I receive upwards of 50 submissions on a daily basis, and needless to say I do see a lot of very similarly styled weddings. So when a wedding like Leslie & Collin’s lands in my inbox I’m over the moon, thrilled and super duper excited to feature it because it’s just so different. I’m totally losing my cool over this theme and the way the couple executed it. They also planned and styled the entire wedding themselves, making it a million percent more awesome in my book.
The wedding took place in New Orleans at Race & Religious, a 1830s Louisiana compound full of restored Creole cottages. The bride, a fashion stylist, and the groom, a photographer, really wanted to put their own stamp on the day but also to have a wedding that worked with the surroundings… and what could be more perfect for New Orleans than a masquerade ball?!
“We wanted to create a unique wedding and a fun celebration!” began Leslie. “We have been together for 12 years. I met Collin when I moved to Houston from California. Since the day we met, we have not been apart! We currently live in Houston, TX but often travel to New Orleans, and we decided it would be a great city to have our friends and family from all over the states and Mexico to come visit! We love anything vintage, antique, rustic, circus, masquerade, old films, vaudeville… so that was our theme for the wedding. Our guests were a mix of high school friends, fashion industry friends and both of our families. We did a lot of DIY and involved our families and friends to help us as much as possible.”
Where do you find your inspiration? For photographer Jennifer, the idea for this shoot came to her in a dream.
“I was travelling to New Orleans for a little vacation and on the way I dreamt about this shoot”, she explained. “Alongside local florist, Kim Starr Wise, we came up with this concept – Voodoo Swamp. We wanted something moody and bring in the elements of the swamp. The floral was hand picked with orchids, magnolias, fiddle head ferns, and crocodile leaves and I really wanted Spanish moss.”
“PS Creative did the invitation and menu cards. The symbol on the invitation and favors was adorned with an ancient voodoo symbol for love, and the wording is all very classic New Orleans. Mrs Vintage supplied the vintage pieces, including the romantic brass candlesticks, gold nesting tables and a sage colored chair”
New Orleans has a lot of sentimental meaning to both Emily & Courtney. Although their wedding day in Virginia, they wanted a New Orleans/Mardi Gras theme for the event. Their wedding photographer Crystal George explains, “Emily had been through some pretty difficult years and took a trip to New Orleans on her 28th birthday. During that trip she said she hit a turning point in her life. The city itself has been through so many difficulties and still perseveres with it’s culture and beauty, and she said it was an inspiration to her. At a large cathedral, St Louis Cathedral, there in the city she had a spiritual moment.”
“On her 31st birthday she revisited the city, bringing Courtney along. They had a civil ceremony and then visited the cathedral together. For their church celebration at Grace Memorial Episcopal Church (the images here) and their wedding party they wanted to continue that New Orleans theme. With an unpretentious black tie celebration and masquerade.
The reception was held at The Aviary, VA, and the couple crafted as much as they could themselves to fit the theme. “Emily is super creative and she says that her wedding she wanted to do her way, and feel like it had her fingerprints all over it,” Crystal continued. “The decor for the reception was all from the bride and groom’s own collection of things from New Orleans, including the dress and lingerie the bride wore for the civil ceremony.
“Emily wanted vivid color and a comfortable feel. She handpainted and blinged out the bridesmaids shoes and masks to match each girl’s personality. She also as customizing the earrings for the girls.”
“The bouquets were made by Skull Fly and had 5 removable pieces in them for the girls to keep and use later. They were a necklace, 2 hairpieces, a brooch and a hair clip. Skull Fly also made Emily’s bouquet and the boutonnieres for the men.”
“Emily & Courtney were working on a budget. They did specialty drinks for their bar, serving beers from New Orleans including Turbo Dog and Black Voodoo, and Hurricanes etc. Anything other than the specialty drinks was paid for by the guests. Their food was made by friends of the bride and included blackened Cajun shrimp, chilis and a sweet potato bar.”
There was one thing that struck me in particular when I laid eyes on Heather & David’s New Orleans wedding…Heather’s incredible dress! She bought it from Natural Bridals on etsy and had it custom altered to make it perfect for her. She wore it with striped tights (rad!) and incredible orange boots. In fact their own wedding was a whimsical and wonderful mishmash of Rock n Roll fabulousness!
Heather explained, “We wanted to throw a wedding that was going to stand out from the other weddings that people would be attending throughout the year. Our goal was to get a reaction out of our guests. Cool! Um, interesting. Wow, fun! Very whimsical. Those were the target reactions… anything, but, nice (blah). We did almost everything a little strangely which caused a LOT of extra planning and negotiating with vendors. Most vendors in the city of New Orleans (and other cities I am sure) are bogged down with traditions and preset packages. We found that the vendors that were excited about a challenge were the ones for us.”
“As the bride I was also very lucky to have a family who is a little “Rock n Roll” and was up for anything. A few examples of our Rock n Roll style are the following: my girls and I wore striped tights, we carried and wore flower art instead of the real deal, I decided to wear my wedding band on my right hand (signifies an oath and gives my right hand some bling), the entire wedding party and most of the guests hopped on public transportation (St. Charles Streetcar) as our exit from the ceremony, the bridal party walked down Bourbon Street to the Musee conti (a wax museum that includes a SUPER scary haunted dungeon), and we ate take out chinese during our sit down dinner (sit downs do not really exist in a typical NOLA wedding). We did add in some traditional New Orleans flair with the cake charm pull for the girls and the second line parade near the end of the ceremony.”
Flickr is one of my favourite online hangouts. One of the things I most enjoy about it is uncovering a little gem of undiscovered talent or seeing a sneak peek of a wedding before everybody else and Flickr allows me to do just that. Whilst having one of my daily stalks, I saw this beautiful New Orleans wedding and photo session.
Matt & Anna Lora got married at Margaret Gardens (est. 1884) and afterwards had some beautiful portraits in the French quarter. She wore a stunning, full yet elegant dress by Mikaella, a bolero by Rosalyn Robbins and a hairpiece by Molly Gee Designs. I have much love for these…
I’m pretty sure none of the adjectives flying around my head as I look at these images can do justice to this ridiculously, spectacularly, awesomely, fantastically, edgy and wicked shoot!
Alma & David got married in New Orleans and had a cowboys & indians style wedding! The pair actually acted as models in a workshop for 25 photographers who want to learn new techniques and to photograph a couple as cool as they are.