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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!) --->

Here we are, friends! My last official Nikki Tran wedding!! It feels like yesterday, and yet it feels like decades ago, that we were getting ready for Nate and Carly’s wedding over four years ago. I expected that after photographing over 70 weddings that some things would change:

a. I wouldn’t get nervous weeks leading up to the wedding.

b. I wouldn’t lose my train of thought during portraits and need to use my cheat sheet.

c. I wouldn’t cry during the ceremony.

d. I wouldn’t feel sad when the hour strikes and it’s time for us to leave.

But, all of the above happened and much more at Ellen and Andre’s wedding (although the stress level was much lower than normal – finally I’m getting used to weddings…). I’ve known Ellen for years – we worked together during high-school at a gift shop and could wrap 20 Christmas gifts in under 6 minutes. We knew what all the new Dept. 56 houses were and could tell you what number Willow Tree you were looking for by a mere description. We could stuff 15 blown up balloons in large garbage bags for graduation parties and we always crossed our fingers hoping people would rather have two mylar balloons instead (they were so much prettier).

You might not know it, but Ellen is the reason my photography business began snowballing in the first place. Her now sister-in-law, Emily, had just gotten engaged when I began sharing my very beginner photos on Facebook and on this blog. She passed my information to Emily and that wonderful girl became my first bride/engagement session over 5 years ago.  Because of her session, inquiries started rolling in and within a few short months I was booked throughout the entire next year. Ellen is a blessing in more ways than one, and of course not just to me, but to darling Andre.

I met Andre for the first time at Emily and Dan’s wedding. We clicked with him immediately with his incredible sense of humor, his welcoming nature towards us, and he was dating Ellen – he was obviously a good man. They told us then that they would have some sort of tropical wedding whenever that day came. And here we are, 4 years later. I started my business with Ellen and Andre and I’m closing this chapter with them. I really wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. We showed up excited to see our friends, laughed so much throughout their day, cried when they cried, and truly meant it when we thanked them at the end of the night for choosing us as their photographers. I just feel so lucky, friends. :)

So dear friends and Ellen & Andre, I hope you enjoy your sneaky peek into your beautiful (and oh-so-blue!!) wedding and my last wedding!!  We appreciate you both (and all of you!!!) so much and I hope this preview brings more laughter and happy tears. :) Love you both (and all of you!!!). xoxoxo

PS. Stay tuned for my complete “Best Of” photos from all the years, coming up soon on the blog!! :)


There is an incredible amount of blue in this wedding – be warned. (It’s so beautiful!!)

You’re gorgeous, Ellen!!

Andre is hilarious – I loved going through all their getting ready photos that Paul took.

I went to grade school with Matt on the right! Small world!!

Their first look! (Ellen loves green so we were blessed with tons of greenery all day.)

:) :)

:) :) (This is why two photographers is such a great idea!!)

Love these.

Ahh!! Gorgeous!!

Emily and Dan’s little boy and the ring bearer! :)

:) :) :)


Such a stud. (Andre loves these photos…)

Love this!!

Those suits were so fun, and they wore sneakers instead of dress shoes. Comfort is a must.

Love these.

There’s Emily on the right! :)


You know I love these colors. :)


The groom gets Star Wars socks.

You’re such a beauty!!

I squealed when I saw this one!!

Poor Matt got cut out! Sorry Matt!! :)

Little Maverick! :)

He is hilarious.

Some outtakes for your enjoyment. :)

Clearly I’m working hard (left corner).

Their ceremony took place inside at the top of the Tropics Trail. Be warned – quite a few wildlife photos in here. I think we’ve found a new love…:)

I love when there’s a harp.

Aww!! :)

And during the ceremony, you could hear random birds and other nature sounds – it was beautiful!

After being together for 8 years, they got to promise to be friends for life. Best feeling ever. :)

Yay!! Just married!! :)

:) :) :)

They’re so sweet!

Most of these animal photos are Paul’s – he deserves the credit. :)

Minnesota Zoo Wedding | Nikki Tran |

It’s like he’s pondering all the worries of the world. :(

Just hanging out. Not doing much.

Love this and the dreamy light!!

Flower girl and her mama. :)

Hope this doesn’t freak you out!! Bats! :)


I watched a documentary on these guys when I was little – not a fan.

Just eating an orange, minding his own business.

Love you guys!! (PS. We have the same last name!!)

Wait until you see the next animals!!

Ahh!! Isn’t that amazing?!!

This is my favorite, hands down (and it’s mine…I have to give myself credit, too. ;))

Not sure what was wrong with this guy – we’re assuming he was rescued? Not really sure…

The seal!! So amazing watching him swim in front of the glass!

More jellyfish – so beautiful! (Paul’s photo.:))

Ahh! Love this too!! (Paul’s. :))

Mr. and Mrs.!!

They told the story of how they met – in grade school, where Andre was smitten with her. But she wouldn’t go out with him. :) After going through school together most of their lives, they finally started dating after high-school. Eight years later, here we are. :)

And we stole them away to chase the sun. :)

Love love LOVED their first dance. They played Perfect by Ed Sheeran – so perfect for them.

Minnesota Zoo Wedding | Nikki Tran |

Ha! Love this!

Congratulations you two!! Can’t wait to see you both again!! :) xoxoo

  • momJune 6, 2017 - 1:23 pm

    Nikki, Never say NEVER. :)

    p.s. you guys were great!ReplyCancel

  • Kathy LaCasseJune 5, 2017 - 9:21 pm

    This is beautiful! Will so miss looking through your amazing photos. Thank you for sharing all the beauty of your work!ReplyCancel

    • NikkiJune 6, 2017 - 6:05 pm

      Thank you so much for following along, Kathy!! That means so much to me! :) xoxoReplyCancel

Hello, dear friend. How’s life? Already wishing it’s Friday? Me too. (Music helps.) There’s a semi-empty Mike’s Hard Lemonade sitting next to me and a beautiful green face mask cracking on my face. Dinner was breakfast, and pajamas are already on. (Are you all in similar scenarios right now? I knew it. Kindred spirits.)

It’s so nice out, friends. I’m sitting at the kitchen table with the window open and I should be working. Technically, I suppose you could say I am. I was attending a webinar on creating a solid brand just now and I’ve got a stack of notes to show for it (I do love creating a business from the ground up again. :)) It’s still so exciting for me, friends, and I can’t wait to see what our life looks like in a year. The wind is blowing the curtains over my screen – it’s like it’s calling me to go outside and write, maybe take a book or magazine, and just be. Our peonies are now blooming, they look quite amazing. I thought we wouldn’t get many buds this year but apparently we’re doing something right because we’ve got over 10 buds and new ones seem to keep appearing every day! (Heart skips a beat each time I see them.) The strawberries are ripe and ready to be plucked – I try to share them with Paul when I get to them first, but I just have to accept that I fail at being a friend sometimes. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. :)

Our vegetable garden is beyond lovely (that’s me way down below inside the garden :)). I still can’t believe we have it up and ready and tilled and full of plants. The veggies aren’t big at all, but the chives have just enough to pluck off and the basil is always ready to be picked and chopped. Our niece and nephew were over this past weekend and we had such a good time going through the garden and eating different plants, deciding which one would be our favorite (chives for all of us), and then using it when cooking dinner. (Fresh chives on mashed potatoes is a delicacy.)

Our lilacs are in full bloom – what is better than the smell of lilacs outside your window? Nothing, absolutely nothing. We open the door to let Rusty out and the lilacs seep into our house, dancing around making everything smell like spring. If we ever move I think our entire house will need to be lined with lilacs.

You know, there really is something to gardening as therapy. I don’t know about you, but after a long day at work or on a day when I’m feeling particularly overly anxious (which happens more often than not), pulling up a bit of weeds and letting my hands and fingernails get full of dirt and mud really makes everything better. Would you believe me if I said I talk to my plants? Oh yes, we have conversations and I don’t feel weird one bit. (You shouldn’t either. Go ahead, you can admit it to me.) Clearly I’m not expert in the field of gardening (I consider my dear mother as one) but I don’t think that matters. As long as I’m out there, day after day, tending to them, caring for them, excited to watch them grow, and learning lessons along the way, I’d say I’m a successful gardener. Not an expert, just successful. Too often I’ve felt that my garden or home needs to look perfect in photos or when people come to visit.  Look at those weeds and dust bunnies! Why didn’t Paul mow the lawn earlier?? I wish the roses were blooming! How silly is that?! It doesn’t matter to me if my vegetables aren’t perfectly spaced apart, or that I accidentally pulled up last year’s strawberry plant because I thought it was a weed, or that I killed my first roses because I tried to transplant them and cut its root in half. Or that there’s waaaay too much excess grass in my garden and I’ve grown tired of keeping it at bay. Why should it matter to others?

Isn’t that a great way to think?? As long as we love doing something, who cares if we make mistakes?? Why do we care what other people think as long as we’re having fun? Why do we think it’s a fault to mess up before we learn and grow? And why oh why do we always feel the need to be perfect in anything we do??? (These questions are directed at me as much as they are you, dear friend.)

I’ve switched to coffee and I put my slippers on. My face mask should definitely come off (here comes the itchiness followed by the oh so smooth baby face (mixed in with an unfortunate bit of acne – adult acne? Who knew?!)) and then ya know what? I’m going to whip open that door, breathe in the intoxicating scent of lilacs, strut out to that over-bearing grass garden, and smile with pride. We grew it, we’re taking care of it, we’re giving it love, and it’s all ours.

Whatever thing you’re working on friends, whether it be a project at work, a new hobby, or a budding business and passion, block out those negative voices in your head. Notice your smile, feel the butterflies, and embrace those mistakes. Because mistakes mean you grow, and growing is a heck of a lot better than doing nothing at all. (Off to the garden we go!)

Here it is, friends! Our final official Behind the Scenes post!! (I forgot to post one in 2016 so this one is a compilation of the past two years of weddings and engagement sessions.) As I’ve said in my earlier (way earlier) posts, I love that we document these days because really, for awhile these were like dates for us. Our weekends and weeknights were dominated with traveling to the Cities and beyond for sessions and weddings and meetings. (When I look at our calendar from previous years, I can’t believe we made it through some months!)

I had so much fun looking through these. Typically when I’m going through a wedding and I see a photo of Paul and I, I’ll just throw it in a folder labeled BTS. I only come back to them when I’m ready to create these posts and clearly, since I haven’t done one since 2015, I don’t even remember taking or seeing half of these photos! Most were a treat to see, some made me shake my head at my facial expressions, and others made me slightly sad that this is really the end. It really is bittersweet but I’m still excited for what our future holds and I have to say, we’ve made some truly wonderful memories in this career. The people alone, the friends we’ve made – what can I say? You’ve made it quite worthwhile. And you’re the reason why quitting is so bitter. But! I’m thrilled we have these photos and any time I’m feeling homesick for weddings I definitely have enough photos to relive my favorite moments. :) (I’m having a glass of wine as I write this so it’s becoming more sentimental than I had imagined…oops. :))

So anyways friends, here we go – a chance to laugh at Paul and I, to see what things look like from our side of the camera, and to see what it looks like when there’s no wind to make a veil fly perfectly in the air. There’s a lot of us simply checking our light, or primping our brides and grooms, or just sneaking up on each other in the middle of a shot. I hope you enjoy it and again, thank you to all of you. You’re the knees to the bees. xoxo

The cute baby face! I forget what he looks like without facial hair!

Just smoosh yourselves together, please.
Meg!! Paul had knee surgery last year and Meg helped me out with a couple of weddings. :)

Oh, so much fun with these two!!

My goodness, I’m lucky. :)

Did I really have that long of hair?! Who knew.

Taken just this past Friday at our LAST WEDDING!!

I don’t feel like I have to hide my weird photos from you anymore.

This was an early session – that’s the sun rising, not setting. But we got coffee afterwards so it made it all better. :)

Meg again!!

In case you were wondering, Paul is my wind.

A horse at an engagement session! And he was the same horse that would pull this bride and groom on their wedding day! :)Hahaha we laughed a lot this past Friday. Andre and Ellen are too stinkin’ funny. Andre may have just almost fallen out of that chair at this moment. (And instead of helping him, I just laugh.)Yep. Nice face.Paul had a good time with the fish on Friday.How to Cut a Cake 101.Seriously, he loved those tanks.A surprise, freezing, Rice Park proposal. Just getting our lighting set up before Tom and Dana came walking by. :)Paul’s being replaced.Love these two. :) They gave this photo framed as a gift to us – it’s on our nightstand so we can see them every night. Not creepy at all. :)Here comes his weird faces! I’m not the only one.Still laughing and not helping.More perfect wind. (Tracy, you’re gorgeous.)I was also smitten with the animals this past Friday.Meg again! Just getting a room ready before Leah gets in her dress!He’s always too happy.One of my gorgeous brides from 2013!! Time flies.Paul wore “my blue” as a tribute to our last wedding. Nice boy.Aye carumba.Apparently there was no wind this day.Andre loves his GQ poses. (We all have the same last name now!!)That chair was dangerous as it had just kicked Andre off of it two minutes prior to this.:) :) :):) :) :)We have the same last name!! :) Love this girl!Pretending to get proposed to in the middle of the path.So thankful someone got this photo of us. Love this boy to death and so happy he was on this beautiful ride with me these past 5 years. Cheers, friends! :) xoxo