Before this couple got engaged, bride Maya worked in the wedding industry as a florist and event designer for over 10 years. She’d seen it all from big ballroom weddings to museum weddings, to barn weddings, to restaurant weddings. She was thoroughly steeped in wedding culture. Maya tells us that she has always looked to GWS as one of the places she could count on seeing unique, interesting, and personal weddings and we are thrilled to share her inspiring + unique wedding today!
Maya + Jesse are all about color and sparkle – which is quite evident from the photos seen here by Maryland-based photographer (and one of the bride’s besties!) Milana Braslavsky. Becca Kelly & Company planned the perfect New Orleans wedding while Sharime Kayla truly outdid herself in creating a colorfully simplistic floral design.
Okay, enough talk, let’s dive into the wedding!!
Time to Party!
Groom Jesse proposed with a custom engagement ring he made with Rachel at Benari Jewelers who is a close friend of the bride’s best friend’s mom. He knew Maya wanted a colorful ring, so the center stone Jesse picked is a blue/green teardrop shaped sapphire that changes color depending on what kind of light you’re in. The side stones are blue and purple diamonds. Truly stunning!
Oh this dress! Let there be sequins! This is a one-of-a-kind, bespoke dress by Madison Chamberlain covered in huge sequin paillettes, and the bride shares that it was so her!
The beautiful couple shared an incredibly sweet first look! M + J couldn’t stop smiling the entire time!
The design inspiration for the wedding was everything bright, sparkly, and colorful! We also love the laid-back New Orleans vibe. Bride Maya knew she wanted to plan something that was one-of-a-kind. She really wanted guests to be surprised but also be thinking to themselves, wow that’s so Maya and Jesse!
This couple’s love story is kismet:
“Jesse and I met for the first time in 2008 through his cousins. We went to a few events together but never really had a solo conversation. I remember thinking he was nice enough but he was dating someone else and we were living in different cities. Ten years later, he’d relocated back to our hometown of Philadelphia and even though I hadn’t seen him in years, I invited him (and the aforementioned cousins who I adore) to my 35th birthday celebration- a random hodgepodge of everyone I knew at my favorite bar.
I almost didn’t talk to him again! I was in a sour mood (I get the birthday blues pretty bad!) and I had been sitting in a corner with my best friend Liia who said “You need to go say hi to your friend!!” so I got up and went over to say hi. After a quick group catch up, Cousin number one went to the restroom and cousin number two went back to the bar for another drink and I turned to Jesse and said, so, how are you? I knew about ten minutes into that first real conversation that we were going to be great together. And by our third date I knew he was my person.
Jesse and I both share a love of bright, shiny, spectacular, neon, and generally vibrant things. One of my favorite things about him is when I’ll bring home something fluorescent pink or covered in glitter and he’ll genuinely share my enthusiasm for how extra it is. We got engaged on Christmas day of 2020 after almost a year of living on top of each other. I like to joke to our friends that even though we’d only lived together a year, we had logged enough hours together for it to count as ten.“
Before the ceremony we walked through the french quarter taking pictures. My dress was so sparkly, people were cheering for us, asking to take my picture. It was like being a celebrity for a day! I also loved the walk from the ceremony venue to the reception restaurant with our “DJ bike”. It was really incredible. People cheered as we passed and it pumped us up for the rest of the night. This pictures from this part of the day are awesome!
Then when we got to the restaurant they weren’t quite ready inside (figures as a former wedding pro I’d have a wedding that was running ahead of schedule!) so we had a mini dance party in the street. It was awesome!
“I knew as soon as we got engaged I wanted to do something super different and most importantly, destination. Since I’ve worked in almost all the wedding venues in our home city of Philadelphia, it was important to me that we could get away, to celebrate in a place that didn’t remind me of work. We considered all kinds of destinations, Sedona, Palm Springs, Miami, Vegas, but ultimately settled on New Orleans because it’s one of our favorite cities. It reminds me of Philadelphia, but with that laid-back, southern vibe. The food is amazing, the live music scene is incredible and there’s something for everyone, it was truly a perfect destination for us!”
Shades on and ready to go! We love these blinged-out bridal sunnies Maya is rocking!
“A trio of local musicians played an acoustic version of Never Tear us Apart by INXS as I walked down the aisle (a song we both love) and then they played an acoustic version of ABBA’s “gimme gimme gimme” as we recessed. Once we got outside the venue our “DJ bike” was playing the ABBA version outside. The DJ bike escorted us to the restaurant playing music, our take on a classic New Orleans second line.”
Finally Saying ‘I Do’
The couple got married on stage at d.b.a, a music venue on Frenchmen st. They truly wanted to give their guests a NOLA experience that represented themselves. The inside had an incredible dive bar feel and as guests arrived they ordered drinks at the bar which were served in classic pink and purple New Orleans to-go cups with the couple’s wedding logo on them! So fun!
“Our amazing florist Kayla added an iridescent fringe curtain to the stage and we had them turn on the disco ball which I loved. We were married by Jesse’s cousin Alex (yep, that cousin!) who is like a brother to him. My best friend Liia (the one who made me go talk to Jesse on that fated day three years prior) stood with me as my maid of honor. In lieu of a sand ceremony or candle lighting, we made a “ceremonial” old fashioned and took our first sips with a hot pink crazy straw that reads ‘cheers’.”
The Reception Space
As a former wedding pro, one of the MOST important things to the bride was to work with people who are incredible at what they do and let them do their thing. She decided against any DIY because she knew that after so many years of making weddings, it was time to let the vendors take her vision and run with it!
“It would have been easy for me to get super involved in a hands-on way but I think ultimately, me letting go, made it an even better wedding.“
Pops of neon were present throughout the reception decoration and what can be more fun than that?!
Bride Maya admits: This is certainly a wedding you don’t see represented everywhere in terms of design!
The couple’s reception was a dinner at local restaurant Paladar 511. It’s super close to Frenchmen street and definitely a neighborhood gem. In fact, three of the couple’s wedding vendors told them it was their favorite restaurant! Which, in a city that has food like NOLA does, is really saying something.
The restaurant is inside of a converted warehouse building which reminded M +J of some of their favorite places in Philly. The couple shared that the staff there was incredible and the food was some of the best they’ve ever had in their life. (Specifically the squid ink pasta!!!)
This Bayou Saint Cake looks too delicious for words! With each layer topped with the prettiest pink and orange flowers.
When the couple got outside for their wedding exit, their friends showered them with bubbles and rainbow confetti!
It seems that the bride, groom, and their guests are going to remember this special day for a long long time! Congrats to Maya and Jesse from everyone here at GWS! We wish you both a lifetime of happiness!
photography: Milana Braslavsky Photography // venue name: Paladar 511, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA // planning: Becca Kelly & Company // florals: Sharime Kayla // wedding dress: Madison Chamberlain/Bespoke // bride's ring: custom, benari jewelers // hair stylist: Nina Marquez // makeup artist: Vanessa Goddard // groom attire: Theory // groom's shoes: Dr. Martens // groom's ring: custom, Mosette Jewelry // paper goods: Chick Invitations/ custom // catering: Paladar 511 // cake: Bayou Saint Cake // Getting ready venue: One11 Hotel // Ceremony Venue: d.b.a.