One of my favorite parts of being a wedding photographer in Colorado is discovering “hidden” gems around our state. I had often seen a colorful dome peeking out of the forest between Fort Collins and Laramie, but I never knew quite what it was. When Mireille and Josh told me their Red Feather Lakes wedding would be at the Shambhala Mountain Center, I was intrigued. It sounded beautiful, but I had no idea just how awe-inspiring it was until I arrived.
This place is magnificent. Steeped in history, I’ll definitely be going back again to learn more about how this beautiful oasis ended up here. It’s truly a unique location for a Red Feather Lakes wedding. It came as no surprise that Mireille and Josh chose to incorporate several Buddhist traditions into their ceremony. Before the entered the Stupa, the walked around it three times. Once with all their guests, once with immediate family, and once alone together. Well… alone with a stealthy photographer lurking nearby 🙂
The inside of the Stupa is equally as gorgeous. The intricate designs on the ceiling and walls, the cool marble against a hot day… it was a serene place to shut out the outside world for awhile and focus on the love between these two people.
Perhaps my favorite part of the ceremony was when Josh serenaded Mireille. He sang “From Here to the Moon and Back” by Willie Nelson & Dolly Parton. Then his son joined him for “Feels Like Home” by Randy Newman. They were both beautiful choices. And Josh has a fantastic voice!
Another thoughtful, unique touch happened before the exchange of rings. Mireille and Josh decided to pass the rings around to their loved ones and asked them to imbue them with love and positive thoughts.
We had time for a few photos at Shambhala Mountain Center after the ceremony, but we didn’t want to linger too long and disturb those who were showing up to meditate.
Luckily, Mireille and Josh had good friends who lived nearby. They generously offered up their home as a reception area. And let me tell you… I would love to wake up to this view every morning! Mireille also surprised Josh with a groom’s cake. It paid homage to his love of music and Woodstock.
I always enjoy listening to toasts at weddings. That’s when the “good” stuff comes out and I REALLY get to know the couple. I believe you can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep. In the case of Josh and Mireille, they surround themselves with very positive, easy-going, and happy people. It was a very happy, stress-free gathering and a wonderful way to end the evening.
Congratulations, Mireille and Josh! And thank you for introducing me to something new in my own backyard!