elcome to the journal for April O’Hare Photography! Here you’ll find all of my latest photographic outings with the couples, families, seniors and small businesses that I get to work with and make beautiful photographs for. You may also see a personal post here and there discussing my life or my travels with my teeny family of one husband and three cats! Sometimes I even write advice articles with tips to help make your photo experience better which you can check out under the “Educational” category.  

Take your time and look around! Type in the place where you’ll be getting married in the search box to see if I’ve photographed there before. At the bottom of the page I’ve highlighted some of my favorite sessions and weddings from the past. Grab a drink and have fun going down the photo rabbit hole!











events & Mitzvahs


april's life

Colorado Surprise Wedding

November 17, 2011

Today’s journal entry features one of the most interesting weddings I’ve had the pleasure of photographing.  It was a Colorado Surprise wedding which took place at the Bistro at Marshdale in Evergreen.  But first, I have a little lead up story to tell about how I know this awesome couple. 

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association’s Championship tournament, held here in Colorado this year, is finally over and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  I thought this would be a good time to reflect on my team’s crazy Cinderella story and say how thankful I am for many things.

In the past week or so leading up to this final flat track tournament of the year I had the wonderful opportunity to be on the Fox 31 Everyday Show, the 9News morning show with Susie Wargin, Channel 2 KDVR News, and Mile High Sports Radio (who sprung a suprise Tebow question on me and the only thing I could think to say was that he’s cute!)
There is always one question that I get repeatedly asked: “Why did you decide to join roller derby?”  I always start off by saying WHY I started (cute outfits, weird alter egos,
something different to do, another way to keep my mind off a recent break up
etc…) but then I tell them why I stayed.

Some might think it has a lot to do with the excitement of being on the news, with winning a national championships title, or getting to wear full-on Zombie face make up during a bout but that’s not the reason. Sure, all of those things are exciting and fun and are certainly the kind of things that I never dreamed I’d get to do, but they are definitely not why I keep skating with the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls.  I keep skating because I meet the most amazing people and create the kind of close friendships that I thought didn’t happen once high school and college is over. That is the #1 reason why I skate.

We didn’t make it all the way to #1 this year, but it’s hard to stay sad about that when I realize that my whole league is made up of the kindest, most generous, and funny ladies (and gents!) in all of Colorado. Case in point is the bride featured on today’s blog post. Heather has worked tirelessly as one of our league’s bout production leaders and we know her
better as Brae K. Legg. She confided in me earlier this summer that she was planning to wed her fiance, Rick, in a Colorado surprise wedding ceremony at the Bistro at Marshdale in Evergreen (http://www.thebistroatmarshdale.com), CO. She told me that only a handful of people knew that her “Engagement party” was actually going to turn into a wedding. When she asked me if I would photograph it, of course I said “Hell Yes!”  Who wouldn’t want to be in on such a devious plan to turn the tables on a room full of unsuspecting family and friends?!  Maybe this will inspire someone else out there to host their own Colorado surprise wedding!

Heather and Rick,

I don’t think I can truly find the words to describe what a fantastic night you gave to all of your family and friends. The only thing that comes to mind for me is “BRAVO!” I hope you love the looks on all of their faces in these pictures as much as I do:) And thank you both so much for all of your support this past weekend. It meant so much to me that you were
both in the crowd and cheering!





We’ll start off with just a few scene-setters:)
Denver CO Wedding Photographer

Heather’s mom did the most wonderful job creating all of the details for Heather and Rick’s party including this cute invitation.
Invitation to a Colorado Surprise Wedding celebration

It snow/rained pretty hard right before it started
Denver CO Wedding Photographer

Oh Colorado!
Denver CO Wedding Photography

The food at The Bistro at Marshdale is delish!
Bistro at Marshdale restaurant in Evergreen hosted a Colorado Surprise Wedding Celebration

Gorgeos Brae!
Denver CO Wedding Photographer

Spent a little time getting some portraits of Heather and Rick before the guests arrived.
Denver CO Wedding Photographer

Had to show off Heather’s cute shoes:)
Denver CO Wedding Photographer

Denver CO Wedding Photographer

Love Heather’s expression here:)
Denver CO Wedding Photographer

The autumn apple theme was extremely well done thanks to Heather’s mom Vicki
Denver CO Wedding Photographer

That table card is sitting on my desk now;)
Denver CO Wedding Photographer

Denver CO Wedding Photographer

Not only did Vicki do such an amazing job with the details, but she made me a lovely gift basket with all sorts of homemade goodies in it that both Geoff and I promptly devoured:)
Denver, CO Wedding Photographer

The guests spent some time chatting and catching up with each other before the dinner
Colorado Surprise Wedding with excited guests

Have I emphasized enough how well planned this day was? Everything on down to the kid’s entertainment was just so well organized!
Denver CO Wedding Photographer

Eventually everyone sat down to order from this appetizing menu. I quite enjoyed the Pork Chop:)
Denver CO Wedding Photographer

After everyone sat down, Heather and Rick started to thank them for coming and started to tell them to save the date for their wedding in December of 2012. But Rick “interrupted” to say that maybe they should just do it now since they had all of their friends and relatives already there:) Heather conveniently found a bouquet on the mantle behind her;)
Denver CO Wedding Photographer

It starts to dawn on the guests what is really going on here!
Shocked Guests looking on at a Colorado Surprise Wedding celebration

All of Heather’s old family friends had the best expressions:)
Excited guests faces as they realize they are attending a Colorado Surprise Wedding

Heather’s poor sister (and maid of honor) was completely taken aback!
Colorado Surprise Wedding full of emotion

Rick’s best man was invited up to get the ceremony rolling as well:)
Hugs at a Colorado Surprise Wedding

Getting the suprise wedding started
Colorado Surprise Wedding at a Romantic Little Mountain Restaurant

Denver CO Wedding Photographer

Suprise wedding in full swing
Denver CO Wedding Photographer

Rings & Vows:)
Denver CO Wedding Photographer

Colorado Surprise Wedding in Evergreen

Awww…this one is so sweet:)
Happy guests at a Colorado Surprise Wedding

Colorado Surprise Wedding at the Bistro at Marshdale in Evergreen

This was a sweet touch; After the ceremony the guests opened up the envelopes that had been sitting and waiting to be opened when they arrived. Inside were the lyrics to “Kiss the Girl” from the Little Mermaid which everyone sang together.
Denver CO Wedding Photographer

The happy couple:)
Denver CO Wedding Photographer

There were many impromptu speeches throughout the evening
Denver CO Wedding Photographer

One of my favorites for last:)
Denver CO Wedding Photographer

Are you thinking about hosting your own Colorado Surprise Wedding? I’d love to photograph it! Head over to the WEDDINGS area of my site to find out more information!


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  1. Suri says:

    This is so beautiful!! Congrats, Rick and Brae! 🙂 <3

  2. yvonne says:

    Ahhhh what a beautiful day, and the couple are so cute!!! Congratulations to the happy couple and once again beautiful pictures!!!

  3. queen says:

    I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a little vehklempt!! What a great story! ‘Nona you are so talented!! Congrats Rick and Brae!

  4. Taradactyl says:

    Congrats! I am so happy for the both of you! What a fun way to have your wedding. You know what is crazy? My house is RIGHT behind the Bistro. What an amazing place to have your wedding. Congrats again.

  5. Judas says:

    Nothing like a good cry to start one’s day! Fabulous! Thanks for sharing the photos! XO

  6. Kristie says:

    So lovely! Beautiful ceremony and amazing pictures too! Congrats to Rick & Heather!!!

  7. Heather Rae says:

    Oh My Gosh! These are so beautiful, Winona! I love them all 🙂
    Thank you so much for being there and capturing all of the surprised faces that I want to remember forever! Rick and I will be cheering you and Fight Club on this weekend! Go get’em on the bank track!

  8. Sonja says:

    I love this!!! So beautiful! I’m sitting here at work with tears in my eyes showing the ladies I work with your pictures! Congratulations!!

  9. Barbie says:

    These photos are just georgous Winona! Congratulations Rick and Brae, I wish you many wonderful happy years together.

  10. Shawna says:

    Simply amazing! I love the reaction shots you were able to get of the guests and family!

  11. Incognito says:

    Congratulations Brae!!! WHat a beautiful and fun wedding. Nona, as always, fantastic photos!!

  12. Monkey says:

    I think this is the best idea for a wedding ever. The pictures are amazing as always, and the day looked perfect!

  13. Poi says:

    What a beautiful idea…a surprise wedding! The photos are stunning! Congratulations!

  14. Sexy says:

    Brae! I love this! What a memorable event for EVERYONE! You are beautiful, inside and out! The photos are awesome Winona!

  15. Toxie says:

    Brae – So beautiful! Thank you and Nona for sharing these special pictures. Congratulations!

  16. Alex C. Dembicki says:

    Well if your intent was to make everyone cry, then mission accomplished! Best (surprise) wedding EVER!

  17. Yana says:

    What an awesome idea. So special and memorable, I love this. They are going to treasure this day and these images forever. You did a beautiful job!

  18. Wow- how awesome. Love the images, I felt like I was there!!

  19. Vicki Johnson says:

    Nonie- What a very special evening it was for all of us! And, you captured it so beautifully. The looks of surprise and the love in that room were caught by you so we can always remeber, remember…

  20. Brandon Beston says:

    A coworker of mine sent me this link. I don’t know the bride or the photographer, but I loved the photos and the story they told. It was a tear jerker! Congrats to all involved!

  21. Love these! What a gorgeous setting, and I just love her red dress with the beautiful fall colors. Fantastic work!

  22. Liz says:

    The details of the day are amazing! You captured a beautiful memory!

  23. amandar says:

    What stunning photos. You managed to capture so many amazing natural facial expression just at the right minute. Well done. I love your candid captures they are so important on occasions like this. What a lucky couple to have you shooting for them.

  24. Titan says:

    I love it! Brae you look so beautiful! Love the surprise wedding. Congratulations to both of you.