The lightly overcast sky in New Orleans on Sarah and Mike's wedding day lent the light a smooth, luminous quality that doesn't always happen with cloudy skies. Leading up to the ceremony, we all wondered if it would actually rain! It did rain (only a little and at just the right time), but that certainly didn't put a damper on the party happening inside Tomas Bistro. Mike opened a bottle of Champagne with a sword (you'll see), and the newlyweds were oft-spotted looking into each other's eyes and kissing in the middle of the dance floor. (You'll see that too :)
Sometimes when people find out I'm a wedding photographer, they'll make a remark similar to "Oh, I bet that gets old--weddings are all the same." And you know what? They are all the same. Two people (who are in love) planned an event to bring (their favorite) people together (for one day) to celebrate their (passionate) love and the joining of their lives (forever). In that way, yep. Weddings are pretty much all the same. But that sameness is exactly what makes every. wedding. so. different. Every love looks and acts differently. Each couple chooses to celebrate in their own way. No group of guests expresses themselves like another.
A wedding day is one of the most emotional, high-energy, and thought-out days of a bride or groom's life. Living in the midst of that energy and potential never gets old. Searching for the similarities and differences among people, couples, weddings, events, etc etc etc (the list is endless for me), keeps it new. I am always navigating, forever seeking that piece of a moment that will last forever and show: this is us.
When you're looking through my very favorite wedding images from last year, I hope you see the similarities and the vast differences among these couples. I hope you feel their anxious energy, laugh and cry with them, allow their joy to propel you, and imagine yourself in their shoes.
There are so many emotions I'd like to express to the couples who have let me into their lives to experience their intimate moments. The best way I know how is to simply say "thank you," and let the photographs below show you.
I can't think of a better way to cap my rush of fall weddings than with Ashley and Mark's French Quarter wedding. These two live in Houston, and when we met for their engagement session a few months ago, we became fast friends. I knew it was meant to be when A&M spent no less than fifteen minutes during our session debating a topic near to my heart: Prince or Michael Jackson? (I'm an MJ like Ashley.)
Ashley and I began the day at her mom's incredible home in Gentilly Terrace, eventually meeting up with Mark during their wedding ceremony at Chateau LeMoyne. Their wedding day was relaxed and sweet, with plenty of quiet downtime early in the day, followed by a courtyard ceremony that had everyone bathed in golden afternoon light.
Since it was so hot (on the 29th of October!!), A&M had decided to cut the length of their second line. But the police escort led us the full length of the parade--sixteen blocks, I believe! I think everyone ended up glad that we unknowingly signed up for a long second line. I know I did! We were all ready to jump in the pool once we arrived back at Chateau LeMoyne, but we resisted and partied the night away in the courtyard. Congratulations, y'all!
When I got the call from Brittany a few months ago, I knew this was going to be an awesome party. "So many of our friends wanted to throw us engagement parties," she explained. "So we decided that we're going to have one big engagement party and hand out save the date cards that say 'in five minutes!'" I'm paraphrasing of course, but seriously. How cool is that?
She and Sid got ready at home with their kids (they each have three, leading to their hashtag #bradybunchoncrack), popped a couple bottles for family toasts, and headed down the street to a friend's house for the engagement party. And it was a pretty normal party for a while--until the kids began handing out save the date cards. The energy in the house exploded, and, well, you'll see!
Chrissy and Nick used to live right above Jackson Square, so it made perfect sense for their wedding ceremony to take place there. They were married in front of St. Louis Cathedral, surrounded by a small group of family and friends, and then were joined by the rest of their party at Tableau for a larger reception. The intimate ceremony allowed the couple to have the time with their immediate families that was super important to them. Afterward at Tableau, even more family and friends enveloped them. (I heard that some guests even sneakily watched the ceremony from balconies surrounding the Square!) The group second lined to Hotel Monteleone for the afterparty. We had a blast at this wedding!
I'm admittedly late to the game here, but if I make a post about 2015 before my first wedding of 2016 (which is this weekend) it still kind of counts as 2015, right?
Last year was full of big life changes for me: I relocated from New Orleans to Birmingham right after Mardi Gras. Commuted back to NOLA to work for a good six months after the move, while I made connections and booked clients in Birmingham for weddings and corporate jobs. (I still commute to NOLA on the regular—ain't nothin' gonna keep me away for too long.) Stopped relying on second shooting and odd freelance jobs to pay the bills. Got used to eating my parents' cooking (and taking leftovers home) at least once a week. Re-integrated into the everyday lives of some of my best friends in the whole world. Made connections with some of the most amazing clients ever. The list goes on and on, and it would be a complete lie if I told you that last year was easy. 2015 was the best year yet, and it was also soul-crushingly difficult. I'm glad it's over.
Last time I was in New Orleans, I had the pleasure of photographing my good friends Madeline and Robert down the street from their house in the Marigny. The setting sun and vibrant NOLA style graced us with incredible color that complements this couple's vivacious energy. Today is their anniversary, so happy anniversary y'all!
Laurie and Glen were married last fall in New Orleans and in the flurry of wedding season I did not post their wedding here. But at the very least, the warm weather and sunny vibes from their wedding day can get us all excited about the approaching spring weather!
The couple gathered a close-knit group of friends and family under an oak tree in New Orleans' City Park. After a joyful, tear-filled ceremony and so many hugs, we made our way to Noma Cafe for drinks, dinner, and cake.
When I began setting up the requisite dress, shoes, and jewelry photos, Georgia came to me. "I don't want many photos of the details today--I care most about getting photos of my guests," she said. My kind of girl! (I knew this going in; Georgia found me on the Wedding Photojournalist Association website and shares my interest in dystopian novels.)
It's rare to meet a couple who are as comfortable together as Georgia and Bob. When given the opportunity, they sort of melt together in a wash of hugs and kisses and smiles. Even on a crowded dance floor, these two radiated love and affection that was enchanting! So in the photographs that follow, I hope you enjoy getting to know Georgia, Bob, and their guests.
On Saturday, Corbie and Brian were wed on a St. Charles Line streetcar on a beautifully overcast day. The couple planned a destination wedding that piques the interest of some of my friends who are just not into weddings. Since I know there will be lots of questions, I will explain for you!
After getting ready at the Maison Perrier, we all made our way to Lafayette Square, where the streetcar picked us up. The driver pulled onto the dead track on Howard Avenue for the ceremony, and then afterward the car processed all the way uptown and back downtown. This sightseeing tour allowed the guests, most of whom hail from out west, to see the city and to mingle. After debarking, a second line led the party to Luke, where the guests enjoyed a relaxed sit-down dinner. See what I mean? Even people who aren't particularly fond of weddings are jealous they didn't get to attend this one.