Stephanie and Derek were married at the New Orleans Botanical Gardens in New Orleans, La. on October 13. “I have always wanted to get married in New Orleans Botanical Gardens in City Park,” Stephanie said. “City Park is such a special place for us, and I always knew I watned to get married outside. The Botanical Gardens have the perfect mix of classic New Orleans live oaks and gorgeous floral gardens.” The bride wore an off-the-shoulder a-line wedding gown, accessorized with her hair down in loose curls, while the groom wore a black suit, accessorized with a white vest and tie and a top hat. Bridesmaids wore long green chiffon dresses and carried bouquets of peonies, roses, succulents, and star of bethlehems. “When my dad hugged me at the end of the aisle, he didn’t want to let go!” she said. “It was such a moment. And when Derek and I had just left the wedding on our tandem bike, and we were biking down down Esplanade Avenue. It was just the two of us on a beautiful night, but now we are married — it just felt right.” Following the outdoor nuptials, guests were escorted inside the pavilion. Tables were decorated with tall centerpieces, gold votive candles, and lots of hops here and there. “My husband is a brewer, so that was really a cool, personal piece,” Stephanie said. “He made a special beer called “Hoppily Ever After” and even made a label with us on it.” The newlyweds’ best advice? “Make it your own!” she said. “It’s so easy to get caught up in all the Pinterest possibilities, but without a question my favorite things, and those that made our day were the ones that were so uniquely us.”
Ashley and Robert were married at a family friend’s farm in Shreveport, La. on July 21. “We love fishing and hunting, so we knew that we wanted something outdoors,” Ashley said. “We got married in a field underneath a group of Spanish moss trees in front of Lake Bistineau.” The bride wore a sweetheart satin mermaid wedding gown, accessorized with her hair half-up/half-down in loose curls, while the groom wore a black suit, accessorized with a camouflage tie. “My absolute favorite moment has to be the walk down the aisle and my dad giving me away,” she said. With only 40 guests being their witnesses, these two said, “I do.” The reception followed with lots of Mexican food! Tables were decorated with antique vases and vessels filled with hydrangeas atop burlap runners, family photos were displayed on clothespins, and the dessert display featured a giant “Mr. & Mrs.” chalkboard sign. Not to mention a mini wedding cake. “My big sister was my wedding planner,” Ashley said. “Having her help and knowing my taste really made everything go smoothly. The way she decorated the entire place was beautiful.”
What was the one thing about your venue that made you know it was the one?
We really wanted to get married outside and have an outdoor reception. The Elms Mansion gave us both, as well as an elegant atmosphere. Everything about the venue is picturesque, starting with its location on the oak lined St. Charles Avenue.
Which details from your wedding were your favorites?
One of our best friends married us. He got ordained online and conducted a very personal and memorable ceremony. He had everyone crying.
My dad and stepdad walked me down the aisle together. They both mean a lot to me, so I felt privileged to be given away by them both.
The band, TABOO [now The Phunky Monkeys]. Everyone danced all night. The band played everything from classic rock to rap, got out into the crowd, and got to know a few of our livelier guests!
Our first dance was to a Joe Cocker song, which was the concert we went to on our first “date” (along with our best friend that married us)!
If you could offer one piece of advice for other couples planning their wedding, what would it be?
Stay true to your vision for the event. We wanted a small, intimate ceremony and reception with only close friends and family. We had around 160 guests and knew every face. We truly enjoyed ourselves visiting and catching up with our loved ones. We spent the night doing exactly what we wanted….dancing and laughing!
Give us the one moment in your wedding day you can’t stop thinking about.
At the end of the night, the band led a New Orleans second line around the courtyard and over to our getaway car. Most of the guests were still there singing and dancing in the second line and waiving their handkerchiefs in the air.
I am absolutely in awe of the shots April + Paul captured of this couple’s big day. The photos of Melissa getting ready are truly stunning, they are the photos you hope to have from your wedding. Melissa’s bouquet, designed by Grow With Us Florist, was also a show stopper. Ranunculus blooms in several differ shades surrounded by berries, and hydrangeas, gave the perfect amount of color to their New Orleans City Park wedding.