Jailean’s parents contacted me in the early spring of 2016 about photographing their daughter’s Hamilton quinceañera.
A quinceañera is a Latin American tradition celebrating a girl’s coming of age at her 15th birthday. It mixes religion, family and friends, social responsibility, food, and dance!
Many aspects of a quinceañera look like an American wedding: a beautiful white dress, attendants (or Court of Honor) made up of friends and siblings, a grand reception, and of course, great photography.
The day started with Jailean and her entourage getting ready at her family’s home. And they were, as you can imagine, just like a group of teenagers: laughing, joking, and generally light-hearted as they got dressed in snazzier getups than their usual attire. They were ready for a good time!
Just look at those moves!
The whole event was infused with Jailean’s personality. If you don’t believe, check out her choice of footwear.
Then it was off to the ceremony…in a white limousine!
Both the ceremony and reception were held at The Stone Terrace in Hamilton, New Jersey. The ceremony began with the Court entering, followed by Jailean and her parents. The priest welcomed the guests and recited an opening prayer. It continued with a small sermon, a message from the parents, significant gifts such as a Bible and a tiara (which symbolizes that she is a “princess” before God), oaths, and prayer.
Jailean carried a Mickey Mouse stuffed animal, representing her childhood, and traded it in for a Bible from her parents that signifies moving into adulthood.
Her parents also surprised her with a horse and carriage, one of her dreams, to make her truly feel like a princess. She was shocked!
A ride around The Stone Terrace’s grounds made for a great photo session before it started to rain.
Special family members and friends who had helped Jailean throughout her life into adulthood were honored with a candle lighting ceremony during the reception.
Any memorable party has dancing, and this quinceañera was no exception. Her friends were constantly on the dance floor showing off their skills and having an amazing time. It was the kind of party where you could feel the excited energy bouncing off the walls.
Jailean and her Court even managed to change and put on a surprise rehearsed dance routine!
Don’t worry, though! Before she changed, we made sure to get some photos of her on the grand staircase of the venue.
This Hamilton, New Jersey quinceañera was a night to remember and I’m sure Jailean’s guests will be talking about it for years to come.
Thank you to the family for inviting me to photograph Jailean’s quinceañera!
Thanks to my other shooters, Laura and Meredith!