Alessandra and Spencer's summer wedding at Della Terra Mountain Chateau in Estes Park was filled with unique traditions, original details and quite a few nods to their international backgrounds. It was one of my favorite weddings of the summer, so how do I even begin? The first thing that caught my attention was the dress. Alessandra's strapless beaded dress had a hem shaped like a star, or maybe a snowflake - I've never seen anything like it! The ceremony photos showcase the hem best. As the bride walked in, her grandmothers got misty eyed and her bridesmaids joined hands. Spencer's face was priceless, yet he kept his composure. A friend officiated and did a great job navigating from heartfelt to hilarious and back again, with a reading from the bride's Dutch grandmother that was very sweet. Guests were served drinks beforehand and encouraged to use their hands to sip and clap rather than use their phones - that's right, an unplugged ceremony. My favorite as a photographer, and as a human. Everyone should place a priority on being in the moment over getting a photo, in my opinion. That's my job! The newlyweds exited their ceremony to sign their marriage license in a small stone gazebo before returning to the site through a long tunnel of guests who tossed flower petals above their heads.
During family photos there were tons of Dutch jokes, such as: "If you can pronounce huwelijk you're in the next photo!" We breezed through family photographs and walked around the pine forest surrounding Della Terra to take portraits of the couple. They remained focused on each other as we wandered from place to place, easily taking direction yet making each pose their own. The chemistry was beautiful to see, and when a couple maintains a physical connection through hand holding, kissing, and generally keeping two hands ON each other, that's the best as a photographer. We may feel a connection standing beside our spouse, but to show that in a photograph there has to be touch. These two nailed it.
At their reception, I'm very pleased to report that I had one of the best meals I've had all year thanks to Jubilations Catering. After the plates were cleared and the champagne was poured, toasts began. The bride's parents made a long and thoroughly considered toast about the marriage of a Wolfe (Spencer's last name) and an eagle (Alessandra's family crest). After which, the bride and groom shared a s'more rather than a slice of cake and swing danced for their guests. Another Dutch tradition involves replacing the words of a song with lyrics about the married couple. Her family from the Netherlands assembled on the dance floor, distributed the lyrics, and serenaded them. The American guests laughed through the song at the lyrics which were, thankfully, sung in English.
Before we left the wedding, Heather and I photographed the bride and groom under the market lights outside of the reception hall. It gave Alessandra and Spencer a small break from the fast-paced reception to once again check in with each other, snuggle in, and enjoy being married in the moment. Congratulations again, Mr. and Mrs. Wolfe!
Venue | Della Terra Mountain Chateau
Caterer | Jubilations Catering
Lead Photographer | Heather Bertarelli