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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
7 Comments
  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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It is with great excitement that I’m kicking off this week of Bridal Market recaps! Emily and I had a wonderful, whirlwind long weekend in New York City two weeks ago admiring the new collections from our (and your!) favorite designers, seeing old friends and making new ones, and greatly improving our taxi-catching skills. Our first day of Market was one of the busiest, and after flying into LaGuardia early in the morning, we headed straight over to our first show of the day. We’re so grateful that Briana Elledge of Divine Light Photography was on hand to capture all of the gorgeous gowns for us!

First stop, the Claire Pettibone show at the incredible High Line Hotel. Our sweet friends Alicia and Kylie were the talents behind the show’s stunning blooms, and we were so thrilled to run into them on our way inside! Claire’s collection was inspired by iconic Gothic cathedrals, and this inspiration combined with her signature ethereal, intricate style was truly striking. We were also delighted to see plenty of silver and blue, which we like to think had something to do with a certain magazine cover ;)

Going from romantic, bohemian Claire Pettibone to chic, modern Kelly Faetanini almost felt like a culture shock, in the best way! Kelly’s Fall 2015 collection was so true to her signature style: classic and elegant, with lots of fun details. The gowns were fashion-forward, but totally wearable for a traditional bride. We were also smitten with the braided updos and red lips on the models–it may have even inspired the bright lip colors we wore for the remainder of Market!

The venue of the Ines Di Santo show was amazing–it took place in a stunning mansion that opened up to an enclosed courtyard. Fake snow covered the floor, and the winter inspiration for the collection was more than evident in the shimmery tulle, sparkly beading, and crisp white fabrics. Ball gown-loving brides–this is one collection you’ll definitely want to try on!

We were so excited about the next show–Anne Barge, one of our favorite Southern designers. Her collection completely lived up to our expectations, and her elegant gowns, sweet detailing (Alencon lace! Satin bows! Stripes!), and lovely styling were some of our favorites from the weekend. We also had the opportunity to meet Anne after the show, and tell her some exciting news in person: one of her gowns will be gracing our V7 cover!

From the Anne Barge show, we hurried over to the Park Hyatt for Rivini. The collection included lots of edgy dresses with sheer detailing and interesting cutouts, but our favorites were the nontraditional takes on the classic ball gown silhouette.

After the show, we ran into some familiar faces! Randy Fenoli of Say Yes to the Dress is an old friend of Lara’s, who we were so happy to see, and we also introduced ourselves to Lori and Monte of Bridals by Lori (from Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta). As y’all can imagine, they are all just as kind and gracious as they seem on TV, and Lori and Monte’s accents brought us right home to the South for a minute!

Getting to our next presentation was a bit of a hike, but it was completely worth it as soon as we stepped into the Sarah Seven flagship! Since it was a presentation rather than a runway show, we got to see her new collection up close and ask Sarah questions about her designs as the models showed them. Y’all, the fabrics she uses are incredible! We especially loved the off-the-shoulder gowns (so romantic!) and subtle beaded bodices.

There’s still even more to share from our first day at Market, but in the meantime, we’d love to hear which gowns are your favorites so far! I’m crazy about the silver lace gown from Claire Pettibone (fifth row), the shimmery tulle ball gown from Ines Di Santo (fourth row), and the low lace back at Anne Barge (first row), while Emily’s top picks are the sparkly illusion back Ines Di Santo (first row), the subtle high-low ball gown from Rivini (second row), and the gray chiffon Sarah Seven (first row)!

P.S. Check out our #SWBridalMarket hashtag on Instagram to see more from our trip!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Bridal Market 2014 Part 2: Alvina, Hayley, Jim Hjelm, Lazaro, Watters, Liancarlo – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] I mentioned yesterday, our first day of Bridal Market was packed to the brim. We ended the day on a super high note at the JLM Couture show before […]

  2. avatar Nikki reply

    Amazing photographs! Who is the photographer and do they shoot engagement/weddings too?

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Briana of Divine Light Photography, and yes, she shoots weddings! Here’s her website: http://www.dlweddings.com/

  3. avatar Bridal Market 2014 Part 3: Badgley, Amsale, Christos, Kenneth, Modern Trousseau – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] back to day two of Bridal Market! If you missed parts one and two of our recaps, find them here and here. We’re so grateful to Briana of Divine Light Photography for all of these gorgeous […]

  4. avatar Bridal Market 2014 Part 5: BHLDN, Sarah Janks, Legends, Carol, Heidi, Monique, Carolina – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] fun sharing our experience and favorite moments! If you’re just tuning in, catch up on Parts One, Two, Three, and Four. We’re so grateful to Briana of Divine Light Photography for capturing […]

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Yeehaw, y’all!

And the gorgeousness continues with Part 3. I couldn’t let Marissa have all the fun of sharing Bridal Market 2013 with y’all, now could I? Catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 before digging in to this next round of beauty, starting with Ines Di Santo.

Ines Di Santo captivated our attention with her beautiful collection, inspired by what Ines considers one of Europe’s most romantic cities, Venice. The beautiful lines and decadent fabrics of these trumpet style gowns were accented by lovely lace and bead-work adornments.

I loved all the layers of organza in this next sweetheart ballgown. This romantic off-the-shoulder beauty garnered gasps from both Marissa and me. And of course, I loved the delicate bow detail.

And we got the great pleasure of snapping a photo after the show with our friend Kristy Rice. A fun surprise? Kristy designed the beautiful Iphone cases seen here.

From the Ines Di Santo show we dashed straight to the coffee shop around the corner because I was begging for a little burst of caffeine. Thankfully, Marissa and Kat agreed. With coffee in hand, we headed to Pier94 for Anne Barge.

I love these preshow sneak peeks that Kat Harris snapped. Y’all, these shows are masterpieces, and the girls come out one after the other. I can only imagine how crazy it is backstage during the actual show.

Yes! This is the lovely Ms. Anne Barge. We managed to snag a picture with her after the show. And I have to say, her dresses reflect her sweet disposition. She couldn’t have been more sweet or gracious when we introduced ourselves.

Aren’t these lovely deep Vs breathtaking, and the birdcage veils so posh? During the show, one of these lovely hair accents fell off, and the model gracefully caught it without missing a beat and continued down the runway! Her feat was definitely worthy of applause and cheers from the audience.

One of my favorite ‘trends’ that we saw during our time in New York were all the amazing gown back details. Doesn’t this floral illusion back just make you swoon? This collection was packed with flowing silk organza, lace, and delicate bows – perfect for a romantic Southern fete.

On to the ballet studio for the ice crystal inspired collection from Rivini! Rita Vinieris is the brilliant mind behind this delicate collection, which was inspired by the softness of snowflakes and the Ice Hotel in Sweden.

Accordingly, this collection was filled with beading and delicate embellishment. This stunning crystallized blouse was unlike anything else we saw on the runway. I love how it seems to shimmer in the light and add a sense of elegance and barely-there warmth. The girls retraced their steps so we got to see each dress up close, twice, which was a real treat.

Stay tuned for more Bridal Market adventures tomorrow as we head to our next stop! BIG huge thanks to Kat Harris for photographing all these beauties for us!

P.S. Which is your favorite gown so far?

kristin Written with love by Kristin
8 Comments
  1. avatar Kate Collison reply

    Great coverage, ladies! I’m just loving the illusion details. Favorites include the cap sleeve, illusion neckline from Christos (first on the left) and the Deep-V illusion backs from Amsale (with a choice of embellishment or without? Lovely!) The Anne Barge collection has some beautiful illusion backs and even shoulders, too! Favorite gown so far? Illusion back from Amsale without embellishment. Clean, classic, so gorgeous. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  2. avatar Madelynne Moulton reply

    Ms. Anne Barge has REALLY outdone herself! All of those dresses are stunning, but I especially love the 4th one down with the floral illusion back! Stunning!

    • avatar Kristin reply

      Madelynne! I couldn’t agree more. I loved every dress in the Anne Barge collection. And I agree that the detailed floral illusion back was stunning! It definitely took my breath away when she turned around, however, the second to last dress (blush with the deep V + ruffles + bow) was my favorite of the collection. Such gorgeous details and I loved the way it swooshed!!

    • avatar Madelynne Moulton reply

      Kristin: What did the front of it look like? It really is stunning!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Alrighty, here are my picks for today! From Ines, I am loving the one with the lace shoulder as well as the blush colored one with the lace bateau neckline. From Anne Barge, I adore the simple one-shoulder number near the bottom. And from Rivini, my pick is the top one!

  4. avatar Kristyn M reply

    My three favorites all together in one post!!! Rivini is my fav but I’m just partial to them because they made my dress :)

  5. avatar Kat Harris reply

    Ines di Santo always seems to steal my heart. Her of the shoulder silk organza gown is my favorite!

  6. avatar Wedding Wednesday: Blissful Inspiration ~ The Runway Edition | Salutations Fine Stationery & Gifts reply

    […] Weddings; Kentfield invitation photo from Dauphine Press; Ines Di Santo runway photo from Southern Weddings; Dolce invitation photo from Bella Figura; Claire Pettibone runway photo from Style Me […]

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