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BDK and I actually celebrated our reception in the lobby of the historic Lakeside Inn! So, I love seeing couples transform non-traditional venues into beautiful reception sites that represent their own personal style and love story. Tess and Bernard wanted to show off where they’re proud to live, so they chose to hold their reception at the historic Etoile Polaire Lodge built in the 1830’s. No one had ever held a wedding reception there, so Tess and Bernard worked with their planner Clandestine Events, and Blue Ribbon Vendors Pret a Fete and Kim Starr Wise to develop their vision for a swamp-inspired, romantic vibe into the beautiful reception celebration Tess described as “perfection.” Keeping with their South New Orlean’s feel, they even ended the night with a “bounce” (new Orleans-style rap) performance by Vockah Redu!

Big thanks to Heirloom Collective for sharing such a fun day with us!

We met at the Voodoo Experience music festival in New Orleans in 2008. I was dating someone else at the time, but we became good friends. Bernard, as he likes to say, played the long game — and we got together for good in the spring of 2012. By the time we started dating, we didn’t need to worry about uncovering each others’ skeletons in the closet — we already knew all the dirt there was to know about each other!

Tell us all about the proposal! I came home from breakfast at my dad’s house to find a puppy (our second mixed breed rescue) on our bed with a ring on a gold cord around his neck. It was 9:30 in the morning and I was not expecting it in the slightest! The diamond was my great-grandmother’s, and my mom had helped Bernard design a contemporary setting.

How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? The ceremony was only 40 our nearest and dearest — then we celebrated with 215 wonderful guests at the reception!
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? We wanted all our wedding weekend events to be right in or around our neighborhood — we love where we live and wanted to show it off to visiting family and friends. Preservation Hall is a gorgeous, historic space that just screams New Orleans, and it’s small and intimate. The reception was at a masonic lodge built in the 1830’s — again, a gorgeous historic space. The coolest thing about the reception venue was that no one had ever had a wedding reception there — that also made it a ton of work as they had minimal infrastructure!

Did you write your own vows? We wrote our own vows, and we incorporated bits and pieces of various traditions. My favorite part was a vow we modified from a Buddhist ceremony we found online: “Tess and Bernard, just as we are a mystery to ourselves, each other person is also a mystery to us. Do you pledge to seek to understand yourselves, each other, and all living beings, to examine your own minds continually and to regard all the mysteries of life with curiosity and joy?”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Tess’s sister officiated our ceremony, which was wonderful — so sweet and intimate. Each of our moms did a reading — Bernard’s mom read “[love is more thicker than forget]” by e.e. cummings and mine read “The Two of You,” by Czeslaw Milosz. Bernard’s friend Barry read a selection from a gorgeous poem that moved us to tears the first time we read it, called “Little Sleep’s-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight,” by Galway Kinnell.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We were psyched to work with Emily Shaya from Pret a Fête rentals in New Orleans. She has an awesome selection of vintage furniture that helped us give the reception a distinct style beyond the typical table-chairs-centerpieces.

South Louisiana is a bit of its own animal as far as the South is concerned, but our wedding was certainly chock full of unique South Louisiana elements. Instead of a rehearsal dinner we had a crawfish boil for all our guests on Friday night — and a Cajun band, Soul Creole, played. On our wedding day we represented quite a few New Orleans musical traditions: traditional jazz at Preservation Hall, New Orleans funk from Dumpstaphunk, and even a bounce (new Orleans-style rap) performance by Vockah Redu to close out the reception!

Describe your wedding flowers. The interior of our reception venue was pretty stark, so we knew we’d need to go big with the flowers. Bernard wanted to stay far away from the typical ivory-and-pink palate — we developed a vision for a swamp-inspired, rustic, romantic vibe that our florist Kim Starr Wise executed to perfection. The vines all over the interior were her (brilliant) idea.

When did y’all get married? 3/29/15
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I spent a weekend shopping for wedding dresses with my mom in New York, where I grew up, and didn’t find anything perfect. On a whim, I stopped into Town & Country, an old school bridal boutique in New Orleans, during my lunch break one day — and found the perfect dress!
Did you decide to do a first look? We didn’t do a first look. We had a small ceremony followed by champagne hour just with the ceremony guests — so we did our photos right after the ceremony. Everyone we wanted in photos was at the ceremony, so it was easy. Also, from being with friends the day of their weddings, it seemed that once they had their hair and makeup done, and their dress on, they were anxious to get the ceremony underway!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to “Such a Night” by Dr. John — a New Orleans classic and a nod to our shared history before we got together. Our first dance was “Rock with You” by Michael Jackson — we took dance lessons to prepare, which was a blast.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a wedding cake — coconut lime cake with lime curd filling and cream cheese frosting — as well as a groom’s cake, which was Super Mario-themed and complete with a fondant Yoshi (the name of our puppy, who delivered my engagement ring to me).
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We bought and renovated a house together before we even got engaged, which we felt was the big test of our relationship. We also started a joint checking account to pay all our shared expenses, which helped ease the transition and build trust!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? It was definitely a second job, and the work fell (surprise, surprise) mostly on the bride. Planning an event in a space without the typical wedding infrastructure allows you to be way more creative — but it can also end up costing a lot more, and taking a huge amount more time and effort to plan.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? When my mom got confused about the order of the ceremony and stage-whispered loudly from the front row, “When are you going to kiss?”
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? The main thing your guests care about — and the main thing they will remember — is how happy you look. And believe it or not, all the stress of planning will melt away once you turn to each other to hold hands and say your vows.

Photographer: Heirloom Collective | Planner: Clandestine NOLA |
Ceremony Venue: Preservation Hall | Reception Venue: Étoile Polaire Masonic Lodge | Florist: Kim Starr Wise | Wedding Cake: Shake Sugary | Caterer: MoPho NOLA | Vintage Rentals: Pret a Fête | Rentals: Event Rental | Lighting: Firefly Ambiance | Musicians: Little Maker, Dumpstaphunk, Quickie Mart, Vockah Redu | Paper Products: Sarah Mangerson Design | Bride’s Gown: Watters Wtoo | Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: Ted Muehling | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Blush and Bashful | Bride’s Shoes: London Sole | Groom’s Suit: Paul Smith | Groom’s Shoes by Cole Haan | Photo Booth: Deep Fried Photo

Kim Starr Wise, Firefly Ambiance, and Pret a Fete are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Janna reply

    What a gorgeous wedding! And I love the Lakeside Inn- growing up in the Altamonte Springs/Apopka area, I know Lakeside Inn well!

  2. avatar Emily Sawyer reply

    Marissa, I am curious! Is there a post of your wedding at the Lakeside Inn? I love Mount Dora and have been to the Lakeside Inn. What does a reception in the lobby look like?
    Thanks!
    Emily

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Today’s wedding hits close to home for me–it took place less than an hour away from my parents’ house, and is where one of my sweet college sorority sisters is getting married this fall! As with many of our Texan couples, Summer and Jonathan did not shy away from including some state pride in their wedding day. Country tunes and two-stepping at the reception? Check. Cowboy boots for all? A no-brainer. A getaway pickup truck? Absolutely. Jonathan and his groomsmen even wore Texas star-shaped sherrif badges as boutonnieres–so fun!

Thank you kindly to Flora and Fauna for sharing Summer and Jonathan’s wedding with us!

Jonathan is an incredible date-planner. We’ve had meals “around-the-world,” starlit picnics with tea light candles in mason jars, and fancy nights out on the town. But it’s always the same: he knows, and I don’t. So, when he whisked me off to an adventurous date in Chappell Hill one day, I was clueless. We met the owner of a ranch, and it was almost as if she wasn’t expecting us. Accompanied by a cowboy named Chris, we bridled our horses, locked our boots into place, and rode off through a field of wildflowers. The bluebonnets were in bloom, the cows, calves, and longhorns were really busy eating grass, and the sun bent beams through the clouds–I was in heaven, and Jon knew it! Rather abruptly, Chris remembered he needed to take care of something that had to do with ranch life, so he tied up our horses and we grabbed two lawn chairs and took in the beauty around us. Jon said, “Let’s go to the fence.” Then, he took me in his arms and proclaimed his undying love for me. He got down on one knee to the beat of my “What are you doing? What are you doing? What are you doing?” and asked me to be his wife.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Jon washing my feet. It’s a biblical parallel to when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. In that day, and any day for that matter, it was a humbling thing for a man to do for someone. It came to represent the humility necessary to serve others, a mandate for all Christians. The Bible tells men to serve their wives, as Christ served the church. Jon got down on the ground in his suit, took off my boots, and washed my feet in front of the crowd to display his commitment to serve me for the rest of our days.

Our first dance song commemorated the night that Jon wanted to kiss me but didn’t–we had gotten dressed up cowboy/cowgirl style and went to the Humble, Texas rodeo to listen to our favorite band, the Josh Abbott Band. They cleared the floor of animals and we headed down with the crowd to dance. They played “Oh Tonight” which has a line that says “Go on and kiss me on the mouth, you know you want to and you should’ve done it by now.” I was sure that all those elements–the lights, the privacy of being in a crowd, my dress, the closeness of our faces, THAT LINE– would’ve made for the perfect first kiss story. After months of leading up to it, surely, SURELY, but he didn’t do it. We had a good laugh dancing to the song and kissing at that part at our wedding.

We aren’t just Southern–we’re Texan! We ordered pecan, pumpkin, and apple pies from a local bakery in Montgomery, Texas. We played country music and two-stepped. We left our reception in a hay-filled truck bed. Our wedding cake was even made by the sweetest old lady from backwoods Texas named Barbie, who ran her shop out of her trailer. It doesn’t get more country than that.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at a fightin’ Texas Aggie tailgate and Jonathan was head over boots. Me, not so much, but I was excited about the prospect of new friends in Houston. I started going to his church’s young adult service, and Jonathan became more and more charming and impressive over the weeks. Since he was my small group leader, we couldn’t date, so we proceeded to be “just friends” over weekly frozen yogurt, weekends with my family, and an absurd amount of text messages. Finally, we went on our first date, but something just didn’t feel right, so I ended it. For about two months, we barely spoke. Suddenly, on New Year’s Eve, I realized I actually cared a lot about Jonathan, and I knew I had to tell him, so I wrote him a card and sent it in the mail. He wrote me back, clearly misreading the intent, so I realized I had to tell him to his face. When I saw him at a meeting with the other small group leaders, we had an awkward interchange, and then in front of everyone, I told him how I felt. We finished the conversation at his house, on his porch. He, understandably, was blindsided, but he gave me hope. As we sat on his porch, I saw it–60 years from then, gray, worn, joyful. Rocking back and forth and holding hands and looking at the life we built. I knew that night that I loved him. Three days later, he came over for a Bananagrams, homemade wine (his!), record-playing, windows-open kind of evening. We became best friends that night, and three and a half months later, he asked me to be his wife. I’m sure glad I wrote that card. :)
When did y’all get married? October 27, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I walked into the first bridal store I could find and picked the first dress I tried on!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We didn’t. We wanted that moment of seeing each other for the first time as I walked down the aisle, and it was so special. I’ll never forget his face: full of pure joy. I felt like I was coming home.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? “Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the Church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves Himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:21-33
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I began teaching 11th grade English at a charter school in August. I had training through all of July and our biggest round of exams fell right after the wedding, so my husband planned most of the wedding and organized EVERYTHING around it. He’s a good one!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Round Top Collection. They are family friends of ours and supported us by supplying a bunch of sweet antique items for us to use to decorate.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It’s cliché, but I loved when I saw Jon’s face as I walked down the aisle. He has a particular smile he uses when he’s REALLY happy, and he was also a little teary. It was wonderful.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Marry a man who is invested in it. This isn’t “your” thing–it’s both of yours.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are currently applying to a program that will take us on an adventure around the world!

Photographer: Flora and Fauna / Venue: Olde Dobbin Station / Florist: Carter’s Florist / Wedding Cake Baker: Cakes by Blondie / Caterer: Carol’s Catering Service / Special Details: The Round Top Collection / Bride’s Gown: Essense of Australia / Paper Products: DIY / Hair Stylist: Lauren Neat and Karen Robare / Makeup Artist: Ashley Dickson / Groom’s Attire: J.Crew

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Kim reply

    Lovely! My favorite part was the pecan, pumpkin, and apple pies !!! Here is a fantastic guide for all those details weddin related: http://www.floridaweddingdestination.com/

  2. avatar Dana reply

    so much to love in this wedding! texas forever!

  3. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #129 | Floridian Weddings reply

    […] Star State recently: swooning over the pale blues and bold red paper details in Dallas and these sheriff badge boutonnieres stole my southern […]

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Best of 2013: Kids

by in Inspirations on

When BDK and I got married, we had his adorable twin cousins as our flower girl and ring bearer. And yes, I purchased a poufy pink tutu dress for the little gal to wear! The best part was that she only dropped about three small handfuls of petals down the center aisle, but no one really cared when she was that cute! These little dolls also scored the cute points with us as they threw sequins (so fun!), rode in wagons, and just generally had us “aww-ing” without even trying!

Flower girls in mint | Danielle + Chris | Erika Delgado

“Sequin girl” for ceremony tossing | Morgan + Matthew | Amy Arrington

Dapper ring bearers | Kate + Tanner | F8 Studio

Flower girl tutu | Kat + Matt | Katelyn James

Ring bearer in a wagon | Megan + Joe | Kate Triano

Classic flower girl with pomander and crown | Emily + Tripper | Melissa Schollaert

Casual ring bearer | Erica + Danny | Megan Thiele

Door attendants at an outdoor chapel | Maggie + Alec | The Nichols

Comparing shoes | Baylor + Daniel | Elaine Palladino

Bouquet catcher | Kelly + Sang | Sam Stroud

Amy Arrington, Katelyn James, Elaine Palladino, and Melissa Schollaert are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    Lovely shots.

  2. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #120 | Floridian Weddings reply

    […] round-ups around the wedding blog world: Erika was featured for her reception details & kids shots… Jenny was featured for her pink and gold wedding… Elaine had two shout outs here, plus […]

  3. avatar RJ Carbone reply

    I absolutely loved the exterior door and the adorable attendants. What a great way to enter the ceremony. Terrific pics!

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