Earlier this year, when I wasn't busy creating content for Who What Wear, I was busy planning my wedding, and it was an eight-month-long whirlwind of an experience that's unlike anything I've ever done. We (meaning I, my now-husband Mark, and my parents) decided to plan the wedding ourselves, assuming that we were the only ones who would really "get" the look and vibe we were going for. (We're also hyper-organized multitaskers thanks to the fact that we were both Hollywood assistants for years at the start of our careers, so we knew we could handle it.) While I don't recommend that everyone plans their own wedding, it was certainly rewarding to see it all come together.
I was never one of those people who grew up dreaming about what my wedding would be like or even what my dress would look like, but one thing we knew soon after getting engaged last summer is that we wanted a "stylish Southern wedding" in New Orleans, which is in my home state. (I no longer live in Louisiana, so that undoubtedly made the planning process even more interesting.) Another thing I knew is that there would be many wardrobe changes throughout the wedding weekend, and I spent months carefully selecting every piece.
I was constantly searching for inspiration and ideas online (and on Instagram) throughout the wedding planning process, so I hope this provides some for you. Read on to see how our happiest day turned out this past March, as captured by our photographer Lance Nicoll.
Can you see why we wanted to get married in New Orleans?
I wore a Vilshenko dress and cape for our rehearsal dinner in the French Quarter. The venue had a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street, which was a treat for all. I found the dress about two weeks before the wedding, which was not good for my stress level. You can't see them, but I paired the dress with a pink velvet Staud bag and Charlotte Olympia heels.
We loved the classic New Orleans feel of Arnaud's, where we had our rehearsal dinner. It's long been one of our favorite restaurants in the city.
Instead of a silky robe, I wore a dress by Sleeper to get ready on the wedding day. I found it to be special enough to get married in if your wedding is on the more casual side.
My dress was by Monique Lhuillier. I decided to run with the ballerina vibes it gave off, so I wore my hair in a bun. The lace and tulle were so delicate and subtle—exactly what I wanted. My mom and maid of honor flew in for dress shopping, so I basically had one day to find it. (No pressure.)
Fun fact: I bought these Manolo Blahnik kitten heels months before I even started looking for my wedding dress. I just knew that they'd pair perfectly with whatever I'd choose. I haven't been able to bring myself to wear them again yet, but I really want to.
I got ready in these Alberta Ferretti flats, which I happily bought on sale. (These I have reworn.) I found the hanger on Etsy (one of my several "something blue" items), and the ring box is from The Mrs. Box.
My mom and best friend helped me put on the dress, which was lightweight but probably the fluffiest thing I've ever worn. I decided to have the train removed during alterations so that I wouldn't have to deal with bustling it.
My favorite jewelry designer, Anna Sheffield, made our rings. I wanted something a little untraditional and Mark definitely came through with a champagne diamond and rose-gold ring. My wedding band is rose gold and white diamonds, and Mark chose a brushed-gold one for himself.
We decided to just have a maid of honor and best man instead of a larger bridal party. This is my best friend Kate. I looked at dresses of all price points for her, but the chicest one I found was from ASOS!
This is the first moment Mark and I saw each other on the wedding day. It's hard to remember everything from the whirlwind of a weekend, but I remember this happy moment perfectly.
I'm proud to say that I chose Mark's Hugo Boss tuxedo (with his approval, of course), which he looked so handsome in. You can't see it in this photo, but his bow tie was velvet Swiss dot to match the velvet smoking slippers that I also proudly chose for him.
I wanted a bouquet consisting of all the same flower, and I wanted that flower to be pink. Our florist, Poppy & Mint, recommended garden roses, which photographed so beautifully. I found the velvet and marble silk ribbons on Etsy (here and here).
This is one of my favorite photos from the entire day. I told our photographer that I wanted to go to the French Quarter between the first look and the wedding, but I hadn't thought about how dirty the streets of the French Quarter are and how many people would be out and about on a beautiful Saturday evening. This photo was a combination of our excitement and happy nerves, me desperately trying to keep my dress from touching the ground, and relief to be heading back to the hotel (and that Lance didn't get hit by a car while standing in the street to get these shots!).
I was pretty blown away by how expensive veils are, so I actually found a UK-based seller on Etsy (Sash + Veil) who custom-made this one for me. The champagne color brought out the lining of my dress beautifully and it had Swarovski crystals scattered along the bottom. I was so happy with how it turned out—simple yet special.
Another perk of getting married in New Orleans: amazing musicians.
Our wedding ceremony and reception took place at The Ritz-Carlton. The gazebo and all the trees in the courtyard were covered with twinkly lights, and we were blessed with incredible weather (which is rare in New Orleans). The fact that my uncle officiated made the ceremony even more special.
We snuck into the room where the reception was held before everyone else so we could see how it looked before it was filled with people. (I highly recommend every couple does this if possible.) This is us doing a dry run of the first dance with the band.
We wanted the reception to be bathed in candlelight with low, lush floral arrangements. The room had lots of rich color in it, so we went with that theme for the décor and flowers.
Mark and I were very proud of these alligator table number holders. (When in New Orleans…)
The cake is one of my favorite things about weddings and ours made me very happy, especially since it was Funfetti cake.
We changed our first dance song so many times, but we finally decided on The Beatles version of "Till There Was You". It was choreographed, and I was very relieved that I didn't mess it up. (Mark is a better dancer than I am.)
My dad and I didn't get a chance to practice our dance at all, but it was spontaneous and fun. He gave my mom the pearl bracelet I'm wearing years ago, which she lent to me as my "something borrowed".
I changed into this fun, feathered Alice + Olivia dress toward the end of the reception. It was a last-minute decision, but it's one I'm glad I made since we found ourselves out in the French Quarter after the wedding yet again.
I love this photo. It's right before we took a post-reception ride around the city. Another perk of a New Orleans wedding is that they give you to-go cups filled with champagne. (Side note: I bought the Prada bag I'm carrying before I got my shoes and dresses. The heart wants what the heart wants.)
The Details: Venue: The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans; Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier; Wedding Shoes: Manolo Blahnik; Veil: Sash + Veil; Reception Dress: Alice + Olivia; Tuxedo: Hugo Boss; Hair and Makeup: Katalina Mitchell; Rings and Earrings: Anna Sheffield; Photographer: Lance Nicoll; Florist: Poppy & Mint; Rentals: Event Rental; Month-Of Coordinator: Southern Belle; Ceremony Band: The Gumbo Trio; Reception Band: NOLA Dukes Band; Invitations: Scriptura; Calligrapher: Katherine Michalik; Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Arnaud's.