Cocktails with Calluna

Wednesday, June 17

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Here at Calluna we are always looking for new ways to highlight and honor our amazing creative partners. We feel incredibly fortunate to work with some truly talented vendors in the industry, and we’re always thrilled to shine a spotlight on our beloved Colorado wedding community.

Since COVID-19 hit the wedding industry (and the world) with a sledgehammer and subsequently shaking up life as we know it, these small businesses had to pivot and adjust – quickly. With every new challenge a new opportunity is born. We’re elated to continue this our vendor spotlight series but with an intentional focus on the creative vendors who have so beautifully shown up in this new normal with inspiring new business ventures.

Today we’re chatting with our dear friends at Alp & Isle who thought outside of the box and found creative ways to approach their services. We are so excited to learn more about their new ventures and to catch up with this team!

Tell us about yourself and describe what you do! We are Emily and Zach, the award winning photographers of Alp & Isle, based in the beautiful mountains of Colorado. As an internationally published husband-wife team, we have been working together producing editorial style wedding imagery since 2009. Our years of experience and investment have given us a firm understanding of what goes into an elevated event. Our tonal consistency, emotive imagery, and professionalism set us apart. We are able to provide valuable insights into the Art Direction of a wedding day, working with planners and stylists to produce next-level events by focusing on lighting, color, texture, and timing. 

Our ability to forge authentic connection and hone in on special people and moments throughout a wedding day has given us international esteem from wedding planners and their clients alike. Many of our weddings have graced the pages of Martha Stewart Weddings, Style Me Pretty, Once Wed, Magnolia Rouge, and more. 

We are blessed to have the stunning landscapes of Telluride, Aspen, Beaver Creek, and Vail as backdrops for our local weddings in Colorado. Well traveled, we also serve destination weddings; having photographed weddings everywhere from the beaches of Hawaii, the vineyards of Napa, the Catskill Mountains of New York, and the canals of Holland. 

We know COVID-19 has impacted the wedding industry in 2020 significantly. Tell us about how Alp & Isle is pivoting in light of COVID-19? We have a favorite meme that makes us laugh when we think about the challenges 2020 has brought, “2020 came out looking like a warm chocolate chip cookie, but one bite and BAM! Oatmeal raisin.” So funny and so true for us. We had so much excitement as we rang in this new year only to have one hurdle after another thrown at us all. We took a bit of time to process and move through some of the collective grief we all have felt. Once we felt stable enough, we started to think on how we could adapt and pivot to remain sustainable and relevant in our business. The pandemic provided a unique opportunity to boil everything down to its essence and show us what we truly value. Maybe oatmeal raisin cookies aren’t so bad after all. We spent several weeks putting ourselves in our client’s shoes and trying to identify their needs and pain-points, and finding unconventional ways to alleviate those stressors. What is it like to plan a wedding during a pandemic? What aspects of their dream wedding are our clients mourning most? What can we do to help? We believe that couples who have to decrease their guest count shouldn’t have to sacrifice anything else! Our clients don’t want to downsize their experience, they want to make it even more special and memorable. Not resigning to less, but pivoting energy and budgets toward a wedding even more amazing than they originally planned; with more personalized guest experiences, slower more enjoyable timeline pacing, and grander event designs. Taking this perspective, we are able to bring excitement and anticipation back to couples planning their wedding right now.

What challenges have you had to overcome since COVID-19 changed the way your business operates? At first, it was a very scary time as we watched our 2020 and 2021 momentum vanish. It has been heartbreaking to mourn the loss of our couple’s original dreams for their wedding. Suddenly our packages and services seemed antiquated and didn’t feel like they acknowledged our changing world or directly spoke to the new challenges and pain-points. We were constantly reevaluating our business sustainability and hanging on every word from the CDC and local health department updates. Each day, as everyone gains footing, the pace is beginning to pick up, because love is not cancelled. We are so energized as we join together with more and more couples as they are resuming their wedding planning. With everything changing and still not much certainty, it has been vital to be empathetic, flexible, and reimagine what a wedding day and wedding services can be.

Tell us about your new venture! We have completely dismantled our packages and created a new menu that is relevant to today’s needs. We created a luxury micro wedding experience for our couples, thinking through every last detail of everything you could ever dream of! We also created Sequel Wedding coverage for couples eloping now and planning a bigger celebration with guests later this year or next. We even added complimentary live streaming for elopements or micro wedding couples who would wish to share the moment with loved ones from afar. We poured a lot of thought and love into our new offerings and it has been so rewarding to see how well it has been received. We like the smaller guest counts of 2020 to making a decadent French entrée- we are not removing any of the ingredients of their dream wedding, just simmering it down into a richer experience.

We have also partnered with Calluna and The Perfect Petal for Love Strike to offer coverage of their floral celebration installation services. Love Strike clients can add on portrait sessions in front of their floral installations in honor of special celebrations during this time of social distancing. It is a really exciting and fun venture to be able to be apart of celebrations right now.

What makes you most excited about launching? I think it’s the momentum we are feeling again and the art of service, meeting our couples and vendors needs, that makes us most excited and feels the most rewarding. Once we were able to identify our client’s new priorities and needs, we were energized to think outside the box and find creative ways to approach our coverage and services. It was really wonderful to start to feel creativity and momentum again. Walking with our couples and creative partners as we reimagine their big day through these uncertain times, gives us something so joyful to focus on. Finding a way to bring wedding dreams to life in the midst of uncharted challenges feels very rewarding.

How has your new venture impacted your customers/partners/vendors/etc.? We have had a wonderful response from couples and vendor partners alike! Our vendor partners have given us great insight and feedback, and have been excited to take these new options to their couples. We are constantly looking for new ways to support and add value for our couples and vendors. Finding ways to acknowledge the pain points for everyone, pioneering new options within these new perimeters, and adapting and rolling with information as it becomes available has been most helpful to our couples and their wedding vendor teams.

What advice or words of encouragement would you give to couples during this time? Dear couples, we are so sorry this is all unfolding as you are planning your dream wedding. We know how disorienting this all feels right now. Our best advice, now more than ever, is to surround yourself with a strong and cohesive wedding vendor team. Their experience and expertise will help you navigate your unknowns, bring creativity to your planning, and reduce the anxiety of operating inside new boundaries. We will all be navigating this together, using our collective creativity to come up with solutions and doing everything we can to make your day exciting, smooth, and special again. We are excited to help you realize even more incredible dreams for your wedding than maybe originally possible. Starting this new and exciting chapter of your life, in the midst of a global pandemic, sounds reminiscent of the beginning of an epic love story. Think of these new perimeters as an opportunity to start new traditions, elevate your experience, and have an even more unique wedding celebration. You can take this opportunity and turn it on its side, create something truly intentional, intimate, and memorable!

What advice or words of encouragement would you give to fellow vendors during this time? Hey there friends! First off, BIG HUGS! This is a lot to shoulder, but we wedding vendors are tough and are used to having to quickly pivot on a wedding day to keep the magic we create alive. Day by day, creativity is creeping back. Let’s keep fielding new approaches so we all can bend, not break. Try to identify your client’s pain points and ways you can adapt and add value for your clients. How can you meet them in this and make them feel seen? How can we work together as vendors to bring back the magic? Reach out, connect with us! We would love to put our heads together with you!  

What companies (in the wedding industry or beyond!) are inspiring you right now? It has been so inspirational to see how some companies are responding and pivoting in the face of the pandemic. We took a lot of inspiration from local restaurants that turned their premises into markets for essentials and their chefs who have gone out of their way to give recipes and tips for cooking their favorite dishes from the restaurant at home.  As patrons, we appreciated it so much to be able to buy essentials that were sold out everywhere else. That kind of thoughtful and inventive response builds a lot of loyalty and community. We have so appreciated how many of our wedding community have reached out and checked on us since the pandemic hit. So many of the back office vendors we rely on for small business services have acknowledged what we as small business owners are managing right now and have tried to help however they can. The acknowledgement alone has meant the most to us!  We love seeing the Covid19 Consultations Calluna has been offering to couples right now! What a wonderful resource for couples navigating all of this! We find all these companies that acknowledge the challenges and try to help and respond in some way to be so inspirational.

What are you most excited about in 2020? We put so much thought and effort into pivoting and responding in the wake of the pandemic. I think we are most looking forward to seeing our efforts be realized. We are so looking forward to joyfully celebrating with our couples again! To watch their 2020 weddings transform and level up into amazing celebrations.

What are you most excited about in 2021? We are looking forward to continuing to identify new ways we can adapt and support our couples. To watch celebrations grow and group sizes increase. We are so curious to see what elements couples will take from this year going forward. Will we see more intimate focused, ultra luxe events? Will couples hold on to some of the grand scaled designs or next level guest experiences? We can’t wait to find out!

Want in on this new service? Us too. To learn more, please reach out to Alp & Isle.


Photos by Alp & Isle

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