“Laissez Bon Temps Roulez!” is New Orleans’ mantra. For those northerners who don’t know what that means here’s the translation: Let the good times roll! At Kelley and Sean’s New Orleans infused wedding Bon Temps abounded.
The two started their day in beautiful two story suites at the Langham hotel where the staff did everything under the sun to make the day perfect for these two Boston College alums. The Langham even came to the rescue when the local cab drivers didn’t know how to get to acorn street to bring Sean to the big reveal. They drove him and my new second shooter, Beth Ann Fricker who is an amazing photographer and also loves to dance (JOY!), in their retro style pink taxi. Back at the girls’ suite we were none the wiser, busy getting hair and make up done by Wedding Tresses. Everyone was kept right on schedule by wedding coordinator Emilie Chang of Pink Orchid Weddings. Kelley personalized all her bridesmaids gifts which included pink robes that had each girl’s initials embroidered on it and a navy and white clutch with their first initial stamped inside the bag. The personalization didn’t stop there, Kelley even had custom water bottles made with labels that said Kelley and Sean and had a little fleur-de-lis. The hanger for her wedding dress had the wire shaped into the words Mrs. Murphy. And the pièce de résistance was a small decorative porcelain dish, to be used by the ring bearer, with their names inscribed along with the date of their wedding and two blue ribbons to hold their wedding rings. For her something old and something blue, Kelley had her grandmother’s blue earrings clipped to her bouquet. She also put blue crystals that spelled out “I Do” on the bottom of her shoes.
Once Kelley was ready, Dave from Black Tie Limo took Kelley, Jon Schmiz of Waves Media, and myself out to Acorn Street for a dramatic big reveal. Working with Dave and Jon was like a dream. You couldn’t ask for better vendors. Dave tended to the couple’s every need and coordinated pick up and drop offs with me with a smile. Jon was their videographer who I felt was so in sync with Beth and I, he seemed like he was part of our team, rather than a separate vendor. We worked together at each location to come up with a plan so that both of us could get the shots we wanted without being in the other’s way. Then it was time for the big reveal. Sean’s mom had warned me in advance that it would take a miracle to capture a real smile out of him. I knew that since we were doing a big reveal that wouldn’t be a problem. It was a private moment (well as private as it can be with 2 photographers and a videographer filming your every move) and the joy he felt upon seeing Kelley in her stunning dress overtook any typical awkwardness in front of a camera. I love the tenderness you can feel right through the black and white shot of the two of them as Sean embraces her for the first time that day. It’s such a real moment, and it’s capturing shots like that make me so glad to be a wedding photographer.
After doing a short portrait session on Acorn Street, which I thought made for a good stand in for the French Quarter, Dave drove us back to lovely Post Office Square for the bridal party and family formals. During a quick picture break Jon shared some of the beautiful footage he had captured with Kelley and Sean. Beth and Jon went on to the historic Old South Meeting House for the ceremony and I went back to the Langham with Kelley and her mom to put on her veil. She wanted to keep one last little element a surprise for her big walk down the aisle. Before the couple made their big entrances, Emilie made sure that everything was in it’s proper place. I though the guys’ boutonniere’s were super cool since they used magnets, rather than the traditional pins, to stay on. I was pleased when I arrived to see that the lights had been set just as Rachel — the very helpful on-site coordinator at the meeting house — and I practiced the week before so that Beth and I could shoot without flash, while still maintaining the ambiance of the venue. I loved how open the venue was. It allowed me to get some unique views that I don’t typically get the chance to shoot, like the one of Kelley’s face as her father is giving her away.
After the ceremony Dave took us back to Post Office Square one final time for a few bridal portraits with Kelley’s veil on while Beth went on to the Boston College Club for the reception to get stunning shots of all the beautiful details. The views of the city were incredible up there. The Club’s wide open windows allowed for the ballroom to be bathed in the warm glow of the sunset. The staff was as warm as the sunset, making them a great team to work with. The tables were named after streets in Kelley and Sean’s home towns and everything was decked out in the wedding colors of coral, navy, and white. For the smaller guests they had entertainment kits that included glow sticks, funny noses, and things to color that kept them happy all night long. The party was tons of fun but what really blew my mind was the attention to even the subtle details. Both the cake and even the drink stirrers had little fleur-de-lis on them. The New Orleans pralines at the candy bar had a sticker on them that said “Life is Sweet” and “Sean and Kelley” with a big M for Murphy on it. The chinese take out boxes had navy and white medallions on them that had the date and said ‘The Murphy’s THANK YOU!” with a matching coral bow. The cake also had traditional southern cake pull charms for the bridesmaids instead of a bouquet toss. Each charm — a ring, a dollar sign, a fleur-de-lis, an airplane, a shoe, and a button — symbolizes a fortune or prediction for the future and is a sweet memento of the wedding celebration. The one charm no one wanted to get is the button, which portends being an old maid!
After the cake cutting things really started to get rolling when the DJ had the guests compete for the centerpieces. This involved passing a dollar bill around the table without using your hands and dancing around the the table. For those who’s feet were sore after a day of dress shoes, white and navy flip flops were made available for guests. During Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” some of the more raucous guests found these flip flops to be great make shift microphones. When people weren’t dancing it up they were loving the iPad same day slide show. I loved seeing how happy Kelley was as she was getting her first glimpses of her images. The night was capped off with some amazing dance moves from the Murphy men and Kelley and Sean showing us all how to really get down! They sure did the big easy proud that night.
Dress: Alencon lace fit and flare, Liv Harris from Vows
Bridesmaids Dresses: J. Crew
Men’s suits: JoS. A. Bank
Flowers: Edison Chae of Madison Floral
Fleur-de-lis: a symbol often associated with areas first named or settled by the French, and particularly associated with New Orleans.