Questions to Ask Yourself to Simplify Wedding Planning

There is a lot to cover when it comes to wedding planning. Oftentimes there are easy answers to simplify your planning process, if you knew what questions to ask! Today I’m covering what questions to ask yourself to simplify wedding planning.

Questions to Ask Yourself to Simplify Wedding Planning |

Questions to Ask Yourself to Simplify Wedding Planning

Wine Country Inn wedding venue | amanda.matilda.photographyThe Venue. Below are the top questions you should ask yourself when you’re trying to decide on venue options. There are a lot of beautiful spaces out there, and sometimes it’s hard to know where to even begin! Consider these questions to help you narrow it down:

Where did you meet?
Where are you both from?
What place do you love visiting the most?
What season will it be?
What did you do on your first date?

The Date. Not sure what dates you want to consider for the big day? Think about:

When did you meet?
When is your dating anniversary?
When did you first say “I love you”?
What special holidays are near our special dates?Questions to Ask Yourself to Simplify Wedding Planning |


Wedding Style. There is a lot that goes into the wedding style, from taking cues from your venue, to your favorite colors, to the season you’ll be getting married. Start with these questions:

What colors do you both gravitate toward wearing? (You may both love yellow, but do you want your party wearing it?)
What season are you getting married and what colors/florals come to mind then?
What colors and patterns are prevalent in your venue?
What flowers do you love most?

Reserved for Mom memorial during wedding ceremony | amanda.matilda.photographyCeremony. Songs, locations, and more can make ceremony planning more intensive than you think. Consider:

What songs do you find romantic or meaningful to your relationship?
What quotes from books or movies would you want to incorporate?
For indoor/outdoor decisions, what season will it be and what are your guests up for?
Are there any meaningful unity ceremonies you want to do together?
Will you be honoring anyone no longer with you?

Reception. From drinks to dances, to dinner and the exit, think about these questions:

Sparkler exit at Two Rivers Winery |

What’s “your song” for your partner – and your parent if you’re doing father/daughter or mother/son dances?
What’s your favorite meal to eat?
What bar do you frequent? Is there a specialty drink you want?
Do you share a favorite dessert other than cake?
Will you want to have an official end to the party – and does your venue require departure at a certain time?

Hopefully these questions to ask yourself to simplify wedding planning will get you thinking about the intricacies in wedding planning, but I also hope they help to clear up some indecision that is common during the planning process. You don’t have to have cake just because it’s traditional! Taking the time to ask yourselves what means most to you in your everyday lives can really help you create a wedding day that reflects your personalities and special love you share.


Donal & Becca | Grand Mesa Maternity Photos

I have been so busy lately getting ready to launch my new venture here on the blog with my weekly western Colorado wedding venues features that I’ve been woefully falling behind on blogging recent sessions! I’m looking at four days straight of family photos coming up starting today, though, so I thought I’d better get into gear again. A few weeks ago I received a call from Donal asking to set up maternity photos for his expecting wife while they were in the area (from Minnesota!) for a few days. We set up their Grand Mesa maternity photos for that weekend and I met them not really knowing what was in store.

We met up at the local coffee shop in Mesa and talked about their inspiration and desires for the session. Throughout our time together I got to hear about how Becca’s father came into some land in the middle of nowhere in Colorado – or that’s how it felt to someone from out of state! He came out years ago to see his new property and fell in love with the area. Over the years he built up a driveway to access the land, and eventually added a small cabin to the property. Becca and her family were able to come see the place, and while her father considered selling, she told him he couldn’t. Everyone who sees this land falls in love with it! Sadly Becca’s father has since passed, but she and Donal come out a few times a year to spend time in this beautiful area and upkeep the cabin.

We started the session with some quintessential “Grand Mesa” shots with the national forest sign, the aspens, and the overlook at Powderhorn with some amazing views. The goal was to capture their first pregnancy in this place they hold so dear. Eventually we made our way up to the property, and as the clouds parted while the sun set over the area I could see why they love it so much. The land sits on top of a “mountain” on the side of the mesa, partly accessible only be 4-wheeler (music to my ears!) with nearly 360 degree views of the surrounding area. We marveled at the views as we continued the session, capturing my favorite moment: when the mountains turn purple.

I so loved my time with these two and their baby bump – due in January! I can’t wait to meet the little one when they bring them out to introduce them to this amazing area. Check out some of my favorites from their Grand Mesa maternity photos:

Grand Mesa Maternity Photos | Grand Mesa Maternity Photos | Grand Mesa Maternity Photos | Pregnant woman with sunset mountains in the background Grand Mesa Maternity Photos | Husband and pregnant wife kiss with hands on baby bump Grand Mesa Maternity Photos | Pregnant woman holds her baby bump with mountains in the background Grand Mesa Maternity Photos |

Interested in booking your own maternity photos? Let’s chat!


Wine Country Inn | Western Slope Wedding Venues

Today I’m launching my latest endeavor here on the blog, and I couldn’t be more excited! For the rest of the year and into 2018 I will be focusing on uplifting and highlighting the amazing western slope wedding venues we have right here at home. I’m constantly seeing talk in the community with couples who are not sure about all their venue options out here and I hope to bridge the gap and bring a spotlight to the area!

Colorado Wine Country Inn | Western Slope Wedding Venues |

Wine Country Inn

Colorado Wine Country Inn | Western Slope Wedding Venues | amanda.matilda.photographyToday I’ll be highlighting one of the quintessential wedding venues in Palisade: the Wine Country Inn! Located right off of exit 42 on Interstate 70 in the heart of Western Colorado’s Premier Wine Country, this venue is surrounded by the beauty of the bookcliffs and vineyards all around, creating a Tuscan destination wedding feel right in your own backyard!

Colorado Wine Country Inn | Western Slope Wedding Venues | amanda.matilda.photographyThe Wine Country Inn truly is a one stop shop for your wedding celebration. Beginning at $5,000 for weddings, couples receive an Event Planner to walk them through every step of the way, a room at their beautiful Inn, set up and breakdown taken care of and complimentary Hors D’Oeuvres with social hour! Talk about VALUE. Rooms at the inn can booked for your guests on a room-by-room basis or by floor blocks as well, making lodging super convenient for your whole guest list. Being within walking distance of several wineries and just blocks away from downtown Palisade, there is plenty to entertain your guests for the whole weekend!

Colorado Wine Country Inn | Western Slope Wedding Venues | amanda.matilda.photographyCatering at the Wine Country Inn is all taken care of in-house, with the exception of allowing your wedding cake/desserts to be brought in from a licensed and insured purveyor. Similarly the Inn provides a list of preferred vendors, but couples are allowed and encouraged to book any vendors the couple is comfortable with. With different options for locations of your ceremony, and a big ballroom that can hold your reception, this venue holds up to 150 guests! Plus with options like that, you really have the chance to customize your celebration to your desires.

Colorado Wine Country Inn | Western Slope Wedding Venues |

The Wedding Team

Colorado Wine Country Inn | Western Slope Wedding Venues |

And that’s not all! When I met with Victoria, the Event Planner for Wine Country Inn, she told me about their winter renovations! Over the winter they’ll be making some big changes, expanding the restaurant and ballroom for one. They hope these changes will allow them to host up to 200 guests for weddings in the future! That would make them one of the larger venues in town.

Photography-wise, this venue is a gem. Every inch of the grounds has such beautiful potential for photos and it really does feel like you’re in Napa Valley! Great natural light, abundance of beautiful backdrops, and more make this a highly sought-after western slope wedding venue for sure.

Quick Facts about Wine Country Inn:

Location: 777 Grand River Drive, Palisade Colorado

Capacity: Ballroom capacity is 120 guests. Outdoor courtyard area capacity is 150 guests.

Starting Price: Base price for a wedding at Wine Country Inn starts at $5,000.00

Is In-House Catering Offered: Yes; there are several different menu options and they are happy to work with couples on a customized menu as requested.

Is In-House Catering Required: At this time they do not allow outside catering on property with the exception of a wedding cake/cupcakes/dessert bar/candy buffet from a licensed and insured purveyor

Can Brides Choose Own Vendors: Absolutely! “We provide a list of preferred vendors when you book with us, but couples are under no obligation to book those specific vendors. The vendors we include on our list are people we have worked with in the past who we feel are professional and provide quality service. Couples are encouraged to book the vendors they are comfortable with!”

Alcohol Policies: The Wine Country Inn has an in house liquor license that requires couples to purchase their alcohol through them. “We have a full service bar and keep a full list of beer, wine, and spirits on hand for any occasion, special requests can be purchased through us at an additional charge.”

Is there Lodging on Site: The Wine Country Inn is a full service Boutique Wine Themed hotel with 80 rooms. They even offer complimentary glass of house wine in the evening for all hotel guests of age, as well as a complimentary full hot buffet style breakfast every morning!

Ceremony & Reception Space or Reception Space Only: They provide both a ceremony site and reception space with several different options for both!

More Views of Wine Country Inn:

Save Money on Your Wedding

You hear it all the time. People talk about how expensive weddings are. There are so many articles out there about how to save money on your wedding. I hope to stand out from those posts with this article by bringing to light some ways to save that you might not have thought of!

Save Money on Your Wedding |

Save Money on Your Wedding

Garden wedding invitationPriorities. From the get-go in these wedding planning posts I’ve encouraged my couples to sit down together, set a budget, and really figure out which parts of your wedding day matter the most to you both. Whether you’re dead set on a certain venue and will do anything to accommodate it in your budget, or photography means the most to you so you can relive the memories forever, certain vendors will take priority for you in your budget. Similarly, discuss what things mean absolutely nothing to you — these will help you save money too! Think guest favors are a waste of money (hint: they usually are) – decide right away not to include them in your budget. If you’re not too fussed about the food, consider timing your wedding so that hors d’oeuvres and cocktail hour suffice, or you might focus on planning your dinner menu cheaply.

Bridesmaids and their wildflower bouquets in the gardenGather your tribe. Friends and family are the best price for outsourcing you can get. You can’t beat free! Even if you’re paying them in food/drinks, getting everyone together to help you stuff envelopes, run errands, brainstorm and more can be such a relief. With so many eyes out there looking for deals you can save more money too!

The guest list. This is really where most couples struggle with keep costs low. Work hard together, even consider getting mom and dad involved, to make sure you’re getting the list as low as possible. Pro-tip: skip coworkers unless you’re really close, and consider if asking kids to stay home makes a big difference. Don’t forget the wedding party, too. The fewer ushers, junior bridesmaids, and other extended wedding party people you have, the less money you’ll spend on their flowers.

Winter wedding couple portraitConsider the date. Learning to embrace the off-season, or off-dates even, can hugely reduce your costs. Venues and vendors look to fill dates they might otherwise be left unbooked, and typically offer a discount as incentive for booking! (Hint: I offer off-season and weekday discounts!)

Hire a pro! It might sound like bad advice on saving money, but spending money to hire a great wedding planner can honestly help you lower your budget! Professional planners are well connected in the area to other vendors and often know who does the best work for lowest price. Plus they’re not afraid to negotiate on your behalf!

Florals from 3 Leaf Floral in Grand JunctionBuy in season. When I worked on a piece with Kelly from 3 Leaf Floral, she talked about the importance of buying in season. Not only are certain flowers cheaper during certain times of the year, sometimes they are bigger and more beautiful than the off-season florals you might have wanted before! Talk with your florist about how to make your overall vision come together at the lowest price possible.

Multi-task. Find ways to use decorations over again! I’ve had couples who got decor for the aisle of their ceremony, that the planner quickly re-purposed into table decor for the reception while guests were outside for cocktail hour. Trust me, guests will think you’re a genius — if they notice at all!

Obviously there are dozens more ways to save money on your wedding, but I hope these seven tips and tricks got you thinking about creative ways to have the wedding of your dreams within your budget!


Chris & Laura in Omaha

One of the best parts of getting married is inheriting wonderful extra family! I was so glad to get together with Chris and Laura, Eric’s aunt and uncle, on our trip in Omaha! They had never had professional photos done of the two of them before, and they each needed to update their headshots for work, so we explored the Old Market and downtown Omaha to get them some up to date couples photos and headshots. Laura warned me beforehand that they’re “not photogenic” which I think you’ll all agree is just not true! Ha! As much as I love my mountain vistas, I truly do also love urban shoots and wandering alleyways and hidden nooks. It was such a joy to explore more of my favorite part of Omaha! Check out some of my favorites:

Omaha Couples Photography | Omaha Couples Photography | Omaha Business Headshots Photographer | Omaha Couples Photography | Omaha Couples Photography | Omaha Couples Photography | Omaha Couples Photography | Omaha Couples Photography | Omaha Business Headshots Photographer | Omaha Couples Photography |

P.S. Interested in booking your own couples session or headshots? Let’s chat!