Authentic Lifestyle Photography & Small Business empowerment| ARIZONA + WORLD WIDE

Life After Love A Colorado Destination Micro-Wedding

Bridal, Weddings

June 10, 2022


Learn more

Hi there! Welcome to the Fully Alive Photography blog, a journal about our clients, shoots, and my own personal life. Stay a while and say hello!

Hello, I'm Tracy


Subscribe To The Newsletter

Keep in tune with updates, recent blog features, upcoming travels, specials & news! Or when I'll be doing holiday minis!


Stay In The Know

Life After Love A Colorado Destination Micro-Wedding

A Colorado Destination Micro-Wedding

So you’ve been engagement for what feels like years… maybe it has been.

Maybe it’s the pressure of planning the perfect wedding. Or the rampant insanity of Covid, or something else has been in the way. So you’ve turned to a small wedding and just pulling the trigger!

Well I for one am glad and much of the world is following in your footsteps.

Small or “micro-weddings” are the new pink my friends.

So many people are tired of waiting, exhausted even thinking of planning a wedding. So the perfect alternate? Pick a venue that holds meaning to you, invite only the nearest and dearest, and do things your way!

This is exactly the story of my couple today!

Meet my dear dear friend of 22 years Stephanie and new dashing husband Dave! But hey, backstory first…

Stephanie and I met one warm autumn day while I slumbered away in the back of college Algebra class. It was our very first semester of college. Yup, I totally couldn’t keep my eyes open for math class. Thank goodness I was naturally good at math and still aced the class. haha. But what connected us wasn’t her noticing the sleepyhead in the back row. Rather that we kept finding each other at all our art classes… because YUP. We were both art majors!

And well it was an instant friendship. We are both quirky, imaginative, fun loving people with a love for art and dancing. And we spent the next 5 years of our lives doing just that. We even lived together! Those were fun times! So fun I can’t repeat all the stories…

After college life did what it tends to do and drew us apart… but only physically.

We stayed emotionally entwined and never ever for even a minute lost touch. Because we are forever friends.

Stephy and I have had some adventures many friends never get to have.

My favorite by far was our “Operation Free Bird” – yes we often name our adventures something epic. This trip was incredible! We followed Route 6 across the United States! We started on the tiny rural Route 6 in Illinois all the way to Santa Monica Pier. Sure, it took us twice as long to move Stephanie out to San Fransisco. And we stayed in some very questionable motels, drove through seriously dead towns, and lived on random snacks & peanut butter for days. But it was entirely worth it! After Los Angeles and a detour to Hollywood we ventured farther north and even learned how to put chains on our tires in mini skirt and fluffy boots so we could see Yosemite in the fog.

I’ll never forget that trip and the hundreds of memories Stephanie and I have made.

We have made it a priority to be in each others lives no matter what. We were in each others first weddings, and often traveled across the country to see each other,

She has been to stay in Arizona and brought all 4 kids! I’ve been to both Texas and California with Mateo to stay with her, We met up in Illinois again and again, I was even there on the day her youngest was born to help and take the other kids trick or treating! (He’s a halloween baby!) We even took a mom vacation together to South Padre Island- just me & her and our caboodle of kids. I am sad I didn’t make it to Japan when she was living there- it’s the only place I haven’t gone. As I was planning my trip the huge tsunami happened and she ended up having to make some really hard choices during that phase of her life.

I’ve been along every step of the way emotionally even if I couldn’t be there physically. And she has been the same for me. I have so many photos and memories of me and Stephanie living life together. Even when apart our lives stayed fused, because we are a priority to each other and always will be.

This next adventure in Stephanie’s life makes me the happiest.

I mentioned we were in each others weddings… meaning her first marriage didn’t work out the way she hoped as for SO many people. And she has 4 kids you guys. Not just one… 4!

So I’m sure she had some fears that she wouldn’t find the one her soul could love again with a household full of the beautiful chaos that children are. So I asked Stephanie if she would be willing to share some of her story with my readers! Help encourage others who maybe find themselves in similar situations.

1. Can you share some of your fears about dating and finding love again with a big family?

“After my marriage ended, I rediscovered myself and spent countless hours reevaluating my life.  It sounds cliche, but I had to pick up the pieces where they fell and I had to focus on getting my life back together.  It felt like I had found my heart smashed against the baseboards of a dirty kitchen floor, forgotten and neglected.  I picked up that heart, dusted it off and began caring for it again, forgiving myself for letting that neglect happen in the first place. 

That began my journey of self forgiveness and focusing on a better future for myself and my four very young kids.  

Some may look at my situation and think that it was hopeless, and sure those intrusive thoughts would storm through my mind each night (uninvited thoughts, how rude!), but I felt deeply that despite having those “stormy” thoughts that there must be true love in this life and just like everyone else on this planet, I am worthy of finding it. 

My children kept me really busy but in the best way possible. 

I was always going to parks, practices, school, parties, and finding adventures for us regularly.  I know that folks often think getting over a failed marriage with children is like the worst possible situation, but if you view it from another perspective it’s really not.  My children kept me going each day, they were my reason for everything I would do, my reason for “keeping on”.  They made me want to be the absolute best possible version of myself I could be, and I had a chance to create a new life for us.  Without my kids, I imagine I would have had a harder time getting out and about, I may have had increased ruminating thoughts of despair because I would have more time on my hands… who knows.  All I know is my own situation and how I perceived it.  It brought out the mama bear warrior in me, and each day that I successfully “mothered” helped to, little by little, build back my confidence in myself and with that came increased self worth. 

I poured myself back into art as a way to express and release a lot of the energy, which also helped immensely.  It’s difficult to put into words the way I felt about true love existing for me.  I just felt it could happen, I felt that I needed to find it similar to someone on a treasure hunt.  They know the treasure is out there, just waiting to be found.  Turning over each rock wondering if this time it’s the right place.  Sure, 99% of those rocks just have worms, rolly pollys and spiders underneath, but if you keep looking one is bound to have that treasure. 

So, as I had cleaned off and began caring for my neglected heart, I put myself “back out there” on dating websites.  Really for me that was the easiest way for me to begin dating again.  Although I was constantly out and about running around town for my kids, I am a very shy and introverted person and would melt into the ground before ever striking up a conversation with a cute dad at the park or something.  I would get red in the face even at the thought of eye contact, and run the other direction.  I know, I have issues!  Introvert probs.

Fast forward past all of the stories of uncovering lots of rocks with worms under them… I finally swiped right on the man that was my treasure. 

It was an instantaneous connection and I’ll spare everyone all of the mushy details of how quickly we were smitten and planning our life together, both of us with children and blending our families.  Both of us getting another chance at true love.  Without going through our own heartbreaks and failures, neither of us would be the person we are today, and the gratitude we both feel for one another could move mountains.  I think it’s important to make sure you do heaps of self reflection, forgiving yourself and healing before blazing back out there onto the dating scene so that you can show up as the best version of yourself for that other person. “


Wow. Stephanie is an amazing writer! I was so entranced by her story! What a beautiful story of hope & healing.

I keep circling the Cher lyrics ” do you believe in life after love”.

I do believe in life after “first” love. Sometimes people just aren’t right together. Marriage has to be more than first love and attraction. It has to bring the best out in each other. It has to make you a better person, a person who is growing not stagnating or backsliding. (Not that marriage isn’t hard- it is! It’s meant to be! It’s meant to help us grow. Life is all about growth. If you aren’t growing… you are dying.) And Stephanie was not growing in her first marriage. She had to make the hardest choice of her life to choose herself, choose her kids, and make a change for a healthier life, even if it meant being alone.

But then, she met Dave.

I don’t know Dave super well, but what I do know from meeting him just a few times is that he is kind, stable, a rock, gentle, and so grounded. He is everything just right for Stephanie. I feel peace entering thier the intangible space their relationship creates. Their home is everything perfect for Stephanies soul. Imagine a home now filled with 5 wonderful children, a backyard with grass and raised bed gardens and trees to climb, a home with elements both of calm interior design but livable space and fun sections of life-giving art. It’s everything and I felt so at peace and at home there.

The best part is they are both finding life after love.

They are both parents, they have both been married before, and they both wanted more. And they found each other. And I truly believe… this is it for them. I love their relationship and the life it has created. They have each other now and I for one, am thrilled!

Okay so back to the part that isn’t so personal and can maybe encourage our readers to plan a micro-wedding or do things their way and get married already!

Steph and Dave were engaged for awhile! I will always remember the call when she told me he proposed! I went right into Tracy “this is the plan” planning mode. And then waited… and waited… and waited… haha. But then suddenly I got the call… can you do May 27th? Like in April! I only had to move one client (who was so sweet to move). I was buying tickets and airbnb’s for Denver in a heartbeat! lol. I LOVE that Stephanie and David just decided to hell with making it perfect. They said no to all the planning, and they just wanted to get married already.

So I asked Steph for some more story/advice. For those of you trying to also figure out how to move forward.

2. What made you shift and pull the trigger?

“We were one of those crazy love stories where I knew instantly he was “the one” and visa versa.  So we felt like we have been engaged for 3 years by the time we finally tied the knot! 

We did have a more “official” engagement in the midst of covid after we had reached some financial goals that were significant to both of us.  But planning a wedding with a combined five young kids (5!!!) exhausted me just thinking about it, especially during covid… It seemed impossible and like it would have to either be just our family in our backyard or we would have to elope without the kids. 

Eloping without the kids has its allure and we almost went that route, but I became very set on the idea of having the kids be part of our wedding. We would talk about it at the dinner table often and the kids would get so cute and fun with their little ideas about the wedding day.  They were able to lift a lot of the stress off me because hearing kids’ ideas about weddings is so sweet, innocent and lighthearted.  My son who is 7 was very insistent on wanting to wear a tuxedo with a rose in the pocket and also insisted that he be the “ring bearer” which was the cutest thing ever to hear him say. 

Despite all of these little dinner chats and hypothetical wedding planning with kids over chicken nugget dinners, I still had a very hard time finalizing date/location/etc.

As our engagement news was shared to friends and family and almost a year had passed without any announcement of date, I began getting people asking if we had set a date and if things are okay and yada yada.  I realized I kept coming up with excuses about not planning such as covid, kids, etc. 

It was time to stop the excuses! 

Miraculously around the same time that I told myself “no more excuses, stop being lazy”, Covid restrictions began to lift.  I started doing some actual serious wedding planning, forming a budget, and starting a pinterest wedding board (because obviously).  I also contacted a “micro wedding planner” locally that offered a guide to help plan small weddings and that helped me narrow down my location and connect me with some of my vendors.  

The biggest catalyst, however, was finding out my dream wedding location at the Woodland Solarium was available and would fit within our budget.  I honestly never imagined my dreams could come THAT true, seriously.  To give a little background, shortly after my divorce I would go to the Denver Botanic Gardens often as a fun place to spend a day with the kids and I also took botanic illustration courses there.  It was a place of healing and hope for me, just being there always made me feel better.  Every single time I went near the Woodland Solarium, I would feel the most magical feeling in my soul, and I’d get that feeling of “true love is looking for me the same way I am looking for it”. 

One day while I was on a break from class I went in there and a little hummingbird was stuck inside!  Me and the other visitors were able to help the bird get out of the solarium but it was just such a magical moment and I always remembered thinking “this would be a perfect place to get married if I ever did find my soulmate”. Planning a wedding as late and hurried as I did, I did not expect to get the message back that the solarium was available!  But it WAS!!!  And after that everything became very easy for me to visualize and plan out. 

Because we had our wedding at the Denver Botanic Garden and they have their parameters in place for catering and music, figuring out what to do about the food and music situation was very stressful, but it all worked out in the end. 

The venue itself also only holds 40 people, so managing the social stress of not being able to invite ALL of our family and friends was very challenging.  That was an unexpected stress as I do have a very large extended family and traditionally in my family when someone gets married, EVERYONE goes.  I was and still am nervous that family or friends who did not receive an invitation are hurt, but hopefully everyone understands that not only was the venue limited in space, our wedding budget limited as well, but I also wanted a very small and intimate ceremony focused on our family blending together.

Sometimes I feel like our lucky stars, space dust, that magnetic pull that brought us together, whatever name there is for it…. is what helped everything pull together in it’s own perfect time.  I just had to let go of excuses and start chasing the dream.  It truly was a perfect day to be finally married.  


One of my favorite parts about this story is that they picked the venue at the Denver Botanic Garden. Because it’s a meaningful place for Stephanie that holds a lot of joy, healing, and peace.

Stephanie and Dave invited the nearest and dearest due to restrictions. But in many ways that can take the big pressure off. They hired a micro-wedding planner who helped them pull it together so quickly. I know that was peace of mind for her. Just make it easy already! I am SO honored to have captured this incredible day for my friend.

Can we talk about how the weather was rude to me too. It was sunny at noon when the light was too bright and overhead. But then became very overcast and murky by the time for portraits!!! Rude I know! But we made it work! And honestly the moody photos are in these days and kind of romantic. And they love them…so far and that is ALL that matters!!!!!

So moral of this WAY to long blog…

  1. I love my friend. haha
  2. Finding life and marriage after a first love is not only possible, it’s magical and can be better than you ever imagined. Never give up hope of having your dream life. You just have to be resilient, hopeful, and stay the course for joy and self improvement and that life will find you.
  3. Consider a small micro-wedding at a meaningful location and keep it YOU- let go of the pressure and stress.

Okay I’m donnnneeee. Okay but ,maybe one more thing… Steph left me an AMAZING review! I rarely share reviews on my blog but it’s so heartfelt and loving that I just need to share!

“Having Tracy in my corner was also part of that lucky star energy.  I know there are local photographers I could have hired, but once I found out her schedule was open for that day (amazingly) I had to have her.  Her photography speaks to my artistic aesthetic and the way that she captures moments of love on the wedding day is so sweet and pure.  Not only that, but as an overwhelmingly busy bride (hello, FIVE little kids), once I began sitting down and planning with her I had such a stress lifted off of my shoulders. 

She was so excited to help plan details of the day that I had not even thought about!  I remember thinking “GOSH, I wish I would have started planning this with you weeks ago because it would have saved me a lot of sleepless nights in the early planning stages!”  She was able to break down the entire day beforehand and go over a very in depth schedule with me about everything from when hair and makeup for me and my daughters would be, to where the boys will be during that time, to…don’t forget to EAT!! Every little detail was covered with the help of Tracy and I can’t imagine the day flowing as well as it did without her.  She was more than a photographer, she was also  a “day of” planner for me.  I’m sure if we weren’t in different states that she would have helped me plan the whole entire thing!  

I cannot imagine how the day would have gone without her organization skills. 

It helped immensely that she stayed focused, even though there was a lot of chaos going on because we did have SO MANY KIDS at our wedding, and we were able to get all of our photos that we had pre planned for.  She thought about portraits that I didn’t even think of, and she kept a list that made sure every portrait was done, all while 20 kids were running around our ankles.  She has the patience of a saint!  

So I speak a lot about how organized and methodical she can be to ensure she captures every possible moment of the wedding, but I also have to speak of my favorite spontaneous moment that she captured, that goes to show that she is always alert and ready and looking for photo opportunities, even when you least expect them! 

-It was after the wedding was pretty much over, catering had cleaned up lunch, tables, chairs and swept out the solarium when a bird flew into the solarium!!!  I know it sounds crazy, but I was hoping for another one of these little “signs from the universe” of a bird flying into the solarium on our wedding day similar to how the hummingbird was there the first day I dreamt this could be a place to marry my true love.  IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED and Tracy amazingly was there and ready to capture it!  Who knew she was also a National Geographic photographer, haha!  It was such a fun moment and memory and I felt so connected to love energy in that moment. 

So to wrap it up, love is REAL and Tracy is here to beautifully and artistically photograph every magical and sometimes wild moments of your wedding day. “


Okay I’m seriously DONE now. Enjoy the photos and leave some love in the comments!

xo- Tracy

Life After Love A Colorado Destination Micro-Wedding
Life After Love A Colorado Destination Micro-Wedding
Life After Love A Colorado Destination Micro-Wedding
Life After Love A Colorado Destination Micro-Wedding
Life After Love A Colorado Destination Micro-Wedding
Life After Love A Colorado Destination Micro-Wedding
Life After Love A Colorado Destination Micro-Wedding
Life After Love A Colorado Destination Micro-Wedding
Life After Love A Colorado Destination Micro-Wedding
Life After Love A Colorado Destination Micro-Wedding
Life After Love A Colorado Destination Micro-Wedding
Life After Love A Colorado Destination Micro-Wedding

Life After Love A Colorado Destination Micro-Wedding

It Takes A Village: Vendor credit

Photographer: Fully Alive Photography & Events

Venue: Denver Botanic Garden

Florist: The Ruffly Rose

Catering: Rocky Mountain Catering

Musicians: 5280 Quartette

Officiant: Colorado Weddings By Dan

Hair & Makeup: Gina -Kim J Beauty

Want to read more blogs about life after love- second marriages?

Ali + Aaron

Libby + Nick

See More Wedding Features CLICK HERE

Pinterest Arizona Wedding Inspiration- Click Here.

Leave Some Love

browse features by category







Or just type in what you want to see... Chances are you'll find it! Try a clients name, location, or even type of shooT

Browse Pages

reader faves

Learn more About Me

I'm Tracy and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal about our clients, shoots and my own personal life! Stay awhile, leave a comment, or say hi!

welome to my blog



Subscribe To My Newsletter



Stay In The Know