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  • Donnna Coulon

Don’t sweat the small stuff!

Fun fact about this session - this photoshoot was never supposed to happen.



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Backstory: Shelly and Andrew Smith are good friends of ours! Andrew’s brother, Brian, was the best man at my wedding My husband, Grant, and the Smith’s all lived in the same neighborhood in high school and spent a great deal of time together in college.



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Shelley was introduced to me as Andrew’s girlfriend during Mardi Gras several years ago. Within minutes of meeting her, she’d offered me beer, a ham sandwich (along with condiments from her ice chest), and toilet paper to use in the porta-potties on the parade route; which are ALWAYS gross and are NEVER stocked with TP. There was no doubt in my mind we’d get along GREAT!



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Fast forward, Andrew and Grant once again share the same neighborhood and we’ve all gotten a chance to get to know each other a little better!, especially since my husband takes my toddler (and his dad-bod) out for a shirtless walk around the neighborhood daily! After Andrew popped the questions, I was honored when Shelley arranged for us to capture their wedding photos and videos, though a bit disappointed when she broke it to me that she had no plans to take advantage of her complimentary bridal session. I gently nudged her to change her mind, but all I received in return was a very sweet, “I’ll think about it!”



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A few weeks before her hair and makeup trial that was scheduled the week before her wedding, she calls me up and says, “Well, my hair and makeup will be done anyway - I just as soon not waste it. If you are available the Thursday they are scheduled, we can take a few photos!”

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My heart was so excited to schedule this shoot and I’m still swooning over this gallery!



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We all ride together to Parc Lafayette for her session and on the way, she realizes she forgot her bouquet. This would be a disaster for most brides so I brace for the stress storm and immediately go into troubleshooting mode, thinking of options for a quick black ops bouquet retrieval mission.



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“Do you want to turn around to get it? ….. Or maybe your mom can drop us off to start taking photos while she runs back to pick it up! …. I can even call Grant to pick it up and bring it over if there is a way for him to get into the house without a key?”


“Girl NO!” She replies laughing, “it’s not that big of a deal. I’m so not worried about it!”



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And THAT is the attitude that truly set the stage for everything that followed. Shelley owned her beautiful pearl pink dress and tiara. She did not stress over the snag in her vail or the dirt on her dress. She laughed when her mom accidentally stepped on one of the ruffles on her train, ripping it off completely. She was unbothered by the wind and didn’t take a single pose too seriously. In fact, nothing about this session was serious! We giggled so much, as Shelley vogued all over Parc Lafayette, posing in front of bridges, columns and walls, dancing the can-can, imitating statues, and climbed children’s playground equipment to bring home the point that she was the princess!





At some point, her mom spots her favorite flower, a magnolia, which Shelley decides would make the perfect bouquet, and as her face started to get sore from all the laughing and smiling - she treated everyone to Agave margaritas to relax her smile and make our last series of photos more of a fiesta!





Shelley’s personality absolutely shines through in this gallery and I still cannot believe she nearly didn’t give me the opportunity to capture them! She made a stunning bride and her session was one of THE most fun sessions I’ve ever had!





I know I can’t expect every bridal session to be as carefree or as fun as this one. I personally am a bit of a perfectionist and doubt I’d have responded well to something as simple as forgetting my bouquet. I shamefully admit that I nearly let forgetting my backup maternity outfit ruin my entire maternity session experience for my firstborn.



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There really is no need to overthink all the details and let them ruin what could be an amazing experience. I’ve heard event planners often say, “It’s all in the details.” While I agree that careful planning and attention to details are essential for beautiful results; my new daily motto is, “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” because too much concern over the tiny details will distract you from the big picture.



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Congratulations again to Shelley + Andrew! We love you guys and appreciate you sharing such great memories with us!



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