What happens when you’re a photographer and try to attend a wedding as a guest? It doesn’t work all that well 🙂
This post has been a long time coming…..after seven years my close friend Nikki Nicole got married to her honey in New Orleans.
Going back a ways, about two years ago I got invited to be a part of something we all now refer to as “GNO – girls night out.” Each month a group of four women (all photographers) get together to eat, drink, and talk about everything – what’s going on in our business, what’s going on in our lives, what our goals are, etc. This group means so much to me and we all relish our time together. So many people think that it’s strange that I’m friends with my “competition” but in truth we all make each other better. A quote I once heard was: “A rising tide raises all ships,” and one of the things I love about CT is that that lesson was long ago taken to heart….and people help each other out.
We joked that Nikki’s wedding would be our GNO-NOLA but obviously it was so much more.
I flew down with Jane and despite being laid over in Dallas for six hours we finally arrived to this wonderful welcome – Ms. Nikki Nicole had been busy DIY-ing some welcome boxes!
I didn’t take my camera out that first night but after dinner at Mr. B’s Bistro we met up with everyone else at the Carousel Bar (yes it spins….pretty crazy). It was a fun night but we called it quits relatively early knowing that the next day would be full.
We woke up to…..rain. Buckets of it. I did some scouting around for umbrellas and then joined Nikki in her suite where she was getting ready and generally not letting it rain on her parade (ha!) – she was keeping it in perspective and still having a blast 🙂
The picture below is for me quintessential Nikki Nicole – I wish there was sound so you could hear the laugh that accompanies it 🙂
Carla was lead shooter so from this point on I was just a second – kind of fun to play that role!
Being the smarty-pants photographer that she is, Nikki and Rob chose to do a first look – always an excellent decision 🙂 The rain stopped for a few minutes so Carla set up the shot in the courtyard just outside of Nikki’s room. The moments leading up to the first look are always such a whirlwind of emotion and logistics that it’s fun to see it go so well 🙂
(and check out those fabulous Jimmy Choos!!!)
After the first look the rain started again but then stopped….of course we all had our I-Phones out trying to look at radar but Nikki just said let’s go for it so we headed out to canal street with their “bridal party” – their two closest friends.
Can you get any more New Orleans?
And then the rain started again….and it poured. We snuck into an alley and photographed there for about twenty minutes. We were originally planning to do family portraits before the ceremony but realized it made more sense to keep photographing portraits. A good lesson – always be ready for a change of plans!
And then all of a sudden the clouds started parting and the sun came out….and that was the last of the rain 🙂
The light lit up my beautiful friend
We were quite a pack – as I mentioned Carla was the lead shooter with Nikki’s associate Ty bringing up the formal second shooting role. Jim Altieri of Vintage Cinema (and his wife Mary) was documenting the day on video and then Jane and I were just tagging along. Did I mention that I thought I’d stop shooting and change for the wedding so I was wearing khakis, a sweater, and clogs?? Sometimes you just have to go with it 🙂
Work it. Own it.
I suppose we’ll let Rob share the spotlight 🙂
Love that crinkled up Nikki Nicole smile 🙂
Dancing in the street
Right after I took the shot above I looked down at my camera and saw the battery was blinking…..DOH! By this point I had shot about 45 minutes longer than I planned to (thinking that I’d take a few getting ready shots and then be done) and knew I had to sneak back to the hotel before the wedding started if I wanted to keep shooting. So I started hoofing it down Canal Street as all the guests were walking towards the wedding. I sprinted back to the room to grab another battery and thankfully ran into Nikki’s parents in the lobby so knew I had a few minutes.
After checking in with Carla I ran to the back of the “aisle” to be with Nikki and her Dad moments before the ceremony. As the lead shooter I am ALWAYS at the bottom of the aisle so it was fun to be at the top for once.
A bystander asked Nikki and her Dad for a photo so I snapped these while he was taking his – I have to say some of my favorite photos are when people are posing for someone else since you can wait and catch the expressions after.
And then it was time to begin! Nikki & Rob got married in the middle of the street very informally – their guests were directed to a street corner and everything just came together. It was SO Nikki and so special 🙂
Guests. Bystanders. The awesome Young Pinstripe Bass Brand….a total hodge podge 🙂
Making it official!
COME ON – of course I was crying and shooting watching this – so happy for both of them.
Mr. & Mrs.!!!!
And then the parade started. I’ve only attended one other parade post wedding and they are SO MUCH FUN. The emotion that happens right after a wedding is just unparalleled and to channel that energy and fun into a parade with music swelling is just one of a kind. My strongest memory of this wedding is around this moment with all of us parading down the street while the band played a faster version of “what a wonderful world.” What a wonderful memory!
The one and only Ms. Nikki Nicole (she always calls me Amanda Harris so I’ll always refer to her as Nikki Nicole!)
Love this one – jubilation!
The Young Pinstripe Band was truly awesome
Happy happy 🙂
We reached the Hotel Mazarin (which lucky for them has the only covered courtyard in New Orleans) and I took a few quick detail shots before heading up to my room for a quick shower and change
Thankfully my friend Paul texted me to tell me that the first dance was about to start…..as I was racing downstairs from my room I caught a good angle on it 🙂
My awesome GNO group 🙂 (thanks to Ty Foster for the photo!!)
I let Carla take over for the reception but grabbed my camera for one final shot as the party was in full swing but before we headed out to Bourbon street for fun times until the wee hours of the morning!!
Nikki & Rob – love and congratulations to both of you – what a fitting and festive way to begin your marriage – I was honored to be there 🙂