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13 years later…


Hi my name is Sarah. I am married to Sam Austin (your friendly GCE account rep/ booking agent/ talent buyer) and its been 13 years of wedded bliss. We have actually been together a total of 17 years, wow!

I am a wedding photographer and currently work with Chris Bailey Photography. I started photographing weddings in 2003 right after I graduated college (University of North Texas) with Temple Webber Photography. Needless to say, I have seen a lot of weddings.

I work with a lot of great planners like Keely Thorne, Belle of the Ball and Ann Whittington, to name a few. While working with these planners I have seen the back end of planning and it always makes me think I am happy that I did a few things the way I did or I wish I could have done it the way they did. For example, I wish I would have hired a planner (DIY is over-rated!). My mom and mother-in-law and myself did all the planning. I wish some of the burden was taken off of us and we could have enjoyed the day a little more. I’m glad that we got married in Colorado and not in Houston so that only our closest friends and family attended and not the entire city. Sam has a HUGE family (24 aunts and uncles and 32 first cousins). Our guest list would easily have been 400-500 guests. 

We were married in Estes Park, Colorado on May 1st 2004 at the YMCA Camp of the Rockies and our reception was held at the famous Stanley Hotel where Stephen King wrote the Shining and the great American comedy classic Dumb and Dumber was filmed. It was an important place for us because it’s where we took our first vacation and Sam’s family has been vacationing since before he was born.

Sixty of our closest friends and family attended our wedding. Sam’s father was kind enough to pay for our wedding party to stay in a massive cabin at the Y Camp for a week. By the time the wedding rolled around the whole wedding party were the best of friends.We did not have a welcome party like most out of town weddings do now, instead we invited all of our guests to attend the rehearsal dinner. This was great because we got to hear toasts and marriage advice from everyone! We left the floor open and let everyone speak who wanted too. At the end of the night everyone ended up back at the Party Cabin.

For the bridesmaids luncheon, the girls all attended a great luncheon provided by the Stanley hotel. This was provided by the hotel because we found out 6 weeks before that the hotel was double booked for our wedding date. The other wedding put their deposit down 2 weeks before we did so we were booted out of the reception room we wanted. This actually ended up working out in our favor as we were moved to a more accessible reception room, provided a great bridesmaid luncheon, and extra decorations covered because the reception room was larger than the original. There are hundreds of moving parts to a wedding so I learned quickly to roll with the punches and don’t sweat the small stuff.So while the girls were eating their lunch, the guys were off snow showing across a frozen lake way up in the mountains and miles away from a hospital. Did I mention it snowed the day before the wedding? It also started snowing in the middle of our ceremony which was so magical. Again, I would not change that for anything. Oh and if I had known that they were snow shoeing that day, I would have had a heart attack!

The actual wedding went off without a hitch. Our photographer was great and the DJ was super nice. The party was perfect as was the food and all the beverages consumed. I think our friends and family had a great time! We always hear how much fun people had at our wedding and that makes us feel so grateful. A wedding is about sharing your love for one another, but it also about bringing your friends and family together to witness that exchange and to have a great party! The bonus is they all become friends and talk about the stories for a very long time.





We decided to write a blog about what we would change about the wedding and what we thought should stay the same:.

Things that we would never change:

– Having a destination wedding to Colorado. Yes, everyone had to travel but it was not out of the country and not an expensive place to stay. Because of this many people were able to attend without much trouble. Also because it had the family connection which meant a lot to us and Sam’s family.

– Having a less than a year engagement. We got engaged on my birthday, August 15, 2003 and were married less than a year later. That gave us enough time plan everything without too much time to over think.

– Our photographer. Moses Street Photography was our photographer and he was amazing! He was your typical Rocky Mountain artist and I loved him. He shot with a medium format camera, which is what I shot with at the time. We bonded and I would love to visit him and have him photograph my family now.

– No Welcome Party. 

– The SNOW!

Thinks we would have done differently if we knew then what we know now:

– The DJ. I wish we would have hired a band.
– Leaving early. We wanted to make sure we got the exit shot while everyone was there. We should have just staged it and gone back in. We heard some wild stories of what happened after we left and we’re sorry we missed it. 
– Snow shoeing across frozen lakes the day before the wedding.
– Wisdom tooth infection. One of Sam’s wisdom teeth became infected a day before we were supposed to fly out to Colorado. With no time to get an appointment with an oral surgeon, Sam had to have the tooth yanked with nothing but Novocaine. 
– Hired a wedding planner. Seriously. Budget for it and make your life easier. I’m always happy to make a recommendation. 
-Had digital files of our wedding photos. Yeah, it was 2003. The technology just wasn’t there yet. Where’s a time traveling Delorean when you need one. 

Let’s end this with some marriage advice Sam’s Grandmother Nan Austin gave us. She and my grandfather-in-law were married for over 70 years, raised 11 kids and managed to send all of them to college.
-Never go to bed angry
-Never argue about money because there is never enough
-All marriage problems can be solved over 2 martini’s
-Let 1000 things go unnoticed.

Thanks for Reading! 

Sarah Dufour Austin
Chris Bailey Photography
sarah@cbaileyphotography.com 
713-518-1452