Stef & Alex
Summer wedding in Buena Vista


Stef & Alex celebrated their wedding in July at Surf Hotel in Buena Vista. Despite having a rainier than usual summer in Colorado, the weather was just as perfect as the whole day. These two are such a light and joy to photograph and be around. There were so many happy tears, little glances and full bodied laughs throughout the day– this was such an incredible wedding to be a part of.

Some highlights of the day:

  • Wouldn’t be a true Colorado wedding without a shot-ski (for all my out of towners, that’s shot glasses affixed to a ski).
  • Stef and Alex’s ring bearers and flower girls being adorable all day
  • The first look!!!!!!!! Alex told me at their engagement session that he was going to lose it all day (and he wasn’t wrong). I think every person on Earth would love to have their partner react the way Alex did. I don’t cry very often at weddings, but this first look got me good.
  • Walking out across the river for portraits and having everyone cheer and jump out of our way
  • The couple getting to actually enjoy cocktail hour!!!!
  • The best toasts I’ve heard in a long time
  • An epic and super sweet first dance

To Stef & Alex

Congrats you two!!!!!! So honored to have been a part of y’alls day! It was such a joy documenting y’alls love story, you both are some of the kindest, sweetest people I’ve ever had the privilege of photographing. Hope you both had such a great time and a relaxing and well deserved honeymoon!

The Story

How did y’all meet?

“We met in 2018 at work! Alex was visiting his family in Chicago and Stef was planning on moving to Denver. We got to know each other as friends for a few months before finally hanging out 1:1 outside of work. Dated for a few months long distance and then made it official when Stef moved out to Denver Summer of 2019.”

The Proposal

“Alex planned a hike out to Brainard Lake in early June 2022. Stef knew something was up as Alex was really nervous and quiet (unlike him), and had also packed a picnic in the car haha. We brought our dog and foster dog (now adopted) and he threw up in the car on the way there. The trail was closed to the hike we wanted to do and we hiked a few miles through DEEP snow banks. While things got off to a rocky start that morning, when we got to the lake, Alex pulled Stef aside and asked her to marry him. Easiest yes!”

Honeymoon Plans

“Yes! Leaving ~5 days after the wedding and going for a week to Indonesia (Nusa Lembongan – island near Bali) and a week in Thailand (Koh Samui)”

What are you looking forward to most about being married?

“Making it official. Feels like we are already married in a lot of ways but will be nice to call each other husband and wife and keep building our lives together.”

The Wedding Day

Getting Ready

This beautiful, sunny July morning started off on location at Surf Hotel. Stef had a super cool suite that she was getting makeup done in and then upstairs we had a pristinely clean room for her to put on her dress. The highlight of the suite was this gorgeous bathtub that we had to take pictures in.

After a first look with her bridesmaids we got ready for her first look with Alex. Meanwhile Alex was hanging out in the lounge area of the hotel. He opened a few gifts and shared some drinks with his groomsmen and family.

First Look

Stef and Alex chose to do a first look and afterwards they both commented on how glad they were to have done one! Alex had the absolute sweetest reaction to seeing Stef for the first time. There were lots of happy tears, “I’m so lucky”‘s and “you look beautiful”s. I think that sort of reaction is the dream reaction from every bride. If Stef had any doubts about her looking like a complete goddess, I think they were all quashed after that first look.

After first look we walked around the venue and took a few portraits. My favorite spot was right on the river where everyone there graciously let us kick them out for a few photos.

Wedding Party

Before ceremony we were able to knock out all our wedding party portraits, which meant the couple and their friends could go straight to cocktail hour! This group was super fun and listened to direction perfectly. We were able to do all our portraits in 20 minutes!


Ceremony time!!! This was such a good ceremony. Stef’s brother officiated, which meant he could really speak on the couple and their relationship. It felt intimate and personal the whole way through. And let me tell you, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place during their vows. Those vows were amazing, sentimental with a bit of humor, 10/10 guys.

Cocktail Hour

Because these two chose do a first look we were able to get couples portraits, wedding party (and even the majority of family photos!) done before the ceremony, which meant these two could enjoy their cocktail hour! Surf has a great cocktail hour space, with couches, two bars and cornhole. It’s the perfect space for mingling.


The second these two entered their reception I knew the evening was going to be a good time. Their was reception had a few special dances and some incredible speeches. Music was super important to the couple so they opted for a live band who absolutely crushed it. I loved their simple, yet beautiful decor. It felt like them and showed off their love of Colorado and the mountains.

Open Dancing

I was only there for about 15 minutes of open dancing but could tell this was going to be a great party lasting well into the night. The dance floor was packed, people were showing off their best moves and the live band was killin it.

Sunset Portraits

We ended the night with 10 minutes of sunset portraits. I love the pictures from the front of the hotel, it just shows off what a cool wedding venue Surf Hotel is. And then that was a wrap!!! An incredible day for an incredible couple.

Behind the Scenes

Some favorite behind the scenes photos of working this excellent day!

Vendor Team

Venue: Surf Hotel

Florals: Phytology Flowers

Band: Diamond Empire

Dress: Blue Bridal

HMUA: Face of Makeup

Cake: Joyful Bakery

Day of Coordinator: Graceful Weddings

If you enjoyed Stef and Alex’s wedding day blog post, here are some other posts I think you might enjoy!

Scott and Eleanor’s Surf Hotel Wedding

Lauren and Will’s Spruce Mountain Ranch wedding

How to be present on your wedding day

Surf Hotel Wedding Guide

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