When Lauren and William decided to get married, they chose the groom's hometown of New Orleans, which the couple fell in love with after visiting many times during their courtship. The Brooklyn-based pair -- she's a curator at an art museum and he's a freelance editor and PhD candidate in art history -- incorporated their shared love of art, local food, music, and DIY projects along the way. And on October 8, 2011, their 150 loved ones got to witness their personal masterpiece.
Lauren added straps to her Elie Saab gown, along with a piece of her mother's dress embroidered with her initials, with help from the seamstress at the Pronovias boutique in New York City. She jazzed up her Marais USA blue suede shoes with crystal bow shoe clips from ban.do and donned a Bride's Head Revisited veil for the ceremony.
William looked sharp in a Black Fleece for Brooks Brothers tuxedo.
Stephen Sonnier of Dunn & Sonnier Flowers created Lauren's clutch of ivory garden roses, dusty miller, antique green hydrangea, white ranunculus, ivory berries, white scabiosa blooms, Noreen lilies, and small millet stems. The bride's great grandmother’s handkerchief was wrapped around the stems -- a tradition passed down through the generations.
In addition to her bridal party, Lauren had what southerners refer to as a "house party" -- close friends who help greet guests and get the party going. She asked each female to wear a jewel-toned frock, and gave them a large fabric flower pin. The bride made the blooms on her morning subway commute and sent them to the girls accompanied by heartfelt notes of thanks.
Lauren and William encouraged everyone to sing during the hymns. The couple's favorite moment was standing next to one another, facing the altar, and singing "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" together, backed by a chorus of their loved ones. At the end of the service, they exchanged wedding bands from The Clay Pot.
After the ceremony, the pair ventured over to Audubon Park for portraits with their photographer Austin Gros. "I had wanted at least one photo under its moss-covered oaks," Lauren says. This stunning, serene photo opp came with a hitch: they encountered one of the city's notorious parades on their way to the reception and had to get out of their car and run through it. The tourists and locals cheered them on, and the joy and laughter became a special memory for the couple.
The decor -- complete with jewel tones, lace, antique silver, and floral arrangements set in front of dark backgrounds -- was inspired by 17th century Dutch still life paintings. Centerpieces of parrot tulips, chocolate cosmos, hydrangea, garden roses, dahlias, sea holly stems, scabiosa, seeded eucalyptus, and dusty miller varied from table to table.
Table numbers, another of the bride’s DIY projects, were made using sunprint paper and dried flowers. The father of the bride thought to spray paint dowel rods and insert them into glass doorknobs for support. The handyman himself also made the mercury glass votives.
Booklets inspired by a Good Thing in Martha Stewart Weddings' summer 2010 issue were placed on each table atop lace doilies. The tomes sported questions and hand-painted flowers by Maria Jourdan of Tupelo Honey Design. Guests wrote down their answers and traded books between tables during dinner. The couple waited until after their honeymoon to read each one.
Instead of a large, multi-tiered confection, the couple worked with Rhonda DeForest of Flour Power Confectionary to create a selection of eight small cakes. Simple white frosting and elegant sugar magnolias tied them all together. Cards labeled with their flavors (chocolate peanut butter, white chocolate cherry, praline pecan, and fresh fruit with almond cake) were displayed on antique stands hunted down by the bride and her mother.
The center cake was topped with a vintage figurine Lauren purchased on eBay. It was from a couple who had just celebrated their 50th anniversary.
After a few formal songs performed by Joe Simon's Jazz band, guests formed a "second line" waving handkerchiefs and parasols as they paraded from to the dance area on the main floor. Here, Rockin' Dopsie Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters (regular fixtures at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival) played Zydeco-infused dance music late into the night.
Photography: Austin Gros Photography
Ceremony Venue: Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church
Location Venue: Antoine's Restaurant
Stationery: Tupelo Honey Design
Flowers: Dunn & Sunnier Flowers
Photobooth: Big Easy Photobooth