Shea and I recently celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary this week, so I thought I would go back and update this post with all the details from our New Orleans wedding. It has been such a fun four years together, and each July 12th we love to look back at our wedding pictures and video and go through the day again.
It really was the best day ever (that’s what our koozies said!), and I would not change a thing. To us, it was the most perfect New Orleans wedding.
Shea and I were engaged at Mardi Gras in 2014 and put together our New Orleans wedding in only four months. This was quite the task, but I am glad that we didn’t have a very long engagement. We literally had one day that we could get married in 2014 that did not interfere with the LSU football season. It was either that date or wait another year. We did not want to wait, so planning immediately started. Without the help of my mother and brother, Jacob, it would have never been done in time. I could go on and on about everything we loved about our wedding, but here are some of the main points.
We were incredibly lucky that both our ceremony venue and reception area were both available on the one day we chose. I knew I wanted to get married in the French Quarter, but no churches were available on the date we needed. I had actually never seen the ceremony or reception venue in person, but my brother (who morphed into our wedding planner) suggested the two places and we picked them!
We were married in Jackson Square at the Cabildo and then second-lined through the French Quarter to the Galvez restaurant which overlooked the Mississippi river. Shea and I love history, especially about Louisiana, so having our wedding at the Cabildo was very personal to us. Off of the room where we were married is a painting of the Battle of New Orleans on the Villere plantation, and that made the space even more meaningful.
The Louisiana State Museum website describes the Cabildo as an “elegant Spanish colonial building [that] neighbors St. Louis Cathedral and houses many rare artifacts of America’s history.” It truly is beautiful. We even signed our marriage license on the same table that the Louisiana Purchase was signed!
The space is bare besides the gorgeous flags, so we had a lot to work with. My brother saw an arch made of greenery in a magazine, and our florist, Meade Wentzel, made it come to life. She and her crew built the arch on site right before the wedding started, and it turned out better than any of the pictures we showed her.
I quickly settled on a color scheme. Green has always been my favorite color, so I knew that would be the color of my bridesmaids dresses. I am also a huge fan of light gold and multi-colored anything and used those touches throughout the accessories and floral arrangements.
I also knew I was going to get my bridesmaids dresses from J. Crew, because you really can wear them again! I did not want my friends and family to have to pay for something that was going to end up being given away or in the back of a closet. I also wanted to make sure that they wouldn’t have to spend a ton of money on the dress itself or alterations. I picked the fabric from J.Crew and let each lady pick the style they wanted to wear. (Each summer J. Crew puts their bridal selections on sale, so I also made sure that everyone was able to purchase their dresses at a discount!)
For the guys, we knew we didn’t want tuxes and opted for a light summer suit that only cost just a little more than a rental. They are also able to wear this again, and Shea has definitely gotten use out of his wedding suit in the last four years. Since the wedding was in the middle of July when it is very hot in New Orleans, we had to pick light fabrics for everyone to be as comfortable as possible.
The second line was one of my favorite parts of the entire day. A second line is a tradition in New Orleans that I knew I wanted included on our wedding day. It is basically a parade where Shea and I were the Grand Marshals. After going to parades in New Orleans my whole life, it was the best parade I have ever been to. We took pictures immediately following our ceremony and then walked down a grand staircase to find our friends and family lined up in the French Quarter ready to send us off to the party!
It was the most VIP I have ever felt in my life! The permit for the second line allowed us to shut down Decatur Street, which is the main street through the French Quarter. This means traffic is literally stopped while you are and your guests dance through the streets. While you would think that most people would get annoyed to be stuck in traffic, it’s the complete opposite. People are honking their horns and taking pictures and video while celebrating with you. It’s just another one of the infinite reasons why New Orleans is so beautiful!
VIDEOGRAPHY: Palmer Productions
PHOTOGRAPHY: Michael Caswell
FLOWERS: Meade Wentzel
CAKE: Zoe’s Bakery (Covington, LA)
STATIONARY: Two Sprouts
PHOTOBOOTH: Glitz Photo Booth & Entertainment
KOOZIES: Rook Design Co.
One of the things we both wanted was for the wedding to be tailored to us and our personalities. We felt these personal touches set our wedding apart from other weddings we had attended. We had personalized koozies as favors (very popular in the South), custom handkerchiefs for the second line and a pretty epic groom’s cake. Shea is a writer who LOVES Coca-Cola, and this typewriter was perfect for him. Shea also loves oysters, so we even had an oyster shucker on the balcony!
My cousin is an artist and owns a stationary company in New Orleans and drew the Cabildo graphic that we used on our programs, handkerchiefs and thank you notes. If you need any type of original New Orleans stationary, Two Sprouts is the place to go!
Get a good videographer! I cannot stress this enough. I felt like a movie star once we got our video back. Wedding videos have completely changed since my sister and brother were married, so we originally thought this was a place where we could save a little money in our budget. That was until I saw one of my best friends from college shoot and produce our other friend’s wedding, and I knew I had to have her. This is the one aspect of our wedding that we look at all of the time, and I am so happy we invested in it! Trust me, this is worth every penny.
An established photographer is a must too! There are a ton of good photographers to choose from in a big city, and that can make it hard to know if a certain photographer can capture exactly what you want. When I saw Michael Caswell’s other second line photos, I knew he was the one. He shoots weddings on his own, and I have no idea how he gets so many good shots. You would think he has an army of photographers with him, but he just knows how to shoot a wedding perfectly.
TIP: Come up with a list of pictures you want following the ceremony so you can get through them as quickly as possible.
We were lucky that the city was celebrating Bastille Day on the same day as our wedding, because we were treated to an epic fireworks show towards the end of the reception. My brother tried to convince me that he put it together, but I eventually found out!
Lastly, The most important wedding must have is – Fun! Fun! Fun! Planning a wedding can sometimes feel stressful, but you have to have fun doing it! As our day unfolded, everything fit perfectly into place. With our family, friends and a wonderful city, we could not have asked for a better day!
We loved each and every vendor that we worked with and would recommend any of them if you are looking to get married or even just throw a party in New Orleans.