Michael Caswell Photography
Southern Oaks Plantation Wedding Photograph
I’ve been photographing weddings at Southern Oaks Plantation in New Orleans on a regular basis since 2007. Over the years, I’ve captured tens of thousands of photos of brides and grooms at this venue near the shore of Lake Pontchartrain, but this image of a nighttime ceremony in front of the graceful plantation house is one of my favorites. In this photograph, the elegant home is brightly illuminated and the uplighting on the massive oak tree dramatically highlights its natural beauty. The bride and groom were of Native American descent, so they incorporated some traditional cultural elements such as the blanket ceremony captured in this image.
Over 40 Weddings
My first wedding at Southern Oaks was back in January of 2007. Now, more than a decade later and with more than 40 events at this location behind me, I'm very familiar with the location and how events are run there, and I am intimately familiar with how to capture beautiful photographs of weddings at this top-notch venue.
Because I've shot at this location so many times, in all seasons and during early afternoon, late afternoon, and night time, I have experience here in just about any weather or lighting conditions.
One of the Best Wedding Venues in New Orleans
Southern Oaks is universally praised by brides and guests. This venue does so many events, they have it down to an exact science. Mr. Bobby Asaro, the owner, is almost always present to greet the couple and the families personally, and his expert staff of hosts and hostesses are dedicated to ensuring couples and their guests have a stress-free and unforgettable experience. Plus it's beautiful, both in the daytime and at night, with very little (or no) decorating of the outside or inside needed, and new decorative features and improvements are added on a regular basis. It's no wonder that this is such a wildly popular place to get married!
Ask any New Orleans wedding photographer or videographer what their favorite venue to work at is, and there’s a very good chance they will say Southern Oaks Plantation, because events go so smoothly there (which lets us concentrate on doing our job of capturing beautiful imagery of the event), and because they always make sure we get a good meal during the down time when the newly married couple and the guests are eating (which, naturally, is the perfect time for us to eat as well, since there's not much going on during this time).
The staff always does an excellent job in communicating the details and timing of various aspects of the reception, such as the cake cutting, bouquet and garter toss, money dance, etc.
As a photographer, I love that there is a specific room set aside for the formal group photos, and that the family, bridesmaids, and groomsmen are brought here immediately after the ceremony (with this area having its own bar and food tray passes). In addition to being a beautiful and elegant venue, the staff always goes above and beyond to ensure everyone has a wonderful time, and you come away with the impression that every facet of the overall experience has been carefully curated and choreographed by the owners, giving every event a truly fairytale-like feel. I don’t think I’ve ever photographed a wedding here that did not result in the couple, their family, and their guests being completely delighted afterward.
Outdoor Ceremony with an Indoor Backup
Another benefit of this venue is how they handle inclement weather. In the dozens of Southern Oaks weddings I've photographed over the years, only one single time did a ceremony have to be moved inside due to rain. The reason for this track record was made obvious on that one occasion... while many venues will want the decision to move inside made an hour or two before the ceremony start time to give them time to set up the space, Southern Oaks is able to wait until the last possible moment if radar hints that the rain may clear in time. They can do this because their large and efficient staff can be called upon to quickly swoop in and set up the ballroom for an indoor ceremony in the blink of an eye (I'm convinced they run practice drills!). Likewise, If a brief rain shower does happen to move through before the ceremony, the staff can very quickly dry off the chairs for your guests.
As a result, your wedding ceremony is given the greatest chance of proceeding as planned, as there are few things as frustrating as seeing a ceremony get moved indoors only to have the weather clear up in time for it to have remained outside if the decision could have been made just a little later. Of course, it should be noted that even if the ceremony must be moved inside, the Southern Oaks ballroom is well suited for this, being spacious and beautiful, with large windows along the back wall overlooking the pool/fountain and horse stables.
Location: 7816 Hayne Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70126.