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Wedding “I-Dos” and Don’ts: The Inside Scoop

Wedding Planning Tips from Photographers Who Have Shot Over 100 Weddings— The Inside Scoop on How To Prioritize Your Timeline and Budget

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Wedding “I-Dos” and Don’ts:

Things You Should Know For Your Wedding Day

Some people have been thinking about saying “I Do” since they were marrying their stuffed animals in a fort underneath their coffee table; while others, well not so much. Whether or not you have a Monica-sized binder of wedding ideas, rest assured that your wedding day is going to be a wonderful experience. It’s a day where you’re doted upon like royalty as friends and family deliver their support, love, mimosas and/or whiskey and everything in between.  There will inevitably be stresses, but if you safeguard the experience of your wedding day by heeding a few of our industry tips, you and your significant other will live happily ever after.


I Do…

Host Cocktail Hour Before the Ceremony

This one may be controversial as it goes against the tradition of not seeing the bride before the ceremony, but everyone knows the feeling of sitting through a wedding ceremony when cocktail hour starts to creep into your mind. By welcoming guests with hors d'oeuvres and beverages upon arrival, you’re able to ease your guests into the day, creating happy bellies and heads to fully enjoy your wedding ceremony. Yes, you may run the risk of your irresponsible relative or friend loading up on a few drinks, but as long as you keep it short they won’t have much of a chance; or better yet, save the hard liquor for after the ceremony.

You will find that you create a much more relaxed, welcoming atmosphere where people can be themselves, especially for those guests who arrive late. We initially thought of this for our wedding because we wanted to create the vibe of a dinner party, knowing how critical it is from a hospitality standpoint to make someone feel welcome as soon as they enter an event. We felt more like gracious-hosts than guests-of-honor, and encourage couples to create their own timelines to reflect their personalities as well.

Take The Edge Off With A Little Bubbly Before The Ceremony

Take The Edge Off With A Little Bubbly Before The Ceremony

 

I Don’t…

Schedule Your Itinerary Down to the Minute

With all of the moving parts of a wedding day, it makes sense to want to be hyper-organized when it comes to your itinerary. The thing that most couples don’t realize is that while you may be organized, that doesn’t mean the rest of your guests and event staff will be up to the task.  It is all too often that we get a four-page timeline that goes something like, “6:47PM Welcome Toast, 6:51PM Blessing By Bride’s Father,” and we know how impossible it is to adhere to that tight of a schedule. So when you’re charting out your day, keep in mind that you have to account for things like: wrangling your uncle’s four cranky kids when taking family formals, finding a chair for grandma to sit on, the changes in location when the weatherman was wrong yet again, and how the staff forgot to set up for your special seating arrangement sign.

I’m not trying to say all of these things will go wrong -- but I am saying that something inevitably will -- and when it does, your perfectly laid plans will start to stress you out because you’re quickly 4 minutes, then 7 minutes, and then 10 minutes behind schedule. Our advice is to treat your itinerary like a guideline, not a schedule, that way you have a structure to follow, but you can still be flexible to accommodate for the many variables of your wedding day. Figure out what actually needs a concrete time and let everything else bend with the breeze. For us, those were our guests arrival time and when the DJ would begin playing music—everything else—had some room to breathe. One of our favorite 2017 brides put it best when she said:

Our wedding (and life) was rough around the edges, but straight from the heart.
— Alli Bell
Roll With The Punches And You’re Guaranteed To Have A Good Time

Roll With The Punches And You’re Guaranteed To Have A Good Time

 

I Do…

Have a Backup Location for the Ceremony

Most venues accommodate for this, but you would be surprised how many weddings we’ve been to that when the weather got cranky, everyone stood around staring at each other wondering what to do. It is super important that when you book your venue, you know where the backup ceremony location is and that you’re happy with it.

We could tell you some war stories about shooting in torrential rains, subzero temps, nor’easter floods, sideways hail, and hotter-than-hell sun because there either: (A) was no backup plan, or (B) the bride simply would not get married anywhere else. I have literally watched a group of 200+ guests get pelted by hail while the couple is standing at the altar pretending like shit isn’t hitting the fan.

Maybe we’re superstitious, but we tend to believe that the more content you are with your backup location, the less likely it is that you will actually need to use it! Similar to the itinerary advice, you have to gauge your expectations to the many variables of the day, and this is especially true for the weather. Be realistic and aware about the seasonal weather patterns of your locations, friends! (i.e. it is probably going to be crazy-humid in NYC in August / you can expect a wet day in Seattle in May / and it’s not unheard of to have a September blizzard in CO.)

We’ll Be There, Come Hail Or High Water

We’ll Be There, Come Hail Or High Water

 

I Don’t…

Spend Big on the Cake

Yes, we all want to mush cake on our significant other’s face to get back at them for beating us at Scrabble (is it just me?). And yes, we all want to seize the opportunity of having a tiered custom cake made to our specific wishes and desires—but think for a minute—can you specifically remember any cake you had at a wedding?  According to WeddingWire, the average couple spends about $500 on their wedding cakes. I’m not saying that the bakeries are over-charging because they really aren’t, but maybe your wedding isn’t the time to live out your Cake Boss fantasies. This is a great place to trim the fat (literally) and reallocate some of those funds to some real memory-makers.

Chances are you’re going to be too busy tearing up the dance floor to actually tear into the cake with grandma over a cup of decaf coffee anyway. So instead of shelling out for something that will most likely wind up in the trash (we see it ALL the time), go for a dessert that your guests can enjoy on the fly, like an assortment of cookies, brownies, cupcakes, or try thinking of a fun and healthier option! (We had a caramel apple bar with slices of apple on sticks and melted chocolate and caramel for dipping.)

Cupcakes Are A Great Money-Saving Alternative To A Traditional Cake

Cupcakes Are A Great Money-Saving Alternative To A Traditional Cake

 

I Do…

Take a Few Minutes for Yourselves

The other side of being treated like royalty on your wedding day is that everyone wants a piece of your time. As wedding photographers, we’re almost part-paparazzi part-security in how we snap pictures of a couple as we shuffle them along through gauntlets of friends and family. The flow of the day can quickly feel like you’re being shuttled from one place to another without stopping to enjoy the day that you spent so much time and money planning.

As hospitality professionals, Heather and I recognize when this is happening and always encourage a couple to take a moment to duck out in a room to take a few breaths and steal a few kisses.  Everyone who has gotten married will tell you how “the day goes too fast,” so slow it down by finding some quiet time to take it all in. Go to the bathroom, drink some water— it sounds obvious, but you might be surprised at how even the most basic of needs can fall by the wayside on your big day. According to The Knot, the average wedding celebration clocks in only around 5 hours (although it feels like five minutes). What good is having a wedding if you don’t thoroughly enjoy it!?

Sneak Away For Sunset

Sneak Away For Sunset

 

I Don’t…

Stress About Wedding Favors

Have you ever taken a wedding favor and thought, “this is amazing, I can’t wait to use it?” Us neither. Yet we’ve heard so many couples talk about how difficult it was to choose something to give as favors to their guests. Some ideas can get expensive very quickly, so what are some ideas that are inexpensive but not “cheap,” and won’t go directly into the trash?

We like to suggest things that are edible (especially if it’s good for soaking up booze), like specialized cookies or popcorn you can make at home, or something that is eco-friendly like wildflower seeds. The average wedding produces about 400lbs of trash and 63 tons of CO2 according to the Green Bride Guide, so we love the idea of doing something to give back to Mother Nature in lieu of a crappy present.

Another great option is to donate some money to a charity of your choice and tastefully let your guests know which organization you went with. The reality is, like wedding cake, odds are people aren’t going to remember it, so direct your stress and your funds to something that actually adds to yours and your guests’ experience! Take it from a Pro Event Coordinator with The Pines at Genesee:

Less can definitely be more, people don’t miss what they don’t know isn’t there!!
— Erika Norcross
Eco-Friendly Flower Favors

Eco-Friendly Flower Favors


Hi and Welcome!!

We are Heather & Terrence Huie— the husband-and-wife team behind Apollo Fields. We are a photojournalist duo who have worked weddings big and small all over the United States as well as International Destination Weddings. As vendors who have also been through the process of planning and executing a wedding ourselves, we have a unique perspective on the good, the bad, and the ugly that can happen on your “big day”. What works for us certainly won’t work for everyone, our hope is that our inside scoop can help you and your fiancé prioritize your wedding timeline and budget in a way that actually serves you (and your guests).

Naomi & Johnny's Virginia Engagement Session at Noland Trail and Oozlefinch Brewery

Naomi & Johnny’s Engagement Session | Oozlefinch Brewery | Noland Trail | Norfolk Virginia Engagements | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography

It’s no secret that we love to travel! It’s one of my favorite things about the business so we always jump at the opportunity to shoot destination engagements and weddings. Throwing the dogs, cameras, backpack of clothes, and a board game or two in the back of the car and hitting the road is what we do best.

We got the chance to shoot Naomi and Johnny’s engagement session in Norfolk, VA because they are air-force and have been stationed in separate states. Naomi is currently in Colorado and Johnny is in Virginia, and this was going to be their last weekend together before their wedding in May so we cruised down the east coast to meet up with them for a rainy afternoon. We began the session at Noland Trail which is where they got engaged (fittingly enough it was also raining that day) but we could only stay for a short amount of time before the weather really moved in.

So off to Oozlefinch Brewery we went! We were so excited when they suggested this location because we’re totally craft-brewery people and were already mapping out our brew tour of the east coast :) The beer was all amazing and we gladly enjoyed a few flights together. It was great to hang out with them, snapping pictures, chatting about how they met, and wedding planning. We’re shooting their wedding in May at The Pines at Genessee in CO which we’re really excited for! We are also looking forward to recognizing a few faces in the crowd since Naomi is the cousin of Dylan (one of our 2017 grooms) and how we originally met this fun couple!

Virginia Engagement Photography: Apollo Fields

Locations: Noland Loop Trail, Noland News Virginia | Oozlefinch Craft Brewery, Hampton VA

David & Sadie's Beautiful Buena Vista Mountain Wedding

David & Sadie’s Wedding | Buena Vista, Colorado | Rocky Mountain Weddings | Destination Photographer | Apollo Fields

It was 6:00am last Saturday and I was driving on the long empty roads through the Colorado countryside. After spending the last few weeks in the cramped and crowded boroughs of New York and New Jersey, I felt the stark contrast of the open plains even more than usual. It was unseasonably cold that morning: a chilling 21 degrees when I first set out, and I watched the dashboard temperature rise with the sun as I cruised along the foothills.

I got to Buena Vista ahead of schedule and was able to pop into a local coffee shop before the wedding kicked off. The sleepy little town was enjoying it’s off-season, but the cafe was busier than ever with locals. I pulled up a seat next to a stranger because there were no empty tables, and got to enjoy a little old-fashioned small talk with a bundled-up hiker who was about to hit the mountains for the day.

Our day began at 9:30am at Spring Canyon, a quiet venue tucked away past the hot springs. Everybody was happily abuzz with last minute wedding prep, and I settled right into shooting details and scouting our first look location. The property boasts epic mountain views, but the sun was already high and with no clouds whatsoever, I had to be a little more creative with our locations.

I consider myself a bit of a light-junkie and I really felt the different between the East Coast light (which had been ultra-diffused from days of nonstop rain and heavy grey clouds) versus the big Colorado skies (at altitude with no atmosphere or humidity to break up the strong rays).

Sometimes you have to work with what you got, so we took advantage of the aspens that were still boasting their gold leaves and leaned into the full sun. I’m so happy we did, because we got those truly epic autumn mountain shots! I hadn’t seen any aspens with their leaves still on the whole trip, so it was the best surprise to find these groves still going strong! Colorado had a big snow storm later that night, and I have a feeling that we captured their last hoorah which makes the shots that much better to me.

David and Sadie had a sweet and tender way about their relationship. Amidst the bustle of the wedding morning, they still found time to have these long quiet hugs as if nobody else was around. I spend a lot of time watching my couple’s body language during their first looks to see how they naturally interact with one another and try to capture that throughout the day. David and Sadie were so fun because they would share these sentimental moments with each other, but then be able to goof around and be silly at the same time. They balanced these lighthearted fun times with the seriousness of a wedding perfectly.

Their families were also gracious and loving. I felt as much like a photographer and vender as I did a guest, and those are the days that make me love my job as much as I do. I was especially excited to photograph this wedding because there were going to be a few familiar faces in the crowd — one of my favorite couples from last year was family and the whole reason that I crossed paths with David and Sadie! In this business, referrals and word-of-mouth are everything, and I am so grateful for my clients who carry the Apollo Fields name from season to season. I’d like to give a big shoutout to the Danielson family for the connection, and also throw in a little vendor love to their awesome companies, Tentrix and Poc-a-Poc Catering who kept me happily in a cheese-coma for the reception.

Venue: Spring Canyon, Buena Vista CO
Photography: Apollo Fields

Published on Wedding Wire: Sadie & David’s Wedding

Heather loves to travel – especially to the mountains – for weddings! Get in touch for your photography needs: CONTACT

Carline & Scott's Garden of the Gods Engagement Session in Colorado Springs

Carline & Scott’s Engagement Session | Garden of the Gods | Colorado Springs, CO | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography

Garden of the Gods is not only a popular destination spot in Colorado but a great and iconic place to do your engagement photos! This sweet couple lives near CO Springs so they are lucky to have Garden of the Gods practically in their backyard and it was the perfect place to shoot.

Terrence and I actually first visited here when we were touring Colorado with the idea of potentially moving there. I got tipped off by my dentist in NYC to visit there because he had tons of huge printouts of the landscape there in his office. While I was getting my teeth cleaned, I was staring at the beautiful Red Rocks up on the walls and had casually asked afterwards where they were taken. He told me about the park and I let him know that we actually had a trip planned out there later in the month and the rest was history!

It’s so crazy to imagine how all of those things eventually led to me shooting at that same place years later. It almost felt surreal! I loved shooting these guys there because they had such a fun and flirty vibe. Scott has two kids from his first marriage and they wanted to incorporate them in some of the shots which I love. I think engagement sessions should represent your lives, whether that means kiddos, pups, sports, whatever! It was also fun watching his two teenagers make faces every time Carline and Scott kissed so naturally, I couldn’t resist!

The photos feel so undeniably “Colorado” to me and I love how their personalities really shined in these dramatic landscapes! Another big plus about this location is that it’s PERMIT FREE which is a bit of a rarity in CO. I love all of the red rocks, rock faces, mountain ranges, and big blue skies that this location boasts and would love to find another great reason to shoot there! I can’t wait to shoot Carline & Scott’s wedding in the summer of 2018 at Lake Grandby!

Colorado Engagement Photography: Apollo Fields

CO Springs Engagement Location: Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

Clean & Classic: The Importance of Timeless Wedding Photos

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Hey guys!  Heather here...

It's a balmy -2 degrees F here in Denver, so I'm calling it a snow day and have gone ahead and rescheduled all of my clients (trust me, it's no fun being outside in this weather).  

Snow days used to be highly anticipated events, huddled up in bed watching the flakes falling from the window, listening to the radio station with your fingers crossed, toes crossed, pajamas inside out, and any other superstition that you thought might help the chances of your school being announced on the list of cancellations.  

But now, twenty years later, I don't get that same luxury.  Being a business owner means that you have to be the one to make those calls, and it's not always as easy as just wanting to stay in your sweats all day drinking hot chocolate and watching movies.  

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Clean & Classic

It seems that the wedding photography world has been dichotomized into two categories and photographers are pressured to define themselves as either "dark & moody" or "light & airy".  

Now, don't get me wrong... I personally love both of these styles.  I frequently find myself scrolling through the work of some of these masters envious of their well-crafted brand.  As for myself, I know how-to and can shoot "dark & moody" as well as "bright & airy" while still properly exposing for my subjects.  Sometimes it is fun to play around and push my own artistic boundaries, it keeps my eye fresh and it a fun challenge.  

But I think there is a risk involved in subscribing to trendy editing techniques and why I shy away from them: they will one day be out-of-style.  I would hate for someone to look back at photos I shot of someone's wedding and go, "eek, that's so 2018".  

Let's all take a moment to remember when super-desaturated photos were in, or the all black-and-white except one color splash was considered artsy; circa early 2000's.  Or a real life example:  My parents got married in the '80s and let's just say their wedding photos are "so 1980's".  Sepia-washed prints and shoulder pads.  Oh my god, so many shoulder pads.  

This is why if I had to categorize myself, I will confidently say "clean & classic".  I want you to look back at your wedding photos and love them ten years, twenty years, and fifty years from now.  I don't want your kids laughing at them.  I mean, they can laugh a little, because that's what kids do, but it should stop there.  I want to give you timeless photos that withstand the test of trends, fads, and increasingly savvy technology.  

Here's a fun one: we have such a great time with our grooms and want to give them the attention they deserve. This photo captures our groom at a very flattering angle, but shows off his personality – fun and easygoing – to give it some uniqueness.

Here's a fun one: we have such a great time with our grooms and want to give them the attention they deserve. This photo captures our groom at a very flattering angle, but shows off his personality – fun and easygoing – to give it some uniqueness.

Another classic photo that I love. My couple is so happy in this moment and the photography stays really true to the season, their decor, and the overall mood of the day. Even though it is posed, it doesn't feel forced. I love when something feels candid even if it's not.

Another classic photo that I love. My couple is so happy in this moment and the photography stays really true to the season, their decor, and the overall mood of the day. Even though it is posed, it doesn't feel forced. I love when something feels candid even if it's not.

I love this photo because it has beautiful soft and warm light. There is still a lot of emotion, and yet in some ways it is also a classic bridal portrait. As an artist, I want to keep my viewer's eye on the image which is exactly what you get here.

I love this photo because it has beautiful soft and warm light. There is still a lot of emotion, and yet in some ways it is also a classic bridal portrait. As an artist, I want to keep my viewer's eye on the image which is exactly what you get here.

It’s okay to not perfectly fit into either the “Bright and Airy” or “Dark and Moody” Categories

I love when I am building out my albums and I feel like I can re-live the entire day.  Depending on the season, weather, venue, dress, florals, and other design and natural factors, there will be some variation in my photographs... and I think that's a good thing!  I don't want my couple's to ever feel like they are just being plopped into posing placeholders, trying to replicate some picture they found on Instagram.  I want uniqueness and storytelling, without compromising correct exposure and composition.  

I think the mark of a true artist is to have your work become distinctive enough that the viewer no longer needs a signature or a watermark to know who created it.  For me, I prefer not to categorize my work into somebody else's style.  I would say "clean & classic" if I had to label my work, but in some ways that feels boring.  Even the word "timeless" can begin to stale.  My photos aren't stale or boring, and I am constantly searching for new ways to craft my art into true storytelling and bold narration.  That is my pledge as an artist to all of my clients and viewers alike.

Photography By:

Apollo Fields & Melissa Hirsch

Nicholas & Eden's Surprise Proposal and Engagement at The Glen Eyrie Castle

Nicholas & Eden's Surprise Proposal and Engagement Session | Glen Eyrie Castle | Colorado Springs | Destination Engagement Photographer | Fairytale Proposal | Apollo Photo

Talk about rolling out the red carpet for an epic proposal! This beautiful Castle in Colorado Springs is a super popular attraction for visitors, but because of its fairytale aesthetic, it is also a great place for the kind of proposal that is sure to land a big “I SAID YES”.

Nicholas was so sweet about his plans to proposal to his beautiful girlfriend, Eden. He didn’t miss a beat! They are a great couple from Florida and were visiting Colorado on a vacation. Nicholas wanted to do the proposal towards the beginning of their trip so they could celebrate the rest of their vacation, so this evening they had fancy dinner plans which got Eden to dress up and look her best — without knowing — exactly what for!

The Glen Eyrie Castle staff was great to work with, as well. They had the back patio set up with a beautiful rose petal staircase, a private table with a little bubbly and flowers set up, and best best view. Nicholas had arranged for a private violinist to play their favorite song and a dove release for the big moment. I was tucked away into the corner snapping my heart out and just loving this moment as it unfolded. As soon as Eden came walking down the stairs, I think she had that is-this-really-happening face and before she knew it, Nicholas was down on one knee!

Of course, a big “yes” came next and this happy couple celebrated away! Eden’s best friend had also secretly flown out for the big moment and unveiled herself to join in the well-wishes. We were able to make the most of this epic moment and beautiful evening to capture some great announcement photos and I hope that this fun loving couple will always remember the fairytale proposal that evening when they look back on these beautiful pictures!