LGBT Wedding Photographer

Something about “Dirty Thirty” rubs me the wrong way. I know it’s a marketing ploy created by some thirtysomething who didn’t want to feel shitty about entering a new decade, but to me, turning 30 means I did some crazy shit in my twenties and survived. I survived. I’ve greeted this new decade with grace and enthusiasm, I promise.

I fantasized for years where and what I wanted to do for my thirtieth. I wanted to go to a far off land and meet some foreign boy, but these are the old dreams of an old me. Instead, I found myself craving familiarity, friends, fun. The Three F’s. If I had gone to Mexico, I doubt anyone would have joined me, but New Orleans was the perfect playground for my two best friends to join me. Andrea, who has partied with me since I was twenty-three and Frances, who’s first interaction with me was when I was completely drunk at a photography conference in 2013. These two chicks get me. I don’t think either of them were surprised when at 3:30am I was vomiting like a hot mess, just a bit worried I might die.

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We stayed at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, which is also the most haunted hotel in NOLA. The three of us giggled, our laughter tinged with nervousness. Andrea SWEARS she heard the water turn on randomly at night. I didn’t have any crazy experiences but I probably would have peed myself a little if I had.

LGBT Wedding Photographer

First, let me share some AMAZING news with you. See, this is my third trip to NOLA. Both times were a day trip, but my first trip was a wreck…kinda like this one. ANYWAY, I remember finding an artist I loved, her work hanging on the railings of Jackson Square. I was afraid to spend that much on artwork at the time, being a 22-year-old idiot and hesitated. A few hours later, I realized I NEEDED THAT PAINTING and went back to buy it…but it was sold.

That decision haunted me for years.

So the first thing I did when I arrived was go and hunt for Heather Petterson. Each turn around the square met with disappointment. I didn’t know what to do. What if I could never atone for my poor choices years before? I had been saying for years that I would own a Heather Petterson…was I going to be a liar? Finally, we rounded the last corner of the square and I was depressed as hell. We hadn’t seen anything that resembled her work….until there it was! I gasped and stopped, turning to Drea and saying, “this is it, I think!”

“Y’all just let me know if you need anything!” A blonde woman hollered from a chair nearby. I looked at her and demanded, “WHAT IS YOUR NAME?”

“Heather.”

“Heather PETTERSON!?”

“Yep!”

I pointed at her, as if a witch giving a curse and shouted, “I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR YOU!”

I didn’t hesitate. It took me all of three minutes to decide to splurge on a beautiful tree painting. It was massive and way out of my budget, but I didn’t give a shit. I will never hesitate with beautiful artwork ever again. I asked to get a picture of her with it and she was so flattered. I had also lucked out, because she wasn’t at the square the next day!

LGBT Wedding Photographer
LGBT Wedding Photographer

The hashtag for the weekend was #jennasfoodbabyweekend and boy, did we eat some good shit. For my partying night, we went to Commander’s Palace, where we were given the BEST service I’ve ever experienced. I mean…I was even escorted to the bathroom by the arm. An introvert’s nightmare, I assure you. I splurged AGAIN and bought a glass of Dom Perignon, since I had never had it before and thought it was a great opportunity, since I’m a massive Champagne fan.

I didn’t like it and for $45 a glass, I should have liked it.

We ordered some amazing food, mainly seafood and just laughed and laughed, talking about inappropriate topics…even asking our server her favorite sexual position. I was given a birthday sorbet as a gift…I was on top of the moon by the time we left to change into our slutty party outfits, but not before we drank another bottle of champagne.

LGBT Wedding Photographer
LGBT Wedding Photographer
LGBT Wedding Photographer

My actual birthday night was insane. We started at Cat’s Meow, singing along with the Karaoke and having some drinks. I got a Cranberry and Vodka. So up to this point, with the free bottle of champagne from the hotel, I was up to:

– Six glasses of champagne
– One fancy drink from the bar downstairs
– One cranberry vodka.

Then we went to a bar that seemed like it had good dancing but really only had aggressive waitresses, shoving shots and then your face into their breasts. They were beakers filled with booze…and she gave me four. Four

We began to wander the street and saw a sign that said, “MALE STRIPPERS!” I was naturally drawn to it and begged the doorman for a birthday waiver on the $10 cover, which he obliged. We went in and I got…another drink. Fuck all if I knew what it was. The men…the music…good lawd. It was a tiny room, with a small stage with a single pole on it, FILLED with women screaming and hollering. We were forced to stand for a bit, which sucked. Finally, after a few songs, some girls cleared out and I shoved myself to some chairs, determined to have a chair BECAUSE IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. I danced and moved in my chair, occasionally feeling inspired to sashay up to a dancer and put $1 in his pants. Another shirtless guy came by with beakers, with lollipops. I begged for a lollipop, but he said I had to pay $6 for the shot of VODKA inside a beaker. I obliged and took the shot, gleefully snatching up an apple lollipop.

So at this point we’re at:

– Six glasses of champagne
– One fancy drink from the bar downstairs
– One cranberry vodka.
– One mystery drink from the bar
– FIVE BEAKER SHOTS

I celebrated midnight at the strip club and we left soon after, determined to find a gay club. Andrea grew up in LA, so she knew exactly where to go. We walked up and again, I asked for a waiver on the cover but the guy said he couldn’t help. However, he whispered to go tell the bartender it was my birthday and he would have a present for me.

That present was an ENTIRE bottle of champagne.

That I apparently couldn’t pour for shit.

LGBT Wedding Photographer

Frances had stopped drinking, so I poured myself a big glass and then drank hers. After we left the bar, I demanded a hot dog, got $10 from a random woman as a present and….blacked out for a bit. I have NO idea how we got back. I think we actually went to another bar, where I got a Red Headed Slut, in homage to the first drink I had when I turned 21. So let’s do some counting here:

– Eight FULL glasses of champagne
– One fancy drink from the bar downstairs
– One cranberry vodka.
– One mystery drink from the bar
– FIVE BEAKER SHOTS
– A Red Headed Slut

My stomach hurts just thinking about it. We got back to the hotel and somehow, I found myself sitting on the floor in a corner of the room, trying to eat stale leftover beignets. Drea came up to see if I was alright and…it went all downhill from there. I BURST into tears and…then couldn’t open my eyes again for another hour. During that hour, we called my boyfriend, who calmly walked them through the process of caring for Hot Mess Jenna. I threw up so violently, I had bruises on my chest and forehead from the porcelain. They undressed me, despite my severe protests of being naked. Andrea finally lost her shit, worried about me, and was like, “IF YOU DON’T GET UP OFF THIS GOD DAMN FLOOR I’M GOING TO FUCKING KILL YOU!”

Then I talked to Dustin on the phone, crying about how much I missed him and loved him. I have to admit, as patient and wonderful he was at three in the morning hundreds of miles away…I fell in love with him permanently. Even my friends were impressed with his unwavering patience. They poured me into bed, turned off the lights and I was dead to the world for a solid five hours. Luckily, I had prepped properly the whole day before drinking, hydrating like crazy, eating a lot of food and taking pain meds prior to leaving, so I woke up still just slightly woozy and drunk. I was seriously drunk until Noon and then even had to take a nap to full sober up.

NOON. I was drunk UNTIL NOON.

Should I be sharing these insane stories on my professional blog? Sure, because you know YOU’VE had an insane night of drinking…and if you haven’t? You aren’t my ideal client. LOL Anyway, I lost my voice from screaming everywhere all over the French Quarter. It’s still kind of scratchy. Andrea flew out the morning of my actual birthday, leaving Frances and I to tour around the city a bit, exhausted. We took two naps on my birthday actually LOL She had gumbo and beignets for the first time and for my birthday dinner, we went to Sway, which was just voted the best new restaurant in the NATION. It was INCREDIBLE, to be honest.

LGBT Wedding Photographer
LGBT Wedding Photographer
LGBT Wedding Photographer
LGBT Wedding Photographer
LGBT Wedding Photographer

All in all, it was a filthy ass birthday. I had new bruises, a new painting and a newfound appreciation of what it means to have excellent friends. Frances and I went to bed at 10pm on my birthday, in true old lady fashion. We flew out the next day, probably a little secretly grateful to the insanity behind us. I know *I* don’t plan on drinking like that again for a long time. That’s what she said.

LGBT Wedding Photographer

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