Y’all already know I love plantation weddings, and it’s safe to say that Celeste and Michael’s wedding takes said planation love up a notch! Nottoway Planation was the perfect combination of classic Southern charm and relaxed elegance that these two were looking for. Since Celeste grew up on a sugar plantation in Louisiana, the cane fields reminded her of her home and her roots, making this place extra special. With the help of their planner, Leslie Campbell, these two created a Louisiana wedding I wish I’d been able to attend, if just for the spread! A beignet bar? You’d know where to find me! To top it off, I’m not sure a more Southern phrase has been written in our interviews than “with a New Orleans-style medley playing as we walked out to the front of the plantation, facing the Mississippi River, and watched an amazing firework display over the levee.” Truly magical, indeed!
Thanks to Dark Roux for sharing such a sweetly Southern day with us!
My bridal bouquet was a cluster of white tulips. I’ve always loved the romantic, cascading element of the tulip, and February was the perfect time of year for them. My bouquet was perfectly executed by my florist and exactly what I had envisioned in my head. My bridesmaid bouquets were clusters of beautiful white flowers, including tulips, hydrangeas, and leafy greenery. I wanted them to look organic and cascading–not too structured or perfect. The table arrangements were tall vases with white french tulips and curly willow with hanging votives.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? No! We are traditionalists. I wanted his first sight of me to be walking down the aisle of the beautiful church.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? As the ceremony ended and we finished the recessional, Michael leaned over and kissed my hand. We had our family, friends, and this beautiful celebration behind us, and we were finally able to share in the special moment for ourselves. The photographers happened to capture the beauty of the moment and it’s our absolute favorite picture!
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I chose Nottoway because of its beauty and Southern charm. I grew up on a sugar plantation in Houma, Louisiana, and the cane fields reminded me of home and my roots. I wanted the day to be full of Southern elegance, and to have a relaxed and casual feel.
I made a lot of the special details myself. My mom is an incredible seamstress, so she and I created custom monogrammed linen pillows with a “V” crest gilded on them. We placed them on all of the lounge furniture arranged throughout the tent. It really helped cozy up the venue and added a very personal touch. I also made the cake topper, and brought a lot of decorative items from home, including the candelabras and picture frames to decorate the tent and lounge seating areas. Guests joked that I brought my living room to Nottoway!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We chose our first dance and song based on the style of our band, which we picked even before the venue. It was a cover of Audra Mae’s cover of “Crazy Love.” Michael arranged for dance lessons specific for our band’s version of the song. We already love to dance together, but to have choreographed moves together made for such a transcendental moment. Our band, Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue, had authentic soul and passion that truly helped define the event.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I was going to church regularly with a friend of mine who had just met this “good Catholic boy.” He set us up in a very casual manner, but didn’t tell either of us about it! He met both of us at a local hot spot, made the introduction, and then disappeared. Michael and I came by deep conversation easily and three hours flew by. Very quickly into our conversation, I wanted Michael to ask for my number, but he never did! I took it as disinterest, but if you ask him, he’ll tell you he REALLY wanted it, but couldn’t work up the nerve! At the end of the night, we walked out together, and right outside the entrance, Michael asked to walk me to my car. Without thinking about it, I said, “Not necessary, I parked right over there.” Walking away, I realized the opportunity I had just missed. The next day, I asked my friend more about Michael, and he responded, “Are you kidding? You kicked him to the curb, I thought? He was pretty dejected.” I didn’t delay–I asked for his number and, against my upbringing, made the first move. We had dinner, and our love story began.
Tell us all about the proposal! It was our second anniversary, and Michael had everything planned out. He started by playing the game, “let’s see how much I can frustrate Celeste before I propose” – of course unbeknownst to me. He had me at the absolute breaking point by first “forgetting what day it was,” then not reacting appropriately and making dinner plans after he was “reminded,” and then, the coup de grâce was that he wasn’t dressed when I got to his house, even when he had insisted I drive! This was all very out of character for him, and he had never treated an occasion this way. After he eventually got ready for the evening and I was boiling mad, he led me outside to his patio. As it turned out, Michael had written detailed accounts of the best dates we had experienced in our first year together, and he recreated some element from each of them in a wonderful candlelit setting in his backyard. Much to my surprise, everything was in place and he then walked me through each of the date memories. As I began to tear up, he got down on one knee and told me this was just the beginning of our lives together. Of course, I said yes!
When did y’all get married? February 15, 2014, our three-year anniversary
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 275
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? There was a cocktail hour serving mint juleps on the veranda of the plantation. Some Southern treats served at dinner included a beignet bar, which included traditional, red velvet, and a savory option topped with crawfish etouffee; a grits bar with toppings of shrimp Creole and traditional grillades; and boudin-stuffed chicken. We did a traditional second line. The band unplugged and performed a New Orleans-style medley as we walked out to the front of the plantation, facing the Mississippi River, and watched an amazing firework display over the levee. To top it off, there was a full moon that appeared as the lights and smoke faded. It was truly magical.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The guest list. We both have large families and Michael makes friends with everyone he meets! We wanted the day to be intimate, but still wanted to celebrate with everyone who is special in our lives. We finally gave in and the numbers just kept growing.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $75,000-$100,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Trust your instincts and do what you love. Be true to your style and don’t do things purely because you think it’s what “should” be done at a wedding. It’s your day and should reflect your style and your relationship. Focus on the important aspects, like celebrating with your love and your family and friends. In the end, that’s all that really matters.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We want our love and commitment to grow stronger each day as we ready our lives to brace for the increasing soft sound of little feet in the house. Ten little feet, to be exact!
Photographer: Dark Roux Photography / Videographer: JCW Productions / Planner: Leslie Campbell Weddings / Ceremony Venue: St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church / Reception Venue, Catering, and Rentals: Nottoway Plantation / Florist: The Plantation Florist LLC / Cake Baker: The Ambrosia Bakery / Band: Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue / Paper Products: The Keeping Room / Bride’s Gown: “Style 432” by Martina Liana / Veil: Bustle / Hair Stylist: Bliss Hair Salon / Makeup Artist: Olga Longoria / Bride’s Shoes: David Tutera / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style 771” in Latte by Bill Levkoff / Men’s Attire: Ralph Lauren
Dark Roux is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!