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Nikki Tran Blog | Designer. Artist. Photographer bio picture
  • Hello Friend…

    and welcome to the blog! I'm Nikki, a creative old soul who loves the romantic things in life. Tea time, tip-toeing through gardens, old and worn books, slow-dancing to records, painting by candelight, lakeside walks with Rusty, and starry-night picnics with Paul. This blog carries snippets of my life with just the two of us - I hope it brings you smiles and happiness as you snuggle in with your cup of tea and begin reading. Enjoy, friends! (Latest posts on the right!) --->

Nikki & Paul Tran | Proposal Story |**I wrote this post originally in 2013, but I thought I’d share it again on the blog with a few edits – it’s my favorite story and I thought maybe you’d enjoy it, too. :) I won’t be blogging next week, so I shall see you all the following week!! Happy 4th of July, friends!! :) xoxo

(Music? Yes.) Next week on July 3rd, Paul picked me up on a romantic date 9 years ago. He showed up at my parents’ front door, looking handsome as ever, with a bouquet of yellow lilies (he already knew they were my favorite.) That day was when I knew I’d marry him and take care of him for the rest of my life. Call me crazy, but it’s true. I even wrote it down in my diary. (Diaries don’t lie, you know.)

And then a year later, when so many people thought we were too young and probably just in a honeymoon phase, he took me to the same picnic spot and proposed. I was 20, he was 22. Just a couple of babies, but completely head over heels for each other (and still are!)

Each year on July 3rd, we try to celebrate in some sort of way, making the day stay a holiday to the two of us. The year after he proposed was the day I bought my wedding dress. And each year later we’ve either gone back to our first date spot or done something equally as special.

Where is this magical place you might ask?? To most people, it’s the farthest thing from magical but to me, it will always be a little extra special – Como Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul. I don’t really know how to describe it, but every place we went to on our first date just holds a special place in my heart – even the specific Subway we went to for food for our picnic. Maybe it’s the hopeless romantic in me, but I love July 3rd, I love Como Zoo, I love Subway, and I love picnics all because of this day.

Lucky me; Paul brought a camera on the day he proposed and made sure to take photos of me in complete shock and happiness. And he proposed through a homemade book – he knew me too well already. :) I’ve made copies of the book, but the originals are tucked away in our big safe, to be enjoyed and read for years to come. :)

Nikki & Paul Tran | Proposal Story |

His photos and rhyming were just the bee’s knees.

Nikki & Paul Tran | Proposal Story |

Nikki & Paul Tran | Proposal Story | www.nikkitranphotography.comNikki & Paul Tran | Proposal Story |

(That’s my mom and dad…)
Nikki & Paul Tran | Proposal Story |

Oh my goodness, 22-year-old Paul is too funny.

Nikki & Paul Tran | Proposal Story |

Clearly I was still in shock.
Nikki & Paul Tran | Proposal Story |

But I was also pretty happy. :)Nikki & Paul Tran | Proposal Story |

Cheers to us, Paul – love you and our life together more than anything.

Nikki & Paul Tran | Proposal Story |

Holy moley, friends. My arm is dragging from being at my desk all day and my wrists feel like they may never lay straight again. But it’s all worth it!! Today I’m showing you all my absolute favorites from EVERY. SINGLE. WEDDING. I’ll give you a fair warning now, there are 293 photos. Here’s some music to get us started (it’s wedding music – ’tis a theme tonight).

I know, I know. It was just so difficult choosing these!! I even went through them a second time and deleted some that although they were beautiful, just weren’t my absolute favorite. So, I tried to help you out with this post, but the truth is…this is long. But it’s the last 5 years of my life!! It’s the end of an era for Paul and I. I even started going through and cleaning out folders from years ago – some still had the RAW photos in their folders, others still had the JPEG originals (typically when my bride and groom receive their photos, I get rid of the originals. I do keep the entire wedding though, just the edited ones), and some had extra sub-folders with nothing in them. Clearly it’s time to do some freshening up on my external.

(Seriously, it’s really hard to type right now. My fingers are almost numb.)

You’ve heard the stories, friends; how my first brides and grooms only saw photos of my nephews and some flowers before booking me. They trusted me, they supported me, and they gave me that leap of faith to create an honest-to-goodness-real-life business for the last 5 years. When I decided to quit, I thought I had failed myself and others. I couldn’t see the point of starting and then ending so soon. I thought the last 5 years had been a waste. But these past 6 months or so, I’ve begun to see just how much purpose this business has had and will continue to have in my future. Because of these beautiful brides and grooms and their faith in me (every single one of you!) I’ve been able to create a foundation for what’s coming next in my life. They’ve given me my own brand and I’ve been able to utilize this blog for not just weddings, but for showing you snippets of our life and my dreams. I would never have had the courage to do what I’m jumping into now if all of you had not been there to invite me into your lives and weddings.

So this blog post isn’t about me and the ending of one career; it’s a dedication to you, my brides and grooms. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart for everything you have given to me. You are the knees to my bees and ya know what? I love ya. That’s right. I do. Picture me giving you all big hugs through the screen. Because I definitely would be hugging you if we were in person, meeting at Caribou again, getting kicked out for staying past closing time. Or hugging you after you’ve cut the cake, we’ve run away to find the sun, you’ve done your first dance together, and you’re having the time of your life. *Big squeeze!*

Enjoy reliving all of your beautiful, beautiful wedding days. Cheers to you!!! (I hope you have your champagne ready – don’t make me feel like I’m the only one! :))

PS. There’s someone else that gets a big ole’ hug on this blog, and I’ll bet you agree with me – my darling Paul. You are my rock. I could never have done this without you. Whenever I felt stressed or upset, you calmed me down and cheered me up. You helped me through chaos; you took care of me at weddings when I was sick with the flu; you trooped through weddings with your torn ACL; you made people feel so comfortable with your genuine kindness and sense of humor; you took so many beautiful photos (and are the reason we’ve been published in two magazines!!); you’ve been my constant through all of this. Love you most and thank you a million more times.


Although this technically wasn’t my first actual wedding, Sean and Hannah deserve this blog post too. They were one of my firsts and this still remains one of my favorite sessions. :)

Nikki Tran | Best of Weddings |

This is the wedding that truly convinced me I wanted to be a wedding photographer. I co-shot this for Meg Cooper (with Paul!) and this was actually the second one I shot with her. The first one we did together completely turned me off. I went home telling Paul I would only do families and babies (ha!). I’d already told her I would help her with this wedding, so off we went to Brainerd. This wedding was exactly what I thought weddings would be like; it was all about the marriage, not the wedding itself. There was genuine happiness, tears, and so much joy. So I owe a part of my career to this wedding right here. :)

Our first official Nikki Tran Photography wedding!! (It was in the below-zeroes that day. Coldest wedding we’ve ever done.)

We had just bumped into Carrie Underwood’s husband and Tegan had gotten a photo with him!

With so many people in this photo, there was some definite Photoshopping needed. :)

I always loved this from Mark to Janelle. :)

Mark was one of my brother’s childhood friends, along with his twin brother, Jim. I felt so incredibly honored they asked me to photograph it. :)

She did what every bride wants to do when she walks up the aisle. :)

Our first engagement session was with these two! :)

Recognize Ellen and Andre on the left? Their wedding is allllll the way at the end…:)

I love this. It reminds me of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. :)

So much blue.

Ha! Love this!

I don’t even think this photo was planned or posed, but it’s seriously my all-time favorite. And these two? They’re just wonderful. :)

Oh my goodness, his mom was so sweet! (More music? Why didn’t you say so?!)

These two! Oh I miss them – Casey and I went to college together and now they have a little baby!! Time flies, friends.

Sweetest ceremony ever.

A small town wedding with over 300 people present. How lucky. :)

Happiest bride ever. :)

I still haven’t gotten over these photos. Again, the one on the right wasn’t even planned (nor was the one up above of her kissing her baby). This wedding holds a special place in my heart.

Bubba!! Miss these two.

:) :) :)

This was the start of my “glowy” photos. :) :)

Oh the fall colors!!

One of my first friends from St. Cloud. :)

This is probably my most memorable wedding. McKaela emailed me just two weeks before this, telling me her and Seun were getting married at night, in Rice Park, right before Christmas. My heart skipped a beat, I had so many doubts in myself about doing a night-time wedding, but we went for it. It’s still to this day, one of mine and Paul’s favorite weddings. :)

Sweetest things!! :)

This wedding was just stunning. Everything about it.

I think we had 5-7  minutes until the rain came down and seriously, it has never stormed/rained like it did this day. I was soaked within 30 seconds!

Sabrina! You look like a princess!!

I’ve always loved this one. :)

I’d always wanted to photograph at the Cathedral. St. Paul holds a special place in my heart. :)

The lighting, Meghan – I love this!! More music?

Prettiest dessert table.

Typically I don’t do Pinterest photos…but my goodness, this little doll is my favorite.


Ahhh!! I love this!!

Definitely a new type of wedding for us – at a campsite, on a lake, with a pontoon. So much fun!!

Yeeees. Paul’s wonderful. :)

Who says you can’t dance in the streets of Minneapolis?!

Ahh!! Avery!! I love this dance!!

That lighting, seriously.

Oh Jenelle. You’re so pretty.

Loved the colors.

Those blues!!

Oh this was such a special day. (Read the story here.)


Loved all the gold.

And the colors.

And the U of M campus!


Such a beautiful venue for Brad and Nikki!!

My beautiful, childhood best friend. :)

Love this family. Just missing Frank and Larry! :) More music?

Best father-daughter dance.

Nikki Tran | Best of Weddings |

Ahh!! Lisa!!!

The lighting – so dreamy.

I loved practicing with the details at weddings. :)

Paul got pretty good, too. :)

The blues!

I could have taken portraits of them all day.

Love the pastels from this wedding!

The fall colors!! Such a beautiful day for a barn wedding.

This venue was a dreeeeaaammm.

Their exit was so happy and joyful!!

Billy!! My childhood softball coach – so honored to be a part of his wedding.

Beautiful Jen. :)

Another childhood friend – again, so honored.

The most sweetest dance ever.

Kerby!! Love this!

My goodness, another wedding so close to my heart. These two were an absolute dream.

A confetti exit, a carriage ride, and fireworks during their first dance?! How incredibly perfect.

Gorgeous Diana!! (One more song? This is the song we danced to at our wedding. :))

We were hoping for snow but instead got a beautiful, misty, glowy photo with Christmas trees. :)

The snow at this wedding was like a dream (I keep saying that word, but it’s true!).

Look at it!! The big, soft, fluffy flakes!

Yes, like something out of a dream. :)

Erin’s big sister!! :)

All the girls love their daddy. :)

Winnie!! I’m a sucker for puppy dogs. :)

So light and airy. We lucked out with the rain on this day, too. I swear, with the exception of one wedding, Paul and I bring only the best weather.

See that beauty on the right?! My first bride. :)

Another wedding that holds a special place with me. Love these two people.

Haha I love the way they are together. :)

Such a joyful moment!!

Love these two!!

Sparklers in the winter in downtown St. Paul. Magic.

Our last wedding!!

My goodness, this guy is awesome.

Love these two people!


And here we are at our first wedding…

Excuse the cell phone quality, but I’m so glad we got one with these two. I wish I had made it mandatory to take one with each bride and groom…

With two of my lovely brides and grade-school friends. :)

First friends in St. Cloud. Love these girls!

Nikki Tran | Best of Weddings |

Me and E!!

Selfies became more common…

And that my friends, is an absolute wrap. Love you all!! xoxoxo

  • momJune 28, 2017 - 8:40 am

    Enjoyed the ride back in time :)ReplyCancel

  • ToniJune 27, 2017 - 9:05 pm

    Ahh!! I love this!! I can hear you still telling me about each of these weddings! You are so talented, I can’t wait to see what more magic you pull out of your sleeves! Love. Love. Love these. And YOU little sister! (Olga voice!)ReplyCancel

    • NikkiJune 29, 2017 - 3:45 pm

      Aww Toner, thank you so much! :) You are too kind. :) Love you big sister!!ReplyCancel

Hello hello, sweet friends of mine! Music? Yes, please. :)

This will be a littler shorter than usual – my head is pulling me in all sorts of directions and there’s no time to lose! Summer break is only so long and I’ve got loads to do, millions of things to show you, and zillions of things to dream about (and hopefully one day pursue!). In addition to all the goodness of creative sparks flying through my head, there’s the dreaded list of homework assignments I must get done. However, it involves reading children’s books. Homework? No way. Just a typical year for this girl but shoved into only 30 days. Time is of the essence and Mr. Toad, Mr. Mole, Mr. Rat, and Mr. Badger are waiting for me to continue their adventures in Wind in the Willows. The local library is calling my name, too, hoping I’ll find some beautiful non-fiction children’s book to enjoy (I’m sure I will, I have no doubts). All sorts of things are begging for my attention so onward I must go!

I can’t complain about life right now; I’m at home – blessed, cozy, warm, Rusty-infested home. We snuggle daily – he warms my lap and I rub his paws. We’re in a co-dependent relationship and we don’t need any counseling for it. We love the way we are. He needs me to let him outside and I need him to hold when life is in disarray. Win, win. As I’m writing this, he’s snuggled in my recliner (oh, it’s so pretty, friends! I got rid of my sectional couch in my office and added two comfy chairs instead. Paul gets the recliner and I get this other beauty. I’m in love!) with all his toys and pillows and blankies, and I’m listening to the rolling thunder and pounding rain. Could it be anymore romantic? (Channeling my inner Chandler Bing with that question.) I think not.

I wanted to keep you updated with the progress that’s being made in the background, so that’s what I’m doing today! If you’ve been keeping up with my posts you’ll know I’m venturing into another small business; it’s full of creativity and I’m just smitten with it thus far. I’ll be offering branding and web design services (I’ve already accepted new clients – drop me a line if you’re in the market!); I’ll have a shop with my art, Photoshop actions, and paper products that are in the middle of being designed; I’ll have my education services available for photographers and creative entrepreneurs (mentoring, tutorials, guides, etc.); and by biggest project is going to come a little later in the year – a subscription library of resources that is updated monthly!! It will be filled with things for your everyday use and it will have something in it for everyone. I’ll keep you posted on that beautiful project. :)

And now instead of chatting away, I thought I’d show you a sneak peek of the website I’m building. (Seriously friends, I LOVE branding. If you’ve mentored with me for photography, you know how much I could go on and on and on about this important piece of the business puzzle.) It’s a screenshot so that scroll bar on the right doesn’t work. :)

(I tend to change my mind a bit until I’ve squealed with delight, so there’s a slight chance some of this will change. My eyeballs are loving it so far, but I’ve learned not to expect anything until I feel all the butterflies. :))

Building a Website | Nikki Tran Art & Design |

What do you think?! Does it look like me? I’m trying to restrain myself from adding too many blues – it’s rough stuff.

So that’s what I’ve been up to in this cozy cubby of mine. I’ll keep you posted as progress is being made. :) Cheers to the (almost) weekend, friends!! Enjoy! xoxo

PS. On an unrelated note, any gardeners out there have a remedy to getting mean little bugs away from my beautiful roses? They’re destroying their leaves!! :(