Three New Orleans Weddings

    If you grew up in Louisiana, you've probably dreamed about getting married in New Orleans... If you didn't grow up in Louisiana, you've also probably dreamed about getting married in New Orleans. There’s just something so romantic about it. Magical, mystical and magnificent all at once. There's no wonder people come from far and wide to tie the knot in such a one of a kind place. 

    Alexandra Daddario, Solange Knowles, and Christina Hendricks are a few of the celebrity brides who have ventured to New Orleans for a mystical elopement, but the three brides I’d like to share with you today arrived in the city for the locals’ experience. Here are the stories of 3 New Orleans brides with 3 weddings, one more different from the other, and the 3 dresses that graced their night. 



    Kelly and Caleb had run in the same circles all of highschool, and while Caleb remembers that Kelly “made an impression” when they first met, it wasn't until their sophomore year of college that the two actually got together. Caleb proposed to Kelly on Christmas day a few years later with a ring in a handmade box he fashioned from two shells. Kelly will treasure it forever. Though both the bride and groom are from just across the lake, in Covington, LA, they wanted their wedding to be in the city that they were to call their new home.

Photos by David Fiser

    Choosing a date and location was the most difficult part of wedding planning in Kelly’s opinion. Her and Caleb would always go to Napoleon House on day visits to the city. It felt like their place, but they wanted something outdoors. Caleb discovered The Tree of Life, an ancient oak tree in Audubon Park where many had confessed their love before them. They agreed it was the perfect spot to stand before loved ones and perform their own nuptials. A reception to follow at Napoleon House was the best of both worlds.  

    Kelly says she knew she wanted Gretta wedding dress, there was “no other option.” “Seeing what you’re capable of and knowing the variety you've had. Anything I could imagine I knew you could make…and to be able to say ‘hey, my best friend made this.’?!“ Very special indeed. 

(If Kelly looks familiar to you, it is because, yes she is one of my best friends, and as such she has been my model many times throughout this journey. You'll find many of my favorite model moments from Kelly on my website and Instagram page. 


    Kelly had a clear idea on what she wanted for her wedding dress. Long sleeves with 3D lace. No train. To me, it was essential to make something unique to the breath of life that is Kelly. 

    She’d heard me talk about my other brides, but did not know exactly what to expect. When she tried on the sample muslin, she thought to herself, “this isn't even the finished thing and already, it looks really cool!” 

first muslin to final fitting

“People always say the day goes by so fast, but I didn't feel like it went by that fast.” She recalled her “first look” with Caleb as one of her favorite moments of the day. All she'd been wanting, all day, was “to hang out with her friend.” 


    Kelly walked down the aisle to an Irish song the couple discovered on a trip to Ireland they took together. A childhood friend officiated the wedding. Her sister-in-law put together the flowers. Kelly designed her own invitations. Her friend’s sister did her makeup. With less than 100 people, It was an intimate affair.  


Once at Napoleon House, guests were greeted with a buffet of delicious food, and a live cajun band that struck up an evening of non stop two-step on the dance floor.  

    For all the joy that the day brought, she confessed that she felt “this is a really long day.” It made me laugh to hear her recollect this, because it's just so Kelly. We’ve bonded over our mutual love for “getting dressed,” but always leaving the party early. As someone who doesn't love to be the center of attention, Kelly glowed the entire evening, and managed to stay till the very end. 

Kelly and Caleb’s first dance- Magnolia by JJ Cale

A favorite detail- carrot wedding cake from Dorignac's (a local family owned grocery) 

One thing she might have changed- would have done a hair trial or maybe would have done her own hair

Kelly’s recommendation for future brides- have a “first look,” and make yourself eat something




    Our next bride is not a Louisiana native, but has called New Orleans home since grad school. It was during this time that she met my dear friend, Peter. 

    After their first date, Peter texted his sister that it was the best 1st date of his whole life. Allie says now “we both knew,” and I think we all did. If I've ever met a couple who are “made for each other” it'd be these two.  

Photos by Dee Olmstead

“As I'm sure you're aware from the homily at our wedding…” Allie laughed, “We met on Hinge!” 

    Friends, this wedding ceremony was like none I have witnessed before. In a beautiful New Orleans Catholic church, a single vocalist sang hymns that echoed through the sanctuary, and the priest spoke of Hinge, the dating app, at great length. He referenced the marital bliss that was to befall Peter and Allie. Yes, that sort of marital bliss. As one of Allie’s friends from home told her, “I'm so happy I came. Your priest talked about eroticism and I can't get over it. It was the best thing ever.” It was the best thing ever, and continues to make us all laugh. It is only part of the silliness and joy that seemed to carry through the entire day. 

    There was the unintentional receiving line that formed outside the church just after the ceremony. The guests who jumped in the limo with Peter and Allie to get to the reception. The DJ who went rogue. The intimate courtyard where guests crowded, deeply engaged in conversation. The forgotten cookies (I’ll come back to that), and as Allie recalls one of her favorite services provided by the venue- the wedding attendant who at Allie's request went to find her friend, Mary, with no idea who she was or what she looked like.


    Peter got ready with his brother and sister. They did facemasks and watched This Old House. Peter recalls arriving at the church, and being escorted to the back to “hide,” not to see Allie. “I was staged there for a long time. I was so nervous. I was just jumping around, doing jumping jacks and stuff, getting energy out. I was really great and weird and fun. It was crazy seeing Allie come down the aisle. I didn't break until maybe a minute in, then I started crying. You know,  she's such a beautiful woman, but she was made all the more beautiful by what she was wearing. Which was the most outstanding dress I'd ever seen.” 


“It came out amazing,” added Allie, “maybe a week later, I put the dress back on, and Peter and I just hung out in our living room.”

    I asked Allie what she thought of the process, and how she decided on a custom dress. “Seeing the design and process with Kelly I was like “oh yeah” I gotta do it,” she explained to me. “How special…you’ve known Peter so long, and now are so close to both of us... to be able to make me something from scratch…” It was a special opportunity to get closer with Allie. This process was the first time Allie and I had hung out without Peter there, and I was so grateful that she’d invited me to be a part of her wedding in this way. 

final fitting

    “I sent you my inspiration, and I had tried on some dresses but they were all eh, ok, and you were so like ‘here is the vision,’ and I was like ‘perfect’... And the veil,” she added “… I don't think I would have picked that, but it was Peter's favorite part of the whole look. It was so dramatic and cool. My dress was simple, which was the way I wanted it. So this was my fun, cool thing.” A special detail added with Peter in mind. 

    Another favorite detail came from her shoes. I’d embellished them with the same lace from the veil. “Those were so cute and cool.” Cute and cool. I couldn't describe the entire look better. 


    Allie, from Pittsburgh,  and Peter, from Louisiana, there were many traditions that they pulled from both their homes. Allie’s parents gave speeches at the reception, untraditional for southern weddings, but food was served buffet style, untraditional for a northern wedding. Allie explained the confusion from her guests from home. However one detail, specific and special to Pittsburgh, was the Cookie Table - a tradition where guests bake and bring homemade cookies to the reception for all to enjoy. In the silliness and excitement of this wedding day, they accidentally forgot half of them at home. Nevertheless, it was a grand display of cookies, and we were all the happier to enjoy them again the next day at a picnic in City Park. 




    Anna and Lucas got married during the most exciting time of year, Mardi Gras. Although they now live in Baton Rouge, New Orleans felt like more of a destination for their guests. Lucas grew up in the city’s suburb, and Anna’s family had a house there. It was a sort of second home for both of them. 

Photos by Kristen Soileau

    Through the planning process Anna says, “of course, I was inundated with wedding information on social media, which is a blessing and a curse…it definitely makes you second guess things. But also, quickly, by looking at what other people did, I saw what I did and did not want to do.” Anna always knew she wanted the guys to wear tuxedos. Her then fiancé said, “If i'm going to wear a tuxedo, it has to be winter.” So, the decision was made, they would have a winter wedding. 

    The season influenced the color palette. Moody, darker, romantic colors that worked perfectly in their downtown venue. Anna imagined a ceremony at sunset overlooking the cityscape from the rooftop of the Riverview Room. She chose dark flowers, and twinkling lights, with a photographer that she knew would capture the evening “artfully”, beyond the staged moment. 

    Her bridesmaids in dark green, carried “nosegay bouquets,” a term coined by her mom for the small flower bundles that make your nose gay with delight from the scent. Anna has never loved the large bouquet look. The wedding was elegant, romantic, and classic in every detail.


    As for the dress, I asked Anna, “Why Gretta? Why Custom?” She says she was “intrigued” after I did Lianne's dress, but definitely wanted to try on dresses for that bridal boutique experience. She thought it'd be important to try different silhouettes, and in the end felt more secure in her final decision. She had feared that she would fall in love with a gown from the boutique, “but honestly, everything was so spaghetti strap or strapless. It was all types of dresses that I would never wear… and I wasn’t about to take a risk on my wedding day, and not feel as beautiful and comfortable as possible.” 

A few words Anna shared about going the custom route...
A few details from Anna about the process...
first fitting to final fitting

     Another unexpected detail that Anna loved, her wedding cake. “I knew I wanted color on my wedding cake, but didn’t know how to do it abstractly. Last minute, I sent my bouquet inspiration to Bywater Bakery, and told them to ‘go off.’” The baker created a painterly brushstroke effect on the cake that resembled colorful flower petals. Anna loved it even more with the vintage salt and pepper shakers that they used as cake toppers. Two “little love birds, kissing on my cake.” 

I asked Anna if she would share a few more "special moments” from the day. Here's Anna...


New Orleans is a magical place to be a bride.


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