CINCO DE MAY-DO: Tequilla, Tacos, & A Wedding To Remember!
Updated: May 27, 2021
On March 19th I had a phone call with Stefanie for the first time. I only mention the date specifically to demonstrate just how different her wedding was from others we’ve attended. During the call, she talks to me about plans for a Cinco De Mayo wedding [less than two months away]. The wedding would be a simple ceremony with only the immediate family on a Wednesday, of all days. I assumed it was a pandemic-related decision, but later learned it was even simpler. I’ll explain, but not until the end.
On Cinco De Mayo 2021, I pull in at a place called, “Wedding’s by Dan,” in Lafayette; AKA - Reverend Dan’s personal residence. This sweet man transformed his own backyard into such an adorable and quaint wedding venue - perfect for small ceremonies, especially during the pandemic era of wedding downsizing. Sadly, I’d be lying to say that was my first impression! While I try not to have expectations when I arrive at weddings, at first glance, I certainly didn’t expect to be super inspired in terms of unique blog-worthy images (yet here we are!) It looked like most rural subdivision homes in this area. I immediately started planning in my head how to use all the photography tricks I know, (smoke and mirrors), to eliminate anything that might distract from beautiful nuptial vibes. But that soon changed.
As soon as I walk in, I’m ushered to the dressing room where Stefanie is getting ready with her mom. It was a small space with vibrant blue walls and glass, love-inspired nicknacks covering all the shelves and bureaus. It was less vintage chic and more aged grandma, and while it might not seem like it, I mean that as a sincere compliment. So often, we find ourselves in these regal getting-ready rooms designed to be thematic and devoid of any distractions, but they can be cold, lacking those genuine personal touches. This room felt warmer and like home. I loved everything about it, including the doily table cloths and crystal bells and birds everywhere, reminding me of my great grandmother, “mom-da”, who I dearly miss. She decorated her house in a similar way.
I was already wrapped up in my feelings when Stefanie started reading her letter from Jared. As she wiped her tears - I couldn’t help but imagine her as an old lady, showing these wedding photos to her grandkids someday.
Afterward, I headed to the backyard and as I opened the back doors I felt like I’d just walked over the “Bridge to Terabithia” into a sea of greenery and flowers. There was a perfectly manicured lawn, shaped hedges, and colorful things blossoming. The typical white backyard privacy fence was covered in beautiful green vines and instead of seeing rooftops of neighboring houses, there were beautiful overhanging oak limbs with sunlight dancing through the leaves. I walk up to the archway set at the end of his patio where the ceremony would be held and turn around to look back at the same house that had underwhelmed me when I arrived. This time all I could see was the charm.
The Reverend took special care in preparing his backyard and patio. While its simplicity might not be the ideal wedding aisle backdrop for everyone, I fell in love with this little location and appreciated Dan working so hard to create a space where you could really feel love. (Yes, I know it SOUNDS cheesy, but if you’d have been there, you’d have felt it too!) It’s definitely one of Lafayette’s best-kept secrets.
The ceremony was quick; they said “I do,” signed their certificates, posed for photos, and headed out for Tacos and Margaritas.
We met the following day to take more breathtaking couple's photos around River Ranch, where Jared and Stefanie used to spend a lot of time together when they were dating. It may have still been Cinco De Mayo excitement that just hadn’t worn off yet, but the vibe of their session was definitely celebration. We hung out like old friends, walking and talking, dancing in the streets, and cuddling on the stoops of random houses! It was awesome - and with these two stunning individuals, I literally couldn’t take a bad photo if I tried!
Even after the sun went down, we rode the party wave a little longer, going for Mexican and margaritas for a second night (can you really ever have enough tequila and tacos?) That’s when I learned Stefanie is as intelligent as she is beautiful - having just graduated in New Orleans to become a physician's assistant. Some view medical professionals as intimidating - but that’s not my worldview. Maybe it’s having a sister who is a PA or being blessed to have had wonderful medical professionals in my life, but Stefani’s warmth is what makes her fit for her career as much or more than her intellect. In sitting with the Theriot's over chips and dip, I realized they spent most of their time asking me questions. As someone who takes time to get to know my couples and hear their origin stories, it took me entirely too long to realize they’d flipped the script on me and had let me do most of the talking! It just shows how genuine they are. Up until that point, Jared struck me as the “more than meets the eye” type, listening and observing more than he was commenting. By the end of our two-part photo session, however, I found a softness I hadn’t originally - though I’m not sure he’d appreciate me outing him!
Both Stefani and Jared had the best open energy and engaging personalities, it’s no wonder they found each other. I’m glad they did because I sincerely loved shooting their wedding and the entire experience that went along with it. The only trouble I could foresee in their future is that Jared is terrible with recalling numbers - which must be tough for someone like Stefanie who can remember the birth dates and anniversaries of all her nearest and dearest, past and present. Luckily, she decided to take it easy on him and get married on a date he could easily remember - even if the tequila makes him forget how they spend their anniversary each year!
Congrats to the Theriot's, we wish you all the best and many years of Mexican food and marital bliss!