Best tips on planning a destination Wedding

Best tips on Planning a Destination Wedding | Storytellers Events mexico destination image by Selah Photography

We've asked a local Denver expert Cielle, the lead wedding planner at Storytellers Events to share some of her thoughts on destination weddings. Typically, when we think of destination weddings we think of Mexico, the resorts and the beach. If your destination wedding is in Colorado, France or a far land Cielle and her team have explored an avenue of planning destination weddings that only a specialized planner could touch. "We are some of the only planners that do what we do in the world."

Did you know that you can actually save money by having a destination wedding? That there can be a good and bad way to wear your hair on the beach and that not talking to your family prior to "saving your date" can be the biggest headache of planning? These destination wedding planners have some of the best tips on planning your wedding overseas.

Eifle tower destination wedding image by Kim Nodurft Photography

What are the benefits of a destination wedding?  My favorite benefit is that it is a memorable way to spend time with the people you love the most, in a beautiful location and for longer than just a day. It also creates a new vacation destination that you and your spouse can visit yearly on your anniversary- it’s a destination that will always mean something special to the both of you.

What many people do not know is that it can also save you money!

castle weddingimage by JM-Photo Art

Any recommendations on saving money? Many venues will include the wedding ceremony at no charge, and discount the reception hall and even the food with the booking of rooms for your guests. Do not hesitate to ask! When choosing a destination, try to pick their low season where there are not many tourists, but it still has great weather! This will make both the hotel and the airfare less expensive. If you do not know when this is, ask your wedding planner, travel agent, or hotel at the destination.

What are the headaches of a destination wedding? I think the biggest headache is everything that goes on in your head and the conversations you have with family and friends BEFORE you choose jump and have a destination wedding. Your family and friends will have a say, and figuring out what is right for you and your spouse is important. With this, coming to terms that not everyone you pictured to be at your wedding will be able to attend. Some couples love this idea, and some do get disappointed.

On the logistics side, if you are planning the wedding yourself, the headache comes with not knowing exactly what to book, how to book, finding and managing the vendors, the legalities and rules of marrying in a church vs. symbolic weddings, possibly communicating with people who do not speak English, and constant doubt that what you are envisioning is truly how it will be. This is exactly why we do what we do, to alleviate all of these stresses so that your vision comes to life without all of the doubt.

What are your five top tips for planning a wedding overseas? Don’t forget to plan transportation to and from the hotel for your guests- and remember to tell them the plan. Too often the guests assume someone will pick them up- but do not know from where or with whom. Don’t leave them hanging- it will only stress them out after a long day of travel.

Plan group activities for your loved ones. This can be in the form of a welcome cocktail hour, breakfast together every morning, a group tour of the area, afternoon tea, croquet on the lawn, a group cooking lesson (where you then eat the delicious food you created), a dance lesson, whatever you can think of...Stick with what you as a couple love to do, bring your guests into your lives.

Also, plan downtime. Do not fill every waking hour with activities. Your friends and family will want to relax and you will want to just lounge and spend quality time with them.

Many people dream of getting married on the beach- but they forget about humidity and heat. With both of those, you do not feel pretty, sexy, or romantic as your makeup is running down your face and your hair gets frizzy. Be sure to check the humidity and heat levels during the time that you are getting married (seasons are different around the world)- and if you can visit beforehand, please do.

Once you are there, have fun! It is about the people in your life celebrating your love for one another. That’s it. They will remember the memories of the entire event and the way they felt throughout. You will too!

colorado destination weddingimage by Selah Photography

How do I choose a location? My first question is always to ask if there is a place that is already special to the couple-, which could include family heritage, a special vacation the couple took together, or even someplace they have always dreamed of going. If they do not fall into any of these categories, then I ask the both the bride and groom to describe what they picture when they imagine their ceremony. Many couples will already have an idea…walking in the grass with meadows all around, walking barefoot in the sand with the water behind us, standing there together surrounded by vineyards, a castle…

Once I get their vision, we then narrow down based on budget, lodging, airfare, and distance you want guests to travel.

Why are you (Cielle) different as a planner? We are the only ones in the world who do what we do. Let me write that again- no one else does what we do.

We are your wedding planner through the entire process, not just a travel agent, not a planner you have never met in another country…

I truly care about creating memorable, unique, and special weddings for the couples, their families, and their guests. Because I am your liason between languages and cultures, the planning process becomes more fun and you are able to trust that your wedding will be what you envisioned.

France Destination Weddingimage by Kim Nodurft Photography

How do you recommend a couple chooses their photographer? Visit various websites and make note of the sites you are drawn to. There is a reason you are drawn to them. Go with your gut. Meet your photographer! Have a conversation. Do you love them? Do you want to spend more time with them? Do they make you feel comfortable? (Do they fit within your budget?) If you answer ‘yes’ to all of these, go for it!

destintaion weddingimage by Autumn Cutaia with Crystal Allen Photography

Coming from a photographers perspective, know that the stories are true. Resort photographers are a fraction of the cost but also a fraction of the quality. We believe that weddings are "emotionally intoxicating." It's the most incredible experience but can be so overwhelming it's hard to believe it is real. Make sure your memories are safe with someone you trust.

What is your favorite thing to do as a planner? I love the fun details!!!!!! I love creating the details that are unique to the couple and that commemorate guests so that each guest feels special. That- and alleviating the headaches and stress that planning a wedding can cause. Burden me with all of it, so that you can enjoy the process as much as possible.

destination wedding plannerimage by J Lucas Reyes Photography

What is your experience as a wedding planner? I have been planning events for over 13 years. It started as a hobby of mine, and I never thought I would create a career out of it. But I did- and I love it! All of it! And I would not go back (to the corporate world ;).

I have also spent years living abroad in Europe, with many summers spent in the Philippines. I love traveling and I understand what it takes to create an event in a different culture (with different rules and expectations), so it was a natural fit for me to focus on international weddings.

Tips for experience I've taken some time to poll some of my recent destination clients and their parents for their top tips on planning a wedding overseas.

-I wish we would have sent out invitations because later we found out that some people felt like they weren't invited.

-We opted for a destination wedding because we enjoyed Lyndsay's so much that we wanted to do it again and for the stress-free planning.

-I attempted to make my own flowers because I was worried about what they would look like at the resort but mine turned out horrible and the flowers at the resort turned out really beautiful. I would do it all over again, we had a great time.

-For the mother of the bride destination weddings are stress free and how wonderful to get to spend so much time with your family and friends and never have to cook or clean! Much the same for mother of the groom, and you can wear pants instead of a dress if you want. It is such fun to spend time with everyone. You get a lot of really quality time with friends and family.

-The photographs! Though it was an investment, I don't regret bringing Matt and Jackie along for a second. This was the best day of my life and I don't know how I could remember it so accurately without these images. We couldn't be happier.

Thank you Cielle of Storytellers Events for sharing your wisdom. Plan away!

fun wedding photographer image by Selah Photography

Denver Photographer Inverviews

What motivates me | Why I love being a Denver Photographer It seems not too long ago that I would read interviews from great photographers and want to forget the thing that get me excited to be like them. "Yeah, I like that author too...Crazy, that is also my favorite way to edit pictures!"

I think that one of the keys to being a strong voice in the art world is making sure the voice is your own and you have your energy and vision to back that up. If every restaurant had the same menu and every musician had the same set list I think we would run out of things to be interested in.

I'm thankful to have reach a point in my photography career where I know what I love to do and it sounds different than my fellow photographers next door. Couture Colorado's lifestyle blog recently interviewed me. Check out my photographer interview for insights on the things that motivate me to document pieces of life along with why I love being a Denver photographer.

top denver photographer interviewPhotographer Interview | Couture Colorado

open air photo booth | denver

"The photo booth is easily one of the best parts about any reception," Kyle tells us. Kyle is not your regular photo-booth attendee. He is a friend of many and we joyfully celebrate every wedding where we see this photo-booth all star walk in to a reception. "How did he come up with that idea?" We wonder every time he exits the photo booth. We went straight to the source and asked the photo booth king himself. Dear Kyle,

Tell us how you rock the photo booth.

1) I'm a prop guy, I love letting my mind run with some of the props Jackie puts out. I always think it's fun to try and find abstract ways to use the props, like a shoe for a telephone, or chalk for a cigarette, etc.

2) Be expressive. There is a lot of excitement at a wedding, transfer that excitement into the photo booth and then into your face.

3) Do whatever comes into your mind first. The really good ideas are too fleeting to over think or to second guess.

4) A failure usually equals a success in the photo both, so just try it, if it doesn't work out worries, the picture is probably better for it.

5) Have a "ready, fire, aim" mentality. Planning is for fools in the photo booth, spontaneity is the remedy for the most memorable pictures. It's like dancing, there are no rules just response.

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thai honeymoon: a nice and safety trip

The decision to go to Thailand on a photographical honeymoon became increasing wise with every smoothie drunk, though it also became increasingly regrettable with every time we had to use the bathroom on the overnight train. Fortunately for us, the former outnumbered the ladder and the trip was a wonderful experience and we have the photos to prove it. The country of Thailand is famous for being one of the most desired vacation destinations in the world. It is a country that has good culture, good commerce, and all of the tropical water-related activities people desire in a vacation - and all for the incredibly low price of "How much is that in USD?... Holy cow! Can we get two of them?".

Through the camera's eye, we looked at the country with the artist's perspective as well as the tourist's perspective. For example, the ripple of water, the shape of leaves, the colors of a street market all make for some great fine art wall pieces. As for interests of the common tourist, we were also fascinated by things like seascapes, the Buddhist Ronald McDonald, and my swim-addicted husband's rib cage (see below for each).

No matter the angle, Thailand's beauty seems to be exposed everywhere (except the aforementioned overnight train) and it was a thrilling experience to capture a fraction of it.

People: So what did you do in Thailand? Us: We learned to open our eyes wider. People: What? Us: We ate a lot of smoothies.

Enjoy these photos. We hope they take you on a trip as nice and safety as ours was.

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how to make your wedding day the best ever

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How to make your wedding the best day ever Our wedding

First of all, you must note that the kudos for the photography featured does not belong to Selah. Thanks to Adonye Jaja, Mitch Arnett, and Nathan Salley (photo booth and time lapse) we not only have an incredible set of wedding photographs but a greater understanding of how important wedding photography is.

I've been telling you all to "check back soon" for months now as I've promised to update the blog with our wedding story. Now that we are rolling on over our five month anniversary and I've wrapped up the 2012 wedding season I'm ready to share and recollect. Having been to well over a hundred weddings and now being a veteran bride, I have a whole new perspective on the experience.

Though our wedding was simpler than most, I still feel like I put much of my free thoughts and energy in to planning and idea making. I am sure that today, with the craft and detailed approach to weddings, most brides do the same. I often wonder that despite the amount of money and time spent on weddings if couples are really enjoying their day as much as they should. The stress of tyng hundreds of bows and collecting every perfect detail ends up placing couples in a task oriented mindset rather than allowing themselves to experience what should be "the best day ever."

Tips on how to make the most out of your wedding experience.

1. If it's not fun, don't do it You do not need to make favors for your guests. If you hate cake, don't have cake. Does decorating make you crazy? Pick a venue that you don't need to decorate. ...but you have to do it? Then find a unique and simple solution. E-mail "green" e-invites instead of addressing hundreds of envelopes.

2. Delegate Responsibilities Anything that requires any bit of responsibility from you on your wedding day (and the few days prior to it) must be outsourced. Simple tasks such as picking up flowers and steaming dresses can cause a lot of unnecessary stress. Remember that your emotions will be high and if you're like me in times of great emotion, little bumps can be very distracting.

3. Give your phone away Give all of your vendors and major players the phone number of a personal attendant. Hand off your phone and enjoy the present. You would be shocked at how many people text you, the bride, and ask questions such as "what time is the reception again?"

4. Rehearsal Dinner We didn't want a typical rehearsal dinner. We saw it as another opportunity for hosting a great party and connecting our closest friends and family. Matt and I are known for hating games but knew that we wanted our family to connect quickly during our rehearsal dinner. To kick off the party, we played a scavenger huntesque game titled the "amicable meal ticket." Every person at the party was listed on small piece of paper by a trait they were known by such as "lived overseas," "was valedictorian," "wore Jackie's troll mask," etc. Every guest had to fill out their card before they could eat. Our meal? A favorite food truck of ours. Guests ordered from the truck and came back inside to eat as we shared our slideshow story (below) and had our parent and wedding party toasts. We believe that few people really want to watch and listen to either of those and it often breaks up the reception. Toasts end up being an uncomfortable thing for most people to give so we thought that if we made the pressure less, it would be more meaningful and it was.

5. Slideshow At one of our recent weddings, we sat through a 20 minute slideshow featuring photographs of the couples smiling in red shirts, smiling in blue shirts, smiling in front of the capitol building, smiling in front of the picture of them smiling. Often couples will add in a special surprise and sneak in a photograph of them getting married towards the end of the photo. After some eye rolling, we brainstormed are a few of our favorites.




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6. Bachelorette Party Again, I am not a game player and just cringe at the thought of wearing a tiara and playing drinking games downtown. My friends and I held the bachelorette party at two of my favorite places. We started off with tea at one of my favorite tea places, the House of Commons and followed that up by making flower bouquets for disabled people at a care home. It was so meaningful...and so me.

7. Borrow things I am very anti-waste. I didn't want to buy a bunch of things that I would never use again. I frequented a local thrift store to find a collection of beautiful vases and unique bats of cloth to use for our centerpieces and table decor. Our flags that we used were borrowed from another friend's wedding. The area we got married at was very natural and filled with pine cones. Prior to our wedding, a friend and I collected trash bags full of pine cones to borrow and decorate with...but pine cones are for winter, right? Who cares? Be unique.

9. Hire a wedding planner If someone else isn't doing or your mom will be. How much do chair rentals cost? You could research for hours or ask someone who knows all the chair rental places in your city. If someone isn't picking up the chairs, your bridesmaids will be. If there isn't someone pointed towards asking will be answering the questions. Thanks to some good friends and Cielle of Storyteller Events our day was flawless.

10. Prioritize your memories Your actual wedding day will be really full and emotionally intoxicating. How will you remember everything? Obviously, photographs and video should be your top priority but also, think of things that you will be able to keep and pass on. We had our processional cross made and use it as a art piece in our home. We had an artist come and paint a picture of the wedding during the ceremony. I chose lavender for our bouquets so that the sent would always be a trigger for me and have jars of the buds saved in our wedding memory box.

11. Experience what is going there for the love. To culminate all of these tips make sure that you remember what is the most important thing. To us, it was the fact that all of the people we love most in the world were in the same place...they had come to celebrate us and we wanted to be there for the love. If that means you don't finish that final decoration or don't have the time to pick out your perfect shoes...remember that no one will notice. If your last minutes before the wedding are focused on things that don't breath, then you're missing out one of the most incredible experiences of your life. Prioritize being there for the love.

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Images Nathan Salley

Photos by Adoneye Jaja, Mitch Arnett and Nathan Salley.

denver based band photographer

Denver Based Band Photographer | Unique Band Photography | Concert Photographer I often get asked what photographers I follow or where I gather my inspiration. There are many photographers I respect, but I would have to say I am most inspired by expression, emotion, risk and newness. Live band photography is always a joy for me and such along with a resource for inspiration.

Here is a bit of my off season work that we house at Denver Band Photographer. There is nothing quite as great as the raw emotion and free expression that exudes through performing musicians. I love photographing all types of artists in any stage of their career, yet again, there is something that leads me to favoring musicians. Thanks to my friends at Reverb, I've had the opportunity to photograph several of my favorite musicians live such as the Lumineers, Macklemore, Sheryl Crow, Typhoon, Sleigh Bells and many more who have made me so glad I am a photographer.

Recently, we teamed up with Vertical Horizon on their way through Denver to capture a new promo shot. These guys are really great on and off the stage.

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Check out Denver Band Photographer for more images.

Stop. Listen. Take it all in and dream big

First Friday Art Walk | Modern Denver Photography Studio The word Selah is an old Hebrew word from the Psalms, meaning "stop. reflect. take it in." etc.. The moments of life that we want to hold on to and re-experience are the Selah moments. What is it that makes you not want to hold on and not forget? What day in your life is one that you continue reliving in your memory? Stop. Listen. Take it all in and dream big.

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We put some Selah questions to First Friday art walkers and this is some of what they said:

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One day in my life that would have made for a good documentary would have been: The day I moved to college The day in the ER when I found out I had stage four colon cancer My graduation college day Moving in to my first NYC apartment Halloween 2011 2-11-1981 The first time i held my baby bro Any winter weekend snowboarding Getting stranded in Salzburg, Australia Moving across country Crossing the Cage River Pick a day, I live an extraordinary life One things I'll do to make the world a better place tomorrow is: Jesus is up!! Smile at people Take Public Transit Help a lady organize her office Recycle Go to work Continue to love everyone Volunteer Photo Edit Random acts of Kindness Give extra food to the poor Help someone Relax and spend money. I'm a job creator.

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Have you never attended a First Friday? It's a must. Come down to the Santa Fe Arts District every first Friday of the month from 5:00 to 9:00 pm for a charming cultural experience and art tasting.

Named top Artistic Wedding Photographer | CNN Local

Artistic Wedding Photographer in Denver | Selah is featured artistic wedding photographer denver

There is an overwhelming amount of outstanding artistic wedding photographers in Denver which makes us even more honored to be a part of this group of photographers being featured on CNN local as a "Top Artistic Photographer in Denver." CNN notes our desire to capture people as they are. We find that our work is most successful when we can create a strong, artistic portrait that really shows the couple's true colors. We believe that we could make the most unique photograph in the world but if it doesn't feel genuine, the portraits' heirloom quality dies. We specialize in a mixture between photojournalism and fine art photography. We want out images to look good and feel real.

Thanks for the feature CNN.

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children's lifestyle photography . wash park denver

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Lifestyle Children's Photographer in Denver

If you are in need of a pick me up, spend a few minutes with the joy found in these natural children's portraits featuring their vibrant personalities. This project is part of a fundraiser for the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group at St. Johns Lutheran Church near Washington Park. I was able to document all of these beautiful children and have been blessed by the experience ever since. There is nothing quite like the pure happiness of a child. Thanks for the opportunity MOPS. Interested in children's photography? Check out our family photography site for information.

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downtown denver lifestyle children's photographs

Lifestyle Portraits This lovely family and I met in downtown Denver a few weeks ago and I was able to come away with a vibrant documentation of their personalities. I have had the privileged of photographing these children at least once a year for the past three years. It has been so fun to watch this family who is so dear to me.

A bittersweet call to Canada lead them out of Denver just a couple weeks ago but I hope to be able to continue their children's photographyportrait of boy playing at the park

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Much Love!

fine art wedding photography | chic weddings in italy feature

Fine Art Wedding Photography Feature A BIG thank you to our new friends of Chic Weddings in Italy for featuring us on their Blog Wedding Design Anarchy. I've been wanting to write about Fine Art Wedding Photographers for some time now and when I came across their site, I knew it would be a perfect fit.

Are you one of those brides who wants photographs that will someday become a piece of art? Check out this article we wrote on Fine Art Wedding Photography.

boutique wedding planners in italy published denver photographer For everyone planning and admiring, you must see the work of these Clara and Eva. They are Brilliant.

fine art pieces . art print denver

Wall Portraits Producing strong imagery is a large investment. These art pieces are the culmination and end-goal of every e-mail, phone call and hour spent photographing and in post production. I believe that these prints must be the best.

I frustratingly went through many labs before I found Art Print Denver. I picked up my first canvas order yesterday and was blown away by the printing quality. I had an identical canvas printed elsewhere to compare with and the two were night and day. The canvases printed at Art Print Denver make the memory look as close to seeing the image with your own eyes as a print can.

The photographs are being produced on some of the latest technology and finest papers. The print technician actually opens up your file in Photoshop and inspects it for appropriate quality.

Again, the final product of an art piece is a large investment for everyone. I am so relieved to have found a printer that believes the images are as important as my clients and I do.

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Colorado Wedding Planner | Talia Events

Colorado Wedding Planner | Rachel Hagen | Talia Events "Things are planned and executed with efficiency, less stress and more enjoyment."-Rachel

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Your wedding day is one of the most significant days of your life. It’s an incredible celebration that raises much anticipation and excitement, but also a fair amount of stress and anxiety. To the typical bride and groom, the details to be decided before the big day often seem unending. A modern asset that many couples are discovering is wedding planners. Selah Photography has been blessed to be able to work with some great wedding planners this past season and we would like to take a moment to highlight a Colorado Wedding Planner, Rachel Hagen, and her outstanding work at Talia Events.

Rachel of Talia Becky Young Photography

Talia Events is based out of Boulder, Colorado and is preparing to embark on their third season in the business. Rachel has worked across the state in numerous Front Range and mountain locations. Her outstanding work has been featured on many elite wedding blogs such as Style Me Pretty and Bona Fide Bride.

A wedding planner takes on several roles in assisting the couple. Many organized brides and grooms may believe that they can handle the planning on their own, yet don't take into consideration the amount of time and energy before and during the wedding day that this involves. If a bride knows she wants to have a wedding in the mountains, she may turn to friends and family and ask where they have been and go ahead and book one of the few recommended venues. If you tell a planner you want to get married in the mountains, they will have numerous venues, connections and inside experience ready to educate you so that the best decision can be made. wedding dress Chris Gentile Photography

A large portion of a planner's time is dedicated to experienced organization, along with a significant time investment resting in the wedding design and aesthetic. "I have met many professionals who are talented organizers and planners but not as many that are also strongly gifted in design as Rachel is," Jackie of Selah Photography says. Alongside of the staple utilities, Talia Events specializes in a wide range of custom and reputable services. “I believe that each client, and thus each wedding, is different. I don’t offer set packages. I customize my offerings according to what I think will be most helpful to clients,” Rachel says. She builds her business on a lifetime of planning events with ten years of corporate planning to extenuate her experience before creating Talia Events.

This wedding planner specializes in full wedding day coordination and will be with you through every step of the planning process. She will recommend reputable and professional vendors, assist with pacing the planning process to relieve stress, offer expert and personal consultation, and work with each individual to develop a unique style for their special day. On the actual day, Rachel provides Wedding Day Coordination so that you do not have to worry about any of the details and can simply enjoy your celebration.

From a photographer's perspective, I can’t emphasize how significant this vendor's role is in your wedding day experience. It is the one day in your life where all of your closest friends and family come together for an intricate, emotional and significant day...celebrating you. The last thing I want to see brides doing is running around making sure someone is lighting the candles or solving unpredictable problems at the last minute. The direction and organization that a planner provides maximizes time, relaxes the couple and adds value to every aspect of your experience. The couple can be present and enjoy their day to its fullest. Rachel explains that, “At the heart of it, for most couples, you’ve never done this before. I have. There’s a level of expertise and experience that means things are planned and executed with efficiency, less stress and more enjoyment.” Many clients have a vision of what they want, but don’t know how to turn those dreams into a reality. That’s where the experience of a wedding planner becomes invaluable.

“I see a large part of my role in guiding clients through the planning process as a host of emotions come and pass.” Rachel also encourages that it is normal to feel overwhelmed and not know where to begin. She will assist you in sorting out your thoughts in order to transform them into a tangible and enjoyable wedding.

bride and groom being married Julia Vandeneover Photography

When planning a modern wedding, the assistance and expertise of a wedding planner is priceless. If you are looking for help in transforming the images of your wedding day that have been building in your mind into a reality, Talia Events is exactly the company you need. Their professional staff will take the time to personally get to know you and help you through every step of the wedding planning process.

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We at Selah Photography can personally say that we look forward to working with Rachel and her staff in the near future!

best of photo booth . an open air event

Wedding Photobooth Featuring some of the best images taken in the photo booth during the 2011 season. Props to my wonderful second shooters who pull out the energy at the end of the evening to make this such a fun activity.

If you have a Denver Wedding or an event in the future, the open air photobooth makes for a personal gift to your guests along with a one of a kind way to document those closest to you.

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