If we asked about a time when you felt most inspired, we’re willing to bet that most of you’re responses would involve a similar thing: travel! There’s something about getting outside the routine that just makes us come alive. Jessica + Brian began to consider a wedding inspired by their travels to New Orleans after their caterer, Eco Caters, mentioned a Creole menu. From there, the wheels began to spin! Brian’s background as a jazz musician and a memorable trip to the city solidified their decision:
We wanted more of a great party vibe than a traditional wedding. We opted for a New Orleans inspired wedding in honor of our amazing trip to the city 3 years prior. New Orleans is a historically rich city with equal parts depth and festivity—a balance we like to strike in life, so it seemed right to lean into that for our wedding. Once we decided on that direction, it was not hard coming up with all of these fun and unique touches that spoke to us. What made our day really special is the love and good will we felt all around us, and for each other.
Jessica was simply smokin’ in the Carter gown from our Lovers Society x Green Wedding Shoes collection!
The Little Branch crafted a bouquet dripping with Spanish moss, a New Orleans staple.
The Happy Couple
Love a groom in a blue suit!
Yes, we are partial, but how beautiful is the lace + neckline on that dress?! Jessica wears it so beautifully!
The ‘Big Easy’ Ceremony
Such a classic New Orleans backdrop!
This is hard to pick just one. Our whole ceremony was truly meaningful and special. A dear, funny and wise friend officiated, and we had Brian's uncle read one of his own poems which he did it so beautifully. We wrote our own vows and both the acts of speaking them and hearing them were really profound and joyful.
A singular fun moment was during dinner. Our venue has a large movie screen where we playing the famous New Orleans movie A Streetcar Named Desire as a backdrop. Since so many of the guests were film buffs, when the famous balcony scene with Marlon Brando came up on the screen everyone spontaneously yelled "Stella!!!" together at the exact right moment, unplanned. It was delightful. Maybe most of all, seeing each of our guests' faces and getting to connect and share our joy with them was what it was all about.
Brian arranged all the music for the ceremony which was performed by his bandmates, The Blue Bone Express!
Processional: Groom: Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue (Has Anybody Seen My Gal?) | Bride: I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl
Recessional: The Second Line (famous brass band standard)
First Dance: Come Live with Me by Ray Charles
J + B’s hand-painted drum head was fashioned after the famous one in the New Orleans Preservation Hall band. The drum now hangs as a piece of art in their home!
The Musical Reception
Guests enjoyed New Orleans-themed food like spicy crab cakes with remoulade and strong cocktails to wash it down!
How utterly brilliant are the musical-floral tables by The Little Branch?!
Instruments from trumpets to tambourines peppered the 15-foot long centerpiece while tile replicas of New Orleans historic sites served as table numbers. SO fun!
We LOVE New Orleans here at GWS. If you’re thinking of taking a trip, why not make a bachelorette weekend out of it?
Stop to think about what is important to you and don't be afraid to forego on things that don't matter. We chose not to have a bridal party, parent dances, a huge cake, traditional menu or a bouquet toss. Not that those things aren't lovely and fun, but they weren't necessarily part of our vision. Especially if you want to enjoy your party with your friends and family, not having to hit all those milestones and photo ops can make the day more relaxing. Plus, you may find that helps with budgeting and freeing up headspace to come up with ways to really personalize your day.
For planning, following a timeline of tasks in the months leading up to the wedding is very important. There are several good resources online where you can print up a checklist of where you should be with everything month to month. I was pretty good about that, but I wish that I had gotten all my decor touches purchased and ready to give myself a full week to look forward to the big day and focus on a little self-care. If it's possible, try to make that happen (but it's easier said than done for sure!).
If things don't go perfectly on the actual day, do not sweat it. Life and love are imperfect, and there's beauty in that! The most important thing is to be together and have fun.
Cymbals hung from the wall behind the dessert table (featuring a matching drum cake by Sinners and Saints Desserts!) which later served as the perfect photo backdrop.
Such a fun celebration of love! All our congrats to Jessica + Brian!
photography: J Wiley Photography // venue name: Smog Shoppe, Los Angeles, California, USA // planning: Eco Caters // florals: The Little Branch // wedding dress: Lovers Society x Green Wedding Shoes 'Carter' // wedding dress boutique: Lovely Bride Pasadena // bride's shoes: Michael Kors // bride's ring: Tiffany & Co. // hair stylist: Domanique Calvillo // makeup artist: Stephanie Navarro // groom attire: Hickey Freeman // groom's shoes: Magnanni // catering: Eco Caters // cake: Sinners and Saints Desserts // desserts: Sinners and Saints Desserts // tabletop rentals: Smart Party Rentals // linen rentals: Smart Party Rentals // music: The Blue Bone Express // photo booth: The Slow Motion Booth // street sign table tiles: Nola Girl Designs // custom drum head logo design: Landon Dowlen - hand painting by Analog Signs/Jessica Cowley