An Old-World Destination Wedding in New Orleans
On a cold winter's day in New York City in 2015, Joseph and Timothy met for their first date at a Mexican restaurant. They had met online and already spent a few weeks chatting once they realized they had mutual friends in common. "When I saw Timothy through the door, he was wearing an oversized Lenny Kravitz-style knitted scarf and I thought to myself that this date would be quick and that I would be able to get to my errands in no time," remembers Joseph. Little did he know that he wouldn't want the date to end, and he would end up inviting Timothy to accompany him on his errand, which included a trip to IKEA to pick up bed risers. "That IKEA date produced great conversation about family, traveling, and aesthetics while navigating the yellow brick road pathway of the store," says Timothy.
A romance ensued, and when it came time to take the next step, Joseph knew that Timothy wanted a big proposal. So, for his 34th birthday, Joseph threw Timothy a luau. Earlier that day, he had sent Timothy on a scavenger hunt with his friends to different sites around Brooklyn that were significant to their relationship. The last stop was the party where all of the couple's friends and family were gathered. "Cheerleader" was the song of summer right after Joseph and Timothy met, so the pair always said that it was "their song." Despite not having sung in public for more than 20 years, Joseph sang it to Timothy. When he got to the line "Now all that's left to do/Is just for me to pop the question," he was down on one knee asking Timothy to marry him. Timothy responded, "I have my pom poms," and just like that, Joseph and Timothy were engaged.
About a year later, on June 1, 2018, the Brooklyn-based pair and 110 of their nearest and dearest headed to New Orleans, Louisiana—the location of the first trip that Joseph and Timothy ever took together. Joseph, an event designer, and Timothy, a real estate agent and professional dancer, chose to be married under the Tree of Life in Audubon Park before enjoying a reception at the New Orleans Board of Trade, a historic venue. Planned by Spanish Oak Events, the glamorous celebration boasted Old-world New Orleans style, personalized touches, and a very special dancing moment in the streets of the Big Easy.
Dark blue stationery with white serif lettering designed by Seahorse Bend Press reflected the wedding's color scheme, which featured those two hues paired with red accents. The day's color palette was inspired by the movie Beauty and the Beast.
The First Look
The courtyard of the Dauphine Orleans Hotel, where many of the guests were staying, served as the location for Joseph and Timothy's first look. The wedding party stood on the balcony above as the grooms saw each other in their wedding attire for the first time despite the 94-degree heat. "I could not stop the tears," says Timothy. "A full year of planning and three years of falling in love culminated in that moment."
Joseph and Timothy decided that they would both wear white but agreed not to see each other's outfits before the big day. Joseph's suit from Tuxedos to Geaux was the first one he tried on. "I absolutely had the 'say yes to the tux moment,'" he recalls. He paired the embroidery patterned suit with dark Ted Baker pants. Timothy's all-white suit from eBay was swapped out in favor of a darker ensemble for the reception.
Surrounded By Love
The couple's wedding party consisted of Joseph's two sisters, his brother, and a mix of their friends. Joseph's niece and nephew also joined in the fun as flower girl and ring bearer, respectively. Guided by a color palette of navy and gold, the women of the wedding party chose dresses and (and one jumpsuit!) from Jenny Yoo, Watters and Christina Wu. The men sported suits from The Black Tux.Guests and members of the wedding party enjoyed a pre-ceremony champagne toast with the sounds of a string section playing old-school Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston tunes in the background.
The Tree of Life
Joseph and Timothy chose to be married under a 200-year-old oak tree known as The Tree of Life, which is located in Audubon Park. While neither of them are very religious, they both wanted a spiritual venue for the ceremony. The grooms felt it had the spirit of a church, the wisdom of an ancient building, and the timelessness of nature. Most importantly, it felt authentically them. Red flower petals from Arbor House were scattered over the ground at the ceremony site and oversized candelabras were hung from the trees to create an enchanted altar.
The couple's canines, Solace and Willoughby Charles I, arrived at the ceremony in a red wagon.
For their entrance, the duo began walking in separately but met halfway down the aisle and walked the rest of the way together. In a nod to the proposal, they entered to the song "Cheerleader" played by their string ensemble, and some guests threw flowers as the grooms approached. Joseph's friend, who was celebrating her tenth wedding anniversary on that day, was chosen to officiate. Timothy, who was born and raised in Hawaii, asked his spiritual mother to perform an ancient Hawaiian rite of passage by binding the couple's hands together with a traditional lei.
So Much Love
The newlyweds recessed to Stevie Wonder's "Signed. Sealed, Delivered" as friends and family tossed red rose petals. "I think what made it so special is the amount of love that was palpable," Timothy says of the celebration. "So many new friendships began, maybe some love sparks, but genuine connections permeated the weekend."
The second-line parade was both Joseph and Timothy's favorite wedding moment and a distinctly New Orleans touch. Immediately following the ceremony, a police escort guided guests from The Tree of Life to the French Quarter's Canal Street, which was shut down so that the newlyweds and their guests could dance in the street while a brass band played. The parade led guests—who toted props like umbrellas, masks, beads, and feather boas—all the way to the cocktail hour and reception venue, the New Orleans Board of Trade.
The Second Line
The majority of the guests had never been to New Orleans, so the traditional second line was a welcomed surprise.
The Cocktail Hour
Arbor House artfully arranged red and white flowers to appear as if they were overflowing from a large fountain in the courtyard of the reception venue. During the cocktail hour, guests were treated to oyster and charcuterie stations as well as passed appetizers including crab beignets, chicken and waffles, and praline bites.
The Reception Tables
Spanish Oak Events arranged a mix of banquet and round tables throughout the reception hall. The long tables featured navy blue crinkle linens, candelabras, and candles from Julep Candle Co. on green leaf runners. The round tables were covered in red-and-gold brocade linens. As an extra touch, Joseph and Timothy placed personalized notes for each of their 110 guests on glass chargers at every seat. The messages, written in gold, were "not only welcoming guests to our wedding but thanked them individually and told them what they mean to us," explains Joseph.
Tall floral centerpieces of roses, hydrangea, and greenery anchored round tables. In lieu of numbers, signs with the names of streets in New Orleans (which were larger versions of the couple's escort cards) sat atop each table.
On the Menu
Joseph and Timothy selected vintage map paper with their monogram on it for the menus. A seated buffet from Pigéon Catering and Events blended the couple's East Coast favorites with traditional New Orleans fare. Highlights included pasta jambalaya, roast pork loin stuffed with smoked boudin, chicken breast stuffed with spinach and feta, and a Creole rice station. For dessert, guests were treated to mini beignets served with café au lait, bananas foster, assorted donuts, and a macaron tower.
A Work of Art
Pappion Artistry created a live painting of the couple's wedding reception. The masterpiece now hangs in their living room on what they call their "New Orleans art wall."
The First Dance
Having learned about The Phunky Monkeys and developing a personal relationship with the band during past visits to New Orleans, Joseph and Timothy knew they were a must-have for the big day. The 12-piece band performed Whitney Houston's "All the Man That I Need" for Joseph and Timothy's choreographed dance which they invited the entire wedding party to join in on. Since they're both huge Whitney Houston fans, the newlyweds then followed with an impromptu ballroom dance to another one of her tunes, "I Have Nothing."
Joseph and his mother shared an intimate dance to "I'll Stand By You" by The Pretenders. Timothy enjoyed a similarly emotional moment when his grandmother gave a speech dedicated to him, causing numerous guests to tear up.
Pure Cake baked a stunning almond cake with salted caramel filling. The ombré design conveyed the grooms' desired bold and opulent aesthetic.
The Sugar Chic Bakery, owned by Joseph's sister, provided homemade pralines for guests to take home. They were housed in brown boxes with black ribbon and the couple's monogram affixed to the top.
Guests bid the newlyweds farewell with a sparkler send-off before everyone headed to The Loa Lounge at the International House Hotel for the after-party.
Photography, Marquez Fotos
Event Planning, Spanish Oak Events
Catering, Pigéon Catering and Events
Flowers, Arbor House
Videography, Chris Castillo Films
Stationery, Seahorse Bend Press
Cake, Pure Cake
Rentals, Event Rental
Hair and Makeup, Verde Beauty Studio
Flowergirl Dress, Littledreamersinc
Menswear, The Black Tux
Transportation, City Sightseeing New Orleans
Live painting, Pappion Artistry
Candles, Julep Candle Co.
Favors, The Sugar Chic Bakery