Paul and Carey Scharfenberger | Ridgeway State Park and The Secret Garden Ouray Colorado Wedding Photographer

Ouray Colorado mountain wedding photographer the Secret Garden wedding

Life has a funny way of putting you in touch with people you’re meant to meet. When Mike and I decided to sell our home in Conifer this past winter, we had no idea we were going to meet such an amazing couple in the process. When Carey and Paul came to our open house, they were one of nearly a hundred people who had come through our house on that single Saturday. They saw our travel books scattered around the house and with a shared interest in travel, particularly to New Zealand, Iceland, and other U.S. destinations like Utah, these two wasted no time contacting us about their mountain wedding in Ouray, Colorado this fall. Little did they know, Ouray was at the top of our list of places we wanted to shoot in 2016! When we met with these two over beers, there was an immediate click and we were so excited to hear their story and that we all shared meeting online in common. When Mike and I left the meeting we PRAYED they wanted us to share their wedding day with them and capture these memories. To our luck, they invited us to share in this time with them and we couldn’t have been more honored! A huge congratulations goes out to this amazing couple! Thank you so much for letting us share in your wedding day with you.

Mike and Taylor

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• How did the two of you meet? “We met on! Neither of us can really believe that that’s our “how did you meet” story, but it was meant to be. We were both so ready to meet “the one” and decided to put it all out there. He contacted me first and I was blown away by how intelligent and genuine he was and by how much we had in common. We bonded over loving the same places (New Zealand, Ouray), loving the same books, the fact that we had both lived in Connecticut and in the same neighborhood in Queens, and that we had both made huge sacrifices in order to follow our hearts. Our first date was electric and we literally haven’t been apart since.”

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• Having done a first look, what did you love most about it? Would you do it again?  “Absolutely we would do it again! Paul and I really wanted our wedding day to be about us and our love for each. We’re both very introverted and planning a wedding ourselves was very stressful at times. We wanted to share our big day with family and friends because they mean so much to us, but we had to keep reminding ourselves throughout the whole process that it wasn’t about them and it wasn’t about making anyone else happy but us. The first look was so special and important for us. It allowed us to take a breath, recenter and refocus on each other, and have a really profound and beautiful moment just the two of us, before heading into the blissful revelry of the wedding.”

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• How did you choose Ouray, Colorado for your destination wedding? “Ouray was a special spot for both of us separately before we even started dating – I liked the hot springs and Paul loves to ice climb. I said Ouray was one of my favorite spots in my profile and he totally picked up on that. It was one of our bonding moments. Since being together we have travelled to Ouray regularly and have decided we really want to move there someday. We are currently in the process of trying to figure out how to make that work, sooner rather than later. We almost instantly agreed that it’s where we should get married. It’s such a gorgeous little mountain town and we really wanted to share it with our family and friends.”


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• If you could pick one word to describe your ceremony what would it be? “Pure love (I know that’s two…but there’s no other way to describe it!)”

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• When did you know you wanted to marry each other? “Even though we met online, our first date was for reals love at first sight. Both of us knew the minute we laid eyes on each other that we had found the person we would spend the rest of our lives with.”

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• How did Paul propose? “About three weeks after we had begun dating, Paul asked me to go on a road trip with him. He took me to Zion National Park – a place that holds a special place in his heart. It was magical. I had never been, but now it is an incredibly special place to me too. Fast forward a year and a half later, we decide to take another trip to Zion. Actually, Paul made me think that the whole trip was about going to see one of his favorite bands in San Diego. As an afterthought (or so he made me believe) we decided to make a stop in Zion. It was mid-January, so the park was almost completely empty and we basically had it all to ourselves. The snow was falling on the tops of the cliffs and we hiked to one of our favorite spots right next to the river. We were wearing ponchos to keep dry. We sat down in a cozy little spot to drink some wine and munch on beef jerky and dried seaweed. Paul handed me a card, which I thought was a really sweet way to commemorate the moment. In it he talked about how much I meant to him, how happy I made him, how he had waited for me his whole life…I started to cry and when I looked up he was on his knee with a little box in his hands. He asked “Will you marry me?” and I think I said “Are you serious?” and then “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes….” I don’t think I even looked at the ring, I just went in for a kiss. That whole day was so blissful – we explored Zion a bit more, had a cozy dinner in town, and enjoyed a fire in our little cabin. The next day we road-tripped to Las Vegas to celebrate and then onto San Diego to celebrate even more with our friends.”

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• What is a fun quirk you love about the other?  Paul : “She’s prone to spontaneous outbursts of dancing/hip thrusting.”
Carey : “He makes up the funniest, catchiest little songs about the most random things – and they make me laugh so hard.”

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• What was the most memorable moment of your wedding day? “Our first look and driving away together as man and wife – best 25 minutes on the road ever!

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• What did you love most about your venue, The Secret Garden? “The Secret Garden was such a perfect spot for our reception. It is such an idyllic spot, the grounds are so serene and it created exactly the cozy, intimate feeling we wanted for our reception. Sara (the owner) is amazing too! She took care of everything and was such a huge help in planning the whole wedding. She knows everyone in the Ouray area and hooked us up with some amazing people. Also, the food was absolutely delicious!”

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• What advice do you have for couples planning their wedding now? “Have fun and make it about YOU and nobody else. Don’t stress the small stuff, but do as much as you can upfront so you don’t have to run around like crazy people on the days leading up to the wedding.”

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Ceremony :: Ridgeway State Park Overlook
Reception and Catering :: The Secret Garden
Tent + Reception Set-up :: Park Avenue Parties
Bride’s Dress Designer :: Claire Pettibone Design
Bride’s Dress ::  Bought and altered at The Little White Dress Bridal Shop
Flowers :: Dahlia Floral Design
Hair and Makeup :: Salon Envy

Comments (11)

What a gorgeous location for this beautiful day! Love that you connected so well with this couple, it shines through in the photos.

So pretty Taylor! Love the southwestern details and the emotions captured. Looking forward to visiting your ranch soon!

What a sweet story, and what a beautiful wedding day! You captured all of these details perfectly!

Love love love Ouray!
And they look so happy–great job Taylor 🙂

Oh what emotion in those ceremony photos! And I LOVE the teepee in the photos! Such love in all these photos that you captured so beautifully!

What a beautiful wedding and ceremony! In love with the ring shot!! Wow…that is insane! The teepee?!? how cool is this couple! Gorgeous work!

Gorgeous wedding! The couples portraits are beautiful.

Beautiful as always! I love all the details and those sweet blanket ceremony shots!

The details in this wedding are lovely. I love the use of nature and the vinrant colors surrounding their day.

LOVE the B&W solo portrait of the bride, def my fav

Gorgeous, Taylor! I love every single shot but the dress and shoes through the trees are both awesome!!

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