Estes Park Colorado has always been known as a destination wedding location, even for us locals to the area. Many travel from all around the world to take in the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains, some journey up the canyon to see the leaves changing in the fall and others hope to catch a glimpse of the wildlife. For this gorgeous mountain wedding, we got to experience a once in a lifetime First Look surrounded by some of Colorado’s wildlife. And it was CRAZY!!!
When Haley reached out to me about photographing her wedding at the Black Canyon Inn this December, I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to experience a winter wedding in Estes Park. The morning was insanely windy, which made the chill in the air that much more frigid. So Jeremy and I made our way around the property hoping to find a little nook from the wind for the couple’s first look. Even with her adorable Llama socks, leggings and faux fur coat, this bride still needed to not catch hypothermia. So we journeyed down the hill and found a sweet little area that was believe it or not, wind-free. And GORGEOUS!
Jeremy took David the groom, to our spot and as I made my way down the hill with Haley I needed to let Jeremy know we were close. So I yelled out our typical way of communicating from afar “Ka-KAH.” And of course, he replied back with the same. David thought it was funny, and said: “just watch, you probably just called in all the Elk.” You see, elk were fresh on the mind because earlier that day two HUGE bull elk had just wandered past us down the sidewalk. I’m not kidding they were feet from us, but we had nowhere to go, so we just had to hope and pray they didn’t get spooked and ram into us. (I was terrified… video of said moment on my Facebook).
But back to the First Look. It really was one of the most gorgeous and heartfelt First Looks I’ve ever been a part of. As David turned around and saw his beautiful bride for the first time, you could see he was completely taken back. They soaked up some time together laughing at her Llama socks and taking on this huge day. After that, we moved into portrait time with the two of them. Everything was perfect, the light, the weather, the huge bull elk in background. Soon to be followed by another, and another and before we knew it, we were completely surrounded by a herd of bull elk. Not a single cow in the mix. It was incredible. I believe at one point we counted close to 16 bull elk, and they just kept coming. David turned to Jeremy and said, “See I told you.” So for all you hunters out there, all you need to do is “ka-kah.”
Oh, and did I mention my camera bag was right in the middle of them. So after capturing some portraits and a few with the elk, we made a choice to come back later for my bag. I was not ready to be headlining the news as “crazy photographer gets caught between two Bull Elk rutting to save the camera.”
The good news is, we did get the bag back and made our way to the stunning views of Black Canyon Inn’s Ceremony site. Aside from the views, Jeremy and I both couldn’t stop talking about how meaningful their ceremony was. From Haley’s father opening with a beautiful prayer to the bride and groom being escorted down the aisle by their daughters, this day was about more than just two people coming together. It was about two families becoming one. There were, of course, vows shared by the couple, but the most meaningful part was the vows they shared with their daughters. First David shared vows with Haley’s girls, then Haley shared vows with his. There wasn’t a dry eye there, as everyone felt the depth of this moment. It really was my favorite part of the entire day. That and the bride’s father’s hat flying through the air during family formals and capturing it on film. 😉
Haley and David, thank you for allowing us to be there with you on this special day. We count ourselves lucky to have spent that time with you and are so grateful for the memories we made together that day. Congratulations!
Lead Photographer | Britni Girard of Britni Girard Photography
Ceremony & Reception Venue | Black Canyon Inn
Bridesmaid Dresses | Lulus
Hair and Makeup | Estes Park Bridal Company – Megan Swenson
Catering | Greens Point Catering
Florals | Etsy
Second Shooters | Jeremy Girard
Are you looking for a photographer for your Winter Wedding or any other time of year? We’d love to see if we’re a good fit, learn more about us and inquire on our Wedding Experience Page.