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When a wedding planner and a chef tie the knot, you might expect beautiful styling, gorgeous details, and delicious food. And in the case of Elyse and Jack, you’d be right! Their wedding day at Stella Plantation had all of those things and more. Mixing together sweet details from their love story (yummy mini pizzas) with romantic decor (tons of dreamy candles, plus 13 different crystal chandeliers!), they created a celebration that was just as lovely as it was meaningful. I also love the way they weaved Elyse’s signature “xoxo” throughout their day, and right on into their newlywed home!

P.S. If you’re thinking the only way these photos could be prettier is if they were printed on glossy paper and surrounded by other wedding goodness, you’re in luck! We’re so glad Greer Gattuso was on hand to capture this beautiful wedding, and we were proud to feature it in Southern Weddings V8. If you don’t have your copy yet, look for it on news stands across the Southeast, or order it before we sell out here!

Since I’ve signed all of my letters to Jack with “xoxo” for years, we fell in love with the idea of having “xoxo” accents throughout the design! As guests were first introduced to the wedding through the save the dates, they noticed my handwritten “xoxo” at the top. We then commissioned one of the best local calligraphers to design our “xoxo” logo, which we used as a dance floor vinyl, had laser cut for our wedding cake topper, gold foiled on our napkins, printed on our koozies, and more! We even used “elysexoxojack” as our wedding hashtag! The “xoxo” has since carried over into our home decor, which continues to make me smile and think of our wedding.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Having shopped through New Orleans with my clients, I knew I’d have to travel to find my dress, so my mother, bridesmaids, and aunts joined me in Houston for a long weekend. Ironically, the bridal attendant had to force me to try my dress on! After removing the one-shoulder strap and some floral appliqués, it was exactly what I had envisioned myself wearing.

As the guests arrived for our wedding ceremony, they were greeted by my six honorary bridesmaids at our confetti bar! They were instructed to make their own mix of navy and metallic confetti to toss at us as we walked back up the aisle as husband and wife. Our immediate family members were given wedding bells to ring after our kiss, and my sorority sisters were each handed a Killarney rose–my sorority’s signature flower.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. My dad walked me down a long, tree-lined aisle as a cello and violin played. Once the celebrant greeted the guests, my aunt delivered an original ode to love. This was followed by the reading of the poem “Love” by Roy Croft, a poem read during recruitment in Delta Zeta Sorority, by my maid of honor, and a contemporary version of Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” sung by a dear friend. Thank goodness I had gifted Jack a “Mr.” hanky because I needed it a few times myself!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote an original set of vows for both of us to repeat during the ceremony. These vows were a little more traditional, but still so meaningful to us.

Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? The cocktail party started outside of the tent at our champagne table, where we had rows of pre-poured champagne, each glass adorned with either a gold pom, a rock candy stick, or a rim of edible gold sugar. Our family and friends enjoyed cocktails around highboys with floral ties by the glow of our three 10-foot walls of candles.

New Orleans thrives on a buffet-style reception–they keep people moving, mingling, and dancing! Food was really important to Jack, as he’s a chef, but I am a picky eater, so we wanted to have food that could could represent us both. We offered elegant food like oysters bordelaise, turtle soup, red snapper filet with crawfish ravigot, cajun duck breast, and marsala mushroom-topped tenderloin to suit Jack’s sophisticated palate. Then, to represent my favorite foods, we served miniature Margherita pizzas and had a french fry and mac and cheese bar that guests could top with their favorite accoutrements!

Did you try anything new or nontraditional? Our guest book was a nod to the hopeless romantic in each of us! Like the Parisian love lock bridge, we asked guests to sign and add their well wishes for our relationship to a padlock, then lock in their love by attaching it to a trellis, which we continue to enjoy in the landscaping in our backyard!

What was your reception like? As cocktail hour came to an end, the drapes of the tent were pulled back to reveal the reception inside. A golden-draped tent with 13 different crystal chandeliers added the backdrop and lighting for our perfect night! Our tables were a mix of round and square tables, the chairs were a mix of gold chiavari, gold estate, and ghost chairs, and our three different specialty table linens added various navy textures to the room. The whole room twinkled!

Our cakes added some wow factor! The wedding cake was a four-tiered fondant cake accented with gold leafing and topped with our xoxo wooden cake topper! It sat on a gold bar cart–a gift from my aunts for my bridal shower–adorned with candles on the bottom shelf and on the floor around the base. The backdrop was a custom painted and gold-leafed wall that our florist created. After we cut our cake, we asked the ladies of the bridal party to join us for a cake pulls–a Southern tradition where each girl pulls a charm out of the cake that is said to predict their fate. The groom’s cake was four stacked king cakes, a New Orleans speciality, with a fleur de lis topper and purple, green, and gold Mardi Gras beads scattered on the table!

Don’t miss Elyse and Jack’s wedding film by our Blue Ribbon Vendor Bride Film below!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. In eighth grade, my parents moved to a new city right outside of New Orleans, where I made many new friends! One afternoon, I had joined my new girlfriends at the ballpark to watch their friends play baseball. After a foul ball was hit towards the stands, I scooped it up and chucked it back to the boys. Let’s just say that I didn’t throw like a girl! Impressed by my athleticism, Jack came to chat with me after the game. We spent many afternoons together at the ballpark after that, and the rest is history!
Tell us about a date you’ll always remember. For our one-year dating anniversary (keep in mind that we were 16 years old), Jack told me that he was going to cook pizza, my favorite meal, from scratch. He surprised me by writing “I <3 U” in pepperonis! He had already discovered his love for cooking (he's now a chef) and had gotten pretty good at it, so the fact that he simplified his dinner plans to cook this simple dish showed that he really understood and loved me. I’ve always told him just how special that meal made me feel! Describe the proposal: After the weather forced Jack to change his plans of proposing in the park in front of a photographer, the ring must have been burning a hole in his pocket. The very next day, he surprised me with another hand-tossed pizza, this one reading “Marry Me?” in pepperonis– a nod to our one-year anniversary date! Needless to say, we were too excited to eat the proposal pizza!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Elegant, custom, lively
How many guests attended your wedding? 200
What did the groom and groomsmen wear? Jack had purchased a light navy suit months before the wedding, but three weeks before the big day, an editorial arrived in the mail with a velvet, navy tux blazer that he had to have! It arrived just in time! He also wore my late grandfather’s Rolex watch that my father asked him to wear. During my dad’s rehearsal dinner speech, he said, “Jack, I would like you to wear this watch this weekend so that Elyse’s grandfather can be a part of his granddaughter’s wedding. Keep it on your wrist so he can feel your pulse quicken as you watch Elyse walk up the aisle in her beautiful wedding dress.” It meant so much to me to have my Dide there in spirit! The groomsmen all wore matching black suits with navy skinny ties. We also gifted them polka dot socks for a fun touch.
Tell us about your wedding flowers. I really wanted my bouquet to have a hand-picked, natural feel, so we used lush blooms in whites, ivories, and blush mixed with loose, cascading foliage to give it lots of movement. We applied gold leafing to a few leaves for a gilded touch! We used Frou Frou Chic hand-dyed ribbon to tie it all together. As a finishing touch, I had “Mrs. Jennings” in my handwriting turned into a gold bracelet, which we wrapped around the stems. Just as the bridesmaids’ dresses were different, I wanted their bouquets to be different as well. Each had the same filler flowers and foliage, but a unique focal flower! I also made each of the ladies a handwritten gold bracelet with their names to wrap around their bouquets.
Tell us a bit about your first dance. We danced to “Amazed” by Lonestar, which has been “our song” since we first started dating in 2003–the year the song became most popular. We sang every word of the song to each other while we danced! So romantic and nostalgic!
Tell us about your grand exit. In true dramatic fashion, we ended our reception with fireworks over the Mississippi River to celebrate not only our love, but all of the love that surrounds us each and every day! It was a truly magical ending to the most incredible weekend of our lives, and the perfect start to our forever!

Planning and Design: Elyse Jennings Weddings | Venue: Stella Plantation | Photographer: Greer Gattuso Photography | Videographer: Bride Film | Candles and Lighting: Luminous Events | Florist: Bee’s Wedding and Event Designs | Rentals: Perrier Rentals | Vintage Rentals: Distressed Rentals | Hair Stylist: Ginger Dickey | Makeup Artist: Ashley Sievert | Band: Groovy 7 | Catering: New Orleans Catering | Ceremony Musicians: New Orleans Finest Musicians | Officiant: Rev. Johnny Adams | Transportation: Bonomolo and Hotard | Save the Dates and Invitations: Tupelo Honey | Invitation and Envelope Calligraphy and Signage: Ebb and Flow | Cake Baker: Royal Cakery | Champagne Flutes: Anthropologie | Bride’s Gown: Ines Di Santo | Bridal Salon: Ivory Bridal Atelier | Bride’s Veil: Wedding Belles | Bride’s Earrings: Kendra Scott | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bride’s Robe: Flora Nikrooz | Menswear: Express | Bridesmaid Dresses: Adrianna Papell and Badgley Mischka | Tinsel Stirrers: Em for Marvelous | XOXO Cake Topper: My Girl Josephine | Bouquet Ribbon: Frou Frou Chic | Name Bracelets: Yvonne Boutique | XOXO Floor Decal: Off the Wall Expression | Confetti: Inside My Nest | Frosted Go Cups and Napkins: For Your Party | Koozies: Discount Mugs

Greer Gattuso, Bride Film, and Stella Plantation are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Brittany reply

    By far one of my favorite weddings. It is the perfect mix of elegant and fun. I might be using some of these ideas :-)

  2. avatar Champagne bar with tinsel stirrers – Em for Marvelous – reply

    […] of my very favorite weddings from the latest issue of Southern Weddings is on their blog today! Elyse and Jack, who began dating when they were 16, blew me away with all of the thoughtful and […]

  3. avatar Elyse reply

    Our wedding was the very best day of my life and it’s made me smile from ear to ear to relive it through the magazine and the blog! You ladies are just the sweetest! XOXO

  4. avatar Sybil reply

    Beautiful wedding! I love alll the detail and how special it seems for the couple.

  5. avatar Nicole reply

    Beautiful…so this is what a wedding looks like when a super talented wedding planner makes the dream of her wedding day come to life. Details, Details, Details, Love, Love, Love!!!

  6. avatar Brooke reply

    This was one of my favorite weddings from the new magazine! Seeing even more pictures on the blog is just so exciting! I absolutely love the confetti bar and the mini chicken and waffles!

  7. avatar 5 Southern Wedding Traditions Any Couple Can Incorporate reply

    […] See the full wedding here! […]

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I adore seeing couples who really have a blast on their wedding days! When your bridesmaids are laughing in matching heart-shaped sunglasses and you’re dancing your way into the first few minutes of married life with a second line, followed by excited guests waving hankies, it’s no wonder that it looks like Katie and Tim grinned from ear to ear all day long. While weddings can be stressful, they are ultimately happy occasions, and Katie and Tim certainly seem to have had an incredible time on their special day!

Thanks to Glass Jar Photography for capturing their fun celebration!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I loved the way all of the colors came together. My mom made bracelets for the bridesmaids that matched the groomsmen’s ties perfectly. I also had everyone wear heart-shaped sunglasses in the same coral colors as the dresses–it was so much fun!

I knew I wanted Vera Wang dress. Being a fashion designer, I’ve been admiring her style and interesting fabric and detail combinations for years! I went to one bridal salon, Big Rock Bridal in Columbus, and tried on about 15 dresses. The sample they had for the one I ended up getting was really worn and about 10 sizes too big, but I knew I loved it!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We wanted to have everything outside. We love the charm and character of the French Quarter and wanted all of our guests to experience it as well! We felt that the lush gardens provided a great ambiance, without us having to pay for a lot of extra decor.

We had a second line with an amazing brass band, Kinfolk. Most of our guests were from up north or the East and West Coasts, so they had never experienced anything like it before! We also included Zapp’s potato chips and Mardi Gras beads in our favor bags.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our wedding planner, Sarah Worsley of Mint Julep Productions! Sarah was amazing and totally understood the vibe we were going for. She helped pick out almost all of our vendors, and they all hit it out of the park. She is a native of New Orleans and taught us so much about Southern weddings. We would have been lost without her!

I was really inspired by the idea of an overgrown wild garden. I knew I wanted our flowers to have an eclectic feel with bright pops of color, and I wanted them to emulate the fun vibe of the South. I was thrilled with how the florist took my inspiration and created such beautiful arrangements!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to “La Vie en Rose,” played by a brass band. It felt very romantic and New Orleans. The seven-person band, Groovy 7, did all live music at the reception–we knew we could not have a wedding in New Orleans without live music! Out first dance was to “At Last” by Etta James. We wanted something classic, and it’s one of my favorite songs. We did our father-daugher and mother-son dance together to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. My good friend, Liz, shared my MySpace page with Tim while I was preparing for my move to NYC. Tim was intrigued, and we met in New York two months later in fall 2006. We were friends for four years before starting to date, and we have been together for five years.
Tell us all about the proposal! Tim planned a romantic weekend in Cinncinati, Ohio for us in March 2014. When we arrived at the hotel, I read the note on the dresser next to the flowers. It said “Occasion: engaged,” so I knew what was up before actually getting proposed to! We hung out around town, and I waited all day for Tim to propose. Right before dinner in our hotel room, he finally popped the question! I cried with joy, even though I knew it was coming, and we celebrated with a late dinner and drinks.
When did y’all get married? April 17, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 120
Describe your wedding cake and dessert. Since I wanted the colors of the flowers to flow throughout the venue, I knew I wanted real flowers on the cake. To keep it from looking too overwhelming and taking away from the beauty, I chose simple, off-white frosting, and let the flowers be the focus. My husband cannot eat gluten, so the top tier was gluten-free. The inside of the cake had a layer of white almond wedding cake with wild strawberry buttercream. We also had strawberry and vanilla macarons covered in gold glitter, traditional New Orleans croquembouche, chocolate-covered strawberries, and a bananas foster station! We loved the drama of lighting the dessert on fire.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! My dress was new, my underwear was blue, and I borrowed Tim’s great-grandmother’s Claddagh rings.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? My biggest challenge was following my instincts and taking everything people said with a grain of salt. Everyone has advice, but in the end, you need to be true to your own style and spirit.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Our food was buffet-style, and we did not have assigned seating, so we did not have to spend money on escort cards. We had the reception at a restaurant, Broussard’s, so we were able to use their tables, plates, tablecloths, and chairs, instead of renting our own. We also picked a venue that was outside and had a beautiful garden, so we did not have to go overboard with flowers.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We love to travel and went on our honeymoon to Thailand. Hopefully, there are more exotic trips in the future. We also just adopted a puppy on our one-month wedding anniversary, and her name is Nola (short for New Orleans!). We are enjoying being puppy parents! We are also starting to look for a home to buy in Columbus!

Photographer: Glass Jar Photography / Planner: Sarah Worsley of Mint Julep Productions / Ceremony Venue: Hermann-Grima House / Reception Venue and Caterer: Broussard’s / Florist: Arbor House / Baker: Melissa’s Fine Pastries / Band: Groovy 7 and Kinfolk Brass Band / Paper Products: Hartland Brooklyn / Bride’s Gown: Vera Wang / Bride’s Jewelry: BHLDN / Hair and Makeup: Flawless Bride / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses and Menswear: J. Crew / Groom’s Shoes: Allen Edmond’s Shoes / Ties: Stag Handmade / Gift Bags: Map Tote / Signage: Small Chalk / Wedding Map and Guest Book: Cedar Workshop / Bride’s Heart-Shaped Glasses: Shadey Rose / Custom Koozies: Christine Meahan

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Yours Truly Wedding Albums reply

    Breathtaking images! What a gorgeous wedding!

  2. avatar Lindsay Colvin reply

    Her dress is so unique, love the back!

  3. avatar Connie Cutting-Champine reply

    Katie and Tims wedding was beautiful. It was a fun, elegant, sophisticated wedding. It was a wonderful and exciting time. People in town lined the streets as we danced down them waving.

  4. avatar Wedding Photographer Cebu reply

    That is just gorgeous. Love the theme.

  5. avatar Wedding DJ reply

    One of my favorite weddings to DJ was in the Big Easy. This total brought me back! Cafe du Monde would have topped it off. :) Thanks for sharing

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to: