Category: April's Life • View all recent posts
The pictures I'm sharing on the blog today are special because they are from my sister Danielle's wedding. She actually got married in December last year but I am finally able to share the photos on my blog which should be a nice Christmas surprise for her:) Danielle and Jose have had a big year. They got married and they bought a house out near the airport where she works. They even hosted their first big Thanksgiving dinner with both sides of their family in attendance. They opted for a small wedding ceremony at Christ the King Catholic Church with a dinner in downtown Denver afterward for just their immediate family and a couple of their close friends. We also fit in a few pictures near the Oxford Hotel and Union Station before we went to dinner. It was really sweet and it also meant that they got to spend more money on their honeymoon in Mexico. Part of Jose's family still lives in Mexico and they went out to their family farm for part of the trip and spent the rest of it relaxing on the beach. I'm just going to brag for a second and say that Danielle's one bigger splurge on the wedding day was her dress and I was the one who found it for her:) That's what big sisters are for! She is also a total weirdo and rocked a tank top in the church that said "Fries Before Guys" on her wedding day which the church lady complimented her on, haha. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of her in the tank top to share here but I'll just move on and share just a small selection of the pictures from their big day.
I love you, Danielle and Jose!
How cute are my brother's kids?
The couple featured on the blog today are incredibly important to me. Brandon is my husband Geoff's baby brother. He met Lauren while playing football for Eastern Washington University near Spokane. She was there on a full ride soccer scholarship when they fell in love. But, before I delve into their relationship I wanted to talk a little bit about what it has meant to me to marry into the Kaufman family. I don't think I could ever forget the first time I met them as a collective group. It was Passover and my new boyfriend Geoff invited me over to meet his family for the Seder dinner. I used to be really shy and I was definitely a little nervous to meet everyone. After stepping into their house I knew that this family was a little different from most. They were loud and I remember being shocked that they were louder than my own family which is pretty impressive since I am the oldest of 7 kids. In a head to head decibel contest the Kaufmans would have prevailed over the O'Hares, hands down. But the chaos of that first encounter was strangely comforting. Here was a family where you could really just be yourself. They weren't the kind of people who tell the kids that they should be seen and not heard. And they took turns singing at the dinner table. From a little kids coloring book. And as a new guest they were kind enough to let me just read from it and not have to attempt to sing in Hebrew. That was just the first act of kindness in a series of many to follow.
I eventually learned that Geoff has a pretty special relationship with his youngest and only brother. He was 12 when Brandon was born (almost the same age I was when my youngest brother was born) and I know from personal experience that when you have that many years between you and a sibling you just do not have the same kind of relationship that you do with your brothers and sisters who are closer in age to you. My youngest brother was only 5 years old when I graduated from high school and moved away. In many ways he is like a stranger to me since we didn't grow up together like most siblings do. But, Geoff and Brandon are different. Geoff straddled the line between being another father type of figure for Brandon and also just his older brother and friend. He would come home from college as much as he could to be a part of Brandon's life so they were able to develop a closer bond with each other. He gave him as much advice as he could which I'm sure was half blessing and half incredibly annoying for Brandon. It can't be easy to grow up with not only your parents telling you what to do all of the time but also your big brother and big sister getting all bossy pants on you too. I can't tell if Brandon has turned out to be such an awesome person in spite of or because of all the meddling but it doesn't really matter. He's all grown up now and he's one of the most sensitive souls that I know. He really cares about people and he falls in love easily.
Which is why some of us in the family had a little twinge of an "uh-oh" feeling when he first started talking about a new lady in his life. There had been other girlfriends of his that we were less than thrilled with but Lauren was different. She clearly loves Brandon because of who he is and not because he is a star football player or anything like that. She's been incredibly patient with the curveballs that life has thrown their way (some of them thrown by Brandon himself. Does the name Roxie mean anything to anyone?) and been supportive of him. She always says "I just want him to be happy" when asked about the changing directions their life always seems to be taking. And I know he feels the same for her. Brandon proposed to Lauren here in Colorado while they were visiting back in December of 2012. (Check out their proposal photos on the link below!) And last weekend on Valentine's Day they finally tied the knot at the Highlands Ranch Mansion. Friends and family came from California, Washington, and New Jersey to witness their vows and there were so many highlights from the weekend. In no particular order here are a few of my favorites:
*That time when Geoff called his little brother a dildo in front of everyone at the wedding. We all remember that time.
*Speaking of Geoff's epic speech I can't help but point out my personal favorite line from it. It still makes me tear up to think of it. "So here we are at another milestone, and I kind of hate milestones because we have so few miles." Truer words have never been spoken. I wish we could all live two more lifetimes.
*When Lauren's Uncle Andy filled in for her dad Gary who passed away suddenly three years ago for a special dance to remember him by.
*When they finally changed their minds about their vows and chose to read them themselves!
There are so many more great moments from the wedding day. I know that my strong suit is not writing but in the photography so I'll just get on with sharing the photos.
Brandon and Lauren,
I love you.
April O'Hare Photography Brandon & Lauren's Proposal Pictures at Denver Botanic Gardens
April O'Hare Photography Brandon & Lauren's Engagement Photos at South Mesa Trail in Boulder
A Music Plus Jeremy
Hair & Makeup
Blow Dry Lounge Hair: Bridget Make up: Kelsey
What a handsome group of guys!
Here's our family!
I love that Lauren held her dad close to her all day.
That is a classic Brandon expression:)
The next generation of Kaufman speech-givers.
Classic Geoff impression of Brandon.
Brandon and Lauren picked a great first dance song. Go play "When I Get My Hands On You " by The New Basement Tapes when you look at these:)
And keeping with tradition, Brandon and his mama Rhonda got the party started with their song.
One last happy one:)
You may remember an old post from last December when my little brother in law proposed to his girlfriend Lauren at the Blossoms of Light holiday display at Denver Botanic Gardens. (See the link below to refresh your memory!) They are getting married on Valentine's Day at the Highlands Ranch Mansion and we were finally able to make their engagement photos happen over the weekend. Earlier in the year I discovered a beautiful location just outside of Eldorado Springs called the South Mesa Trail. We decided to go there to get a beautiful view of those Boulder mountains. Brandon and Lauren are such a good looking couple it would have been impossible not to get good photos, but I am still loving how they turned out.
Denver Botanic Gardens
Brandon & Lauren's Proposal Photos December at the Blossoms of Light holiday display
I love so many of the photos that I don't think I have a favorite this time. But I just love their expressions in this one so I saved it for last:)
May 2, 2014 • Filed in April's Life
For most of April I had the incredible opportunity to travel throughout Scandinavia (and England a little bit too) with some of my best friends. We were invited to participate in a roller derby tournament taking place in Guildford, England. And due to it being incredibly expensive to send 14 skaters + bench staff across that big ocean we had to figure out a way to pay for it. Luckily the fantastic skaters at Stockholm Roller Derby helped us find a space to host a roller derby bootcamp in Sweden and we invited skaters all across Scandinavia and Europe to join us there. We would not have been able to go on this trip as a team if it weren't for the kindness of those skaters in signing on for our bootcamp and I just wanted to publicly express my gratitude to them for helping to make it reality for us.
While I was over there I managed to briefly revisit London which I've had a long standing love affair with and it was fun to get outside the city and see the smaller suburb of Guildford too. A few of my friends and I decided we'd check out Copenhagen on our way up to Stockholm and I finished with a much too brief stay in Turku and Helsinki, Finland. I'm a big nerd for making lists and a couple of years ago I created a bucket list of the top 20 places I'd love to travel too before I die. Norway/Sweden/Finland are on it. Unfortunately I wasn't able to fit in Norway this time but I hope one day I can return and visit more of the remote nature-filled areas of Scandinavia.
Traveling is a luxury I can't always fit in because of money or time but I do find that it has an incredible way of rejuvenating my love for the life that I live here at home in Denver. It helps me remember to count my blessings and be happy in the here and now. I love that I feel excited about getting back to work when I return. It's the best cure I've found for burnout in life so I know I'll always make it a priority to fit in a little bit of travel. Yolo right?
As usual I photographed hundreds of shots during the trip but these are just some of highlights. Enjoy:)
Kew Palace, London
Ruined Arch at Kew Gardens
A detail view of the stonework on the Temperate House at Kew Gardens in London
I know it's cliche, but I just love photographing at pretty gardens. And England is full of them!
Before the tournament began we had a day in Guildford to wander around and explore. They have a neat old castle there which is where these were photographed.
This was my favorite part of the garden at Guildford Castle. I love having shelves built in the walls full of pretty dainty flowers. I hope I can replicate this for my own gardens someday.
After the tournament in England, I traveled to Copenhagen with a few of my teammates in tow.
I really wanted to visit Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. It's the 2nd oldest amusement park in the world. It's beautiful lit up at night.
We stopped by the Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen. It is quite the majestic building and the crown jewels of Denmark are in the basement.
I had to get a photo of this ridiculously fancy ceiling at Rosenborg Castle. It made me nervous to stand in there (imagine all of that heavy plaster coming off!)
Springtime in Copenhagen:)
This area of Copenhagen is called Nyhavn and is full of restaurants with people eating and drinking out on the sidewalks under blankets.
This was a fun public art space in Copenhagen where you could change the colors to spell out messages. RMRG!
Amalienborg in Copenhagen. Winter home of the Danish Royal Family.
Loved the look of this place just outside of Amalienborg
Copenhagen is the most expensive place I've ever been. (Think a small cup of coffee being about $8!) Our favorite (and cheapest!) dinner was held at our apartment at the Ascot Hotel. It's not the prettiest photo, but we loved all of the delicious fresh bread, cheese, and veggies!
Next stop on the trip was Stockholm which is a city built on different islands. This shot was taken from City Hall.
Even on vacation I got to photograph a wedding:) My teammate Rad Die walks down the aisle with my other teammate Bob Loblaw (say it out loud) for her impromptu wedding at City Hall.
Bob was speaking like the Princess Bride officiant. The other tourists hanging out had no idea what the hell was going on. It was hilarious:)
And Stockholm City Hall was such a cool place I insisted that Die and Rad Guy let me photograph them for 5 minutes. I wish I could have had more time:)
The banquet for the Nobel Prizes is held at Stockholm City Hall. What a cool place to get married right?
We used up the last bit of light after dinner.
For the team dinner after Die's wedding we all went to this awesome restaurant and bar called Orangeriet. I want the inside of my house to look like the inside of this place someday.
My friend and I took a boat over to Djurgarden in Stockholm to check out the really neat Vasa Viking Ship museum. They pulled this wooden ship up from the ocean floor in Stockholm 333 years after it sank. It's amazing how much of it they were able to salvage. Apparently it sank due to poor design.
Tiny old alleyway in Gamla Stan in Stockholm
We went on tons of boat tours while on this trip. Those are my fave!
We also visited an outdoor museum called Skansen. They took old buildings from all over Sweden and rebuilt them in one area. It was really cool to be able to see so much Swedish architecture all in one place.
Caught this guy soaring through the air while we were on a boat in Helsinki.
The last two here are my favorites. This is the Guildford Castle. I just love how perfectly spring like it is:)
And just a nice pretty sunset shot from the lovely city of Stockholm.