rocky mountain bride

Liz & Matt Colorado Engagement

Liz & Matt Colorado Engagement

Liz and Matt were standing in the security line at the airport. Trying to play it cool Matt couldn’t help but feel nervous, and that’s when it happened. Liz reached for the shoes…NO!!

Brittany & Isaac Sunset Session

Brittany & Isaac Sunset Session

We met at the Hard Rock Cafe in NYC Times Square. Isaac was currently in Fort Dix, New Jersey for the Army and Brittany was in Lynchburg, Virginia where she was attending law school. They both happened to be in NYC for the weekend. Isaac was eating a burger at the Hard Rock and went to the bar to order a drink. He saw a group of women sitting at the bar and went to say "hello." Brittany and Isaac kept talking and, at the end of night, Isaac asked for Britany's number . . . but Brittany was taken at the time….

Anneke + Mike // Colorado Mountain Wedding

As I wrote this post I am totally grinning as I think about how to explain Anneke and Mike to you! We had their engagement session in the mountains DURING winter. We rode up from Denver together so we could get to know each other better and that's when they introduced us to HQ. If you don't have this app go get it now! (Although I have yet to win :( If I could describe these two in one word it would be FUN. Or party. Haha! When you are with them it's guaranteed to be a party and you will have lots of fun and probably have sore abs from laughing so hard.

Their story starts back in high school when they met at youth group. They had been friends and all through out college grabbing lunch occasionally and keeping in touch. Anneke has always had a talent for making funny snapchat stories. One day Mike texted Anneke "I live for your snaps" And the rest was history. They started dating long distance eventually moving to the same state, and wound up in love!

I was laughing through out the whole wedding day as I heard story after story from friends and family of the infamous adventures and antics Anneke and Mike!

I am so encouraged that you keep fun and adventure a priority in your relationship. It will get you through the tough times and keep you looking young forever! In the future, I look forward to hearing all the stories of the amazing and legendary Mr. & Mrs. Pott's!

Amy + Brooks // Rocky Mountain National Park Intimate Wedding

Amy and Brooks are probably some of the most adventurous people I have met! Their love of the outdoors and seeing new sites is strong for both of them. When I first spoke with Amy over the phone she was telling me of all the places she has traveled to with Brooks. They have been to so many places on my bucket list. When I met up with them a couple of weeks before their wedding they were telling me about the camper they were driving out of town to pick up. Their first stop, The Tetons!? (I'll admit I was pretty jealous!)

I was so excited when they told me about their intimate wedding in Rocky Mountain National Park. It ended up being the perfect day. I am so in awe of Amy as we visited several places around the park to take photos of them, she hiked up the trails in her dress and shoes, smiling and living in the moment!

May your strong love for family and adventure never fade!

The Lavender Backyard Wedding

This family backyard wedding in Florida was so special! Why is that you might be thinking? Well my sister in law got married! Kyle and I took a red eye flight to Florida and got there the morning of! It's so amazing all the talent that Kyle's family has! His mom organized and put it all together, including decor. His sister in law helped with decor also (did you see that stunning arch?) My father in law not only walked Jessica down the aisle, but he also married them. And then Kyle played the music for the ceremony! It was a real family affair, and it was so beautiful! The weather was actually quite nice! (AKA I didn't feel like all my skin was melting off) We wish you all the best Jessi and Rolando. Love you guys!

Winter Engagement

Kyle and I had such a great time with these two fro their engagement session! They live out of state so of course we had do go shoot in the mountains. They braved out the freezing weather with lots of laughs and cuddles. They also introduced me to my new favorite app HD live! We are really looking forward to their mountain wedding this summer!

Don't ask anybody to be in your wedding party until you read this!

Hooray you just got engaged!

After you make all the phone calls you make to tell your family and  after you update your social media status….what's next?

Generally after you get engaged, one of the first things you start working on is choosing your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Now take a moment and think of the list of people you are going to ask to be in your wedding party!

Now write that list down! (or make a note in your smart phone!)
How many on each side are you wanting?
Why are you choosing them to be in your wedding party?




I'll wait….










Is your list ready?









Did you write down the reasons you are choosing them to be in your bridal party?









And did you write it down?






Okay good! We can proceed now!

Maybe it was easy for you to list off your top closest friends or siblings who will stand by your side on your wedding day. Then after that the list of friends might have grown, but you had to think a little harder! I'm sure you have different reasons for each person. Starting with "They are my best friend" "I'm super close with that sibling"

Those are excellent reasons to have someone in your weddin party.

Then as you worked to add to your list it might have turned into; They should be in my wedding party because…

"Well they asked me to be in their wedding." "Even though we're not close anymore they were my best friend in middle school." "They would be offended if they weren't asked to be in the wedding party" "My parents want them to be included" "I want an even number of groomsmen and bridesmaids"

Do any of these reasons sound familiar? Maybe they even sound legit? I'm here to tell you they really aren't!!

Don't forget, this wedding is to celebrate YOU and your future SPOUSE coming together as one! Be picky about who is standing by your side. The wedding party is there physically standing by you when you get married, but it's also metaphoric. The people you choose to stand next to you symbolizes that they are in support of your marriage and will continue to be there, to route for your marriage, long after the wedding ceremony is over! Do all those people you listed above fit that description?

The phrase more is less comes to mind.

it's about quality not quantity.

Be realistic, the more bridesmaids or groomsmen in your party the more chaotic it is. Getting ready rooms can turn chaotic and the bride or groom can get lost in all of the choas. Surround your self with your closest friends and you're sure to have a more peaceful and enjoyable wedding day. It's so surprising to me how many weddings I've been to, where the only person the bridesmaids or groomesmen are concerned about is THEMSELVES!! I typically see this most when the wedding party is larger. I've also been blown away by how well some bridemaids/groomsmen have served and loved the bride and groom on their wedding day. You guessed it! Those are typically the smaller bridal parties.

Ultimately choosing the bridal party is up to you, and it's most important to have people that mean the most to you standing by you on your weddig day. Maybe that happens to be  20 people, and that's okay! You should have your day exactly how you want it! But taking a moment to really think about who is in your bridal party and why you chose them can have a huge impact on your wedding day! Take it from me personally, only invite those that value you and your future marriage. It's bound to add even more meaning to an incredibly meaningful and special day!

Now have fun surprising your friends and family with an invitation to be a part your bridal party!


All the best,
Kari Joy

Why you need engagement photos!

Imagine this, it's your wedding day and you're in your room getting ready. Then a stranger knocks on the door. It's your photographer! Yay! But you've never met them before! …Awkward!! They are responsible for capturing the most important moments on your wedding day and you have no clue who they really are! Not to mention they are in the getting ready room as you and your bridesmaids are half dressed in your skeevies with their camera! There are many reasons to take engagement photos from practical to personal!


Get Comfortable!

There is no time to get to know your photographer on your wedding day! Meeting them before hand will put you at ease on your wedding day because you don't have a stanger running around photographing everything! This will help you be comfortable with your wedding photographer on your special day!


You'll have seen the finished photos from the engagement session and will have more confidence in your photographer, knowing they can capture AMAZING photos of you and your fiance! This will make sure you're not left wondering on your wedding day "I hope this looks okay" but you can trust your photographer is getting the perfect photos because they've already proven it!

Great Practice!

Maybe you feel a little camera shy, or you get awkward in front of the camera! The engagement session is a great time to get all that awkwardness out. If you have a good photographer they will help you throughout the session and often times you're using poses that you'll also be using on the wedding day!

It's Fun!

Lastly, it really is fun! It's a relaxed time to spend with your fiance and take fun photos together. It's fun to choose a location you love and make memories! You can get creative and bring your dog, or have a paint faint, or take a boat out on the lake. Sky is the limit with your session, so have fun and make it memorable!

Taking engagement photos with your wedding photographer ultimatley helps with nerves on your wedding day so you can relax and enjoy your day!

DO'S and DON'TS of planning your wedding

If you're anything like me, I didn't know a THING about planning a wedding when I got engaged. I was never the girl who had dreamed of this day since she was little and was planning her wedding since she could talk. Honestly though, I kinda wish I had been! There were so many things I didn't know about, it felt like I had to catch up on a lifetime of wedding dreams to make our wedding the perfect party for us! Here are some DO'S and DON'TS I learned along the way!

DO enlist help from people you trust! I like to do things on my own, but it's great to be able to delegate certain tasks to people you trust. My mom was in charge on my bridesmaids gifts (she made these amazing makeup bags) Kyle was in charge on the DJ and music. I did several DIY projects so I would invite all the bridesmaids over to come help. It was fun and took WAY less time with all of us working

DON'T be your own wedding planner! Hire a wedding planner or a day of planner. They need to know all of the details, be organized, and take care of any stressful situations before you even know about them. Your best friend might offer to be the planner for the day, but ultimatley you want to enjoy the day with your friends and family, and not have them running around taking care of details. Leave that to a professional who can take care of business!

DO create a budget! Decide right away what the most important things to you are. This is where you will allocate a larger chunk of your budget! The dress, the venue, and the photographer were my top priorities. That helped us know how much we wanted to spend on each of these!

DON'T feel like you need to invite everyone and your mom to your wedding! This is a celebration for YOU, and it should feel like one!

DO take dance lessons for your first dance! My parents gifted this to Kyle and I and we had a blast together with my parents. Not much of what we learned we retained, but it made me feel less nervous and a lot more excited! (Kyle is a MUCH better dancer than I am!)

DON'T have drastically different hair and make up from your everyday look.

DO enjoy being engaged! This is a special time and you'll never get this season of being engaged back! Enjoy saying 'Fiancé" and getting free desert everywhere you can!!

Creative Ideas for Valentines day

Kyle and I have had our "interesting dates" and they usually fall around valentines day. We aren't too crazy about this Hallmark day and we go on dates often already! But this is a fun time to get super cheesy and make memories, normally of all our failed attempts at things! The more unusual the better!

1. Buy your woman or man an outfit (or several)

               When Kyle and I were dating he started this tradition and would normally buy me a couple different dresses. One time I even got a cute pair of boots. I choose the outfit I want to wear and we go out to eat. It's always so fun!

2. Find a place to eat you've never been to

               You might not like the food but it will be a good experience. We went to a place called Cowbobas and they sold steak and boba. The food was terrible but it was an awesome experience that we still laugh about today

3. Surprise them with cheesy notes

               I tried to deck Kyle's car out one year with cheesy notes and balloons, basically vomit Valentines all over his car. I wasn't sneaky enough because he could totally see me from the upstairs window intruding his car.  The surprise was ruined.

4. Make a Giant "kiss"

               One year I took a bunch of Rice Crispies and molded them together like a Hershey's kiss. Then I wrapped it in foil and topped it off with a paper banner sticking out the top saying something cheesy

5. Make a scavenger hunt

               Create clues that take you all around town that lead up to your activity or date you've planned

6. Have a gift delivered to their work       

               I don't know a single person that doesn't like surprise gifts, especially at work! Arrange a delivery for a surprise gift to arrive and work and everyone will think you're the sweetest!

7. Buy them a puppy.

               I'm going to be real, this one is just in here in case my husband is reading this!

8. Fancy Night it

               Wear the fanciest clothes you own and dine in the luxury of your own home!

9. Paint each other then make a canvas

               If you've seen Modern Family, you know what I'm talking about!

10. Re-create your first date

               Our first date was making a fort, watching planet earth, and eating monkey bread!


Happy Dating!


Getting To Know The Kuschel's

How long have you known each other?

 5 Years. Married for 3.

How long have you lived in Colorado?

Kari- I have lived in Colorado 9 years. Not consecutive though. I moved from San Diego to Denver when I was 16. I lived here three years then moved to Seattle for a year. Then I moved back, because there is nothing like the Rockies!

Kyle- I've lived in Colorado for 6 years, before that I lived in West Palm, Florida.

What is your favorite thing to do with each other?

Kyle- Adventures. Like hiking! I love finding new trails we have never hiked before. 

Kari- Between cuddling and exploring and making music together. I pretty much love doing anything with Kyle, he knows how to make things more fun

Who does the cooking?

Kari- uhh…Kyle :)

Kyle- Me- 99% Kari-1% 😝

What is one thing you love about each other?

Kyle- Lots and lots. But one thing above most is the gift of patience. (Not my gifting at all)

Kari- Just one thing? That's hard. But the think I what I love most about Kyle is how outgoing he is. He's not afraid to look silly or act crazy if it means he'll get a laugh out of me. I love that. 

Was it love at first site?

Kari-I would say it was "I'm crushing hard and I can totally picture marrying him" at first site. haha The first time I saw him he was leading worship

Kyle- In a creepy way, yes. I stared at Kari for about an hour while she worked her shift at Starbucks. I had never been in love so I can't compare that moment to any others, but I only fell more in love from that day on. So I think the answer is yes!


Are you a dog or cat person?

Kyle- Dog>cat

Kari- Puuuuuuuuuupies!

What is a talent your partner has that most people might now know about?

Kari - He has a really unique super power to make any one's day better, and he seeks people out who look like they are having a rough day ( or life). He makes it his mission to make them feel better and he usually succeeds.

Kyle- She has a killer voice and can crush it on guitar.  

What is your favorite part about working with couples about to get married?

Kari- My favorite part is the engagement session. It's fun to get to know each other in a relaxed setting and get to hear the story of how they met to how they got engaged!

Kyle- Giving them honest advice, but reminding them of the joy of marriage. 

Happy Fun Fact Friday! I hope you enjoyed getting to know us a little better!


Why you should do a first look!

There are many decisions you make for your wedding day and this one could greatly impact how smooth your day runs! The anticipation and the excitement are still the same when you're about to see your future spouse, whether it's walking down the aisle or choosing a first look. So why would a first look be a good idea? I'm glad you asked!

1. More intimate

On the wedding day the focus is generally all on the Bride, and that can be a lot of pressure! For the first look we help you recreate the experience of walking down the aisle, but it's just the two of you! This is nice because don't have the added pressure of people watching you and feeling like you have to react a certain way when you see your future spouse.

2. Special Moment Together

It's so special to have a few quiet moments together before you start the ceremony. And after all, don't you want to spend as much time as possible with your almost spouse on your wedding day?! And trust me, your man is going to want you to do a spin so he can admire his future wife and that gorgeous dress! You can't exactly do that when you walk down the aisle!

3. Spend more time with Guests

Now for some couples this isn't a big deal, but if you really want to greet all of your guest you might prefer more time with them at cocktail hour. Traditionally most of the formal photos are taken after the ceremony and before the reception. To accomlish this task  you normaly need 90 minutes! If you want to mingle with your guests and not keep them waiting at cocktail hour, doing a first look would allow you more time!

You can take all of the family formals and bridal party shots before the wedding even begins. This will give you more time with your guests at cocktail hour and you won't have to worry if people are starting to get bored while you taking photos!

 4. Not Shooting in the dark

Many weddings start close to sunset, so by the time the ceremony is over it is starting to get dark! Consult with your photographer on the timeline to avoid shooting important family formals or portraits in the dark! Doing a first look allows you to move these photos up earlier in the day so you can shoot in beautiful light and not have to worry about flash making your forehead shiny!

5. You can't control bad weather and you get More Photos

When you do a first look you are generally taking Bride and Groom portraits twice! The first time is during the first look and then again right before sunset (for the most dreamy and romantic light!) This gives you a great variety of photos and if the weather turns and you aren't able to take photos outside after the ceremony, you already some!

I hope that insight into why doing a first look might help your wedding day run smooth was helpful! Do you think a first look is right for you?

Reasons you should consider an unplugged ceremony!

Unplugged ceremonies; Is this a fleeting trend or solving a real problem?

If you haven't heard about this popular trend, the couple asks (by making signs or having the officiant make an announcement) for their guests not to taking photos on any device during part or all of the wedding. Below I will list out some benefits to having an unplugged ceremony so you can decide if it's something you want to incorporate into you wedding!

1.) Your guests can be present. In a time where people often live through their screen you can set your wedding apart and allow guests to actually enjoy your whole celebration! Instead of guests worrying about getting the "perfect" photo, they can just live in the present moment and fully enjoy the celebration!

2.) Photoboming Guests. I can't tell you, as a wedding photographer, how many beautiful photos I've taken that were ruined by someone photoboming with their camera! (And no you can't just photoshop everyone out!) As much as you would hope people would be respectful and aware of the professional hired to document your day, you would be surprised! I captured this beautiful moment of the bride being walked down the aisle by her dad BUT…. you guessed it…I had a photobommer! And not just any photobomer! This person was taking photos with her HUGE Ipad. It was almost comical! But at the end of the day it was a beautiful photo ruined by a giant eyesore of an Ipad!

3.) Your guests camera flash will ruin your professional photos! If your guest takes a photo and that flash pops up that changes the lighting. A photographer will have their camera settings JUST right for the lighting situation. When an unexpected flash pops up, the whole image can be blown out and that's not something you can recover in post editing. To think you could miss out on a photo of your first kiss together because of an unsuspecting guest using their camera!=

4. Lastly take a look at these wedding photos that have been photobommed by guest to see what a "pluggled" ceremony might look like

When you pay for a professional photographer you don't want to risk your photos getting ruined that will never happen again! I hope that was helpful and at the end of the day there is no right or wrong decision on this topic!


* Second shot with Jacey Caldwell Photography