Working towards equality and being a better ally in the wedding industry with Allie Rinka of Allie and John Photography

We are so honored to have Allie from Allie and John Photography as a guest blogger today to speak with us about how the wedding industry can be more inclusive, support diversity and be better allies. We reached out to Allie last Monday, to start a conversation with her, to see if she would share with us some of her experiences as a black, female, wedding photographer in the hopes that we could help amplify black voices in our industry. We approached Allie knowing this was our work as white women to do and asked her humbly what her thoughts were to help start a conversation. We did not want to assume her knowledge or emotional labor would be free – and have been so humbled by her willingness to be open and educate freely. We realize Allie is tired and we didn’t want to add to her emotional burden this week – especially with some of the questions we asked. To say we are grateful for her patience, guidance, and sharing her experience is an understatement. Some of what Allie has shared with us is utterly heartbreaking and we cannot begin to thank her enough for being so vulnerable.  With the marches and protest happening all over the country for racial justice and police reform we have been doing some deep work at Calluna Events – as individuals and as a team. For some of our team, our work as an ally has been going on for years, and for some, it’s a relatively new journey. We are committed to continuing this work toward allyship after the moment has passed.

We will be going live on Instagram on Tuesday at 10am to continue this conversation with Allie and continue to learn from her! We look forward to continuing our conversation with Allie and we hope you can join us!


  1. Tell us about you and your business?

My name is Alicia Rinka owner & lead photographer of Allie & John Photography.  We are a team of professionals who love capturing memorable wedding moments.  Our team uses both film and digital formats while maintaining a candid approach to our work. Our portfolio exhibits a fine art style with a modern editorial aesthetic using natural light.

  1. What are some tools you can give white wedding professionals for support black wedding professionals?
  1. What are some ways you think the wedding industry needs to encourage more diversity?


  1. Would you feel comfortable sharing some negative or awkward experiences you’ve had when meeting with vendors or couples, how can white vendors or couples work to ensure these experiences don’t happen? 


  1. Would you feel comfortable sharing some negative or awkward experiences you’ve had at weddings and how can white people work to ensure these experiences don’t happen? 


  1. As a black woman, wedding photographer are there things you do to approach your work that might be different – getting ready for a wedding, working a wedding, working with couples?
  1. Are there things we can change or encourage with our teams or employees to encourage diversity training or inclusivity?
  1. Things we could change in our contracts or websites (wording) to be more inclusive?
  1. How can we include more diversity in our work authentically? For Calluna, we want to work with more interracial, black and multicultural couples as well as the LGBTQ community because it’s a business value of ours to work with a wide array of people. But I know some people want to do it tokenize these communities – so how do we do it authentically. 
  1. Anything else you think would be helpful to share?


Calluna Community | Cocktails with Cassie Rosch

Here at Calluna we are always looking for ways to highlight and honor some of the amazing creative partners we get to work with. We feel incredibly fortunate to work with some seriously talented vendors in the industry, and we want to show them off to you in our new Calluna Community Series! We will sit down with some of the fabulous vendors of Colorado and get to know about them, their business and what life is like behind the scenes. Stay tuned for more!

This week for Calluna Community we caught up with Cassie Rosch! We’re so lucky to have worked with Cassie so closely over the past couple of years, and love her creative eye and how she captures our couples’ stories so beautifully!

Cheers! Xo, Calluna

Describe what you do! 

I am a destination based wedding, portrait + family photographer.

What is your idea of a dream project? 

When I’m collaborating with a diverse group of creatives. All creating in their own specialties, cultivating new ideas and showcasing talents. All the while making something absolutely beautiful for others to share. Igniting all the senses!

What has been your favorite wedding that you have worked, or attended?

I worked on a wedding with Calluna a few years ago that was rich in color, florals + attention to detail. The couple wrote personal vows that left everyone in tears. They wore non-traditional clothing and really thoughtfully curated every detail for their guests to enjoy.

What does your morning routine look like? 

Hit snooze 2-3 times. Snuggle my three rescue pups. Make a smoothie. Take dogs for a walk + then make my own coffee or walk down the street to grab a cup!

What are some of your favorite trends that you are seeing? 

I’m loving the monochromatic trend with loads of texture. I also love hanging floral installs.

What advice would you give to a younger you?

Take advice and council from trusted friends and mentors, but blaze your own trail and create from your own inspiration. Create and build a business from your heart that is rooted in community and not ego. Ask more questions and don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong!

What makes you excited to go to work in the morning?

Creating, exploring, traveling!

What is your favorite cocktail, or what are you drinking tonight? 

Cava or a Pressed Old Fashioned.


Follow Cassie on Instagram!


Alana + Ian


Jen + Joe


Molly + Kyle

Calluna Community : Cocktails with Laura Murray Photography

Here at Calluna we are always looking for new ways to highlight and honor some of the amazing creative partners we get to work with. We feel incredibly fortunate to work with some seriously talented vendors in the industry, and we want to show them off to you in our new Calluna Community Series! We will sit down with some of the fabulous vendors of Colorado and get to know about them, their business and what life is like behind the scenes. Stay tuned for more!

This week for Calluna Community we caught up with Laura of Laura Murray Photography!

Cheers! Xo, Calluna

Describe what you do! “I am a wedding and lifestyle photographer.   I am based in Golden, Colorado, but I adore traveling for work all across our beautiful state, as well as across the country and globe. My photography business began in 2008 while planning my own wedding.  At the time I was working in a complete opposite field– I have a degree in mathematics from the University of Colorado and my career path initially took me into tech consulting.  However, I craved creativity and have always had an entrepreneurial spirt.  I fell in love with photography while working with my own wedding photographer.  I quickly made the switch and have never looked back! I absolutely love what I do — my job is my passion and I cannot imagine doing anything else for work.  I get to work with the loveliest people on their happiest of days.  Being a wedding photographer is my dream job.”

What is your idea of a dream project? “My dream project is working with clients who make their wedding a reflection of their unique selves.  My favorite thing is to walk away from a wedding with the feeling that the couple created an event that was a true representation of their personalities and relationship.  I also love working with couples who value emotion and are not afraid of expressing it.  My favorite imagery is created when when couples do not hold back from expressing their love and joy.”

What has been your favorite wedding that you have worked, or attended? “Oh goodness, it is so hard to choose, as I have so many favorites.  I feel like I have the BEST clients around.  My clients are kind, gracious, and have incredible style.  Each wedding is completely different, but always so enjoyable.  However, traveling is always a highlight for me.  I have enjoyed traveling to Paris, Santorini, New York, California, Montana, and Vermont to photograph weddings.  And I never tire of traveling across the state to Colorado.  It is exciting to be somewhere different each weekend and to draw inspiration from my environment when photographing.”

What does your morning routine look like? “My morning routine is a little different now that I have kids (I have 3 kids– a toddler and twin 7 month old babies).  Because I often work on the weekend, I allocate some weekdays as family days.  On those days I spend my morning getting in some snuggles with my children, eating breakfast together, and we often go outside to play. However, on work days I try to get into work mode right away.  I wake up around 7 AM and once the kids are with our nanny, I start my work day.  I have a studio space in my home and it is very convenient.  It is a light-filled location where I will meet clients, do computer work, and also photograph studio sessions. On a typical day, I will first take a look at all my emails and respond immediately to anything that needs a quick reply.  Communication is a keystone of my business so I like to be timely with emails.  Then, I plan my day depending on what I have going on.  My work days are often filled with editing, album design, blogging, creating social media content, reviewing/drafting timelines for upcoming weddings, and meeting with potential clients/current clients. I also like to carve out time to work ON my business instead of always IN my business.  Working ON my business means setting strategic goals, improving who I am as a person and photographer, and planning out the steps required to meet my long-term goals.”

What are some of your favorite trends that you are seeing? “One of my favorite trends has to do with fashion, especially with the wedding dress.  I think the wedding dress is the perfect way for a bride to express her personality.  I have seen so many different styles of wedding gown — and all are so beautiful!  Sometimes my brides choose something more modern with sleek lines and unique shapes, sometimes they choose something more traditional with intricate lace patterns or beading.  My favorite trend is when a bride choose a gown that is a reflection of their personal style.”

What advice would you give to a younger you? “I would tell my younger self that you should dream big, have no regrets and that you are responsible for creating your own happiness.  Dream big with your career and don’t settle for a 9-5 that doesn’t inspire you.  Have no regrets by getting out of your comfort zone; travel the world and ask that cute stranger out on a date (which is how I met my husband!).  The sooner you realize that YOU are responsible for your own happiness you can get on with creating a wonderful life and not blaming others for your apparent failures/shortcomings.”

What makes you excited to go to work in the morning? “My clients and the wedding vendor teams that I work with are what ignites the fire in me.  As I said before, I love my clients.  They are always such a joy to be around!  But I also have such a strong community of vendor friends too.  The wedding industry is warm and welcoming — many of the people I worked with at weddings have become dear friends.  My answer to this question is that the PEOPLE I work with are what makes me excited to get to work!”

What is your favorite cocktail, or what are you drinking tonight?  “My favorite cocktail is usually a glass of red wine.  You really cannot go wrong with a good glass of red wine and it is also heart healthy (I am a health nut!).  But if I am going to splurge, I’ll choose a chocolate martini!  I can never get enough chocolate in my life! ;)”

Follow Laura Murray Photography on Instagram!

Vendor Spotlight | Heather Gray Photography

We are back with our favorite vendor spotlights and on this summer evening we are featuring the lovely Heather of Heather Gray Photography! Her work (and words below) speak volumes about the passion for her craft and for that we’re always grateful for her warm & welcoming presence. Heather has lent her immeasurable talent to some of our favorite couples – Callie + Nick’s engagement shoot and Broadmoor WeddingMolly + Nicks Spruce Mountain Ranch wedding to name a few – leaving us with romantic keepsakes filled to the brim with love. We are lucky to have Heather as a friend in the industry, and to introduce her to you. We know you’ll get along famously.


Describe what you do.
In my work, I hold space for love, recording it with my camera and heart. I want my clients to feel seen and their stories told. I have the humble honor of witnessing some of the most precious moments in my clients’ lives and that responsibility drives me to do the best work I can. I also do my best to create a peaceful and grounding presence around my couples. Wedding days can cause stress and chaos that brings people out of the moment, so it’s important to bring them back so they can live fully and be present, which not only allows me to create beautiful photos, but most importantly brings them back to them.

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What is your idea of a dream project?
My dream project would be a small wedding on the top of a mountain in Colorado or nestled along a coastal cliff in the Pacific Northwest, with farm to table food, open air dining under the stars, and live music. The couple would have their closest and dearest friends and family there, and they’d all dance through night under the moon. I truly love smaller weddings, ones where you leave with more friends and plenty of memories. One of my favorite things about weddings is meeting my clients’ “village,” this group of family and friends who have help form who these beautiful souls are and who will hold space for them through their lives together.

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What makes you excited to go to work in the morning?
My tag line is, “heartfelt photography for beautiful souls,” and this is where I begin each work day, it’s the intention I set for my work. Creating work that is felt deeply in the hearts of my clients and honoring who they are, is what leads me to work each day. Knowing that I’m telling people’s stories excites me. I love people, it’s cliche, I know, but truly, I do. I love heartfelt, authentic, joyful, tearful, beautiful, and messy moments, I want it all. I want to know my clients, not just show up on their wedding day and photograph them. I want to know what makes their hearts shine, how they met, where their from, what makes them laugh, etc. these things help me tell the best stories I can. The responsibility of telling my clients’ stories is what excites me each and everyday, knowing that these photos will live on, sharing their special day with their children and generations to come. I’m immensely grateful to be a storyteller.

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What’s a favorite trend you are seeing in the industry these days?
I really love how couples are designing their dream weddings and doing it their own way. I love the unique and unconventional, my favorite weddings recently haven’t followed traditional wedding formulas and I love that. People should get married however they want to.

One of my favorite trends is smaller weddings, especially destination weddings that fill a whole weekend, the connections and memories from these more intimate weddings are so special. Everyone really gets to know each other and the families blend so sweetly. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to do this for my own wedding; plan a weekend where your nearest and dearest can really get to know each other, build a wedding around connecting and community, begin your marriage with the beautiful foundation of your village, really see everyone, spend time with your people.

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What advice would you give a younger you?
I would tell myself, don’t shy away from leading with your heart, it’s your greatest strength in life and work. Trust your instincts and truly listen to yourself. In my business, I would tell myself to avoid following other trails and find your own way. In this industry, photographers are a dime a dozen, you can find them everywhere, and I definitely let that get to me sometimes. It took me years to solidify my brand and my intentions in my work, but once I did, I was no longer floating in the sea of photographers. I built an island, I made my own space, and I’ve been blessed to welcome some truly incredible people into my little world and to tell their stories. I would invite my younger self to find this space sooner and to trust my instincts in getting there.


All photography credit to the wonderful Heather Gray Photography Thank you for being involved with Calluna Events! xx

Vendor Spotlight :: Sara Lynn Photographic

This week for our Vendor Spotlight, we had a chance to sit down and catch up with Sara Lynn of Sara Lynn Photographic. Sara is an extremely talented wedding photographer and also a very creative member in the industry! She is inspiration and we love what she represents and the work that she produces. We are bursting at the seams with excitement for you to get to know her better here!

Describe what you do.

 I am a fine art, creative romantic portrait photographer that specializes in natural light and film techniques. My work is moody, romantic, grainy and mixes editorial with lifestyle. The colors and lines are soft and features a pastel color palette. I love photographing my clients sneaking in kisses, holding hands, raw tears of joy or boisterous laughs and telling a curated story of your day through photographs.

 What is your idea of a dream project?

 I would absolutely love to photograph a wedding in Cinque Terre, Italy with a bride and groom that is extremely detail oriented, but unique with their style and design choices. I’d love to see a non-traditional gown perhaps floral printed or pastel blue. The ceremony would be overlooking the coast and their vows would bring everyone to tears. And the end of the night, the couple would exit with sparklers and a grand fireworks show.  

 What has been your favorite wedding so far?

 I’ve had so many favorites over the past ten years, so picking just one is extremely difficult. One of the most memorable weddings was at Aspen Canyon Ranch in later summer a few years ago. It was raining off and on the entire day and right as the bride started to walk down the aisle, the rain let up but it was still cloudy. Just as they said “I Do” a beam of sunshine came through and lit the couple up as they had their first kiss. Later that day, a rainbow showed and we were able to photograph the couple for a few minutes with it in the background. It was truly a magical day to be part of. 

 What makes you excited to go to work in the morning?

I love that everyday is different and I get commissioned to create for amazing couples. I get to be part of one of the happiest days of someone’s life and capture those moments – how could I not be excited to wake up and go to work knowing I get to be myself, create beautiful imagery and help a couple celebrate and remember their day? #bestjobever

 What advice would you give a younger you? 

 Just Be You. When I first started out, I was trained solely on film and digital was fairly new – which is what clients pushed for and requested because it was the hot new thing. I would tell my younger self that it’s ok to use film formats and to stick with your creative intuition. Thankfully, the photography industry has recently openly welcomed the film trend and I think it’s here to stay.

What’s your favorite trend you are seeing in your industry?

I love that clients are wanting and requesting a more timeless, fine art documentation of their wedding day. I’m seeing more and more couples let go of the must have “shot list” that Pinterest has said they need and let their photographers get more creative and trust their process. I’ve always felt that the more freedom we are given, the more creative and beautiful our imagery. And with that said, I love that this new found trust and viewing photographers as more of an artist, has allowed us to use and experiment with a wide variety of formats from film (35 mm, medium, large, wet plate) to digital – and even incorporating lomography and instant film work.

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Callie + Nick’s Lovely Engagement Shoot

Oh my are we excited to have received Callie + Nick’s sweet fall engagement photos. Heather Gray Photography couldn’t have captured this lovely couple any better! Callie + Nick were referred to us by Molly + Nick, which is always such an honor when a past couple sends a newly engaged couple our way! We just love Callie + Nick and are beyond thrilled to be helping them plan their wedding this coming March at The Broadmoor hotel. Just three short month away! Stay tuned for these two love birds to tie the knot! xx, Calluna

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Emily + Michael’s sweet engagement shoot

There are clients that make you happy. Clients who make you smile when you see their name flash across your computer and excited to receive emails from. Emily is one of those clients. She’s a joy to be around, a joy to hear from and a joy to work with. So gracious, so sweet, so thoughtful. We know we won’t tire of seeing these two in person or in print!

We are thrilled to be helping Emily + Michael plan their 2016 wedding! We wanted to share these lovely engagement photos from Ali Vagnini, one of our preferred photographers and who we’ll have the privilege of working with next July on Emily + Michael’s wedding.

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Wedding Weekend Recap :: A full weekend of weddings!

Wedding Season of 2015 officially kicked off several weeks ago with weddings in May and June. This weekend was no different, keeping the entire Calluna Staff busy, busy, busy! We helped three amazing couples tie the knot at three stunning locations and we had the pleasure of planning a rehearsal dinner as well! We feel blessed to have been a part of each wedding and wish each couple a lifetime of love. Here’s an iPhone sneak peek (plus a few bonus sneak peeks from our lovely photographers) as we navigated throughout gorgeous Colorado, celebrating in Boulder, Longmont, and in Golden. Thank you so much to all of the outstanding vendors we worked with to ensure three successful events. We promise to give you the real deal once all of our genius photographers share their work. Get excited for the real deal!

Heather + Gio :: Married on June 26th at Ya Ya’s Orchard (Longmont)

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| Above Photo by Matthew Speck Photography  |

Natalie + Brandon :: Married on June 26th at Vista at Applewood (Golden)

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Kat + Nick: Rehearsal Dinner: June 26th at Private Residence

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Married on June 27th at Boulder Country Club (Boulder)

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:: Vendor Love ::

Heather + Gio: Venue: Ya Ya Orchard | Catering: Zolo Grill | Floral: Flora by Nora | Ceremony + Reception Musicians: Monocle Band | Photographer: Matthew Speck Photography | Videographer: Flatirons Films | Limo Services: Foothills Limo | Guest Transportation: IFM Grace Coach | Officiant: Joel Davis  | Rentals: All Events | Restroom Trailers: Royal Restrooms | Hair Stylist: Trisha Vallone | Make Up Artist: Laura Lee from Alchmey Mineral Blends

Natalie + Brandon: Venue: The Vista at Applewood Golf Course | Photographer: Bella Pictures | Floral: The Perfect Petal | Lighting: Lighting and Design By Scott | Rentals: Event Rents | Ceremony + Reception Music: A Music Plus | Hair + Make Up: RJ Salon Aveda

Kat + Nick Rehearsal Dinner: Venue: Private Residence | Catering: Blackbelly Catering | Floral: The Perfect Petal | Rentals: Yonder + Event Rents | Refreshments: Boulder Wine Merchant

Kat + Nick Wedding: Venue: Boulder Country Club | Floral: The Perfect Petal | Calligraphy + Signage: Manzanita | Lighting and Draping: LMD Productions | Photographer: Dawn Sparks Photography (feature photo courtesy) | Cakes + Cupcakes: Kim and Jakes Cakes  | Chairs + Linens: Event Rents  | Dress Shop: anna bé | Dress: Watters | Rentals: Event Rents | Photo Booth: Magbooth | Musicians: Euforquestra |

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