When a bride gets in touch with you and tells you that she loves Northern Michigan, grew up in Grand Rapids, but now lives in New Orleans with her fiance and they are having a party at an art gallery that also happens to be a wedding AND 6 different types of cake, there is nothing in the world that would stop you from photographing this wedding.
Such was the case with Alli and Patrick.
Alli's family spends summers in Northport, MI, a stone's throw from Empire, and Alli found me through some Northern Michigan related searches. She and Patrick, her fiance from Georgia, were getting married in New Orleans at the Venusian Gardens Art Gallery, a neon focused gallery near the French Quarter. She wanted to know if I'd travel to the wedding.
Duh. Of course I would.
This wedding was so much fun. I probably shouldn't say it was the MOST fun I've ever had photographing a wedding, but it's very possible it was. Let's start with Alli and Patrick. Well. They are awesome. And hilarious. We were lucky enough to have dinner with them in November during the first leg of our trip when we swung through New Orleans and I can't remember the last time we laughed as hard as that night--between stories of our families and them giving us the whole dish on Mardi Gras, plus a delicious turkey gumbo that Alli whipped up, it was sort of the best night ever. So when we arrived back in New Orleans a few weeks ago for their wedding, Ian and I had no doubt it would be fantastic.
It was fantastic on steroids. It was like fantastic blew up all over the city. It was unreal.
Alli's dress--oh, just a beautiful custom made Wai Ching that just so happened to imitate the Lake Michigan colors in the summer (not a coincidence). The catering--just an amazing Bahn Mi food truck serving out authentic Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. The ceremony--oh, just about the coolest thing ever that started off with Patrick playing MC and announcing the whole gang, who entered to high fives and people cheering but ended with some really emotional vows and a really honest love. The dance party--oh, just the whole crew rocking out to Toto's Africa. I mean, I could go on and on. It was out of the world for real amazing.
Congratulations Alli and Patrick! We want to party with you for the rest of our lives. Really.
Ceremony and Reception venue: Venusian Gardens
Alli's dress: Wai Ching with lace from her grandma's wedding dress
Catering company: Lucky Rooster
Cake company: Debbie Does Doberge
Officiant: Rev. Lance "Varg" Vargas, a wonderful friend of the couple.
Florist: IRIS floral and event design studio
Pat's ring - Ash Hilton Jewelry
Invitation designer: A Printable Press
Patrick's suit brand: English Laundry from Men's Wearhouse
Alli's hair comb: Etsy
Alli's hair styling: Argerie Villalobos at Stardust Salon
Alli got ready at her apartment with just a few of her close friends. This really set the tone for the day--fun, casual, laid back and absolutely no stress at all. Patrick spent his morning/afternoon making sure the venue was ready to go. When he arrived back to the house, Alli was in her dress already, which was a lovely way to see one another for the first time.
With such a beautifully elaborate dress, Alli probably didn't even need flowers, but these amazing blooms from IRIS New Orleans really complimented the whole look.
A West Michigan nod with some Delft china, a collection of Alli's late grandparents.
Alli's custom made Wai Ching dress was by far one of the biggest hits of the night--whenever anyone saw her in it, their jaws literally dropped. This dress was drop dead gorgeous and Alli rocked it like awesomesauce.
Patrick's friends gave him a wedding gift of a giant marching drum as a throwback to his college days which they all signed. Below, Alli and Patrick's custom rings. Patrick's was etched with images of Spanish moss on trees as a tribute to his Georgia home.
In case the dress wasn't amazing enough, Alli was able to incorporate pieces of her grandmother's wedding dress by using some of the lace--a really special detail that made the dress a little more personal.
This is seconds after Patrick walked in the door and saw her in her dress--I love this photo!
For formal shots, we went to New Orleans City Park, a giant park in the middle of the city. This was a really nice portrait session because it was kept really small with one their immediate wedding party--we were able to have some super fun photography and then get on to the ceremony.
Patrick got the crowd all set for the ceremony by introducing his wedding party and bride to the Georgia fight song--to say it was a high energy night is an understatement.
Moments after being declared husband and wife, Alli celebrates!