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Bride Ariana shares her paper flower-filled wedding at The Elms Mansion.

Whether it’s the first dress they try on or the venue they’ve been dreaming of for years, some brides know exactly what they want and the vision that they have in mind. And some are like me: completely indecisive. That’s why I’m excited to introduce y’all to today’s bride, Ariana. She’s a combination of both! While she and Mike might have looked into every possible wedding venue in New Orleans before deciding on The Elms Mansion, once they stood under the gigantic magnolia tree, Ariana finally knew. She remembers looking at the gazebo and thinking, “that’s where we’re going to get married.” Of course, said gazebo needed a touch of something special to make it perfect. Ariana, who just so happens to own a paper flower and décor company, Love & Paper, created a huge 8 foot by 8 foot paper flower wall backdrop for their vows (and for guests to snap photos in front of all night long!). Wondering where else Ariana snuck in her paper flower work? Keep reading to find out!

Big SW hugs to Arte de Vie for sharing this sweet wedding with us!

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How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Our parents all wanted to be involved in the planning process, which I know definitely made me closer with Mike’s parents and sister. I think it taught us all how to communicate with one another as a big family; there were times when one of us would get frustrated and the others quickly learned how to deal with that. If I ever needed help with something, I knew I always had at least six people who would probably jump on a plane for me. I love that my maid of honor was Mike’s sister, Lauren, and his best man was my brother, Erich. It’s a beautiful thing for my parents and in-laws to get along so well – we all spent this past Christmas together! From day one, marriage always meant the union of our two families, not just the two of us, and planning the wedding was a great exercise for that.

I was so in love with our wedding flowers. I had pages and pages of inspiration photos, and Diane from Fat Cat Flowers nailed it. The color palette was a mix of soft corals, pinks, peaches, light oranges, and yellows. When I first saw the gazebo at the Elms, I knew it had to have a floral chandelier, which turned out to be breathtaking. I love peonies and was somewhat heartbroken when I learned they wouldn’t be in season for the wedding. However, since I have a paper flower and decor business, Love & Paper, I just made my own peonies for my bouquet! I love that while the rest of the flowers wilted over time, I’ll always have the fluffy magenta peonies from my wedding bouquet on display in our home. I had paper flowers all throughout the wedding venue; some were out on display on the tables and other were hidden in with real bouquets.

I knew I wanted to wear a big ball gown, and I tried on so many beautiful dresses. There were a couple that I really liked a lot, but they didn’t give me that “feeling” you hear about. I eventually put on the Hayley Paige “Londyn” gown. The second I stepped out of the dressing room, my mom and I both looked at each other and teared up, knowing it was the one. I loved twirling in all that tulle!

We decided to do a first look because we wanted formal photos in the daylight, and it would be dark by the time the ceremony was over. It also allowed us to dive right into the party after the ceremony. We wanted to soak up every moment possible with our loved ones at our reception, which really does go by so quickly! The first look was such a special moment between the two of us, and gave us the opportunity to take each other in as bride and groom in a relaxed and private manner.

We knew we wanted to get married in New Orleans, since it was our home and where we both spent the majority of our adult lives. I think we looked into every possible wedding venue the city had to offer! Mike was actually the one who first wanted to look at The Elms Mansion, and it was one of the last venues we visited. After we walked through the beautiful historic mansion and lush gardens, we stood under the gigantic magnolia tree (one of the largest in the city), and I remember looking at the gazebo and thinking, “that’s where we’re going to get married.”

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When I first started my paper flower business, I committed to making an 8 foot by 8 foot paper flower wall for people to rent for their events. When we got engaged, we knew we had to use it at our own wedding! So we planned on having it as the backdrop for our ceremony. On the morning of our wedding, Mike and his groomsmen skipped their hot shave to set it up with my mom in the gazebo, which was such an act of love. I was so nervous, because it had never even left our house before, let alone made it through an entire event, but it was so rewarding to see so many hours of hard work on display. And I’ve rented it out to two other brides since our wedding!

When I asked my godfather to do a reading, he replied, “no reading is good enough for you- can I write my own?” Seeing as he’s a professional speech writer, I knew he wouldn’t disappoint! He wrote the most beautiful speech for us celebrating our love and relationship. Another dear family friend read the “Blessing of the Hands” right before we exchanged rings, which was so special.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We really did have the absolute dream team of vendors, and I’m still so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such talented people. But if I had to pick one in particular to call out, I have to hand it to wedding coordinator, Belinda Belk (Blue Gardenia Events). I loved our meetings, during which we’d pour over inspiration pictures, specialty linens, florals, color palettes, etc. She helped add so many special details and elements that I wouldn’t have thought of myself. I literally cried when I walked into our venue on our wedding day and saw how perfect and beautiful everything was – exactly how I had pictured it all in my mind, except better. Belinda also just made things so much easier on us as the big day came near, and was extremely helpful with tasks and errands that weren’t even her responsibilities.

There were so many love-filled details of our wedding, it’s hard to choose a favorite. I spent countless hours making paper rose escort cards for our guests, which were pinned to gold frames of moss. The whole family was so helpful, and our little apartment felt and looked like a wedding decor factory. My mother-in-law also secretly made flip flops for our wedding guests, which were revealed at the wedding after our first dance. And they were a huge hit – not a single pair was left behind! Putting together the guests’ welcome bags was a huge collaborative effort. My mom made homemade “graNOLA” bars, a family friend of the Shlanskys made chapsticks, another family friend of theirs made the first aid kits (he even painted on the red crosses with help from Mike’s parents), my grandmother helped put on the personalized water bottle labels, Mike and his dad did shopping runs for Zapp’s potato chips and pralines from New Orleans School of Cooking, and everyone, including a helpful bridesmaid, helped to stuff and and deliver the bags. I think all of the work and love that went into putting those bags together makes them one of my very favorite details!

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? After our ceremony, we led a second line up and down St. Charles Avenue. Once we got back to the Elms Mansion, I remember standing on the front steps and looking down at the 175 people we love most in the world cheering for and waving at us. That was such a surreal moment. We then went upstairs and signed the marriage papers, and people wanted to give us a few minutes alone to gather our thoughts and eat some dinner. But we spent most of that time peering out the window wanting to rush down to the party! We were so giddy and thinking, “Come on, can’t we do this later!? Let us down there!”

Our wedding cake was half white almond with amaretto buttercream and half devil’s food layered with dark chocolate mousse. The three tier cake was iced with white buttercream and had peachy coral brushstrokes on the top tier and mint brushstrokes on the bottom tier. I wanted a watercolor effect, and Melissa’s Fine Pastries did such a beautiful job with it. I made the paper flowers that cascaded down the cake. Mike has a major sweet tooth, so we also had a table of assorted pastries: fresh fruit tartlets, cayenne bourbon pecan tartlets, carrot cake squares, lemon poppy seed cupcakes, Banana’s Foster cheesecakes, and pecan pralines. Yum!

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What was Southern about your wedding? We didn’t have to do much to make our wedding feel Southern, because there is so much Southern history in The Elms Mansion, and the food their chef prepares is very New Orleans. We also had a New Orleans second line after our ceremony, which was such a rush. We’ve participated in many second lines in all of our years in New Orleans, but it was so surreal knowing that this parade was in celebration of us! All of our guests were handed monogrammed handkerchiefs to wave in the air and sweet tea and vodka cocktails to sip as we danced down historic St. Charles Avenue. The umbrellas that Mike and I held were the ones his cousin and his cousin’s wife (who was also one of my bridesmaids) used at their own wedding a few years prior. As wedding favors, I put together little jars of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, complete with custom labels that I designed.

Tell us your love story. I had just moved into an apartment on Napoleon Avenue in New Orleans, and Lucy (my small dog), escaped from my yard. Thinking she had gone through a hole in the fence, I rang the next door neighbor’s doorbell asking if he had seen her. My neighbor told me that he saw a little dog in the middle of the (very busy) street furiously licking a hamburger wrapper as honking cars swerved around her. Thankfully, I got her back later that day. That same neighbor ended up coming over to my birthday party a couple months later, and we became good friends (as did Lucy and his dog, Cole). We remained “just friends” for a year before we decided to start dating, and my next door neighbor became my boyfriend, then my roommate, then my fiance!
Tell us all about the proposal! Over the summer of 2015, I had this feeling that he would propose. I don’t know why, and I definitely didn’t admit it to anyone (I barely admitted it to myself), but that feeling grew stronger and stronger as our annual summer vacation to Block Island, RI approached. When Mike didn’t propose on Saturday night, I thought to myself, “Eh, okay, I was just being silly and my imagination was in overdrive!” On Monday, we were rushing around packing because we had to make a ferry. We were cutting it pretty close (as always), and I had started off toward the car when I saw something written in chalk on the drive ahead of me. I stopped in my tracks and just stared, dumbfounded at what was in front of me: “Ariana, will you marry me?” surrounded by hearts. After what felt like seconds to me, but probably minutes to Mike, I slowly dropped my bags and turned around, only to see Mike on one knee holding a ring! It all felt so surreal that I’m not sure I’d remember all the details if it weren’t for his best friend Jason documenting the entire thing on his iPhone. I went to him and said, “of course!” but was suddenly hit with the reality that we were about to say goodbye to one another for a week. “But now we have to leave?” I asked, through tears. He answered, “Nope, we’re staying ’til Friday!” Apparently, it took a small army, the zipped lips of all four of our parents, PhotoShopped plane tickets to New Orleans and Boston, fake work obligations that had been in place for a month or so in advance, and very careful monitoring and deletion of any emails, texts, or pictures that might tip me off to pull off this very elaborately planned ruse. He said he knew that I might think he’d propose in Block Island, which is why he threw me off by “having to leave” and waiting until the very last minute to do it.
When did y’all get married? October 22nd, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon in D, which I’ve loved ever since I learned how to play it on the piano when I was little. I really wanted a trumpet to play as my dad walked me down the aisle, and I can’t wait to hear and see it on the video, because I don’t remember it at all! I was too distracted by everyone and everything else around me. My father helped me choose the rest of the ceremony music, since he’s the family expert on classical music. Our first dance song was “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne, which Mike and I chose just a couple nights before the wedding. We only had to listen up to the first refrain to know it was perfect – upbeat, not too sappy, but with a sweet message that resonated with us. We did a combined father/daughter and mother/son dance to “Ain’t that Love” by Ray Charles. It was so lighthearted and sweet; I just love the photos from that moment.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed a pearl bracelet from my mom that my dad gave to her when I was born. My something old was a “Magic Hankie” that was given to me at me as a baby and used as a bonnet at my Christening; I had it tucked into my dress to wipe away any happy tears! I had my toes painted light blue as my something blue, and my dress, veil, shoes, and earrings were all new.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Aside from our letterpress invitations, I did pretty much all of the design work using Photoshop and InDesign for our wedding materials. I designed the save the dates, the A&M monogram, the welcome bag brochures, the ceremony programs, the menu (with help from Belinda), the spice jar favor labels, and small signage. Not having to outsource any of those design jobs helped us save money, and I enjoyed doing it. Another small way I saved money was forgoing expensive designer shoes for a pair of cute, inexpensive flats. A bride will often splurge on a fabulous pair of Jimmy Choos or Christian Louboutins for her wedding day (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), but I personally didn’t see the point, as no one was going to see my shoes under my dress, and I wanted something comfortable as I knew I’d be on my feet all night.
What’s next for you as a couple? We actually just moved to Connecticut at the end of March! We miss New Orleans greatly, but are so excited to really start our life together up here. Mike got an amazing job offer, and we’ll be closer to our parents, which will be wonderful once we’re ready to start a family of our own in a year or two. I’m also really looking forward to bringing my business to a new market and expanding Love & Paper’s reach. We still have a lot of family and friends who live in New Orleans, so we’ll be back often for visits (especially during the snowy northeastern winters).

Photographer: Arte de Vie | Videographer: Dyle Films | Planner: Blue Gardenia Events | Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Elms Mansion | Florist: Fat Cat Flowers | Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Melissa’s Fine Pastries | Caterer: The Elms Mansion | Rentals: Event Rental | Lighting: Fat Cat Flowers and Blue Gardenia Events | Band or DJ: Bucktown Allstars | Paper Products: Scriptura | Bride’s Gown: “Londyn” by Hayley Paige | Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: Toni Federici | Hair Stylist: Flawless Bride | Makeup Artist: Flawless Bride | Bride’s Shoes: Dessy | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale, Hayley Paige, Dessy | Groom’s Attire: Calvin Klein | Groomsmen Attire: Vera Wang Black | Paper Flowers: Love & Paper | Calligraphy: VCalligraphy | Ceremony musicians: New Orleans Classical and Jazz | Second Line Band: Young Pinstripe Brass Band | Linen: Nuage Designs

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Denis Lunyakin reply

    Divine photos! Thank you for your work!

  2. avatar Weddingpixie reply

    Stunning wedding, beautiful photography

  3. avatar Kara B reply

    what a gorgeous venue! Love the bridesmaid dresses.

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Amy and Mike met one fateful night at a karaoke bar in New York City, and while they currently reside in San Francisco, they are from Texas and the New York area respectively. With quite the geographical hurdle to overcome, Amy and Mike chose to celebrate their marriage in none other but the fabulous city of New Orleans! They may come from very different backgrounds, but one common thread throughout both families was the love and support for their commitment to each other. With the help of their planner, Blue Ribbon Vendor Sapphire Events, Amy and Mike welcomed 200 out-of-town guests to The Crescent City to enjoy a place that Amy referred to as having “unbeatable hospitality, a way of welcoming everyone that makes you feel like family, and a spirit you can’t find anywhere else–not to mention, wonderful food and strong cocktails.” From the old brass band to the unforgettable second line, I’m sure guests had nearly as much fun as Amy and Mike did!

Big hugs to Arte de Vie for sending along this magical day!

Finding the right dress was a process. I probably went to eight different stores, some twice. I quickly learned that what I loved in magazines didn’t necessarily look best on my figure. I also discovered that I was drawn to dresses with vintage, romantic details and interesting colors. Not easy to find in one dress! While I was home in Texas for a weekend, I took my mother on a shopping trip. We had a few appointments set up for the day, but after trying on this gorgeous Watters dress with interesting lace, a rose gold underlay, and a great silhouette, I knew I’d found the right dress for me. We canceled the rest of our appointments and said “yes” to the dress!

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Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? It was important to me to do a first look with both my groom and my dad. Mike and I knew we would want a moment to ourselves before the ceremony and to shake off the nerves. He was scared of tearing up, but when I saw him for the first time, I’m the one who started crying a little! It was a wonderful way to enjoy a private moment before having all eyes on us. I also decided to do a first look with my dad. We’ve always been very close, and I knew I wanted him to be one of the first to see me in my wedding dress. As the last of three daughters to get married, I just wanted to congratulate him, give him a huge hug and kiss, and thank him for everything.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Mike and I met in New York City. We live in San Francisco. He’s from the New York City area, and I’m from Texas. We’ve always loved the city of New Orleans and knew it would be the perfect place for us to be married–not only because it’s a great halfway point where all of our friends and family could easily meet, but because we love the culture, food, music, people, and atmosphere of The Crescent City. We visited several venues around New Orleans to find a place that felt right to us and absolutely fell in love with Il Mercato. We loved that it was outside of the French Quarter, giving our guests the opportunity to explore more of New Orleans beyond Bourbon Street. We loved the history of the building (a former marketplace), its stunning brick courtyard, the architectural details, and the beautiful, modern finishes. It was the perfect mix of vintage and modern, which is 100 percent our style.

Having our wedding in New Orleans was really a dream come true. To me, it epitomizes what I love about the South: unbeatable hospitality, a way of welcoming everyone that makes you feel like family, and a spirit you can’t find anywhere else–not to mention, wonderful food and strong cocktails. It was important for me to share Southern culture with Mike’s family and friends who are primarily from the Northeast. Many had never been to the South before, and they haven’t been able to stop talking about it since. Outside of that, our second line was an amazing experience. Dancing and singing in the streets of New Orleans while being cheered on by strangers standing on balconies and driving by in their cars was absolutely incredible.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Mike and I wanted to offer our guests something more than the traditional wedding cake. On the tip of a friend who had also gotten married in New Orleans, we decided to go with donuts, and ordered an assortment of 250 gourmet donuts from District Donuts, including Spicy Maple Praline, Wedding Cake, Elvis (peanut butter and banana), Oatmeal Cream, Blackberry Black Pepper, Piña Colada, and, of course, Beignet.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. One October night in 2011, while Mike was supposed to be fasting for Yom Kippur, he and his pal, Kyle, decided to go to Union Hall in Brooklyn for a routine Friday night at Karaoke Killed the Cat, an underground karaoke dance party. That same night, three of my closest friends were in town to visit me in New York for the first time since I moved that summer from Texas. We also decided to head to Karaoke Killed the Cat. Fast forward an hour or two and many $2 Yuenglings later, Mike and Kyle approached me and my friends over the song book. What happened between that moment and the point in time hours later when Mike and Kyle dragged us all onstage to join them for The Killers’ “When You Were Young” is a little hazy, but good whiskey and cheap beer are the building blocks of any solid relationship…right?
Tell us all about the proposal! Mike and I had taken a brutal red-eye flight to New Jersey to meet up with his family and attend the wedding of his close friend. After landing, we took a cab to his parents’ house and crashed. After a quick nap, a bagel, and an emergency manicure with Casey (Mike’s sister), I started to get ready to leave for the wedding. As I was wrapping up, Mike alerted me that everyone else was already waiting in the car. We rushed downstairs through the garage to get to the car when Mike told me he had a surprise. He opened the garage door to reveal a limo. Seriously confused, I followed Mike as he escorted me to the door and helped me inside. It was then that I noticed rose petals and votive candles. “Where is your family?” I asked. Mike replied by climbing into the limo and getting down on one knee. He tried to start the proposal once, but then had to start again, half-hyperventilating and half-laughing with nervous excitement. I put my hands in his and told him to take a deep breath. He did, and then he looked up and smiled at me and got the words out. I, of course, said yes. We enjoyed the 45-minute ride to our friend’s wedding by polishing off a bottle of champagne while calling a few family members and friends to share the news.
When did y’all get married? May 28, 2016
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 had a traditional New Orleans brass band play for our ceremony, second line, and cocktail half-hour. We love old brass band/jazz music–we visit the historic Preservation Hall every time we visit NOLA, and knew we wanted our guests to experience it. We had Kinfolk Brass Band play “Dream a Little Dream of Me” as family walked down the aisle, “A Kiss to Build a Dream On” as the bridal party walked down the aisle, and “La Vie en Rose” as my father and I walked down the aisle. Our recessional, which led straight into the second line, was “Washington and Lee Swing.” Our first dance song was “The Very Thought Of You” by Billie Holiday. It’s completely romantic, had a very vintage, old-record sound, and uses the phrase “my love” a lot, which Mike has always used. It’s a song that stands the test of time–something that was important to us as we started our marriage.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Mike and I come from completely different walks of life. I grew up Catholic in a small Texas town, while Mike’s family is Jewish and based out of the New York City area. Living in San Francisco, we had to navigate several time zones and long distances between both our families and our wedding venues and vendors, which added to the challenge of navigating our very different cultures and backgrounds. We learned how to balance our wants with our families’ expectations across the country. It wasn’t always easy, but I think the entire process made us closer to our families that we’ve ever been.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $75,000-$100,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Mike is a graphic designer, so we spent a lot of time designing our own invitation suite. We also called on our friend Jen Phillips at Press Engaged to consult on materials and letterpress the suite. Putting in a lot of our own time and skills, coupled with help from friends, saved us a lot on invitations. Also, we decided to cut back on some decor, like upgraded linens and extra florals, to cut costs. We knew the venue was stunning on its own, and it really didn’t need anything else.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Stick to your budget, but don’t stop reevaluating what’s important to you as a couple. We initially budgeted more for decor, but later realized it wasn’t as important to us as good food and drink, so we put the money where we wanted to have the most impact. A friend once asked me, do you remember the color of linens at the last wedding you went to? No? Then people probably won’t remember at yours. It was a good test for evaluating what we spent money on.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We’re settling into our new house in San Francisco, as well as both settling into new jobs. We’re looking forward to slowing down, enjoying each other’s company, and becoming an old married couple!

Photographer: Arte de Vie | Videographer: Velare | Planner: Sapphire Events | Venue: Il Mercato | Florist: Kim Starr Wise | Dessert Baker: District Donuts | Caterer: Joel’s Catering | Rentals: Distressed Rentals | Lighting: Luminous Events | Band: Kinfolk Brass Band | DJ: DJ Jack Magic | Party Bus: Club Mayweather Party Bus | Paper Products Design: Mike Winston | Paper and Letterpress: Press Engaged | Calligraphy: Curlicue Designs | Bride’s Gown: “Vida” by Watters | Bridal Salon: Bridal Boutique Lewisville | Hair and Makeup: Just Face It | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Sung | Menswear: “Midnight Blue Tuxedo” by The Black Tux | Transportation: Hotard | Hotel: Le Pavillon

Sapphire Events and Distressed Rentals are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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My favorite thing about Theresa and James’ wedding is that they look like they’re having so much FUN in every single picture! When I read their interview, it quickly became evident how these two were able to relax and enjoy their day so much–they prioritized the details that meant the most to them, and then left everything in the very capable hands of our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Sapphire Events, to pull it all off. I love Theresa’s advice for brides, because it certainly seems like they took it to heart themselves, and created so many special moments because of it: “Don’t immediately dismiss every seemingly silly/goofy/embarrassing idea you come up with. A lot of the time, the goofy idea that you propose as a joke is the one that best expresses you and your partner…a few silly details can become almost inside jokes between you and your significant other, remind you why this other weird person is your match, help you relax during a sometimes formal event, and become the things you will remember most years down the line.”

Many thanks to Marissa Lambert for sharing this fun day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I had quite a few “old” items, including a sixpence in my shoe, passed down through the family, an “add-a-pearl” bracelet that my grandmother had amassed growing up, and my engagement ring, which had been passed down from my great-great-grandmother. My earrings were both old and borrowed–I borrowed my mother’s diamond stud earrings, one of which was made from the original diamond from her engagement ring. I also borrowed my veil from a friend. My dress and shoes were new, and my toenails were blue.

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I never had the “feeling” or the “moment” when dress shopping–but I also didn’t really expect to. I found my dress in the third store on the first day I went looking. Both my mom and future mother-in-law had flown in to shop with me, and they both had “the moment” when I put the dress on. It took me a few more shops and a few more visits to finally commit, but–in the end–I felt beautiful on my wedding day, which is what matters.

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Describe your wedding flowers. James and I wanted to focus on greenery and herbs as much as (or more than) flowers. We were hoping for a lush, natural feel, possibly incorporating the sense of smell with the herbs, and we tried to emphasize that to the florist more than getting into particulars about types of flowers and plants. All flowers are pretty, and I trusted her to use what was in season. The actual bouquets ended up being some of the most aromatic, enticing things I have ever smelled! As for colors, I asked for whites, creams, and hints of blush for the ceremony florals, to keep the palette crisp, and then for bright berry tones to be mixed in for the reception florals. The various tones of greens we used throughout acted as a neutral.

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We did a first look, largely based on the recommendation of our amazing friend/wedding planner, and partly because we didn’t want to waste precious celebration time after the ceremony. Instead of the typical first look, where the bride sneaks up behind the groom and taps him on the shoulder, we made sure James and I first saw each other from a few yards apart. That way, we each got to take in the full picture and were able to savor the expressions and anticipation as I made the walk to meet him. I think it drove our photographer a little crazy, since she couldn’t capture both of us at once at the exact “reveal” moment, but this way, we were able to feel as though we were first seeing one another from either end of the aisle, while still getting all of the formal photos done before the ceremony.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We used traditional vows, but we were lucky enough to have had a mutual friend, who knew us both individually before, as well as after we became a couple, act as our officiant. He was able to work in lots of personal details that made the ceremony feel tailored to us a couple.

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As a nod to our Midwestern, Great Plains roots, we requested that the musicians play “Hoedown” from “Rodeo” by Aaron Copeland (the “beef–it’s what’s for dinner” song) as we walked back up the aisle. I’m not sure how many people caught it, but it was a detail that made us smile. Our first dance was to “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. James really pushed to pick something else, since “Wonderful Tonight” is such a popular choice, but he made the mistake of making it our song by singing it in my ear as we danced at the very first wedding I took him to.

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What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose to do our first look and photos at the Latter Branch Library in New Orleans, which is was where we went on our first date. We did the ceremony and reception at a brand new venue in New Orleans, which came highly recommended by our planner. One of the things she knew we would love was that the venue has a library/lounge area. While we loved this detail in and of itself, we found out months later during one of the planning walk-throughs that all of the books used in the library had come from the Latter Branch Library!

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James and I are not big cake people, so this was not a big focal point for us. We just wanted something that looked nice and tasted good for our guests. I had told him ahead of time that I was going to smash the cake in his face, but James didn’t believe me until it happened. We got into a full-out cake war–I’m pretty sure we have some photos with cake shoved up my nose! Laughing, goofing around, and going crazy with the cake is another of my favorite memories from the day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. In true New Orleans fashion, James and I met a few times through mutual friends before finally being stuck together waiting out a hurricane. A group of us decided to get together to weather the storm (and to eat everything in our refrigerators!), and during those couple of days, we decided we kinda, sorta liked one another.
Tell us all about the proposal! James picked me up from work on a mundane Tuesday night and took me around town on a progressive date under the guise of scouting out potential party locations for my birthday at the end of the month. I suspected nothing, even when he mentioned that one of the restaurants would be a great rehearsal dinner venue! When we finally got home that night, our house was completely filled with flowers. He dropped to his knee in our living room, just the two of us, surrounded by blooms.
When did y’all get married? September 19, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 175
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: James had organized a group of friends to compete in a charity barbecue competition called Hogs for the Cause. The year after we started dating and I joined the team, the team won the cocktail category of the competition with a drink called a Bourbon Missile Crisis. We decided to serve the Bourbon Missile Crisis to guests prior to our ceremony and during cocktail hour, and we set out the team’s trophy to hold paper straws. Because guests had drinks for the ceremony, our programs were printed on cocktail napkins. We also had personalized wayfarer sunglasses available to wear during the outdoor ceremony, and to take home as favors. For the reception, we had flower crown headbands for the guests. A group of close, generous, crafty friends all gathered at our house a month or so before the wedding to help me hand-make nearly 100 flower crowns. We saw a few of those flower crown favors resurface again for Mardi Gras!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding took place in New Orleans, Louisiana, where James and I met and are making our life together. We included a courtyard ceremony, a jazz band, and a brass band.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Along the way, someone advised us to make a list of our most valued aspects of the wedding, and to prioritize only those items. Nobody is going to remember every tiny detail, so splurge on one or two important things, and then make it work with the less important items.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t immediately dismiss every seemingly silly/goofy/embarrassing idea you come up with. A lot of the time, the goofy idea that you propose as a joke is the one that best expresses you and your partner. While you don’t want the entire wedding to feel unorganized, a few silly details can become almost inside jokes between you and your significant other, remind you why this other weird person is your match, help you relax during a sometimes formal event, and become the things you will remember most years down the line.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We’re looking forward to our blowout 50th anniversary vow renewal–and everything before and after!

Photographer: Marissa Lambert Photography | Planner and Rentals: Sapphire Events | Venue and Rentals: Il Mercato | Florist: Meade Wenzel | Cake Baker: Haydel’s Bakery | Caterer: Joel’s Catering | Lighting: Southern Hospitality Event Rentals | Bands: Harry Hardin, Joe Simon’s Jazz, and Paulin Brothers | DJ: DJ Mike Swift | Paper Products: Presse Dufour | Bride’s Gown: “Style 5911” by Stella York | Hair and Makeup: Kiss and Makeup Beauty Services | Bride’s Shoes: Valentino | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo, J. Crew, Donna Morgan, Amsale, and BHLDN | Groom’s Tuxedo: Luca Falcone | Busses: American Luxury | Save the Dates, Napkins, and Programs: Rudman’s

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Nicole reply

    Oooh I love how dreamy this is! And her dress is phenomenal!

  2. avatar Adrienna reply

    What a gorgeous wedding! Sapphire Events always put on such gorgeous affairs, with so much detail.

  3. avatar Meredith reply

    What a breathtaking day! Well captured, too!

  4. avatar Sarah Drake reply

    Is there any way for me to get in touch with this bride? I am IN LOVE with that light blue bridesmaid dress with the one shoulder flowers. I can’t find it in the links provided. Please help! :)

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