When two art lovers come together to plan their wedding day, you know that it’s going to be full of creative details and special touches. Heather and Brett’s intimate and artistic Race & Religious wedding was just that—and more. Though Heather did most of the planning herself, with the help of Mint Julep Productions, the couple turned their 1830’s Creole cottage venue into a romantic backdrop for their special day.
Using bright colors–including the mismatched bridesmaid’s dresses, cafe lights, and a copious amount of floral arrangements put together by Fete Urbane—the newlyweds brightened up the venue’s historic facade. And what would a celebration be in the vibrant city of New Orleans without beignets, smoked cocktails, and cigars? Don’t tell us. We don’t want to know.
Thankfully Junebug member Sophie Berard was there to capture every detail, so get that smooth jazz music playing and get to scrolling!
An important detail for me was having photos of my grandparents worked into my bouquet–I’ve lost all four of my grandparents. My mom did an incredible job of finding beautiful photos of them from her wedding and mounting them in charms. It was really special.
Why A Race & Religious Wedding
We’ve spent a lot of time at art museums and are both creative professionals, so art has played a big part in our relationship. We already had a trip planned to New Orleans for Brett’s birthday before we got engaged, so we took it as an opportunity to also look at venues. Race & Religious felt like the perfect fit. It was romantic and already had a lot of character. There is even a room upstairs where an artist drew small paintings on the wall as a homage to his time there. Because Race & Religious is so unique and beautiful, it took some pressure off of decor.
I took a “less is more” approach. I chose to not spend time or money on anything that didn’t add to the experience. Our wedding was intimate, with only 45 guests in attendance. I planned the wedding myself until a few weeks before when I hired Mint Julep to help bring it all together. Mint Julep already had a great relationship with almost all of my wedding vendors. I work full time, so this made the last few weeks a lot less stressful, as there’s a lot of moving pieces and loose ends to tie up. They were also incredible the day of and always had a glass of whiskey or champagne handy.
Incorporating New Orleans Culture Into Their Menu and Drinks
Since we had our wedding in New Orleans, it was important to us to have good food and music. For dinner, we chose to work with Black Pearl Catering. Their food was thoughtful and creative but heavily rooted in New Orleans cuisine. They took care of appetizers, a sit-down dinner, and beignets for dessert. They even made a beignet tray so guests could take a few with them for the road! A late addition was bringing on Cocktail Creative for a few curated cocktails. We chose a warm eggnog cocktail and their smoked cocktail. They made the smoked cocktails in the cigar room, and this drink also came with a bit of a show as they would infuse the smoke and then release it into the room.
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We had a blue and purple color scheme with some Star Wars touches here and there, including a Han and Leia cake topper. We also had a selection of animal ambassadors during the reception, for a touch of the wild side.
Tell us about the ceremony: We got married on our ninth anniversary of dating. We’ve been together since I was 15 and I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else. The ceremony was held in Giraffe Circle, directly opposite of the giraffe exhibit and in front of a beautiful statue of a giraffe.
The processional music was the Throne Room score from A New Hope, and my sister Courtney was the officiant. We used a sample ceremony from my sister’s handbook, and recited our vows to each other in private. Our good friend Deborah Wilson recited 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. The recessional music was a piano cover of Victory Celebration from Return of the Jedi.
Tell us about the reception: We had several animal ambassadors throughout the reception, including an owl, a bearded dragon, a ferret, and a tenrec. Guests were excited to see them and asked the zookeepers many questions about each animal.
We also had a Spotify playlist full of upbeat pop-punk, classic rock, and new wave music to keep the energy going. Since it was an August wedding in Louisiana, we also had a popsicle station so people could cool off.
We had a memorial display for our family members who aren’t with us anymore, including my grandmother and his great grandmother.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? I learned that mistakes happen, and sometimes you just need to go with the flow. On the day of, I got so distracted by all of the hustle and bustle that I forgot the rings in the hotel room 30 minutes away. I was so stressed out that I was crying before the ceremony and when Josh went to pull my veil back, my false eyelash came with it! It turned out that nobody noticed the rings or my wandering eyelashes besides me.
I also learned to put my foot down. So many people were trying to tell me how to plan the wedding and not listening to what either of us wanted. Eventually, I had had enough and stopped listening and instead did as I pleased. Blue dress instead of white, homemade veil instead of bought, zoo venue instead of a church. At every turn someone tried to tell me I was doing it wrong, but in the end we had the wedding we wanted instead of someone else’s vision. The biggest hurdle was convincing relatives that, yes, a bride CAN walk herself down the aisle instead of being given away by someone else.
And don’t be afraid to bargain hunt. My dress was originally white, I got it in a liquidation sale for $200 and sent it off to be dyed. The original price was $9,000!
There’s nothing we love more than a non-traditional showstopping wedding that is personal to a couple. Catherine and Bobby’s Louisiana L’eglise wedding was exactly that and then some. Without the help of a planner, the couple created a rustic yet over-the-top day with a guest list of over 300!
We can’t get enough of Catherine’s custom rose gold sequined gown that she paired with a custom Colby Herbert hat. And the mismatched bridesmaids and groomsmen match their boho theme perfectly. All of the wedding fashion paired beautifully with the greenery put together by Leona Sue’s Florist.
If you love non-traditional nuptials as much as we do, then you are going to love every photo captured by Junebug member Erin and Geoffrey. Keep scrolling and get those Pinterest boards ready. This one is totally pin-worthy.
My wedding day look was a dream come true. I wanted to make sure I brought my true inner self out and didn’t play it safe because that’s what people expect you to do. Live your life and be who you are, I say! I knew I wanted to wear a hat, so that’s when my hat maker came into play. It was made from a light color nutria fur with antique white alligator skin wrapped around the base. My hat sat on top of my soft pastel lavender hair, which tied in with my customized metallic rose gold sequined dress. I added a pop of crystal blue with my earrings, which climbed up my ear for a bold show-stopping effect.
Why A L’eglise Wedding
We chose the venue we did because we were able to have free range, which was important for our wedding day vision. It had an indoor and outdoor option for us to choose from with an enchanted whimsical feel that pulled us in immediately. To top it off, it had lights hanging above us during the ceremony and then inside for the reception–who wouldn’t want that!
A Round of Rock, Paper, Scissors
Our ceremony started off with a talented artist singing acoustic the entire ceremony with hand-selected songs that are special to us. My older brother was our officiant, and I had my younger brother walk me halfway down the aisle and pass me off to my dad for the remainder. We wanted to write our own vows but wanted to add something funny to get them started because, again, we wanted our inner selves to be shown. So we decided on a game of rock, paper, scissors! We played three rounds, and my husband won, so he got to start us off.
Rather than traditional wedding invites, we did text invites. Using an app that allows you to make hundreds of invites and hold everyone’s personal numbers and emails was AMAZING! We used this approach for all of our wedding events–it was customizable and so easy to do.
Homemade Wedding Favors
I would say our wedding favors were unique, but much needed for the good time that Louisianans like to have. We placed ourselves in the guest’s shoes and thought about what we would want after a long night of drinking and dancing with friends–a tasty snack for the ride home. My husband, Bobby, loves Mexican food, so we wanted to give guests a taste of something he enjoyed. We had homemade chicken, pork, beef, and jalapeno with cream cheese tamales along with homemade churros. Everyone took their to-go bags with smiles on their face.
Shannon and Sean’s unique Ace Hotel New Orleans wedding is the definition of a party! With the help of Nice Day Events, the couple’s day was full of modern touches, neon lights, and a whole lot of groovy disco details including disco ball-shaped cups as wedding favors. Not to mention Shannon’s epic Prabal Gurung gown that was complete with ‘70s-inspired bell sleeves which she wore with green velvet studded Miu Miu platform heels. Hannah Pickle nailed capturing the playful yet sophisticated vibe of the day.
Nice Day Events’ Katy Moody on the Special Day
“Shannon and Sean’s loved ones joined them for a night of revelry to celebrate their marriage in New Orleans, their way. The bride wore an amazing Prabal Gurung gown, with dramatic full pleated sleeves, styled with green velvet platforms, a sparkly green manicure, and purple eyeshadow. Shannon and Sean’s vision for their wedding was always authentic to who they are; their playful yet sophisticated style, their love of Prince, and raucous sense of humor that prevailed throughout the night.
After a second line parade through the streets of New Orleans, the couple surprised their guests with a choreographed dance routine to Britney Spear’s “Everytime” as their first dance. Shannon danced with her father next, choosing to honor their relationship by *getting down* to a New Orlean’s classic, Lil Wayne & Birdman’s “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy”. Lush tropicals, Prince lyrics, a huge fabric chandelier + disco ball perfectly accompanied the evening’s clear mission of fun (and love).”
With our decor being loud, bright, and electric, I wanted a look that was sleek and clean but still had dramatic elements. I found the most awesome Prabal Gurung dress with overstated pleated sleeves, paired it with studded green velvet Miu Miu platform sandals, and a green foil manicure to match (by Paintbox in NYC). Since I planned on keeping my maiden name, I had a nameplate ring made of Sean’s last name, which he didn’t see until the day of. That is definitely my favorite accessory.
Wedding Day Vibes
First and foremost, it was important for us to have a really killer party. Secondly, our wedding was a destination and we wanted our guests to fully experience the unique culture of New Orleans and everything the city has to offer. So, we worked with Hily and Katie at Nice Day to incorporate southern charm with clean modern elements, pops of neon, awesome music, and decadence that can only be found in New Orleans.
The Second Line Parade. We paraded our guests down the streets of New Orleans with a brass band, while onlookers took photos, shouted congratulations, gave us high fives, and I even got a hug. And how often do you get to have your own parade?!