Milayna’s Sweet Sixteen at Farmington Gardens was one of my favorite events that I have had the honor to photograph. One of the main reasons is the fact I was her substitute teacher back when she was in elementary school. What up Jefferson Jets? This also made me feel really old. The other reason is her mom is one of my dear industry friends, who I recommend to brides all the time.
I have to say, that I was super nervous for a couple of reasons. One, because shooting for a friend adds more pressure to getting it right. Second, I have never shot a sixteen-year-old’s birthday party. I had photographed a couple of first birthday parties at the beginning of my business journey, but this was different. This was more like shooting a wedding for one person.I guess you could say that I have trained for this, but going into it I had no idea what it would be like.
Turns out though that shooting a sweet sixteen was like I have previously mentioned it is like I shoot a wedding. The only difference was that portraits had one person instead of two. I shot details and “getting ready” photos, family photos, a cocktail hour, a ceremony, introductions, a father-daughter dance, and guests dancing.
I arrived at the Farmington Gardens before most people had arrived to photograph the details and empty party space. Normally I would go outside to scout the good lighting, but thanks to one of the only winter storms of 2023 that was a no-go. It is nice when I get to photograph these things without being rushed. People spend so much time and money on decore, for it only to be torn down and thrown away within hours of the event’s conclusion. The Farmington Gardens looked stunning with the blue and white decor, so getting photos was a must.
After I was able to capture the details, the birthday girl arrived. With her soft glam makeup and her hair in Hollywood soft waves, she looked like the princess she was that day. Her mom and aunt helped her get into her beautiful blue dress and proceeded to adorn her with jewels. Thanks to my many opportunities to photograph people getting ready in bridal suites I was able to make the room filled with stuff look as empty as possible. This way the focus was on her and not the many bags and knick-knacks.
Following taking pictures of the birthday girl and her family. I proceeded to take candids of the cocktail hour in the Farmington Garden’s greenhouse room. Since the light was so pretty in there I grabbed Milayna and did some portraits of her in there. These ended up being my favorite photos of the whole day.
Following cocktail hour, the formalities began. The formalities began with introductions of the family followed by her parents adorning her with her sparkly shoes and blinged-out tiara. Next was the touching dance with her dad, who were encircled by guests holding cell phones with tears in their eyes. Then they had a candle ceremony where sixteen of the people who helped shape her life thus far lit a candle.
Following dinner, the birthday girl and her escort entertained us with a choreographed dance with sparklers behind them. This was the perfect way to open the dance floor that remained hoppin’ for the rest of the night. The night was capped off by a dessert table and late-night snacks. Which in my opinion is the best way to cap a party.
Farmington Gardens Sweet Sixteen Photos
Farmington Gardens Sweet Sixteen Vendors
Venue: Farmington Gardens
Beauty Team: Transcendent Studio
Dress: Casa Tony
Entertainment: High End Entertainment
Photobooth: MNE Events
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