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Christine and Ben
Once upon a time, a boy and a girl lived on opposite sides of the country. Both state-level officers of their high school debate teams, the levelheaded Junior Statesmen of America (as they were called) didn't spend much time thinking about things like romance. And yet, when they met years later during a weekend in New York with mutual friends, that's exactly what they found.
When Christine, a brand manager from San Francisco, describes the moment Benjamin walked in, it sounds like a fairy tale. "I'm pragmatic, but I swear I said to myself, I'm in love with him, and I'm going to marry him." Ben, a New York native who works in finance, had heard of the "whip-smart girl" from a pal and was similarly smitten. "She was charming, and we got along instantaneously," he says. That Saturday, they stole away for karaoke and burgers; by Monday, as she flew home, Christine had decided she was moving to New York. Three months later, she had a job and was on her way.
They spent the next three and a half years together indulging a shared passion for travel ("and food!" says Christine). When they decided to marry, the location was obvious: New Orleans. "It's a city where we've spent anniversaries and birthdays, where we feel like the best versions of ourselves," says the bride. It's also a nod to both their heritages: The city has a large Vietnamese population, and it was where Ben's German-Jewish ancestors settled after coming to the United States.
They chose the historic Marigny Opera House for its stunning architectural details and its current use as a performing-arts center. They married in a Jewish ceremony beneath a chuppah of flowers and then headed outside for a "second line" parade that included the entire wedding party and all their guests, accompanied by a brass band. That was followed by a dinner featuring Creole staples such as Gulf redfish and beignets, and dancing to more brass-band music, before the party moved to CellarDoor, one of the couple's favorite bars. The pair sipped cocktails and swapped stories with loved ones as their wedding day came to a close, the first chapter of their very own happily-ever-after.
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A Historic Spot
When Christine and Ben first traveled to the destination, they had been discussing getting engaged. So there was no question in their minds where they would tie the knot. "There are certain places where you step in and feel like a better version of yourself," Christine says of the Crescent City.
The couple's wedding planner, Jessica Sloane, suggested the Marigny Opera House as the venue. Over the years, the opera house, which was built in 1853, has suffered from neglect. Now it's a performing arts center, and a portion of venue rental fees goes toward its repair.
On the big day, Rosegolden dressed up the façade with two urns of flowers and trailing greenery down the steps.
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A Venue with Impact
"We walked in and I started crying it was so beautiful," remembers Christine about the first time she saw the circa 1853 Marigny Opera House. The location's colors, as well as the bride and groom's New York City apartment, inspired the palette of light pink, soft blue, and shades of gray.
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I Thee Wed
The couple, who wrote their own vows, were married beneath a chuppah of flowers.
The couple signed a ketubah, the traditional Jewish wedding contract. "It's a statement of values that really represent us," Ben says. "Now it hangs in our hallway at home."
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Flipping the Space
Christine and Ben wanted to host their wedding all in one place, so while guests enjoyed a second line and cocktail hour outside, their wedding planner and her team took out the ceremony chairs and set up dining tables for the reception.
The centerpieces included jasmine, ranunculus, clematis, foxgloves, lilacs, and garden roses.
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The Place Settings
Powder blue linen napkins and a matching runner added a soft pop of color to the tables.
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The Second Line
The second line is a distinctly New Orleans wedding tradition—the couple and a brass band serve as the main line, leading the second line, composed of their guests and any passersby who want to join the musical parade through the streets.
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Location, Marigny Opera House
Event design, planning, and styling, Jessica Sloane
Catering, Joel Catering and Special Events
Floral design, Rosegolden
Photography, M. K. Sadler
Videography, Needle & Thread
Officiant, Rabbi Jeffrey J. Sirkman
Stationery and calligraphy, Michaela McBride Calligraphy
Reception music, The Soul Rebels
Second line, Mico Productions/Kinfolk Brass Band
Rentals, Distressed Rentals & Revival
Bride's gown, Elizabeth Fillmore
Hair and makeup, Amanda Gros
Bridesmaids' dresses, Natalie Deayala Collection
Groom's suit and shirt, Enzo Custom
Groom's tie and groomsmen's ties and suits, J.Crew
Lighting and tent, Event Rental
Transportation, Platinum Coaches
Menu-sign holders, Esselle
Restroom trailer, Event Restroom
Postwedding celebration, CellarDoor