I’ve got a huge crush on this wedding from Nicole Berrett Photography. Admittedly, I may be a little biased as so many of the sweet details of this day are similar to my very own wedding next month… gorgeous floor length Joanna August dresses, red-dotted florals (which were DIY!) and a beautiful venue, Race & Religious. It’s New Orleans charm at it best, lovelies.
From Nicole Berrett Photography…The bride, Jenny is originally from New Orleans! She really wanted to give her guests, especially her new husband and his family, a taste of New Orleans for the wedding!!
From The Bride… Ah! New Orleans – how I miss it. Hot and humid summers, giant live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, historic French quarter, Victorian homes with big wrap around porches. The food speaks for itself. All you have to do is taste it once. New Orleans isn’t just a place, but a unique and contained culture. I could continue endlessly. Although I grew up mostly in Texas, I am originally from New Orleans, and was fortunate enough to return for a time after college. The city holds a special place in my heart always, and is in my blood forever.
When Alex asked me to marry him, I found myself preparing to leave New Orleans for a farm in West Virginia. There was not much of a debate about wedding location. I had to marry the man that I love in the city that I love. In addition to New Orleans natives, many of our guests would be coming from out of town, namely West Virginia and Texas, and I wanted them to experience my family heritage before I started life in West Virginia. Whether they loved it or hated it, it was important that I shared my city and it’s culture. The wedding venue and menu needed to represent New Orleans through and through.
Just by chance, I selected my bridesmaid dresses before anything else in my wedding. The soft, airy color and the romantic style captured me instantly. I love the elegance of floor length gowns, as well as the practicality of my girls having their legs covered in early December. My sister helped me choose a blue for the house party gowns that would complement the bridesmaid hue.
I found my perfect reception venue at Race in Religious, a nineteenth-century Creole cottage. The guests would walk through rod iron gates into a beautiful courtyard, surrounded by walls built with bricks of Mississippi River clay, decorated with stained glass windows and gas lanterns. When we first walked through those gates, my mom described it as “very New Orleanian.” That was the goal.
In order to maintain a wedding budget, I wanted to use the talents of family and friends as resources. I was one of the crazy ones who didn’t use a wedding planner or a florist. With their help, my wedding came together quite nicely. It was a hectic but sweet time, working together toward a common goal, and I still feel so loved that these people would sacrifice their time and energy for Alex and me.
My sister, Cathy, got married in June, and my wedding came exactly six months later, in December. Having her go before me made things simpler, and meant that some choices were pre-made. For instance, we used the same fabulous photographer, who we love, and we also reused vases and centerpieces that Cathy had purchased and painted. She is the creative soul of the family, and helped me with everything. Together, we selected and ordered the flowers, and arranged them ourselves the Friday before the wedding. Her fingers deftly tied everything together, down to the tiniest detail. We hand selected the ribbon for my bouquet, as well as the leather for the boutonnieres, both Hobby Lobby purchases. She painted gold rims on some votives for the centerpieces, and TJ-Maxx goblets for smaller flowers. The main centerpieces were gold mercury glasses purchased on sale at West Elm, mixed with other parts of table settings, including pomegranates from Whole Foods. All these centerpieces and decorations were placed according to her design.
Above the dance floor, some friends hung strands of string lights, adding a picturesque touch. As party favors, my dad made homemade pralines, which my mom packaged in white paper, sealed with gold tape. Instead of a traditional guest book, I used a Louisiana plantation book, allowing my guests to sign whichever page they pleased. Now, I have a beautiful book for my coffee table, reminding me not only of the live oaks and plantations of New Orleans, but also of my wedding day. If ever I need encouragement while in West Virginia, I can flip through the pages, reading those handwritten words.
Thank you so much to all of my friends and family who made this day possible. To my parents, who probably could have killed their daughters getting married in the same year, you have always supported and loved us, teaching us to value our relationship with Christ as most precious. To my sister, thank you for always helping me figure out what to wear on a day-to-day basis up to planning my wedding day. I couldn’t have done it without you. To my cousins, who chose and performed the music for our wedding ceremony beautifully. To all who coordinated, set up, and tore down, to those who transported flowers, to those who provided food for the wedding party while we dressed, all the way to everyone who chose to spend their weekend with us in celebration. I love you all deeply and could never thank you enough. I am so blessed to have had so many good people in my life. I hope I make you proud in the Mountains of West Virginia. And to my sweet husband, thank you for loving me and supporting this emotional girl through these last 5.5 months of marriage. I can’t wait for the many years ahead.
As much as I emphasize New Orleans, I must say that more important than the New Orleans locale, the food, or the venue, was spending the day with my friends and family. They have all played integral roles in the story of God bringing two people together, the marriage of two best friends.
I loved the entire day. To pick one specific moment would be impossible. If I could give one piece of advice to other brides, I’d say just relax and enjoy it. Who cares if something goes wrong? That isn’t what your wedding day is about. If your veil falls off when you’re walking down the aisle, or if your flowers arrive in the wrong color, just laugh. Great people, eating great food, dancing the night away beneath string lights in a New Orleans courtyard – it could not have been better. As we say down in New Orleans “Laissez les bons temps rouler, let the good times roll”.
Photography: Nicole Berrett Photography | Videographer: Palmer Productions | Wedding Cake: The Royal Cakery | Ceremony Venue: First Presbyterian Church Of New Orleans | Reception Venue: Race And Religious | Bridesmaids Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids - By Joanna August | Catering: Labellas Catering | Makeup: Erika Young | Hair: Bouffant Beauty | DJ: Ronnie Roux | Bride's Dress: Town & Country Bridal | Doberge Cakes: Maurice's | Film Scans: Film Box Lab | House Party Dresses: Nordstrom, Annabelle By Jenny Yoo In Lapis Blue | King Cake: Randazzos