Kyoko + Sam // Grand Hyatt // Denver, CO

Sam and I go way back to freshman year of High School at TJ. We played football and baseball together and graduated in the same class in '06 and even still play on the same Redhawks baseball team. As you grow older and keep friends from high school, you simply wish a positive and good life for those friends. You hope they get into a great career and earn a good living, but most of all, you hope they find someone perfect to share this life with.

Well, Sam found both the career (history teacher) and the woman of his dreams. Out of every person in this whole world, there is no one better for Sam than Kyoko and I'm pretty sure the same thing goes vis versa. I truly do think that they are meant to be husband and wife. They make each other better in more ways than you can imagine and their love for each other is a beautiful thing to witness. Sam is one of the best people that I know and is great for so many things, but Kyoko is a huge reason why Sam is the man that he is today. 

Sam and Kyoko met as camp counselors in 2009 and have been growing together ever since. Even though the first time they met, Sam insulted the place where Kyoko went to school (UNC/ Greeley, CO), she still gave him a shot and here we stood, at the beginning of their wedding day. To learn more about their story, check out their engagement session here.

Their wedding day started off perfectly with a warm, October day in downtown Denver at the Grand Hyatt. I had had some bad luck when it came to weather and untimely things happening during some wedding days earlier on in the summer but this day was perfect. Everyone was one time, the weather was awesome and I had two people that were madly in love with each other about to start their marriage. As soon as Kyoko and Sam were ready, we headed up to the top floor where we did the bedecking ceremony. Sam is Jewish and incorporated a lot of the Jewish traditions in the wedding and everything was started with the bedecking ceremony. After that, we introduced the wedding party and started on all of the portraits for the day. 

I've shot all over downtown over the years but never around the Grand Hyatt and I was so excited with what we were given to work with. There were tons of awesome spots for portraits and for the wedding party to do their thing. I went to high school with almost all of the guys in the groomsmen party and the one who I didn't, I shot his wedding just over 2 years ago... so I knew them pretty well, to say the least. I love shooting weddings like that because I feel like I always get to capture everyone's true self. Which I guess isn't always the best when it comes to a couple of those hooligans. After the wedding party was finished, we headed over to Commons Park for some more portraits of Sam and Kyoko. 

The two of them are not only beautiful people, but they have really great chemistry in front of a camera. As a photographer, it's always nice to have two people who don't need a ton of direction for their photos because well, it's less work for me! It also allows me to be more creative and trust that any position I put them in, they'll "make it their own" and have fun with it. 

Some of the photos of Sam and Kyoko during this hour are some of my favorite photos I've ever taken. I may be a little biased because Sam is one of my best friends, but I will always hold these images and those memories near in my mind and heart as a friend and as a photographer. It meant so much to me to capture their wedding day. 

The rest of the day went along perfectly. The ceremony was beautiful, great toasts, great food and drinks and then the party happened and that was killer too. With the all of the incredible people involved in the wedding, I knew it was going to be a great party and a great party it was! The newlyweds even did one of my favorite moments in a wedding and that was a "last dance." They kicked everyone off the dance floor and had one more moment to soak in the day one last time before it ended. It was a perfect day for two perfect people and I am so lucky to call them both friends. Much love to both Sam, Kyoko, and everyone involved... this was one of my favorite weddings all year.

Cheers!   

-Tommy

Tommy Cowan