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New Orleans Wedding from Stacy Reeves + Sapphire Events

If you’ve ever been to New Orleans, whether for Mardi Gras, the weekend, or a fabulous wedding, you’ll agree with the bride who says “a good party is expected” after tying the knot in the Big Easy. I can only imagine NOLA weddings are the most fun. So when Stacy Reeves sent over the N’awlins nuptials of two fellow wedding photographers, planned by Sapphire Events New Orleans, it was pretty much a party in the SMP offices. Complete with a Second Line band, parade down Bourbon Street, and a bit of dancing in the French Quarter – and the gallery!

Here’s a little extra love from Studio Vieux Carre

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From the beautiful bride … Doug and I met in college while pursuing our photojournalism degrees at Western Kentucky University. He spotted me from across the room at our first department meeting of the year and knew that he had to get to know me. He’s from New Orleans, so his boyish charm and his Nawlin’s accent quickly won over my heart.

Fast forward eight years, (yes he made me wait eight long years!) it was the evening of December 28, 2010; we were hosting a welcome home party for my brother-in-law whom had just gotten back from a tour in Iraq. Doug, in true Doug fashion, had arranged an amazing welcome home party at our friends local brewery, Nola Brewing. He had invited family and friends, had the lead singer of Cowboy Mouth – a local favorite, a redfish cake, and a second line band to come in and blow things out at the end of the party. Unbeknownst to me, he had asked Kevin’s permission to propose that night because he knew of all night’s I would never be expecting it that night. He was right! He interrupted Fred LeBlanc during one of his songs – that was planned to – it was “Take Me Back to New Orleans.” He got on the microphone and started telling everyone why that song was important to us – and I was just trying to figure out – “what is he doing?!” It didn’t take me long to realize as he pulled out a piece of paper he had notes on, and he became misty-eyed. It’s still one of the best nights of my life to this day.

We keep joking that our wedding week was 99.9 percent perfect, and our honeymoon 70% good. (Delayed flights getting there, Doug got sick, I got thrown off a horse….that’s a whole other story though!) We surrounded ourselves with some of the best wedding vendors possible, and we couldn’t have done a better job. We are actually in the wedding industry too — which made some decisions very easy, and others very difficult because we didn’t want to offend anyone.

Our wedding weekend began Thursday evening with our Rehearsal dinner. We had dinner at the Maison Dupuy in their beautiful courtyard with the fountain as our backdrop. We were surrounded by our closest family and friends. This was what we had been waiting for. We were overcome with emotion as we realized everyone we cared about so deeply was there with us all at the same time.

The next day we had a crawfish boil planned at Audubon Park in order to spend more quality time with our family and friends. We were so grateful for the extra time this allowed us to spend with everyone. It was a beautiful April afternoon in New Orleans. Most of us took the street car from the French Quarter through the historic Garden District to get there.

The morning of the wedding was just as beautiful as the day before, and everything I had been praying for for the past 15 months. When you’re having an outdoor ceremony, you tend to get a little antsy about Mother Nature. I began my morning by having a hearty breakfast on my hotel balcony overlooking the French Quarter. The perfect start to a perfect day.

Once my hair and makeup was finished and I was reveling in all my glory of being a bride, I rode in a pedi-cab to meet Doug for our First Look – that was an exciting and fun experience as we passed people and they yelled good wishes. It was an impromptu part of the day suggested by my amazing coordinator that is still one of my favorite parts of the day. My heart was fluttering as I walked up behind Doug. I couldn’t wait to see him. He turned around after I hugged him from behind, and I’m pretty sure he was already crying before he even laid eyes on me. I’m a crier too, but I was simply overjoyed to finally be marrying my best friend.

We love New Orleans, and we wanted to show our family and friends the reasons why we love New Orleans so much. We were married in front of the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. It doesn’t really get more New Orleans than that! The whole time we were planning we wanted to make sure our wedding reflected who we are as a couple and add personal touches throughout. We were married by Doug’s best friend from elementary school who had gotten ordained online in order to marry us. His words during our ceremony were beyond perfect, and it was a perfect representation of who we are. We also had a sand ceremony after reciting our own vows to one another, but instead of just us pouring the sand, we also had both mom’s pour to represent our family, two of our best friends pour to represent our friends, and then he and I topped it off as we merged our sand in the heart shaped vase.

Once we arrived at the reception we had Mint Juleps as an ode to my Kentucky upbringing. Doug and I also had an amazing wine registry created by our friends at Kiefe and Co. This was a part that was also so “us” because we had gone on a trip two years prior to Burgundy, France. Some of the bottles purchased by our guests were from that very region, which will remind us of those fabulous memories we made when we open those bottles.

My cake was a topsy turvy, whimsical cake, while Doug’s groom’s cake was a replica of the Mardi Gras float we ride on. The twenty some riders that were guests at our wedding couldn’t get enough of this cake! It was so accurate, everyone was flipping out over it. Our main surprise of the night though came when Doug and I got on stage and performed to AC/DC’s Shook Me All Night Long with Groovy 7!! Doug was on the guitar, and I was on the drums! Months of preparation paid off and our family and friends went nuts! It was amazing, definitely one of my favorite parts of our day. There were so many favorite parts to the day really – we lived it up, and I can say I truly enjoyed every single minute of the day.

The night ended with our second line brass band coming into the ball room and playing Party Rock Anthem with our band, and then leading us out into the streets of the French Quarter for an epic second-line. Doug and I danced like no bride and groom have danced on a second line. We had sooo much energy and excitement for at least a full 45 minutes (they usually only last 20-25 minutes!) We felt bad for our photographer and videographer because we knew we worked them hard during that part of the day. It was incredible though! We went straight up the middle of Bourbon St. Strangers were dancing in the street with us and taking pictures of us. It was the best way to wrap up a perfect day!!

One of our friends told us after our wedding that they felt like we threw them a party. We took that as a wonderful compliment, and was really what we set out to do – well of course, other than the part where we committed our lives to one another. In New Orleans a good party is expected after you say I do. I think we succeeded in giving our guests and experience they’ll never forget. And we were just so thrilled to be married at the end of the day. It’s hard to believe that we are already approaching our first anniversary. The wedding was so incredible that two or three days into our honeymoon we were ready to do it all over again. And I’m sure we will, but maybe we’ll wait another ten or so years.

Photographer: Stacy Reeves | Planner: Sapphire Events New Orleans | Ceremony location: Jackson Square | Reception Location: Bourbon Orleans Hotel | Videographer: Studio Vieux Carre | Florist: Nola Flora | Bakery: Melissa’s Fine Pastries | Hair and Makeup: Flawless Bride | Reception Band: Groovy 7 | Second Line Band: Young Pinstripe | Lighting: Abstract Productions | Transportation: Need A Ride Pedicabs

Bourbon Orleans Hotel and Sapphire Events are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Bourbon Orleans Hotel

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SAPPHIRE EVENTS

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New Orleans Wedding from The Nichols

We usually basque in the beauty of The Nichols photography within the state lines of good ol’ Texas which we adore. But seeing The Nichols do New Orleans is a whole new ballgame. And that ballgame includes a parade through the streets accompanied by a jazz band. Now tell me that doesn’t sound amazing. See even more right here in the NOLA filled gallery.

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From the bride…Justin and I have known each other since we were kids but didn’t start dating until we were in college. After being together for almost six years, I had planned a trip for Justin’s birthday to New Orleans, our favorite getaway, a place I grew up visiting frequently and where we have a family home. I had planned a birthday surprise for him, little did I know that he had an even bigger surprise in store for me! He proposed to me on the balcony at my family’s place in the French Quarter, it was completely romantic and nothing short of amazing!

So when Justin and I began discussing wedding plans, the idea of a destination wedding in New Orleans seemed perfect. It’s a city where we have had some of our best times, and it seemed perfect to have our guests share the joy in a place that is so close to our hearts, a place that is full of life and conveniently not too far from home! With Justin being a graphic designer and photography being one of our hobbies, there were a few things that were really important to us for the wedding. We wanted a great photographer, we searched thoroughly and then fell in love with the style and beauty of The Nichols’ pure talent. From there we ended up making or creating most of the details for the wedding. We made our invitations, programs, website, favors, welcome bags, etc. We got very inventive and resourceful, wanting the wedding to be a product of us and our creation. Deciding on wedding favors, we wanted something that our guests could bring home as souvenirs. We created a handkerchief that we included in the program so that our guests could use it in the second line parade between the ceremony and the reception. If you’re not familiar with New Orleans culture, a second line parade is a traditional jazz parade where you walk through the streets in celebration led by a brass band and in this case, also by the bride and groom. We also thought it would be fun to give out pralines, a traditional treat known in New Orleans, as well as a personalized set of Mardi Gras beads that we designed and my dad had produced.

When the actual wedding day arrived I was slightly anxious until the moment I locked eyes with Justin at our first look prior to the ceremony. From then on, I felt at ease and nothing could go wrong. One of the best moments of the day was when the ceremony was coming to a close, we had just been pronounced husband and wife and were about to walk back down the aisle when a group of talented singers came out of nowhere and began singing “All you need is love.” If you have ever seen the film “Love Actually,” which is one of Justin and my favorite movies, then you know what came next. After the singers began an A Capella version of this song, random musicians with their instruments began popping out of the crowd playing the melody. In an effort to make this the most amazing day of our lives, my dad had orchestrated this as a surprise for us…and boy was it! The pictures that The Nichols captured during this were priceless and it made for an amazing memory that will last a lifetime. From there, we had so much fun walking through the streets with the brass band during the second line parade, swinging our handkerchiefs back and forth. When we arrived at the Omni for the reception, it was beautiful as always and they did an amazing job putting everything together. The band was phenomenal…they had everyone going on the dance floor all night long. It was simply the best time of my life. The day was filled with love, laughter and overwhelming emotions. The weather was beautiful, our family and friends were present and we were finally getting married. We couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Photographer: The Nichols | Ceremony: Jackson Square | Reception: Omni Royal Orleans | Floral Design: Dunn & Sonnier | Cinematography: Dyle Films | Band: MoJEAUX | Wedding Dress: Reem Acra (The King and I) | Bridesmaid Dresses: Ann Taylor | Bride Shoes: Vera Wang  | Second-Line Band: The Storyville Stompers | Groom + Groomsmen Attire: Black by Vera Wang via Men’s Warehouse | Bride + Bridesmaid Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Wedding + Groom’s Cake: Zoe’s Bakery | Hair + Makeup: Flawless Bride

Ann Taylor and Plum Pretty Sugar are members of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Plum Pretty Sugar is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Plum Pretty Sugar

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New Orleans Wedding Film from 3Ring Weddings

Happy Saturday SMPer’s. We have a charming French Quarter wedding with more than just a few ways to start your day off right. One. A cool as can be couple. Two. Carefree NOLA style. And three. A fabulous film that really lets you in on this chic soiree. A film that brings this southern romance to life. A film that gives you such an honest sense of this blissfully in love duo. Brought to us by 3Ring Weddings this New Orleans wedding is a sweet reminder of what it’s all about. You can see even more images from Keith Cephus Photography right here in the gallery.

From the bride… I had recently returned from a wonderful “girls” trip to the Bahamas with my best friend and another close friend. I returned energized and definitely with a sun-kissed glow of spending a week in the Caribbean. I almost contemplated not going as I was still recovering from my vacation, however, I had a family friend who was visiting and also wanted to reconnect with my friends hosting the event. The date was Saturday, August 15, 2009. The hosts were one of my favorite couples from college. The wife was a sorority sister who had become General Counsel of the agency that Chafula worked and the husband, also a college classmate. Upon arrival and lots of hugs, I settled into the kitchen when I noticed a man in the kitchen prepared some type of specialty punch.

He was so handsome and something about his presence intrigued me. He was wearing a pale pink polo shirt, madras pants, and flip flops. I didn’t introduce myself immediately and continued to join reconnecting with friends (old and new) and line dancing. As the evening progressed, I soon found myself sitting a table in the backyard when the gentleman I had noticed all night, pulled his chair next to me. It was an immediate chemistry and talking to him was so easy. I must mention that he had arrived to the barbeque with a close female friend. I assumed that she was a girlfriend but she left after a few hours and then Chafula moved his chair next to mine. I, of course, attempted to call him out for trying to make a move after she left. It turns out (as I would learn later) that she was indeed a great friend (we have spent the past three new year’s eve/day holidays with her and her boyfriend). Turning back to our first meeting, Chafula and I continued talking and laughing as if we were old friends. The next thing we knew, the hosts were putting us out as it was 2:30am and everyone had left. As a gentleman, Chafula walked my friend and me to the car and we exchanged information. At first, I had no idea how to correctly pronounce his name! An hour later, I was home and the phone rang. It was Chafula and we continued the conversation and the rest is “history.”

We knew early on in our relationship that we wanted to get married and spend our lives together. Both of us felt it was important to focus on our relationship with each other and spend the time on building our foundation. We attended pre-marital counseling in June 2011 to make sure that we had discussed the issues that sometimes derail couples. Until that point, our relationship had sustained some very significant events in our lives and we were able to overcome them together. On the last business day of December 2011, we decided that we wanted to go into 2012 as a married couple and headed down to the D.C. Superior Court to apply for a marriage license. And that is the day; we were engaged to be married.

I spent several months in New Orleans for a short term work assignment and got to know the French Quarter very well. I fell in love with the Ritz Carlton for its aesthetics and wonderful customer service. Not to mention, New Orleans is a wonderful destination locale and I knew that the Ritz Carlton would take great care of my guests. Chafula is originally from Louisiana and we wanted to have our wedding that reflected our personal style. Our wedding colors were pale pink, raspberry, silver, and black. My floral preferences were peonies and calla lilies. My florist used a combination of white and varying shades of pink flowers. We felt it was important to incorporate the themes of New Orleans throughout weeding. Our reception was held in the French Quarter Bar which was a room that had large French doors and balconies that opened out to the French Quarter. The floors were dark wood floors and had the room had wonderful architectural details. We had a three tier cake – each was a different flavor and color. One layer was red velvet. I incorporated a very unique southern tradition using cake pulls baked into the bottom layer of our wedding cake. Cake pulls have the origin in the old Victorian tradition of “ribbon pulling.” In those days, charms of luck and good fortune were placed into the wedding cake by the bride for her single friends. Our wedding cake was prepared by the pastry chef at the Ritz Carlton. The pastry chef placed the 7 sterling silver charms with specific means inside the bottom layer of the cake and all the single ladies are given the opportunity to pull a charm from the cake (a ceremony called the “ribbon pull”) just before the cake is cut. I asked our deejay to play Beyoncé’s single ladies song and read the meaning of each of the charms aloud instead of doing the traditional bouquet toss. Each charm had a special meaning.

Our wedding day was so special and aside from moving the ceremony indoors was perfect. We had fun. Our family was there to celebrate with us. We did have a few guests that were delayed due to the wedding. I will always remember Chafula’s look when I was walking down the aisle and the moments of our ceremony when we exchanged our vows. Our vendors were fabulous and we were blessed to work such a wonderful group of ladies and gentlemen.

Cinematography: 3Ring Weddings / Photography: Keith Cephus Photography /  Planner: All Events Perfect / Florist: Nola Flora / Makeup: Faces of Virtue  / Wedding Dress: Vera Wang / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bride’s Jewelry: Tejani / Venue: The French Quater Bar at the Ritz / Cake: Ritz Carlton

TEJANI is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here.