This Indian micro wedding came together like a whirlwind. And I’m so glad it did! I originally met this couple when they were planning a larger, DC ballroom bash for late October 2020. The bride and groom are both medical doctors and saw the writing on the wall at the start of COVID. They paused any wedding plans until after quarantine in early 2020. Of course, after a few weeks, we all knew it wasn’t going anywhere any time soon.

After a few months, I was thrilled when Elizabeth and Neil decided to have an intimate wedding after all! When the couple started planning the micro wedding, they called me and asked for my open dates before diving into any details. Love them! We picked a weekend that we were going to be in DC, and the rest is history. The end result was a stunning 11-person ceremony and dinner with their immediate families.

Indian Micro Wedding Bride in Red and Gold Saree © Bonnie Sen Photography
Bride Getting Ready Indian Wedding Henna © Bonnie Sen Photography
Indian Wedding Getting Ready Denver Colorado Wedding Photographer © Bonnie Sen Photography
Indian Wedding Groom in Ivory Sherwani © Bonnie Sen Photography
Family Photos Indian Micro Wedding Colorado Wedding Photographer © Bonnie Sen Photography

Maintaining some of their original vendor team, Elizabeth and Neil worked with Elizabeth Gopal of East Made Co who helped both craft the design and implement measures to keep everyone safe. Elizabeth and Neil wrote their own vows for a private self-uniting service before a traditional Hindu ceremony. The Hindu ceremony was a bright and vibrant in every way from the florals to Elizabeth’s saree. Elizabeth wore a stunning red and gold saree she bought on a trip to India the year before.

Traditional Hindu Wedding Ceremony Colorado Wedding Photographer © Bonnie Sen Photography
Hindu Wedding Ceremony Red Gold Saree © Bonnie Sen Photography
Black and White Wedding Photos Indian Wedding Photographer © Bonnie Sen Photography

Chic and Small Wedding Dinner

To contrast the vibrant ceremony colors, the dinner design focused on a more traditional wedding aesthetic while still weaving in some bright red and orange colors of a traditional Indian wedding. The reception took place at, La Vie, a chic DC restaurant in the Wharf neighborhood. The couple requested socially distanced tables by family. The tables surrounded an open area where the couple could share their first dance.

Modern White Wedding Reception La Vie Washington DC © Bonnie Sen Photography
White Wedding Details Gold Red Flowers Fine Art Film Wedding Photographer © Bonnie Sen Photography
White Wedding Details Gold Red Flowers Fine Art Film Wedding Photographer © Bonnie Sen Photography
Off the Shoulder Amsale Wedding Dress Colorado Wedding Photographer © Bonnie Sen Photography
Indian Fusion Wedding Bride and Groom Getting Ready © Bonnie Sen Photography
Family Photos Colorado Wedding Photographer © Bonnie Sen Photography
Bride and Groom Toasting Champagne Denver Wedding Photographer © Bonnie Sen Photography
Sleek Modern Bridal Look Amsale Wedding Gown © Bonnie Sen Photography
Black and White Wedding Photography Dancing Photos © Bonnie Sen Photography
Custom Wedding Cocktail Napkins © Bonnie Sen Photography
White Wedding Flowers Sophie Felts Floral Design © Bonnie Sen Photography

Early on in the planning, I learned that Neil’s family is from the same town I am – Kolkatta, India! Not only are we from the same region, but we are also from the same neighborhood. With such a close connection, I was very excited to work with Neil and his family. The bride’s family is from Tennessee and work in hospitality. Naturally, that made them the warmest group I’ve come across at a wedding in a while.

Overall, their wedding may have looked a bit different than originally planned. But spending such a special day with their families made for an unforgettable and meaningful day, merging cultures, traditions, and two wonderful families. 

See more of this wedding featured on Martha Stewart Weddings here.

Indian Micro Wedding Vendors

Styling and Design East Made Co | Florals Sophie Felts Floral Design | Rentals Select Event Group | Catering and Venue La Vie | Ceremony Venue ISKCON of DC | Cake Buttercream Bakeshop | Hair and Makeup Tamar C Makeup | Dress Amsale | Mehendi Henna by Shazia| Bride’s Shoes Manolo Blahnik | Groom’s Attire Brimble & Clark, Christian Louboutin and Louis Vuitton | Mandap Galaxy Event Solutions | Rentals Select Event Group | Linens BBJ Linen

Liz and Matt were our second engagement session in Colorado! For their Colorado mountain engagement photos we headed to White Ranch Park, where Matt often goes biking. Liz and Mat are our good friends and we almost missed our photography window because we were so busy hanging out. Fortunately we got to the park just in time. We arrived right before the sun went behind the mountains. And we had lots of time for that beautiful glowy twilight!

White Ranch Park Golden Colorado © Bonnie Sen Photography
Colorado Mountain Engagement Photos Casual Fall Outfits © Bonnie Sen Photography

Like Megan and Peter, Liz and Matt thought they just wanted a few photos locally in Denver. But knowing that Matt mountain bikes and know lots of beautiful spots, we knew we had to go big for their engagement photos. Not to mention the fact that Liz and Matt both work at a mountain biking company! The whole drive up to White Ranch was spectacular! I’m convinced that runners and bikers get to access the most beautiful locations here in Colorado. This was the perfect spot for their Colorado mountain engagement photos!

Golden Hour Engagement Session Colorado © Bonnie Sen Photography
Denver Foothills Engagement Photos © Bonnie Sen Photography

Colorado Mountain Engagement Photo Outfits

For Liz and Matt’s wardrobe, we worked with them to help narrow their outfits. Knowing them personally made it even easier to make sure they looked like themselves while being a little more dressy. For the first look, Liz picked a fall colored sweater and Matt a plaid shirt. I always love having two looks so you can get a few “casual” photos that are still intentional.

However, the second look is my favorite. Liz and I worked together on locating the perfect dress. One that would have lots of movement in the landscape. I loved how this dress moved while they walked across the field. Most importantly I loved how pretty Liz felt in the dress. Having a flattering dress is super important! An A-line dress like this with a tie at the waist is usually a good bet.

Blue Flowy Engagement Photo Dress Denver Wedding Photographer © Bonnie Sen Photography
Colorado Mountain Engagement Photos © Bonnie Sen Photography
Blue Engagement Photo Dress Denver Colorado © Bonnie Sen Photography
White and Blue Flowy Dress Mountain Engagement Photography © Bonnie Sen Photography
Black and White Engagement Photo Denver Film Wedding Photographer © Bonnie Sen Photography

Megan and Peter were our first-ever Colorado engagement photo shoot! They won an Instagram giveaway. And actually, they weren’t even engaged when they won, but the writing was on the wall. Megan’s friend nominated them because she knew what was coming!

Given the COVID restrictions this year, we took our time waiting for the perfect day to do the photoshoot. And I’m glad we did! It gave Megan and Peter time to nail down their wardrobe. Not to mention, get their haircuts and grooming in order. I think we can all agree we all needed a little refresh after quarantine!

Colorado Engagement Photo Shoot Film Wedding Photographer © Bonnie Sen Photography
Cheesman Park Engagement Photos Denver © Bonnie Sen Photography

Cheesman Engagement Photo Shoot

When the day finally came, we started their Colorado engagement photo shoot at Cheesman Park in Denver. The lovely pavilion was our intended starting point. However, given that we were shooting on a Sunday, it was a little crowded. Fire dancers, tango dancers, and other performers were using the space. Fortunately, there is plenty of space at the park to get a few shots from further away. The sun was shining and the park was lush in early September.

Denver Engagement Session White Dress Blue Suite © Bonnie Sen Photography
Denver Engagement Photos Fine Art Film Wedding Photographer © Bonnie Sen Photography
Cheesman Park Colorado Engagement Photo Shoot © Bonnie Sen Photography
Black and White Engagement Photos Denver Colorado © Bonnie Sen Photography

Flatirons Vista Trailhead

Following Cheesman Park, we headed out to our second location. A spot out in nature, highlighting the foothills near Denver. Having explored Colorado a little at this point, I suggested the Flatirons Vista Trailhead as a great open space. And it didn’t disappoint! Open fields for as far as the eye can see. No snakes. And a wonderful warm light that just kept getting better.

Colorado Engagement Photos Mountains Sunset © Bonnie Sen Photography
Golden Hour Engagement Photos Colorado © Bonnie Sen Photography
Engagement Ring Close Up Photo © Bonnie Sen Photography
Flatirons Vista Engagement Photo Shoot © Bonnie Sen Photography
Rustic Mountain Engagement Photos Denver Colorado © Bonnie Sen Photography
Colorado Engagement Photographer Mountain © Bonnie Sen Photographer
Black and White Engagement Photos Colorado Mountains © Bonnie Sen Photography
Denver Foothills Portrait Session © Bonnie Sen Photography

Ultimately we got super lucky with Megan and Peter. They were so easy to photograph. We felt like we won the contest as well! Their love and warmth towards each other was so beautiful. And they were game to do anything we asked! They were patient as we waited for the light to be just right. We are sure their wedding next year in Vail, Colorado is going to be just as lovely!

After recently relocating back to Colorado and living through a time of major civil rights movement, we wanted to do a styled photoshoot that highlighted the deep history of the wild west beyond what is on the surface. In the early 20th century 1 in 4 cowboys were Black. In my research of the time, however, I have wondered why we don’t see more representative imagery of those cowboys. Of course, this question was the perfect inspiration to create some representative imagery of #blacklove too! So a modern ranch wedding inspiration shoot was born.

Using that as a starting point, we designed an intimate elopement session. Firstly, we focused on a clean and simple design. The style of the shoot is a modern and minimalist ranch wedding in the Colorado mountains.

Sunrise at Devils Thumb Ranch Colorado © Bonnie Sen Photography
Sunrise in the Rocky Mountain National Forest © Bonnie Sen Photography
Devils Thumb Ranch Colorado Wedding Venue © Bonnie Sen Photography
Modern Minimalist Wedding Invitation Model Paper Denver Colorado © Bonnie Sen Photography
Horses Grazing at Devils Thumb Ranch © Bonnie Sen Photography
Modern Ranch Wedding Bride and Groom Portraits © Bonnie Sen Photography
Colorado Elopement Lace Wedding Dress and Casual Groom Attire © Bonnie Sen Photography
Candid Wedding Photos Denver Colorado Wedding Photographer © Bonnie Sen Photography

Secondly, we leaned into the ranch-style of the venue, Devil’s Thumb Ranch. We love the venue’s modern ranch vibe. However, we wanted to keep the styling as modern as possible to reflect current day trends. We used lots of dried and foraged native grasses along with soft colors. The backdrop of the wedding was Rocky Mountain National Park so we knew it would be dramatic.

Similarly, the idea of the shoot was to show how special an intimate wedding could be at an amazing venue like the ranch. The shoot captured the magic of waking up early to the sunrise and watching the horses come out to the pasture with Rocky Mountain National Park in the background.

Modern Rustic Wedding Flowers Blush Dahlias © Bonnie Sen Photography
Modern Wedding at Devils Thumb Ranch © Bonnie Sen Photography
Devils Thumb Ranch Wedding Details Gold and Pink Place Setting © Bonnie Sen Photography
Amy Lauren Floral Design Wedding Centerpiece Pink Roses and Dried Flowers © Bonnie Sen Photography
Blush Peach and Taupe Wedding with Dried Flowers Denver Colorado © Bonnie Sen Photography
Charcuterie Board Sugar Bakeshop Classic Wedding Cake © Bonnie Sen Photography
Gold and Pink Modern Wedding Cake Sugar Bakeshop © Bonnie Sen Photography
Devils Thumb Ranch Wedding Ceremony © Bonnie Sen Photography
Cowboy Inspired Modern Wedding Devils Thumb Ranch © Bonnie Sen Photography
Pale Blush Bridal Bouquet Amy Lauren Floral Design © Bonnie Sen Photography
Cowboy Inspired Colorado Wedding © Bonnie Sen Photography
Modern Devils Thumb Ranch Wedding © Bonnie Sen Photography
Bride and Groom Just Married Devils Thumb Ranch Colorado © Bonnie Sen Photography
Just Married Flower Petal Toss Colorado Mountain Wedding © Bonnie Sen Photography
Colorado Mountain Wedding Fine Art Film Photographer © Bonnie Sen Photography
Modern Lace Wedding Dress a&be Denver Dahlia Bridal Bouquet © Bonnie Sen Photography
Western Inspired Groom Attire Bolo Tie © Bonnie Sen Photography
Colorado Ranch Wedding Rocky Mountain National Park © Bonnie Sen Photography
Sparkling Rose Toast Champagne Coupes Colorado Elopement Fine Art Film Photographer © Bonnie Sen Photography
Pink Wedding Details Charcuterie Board © Bonnie Sen Photography
Devils Thumb Ranch Modern Wedding Lounge © Bonnie Sen Photography
Outdoor Wedding Inspiration Colorado Mountains © Bonnie Sen Photography

The full vendor team jumped on board with the vision for the shoot. Above all, the end result was a styled shoot that highlighted each vendors’ strengths.

Devil’s Thumb Ranch Elopement Shoot Vendors

Photographer: Bonnie Sen Photography
Florist: Amy Lauren Floral Design
Curated Rentals and Event Design: Enjoue Studio
Beauty Concierge: Elwyn + Cass
Hair & Makeup: Ashley Smith Beauty
Paper Goods: Model Paper
Dress Boutique: a&be Denver
Cake: Sugar Bakeshop
Dress: Rish Bridal
Veils: Sara Gabriel
Earrings: Untamed Petals by Amanda Judge

Planning engagement photos is a fun task in itself. Every single engagement session is wonderfully different from the last! For that reason I love to have a pre-shoot phone consultation as we are narrowing in on a photoshoot date to go over all the details below. You’re not alone in planning this photoshoot, so just ask for help from your photographer whenever you feel stuck. But to get the creative juices flowing, here are some ways to get starting with planning your engagement photos!

Step 1. Pick a Season

Couple walking through dogwoods in DC engagement photos © Bonnie Sen Photography

The best place to start planning your engagement photos is by narrowing down the season. Are you getting married in the spring? Then why not chose to do your engagement photos in the fall so you have a complimentary season to work with? Or perhaps you’re doing a summer wedding but you love to ski, then pick winter and keep an eye out for a lovely snowy day. Start with the season and that will certainly narrow down your options for dates and locations.

Cherry blossom season in DC is always a fun and popular time for photos, but beware of the crowds! Most photographers know of some good secret spots or pro tips to help get those amazing photos without crowds in the background. Trust them.

Pick a Season for Your Wedding Photos - Fall and Summer Portraits © Bonnie Sen Photography

Step 2. Pick a location

Going hand in hand with the season decision is the location choice. The best locations highlight the time of year you’ve chosen. Many locations are great year round, but beware of the locations that look dead and dry if you’ve mixed the wrong season with the wrong location. For example, winter in Colorado is lovely among evergreen trees and a snowy but sunny day. However, if the trees are not evergreen and the snow is wet and slushy then you’ve got a recipe for less than ideal photos. Spring is always a tricky time to plan since you’re holding out for those delicate early spring blossoms, but if you start too early then the rest of the foliage can look sad even if the blossoms look great.

Outdoor and Nature Couple Portraits © Bonnie Sen Photography

Step 3. Dress for the location

We are always going for cohesiveness! Every photoshoot is just that, a photoshoot! Lean into the setting and accentuate it. If it’s spring then maybe a soft pastel dress for the ladies and khaki pants for the men. If it’s fall then break out the sweaters, scarfs and (faux) furs. Winter boots, summer swimsuits, autumn plaid and anything else you can think of.

Another important step is the dress according the exact location – for example if we are starting at a cafe with some drinks and walking around downtown go for a little white cocktail dress paired with a classic navy suit or coordinating but not matching suits or business casual outfits for two grooms. Then for the park change into a long flowy dress with colors that will match the season we are in or something like complimentary plaid and chambray shirts if dresses are not your speed.

How to Pick Outfits for Your Engagement Photos - Formal and Casual Engagement Photo Outfits © Bonnie Sen Photography

Step 4. Plan hair & makeup according to outfits

When you have the wardrobe nailed down then finish the look with professional hair and makeup. Trust me, the best wedding stylists will make you look natural without gobs of makeup. The added polish will give you confidence in front of the camera and will make your features stand out in the photos.

And grooms don’t think you are off the hook! Schedule a hair cut a few days in advance and consider a professional shave to ensure you are looking sharp.

Step 5. Add props or pets!

Planning to bring your pet along to your engagement photos? It’s ALWAYS encouraged! Just double check that the locations allows pets and make sure you have a friend who can come along and help manage your furry friend so that they don’t add a hint of stress. Treats are always handy, and don’t forget to replace their everyday collar and leash combination with a spiffy one, preferably made of natural material like rope or leather so that it blends into the environment.

Planning Colorado Engagement Photos © Bonnie Sen Photography

Want to go even further with props? Try to incorporate your favorite hobbies or activities like camping, snowshoeing, hiking, etc. Some of these activities definitely photograph better than others, so let’s chat through the specifics.

Step 6. Start with a drink

Definitely my favorite engagement photos planning tip! Leave enough time so you’re not rushing to the shoot and if we are starting downtown pick your favorite outdoor cafe for a drink to loosen the nerves. A slightly drunk couple is a happy couple.

Same Sex Couple Engagement Photos Colorado © Bonnie Sen Photography

Step 7. After the shoot, enjoy a date night!

You did it! Now you’re all dressed up, go back to that original bar or restaurant and have yourself a fun and fancy date night. Never waste a good outfit and some hair and makeup.

Planning New York City Destination Engagement Photos © Bonnie Sen Photography
A classic NYC engagement session at Bethesda Terrace at sunrise