Any time we spot a wedding from New Orleans, we know to expect a serious party. Lindsey and Nick celebrated in true Big Easy style, complete with a second line parade down the city streets. Kaylynn Marie Photography, Blue Gardenia Events, and Bee’s Wedding & Event Designs helped execute the couple’s vision, which included a focus on their own style and values in lieu of following expected traditions.
From the bride, Lindsey: The most important thing for us was that everything in our wedding was intentional, meaningful and reflected our own personal style and values, or gave our guests a better understanding of what we love about the city we live in together. 90% of our wedding guests were coming in from out of state and had never been to a New Orleans wedding before – and many had never been to New Orleans before. So we wanted to share what we love about New Orleans by incorporating parts of the culture into their experience at our wedding festivities throughout the weekend. We also wanted our guests to walk away thinking – that was definitely a Nick and Lindsey wedding.
We didn’t participate in the traditions of classic weddings unless they were specifically meaningful to us. And we added different things into our wedding to reflect our values, beliefs, personalities, and style. Everything that was a part of the experience was purposeful. That is ultimately what we were going for. Some examples to elaborate:
1. I didn’t have someone walk me down the aisle – I’m an independent woman that doesn’t need a family member to “give me away”. Nick met me half way down the aisle to symbolize we were taking this journey together 50/50 as equal partners.
2. We wrote our own vows (10 commitments) based on the science and psychological research done on what makes long-term relationships work. (Nick is a neuroscientist and I have a graduate degree in Consulting Psychology). The readings were edited mashups of famous writers with two different concepts: 1) A Compilation of Writings from Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Albert Einstein which highlighted how we are but small specs on an expansive universe and how science can’t really define or explain love (this was read by my brother, a space nerd), and 2) A Compilation of Writings from Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski and Nick himself, which highlights the foolishness and pain of love but that it’s the only fight worth fighting for (read by a friend who is a philosopher)
3. We only had our MC give a short speech – because we wanted our reception to be a big party. We had a ton of dancers there since I am a dancer, so the dancing and the music was very important! The first thing we did once we got to the reception was our first dance and then after that the social dancing began right away. The focus was on music and dancing. We had amazing food but people just grabbed food whenever they wanted to throughout the entire night – the New Orleans way!
The look (and feel) of our wedding was supposed to be: intimate and personal, nostalgic, a “Midnight in Paris” kind of vibe, artistic and intellectual. A place where you might imagine finding Hemingway or Bukowski grabbing a drink at. It was also designed to reflect both our own personal styles (classy, elegant, 1930s Hollywood, French) with some New Orleans touches. We had a color scheme of Champagne, Gold, and Ivory (with Midnight Blue accents).
Flower recipe: I wanted white flowers because white flowers are my favorite. More specifically, I wanted Gardenias incorporated into the wedding. Gardenias are really important to me, they are my favorite flower, not only because they smell absolutely wonderful, but also because they remind me of the last vacation my family went on before my mom got sick. I was about 12 years old and we went to Mexico. Our taxi driver dropped us off at a Mexican cantina for lunch and there was a beautiful water fountain outside of it. One of the layers of the fountain had gardenias floating in it and the driver picked one out of the fountain and gave it to me. I don’t know why that memory has stuck with me – but it has! Whenever I see a gardenia I think of my family together.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? A few days after our wedding was over, my husband and I were debriefing and going over all of the events that took place. I was surprised to hear from him that one of the highlights was our first dance! Having a game plan for the first dance turned a potential anxiety-producing moment for him into one of the most memorable and joyful moments of the wedding. Because we had rehearsed and knew exactly what we were going to do, he was able to relax and have a blast with it! Of course for me, Mrs. Dance Obsessed, it was an unforgettable moment for me too! That’s one of the reasons why I strongly recommend taking dance lessons as part of the wedding planning process. Many people don’t think about this as an essential piece to the wedding-day puzzle – but I disagree! Talking with many brides and grooms I realized that many of them are often anxious about the first dance because they aren’t sure of what to do – and that’s the last thing they should be worrying about on their special day! Choreography, like I did with my husband, isn’t for everyone, but taking a few private lessons with a dance instructor can go along way towards making the wedding day less stressful. A dance professional can teach a couple a few simple moves that complement the couple’s song. They can also create a “first dance game plan” with the couple that includes a memorable entrance and exit, some fun twirls, or a dramatic dip so that the photographer can capture an amazing action shot. That way, the couple isn’t stuck on the dance floor wondering what to do while they sway back and forth in the “8th grade dance” embrace. Other than that, I would just say, honestly, that everyone gives so much advice about what you should/shouldn’t do. My recommendation is to be true to yourself and your partner – do what you want to do, what is going to make you happy. Let the wedding be a reflection of yourselves and your partnership and don’t worry about what others think.
Processional: “Penguin,” Christina Perri (we reference ourselves as each other’s Penguins because they select mates for life)
Recessional: As soon as we were married, Kinfolk Brass Band started paying to immediately begin our Second Line as we paraded down the aisle grabbing custom made umbrellas, handkerchiefs and “go-Cups” full of Pimm’s Cups (a classic refreshing New Orleans original cocktail) as we walked out of the courtyard, circled through the French Quarter down Bourbon Street in order to celebrate with the entire city before landing at Latrobe’s for our reception.
First Dance: Our first dance was an Argentine Tango to Francisco Canaro’s Poema. Dancing tango was a way for us to merge his family heritage and my love of dance into one very personal experience. I am an Argentine tango dancer and organizer in the New Orleans community, and even though my husband is half Argentinian and lived in Buenos Aires for 1.5 yrs, he is not a dancer. We practiced almost every day for 2.5 months so that we were comfortable with the piece together. It allowed us to work on something challenging together, improved how we communicated with each other, and provided opportunities for us to focus on each other and our partnership during the crazy wedding planning process. And it was so much fun to perform! Nick did such a wonderful job.
Brother/Sister Dance: “When We Grow Up,” Diana Ross
Mother/Son Dance: Hier Encore
Photography: Kaylynn Marie Photography
Wedding Planning: Blue Gardenia Events
Floral Design: Bee’s Wedding & Event Designs
Ceremony Venue: Maison Montegut
Reception Venue: Latrobe’s on Royal
Wedding Dress: Custom design by Stephen Yearick
Bridal Store: Bridal Reflections
Wedding Shoes: Mr. Tango Shoes
Earrings and Bracelet: Pearl’s Place
Robe and Romper: BHLDN
Hair: Flawless Bride
Makeup: Lynna Vo
Groom’s Suit: Burberry
Groom’s Shirt: J.Hilburn
Groom’s Tie: Charvet
Groom’s Shoes and Belt: Mezlan blue crocodile
Catering: Besh Restaurant Group
Croquembouche: Melissa’s Fine Pastries
Prelude Music: Kristina Morales
Second Line: Kinfolk Brass Band
Reception Music: The Boogie Men
Wedding Invitations: The Perfect Gift Shop