Famous for its one-of-a-kind culture, Louisiana is made of a blend of unique influences from all its international inhabitants. Louisianians tend to be proud of where they live, and New Orleans residents Tess and Bernard are no exception. From the moment Bernard, a Lafayette native, and Tess, a New Yorker with New Orleans in her blood, met at the Voodoo Experience music festival in City Park, they were destined to live out a distinctly New Orleans love story. And we knew their wedding had to represent their own Crescent City connection, their Louisiana pride, our state’s special heritage and their dignified personal tastes.
The multi-day affair kicked off with an homage to Bernard’s Acadiana heritage. Coming from a family that is particularly dialed in to the local Lafayette culinary scene, he chose to host a traditional Cajun Fête rehearsal dinner at New Orleans legend Dr. Bob’s Bywater studio, featuring a whole hog boucherie and a crawfish boil supplied by Cajun Country’s own Hawk’s Boil Up. Because no authentic Lafayette party would be complete without a swingin’ dance floor, one of the region’s most recognizable Cajun groups, The Lost Bayou Ramblers, played a high-energy and eclectic set for the couple and their guests.
Taking it down a notch for their deeply personal wedding ceremony at one of our favorite venues, Preservation Hall, Tess walked down the aisle to the Dr. John classic, “Such A Night,” before exchanging vows with Bernard, her soon-to-be husband. The newlyweds then made their way to the large reception at Marigny landmark, the Etoile Polaire Lodge. As the first couple to host a wedding reception in this space, we had to make sure that every detail was taken care of. In classic Southern Louisiana fashion, the days leading up to the wedding brought heavy rain, making the outdoor lawn area too muddy for usage. Determined to utilize the expansive outdoor space, we quickly installed a custom wooden floor and a tent, so guests could enjoy the breezy April evening.
The historic main space inside was beautifully transformed by florist Kim Starr Wise into a swamp-inspired, rustic dining area with vines running along the walls and ceilings. The extravagant centerpieces were inspired by Louisiana’s stunning natural beauty and by the first season of HBO’s critically acclaimed Louisiana-set miniseries, True Detective. Meanwhile in a more intimate upstairs room, a poet was also onsite to write custom poems on the spot for any of Tess and Bernard’s guests.
Star chef Michael Gulotta, of Mopho and Maypop fame, provided a wedding feast for the books that took inspiration from both Vietnamise and classic New Orleans cuisine with a myriad of local delicacies. Guests made sure to save room for the delicious and elegant wedding cakes provided by Shake Sugary that served as meaningful representations of the bride and groom’s personalities.
And if there’s one thing New Orleans does better than food, it’s music, and Tess and Bernard’s wedding had no shortage of the latter. Covering all the classic genres of our jazzy city, guests danced into the late hours of the night to the sounds of New Orleans funk superstars Dumpstaphunk, local celebrity DJ Quickie Mart and bounce phenom Vockah Redu.
When guests finally started to make their way home after an unforgettable night, Tess and Bernard provided them with one last meal from their favorite neighborhood pizza spot, Pizza Delicious.
The dazzling captures from this ultimate Louisiana celebration were taken by Kerry and Kathleen from Heirloom Collective and can be found here. In addition, Tess and Bernard’s special day was featured in both The Knot and Southern Weddings.
For more information on how we can help you plan the wedding of your dreams, contact us today.