Why You Should Throw a “Big Easy” Mardi Gras Wedding

You don’t have to be religious or from the south to love a great Mardi Gras party. I mean who doesn’t love a full day of binge eating your favorite foods or a night of drunken revelry that comes with free colorful costume jewelry (aka Mardi Gras beads)! We know there are literally thousands of ways to plan your wedding, but a Mardi Gras wedding should absolutely be in the running. So, when you do decide, make sure I’m there to catch what will inevitably be fantastic photo memories! However, if you need to be convinced further, just keep reading.

New Orleans Flag

Reason 1: Have Any Venue You Want with a Tuesday Wedding

Weddings are expensive, especially if you are eyeballing a Saturday wedding.  Most popular venues are booked for Saturdays a year out. This means two things: 1. Saturdays are extremely popular, and it may be difficult to get the date you want and 2. This high demand equals high prices.  Weekday dates are much lower in price because of the lower demand (think anywhere from 10-25% lower), and you can have your pick of dates and venue.

I know what you may be thinking, “who will want to take off during the week to come to my wedding?”  For some perspective, 1.5 million Americans called in sick the day after the Super Bowl, so have no fear, we know how to plan for recovery and sacrifice for a good party. You can also look at it another way and realize that though having a Tuesday wedding may keep some people away, your wedding guest will be made up of the people who truly love you and won’t let anything stop them from celebrating with you.

Wedding Guests

Reason 2: Shrove Tuesday and Pancakes

Great Food, Masks, Parades, and King Cake.  Mardi Gras traditions simply cannot be beat. There is so much history and culture tied into the holiday that you have your pick of customs to implement into your wedding. First, it starts with the name Mardi Gras, also known as “Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday.” In Christian culture Mardi Gras is celebrated the day before “Ash Wednesday.” Ash Wednesday is the start of the Lenten season, which is a time of penitence and fasting. So historically, Fat Tuesday was also known as “Pancake Tuesday” because celebrants would try to use up all their butter, sugar and dairy prior to lent by making and pigging out on pancakes.  Over time it has evolved into a day of celebration and total debauchery. Your last chance to get in all the fun before the 40 days of sacrifice that lent requires. Sounds like the perfect time for a wedding celebration to me.  But the tradition itself is the eating of the pancakes.  If you are considering a unique twist on your reception dinner, maybe throw in a pancake bar complete with ready made pancakes and all the toppings you could imagine.  Sort of a “do-it-yourself” IHOP. 

Wedding Dinner

Reason 3: Masks, Not Just for Halloween

Besides the food, Mardi Gras is known for its beautiful masks. Early on in New Orleans Mardi Gras history, revelers wore masks keep their identities secret, to avoid being bound by societies norms and be free to participate in not-totally-acceptable ways. This also gave them the opportunity to mingle with whoever they wanted. Consider implementing this into your Mardi Gras wedding.  Add a bundle of creative masks to your photo booth station and let your guests get as wild and creative as they want.

Mardi Gras Indians

Reason 4: King Cake. Need I Say More?

I absolutely could not write a piece about a Mardi Gras wedding without mentioning the King Cake. The traditional New Orleans King Cake is decorated with purple, green, and gold sugar icing. They can be plain or filled with cream cheese or nuts. A plastic baby is placed inside the cake and the tradition states that whoever gets the piece with the baby must throw the next party.  Consider a twist on this tradition for your wedding.  Instead of throwing the bouquet or the garter, offer the single ladies or men at your reception a piece of King Cake and the one who gets the baby, gets the bouquet or the garter instead and is next in line for a wedding.

Wedding Second Line

Reason 5: The “Second Line” Parade

Finally, we cannot forget the parade.  Okay this last one may not be a strictly Mardi Gras tradition, but it certainly has its roots in New Orleans. It’s called the “second line”. The “second line” is a tradition for brass band parades. It’s made up of those who follow the band as they parade in the street, just to enjoy the music, and traditionally twirl a parasol or handkerchief in the air. This “dance” is called “second lining.”  Many New Orleans couples have been led to the reception or out of it via second line. Yall, can you imagine being led into your reception by a brass band, twirling a parasol, with your wedding guests behind you, ready to party New Orleans Mardi Gras style?  I mean, does it get any fancier than that??

Wedding Second Line

Are You Convinced Yet?

I hope this little history of Mardi Gras traditions and how you can integrate them into your wedding inspired you to go full “Krewe.” Once you have, contact me and I’ll be ready with photo booth, camera and beads in hand.

Mardi Gras beads

Napa engagement session

Napa Engagement Session | Sarah + Tanner

Sarah and Tanner really wanted their engagement session to feel like a normal day and didn’t want anything too posed or formal.  They had fallen in love with my work through their friend Kelley, whose engagement session to her now husband Neal, was a romp around San Francisco.  Since Sarah and Tanner had already planned a trip with her family out to California, we decided to all meet for a Sunday funday together for their Napa engagement session.  It was a blast!  We played bocce and picnicked at their bungalow on a vineyard to start, took in an incredible vista, went wine tasting at the winery that Tanner’s brother works at, Ashes and Diamonds, and all finished up at an incredible dinner in town at one of their favorite spots.  It was such a great way to get to know the two of them and I had such a blast exploring one of my favorite places.  I’ve since been back to Ashes and Diamonds multiple times because I absolutely fell in love with their wine and I am super excited to photograph their wedding in Aspen, CO over Labor Day weekend this year!

Napa Engagement Session

Aspen Grove Wedding

Aspen Grove Wedding | Incline Village, NV | Kelsey + Nick

Nick and Kelsey met in college at UNR and now reside in Las Vegas, NV.  They were excited to wed in Lake Tahoe and their venue is one of my absolute favorites in the area – it always has amazing light, regardless of the time of day and although it’s right in the heart of Incline Village, NV, you feel tucked away into your own private space.  Their Aspen Grove wedding was an absolute blast from start to finish.

Nick and Kelsey’s friends and family were right up my alley: whiskey drinking, dance floor maniacs that spent the whole day laughing.  Their dance floor was epic from the get go: both Kelsey and Nick were crowdsurfing at one point and the end of the night culminated with pants being torn off a groomsmen.

 Related note: shout out to Kelsey for being part of a really amazing non-profit that I considered as my recipient for this year.  She’s on the board of S.A.F.E. House, a comprehensive anti-domestic violence organization that offers free 1) shelter, 2) advocacy and counseling services, 3) community education to end domestic violence. The organization serves primarily women and children in Southern Nevada, but also serves men who are victims of domestic violence, as well folks from outside Nevada.  If you aren’t aware, I pick a different non-profit beneficiary every year to give a percentage of my sales to and I always choose one that is directly connected to my clients. 

Venue: Aspen Grove | Catering: Aspen Grove | Florist: Moana Nursery | Bride’s Attire: Celebration’s Bridal | Groom Attire: Brooks Brothers | DJ: Lake Tahoe DJ | Second Photographer: Annie Robillard 

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Chart House Wedding

Chart House Wedding | Ashley + Tim

Once upon a time, two people named Ashley and Tim hired me to be their Chart House wedding photographer and to do an engagement session with them in my hometown of Dallas, TX but really what’s really important is that we got drunk and ate pizza and they met my mom and we became best friends forever.   

True story.

Tim is from Northern CA and he convinced Ashley that they should get married in Tahoe in August of this past year.  She was very concerned that it was going to rain.  “It never rains in Tahoe in the summer,” Tim assured her over and over.  “It NEVER rains in Tahoe in the summer!” I exclaimed with ultimate authority over and over.


But thankfully it poured seconds AFTER their ceremony and stopped by the first dance so clearly they are going to have the best of luck for the rest of their lives, which is what we tell people so that they feel better when it rains on their wedding day but is actually a lie.

Second true story.

Ashley’s aunts can really break it down on the dancefloor.  

Third true story.

Also, I went home with one of their wedding guests.

True or false?  You decide.

We were also all super pumped to do a post wedding portrait session and we went tromping all over the rocks out at Angora Lakes a few days later so I included some of those gorgeous images at the end of their wedding images.

Venue: The Chart House | Florist: Thran’s | DJ: Cornerstone Entertainment | Bride’s Attire: Allure Bridals from Terry Costa | Bridesmaid Attire: Lulu’s | Groom’s Apparel: J Crew | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Rentals: Camelot Party Rentals

Chart House Wedding Chart House Wedding Bride and Groom

Holly's Ocean Bluff Wedding

Holly’s Ocean Bluff Wedding | Fort Bragg, CA | Simon + Vanessa

This Holly’s Ocean Bluff wedding is too special not to blog right away.  Simon and Vanessa came to me by way of a former wedding.  Simon’s sister, Kendra and her now husband Tom, hired me to photograph their wedding last summer.  It was one of my favorite weddings of the year because their friends and family were so vibrant, generous in spirit, and welcoming of Nicky and I.  When Simon and Vanessa became engaged, they immediately reached out to me about photographing their wedding as well.  It always makes me feel incredibly special to be part of a family for multiple events – whether it be watching families grow and share and capturing their portraits, or photographing multiple weddings for the same family.

When I showed up for Simon and Vanessa’s rehearsal dinner celebration (tacos and wine mind you – I think it was actually planned just for me), Uncle Glenn told me that I did such a good job on Kendra and Tom’s wedding that I could definately “take it easy this time and phone it in.”  Needless to say, I did no such thing and a lot of fun, a beautiful ceremony overlooking an ocean bluff, family formals in the rain, some insanely delicious food, and an exceptionally raucous dance party filled their amazing day.

It was so fun to see so many of Simon and Kendra’s good friends and family members for the 2nd year in a row.  Being hired repeatedly is an honor that I do not take lightly and I hope that Simon and Vanessa love their wedding photos as much as I loved taking them.

Venue: Holly’s Ocean Meadow | Coordinator: Sonya Houston from Mendocino Weddings | Florist: Rosa Wyglendowski of L&R Farms | Catering: Karina’s Catering | DJ: DJ DLT | Bride’s Attire: BHLDN | Hair and Makeup: Marianella from M Salon | Rentals: Matt Rowland Events | Second Photographer: Chris Arson


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What to wear to your family portrait

What to Wear in your Family Portraits

I am constantly getting queried by clients on what to wear in your family portraits, so I thought that a handy dandy blog post on the subject matter was required! I promise, you are not the only head of household that’s been stressed by the daunting task of trying to figure out what to pack for your family vacation portrait session. It’s not that hard when you break it down simply, I promise!

What to wear at your family portrait

1.   You want to pick coordinating colors, but not matching!

For family portraits, it’s best if you pick 3 coordinating colors such as two brights and a neutral to work with so that everyone is coordinated but not too matchy-matchy.  This color wheel tool is a great way to choose complimentary coordinating base colors.

what to wear in your family portrait

2.  Use your accessories to add pops of your colors.

With two primary colors and one neutral, you can mix and match your colors as much as you want.  If someone in your family tends to be more subdued, they can still dress without bright colors and bring in that pop of coordinating color through their accessories.

What to wear at your family portrait

3.  Still stuck? Consider placement.

Are you filling space on one of your walls with a print from your session?  Consider the colors in your home (which are probably the ones that make you happy) when picking your color scheme.  If you love your orange and turquoise living room, then  start there!  If you’re a family of Aggies, don’t be hesitant to show off your colors!

What to wear in your family portrait

4.  Jewel tones work great but stay away from greens

Taking photos in the Tahoe forest?  Don’t blend in!  Greens don’t pop very well against our all green forest, but other jewel tones like dark blues, golds, and plums, look great!

what to wear in your family portrait

5.  Limit patterns, logos and branding.

Say no to anything with big logos or branding and limit patterns, especially on adults.  Patterns often tend to read too busy on adults.  That being said, small children in patterns is a great choice to compliment your color scheme!  It adds a mini-dose of fun to any portrait.

What to wear in your family portraits

6.  All white or all black: just say no.

All white?  Sends you straight back to the 90s yo!  This isn’t a Florida beach photo.

What to wear in your family portrait

7.  Keep it classy, San Diego.

Stay away from trends and hip current fashion.  Keep it classy and classic – especially when it comes to high school senior portraits.  It will prevent your photos from looking dated in a few years.

Chateau Winter Wedding

Chateau Winter Wedding | Incline Village, NV | Lisa + Jeff

Any couple who has It’s Its instead of cake is cool in my book, literally and figuratively.

I know Lisa and Jeff because of Lisa’s sister in law, who has been a good friend and client of mine for many years. I’ve watched Lisa’s nephew, Jack, grow up over the years. I think I was supposed to be taking photos of Lisa and Jeff’s wedding but what I was really doing was taking photos of Jack.  His cuteness is irrefutable.

Lisa and Jeff, I’ll always be the fifth wheel on dinner dates with you and the fam.  I know y’all are going to have a lifetime of happiness together purely based on the simplicity, genuineness and care put into your wedding day.  Weddings that are about spending time with the ones closest to you, and not about burlap, have a special loving place in my heart and I’m so honored to have been part of yours.

May your lives be filled with whiskey, wine and laughter.

Venue: The Chateau at Incline Village | Coordinator: Cloud 9 Event Company | Florist: High Sierra Gardens | Hair and Makeup: Michelle at L’Atelier | Bride’s Attire: David’s Bridal | Groom’s Attire: Jos A Bank | DJ: Lake Tahoe DJ | Bakery: It’s-It

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Sugar Pine Point Portrait

Anniversary Portrait | Sugar Pine Point | LeeAnn + Sam

LeaAnn and Sam were in Tahoe on an anniversary getaway: they were celebrating 25 years of marriage!  They had originally honeymooned in Tahoe and were excited to see how the area had changed in their absence.

An anniversary portrait is a great way to celebrate years of marriage together and although Sam was a self-professed portrait disliker, he was nothing but smiles for his beautiful wife during their session at Sugar Pine Point State Park.

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Tahoe Boudoir

Announcing 2017 Tahoe Boudoir Mini Sessions!

Because every woman deserves gorgeous photos of herself.

Because it’s absolutely wonderfully insanely confidence inspiring and liberating to participate in.

Because you should love yourself the way you are and accept the way you are today.

Because it’s about celebrating your beauty, whether it’s laughter filled or curvy.  Whether you are wearing boy shorts or lingerie or nothing.

Because you should be gentle on yourself for all the time you wish you had to take better care of yourself, but you should be honest with yourself that we are human and busy and perfect as you are.

Because it makes a really amazing gift to yourself, or to your partner.

Because every once in awhile, you should celebrate yourself.

Tahoe Boudoir

These days filled up fast last year!  Don’t wait!


Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA

Dates: Friday, Feb 24


• Professional Hair & Makeup by Tahoe Salon Be
• Champagne & Mimosas upon arrival
• 30 minutes of shooting time
• 25-35 finished high resolution images in a password protected gallery
• Print Release
• Choice between an 8×12 metal print or a 5×7 Magazine Style Press Printed Book (valued at $105!)
• Product Delivery by March 15th

Investment: $350

Boudoir Lake Tahoe


Sessions begin with 45 minutes of hair & makeup, followed by your 30-minute shoot.

When booking, please note your preferred session date & time. The times listed below apply to Friday 2/24.  Spots will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

8:15 – 9:30 AM
9:15 – 10:30 AM
10:15 – 11:30 AM
11:15 – 12:30 AM

1:15 – 2:30 PM
2:15 – 3:30 PM
3:15 – 4:30 PM
4:15 – 5:30 PM

To secure your spot, a signed contract & $100 retainer payment are due upon booking, with the remaining balance due two days before your session date.

Tahoe Boudoir


Q) What is a boudoir mini-session?

A) A boudoir mini session is a half hour photo-shoot booked on a select weekend.  The cost is significantly lower since we book multiple portrait shoots all in one weekend.  You book a time slot for your hair, makeup, & photo shoot.  The lovely ladies from Tahoe Salon Be will be on-site for professional hair and make-up, to create a look that you love that matches what you’ve brought to wear.  We’ll have champagne, mimosas and snacks!

Boudoir photography is a great gift to yourself and your partner, which is why we’re holding this before Valentine’s Day!  Often, we get so busy and in such a routine that we forget to take care of ourselves, treat ourselves or feel beautiful.

Q) How do I contact you to book?
A) Email me at Lauren@laurenlindley.com or hit the contact button at the top of the website.

Q) How much is it to book my slot for the photo-shoot?
A) A $100 deposit is due upon booking. That amount will then be applied to your package.  The remaining balance is due two days before the date of the photo-shoot. After your shoot you will be able to view/select your top 20 photos from your online (password-protected) gallery to be included in your book or select your favorite image to be placed on a gorgeous 8×12 metal print.  You can choose between a black or red leather cover OR black or red suede cover for your album. Additional prints or products may be ordered directly from your album.  Books may be upgraded to a larger size, if you so choose.  Email me fore more info and prices.

Q) How should I arrive for my shoot? What should I all bring?

A) Once you book your time slot, I will email you an info email full of tips on how to prep for your shoot, what to bring and how to arrive, but in short, bring 1-3 outfits or your favorite lingerie.  For some folks, this might mean boy shorts, and for others, it might mean lace.  We can brainstorm ahead of time for something that fits you.  When I modeled, I actually had nothing with me and I ended up borrowing a lacy bra I wouldn’t wear in a million years but it ended up looking amazing and I felt totally comfortable in the moment in it.

Q) What if I’m nervous?  

It’s totally normal to be nervous beforehand, but I promise the experience is fun, liberating and you will mostly be so distracted by the extremely specific directions I’m giving you that you won’t have time to think about anything else except which hand is your left and where you are supposed to move it.

Q) What is the location like?

A) The location is a large spacious recently renovated suite at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.  Hair & makeup will be done in a large additional bathroom and a separate, 2nd bath area provides a private changing area for you.

Q) Will my photos be shown on your website or kept private?
A) I won’t post images from a boudoir photo-shoot unless given specific consent to do so.  I understand that because of the nature of the photography, it’s something most women like to keep to themselves.  However, if you don’t mind sharing your photos, I would love to post them.  Final decision is completely up to you and what you are comfortable with sharing.

Lake Tahoe Boudoir

Rabe Meadows Portrait

Tahoe Anniversary Portrait | Zephyr Cove, NV | Nikki + Brandon

Nikki and Brandon traveled to Lake Tahoe to celebrate their one year anniversary.  Nikki is a self-professed lover of photography and wanted a Tahoe anniversary portrait session to commemorate the trip.  This rad couple had a bit of a secret and hilarious agenda for the session that I was more than excited to participate in.  See, Brandon had really wanted to smash cake in his wife’s face at their wedding but she was vehemently against it.   A compromise ensued and for the second half of our portrait session, Nikki changed into her personally altered (she cut the bottom half off) wedding dress and Brandon’s dreams came true.  It’s one of my most favorite portrait sessions to date.  I feel really lucky that I get such rad clients with great senses of humor!

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