groom laughs as he dances with his bride for the first time
August 17, 2013

Avoiding Disaster in Fort Collins


Jamie held it together like no bride I’ve known. She watched as the skies over the Fort Collins Marriott threatened to dump rain on her wedding day. Then rumors of a tornado warning circulated the hotel room where she and her bridesmaids primped for the ceremony. I even overheard someone worry about the integrity of the dam that held Horsetooth Reservoir’s water back from flowing into the prairie where the ceremony would be. Such was the atmosphere as I photographed this stoic bride on one of the biggest days of her life.

It was only when the rain came – and it came in buckets – that she let her tears fall. I heard the rain before I saw it. We made our way to the lobby to get her into a car. Friends and strangers told Jamie how they thought it looked like it was letting up. I attempted to add my own assurance but I’m sure the look on my face told the story. One man tried to distract her from the weather by bringing his toddler over to say how beautiful she looked. “I think it’s letting up,” was followed by a response of thunderous hail. Jamie’s car arrived and she got in and headed to the venue.

I followed in my own car unable to believe just how much rain had fallen so quickly. South College Avenue was passable but each intersection I drove through was an adventure. Water reached the top of my car’s tires. I looked West toward the foothills. The ceremony venue was just five miles away. Surely it would have been drenched, too. Then I looked toward the sky. It was letting up. It was only when I reached the property of Junior Garza where the ceremony would be, did I breathe a sigh of relief. The sign announcing the location of Jamie and Chris’ wedding was streaked but the ground seemed almost dry. They dodged a bullet.

As Jamie and Chris’ wedding illustrates, no wedding day works out exactly as planned. Especially in Colorado, where violent summer storms suddenly disrupt what was once a calm day, it’s good to plan for the worst. And make sure you can trust your photographer to go with the flow. If you want the confidence of knowing your wedding photos are in good hands no matter what, give us a ring.

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Chris Stark
Wedding Photojournalist at Stark Bellamy Photography
Chris Stark is an award-winning photojournalist and former news photographer who honed his craft at several Colorado newspapers. Documentary wedding photography translates perfectly into Chris' fly-on-the-wall style. Chris lives in Longmont, Colorado with his wife and daughter and spends his free time on the bike or hiking with his family.