January 26, 2023
When the world turned upside down in 2020, Nirali and Adam canceled their big wedding and decided to plan a Colorado backyard wedding. They were overwhelmed by the idea of having a traditional wedding and had fallen into the common trap many couples experience of catering to the pressures of family and friends instead of pursuing a day that they really wanted. Turns out, all things come together exactly as they’re supposed to. That’s serendipity for you! A year passed from their original wedding date and in that time they bought a house and got to work on renovations. They were determined to hold a place for their closest friends to come and witness their love and the commitment they were about to make to each other.
August 14th rolled around and it was a hot summer day in Colorado. Tucked into a quiet Denver neighborhood Nirali and Adam’s house sat renovated and ready for a wedding. Chairs were set up in the backyard and an altar of flowers stood where Adam and Nirali exchanged vows. There was an equal balance of tears and laughs. Luna, their beloved pup, ran around with a collar of flowers, enjoying all the commotion.
The day was laid back and casual. It was the kind of day Nirali and Adam were always dreaming of having. We walked to the college campus nearby to take wedding party photos surrounded by the shade of trees. Later, everyone lay on the front lawn taking in the joyous day. Lawn games were played. Polaroids were taken. Drinks were drunk. When the time came to have dinner, everyone set the table and ate family style. String lights and candles made the scene that much more intimate. Then, they had their first dance barefoot in the grass of their first home. It was a calm and serene sort of day you don’t witness often in the wedding industry. It was a reminder of myself to encourage couples to truly go for what they want, even if it feels unconventional and untraditional. So if that sounds like you and you what to know how to plan a Colorado backyard wedding, check out these tips below.
Take the time to beautify your backyard by adding different flowers and plants. A few DIY projects will make this feel less like a backyard and more like a cozy bungalow. View your backyard as a blank canvas for you to get creative with! What areas around your backyard could be a blank canvas? Think of your shed being used to hang pictures or put up a projector. Where could you put lawn games and chairs? Consider the layout of your backyard and where you want to have the ceremony, cocktail hour, and dancing.
Do not skip flowers for when you plan your Colorado backyard wedding! It will transform your backyard and give it a romantic feel. Creating an altar is simple. You can either rent or go through a talented florist. I have plenty of recommendations for florists in Colorado 🙂 Check out Flower Disco and Beet & Yarrow.
If you want to make your day feel less casual, plan on making some signs to hang up around your home and backyard. You can write down the schedule of the wedding day for guests to view. You can write your favorite movie quotes or inside jokes to hang for decorations. You can place signs in front of different yard games, where the dance floor will be, and near the bar.
Consider having an outside bar for your guests to hang out around and order from. You can hire a bartender for a few hours to mix up your favorite cocktails. Nirali and Adam chose 3 featured cocktails to serve their guests on top of other drinks and refreshments that they had in coolers.
It’s simple. To set the scene for a chill lounge area, all you need is a few rugs and comfy lawn furniture. Set up a few areas like this around your backyard for guests to hang out and relax. A few accent pillows will elevate the setting. It’s important to have places for your guests to chill out at while you’re running around and mingling with everyone. There’s always the option of renting chairs, tables, and even couches if you don’t want to buy brand new furniture.
Since backyard weddings are so casual it’s easy to spice up your surroundings. When you consider table design, don’t skip creating some epic centerpieces. Considering that backyard weddings are so intimate, you won’t have to make 30 centerpieces for 30 different tables. Set up one or two banquet tables and go to town with candles, flowers, vases, and even fresh fruit.
Lawn games are an easy way to keep your guests entertained. Connect 4, cornhole, Giant Jenga, and Spikeball are all perfect backyard games.
What’s so special about backyard weddings is how small and intimate they feel. Why not have everyone come together set the table and eat family style? Use cheap banquet tables and cover them with a nice tablecloth (or have a low table and have everyone get cozy sitting on the ground).
Grab a couple of boxes of string lights from Home Depot or Amazon and hang them up around your backyard. This is one of the best ways to create a cozy and intimate feeling for your Colorado backyard wedding.
What are your favorite places to eat near home? Find out if they can cater to your backyard wedding. All bets are off. If you love pizza, order pizza for everyone. If you’re craving a hole-in-the-wall BBQ place, order it. If you’re digging fast food, order it. If you’re like Nirali and Adam, see if one of your favorite food stands at the local farmer’s market caters. The world is your oyster!
I love collaborating with my couples when it comes to getting creative for their big day. Originally, I was going to take Nirali and Adam on an adventure down the road to their local park for golden hour photos. After going back and forth for a while we decided to forgo our car adventure and take pictures around their home. They had spent so much time turning their house into a home and wanted they wanted their photos together to reflect that. Consider how you could turn your home into a backdrop for photos!
Your furry four-legged friends are family. Why not have them there on your wedding day? They’ll feel the most comfortable being at home in your backyard. You can either have your pup being a ring-bearer or a “flower girl.” Check out that cute floral necklace on Luna above!! ^^^
Hire a live band or even just opt for a one-instrument singer. A nice speaker always does the trick too. Either way, music is essential for your backyard wedding. Spend time before your big day curating a playlist on Spotify or Apple music. You can even share it with family and friends so they can add their suggestions too.
Nothing makes a backyard wedding more idyllic than one-of-a-kind and eclectic pieces. Thrift your wedding decor to make your day unique and then you can keep them in your home afterward.
Eloping is unique and such an adventure! Pick any view in Colorado and you won’t go wrong 🙂 And I’ll be here to be with you every step of the way. Through location scouting, help with all of the planning, and all the way down to delivering your unforgettable photos!
My Colorado packages start at $3,300 and include:
Want to elope somewhere else in Colorado? Check out this blog on Where to Elope in Vail, Estes Park, and Breckenridge and Where to Elope in Colorado.
Our first experience working with Alisha was on an elopement styled shoot. I knew from that day on she was going to be the photographer to capture our wedding day. Alisha said "yes" to absolutely every crazy idea and vision I had for our wedding day. She literally hiked miles and woke up before the sun to make it happen. Alisha is completely in her element when photographing, she knows how direct a shoot without being bossy, she captures every angle without being in the way and doesn't make you feel like you're even behind the camera. Alisha pours her entire self into every shoot she does, she doesn't stop until everything is perfect. It put me at ease knowing Alisha was paying such close attention to detail when it came to the location scouting and capturing every single photo imaginable. Working with Alisha was a breeze, she's communicative, fast and detail oriented. Not to mention, an incredible photographer. We were blown away when we got our wedding gallery within a month of our wedding, with over 700 beautiful photos. Our families cried happy tears all over again reliving those memories. If you're wondering, "is it worth it?" The answer is 100% ABSOLUTELY yes, hire Alisha, you won't regret it.
— Katie & Kevin
My husband and I decided to elope after feeling a little overwhelmed with the idea of planning a wedding. , Alisha pitched a lot of ideas based on what we were imagining and they were so killer so it was so hard to pick. She can really zero in on what a couple is all about and plan from there. And all her ideas were incredibly creative and original. On the day of our elopement we were so relaxed. Alisha picked out all the locations including our vow ceremony spot which was beautiful, private and romantic. We literally laughed the whole time and kept repeating "I'm so happy we did this." After the desert ceremony in Death Valley she drove to Vegas with us, waited for us to change into our cool Vegas attire, and carted us all over the strip and downtown to take more fun photos. The photography is beyond remarkable. I mean COME ON. I've never seen more beautiful photos in my entire life. We're so happy to have them to enjoy forever, so so SO worth it. She really puts her heart and soul into this. It actually makes me tear up...We love you Alisha.
— HEATHER & COLIN
Choosing Alisha for our elopement photographer was the absolute best decision we could have made. Bryan and I had a pretty short timeline of only a few weeks until our wedding day so I was not sure if Alisha could make it work, but she went out of her way to travel and make all of the behind the scenes arrangements in advance. She made everything so easy for us leading up to the day helping with park permits, scouting out photo locations, making vendor recommendations, and suggesting fun ideas for the day. As two people who do not feel natural in front of a camera, she made us laugh, have fun, and get out of our shells in a way we could not have expected. From start to finish, our experience with Alisha was so genuine and natural. She is just a joy and a light to be around. On top of that, we were truly blown away when we received our wedding photo gallery. You can feel the emotion, beauty, and love in every single image. Because she took the time to get to know us on a personal level and really understand us as a couple leading up to the wedding, the photos showcase who we are in a real and honest way, and I do not think any other photographer would have been able to do that for us.
— MIRANDA & BRYAN
We absolutely love Alisha! She gave us the best photos EVER! She planned everything to the smallest detail. It was so easy and she made sure we had everything we were looking for. My husband and I even flew back to get wedding photos done! Alisha braved the cold winter for us. We are so thankful to have memories in the best photos ever. I can’t say enough about her. Not only is she an AMAZING photographer but such a good person! We will definitely be having plenty more sessions in our lifetime :)
— danielle & Xavier
My fiancé and I could not feel more fortunate to have crossed paths with Alisha while searching for a photographer for our engagement shoot. Let me tell you, this girl is a GEM. I talked to at least 50 photographers during my search and Alisha is the only one that I felt truly cared about what we wanted. We met up at sunrise on the day of our shoot and I can truly say that it was a flawless experience! My fiancé and I were exhausted and nervous, but immediately upon meeting Alisha, we felt comfortable and excited. Her positive energy is contagious. I tend to be awkward and never know what to do with my hands, but she was so patient and guided us every step of the way, giving us prompts and making us laugh the entire time. It felt like we were leaving the shoot with a new friend. WE ARE OBSESSED WITH OUR PHOTOS. In short, Alisha 10000000% exceeded my very high expectations. She’s incredibly talented, creative, caring and personable. You can tell she has a huge heart and is passionate about what she does.
— LAUREN & NIK
Alisha is the consummate photographer that you want capturing your special day. We used her (twice!) for engagement photos and she was the first we asked to be our wedding photographer. From the moment we engaged her for the big day, she was all about us. From a welcome care package that frankly knew us almost better than we knew us, to her wedding guides, assistance in finding other vendors, and of course her amazing skill behind the camera Alisha was the perfect choice for our wedding photography. On the day of the big event she took great photos and had creative ideas for shoots in and around the venue. She’s given us keepsakes that we are thrilled to treasure forever and proud to frame and hang on the wall. Book her now.
— COLTON & YVETTE
Where do I even start!? Alisha was an absolute dream to work with!!! She was so flexible with us and our last-minute cancellation due to covid. We had originally planned to meet her in Vegas for our anniversary shoot in March and we ended up canceling our trip a week out due to the virus. She was so understanding and even offered to refund our deposit. We knew we still absolutely wanted to shoot with her so we scheduled another trip to Colorado this time and she met us there for an amazing sunrise shoot at Great Sand Dunes Natl Park. The whole experience was incredible and Alisha was so amazing and personable, we felt like we had left and made a new friend! She sent us sooo many sneak peeks just a few days after the shoot and Then probably 100 more photos a few weeks later. They were absolutely stunning. She is easily one of the best humans I’ve ever met and not to mention an extremely talented photographer with a clear passion for her clients and her work! We can’t wait to shoot with her again!
— MIA & FERMIN
I have never done a couples shoot but I fell in love with Alisha's work on social media. I was beyond ecstatic when I found out she was traveling to Minnesota. Where do I begin? From the moment I spoke with Alisha, she easily made me feel comfortable and confident. She responded back to my questions and concerns within a timely manner and was easily accessible. Her talent and passion for photography is truly admirable! It’s so evident that she genuinely cares about each and every couple that she works with. Alisha has a gift for detail and seeing things differently than everyone else. She took some breathtaking pictures that will always have a special place in my heart! Alisha doesn't just take photographs, she creates beautiful works of art that don’t just capture smiles but our souls, and to be a part of her art is an absolute honor. Not only is her work stunning, but she is a great person to be around. She is professional, patient and outgoing and I cannot wait to book with her again! Thanks for the memories, laughs and for creating such an enjoyable experience.
— Miriam & Jaime
Alisha was super professional and friendly throughout the entire process of our engagement shoot. I was super indecisive on where to have our shoot and she gave me multiple choices. She even went to the spot before hand to scope it out for us. My fiancé hates getting pictures taken but he loved natural and fun our experience was. Alisha made us our own playlist to listen to throughout the shoot which made both of us feel super comfortable. We ended having our shoot in Breckenridge and made a weekend out of it. Honestly, one of the most rememberable and amazing weekends we could ask for. Alisha communicated with us throughout everything and was SO fast getting our sneak peak photos and album to us. She even sent us a little gift that we appreciated SO SO much. I would highly recommend Alisha for any photography session whether its an adventure shoot or a wedding. She made everything perfect! 10/10 recommend :)
— GRACE & JAKE