I recently wrote this article for Style Me Pretty and am so excited to share with you here!

Artwork Network Denver wedding photos
You recycle every can and bottle, love to shop local and maybe even have a compost bin in your backyard. Why not extend your eco-friendly lifestyle to your wedding planning process? As a wedding photographer in beautiful Colorado, I get to see the many ways brides and grooms are adding sustainability to their weddings. Here are seven simple ways you can, too!
 
CREATE A SAVE-THE-DATE VIDEO OR EVITE
 
I won’t lie: getting a letter in the old fashioned post is hella romantic. But in a day and age where conservation is key, it is prudent to explore alternative options for save-the-dates and invites. Consider a video save-the-date that you can email out to your guest list, or an evite with all the necessary info. This will not only save you cash, but will also eliminate unnecessary paper waste. However, if you’re dead-set on mailing your info to your guests, use recycled paper stock.
 
GO VINTAGE
 
If you’re a hugely sentimental and nostalgic person (like I am), you could skip purchasing your bling and wedding threads new altogether. Perhaps there’s an heirloom ring or necklace in your family that could be passed down? I’ve also seen a few brides (see the photo from Nicholas + Emily’s wedding above, where she wore her mom’s retrofitted dress) of mine wear their mother’s dress (after they’ve made a few updates with a tailor) and the end result is just stunning. Lastly, you can also check out consignment stores that specialize in secondhand options for attire and accessories. Why not save a little cash on an outfit you’re only going to wear once?
 
PEEP YOUR LOCAL CRAIGSLIST ADS
 
Instead of buying 150 brand-new mason jars, sift through your local Craigslist ads to see if there are any couples selling their used wedding novelties and décor. Or, do a quick Google search for rental companies that may already have these items (e.g. silverware, vases, decorations) amassed for you. No need to reinvent the wheel!
 
ASK YOUR VENDORS FOR ONLINE CONTRACTS
 
As a vendor myself, I keep my contracts online so that I don’t have to print out important paperwork to put in the mail. If you’re a vendor and don’t have this set up just yet, look into resources such as Honeybook or MachForm, both of which allow you to store and sign proposals online. Once my clients sign, I simply email them a PDF copy and voilà! No need to drop anything in the mail! (Related: ask your photographer for an online gallery where you can download the images instead of getting a disc or USB in the mail.)
 
BOOK A SUSTAINABLE VENUE
 
One of my favorite wedding venues in all of Colorado is the Lyons Farmette. In addition to being obviously adorable, the site features an organic farm where produce and flowers are grown locally to be included in the weddings hosted onsite. How cool would it be to have a true farm-to-table wedding? They also provide recycling and compost bins around the property to help reduce waste, something all venues should have. (Related: think about donating your leftover wedding grub to local food bank or shelter.)
 
TRY OUT A NON-TRADITIONAL REGISTRY
 
People are getting married much later in life nowadays, which means that by the time they tie the knot, they probably already have all the fun kitchen gadgets and trinkets for their house. Instead of doing a traditional registry through a department store, try Honeyfund, which allows guests to donate online to less-traditional registry items like a down payment for a house or honeymoon activities.
 
DONATE TO YOUR FAVORITE CHARITY
 
Let’s be honest: do you really need another beer koozie from a wedding? In lieu of gifts for guests, consider donating the cash you would have spent on favors to your preferred charitable cause. I snagged this idea from a couple who decided to donate to a local foundation after severe flooding had devastated the groom’s hometown of Lyons, Colorado, in 2013.
 
 
Ashley Kidder is a Denver-based wedding photographer who loves weddings of all shapes and sizes. When she’s not photographing rad couples, you can find her slinging kettlebells around at the gym or going on long romantic walks with her corgi, Sherman.
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I’m so excited to share the news!  I’ve been graciously welcomed into the Rocky Mountain Bride Gem Vendor collective by the lovely ladies who run the best mountain resource site + magazine in the country!  I am elated to be featured on their site along with a handful of incredibly talented Colorado wedding photographers.  It is an honor to be included and I’m stoked!

Rocky Mountain Bride Gem Vendor

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This post is a doozy!  For Rahul + Aamna’s Colorado engagement photos, they wanted a variety of quintessential Denver and Colorado locations.  We first started at Civic Center Park, one of my very favorite spots for any kind of photo shoot in the Mile High City, and then hopped in a car headed west down I-70.  We hit Sapphire Point overlooking Lake Dillon and finished with a stunning sunset atop Loveland Pass.  It was a day jam-packed with incredible views and conversation with these two, who are also super fashionable — you’re going to love all their outfit changes!

Thank you again to Rahul + Aamna, for braving elevation changes, blustering 30-degree weather atop the pass, and for indulging in my requests to climb up on rocks and up mountainsides for these images.  I am so happy with how our shoot turned out and so glad we could connect.  Best wishes to these two in their future together!

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Colorado Engagement Photos | Ashley Kidder Photo

Hi, I’m Ashley, a Colorado wedding photographer, and I love everything about Colorado, from our killer city happenings to the majestic views found in the Rocky Mountains!  If you’re looking for a double-header engagement session like this one, get in touch!  We can plan a day that gives you all the best locations Denver + Colorado both have to offer.

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Suzy + Sarah had their Lyons Farmette wedding at the beginning of June and I just sent off their sneak peek of their portraits!  We had such a fun day together, which included a ceremony at the Riverbend down the road.  We avoided rain, thankfully, and had perfect weather for the event.  I love all of these photos we took together on the grounds of the venues, especially the ones with the little baby alpaca who was just born on that very day!  Stay tuned for more from their celebration!

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In a day and age where climate change is not accepted by every human on earth as fact, it is up to us as individuals and communities to make a difference where we can.  As a business owner and Denver wedding photographer, I have made a pledge to keep my company as green as possible and wanted to share a bit about what that looks like.

While a lot of these tenets have been in place over the years (e.g. recycling, air-drying clothes, etc.), some are brand-new and I’m excited to become more mindful of how I can impact the world.  Here are some of my hard and fast rules as a small-business owner in Denver:

  • Electronic image delivery only.  It’s been awhile since I’ve delivered images through snail mail, as most, if not all, computers don’t come with a CD/DVD burning drive anymore.  My laptop that I purchased in 2013 doesn’t have a disc drive, so instead, I used to deliver images from sessions on a USB drive.  In 2014, however, I decided to jump in and eliminate creating as much waste from packaging materials as possible and switched all deliveries, for weddings, engagement photos and everything else, to electronic gallery hosting through Zenfolio.
  • All contracts are housed and signed online.  Back in my previous life of being a teacher, I would sneakily print out massive contracts to have clients sign them (which I would then send in the mail, creating more waste).  Now, I use Mach Forms and Honeybook to keep all of my contracts and important paperwork online.  Clients can conveniently sign contracts on their phones and instead of sending them a paper copy for their records, I email them a PDF.
  • Walking wherever and whenever I can.  Recently, I moved to the Highlands, where I put down roots and bought a condo.  I’m about a two-mile walk from Union Station and even closer, more importantly, to Tacos Tequila Whiskey, so whenever I can, I will hoof it to a downtown shoot or a client meeting.  If I’m having a tough day getting work done at home and want to get some editing done at a coffee shop, I’ll head to Novo Coffee down the street instead of driving somewhere.  I love that I don’t have to rely on my car as much anymore in the new neighborhood that I live in, and I especially enjoy being able to squeeze in a little bit more exercise this way, too.Union Station wedding Denver
  • Carpooling to weddings.  On wedding days where my second photographer and I can be in the same location and don’t have to worry about scuttling back and forth between different getting ready sites, I always try to pick up my assistant and head to the wedding together.  So far this year, I’ve had weddings that have taken place all in one location (Della Terra Mountain Chateau and the Lyons Riverbend and Farmette, for example), which not only makes for smooth and timely transitions between wedding day events, but it also cuts down on the amount that everyone, myself and guests included, is driving.
  • Frequenting businesses that offer receipts via email.  As mentioned above, I will bring my laptop to Novo Coffee or Corvus Coffee off South Broadway to get work done and to get a change of scenery from the kitchen table.  These places, along with a lot of other local business, offer the option for email receipts instead of printing them out for tax records.
  • Ordering prints and canvas wraps all at once.  When I get print orders for a few images printed on canvas, I try to group ordering everything at the same time to cut down on shipping material waste from the print shop.
  • Buying recycled materials when needed.  After the wedding is over and the photos have been delivered, I like to drop a little thank-you card in the mail and I do my best to buy cards printed on recycled paper from local boutiques.  My business cards are also all printed on recycled paper but man, if we’re being honest here, I can’t even remember the last time I gave one out. Currently, I have a stack of about 100 cards left over from last season’s old branding on it. With a new website that I just recently debuted, I’m thinking about recycling the old cards and not ordering any new ones as I feel that the process of handing them out is becoming obsolete. Instead, it’s just as easy to whip out your phone and look someone up on Instagram or Facebook.Denver engagement photographers
  • Using rechargeable batteries.  All of my camera bodies use rechargeable lithium ion batteries and all of my speedlites (flashes) use rechargeable AA batteries.  My favorites to buy are Sanyo Eneloops off Amazon.
  • Limiting energy use in the office.  As I work from home many days out of the week, I try to keep a strict routine to conserve energy, especially during the hot months in the summer.  My condo was built in 1896, and as such, forced air in this building is definitely not a thing. Instead, I use black-out drapes and a smaller AC unit (only on at the peak hot times of the day) to keep things cool.  At night, it’s all old-school box-fans in the window to suck in the cool evening air.  Additionally, all light bulbs in my home are CFL and I somehow lucked out with brand-new appliances in my kitchen that are fantastic at saving energy.
  • May I present to you, the love of my life, aka: my single-serve coffee maker.  Okay, this one may be a bit of a stretch, but I love it just the same.  I really hate wasting food in my everyday life, coffee filters included.  I have a Black and Decker one-cup coffee maker that I use for those at-home work days.  You don’t need to use pods or anything that introduces extra waste; just add coffee grounds into the little brew cup and that’s all you need!
  • Using shower water sparingly.  I might gross you out on this one, but when it’s just me and my roommate Jill (who is also a photographer) at home and I’m hunkering down for an editing binge, I will usually skip a shower when I can.  Thankfully, my dog, Sherman, doesn’t judge my un-washed hair, but I figure if it’s just me and the computer, who cares?  (p.s. sorry if I smell, Jill)Oxford Hotel wedding Denver

Is there something I’m missing or could be doing a better job at?  Let me know in the comments!  I’d love to hear what you do to affect positive change in our environment!

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