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Jill and Donald have one of the most darling meet-cutes I’ve ever heard. Their love story started in middle school when Donald boldly dared Jill to kiss him–and she did! Many years later, these junior high sweethearts said “I do” in a pretty white chapel, and then celebrated in a reception that was chock-full of Southern traditions, from a second line to a cake pull to a bleedin’ armadillo groom’s cake. We’re smitten with every detail that our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Sapphire Events, pulled together!

Thank you so much to 509 Photo for sharing this lovely wedding with us!

We met at the end of summer at a school event when Donald was going into 7th grade and I was going into 8th. Everyone called him Scooter, so I had recalled hearing about him in conversations. We crossed paths on the stairwell, surrounded by friends, when he stopped and said, “Hey, I’m Scooter.” I remember confidently stating, “I know who you are,” even though I didn’t really. He talked to me and the rest of the 8th grade cheerleaders for awhile, and when I started to walk away, he yelled, “I dare you to kiss me!” I whipped back around and sassily said, “You dared the wrong girl!” I leaned in, thinking he would be so shocked or scared or embarrassed, he would run off, but he didn’t! Our lips locked, and it began a long-standing crush, many years of dating, three dogs, a house, and a move to NYC. We were married in front of some of the same friends that saw our very first kiss!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew I wanted to capture both the sweet and sassy sides of me, and no one dress was going to do that! I tried on fitted dresses, ball gowns, and A-lines, and loved them all. After talking to my dear friend, Katerina, she said she would make me something! She sent me a sketch of the most beautiful drawing, and I immediately fell in love with the illustration, the concept, and the entire look. She made me a removable overlay of lace appliqués, so I still got my sassy mermaid look for post-ceremony!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and “Union” by Robert Fulghulm
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Bach (processional), “Canon in D” by Pachelbel (bridal processional), and “Hornpipe” from Water Music by Handel (recessional).

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The second line!! We laughed and danced and kissed and really took in the moment. Best 0.6 miles I’ve ever walked.

Louisiana has a special place in my heart. I lived there as a baby, it’s where my mother was raised, and my grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins all live there. My great-grandmother lived in Metarie and I spent lots of time with her and family there on holidays and during summers growing up. When Donald and I were deciding where we wanted to get married, we both agreed that New Orleans was perfect, since we wanted our wedding to be the best celebration ever. The church was simply beautiful and rich in history, and was not too far from where we wanted to have the reception. The reception venue was magical, and it overlooked two very special features: the Jax Brewery sign, which is our lab’s name, and the Mississippi River. Scooter’s daddy passed away when Scooter was 12, and he was from Mississippi. When we first visited the venue and saw the view of the river, I got chills thinking about how perfect of a tribute it was to a special person who is no longer with us.

We loved our wedding cake! It had a black and white fondant design, topped with sugar magnolias. The cake had alternating tiers of chocolate and White Russian cake with delicious buttercream filling. The groom’s cake was red velvet with gray icing in the shape of an armadillo. It was even delicious the next morning when we hacked into it for one last bite!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had magnolias on the pews down the aisle and on the wedding cake. When I had asked Donald if he wanted a groom’s cake, he said no at first, but then quickly changed his mind, adding, “Get me a bleeding armadillo groom’s cake…for shock and awe!” So I did! Some of our New York guests unfamiliar with Steel Magnolias actually thought it was a New York City rat!! My four sweet flower girls carried arrangements filled with cotton, a nod to my grandmother, whose daddy owned and operated a cotton farm that is still in our family. We wanted the reception to feel like Mardi Gras! There were boas, beads, and booze flowing throughout the night. We even had a caricature artist to add a Jackson Square art feel.

Tell us all about the proposal! For weeks, I had been tanning, primping, and getting “pageant-ready” for this proposal. I knew it was coming, and the anticipation was killing me!! I even slept in makeup on occasion and NEVER went out without a full head of Big Texas hair. After several dinners out, weekly tans, and precise attention to grooming details, in true Scooter form, he asked me at our apartment, during our favorite time of day (morning coffee time), when I had no makeup on AND wet hair! Unknowingly, he was recording as I danced around and squealed…not at all how I imagined my reaction to the proposal. The video footage is remarkable, hilarious, sweet, and so me!
When did y’all get married? June 1, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The wedding favors. We stuffed clear bags with Spanish moss, mini Tabascos, chocolate alligators made my by wonderful mother, and a recipe of my grandaddy’s mini pralines; it was personal touches of New Orleans charm and love from my Louisiana family that made the favors so special to me.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes, I was covered in sentimentality! My mother let me wear her sapphire and diamond ring on my right hand for the night. My paternal grandmother sent a blue brooch that I pinned on the inside of my wedding skirt, which was an extra special gift since the trip was too far for her to take. My dear friend Katerina let me borrow diamond drop earrings. My maternal grandmother loaned me a lace handkerchief that was my great-great-grandmother’s.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Long-distance planning. We flew to New Orleans for a weekend and chose our wedding cake, food for the reception, band, wedding planner, and florist within 48 hours. We just had to trust it would all turn out like we imagined, and it was perfect!
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? Our 509 photo team was incredible. They captured the images of me and my husband and our friends and family perfectly. Every time I go back to the pictures or our wedding album, I feel as if I am reliving the day!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Research! I spent many hours watching wedding video clips for ideas, and I was big into reading blogs and reviews.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Continuing on with our adventure, traveling, and at some point, having some babies.

Photographer: Caleb Chancey of 509 Photo / Videographer: 509 Photo / Planner: Valerie Gernhauser of Sapphire Events / Ceremony Venue: St. Marks United Methodist Church /Reception Venue: Galvez Restaurant / Florist: Eric Fredricks of Bee’s Wedding and Event Designs / Cake Baker: Flour Power / Rentals: Perrier Party Rentals / Band: Chicken on the Bone Band / Bride’s Gown: Romona Keveza with custom overlay by Katerina Kaplanis at Pronovias / Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas / Bride’s Shoes and Veil: Pronovias NYC / Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Kiss and Make Up / Maid of Honor Dress: Monique Lhuillier / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jim Hjelm / Groom’s Attire: Sebastien Grey Clothiers NYC / Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse / Brass Band: Storyville Stompers / Programs, Reception Menus, Table Numbers, and Place Cards: Michelle Sasser / Rolls Royce Rental and Shuttles: Capital City Trolleys

Sapphire Events is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Jill’s gown is perfection – and I love how happy these two look throughout their wedding day!

  2. avatar Amanda {Planning It All} reply

    Her gown is stunning – I really like the lace overlay!

  3. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] only thing more romantic than Katie and Mark‘s wedding (above) was their sweet love story. Jill and Donald‘s wedding was chic and elegant, with the perfect amount of New Orleans flair. We […]

  4. avatar Victoria reply

    What a fun and beautiful wedding!

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