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I couldn’t stop smiling as I read through Leanna and Ike’s interview. These two just got it right–not because of the beautiful details at their wedding (though there were plenty of them!), but because of their attitudes about their special day. I love the way Leanna dreamed of a wedding at Lowndes Grove, even before she was engaged, the fact that she and her dad had the song she’d walk down the aisle to picked out for years, and her cherished memories of dress shopping with her mom. It all warms my heart right up, and I can’t think of a more special way to start the week!

Thank you so much to Jamie Clayton for sharing this lovely wedding with us!

Finding the dress was one of the best parts of the whole wedding process for me! My mother and I went to two places and tried on about ten gowns before my heart was stolen by a beautiful Monique Lhuillier gown at Maddison Row in Charleston. The saying is true–when I put it on, I knew it was the one. It was made of silk organza and had a sweetheart neckline and a fit-and-flare silhouette. My favorite detail was the subtle jacquard pattern you could only see up close, like a special hidden surprise that made it even more beautiful. Aside from finding my perfect gown, the best part about the experience was the time spent with my mother. I will cherish it forever!

We had a bagpiper play a song about our family’s clan from Scotland to start the ceremony. My dad and I walked down the aisle to Canon in D, which we have had planned for years, ever since we first watched “Father of the Bride” together. It has always been a favorite of ours–we watched it before the wedding and even called my dad George Banks during the big day! We recessed to “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles, which was perfect, because that’s what it truly felt like–the beginning.

I used to live in a neighborhood behind Lowndes Grove. I would often pass by there on my runs and think “One day…” I lucked out and it really happened! Ike and I both love the outdoors and the water, so it was the perfect venue for us. I also loved that we could have the ceremony and reception in the same location. It made it easier on the guests and gave us more time to celebrate!

Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding flowers were stunning! We got married in the winter, so our options were limited, but luckily the flower I had to have was in season. Calla lilies have always been my favorite, so the bridesmaids carried mini eggplant callas and I carried a bouquet of all-white ones. Eucalyptus became the main theme of the wedding after Jacqueline, our wedding planner, presented it to me as an option. I was obsessed! It was just the detail I was looking for to make the modern/rustic wedding I had dreamed of come to life. We had eucalyptus garlands strung across the tent, as runners on the tables, and on our head table chairs. We also had a mix of all-white flowers, tons of candles, and antlers (an homage to my hunter husband!). It was really magical!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Just having everyone together was honestly our favorite part. It’s so rare to have all your friends and family together, and your wedding is really the only day you have to celebrate finding your soul mate, so to have everyone there was so special. Also, the way everything came together into the most wonderful representation of the two of us as a couple was truly amazing!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met through a mutual friend on Valentine’s Day 2011. I remember shaking his hand and knowing something about him was different and special. This is a total cliché, but it was love at first sight and the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! I was driving home from work on Thursday, March 7, 2013, and Ike kept calling me to see when I would be home. I thought it was strange but didn’t think too much about it. Little did I know, he was planning a big surprise! I walked in the front door to find rose petals all over the house that led to a glass of prosecco and a note saying to meet him outside. Somehow, I still didn’t get it! When I walked outside, he was there on one knee, and before he could even speak, I was in tears. After some celebration and phone calls, he cooked us a delicious dinner. It was the most perfect, intimate proposal, and a total surprise!
When did y’all get married? February 1, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we wanted a traditional Methodist service.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Ike and I danced to a song he picked out, “I Never Knew How Much” by the Allman Brothers. It’s a classic, and the second he played it for me, I knew it was our song. My dad and I danced to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Phil Collins, a song he has had picked out for years. I cried during both songs!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. The wedding cake was inspired by a picture I saw in a wedding magazine. I had looked at so many pictures and wasn’t finding many cakes I liked, and at the last minute, I stumbled across that picture and loved it! I decided to keep the cake all-white and classic so I wouldn’t have any regrets about it later. It was red velvet (our favorite) and delicious! I had it for breakfast the next day!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes, I borrowed my mother’s diamond earrings, my dress was new, I had on blue undies, and I had a penny in my shoe that my mom had in hers at her wedding–she and my dad have been married for 35 years!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our food! We wanted Southern food, but not your typical shrimp and grits. We had snapper, braised short ribs, biscuits, Carolina gold rice, and succotash. Also, the groomsmen wore bow ties from Brackish, which were made out of wild turkey feathers. Another homage to Ike’s hunting! I gave Ike a gun as his groom’s gift–you don’t get more Southern than that!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Instead of printed programs, we had a calligrapher write the details on a mirror from my parents’ house. We added a mini soup station instead of another full catering station, which was perfect for the weather! We were also able to order the sweaters for the bridesmaids through our clothing store, The Resort Shop.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? The ladies of Sweetgrass Social and Patrick Properties. They were all amazing to work with and gave us the wedding of our dreams! We also loved having family wedding pictures displayed at the ceremony. It felt like those who couldn’t be there were watching over us. It was a really special and personal detail.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? When the doors opened for the first time, seeing Ike and all the guests at the ceremony. It was overwhelming emotional to know everyone was there to see me marry my best friend. My heart felt so full!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding planner! Jacqueline from Sweetgrass Social was beyond helpful, and I don’t know what we would have done without her! Even if you can only spring for a day-of planner, do it. You won’t regret it and you will be a happier bride! Also, don’t follow trends or opinions of others–stay true to yourself and what you want for your wedding.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? The day you get married is the day you start your own family, and that’s what we are most looking forward to: being together as a family and hopefully one day soon, expanding the Boatwright clan! Oh, and traveling! Ike caught the travel bug on our honeymoon and we are now planning our next trip to Italy.

Photographer: Jamie Clayton / Planner: Jacqueline Volz of Sweetgrass Social / Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantataion / Florist: Sara York Grimshaw Designs / Catering and Cake: Fish / Rentals: Snyder Rentals and Eventworks / Lighting: Technical Event Company / Band: GrooveTown / Bride’s Gown: “Peony” by Monique Lhuiller / Paper Products: Mac and Murphy / Hair and Makeup: Stella Nova / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Sweaters: 360 Sweaters / Bridesmaids’ Skirts: Ceremony by Joanna August / Bridesmaid Salon: Bella Bridesmaid / Bridesmaids’ Necklaces: Theodosia / Bow Ties: Brackish

lisa Written with love by Lisa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Charmaine reply

    How romantic are those centerpieces

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Those tables are gorgeous! And the blankets – what a sweet touch for a winter wedding.

  3. avatar Jamie Clayton reply

    Ladies, y’all are my absolute favorite. Please come to Nashville ASAP!

  4. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    So beautiful! Love the bouquets!

  5. avatar Flashbacks of 2014: The Year in Review | Sweetgrass Social reply

    […] In early February, Leanna and Ike celebrated with a glam rustic themed wedding with an elegant tented affair at Lowndes Grove. You can see more of their wedding on Southern Weddings. […]

  6. avatar Sarah reply

    Hello, can you please tell me where the candelabras are from? I would love to rent or buy them.

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The more New Orleans weddings I see, the more anxious I get to attend one–they all look so fabulous and fun! Donielle and Vince’s wedding was certainly no exception, and from the Creole cuisine they served to their lively second line, they filled their wedding with nods to their exciting locale. Even more than all of the beautiful details they used on their big day though, I can’t stop admiring their portraits. Their love is so evident in the way they laughed together at their first look, stared into each others’ eyes during their ceremony, and so much more. Dark Roux, their photographers and members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory, did a truly wonderful job!

Wedding dress shopping was one of the happiest planning moments for me. I decided to set up initial appointments with only my wedding planner to ensure I would get the dress I really wanted and not rely on anyone else’s opinions. I always knew I wanted a lace dress, but I was unsure of the fit, so I tried one dress in each silhouette on before narrowing my search to the mermaid style. I decided to go with an ivory lace gown by Tara Keely, which had a strapless sweetheart neckline, an elongated bodice, and a chapel train. I glammed the dress up with a diamond studded belt.

Describe your wedding flowers. In one word, they were impeccable. Our florist was amazing! Dee was so good, I just gave her my wedding color palette and trusted she would deliver. I didn’t even schedule a follow-up appointment after my initial consultation visit. My first time seeing our flowers was the day of the wedding and I was blown away.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes we did. I wanted the photographer to capture both of our initial expressions seeing one another in one single shot. Seeing each other before the wedding gave us a moment to share our most intimate thoughts before we had to turn our attention to our wedding guests. It was also beneficial because we did not have to take away time from the reception to get the traditional bride and groom shots.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we decided to stick to the traditional vows. We liked the idea of reciting the timeless and classic words that united so many other prosperous marriages.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had two readings at our wedding. The first was “I Love You” by Roy Croft and the second was the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was our sweetheart canopy accented with a crystal chandelier. Not only was it a gorgeous statement piece, it also acted as the focal point of our reception. It was nice to be able to eat and spend time with each other under the canopy without leaving our guests.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our menu consisted of many famous Creole dishes. In New Orleans, food is an important part of our culture, so it is only right that it played an important role in our wedding. We also incorporated a second line band. The second line tradition stemmed from the African American jazz funerals and has evolved to become part of all New Orleans weddings. It signifies the start of a new beginning for the bride and groom. We led the second line twirling black and white umbrellas, followed by our guests dancing and waving monogrammed handkerchiefs to the live jazz band.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. In December 2007, I received a phone call from one of my best guy friends, Kristian. Kristian and I had known each other for years and were great friends. Our lives were so busy, it was difficult to keep in touch. When I finally received a phone call from him, I was excited to catch up, but instead, he told me a story that went like so: “Well, I was at work looking at your Facebook page today. Out of nowhere, my co-worker/friend Vince asked me ‘How do you know her?’ and I told him you were my childhood friend. He proceeded to tell me that he saw you at a party in Baton Rouge and he couldn’t get you off of his mind. Since that conversation, he has been constantly asking me to throw him a little interference, so I was wondering if it would be okay if I gave him your phone number.” I hesitated, but since I valued Kristian’s opinion, I did not oppose. Vince finally called me and we engaged in many long conversations. I found him to be very smart, business savvy, and funny. However, he was still a mystery man because we never met face to face, so we finally set up a date night. I was really nervous because I had never been on a “real” date before, so I gathered my friends to help me get ready. When I opened the door and saw him, he smiled and said hello. It was then I noticed the train tracks in his mouth. My first words were, “OMG, you didn’t tell me you had braces!” I am soooooo ashamed of this, but it was a typical Donielle moment–I am an extremely blunt person and my thoughts are always written on my face! Vince just laughed it off. Our date night consisted of dinner at an upscale Baton Rouge restaurant, Juban’s, followed by a stroll downtown that ended at the Shaw Center. We talked for hours. When I returned home, I called my girlfriends and told them, “I am going to marry that man.”
Tell us all about the proposal! The day we got engaged started off as a low-spirited day for me. To cheer me up, Vince decided to take me to my favorite restaurant, J Alexander’s, for dinner. To make me feel even better, he took me shopping for a new dress and shoes to wear for the evening. The day was starting to look up for me. While shopping, he asked if he could invite some of our friends who were in town to dinner. I agreed–we have the best time with our friends. While at dinner, we received a phone call from our friend Josh, who invited us all to help celebrate his birthday with drinks downtown, so we finished dinner and headed downtown to the Tsunami Restaurant in the Shaw Center. The restaurant has a rooftop with an amazing view overlooking the Mississippi River. I noticed Vince was a little nervous, which was so unlike him, but I continued to have a friendly debate with one of our friends. When I turned around to get Vince’s support of my argument, he was on one knee with a gorgeous diamond! I was extremely caught off guard and couldn’t believe it! He had managed to gather all our friends (near and far) and propose where we ended our very first date. The entire day was staged and I had had no clue!
When did y’all get married? March 8, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We love the beautiful sounds of the harp, so a harpist played all the songs for the wedding ceremony, including “Here Comes the Bride” for my walk down the aisle. Our first dance was to John Legend’s song “So High,” which we chose because of the lyrics, “So high…walking on cloud nine.” It was the perfect song for us. Other songs were: “Mama” by Boyz II Men for the mother/son dance, “Dance with my Father” by Luther Vandross for the father/daughter dance, “Single Ladies” by Beyonce for the bouquet toss, and “Pony” by Ginuwine for the garter toss.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge I had to overcome when planning my wedding was distance. I had already moved to Dallas, Texas and the wedding was in New Orleans, Louisiana. Although I had a wedding planner, it was still quite difficult to align our meeting availability. The use of technology definitely helped aid the situation; however, I would have liked to be physically present to experience the vendor meetings.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? First, our photographer, Dark Roux. When picking our photographer, it was very important for us to find someone who possessed the photography style we desired and who had personalities we both connected with. This down to earth husband-wife duo was perfect for us–they were creative, funny, and very professional. Most importantly, they captured amazing wedding photos that we will cherish forever. Our other most important vendor was our wedding planner. On our wedding day, I did not have a care in the world because Mrs. Audi had every detail under control. She was always professional, punctual, and patient. She truly took the time to make this the best day of our lives, and it was.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The best part of the wedding for me was my father walking me down the aisle to marry the man of my dreams. I am such a “daddy’s girl” and being able to have him by my side to share this special day meant the world to me. This simple gesture was also confirmation that my father accepted and approved of my husband-to-be. For my husband, his most cherished moment was the first look.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Do not rush the process. You want to give yourself enough time to plan every detail, and managing your time will eliminate the stress factor. Wedding planning should be an exciting process for both the groom and bride, but when stress is involved, it can become draining.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? The next step is starting our new life together in Dallas, Texas. We are most looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together and growing as one. We would like to accomplish our dreams and goals as a unit as well as expand our family.

Photographer: Dark Roux Photography / Videographer: Bride Film LLC / Planner: Occasions By Audi / Ceremony Venue: City Parks Botanical Gardens / Reception Venue and Caterer: City Parks Pavilion of Two Sisters / Florist: Bella Blooms Floral / Wedding Cake: La Louisiane Bakery / Groom’s Cake: Haydel’s Bakery / Rentals: Event Rental, Big Easy Photobooth and New Orleans Limo Service / Lighting: Event Rental / Harpist: Ashley Toman DJ: DJ Hollaback / Band: 21st Century Brass Band / Bride’s Gown: Tara Keely / Hair Stylist: Shena O. Cox / Makeup Artist: Kisha Williams from The Makeup Lab Artistry / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alvina Valenta / Men’s Attire: Brown & Brown Custom Clothiers

Dark Roux Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    What a perfect bridal look – love her bun + gown!

  2. avatar Happy Father's Day! – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Dark Roux from Donielle + Vince’s wedding […]

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