Scroll down to read the sweetest reviews from both Carlos and Leigh – and to see their dreamy winter wedding gallery!!
From the groom: We had an exceptional experience with Andrea Stark. She was thoughtful and professional. We had several conversations before the wedding, and we were always allowed flexibility. The day of the wedding was stress-free and wonderful. Mrs. Stark and her co-photographer were well-coordinated in their efforts. Lastly… the photos are amazing! We even got a sneak preview sent to us during our reception. We live four hours away, and we will always call Andrea first for our professional photography needs.
From the bride:Andrea was Amazing!!! She braved a 24-inch snow storm to take the most wonderful pictures of our wedding. All our photos were wonderful, and everyone asks to see them. She really helped make our day special.
They also included Christmas colors throughout their florals and wedding decor since they were having a December wedding. December weddings compliment more of a Christmasy color palette in this space. The large stone fireplaces just scream Colorado comfort and make me just want to take a seat on the hearth and stay there a while with a hot boozy cocktail or glass of pinot.
Benefits of a Breckenridge-Based Photographer
Leigh told me she wanted snow on her wedding day, and oh boy, did she get it! The night before their wedding, it started snowing, A LOT! 24 inches later, it stopped dumping right before I was scheduled to start shooting their wedding details. We still got beautiful, slow-falling snow during their portraits which I know it was exactly what they wanted on their wedding day.
Thank the Lord, I live in Breckenridge, because otherwise, it would have been really hard to get to their wedding. Interstate 70 was backed up, and places on the byway were even closed completely. I would never want that stress on my wedding day, so brides, please hear this tip: Hire a photographer that is based in the mountains – not one that lives in Denver or on the front range and will have to gamble with the weather and I70 traffic to get up here!
A Perfect Colorado Winter Wedding Venue at The Lodge at Breckenridge
The Lodge at Breckenridge was the perfect venue for their wedding. It’s rustic and had plenty of room available to accommodate their family and wedding guests since most were coming from out of town. We took getting-ready pictures in their two private cabins, and once it was time for the first look, I stomped out a path in the trees for them to meet. Their first look was so precious! They were both blindfolded, so their amazing wedding party had to be their guide to help them both get down the path to the spot.
The ceremony was on the deck of the Lodge with an aisle of their own Sante Fe woven rugs, lanterns, and a triangle arch for them to perform their hand-fasting ceremony.
For Leigh and Carlos newlywed portraits we jumped in the car, just the three of us, and drove up to Boreas Pass Road. Just look at all that snow!
They planned in their timeline to finish all the group pictures before the ceremony. This was great because as soon as their ceremony was over, we got to go up Boreas Pass road and take some beautiful newlywed portraits while their guests had cocktail hour with a mariachi band as entertainment. I mean, Why not have a cocktail hour with a mariachi band serenading your guests?!
I was so excited for their newly wed photos! After the ceremony, we snuck away for some wintery portraits in the woods. One of the only things that Leigh requested as far as pictures is to have a soft light bridal portrait that she can paint. Leigh is an incredible fine art oil painter. She wanted to paint her own bridal portrait from one of the photos I took on their wedding day. I can’t wait to see the work of art she creates!
One of the things I found out about Leigh at our initial meeting is that she is a childhood cancer survivor. I admire her strength so much to overcome all the challenges she faced and still see so much beauty in the world. I’m very thankful that I got to be there to capture their wedding day!
A winter wedding in Colorado can be a magical experience. The snowy white backdrop makes it seems like all the world stands still for your momentous occasion.
In order to keep the wedding details as peaceful as the scenery, I have gathered a few nuggets to share that may be helpful to keep in mind while you are planning and preparing for your special wedding day.
Some things to carefully consider are:
Winter Wedding Venues in Breckenridge
There are several incredible options for wedding venues in Breckenridge, Keystone, and surrounding areas.
I suggest choosing one venue where you can have both the ceremony and reception, especially for winter. Weather can be unpredictable, and so if all of your guests can safely arrive to just one location, you will not have to worry about weather or traffic delays. An even more seamless experience would be if most of your wedding party and guests could also choose to stay at the same venue.
Here are a few of my favorite wedding venues for winter weddings:
Sapphire Point in Breckenridge
This is perfect for a small, intimate outdoor wedding. Sapphire Point offers 360 views of Lake Dillon and a full mountain range backdrop.
The Lodge at Breckenridge
This location offers beautiful views with a large deck, catering, indoor reception area, and accommodations for your guests.
Breckenridge Golf Club with Sleigh Ride
They also boast of incredible 360 winter views. You can have your ceremony outdoors and a reception inside. You can even schedule a romantic Sleigh Ride for your bridal entry or photo session.
Sapphire Point Winter Wedding
The Lodge at Breckenridge
Breckenridge Golf Club Winter Wedding Sleigh Ride
Winter Attire and Pops of Color
Choosing Attire That Suits the Winter Weather
It goes without saying that the weather will be cold. Temperatures may range on average from 10 degrees to 40 degrees during the winter months in the mountains. How can you make sure as a bride and groom that you and your wedding party are warm enough and not distracted by the cold?
I recommend wearing warm boots and thick tights that are easily hidden under long wedding and bridesmaids dresses.
You can find elegant mittens that complement your attire as well as fur stoles, capes or scarves that easily layer.
Men can wear velvet blazers that offer a little more warmed than an average tuxedo.
Because the backdrop is typically white and muted, adding pops of color to your attire with accessories makes for a most beautiful wedding, not to mention photos. The best place to begin is with your flowers.
You can’t go wrong with an over flowing bouquet of whites and greens, but you can also add colorful blooms with deep reds and pastel pinks. It might seem counterintuitive, but pastels found in peach roses, eucalyptus, and dusty rose, lambs ear, and succulents make the perfect contrast to a winter white background.
Insider Tips for Altitude
Some insider tips I try to share with all my clients before their mountain destination wedding:
Drink plenty of water – We live at almost 10,000 ft above sea level, and you don’t want to deal with altitude sickness, headaches, dizziness, or nausea during this special time. It is also a very dry climate, so bring extra lotion.
Chapstick – Never leave home without it, and consider gifting chapstick to each of your guests with your wedding favors as your lips tend to become dry quickly.
Hand Warmers – You can also offer a basket of special mittens, blankets or hand warmers for guests as they arrive to help keep them warm.
When to Schedule Your Photos
Schedule Your Portraits
Timing is everything in photography. Some things can’t be planned like capturing the perfect moment between the two of you. What can be planned is the best time of day to take pictures. Some people call it magic our but booking your session or when most of your portraits will be taken during the last 2 hours of light in the day, gives you the best chance of capturing the best lighting in the mountains.
The sun sets by 3:30 pm in December and 4:30 pm in January. This is usually earlier than people expect, so it is good to plan your ceremony with these times in mind.
In December, I recommend to start your session by 2 PM and in January by 3 PM to give you enough time to travel between locations, change clothes, and experience the sun setting behind the mountains.
Photo Gallery of Your Wedding Day
Each of my wedding and portrait packages come with a personalized online gallery for you to view, download, and share with others.
Share the best photos, or the complete gallery on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. It’s all integrated into your personalized online gallery so that you won’t have to fuss with any extra steps.
Buy online seamlessly and securely, all directly within the gallery. I try to make it as easy as possible for you to access all your favorite photos from your winter wedding.
Annie and Connor’s engagement session was one I’ll never forget. These two were just so easy going right from the start. I believe it translates through their engagement pictures just how in love and relaxed they were.
Planning is a big part of the prep leading up to any of my sessions. Annie, Connor, and I had been emailing about locations to shoot at around Breckenridge. Annie was interested in engagement shoot with mountains, lakes or rivers, while Connor said a good overlook or rock outcropping would be good. All the planning paid off!! We had a perfectly overcast day to go play atop Loveland Pass. Then we drove back towards Breckenridge, where they were staying, and stopped along Lake Dillon to get the overlook and rock outcropping location that Connor specifically asked for!
Here’s the sweetest and BEST review from Connor and Annie, they voluntarily wrote on Google, that I could ever ask for:
“We were both blown away by the time and effort Andrea put in for our engagement shoot. She scouted out areas ahead of time based on my fiancee and I’s requests in order to find us locations we would love. She was willing to be adventurous and had knowledge of the local area and weather patterns. She immediately made us feel comfortable in front of the camera and genuinely seemed to care about us as people. She got to know us in the short amount of time we were with her and this added to the overall experience of the shoot. Couldn’t say better things about her. Wonderful! Her eye and talent for photography is evident from the start and the unedited sneak peek she gave us was already amazing. Not only do we have great photos, but also a new friend! If you’re looking for a photographer of any sort in the Breckenridge area, she’s definitely the one to go with!”-Annie & Connor
This winter was exceptionally long but beautifully snowy. This venue in the summer is a pristine golf course. In the winter, it’s home of sleigh ride dinners and the club house can be turned into a perfect venue for any size wedding. One of the things I really enjoyed about this wedding was how much of a family affair it was. Before Sara walked down the aisle and the rest of the guests arrived, lots of the family, and even the kids, were out shoveling snow on the club house deck. Kevin’s sister even officiated the wedding. Sara and Kevin chose one of the most perfect days to say their I dos and cap it all off with a snowy sleigh ride.
The last few years so much has taken a back seat to make room for my full time job of teaching, being a wife, and now having a baby, that I have neglected some of passions. Like we all do, I still made time for some fun. Like fishing with my husband, stand up paddle board yoga, and keeping up with social media, I hadn’t made time for my photography business until this last year. Maternity leave has actually left me inspired, feeling more creative than ever, and driven to make this side hustle my full time hustle. While it can’t happen right away because, let’s face it, living in the mountains is expensive, I now have some big time goals for this photography business of mine.
I just saw on Instagram that the first couple that hired me to shoot their wedding had their nine year anniversary. Nine years. Nine years since I shot my first wedding (which I was paid $100 to shoot) and when this passion for shooting weddings first took hold. I was in college and a little bit of extra money was nice. I was majoring in broadcast journalism which is when I got my first camera, and thought I could definitely do this for a living. That’s when I realized running a business and being in college is not as easy as it sounds. Then, I decided to pursue my masters degree in teaching, and the thought of pursuing photography full time was put on the back burner.
Next week, I return to my full time job, as a cheer coach and a teacher. Just this morning, I spent it making up a cheer dance that hopefully 40 middle school girls will be able to pick up in three days time. (And look a whole lot better than me doing it!) Then comes teacher work week and welcoming 100 8th graders through my classroom doors. I do love teaching, don’t get me wrong, but I always have doing photography full time in the back of my head. I’ll continue doing sessions and weddings during the school year and seeing how hard I can hustle to make it happen.
Since moving to Colorado, I’ve shot weddings on my own and as a second photographer to other professionals. Of course, I love booking wedding as the lead photographer, but there’s something fun about being a second photographer. Makes the day of a little less stressful, and you have the opportunity to be a tad more creative and take a wider perspective as a second photographer at a wedding. I’ve been lucky to work with photographers that let me also step in a do a little directing during the day as well. I had the great pleasure of shooting Emma and Brian’s wedding for Leisa Gibson Photography in Silverthorne, Colorado.
They were such a precious couple and went everywhere with their friends along for all the portraits. That was very telling of who they are as a couple and how much their friends adored them as a couple. They weren’t afraid of snuggling up and giving a quick kiss with their friends right behind, taunting them. They had their beautiful, quant ceremony on the shore of the Blue River and their reception at the Silverthorne Pavilion. This was my perspective of the day and I love how the images I took turned out!
It’s been one week since Ashley and Brandon’s wedding and I wanted to give them a sneak peek of some of my favorite details and moments from their wedding. These two were the perfect amount of relaxed and excited for their day. It was contagious to be around them and everyone was at ease and just enjoyed the day. Ashley’s details were so well thought out and brought her yellow and gray colors that I’d been following for months on her Pinterest page to life. I so enjoyed shooting this wedding at the beautiful Lodge at Breckenridge. Enjoy the sneak peek and I can’t wait to share more of their gorgeous wedding!