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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!

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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Amy and Joseph’s wedding blended both of their families’ traditions to give their nearly 400 guests an experience filled with sweet Southern hospitality and a heap of joy! Just one of the many reasons I love reading Real Wedding interviews is finding out gems about why a couple chose a certain detail. In this case, I love how Amy’s cascading bouquet was inspired by an old portrait of her great grandmother that her mother had seen. Amy had also dreamed of having a Southern gospel choir at her wedding–I know that our own Editor in Chief would have been singing away with them!

Big SW hugs to Elisabeth Millay for sharing this lovely day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. This was actually very easy for me! My mom and aunt saw my Monique Lhuillier dress in a magazine and sent me a picture text that said “This is your dress!” I love bows, and I also knew I didn’t want anything strapless. We went to Joan Pillow in Atlanta specifically to try it on and our consultant, Susan, was wonderful. She made me try on two other dresses before my dress to ensure I had seen others. As soon as I put it on, we knew it was the one.

We can see why Amy knew this was her dress right off the bat! You may recognize this sparkly Monique Lhuiller stunner from our V6 Cover Shoot! What a gorgeous dress (and bride, of course!).

The only real vision I had for the flowers was a neutral palette and lots of them! My mom also had a wonderful vision of a cascading bouquet–an idea she got from an old portrait of my great grandmother. Other than our initial vision, we entrusted the details to Heather and Kristin and they did a fabulous job. I was so happy with how everything turned out.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? The ceremony was held at our temple in Charleston, which is the oldest reform temple in the country. It has a lot of special significance to my family, who have been members for several generations and are actively involved in the congregation. I was actually a flower girl in my aunt and uncle’s wedding there! We knew we wanted to be inside and downtown, so we didn’t have very many options that fit our guest count. The Charleston Marriott was a perfect choice, and it exceeded our expectations. The service and staff were exceptional.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We really wanted people to feel the Southern hospitality in Charleston. Our graphic designer created an image of a plantation oak tree that we used on several of our printed materials, including our save the dates. Charleston is known for its sweetgrass baskets, so my mom had the idea to have sweetgrass napkin rings made for our table settings at the wedding. We got 400 made by a local Charleston basket maker, Nakia Wigfall, and it was such a special touch for the tables. We also had a Southern gospel choir singing outside the temple as people exited–I had been envisioning that for a while, and I think our guests really enjoyed it! We also were fortunate to be able to include all of our out-of-town guests in our rehearsal dinner, which I think was a great way to welcome people to Charleston. It was held at Lowndes Grove Plantation and was a Southern dinner, complete with a Lowcountry boil, fried chicken, and boiled peanuts!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We were really fortunate and had a very easy wedding planning process because we surrounded ourselves with a fabulous team. I think the biggest challenge for me was putting the wedding out of my mind and making myself focus on studying and passing the bar exam. I graduated from law school in May and sat for the bar in July, so I had periods when I couldn’t do any wedding stuff, even though it was all I wanted to do.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We were so fortunate to have Kristin and her team, who made everything so seamless and beautiful. Not a beat was missed!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? This sounds so cheesy, but the whole weekend was just incredible. If I had to describe the weekend in one word, it would be humbling. Having all of our family and so many of our close friends come from so far to be with us was such a special feeling, and Joseph and I will never forget it.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? When you get overwhelmed, take a break, because everything all works out. It is sometimes easy to loose sight of the end result, which is that you get to get married. Be sure to take the whole weekend in and celebrate each other.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were both living in Washington, DC and met at a mutual friend’s house. We had actually lived in the same apartment building for about a year, but didn’t meet until after Joseph had moved out. We ended up having a great conversation the day we met and Joseph called me the next week to ask me out to dinner.
Tell us all about the proposal! It was the 4th of July. We had been out on the boat with some of our friends during the day and had plans to go to my aunt and uncle’s house that night to celebrate with family and fireworks. I was sitting on the sofa trying to motivate myself to get ready when Joseph just came over and asked me to marry him. It was a really special moment, and I was happy that it was just the two of us there for the proposal. Our families and friends knew it was going to happen, so they were all waiting to celebrate with us, which was so great!
When did y’all get married? November 2, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 380
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did, for a couple reasons. We are an interfaith couple but had a Jewish wedding. In the Jewish religion, you sign a ketubah before the marriage ceremony, so once we decided to have a Jewish wedding, we knew we would be seeing each other beforehand. Our wedding was also in November, so we wouldn’t have gotten daylight pictures if we hadn’t seen each other before. Truly, seeing each other before turned out to be a real blessing. I was so much more relaxed because we got to ride a trolley to the temple together with our families and wedding party and hang out together before the ceremony. I completely understand why people choose not to, and it’s a personal choice, but for us, it worked out perfectly!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I have a very close friend from law school who is a classically trained singer. I wanted to walk down the aisle to something different, and I have always loved Alison Krauss’ song “When you Say Nothing at All.” Kaitlyn said she would sing it for me accompanied by the temple’s organ and a guitar player. I thought it sounded beautiful and was really unique. For our first dance, we danced to Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We actually had a cake bar! My mom had seen a picture in a wedding magazine and got the vision for not just one, but five cakes, and Jim Smeal executed it perfectly.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! My something borrowed was my earrings. My something blue was a sapphire stone on the pearl bracelet I wore. My something old was an old family Bible that is covered in white lace. Every woman in my family has signed it on their wedding day, so it was really special to put our names in it. My something new was my dress!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Married life is great! Joseph and I are getting settled in our new home, and we are really enjoying life being able to spend more time together now that I’m done with law school.

Photographer: Elisabeth Millay / Videographer: Hart to Heart Media / Planner: Kristin Newman Designs / Ceremony Venue: Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim / Reception Venue and Catering: The Charleston Marriott / Florist: Gathering Floral and Event Design / Cake Bar Baker: Jim Smeal / Rentals: Synder Events / Band: Simply Irresistible / Bride’s Gown: “Champagne” by Monique Lhuillier / Paper Products: Oscar & Emma Designs / Calligraphy: Elizabeth Porcher Jones / Hair Stylist: Stuart Laurence / Makeup Artist: Anne Lauren Jolly / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Pronovias / Men’s Attire: Grady Ervin

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

    This is such a big wedding! Congratulations!

  2. avatar Olivia Fischer reply

    Lovely and Gorgeous glittering wedding dress !! AWESOME Photography !!

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    This dress never gets old! Amy looks stunning in it!

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!

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