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Quinceanera celebrations are not something I have known much about. But in the last few months, I have learned a little more about them.
I grew up with no knowledge of these events that celebrate the 15th birthday, most commonly in Latino families. The purpose of the celebration is to mark the passage from girlhood to womanhood.
These are big celebrations. The girl wears a fancy dress, gets her hair and makeup done and selects a “court” – a group of family or friends who are by her side during the event.
I just completed a photography session of one of these events. It was my second one – having photographed a quinceanera earlier this year.
I started the day last Saturday at the family’s home, taking photos of the girl – Leslie – getting ready for the day. We then went to Pioneers Park and got some family shots, followed by some photos of Leslie and her court at the state Capitol building and the Haymarket.
It’s always fun to take pictures of a person who is dressed to the nines, as Leslie was this day. Quinceanera dresses are highly formal, sparkly and poofy.
Leslie had a theme for the day – the beach. Her color was light blue and she had shell decorations all over the place. Her cake was one of the most elaborate I’ve seen, using little shells and mermaid ornaments. Kudus to whoever made this cake!
The quinceanera itself was a ceremony not unlike a wedding. Unfortunately since I don’t speak Spanish, I was unable to understand what was going on. A pastor was present giving a talk, and family members participated by presenting Leslie with gifts.
After the 40-minute ceremony, a meal ensued with her hundred-some guests, and Leslie and her court had prepared a special dance. Leslie followed that with a dance with her father.
Quinceanera celebrations are special for the family, and I was privileged to be able to photograph this event for the family.