Archives: Featured Company

Our interview with wedding photographer Mark Creery

Over the past couple of months, I’ve come across a handful of really great wedding vendors in the Fort Collins area. You may recall my earlier blog post on Pink Diamond Events. And today, I’d like to share with you my interview with Mark Creery, of Mark Creery Photography. Mark has been in the business a long time – 13 years! And over those years, he has built up an impressive resume and a long list of happy clients.

[Ryan] How would you describe your particular approach to wedding photography? What makes you different?

[Mark] I take a more laid-back, photo-journalistic approach to weddings by anticipating and capturing candid moments and mixing these with artistic portraits that express real emotions. I excel at bringing out the true personalities of my couples while still showing off the amazing scenery that they chose their venue for. My style showcases vibrant, true-to-life colors with clean backgrounds that the couples pop off of, which I think sets me apart from a lot of photographers.

Mark Creery fort collins wedding photography

What kinds of things can a groom do to look his best in his wedding photos? Any common mistakes that grooms are making in your experience?

The best thing he can do to look great is to get a custom suit or tux. I’ve seen plenty of baggy rental suits that made the groom look much heavier than he actually is.

Often the groom and groomsmen struggle with putting the boutonnieres on and I end up jumping in to help. If the florist isn’t there to put them on then it’s nice if someone can get a demonstration before they leave. Common mistakes are having the pins showing or the boutonnieres tilting off of the lapel too much. Learning how to fold your pocket squares before the wedding is a good idea too.

With the strong Colorado sun it’s easy to get sunglass tan lines before the wedding, which can show in photos. So wear sunscreen leading up to the big day if you can.

Mark Creery Colorado wedding photographer

When searching for a wedding photographer, what are the important qualities that a couple should be looking for?

The most important thing is to feel like you connect well with him/her and their style. The photographer will be spending a large part of their day hanging out with you, more than any other vendor, so it’s important to like each other. Finding someone who comes across professional and organized should reflect on the care they take in their business to deliver the highest quality product.

Mark Creery Photography

Mark Creery Photography

Contact

Here’s a link to Mark’s website and a little more about him.

Email: photos@markcreery.com
Phone: 970-402-0618

Thinking of buying a home in Boulder? Here’s what you need to know

If you follow real estate at all in Colorado, you’ve surely caught wind of the meteoric rise of property values in the Boulder area. The city is certainly a different place than it was when I was attending graduate school! And so with the start of a new year, I thought I’d reach out to one of Boulder’s leading realtors for some insight on where the market may be going. I spoke with Danielle Davis of First Summit Realty and asked her a handful of key questions…

[Ryan] First off, can you tell us a little about First Summit Realty; the company’s beginnings and how you’re different?

[Danielle] Great question! Before I started First Summit Realty, I was part of a top-producing team in Colorado. After many years of working with them, I made a decision that I wanted to focus on quality, not quantity. So, I opened a brokerage that was customer-centric. I wanted everything we did to focus on doing the absolute best for our customers. And we’ve accomplished that!

We are literally obsessed with excellence in all that we do. Although we do significant volume, clients are not numbers to us. We spend considerable time getting to know our clients’ goals, personal situations, timelines, and needs. These days, your choice of realtor really matters. There are lots of pitfalls that buyers and sellers can encounter in a real estate transaction. Our market knowledge, contract negotiation, and our award-winning customer service are second to none. Our most important goal is to create raving fans with each transaction. That’s the metric by which we measure our success.

We all know that home prices in Denver and Boulder have really increased in recent years. Are we in a bubble? Or is the landscape relatively stable?

I get asked this one a lot. The wild appreciation that we’ve seen over the last few years has really been a product of supply and demand. The year 2016 marked the lowest inventory (fewest homes on the market) since 2005. Additionally, we’ve seen a large number of people jumping into the market due to historically low interest rates. Couple that with the increase in job creation, especially in high paying sectors. Plus now, it’s possible for first time home buyers to purchase a home due in part to loan programs with down payments as low as 3.5%. It makes for a competitive seller’s market which allows for a rapid increase in pricing.

Looking forward, it seems 2017 is showing some indications of stabilizing. The biggest unknown is what inventory levels will look like. The increasing interest rates will likely be the catalyst for many to make the move they’ve been putting off. Whatever lies ahead, it’s going to be an exciting year in real estate!

What market do you think has the greater potential in the next five years: Boulder or Louisville/Lafayette?

All three of the markets you mentioned behave very differently. The market in Boulder exists in its own bubble in many ways. For the first time this year, the average price of a home in Boulder went above the one million dollar mark. For that reason, Boulder has become unattainable for many homebuyers. That has created an eastward migration to both of the other towns you’ve mentioned – Louisville and Lafayette. Louisville has seen rapid appreciation for many years in a row now. Year-to-date, single family homes in Louisville have appreciated a whopping 17%. Lafayette is also seeing very healthy appreciation with single family homes appreciating 9%, year-to-date. The numbers suggest that Lafayette has the most room for appreciation in the upcoming years.

What are three key tips you can provide to anyone looking to buy their first home?

I love this question! We teach a first time home buyers course, so I have a lot to say on the matter. For the purpose of the interview, I’ll try to limit my response. There are a few things that I think are really important. One, find a great local lender. Too many times I’ve seen buyers get into a jam by going with the wrong lender. It can result in added stress, delays, and/or putting your earnest money at risk.

Second, pick a great realtor. I know this sounds like self-promotion, but it’s really not. For many, buying a home is the biggest financial decision they’ll ever make. There’s a lot on the line. It’s imperative to choose someone with an understanding of the market and who will represent your best interests.

Just remember, home buying should not be stressful, it should be a fulfillment of a dream.

Contact

Check out First Summit Realty online, here.

hello@firstsummitrealty.com

720-600-7878

Pink Diamond Events – a Fort Collins gem

A few weeks back, I discovered an event planning company located in my hometown of Fort Collins called Pink Diamond Events. Casey Muller, owner and Lead Event Planner, is an industry veteran in the area and she has been planning weddings since 2009.

I had a cup of coffee with Casey to talk shop and it became clear very quickly that her level of service and quality in her event planning is a perfect fit for what we do here at BE.

Therefore, I wanted to make sure that I had a chance to ask her a handful of good questions and publish the interview here. We are always on the lookout for Colorado’s (and Arizona’s) finest wedding vendors, and I’m pleased to say that Pink Diamond Events certainly qualifies!

[Ryan] How did you get your start in the industry?

[Casey] I started working in the industry by working with a wedding planner in Southern California when I lived out there. I started working as one of her Day-of wedding assistants. When we moved back to Colorado, I worked as the wedding coordinator for an independent catering company in Vail, working on high end weddings at private residences, ranches and other various mountain venues. From there I worked for a Fort Collins hotel in their catering department and then finally worked as the full service wedding planner for a local wedding planner in Fort Collins. Unfortunately, her company went out of business and I then proceeded to open my own company in 2009. Since then I have established my status as the veteran wedding planner in Northern Colorado and Estes Park!

What do you enjoy most about being a wedding planner?

My favorite perk of the job is getting to see all the amazing wedding venues in Colorado. I am so lucky to work in such a fun and exciting industry that allows me to travel throughout the state! There are some amazing venues that expose you to new design ideas and styles. It’s really great to have the opportunity to be creative and stretch my talents to benefits my clients.

Can you describe your own personal wedding style for us?

For my own personal wedding style, I prefer a more modern approach. I love the look of clean lines and contemporary design. I find that I am drawn to neutral color pallets, but that have a pop of color to bring some wow factor into the picture. I also love dramatic lighting and adding statement pieces to a wedding. It’s a great way to add a bit of wow without going overboard (and staying on budget!).

What is one thing you tell all your couples?

Something that I always tell my brides is that once they have a vision and a direction, it’s time to stop messing around on Pinterest! There are so many options out there a bride can waste hours going back and forth about a decision she made or trying to incorporate every cute idea she has seen. Find your vision that fits your personality and style and then stop looking! It will only drive yourself crazy and you won’t make any progress actually planning your wedding!

Also make sure to hire professionals. We’ve all heard the sayings “you get what you pay for” and “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is”. Well, the same thing goes for hiring your wedding vendors. This is going to be the biggest party you’ll ever host, and while it doesn’t mean that you have to break the bank for it, if you’re getting quotes from vendors, just realize that the cheapest isn’t always the best option. I have seen it time and time again when the wedding is over, the bride wishes she would have invested in a quality vendor instead of going with the cheapest one, and you are not able to ever get that back.

Contact information

Website: Pink Diamond Events

And learn more about the team here.

Email: weddings@apinkdiamondevent.com or via the contact form here.

Phone: 970-692-1645

Ashley Kidder wedding photography

This week I’m profiling a very talented wedding photographer, Ashley Kidder. If you take a look around her website, you may start to feel like you’ve seen her work before. And you probably have, on the BE website! She has been helping us out for a long time now. From Union Station to Boulder to Denver photo shoots, Ashley has been taking excellent photos in a range of conditions.

So, for those of you shopping around for a wedding photographer – or if you think you might be in a couple of months 🙂 – here’s my recent interview with Ashley.

1. How would you describe your particular approach to wedding photography? What makes you different?

I don’t want you to feel like we’re taking photos. Being in front of the camera can be intimidating and make people feel uncomfortable, so I strive to make it as fun as possible. Keep it light, organic and breezy. My number one priority is for you to enjoy yourself in front of my camera; once I can achieve that, the photos will follow. Your positive experience with me is of the utmost importance.

2. What kinds of things can a groom do to look his best in his wedding photos? Any common mistakes that grooms are making in your experience?

Hands-down, a custom suit or a tailored suit is the best thing a groom can do to immediately up his wedding fashion game. Too often I see rental tuxes that don’t quite fit right — either they’re too baggy, too short, or boxy. Opt for a custom suit and you can rock it years after the wedding.

3. When searching for a wedding photographer, what are the important qualities that a couple should be looking for?

To circle back to the first question, your experience with your wedding photographer should be overwhelmingly positive, fun, and one of the top reasons you decide to hire them. Denver is ripe with incredible photographers with styles that span from moody-and-filmy to light-and-airy to clean-and-crisp; the talent this area sees is unlimited. Out of all the vendors you hire, your photographer will be the one you’ll spend the most time with on the day of the wedding. For that reason alone, couples should prioritize how they feel about their photographer not only as a wedding vendor but as a person. Like I said before — once you have that relationship nailed down with your photographer, the beautiful photos will come easily afterwards.

Contact

Reach out to Ashley directly at ashley.kidder@gmail.com or via her company website here.

Phone: 303-915-1226