Outdoor Wedding by an Alpine Lake | Meghan and James

It’s hard to put into words just how much this wedding touched my heart. But I’m going to try because Meghan and James’ Piney River Ranch Wedding was one heck of a celebration, put on for all of the right reasons.  It was a celebration of two people who view marriage as a partnership and an adventure, who chose to celebrate in a way that truly meant something to them, and who truly valued each and every person present.

Meghan grew up coming to Piney River Ranch with her family, spending countless summers canoeing the alpine lake, hiking the trails among the aspens, and catching sight of moose who often made their appearance around dusk.  It’s a place that means family, connection, and fun.

During the search for the perfect venue for their wedding, Meghan and her family brought James to Piney River to show him the place that meant so much to them.  When his jaw dropped and all he could say was “wow”, they knew they had their spot.

So began the long-distance wedding planning, with Meghan and James living their lives in Washington DC and their families pitching in to make sure the day went off without a hitch.  Meghan and James flew into Colorado the week before the wedding and kicked off the weekend with a rehearsal dinner in downtown Vail.  Family and friends mean so much to them that they invited every guest to their rehearsal dinner and they spent hours hanging out, eating BBQ sliders and laughing non-stop.

When I arrived at Meghan’s hotel room the next day I found her relaxed and surrounded by her friends, enjoying their time together as she emailed James two floors down.  You can tell a lot about a wedding by the bridal party and I felt nothing but welcomed among Meghan’s friends.

Several hours (and one bumpy car ride) later, Meghan and James were standing by the lake, saying their vows in one of the most quintessential Colorado locations imaginable.  The joy and happiness that radiated from these two, and towards them from friends and family that came to celebrate with them, was so amazing to witness.

The rest of the night was full of sweet toasts, family hugs, relaxing with friends by the fire by the lake, a traditional wedding serenade by Meghan’s uncles, and one heck of a dance party by everyone in attendance.

Meghan and James it was truly an honor to document your wedding.
#TEAMAUGUST17

wedding ring on Piney River Ranch save the dates at Piney River Ranch wedding by Vail Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, PhotographerMeghan and James got ready at the Vail Marriott before heading up to Piney River Ranch for the wedding.bride getting ready at Vail Marriot before driving to Piney River Ranch wedding by Vail Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, Photographergroom getting ready at Vail Marriot before driving to Piney River Ranch wedding by Vail Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, Photographerentrance to Piney River Ranch weddingwedding dress hanging on rustic wagon at Piney River Ranch wedding by Vail Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, PhotographerCan it get anymore Colorado picturesque than this??
wedding ceremony with view of lake and mountains at Piney River Ranch wedding by Vail Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, Photographerbride and groom exchange vows at Piney River Ranch wedding by Vail Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, PhotographerMeghan wore a charm bracelet that was her grandmother’s. Her bracelet had charms representing her and her brother.
bride with mom and heirloom jewelry at Piney River Ranch wedding by Vail Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, PhotographerSuch a relaxed, fun bridal party.  We did the formal shot first, but they wanted a photo of them in their more ‘natural state’. bridal party in navy dresses and grey suits at Piney River Ranch wedding by Vail Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, PhotographerAfter the ceremony we had time to wander the property for couple’s portraits.  Its really hard to go wrong at Piney River Ranch.romantic couples portrait on dock at Piney River Ranch wedding by Colorado Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, Photographerbride and groom snuggled in front of mountains at Piney River Ranch wedding by Colorado Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, Photographerbride and groom after wedding ceremony at Piney River Ranch wedding by Colorado Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, Photographerromantic colorado couples by glacial lake at Piney River Ranch wedding by Colorado Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, Photographerbride with elegant veil at Piney River Ranch wedding by Piney River Ranch Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, PhotographerThe scenery is so perfect at Piney  River that you really don’t have to add much decoration.  But I loved that Meghan and James incorporated photos of the Behnke family enjoying summers at the lake.colorado mountain rustic wedding details at Piney River Ranch wedding by Colorado Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, PhotographerThe toasts during the reception were emotional and so sincere.  sentimental wedding toast at Piney River Ranch wedding by Colorado Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, PhotographerWho doesn’t want to have their first dance with this sunset view?first dance photo in vail colorado at Piney River Ranch wedding by Colorado Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, Photographermother son dance on deck at Piney River Ranch wedding by Colorado Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, PhotographerWe snuck out during sunset to check out more of the Piney River Ranch property.  Meghan has always loved the aspen groves, so we had to take advantage and grab a few portraits in them.bride and groom romantic photo in colorado aspen at Piney River Ranch wedding by Colorado Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, Photographerintimate bride and groom couples portraits outdoor mountain wedding at Piney River Ranch wedding by Colorado Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, PhotographerRomantic couple photo in Colorado aspen trees at Piney River Ranch wedding by Colorado Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, Photographerbride and groom in Piney Colorado aspen trees at Piney River Ranch wedding by Colorado Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, PhotographerFinally, it was time to hit the dance floor.  In between serenades and breaks by the fire, Meghan and James enjoyed every moment with their family and friends.reception dancing photo outdoor at Piney River Ranch wedding by Colorado Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, Photographeroutdoor colorado mountain at Piney River Ranch wedding by Colorado Wedding photographer Jennie Crate, PhotographerI love Piney River so much, and I can’t wait to celebrate with more amazing couples in the futures.  There is definitely some Colorado magic going on there.

Vendors that made this day magical:
Photography: Jennie Crate, Photographer
2nd Shooter: Chris Loring Photography
Planning: Sarah Viera Events
Hair and Make-up: Janie Rocek
Flowers: Vintage Magnolia
Catering: Piney River Ranch
Dress: JCrew
Suits: Jim’s Formal
Cake: Sugar Breck

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Planning a wedding at Piney River Ranch? Make sure you read up on  10 tips for getting married at altitude.  And then let’s chat about your vision!

32 Comments

  1. The shots of them in the aspen trees are gorgeous!! The dance pictures looks like their wedding was a blast. I just love your work!

  2. WOW! The black and white of her looking down and her veil…took my breath away. Then the dance photos…just gorgeous work! Well done!

  3. seriously beautiful photographs as always, and that view is spectacular! I love that you incorporated their back story along with the story of their big day. So lovely! ❤️

  4. GORGEOUS Wedding! I love the shot of the groom dancing with his mom while the bride is on the bench watching. What a stunning location.

  5. These are jaw dropping. Incredible. I love dances outside, and with that mountain view, why would you ever want to go inside?!?

  6. I absolutely love the variety of the bridal portraits! They are so beautiful and full of gorgeous views in every one. My favorite is the forehead to forehead. You did an amazing job capturing this beautiful wedding! Congratulations to the happy couple!

  7. Jennie, these photos are beautiful…I love all of the emotions you captured, and their personalities shine through these images. Great job!

  8. What a gorgeous venue and beautiful couple! They have that awesome mountain backdrop, lake and aspen trees! What a dream come true :) Keep up the lovely work!!

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