dress to the cake to a signature cocktails. Think big and bold and you will not regret it!


About the PANTONE Color of the Year

The color of the year selection requires careful consideration and, to arrive at the selection, Pantone quite literally combs the world looking for color influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films that are in production, traveling art collections, hot new artists, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from technology, availability of new textures and effects that impact color, and even upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention.

For more than a decade, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design. Past colors include:

  • PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald (2013)
  • PANTONE 17-1463 Tangerine Tango (2012)
  • PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle (2011)
  • PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise (2010)
  • PANTONE 14-0848 Mimosa (2009)
  • PANTONE 18-3943 Blue Iris (2008)
  • PANTONE 19-1557 Chili Pepper (2007)
  • PANTONE 13-1106 Sand Dollar (2006)
  • PANTONE 15-5217 Blue Turquoise (2005)
  • PANTONE 17-1456 Tigerlily (2004)
  • PANTONE 14-4811 Aqua Sky (2003)
  • PANTONE 19-1664 True Red (2002)
  • PANTONE 17-2031 Fuchsia Rose (2001)
  • PANTONE 15-4020 Cerulean (2000)
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