I am tickled pink to share today’s gorgeous wedding, which you may recognize from the pretty pages of V6. New Year’s Eve is one of my favorite days of the year, and when you add in the gorgeous setting that is New Orleans, the most beautiful couple, a breathtaking cathedral ceremony, and lots of sparkly details, I’m in wedding heaven! Lynze and John did an amazing job crafting a meaningful, family-oriented ceremony, followed by one of the most festive second lines and receptions I’ve ever seen. And don’t even get me started on their confetti-covered kiss as the clock struck midnight–it’s magical!
We’re so glad Trent Bailey was on hand to capture every exquisite moment and detail, and then share it with us!
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? Our wedding date! So many of our guests told us how excited they were to get all dressed up and have somewhere to go on New Year’s Eve—a holiday that can be a letdown—so we wanted to play off of the New Year’s Eve festive spirit. Our goal was to have the whole evening feel celebratory and glamorous: a new marriage for a new year.
I asked each bridesmaid to choose a long dress in gold that had New Year’s Eve zing! It turned out fabulously, and there were many comments about how exciting it was to see each bridesmaid come down the aisle wearing a different style. I loved that.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I lucked out! I tried on 15+ dresses, but I was just not finding the dramatic, classic gown that would be perfect for a New Year’s Eve celebration. Fortunately, a very lovely bridal assistant nailed it and declared that I was Ines DiSanto bride. Although she did not sell the Ines line, she made an appointment for me at another salon in NYC. I knew it was the right fit when I tried on eight dresses from the line, and ended up buying the eighth! The tears from my mom were enough, but when another mother-of-the-bride in the salon, who I did not know, came over and told me “I’ve seen all eight, this is YOUR dress, don’t leave without it,” I knew it was my showstopper!
What did the men wear? The groom, groomsmen, ushers, fathers, and grandfathers all wore bespoke tuxes from Knot Standard, John’s company. The men looked so dashing and the suits fit perfectly! I remember getting teary-eyed seeing my grandfather wearing a perfectly-suited tuxedo and thinking, I will always remember him looking so dashing.
The location proved to be the trickiest aspect of the wedding. I grew up in Ohio and John moved there in third grade. Our parents were both married in Ohio. Two of my brothers were conveniently married in my parents’ backyard. But when it came time to decide on the location for our wedding, the idea of Ohio felt awry. No part of our formal five-year courtship was spent living in Ohio together. We both went away for school, Michigan and Texas respectively. We had lived and were currently living in New York City. But the bulk of our relationship was spent together in Dubai. Knowing that our guests would hail from all over the world, we wanted a location that was easy to access, a date that would accommodate those traveling from far away, and a city that could hold its own in culture and entertainment. New Orleans has always been a part of the Ballays’ French Cajun heritage and rose to the top of the list.
Who participated in your ceremony? My twin brothers opened the door for my dad and I. I had no idea that they were planning on doing that, and when they opened the doors and I saw them standing there, I nearly lost it.
What songs did you use for your ceremony? I walked down the aisle to Ave Maria played by a live saxophonist, which was really amazing, as the song has special meaning to John’s grandmother, Audrey. When the organ stopped and the saxophone started, it brought a calm to the church, and set the tone for the important covenant we were about to make.
We kept it simple in the church, choosing to let the white Christmas poinsettias be the focal point at the altar and to have candles with petals in hurricane vases dotting the aisle. I loved the intimate, yet dramatic, feel of the church. We dedicated all of the flowers to the church in honor of our loved ones that have gone on before us. When we walked in and saw the church brimming with beautiful white Christmas poinsettias, it was as if their spirits were all around us.
The excitement we felt during the Second Line parade was truly amazing. John and I knew it was going to be a wedding highlight, as many of our guests had never experienced a Second Line, but to have more than 200 (in festive New Orleans tradition, we had some local joiners in the back!) of our loved ones singing, dancing, and waving hankies down Canal Street was overwhelming! We heard from multiple guests that the Second Line was the most fun thing they had EVER done. The city and spirit of New Orleans really shined in that moment.
What was your cocktail hour like? Dreamy. When we ended the second line at the Board of Trade courtyard, it was like being in a movie. Hundreds of candles hung from the trees and around the Spanish fountain, oysters were being shucked, and glasses of champagne were being toasted, all to the sound of a NOLA jazz band.
Describe your wedding flowers. Oh, the flowers! Credit where it’s due, my mom has an award-winning garden in Ohio and has a wonderful decorative eye, but we had no idea just how amazingly the flowers would turn out. When I walked into the Board of Trade, I was stunned by how beautiful the tablescapes were. I specifically wanted people to be able to see each other across the tables, and there was just the right amount of height from the flowers and the candelabras that the tables felt elegant, but cozy. I loved that you could still have a conversation across the table.
During dinner, a couple who has been friends of the family for a long time, and also married for 30 years, told us how special they thought our vows were. They had also spoken unique vows on their wedding day, and every year on their anniversary, they say them to one another once again. I thought that was the most beautiful idea and have looked forward to speaking those token words of truth, honesty, and loyalty to John on our anniversaries ever since!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I fell in love with the lovely ladies of the Royal Cakery and their sweets right from the start. The second you walk into the bakery, you know these women have it down to a sweet, moist, and fluffy science. The cake was divine. After much back and forth on design, I decided on an intricately detailed, all-white, traditional wedding cake. It added a sophisticated air to a very festive room and was so beautifully and carefully crafted. We had salted caramel layers for me, chocolate cake for him, and almond amaretto for the moms!
Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: When the clock hit midnight and the confetti poured down. The whole crowed gathered to count down together from the dance floor in their top hats and party masks, and when the confetti fell, everyone kissed and sang Auld Lang Syne (we had it printed on the tables) together. It doesn’t get more festive than that!
We rode away in a pedicab with a bottle of champagne to celebrate. Since it was New Year’s Eve in New Orleans, we were short on vehicle options and were actually really excited about driving off in the pedicab. The driver was great, and we did two laps around the neighborhood, which was bustling and bursting with people celebrating New Years and having a great time. It was amazing!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. As the youngest of five, and the only girl, my house was always filled with older boys, but I never imagined that one of my brothers’ pals would become my husband! John played high school soccer with my twin brothers and our families were friends. He took me to homecoming my freshman year – we were in the same group as my brothers, mortifying! – but it wasn’t until two years later when John went off to college in Texas that we began to track one another from afar. As chance would have it, John moved to NYC after graduating, where I was spending the summer interning between years at the University of Michigan. We reconnected as friends in the city, but after spending three months exploring New York together, we realized we were much more than friends, though not yet ready to commit, being in different states and at different points in our lives. When I decided to study abroad the next year in the Middle East, John was my first visitor. And when, once again, I came back to NYC to spend the summer interning, and we spent every spare second together, we decided that not being together was out of the question. That is, until I received a great opportunity to move to Dubai to work after graduating. We had officially been dating for six months at that point, and I remember feeling like I had to take this job, but had no idea where that left us. John loved NYC and had a fantastic job in finance. Could we do long distance dating from that far?
We went to his favorite Mexican spot, where I broke the news. It took John all of two seconds to decide he would move too. I attribute our entire relationship to this two-second decision timing and his sincere confidence in our relationship so early in the game. We moved shortly after, and sure enough, Dubai became the city that we built our relationship on. After four years of living abroad, traveling the world together, and creating a family of friends overseas, he planned an elaborate proposal with 30 of our friends on the beach.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Glamorous, festive, romantic
How many friends, family, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What was the design inspiration for your reception? On our wedding programs, we had the saying “New Year. New Life. Together.” That was really the theme. It wasn’t only about New Year’s Eve, but that our marriage was a celebration of our new life together. Even though we had been dating for years in advance, we knew our marital commitment meant a new start for us together. We also included a lot of little details. For example, each of the table numbers included a New Year’s marital-themed resolution. Our menus had a countdown from ten to one to signify a new start of a new year. Each guests received a NYE top hat or a Mardi Gras hat.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Trust your vendors! Explain your ideas and desires and then give them enough space to use their creativity. We’d never planned a wedding, but our vendors had been part of hundreds of them. Of course, they knew what was right in the end, and we trusted them to make the best decisions on our behalf. On the wedding day, every vendor we hired blew us away! They knew how to throw a party without us micromanaging the process.
Who was your favorite vendor and why? I will always be indebted to Ms. Emily Sullivan! She managed to seamlessly coordinate 200 people over the course of three festivity-filled days. But more than that, she understood from the very beginning that our wedding was a weekend about family. She reached out to our parents often, helping to put them at ease and calm any fears, as well as to understand what a blissful wedding weekend meant to them. She kept us all working together and happy! Not an easy feat. On the wedding weekend, I was truly blessed to have her work her magic. Everything came together so beautifully.
Photographer: Trent Bailey / Videographer: Daniel Jones at Lumehouse Weddings / Planner: Emily Sullivan at Get Polished Events / Ceremony Venue: The Church of the Immaculate Conception / Reception Venue: New Orleans Board of Trade / Florist: Bella Blooms / Catering: Pigeon Caterers / Cake Baker: The Royal Cakery / Bride’s Dress: Ines DiSanto / Bridal Salon: Bridal Reflections / Bride’s Shoes: “Straptease” by Hey Lady Shoes / Bride’s Jewelry: Haute Bride / Bride’s Veil: Sara Gabriel / Hair Stylist: Kelly from Get Polished Events / Makeup Artist: Daphne from Get Polished Events / Men’s Attire: Knot Standard / Paper Products: Village Invites Midtown / Carriage: Mid-City Carriages / Rolls Royce: Unique Transportation / Pedicab: Need a Ride Pedicab / Limo Buses: American Luxury