I took the show on the road this past spring, photographing Joy and Augusto’s Key West Wedding and then traveling to New Orleans to document Natalie and Justin’s big party. It all started at the Southern Oaks Plantation, a gorgeous venue tucked away in a quiet corner of the Big Easy.
The excitement level was high as Natalie’s bridesmaids double-checked the dress prior to the ceremony.
And nobody was more excited and happy than Natalie’s mom, who couldn’t contain her happy tears.
The whole family was beaming as the big moment drew closer.
The guests were arriving and finding their spots on the plantation’s front yard.
Meanwhile, Natalie and I were behind the plantation, taking advantage of the atmospheric landscaping.
Leah was on hand, too, and she spent some time with Justin who was greeting guests at the ceremony site.
The beautiful bride was ready to go.
But the groom was the most excited. He was ready to marry!
Natalie was escorted down the aisle by her father, both of them smiling ear to ear.
Natatlie’s dad gave her a quick peck before taking his seat.
Justin’s grandmother was in the front row, and couldn’t have been prouder of, or happier for, her grandson.
Justin’s mom and dad choked up a little bit as the ceremony began.
I couldn’t imagine a better place to hold a New Orleans wedding.
Justin’s Best Man and brother-in-law served as his groomsmen.
One of the guests gave a reading in honor of Natalie and Justin.
And then it was time for Justin to make his wedding vow to Natalie.
Natalie’s bridesmaids had to dab at their eyes a little, too.
The vows were made and the rings exchanged…
…and then it was official! Natalie and Justin were married!
They began their marriage with a kiss…
…and then it was time to party.
Their recessional back into the plantation house featured a marching band.
It was the happiest parade ever, with all the guests singing and dancing in celebration.
Natalie and Justin love that New Orleans sound, and couldn’t stop moving their happy feet.
Cheers and a big round of applause as the band wrapped up.
But the party was far from over! Here, Natalie’s mom and niece pose for a picture inbetween visits with guests.
A subtle and refined portrait of the wedding party.
Natalie’s brother and his family sat down for picture, but the kids weren’t having it! They were ready for the party!
The kids (and the other guests) moved on to the party, while Natalie and Justin took a few minutes to themselves.
I captured this moment through a window in the dining room.
They rejoined the party and immediately shared their first dance as a married couple.
Next, Natalie was joined by her dad for a father/daughter dance.
Justin and his mother shared a dance as well.
Finally, it was Justin’s grandmother’s turn.
Cake time! Natalie had to check her makeup after she and Justin shared tastes of the gorgeous cake, baked by Swiss Confectionery.
Natalie’s brother and their cousin joined in on the cake-tasting festivities.
While everyone enjoyed their cake, Natalie’s dad took the microphone to thank everyone for joining him and his family.
Natalie’s Maid of Honor shared memories of the couple in her speech…
…and Justin’s Best Man had everyone laughing during his toast.
Natalie and her brother warmed up the dance floor with their dance performance, choreographed to REM’s “It’s the End of the World.”
The big finish!
While Natalie and her brother caught their breath, the rest of the guests grabbed their drinks and hit the dance floor.
And these guests were ready to PAR-TAY.
Everyone was movin’ and shakin’….
…especially Natalie’s mom! Go Mary Jo!
This is Anita. She and I originally met a long ways back when we were both working with a Chicago theater group. Small world!
Natalie’s brother Mark and his wife Ruta pose for a picture. I photographed their wedding, too!
This party was off the chain. Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, “Thriller” comes on and the partiers know the moves. This guests is demonstrating his zombie walk.
Doing the overhead clap part of the routine is tricky with a drink in your hand, though.
The party was RAGING, and it was just getting started.
The newlyweds rounded everyone up and got on a bus. We were Bourbon Street bound!
Justin surprised Natalie with their favorite New Orleans band when they exited the charter bus and stepped into the French Quarter.
Everyone was getting into it…
…and it was the perfect start to a Bourbon Street bar crawl!
Natalie and Justin stayed until the last note was played…
…and then made their way to the first bar.
A fellow (future?) bride shared her nuptial joy with Natalie. The necklace the gentleman passing through the frame is wearing adds the perfect touch of class and sophistication to this already elegant photo.
Everyone was feeling jolly and wanting to share in Natalie and Justin’s happiness.
Whew! It was a lot for this photographer to take in! We left the wedding party as they got down at this bar and headed back home.
It was an epic party for sure.
Thanks for inviting me, Natalie and Justin! You guys set the bar for New Orleans weddings!