Southern Oaks Plantation

New Orleans, LA

Shelita & Michael

September 2018

I met Shelita and Michael at a wedding fair, along with her family, and we got on like a house on fire. When she asked me to photograph her wedding, I knew it would be a great day. Oh, and did I mention it was in New Orleans???

Their love story had me captivated. They met in the late 80s in San Francisco and dated for two years. During that time, Shelita attended college in San Francisco and Michael was working out of Los Angeles. Their attempt of maintaining a long distance relationship eventually became too much of a hardship and they parted ways. Fast-forward to 2014, they reunited as adults and on December 24, 2017, Michael popped the question at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in San Francisco.

Shelita & Michael had the most romantic fairytale of a wedding day with a touch of the south. I must admit to finding the weather a bit tough. The heat I can just about handle, but what was so different from a southern California wedding was the humidity and lack of an ocean breeze!

bride and groom portrait

As for the actual wedding.. For once I’m going to let the bride do the talking:

“My wedding was a wedding that just cannot be described by one adjective…It was Romantic, Captivating, Magical, Grand, Enchanting…a Celebration of Love under Christian Principles. The theme was Classic with a twist of Contemporary Southern Glam. The color palette was Classic Black and White. The Wedding was held in New Orleans, at Southern Oaks Plantation.  The wedding itself was an unplugged ceremony so guests can enjoy and take in the beautiful ceremony camera and social media free.

champagne at a wedding bride writing her vows detail of wedding dress being fastened Detail of bride having her make up done wedding guests taking a selfie Bride putting on her wedding dress Badgley Mischka shoes wedding dress in a window

The ceremony started off with immediate family from both sides and the officiant walking out of the Mansion as ‘So Amazing’ by Luther Vandross piped throughout the grounds.  Individually serenading and waving to all invited guests dressed in their “Something Blue” as requested by the Bride and Groom. Once all family members were seated, the Officiant stood between the large white pillars of the mansion awaiting the bridal parties entrance from the rear of the grounds.  The bridesmaids passed the historic fountain to the sounds of a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “As” sung by Anthony Hamilton and Marsha Ambrosius .

Now, here comes the anticipated moment of still quiet and the trickling of the water spilling from the fountain and the heavily ornamented white horses from behind the mansion.  I can hear the surprise of the unexpected entrance and the sounds of the acapella version of the Lord’s Prayer sung so carefully and beautifully as I rode to the back of the aisle.  I can see the trees lighting up as I passed and the sun was at a perfect sunset. It was unbelievable, it felt like I was in a movie, so surreal. Once the carriage stopped, my heart is racing and the tears could not stop rolling down my face.  I had to take it all in. I stepped down and the music started, “Best Part” Daniel Caesar and H.E.R. My Brother, Nathan was on my left and my Uncle Carlos was on my right.

bride walking down the aisle bride walking down the aisle bridesmaid and groomsman flower girl at wedding Groom anxiously waits for his bride groom waiting for his bride beautiful wedding venue bride and groom exchanging rings groom smiling at his bride bride exchanging wedding ring bridesmaids groomsmen newlyweds

I saw him from afar, Michael, my husband and as I got closer we both smiled and I can hear whispers of wow, she is gorgeous, wow, her dress, beautiful, graceful, blessed.  Again, I was taking it all in…Our ceremony was a christian ceremony, we were administered communion, we said vows and we jumped the broom. Once our feet hit the ground, the music started Natalie Cole “This will be”, family and friends cheered us on as we walked out to the white horse and carriage which started our new life as one.  Now the celebration is heating up with New Orleans enhancements we were escorted by a brass band second-line led by ZULU Tramps marching under the moss filled Oak trees around the plantation along with streamers and fireworks lighting the sky over the river. The band played and escorted all of our guests inside the mansion to an open bar and a taste of New Orleans waiting as they arrived in.  Food and drinks were awaiting their arrival – laissez le bon temps rouler!”

bride and groom recessional

wedding jazz band zulu tramps jazz band at a wedding

groom dancing at wedding bride and groom dancing at wedding

portrait of a bride inside southern oaks plantation bridal portrait southern oaks plantation inside southern oaks plantation guest book at wedding wedding cake zulu tramps

bride and groom

bride and groom during speech first dance bride and groom first dance bride with her sisters bride and her friends bouquet toss groom garter toss groom and garter toss bride during money dance bridal portrait bride and groom photo

I hope you enjoyed this look into Shelita and Michael’s fairytale wedding at Southern Oaks Plantation.  I wish this beautiful couple a lifetime of happiness together…Thank you for letting me be a part of your celebration.

Please join me in giving special thanks to some of the wedding vendors that helped make this day possible:

Ceremony & reception venue: Southern Oaks Plantation, New Orleans, LA

Bride’s dress: Martina Liana

Bride’s shoes: Badgley Mischka

Bridesmaids dresses: Betsy & Adam

Second-line: Zulu Tramps

Wedding planning: Addictive Avents

Flights: United Airlines