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February 2016 Archive

Kati + Ben: A Post-Wedding Styled Shoot

When I was asked to design Kati and Ben’s styled post-wedding photo shoot at Nottoway Plantation, I couldn’t get the “ABSOLUTELY!” out of my mouth fast enough. Kati and Ben are every event designer’s dream: beautiful inside and out, very obviously in love and they have some serious style.

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A little background on Kati, Ben and their big day:

Kati and Ben met briefly on a high school senior year spring break trip in Florida and then quickly became an item when they reconnected during their freshman year at Louisiana State University a few months later. Ben proposed almost exactly seven years later in December of 2014 at the Botanical Gardens in New Orleans under the twinkle of Christmas lights. Although Kati and Ben had been together for some time, Kati literally couldn’t believe the proposal was happening. She threw herself on the ground and asked, “IS THIS REAL LIFE?” According to Kati, it was the perfect moment.

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The Pavilion of Two Sisters in New Orleans’ City Park opens to the same Botanical Gardens where Kati and Ben were engaged one year prior to their desired December 2015 wedding date. So, clearly, the wedding venue selection was a piece of cake! Being that December was such a sentimental month for the couple, they played up on the holiday wedding theme. They kept the festive color palette chic and classic: lush greens, holiday reds and sweet reds with white accents. Kati wore a custom Pnina Tornai wedding dress that she purchased from the designer herself at Kleinfeld’s in New York; and Ben donned a traditional tuxedo. The couple displayed their love for the south by having guests find their way to their reception seats via oyster shell seating cards. What a fun detail! The wedding cake was also perfectly styled for their day- a large naked cake with green and red accents.

You hear it after every wedding from every bride and groom: the wedding day goes by in the blink of an eye. So, Kati and Ben wanted to play dress up again, take un-rushed styled formal photos and enjoy some tasty wedding cake in a more intimate setting as husband and wife!

I wanted the shoot to be an extension of their wedding day and a true portrayal of their collective style as a couple. Shot just a few days before Christmas while the venue was heavily decorated, I elaborated on the classic holiday theme from their big day: clean whites, lush greens and deep reds with a few softer shades of blush, a touch of dark purple florals, tasteful pinecone, garland, ribbon and berry accents with splashes of gold. The bouquet was bigger than the bride and the groom’s boutonniere was simple and understated- it’s all about balance, y’all! One of my favorite decor details from the day was the beautiful garland table runner on top of the distressed farm table that was situated in a private area in the Plantation’s yard! Swoon. Gold rimmed china, gold utensils, tarnished gold candle sticks and wine goblets, and overflowing florals in a vintage water pitcher also created the perfectly shabby-chic table scape. The rain stayed away just long enough for the photographer to get some amazing pictures of the eerie yet romantic ambiance created by the mist rolling in! Kati and Ben’s very traditional wedding stationary suite, menu and place cards were redesigned to reflect the holiday color scheme and a stylish calligraphy type. Instead of the typical white or dark chocolate naked cake, I opted for a more merry red velvet naked cake placed on a gold bar cart in the Plantation’s stunning “White Room”.

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We also had fun with their cocktail selection- a warm Christmas sangria topped with whipped cream and cinnamon sticks. YUM! After all, what would a romantic winter shoot be without a cozy cocktail? Last, I loved that Kati was able to take some pictures in the fur that the uncharacteristically warm weather prohibited her from wearing on her actual wedding day! Kati and Ben smiled, loved and laughed the entire time. The shoot was truly such a beautiful, intimate memory to be a part of.

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I highly recommend a post-wedding shoot to all newlyweds! It is such a sweet way to keep the momentum going after the honeymoon and to re-celebrate the start of this new chapter in your lives!

All pictures are from the shoot and are courtesy of Nicoll’s Wedding Photography + Florals from Antigua Floral.

Southern Wedding Traditions

The south, especially New Orleans, is big on tradition and passionate about celebrating them. We’ll find any reason to throw a party {Oh, there’s a hurricane coming? That can clearly only mean one thing: It’s hurricane party time!} and a wedding is the grandest of them all! So often I get a destination bride who wants to give her guests the experience of a good ole’ New Orleans wedding but doesn’t know where to start when it comes to our little crazy {eh, “unique”} customs.

So, today I’m breaking down my favorite {and, in my opinion, the “must have”} southern wedding traditions:

  1. The Second Line: It’s really just not a true New Orleans wedding without a second line parade. On any given day in New Orleans, while walking down the street in the French Quarter, you can find yourself spontaneously caught up in the music and dance of a second line parade. The term “second line” comes from the idea that the brass band members leading the parade are the “main line” or “first line” and those following/dancing behind the musicians are the “second line”. In a wedding, this parade is typically the celebration from the ceremony to the reception OR the last dance at the reception. The bride customarily carries a festive white umbrella and the groom a black umbrella, bopping them up and down in the air continuously, while guests dance and wave hankies {i.e. handkerchiefs} behind them. The hankies are often personalized and double as wedding favors.  It’s also not uncommon for the bridal parties to don Mardi Gras masks and throw Mardi Gras beads. The second line is such an amazing way to get the party started or to end the party with a BANG!
  2. Wedding Cake Pulls: This tradition gets it’s roots from an old Victorian ritual, “ribbon pulling”, which entailed bride’s placing charms of luck and good fortune into the wedding cake for her single friends. Today, bakers place charms with specific meanings on bracelets or key-chains inside the bottom layer of the wedding cake and the bride’s closest single girlfriends are given the opportunity to pull a random charm from the cake just before the bride and groom cut the cake. It’s silly, fun and makes for a few wonderful candid photos! Charms may include: Ring {Next to marry}, Fleur De Lis {New beginning or rebirth}, Chili Pepper {Red-hot romance} and Button {Old maid/bachelorette}.
  3. Groom’s Cake: This tradition also originated in Victorian England… but let’s be honest, does anything matter other than the fact that you get to have MORE CAKE at your wedding?! Customarily the groom’s cake was a surprise gift from the bride to the groom that reflected his personality/interests and was his favorite cake flavor. However, I’m seeing more grooms design their own cake nowadays. Whereas the wedding cake is typically almond cake with white icing, the groom’s cake can be any design/color/flavor; although, more often than not, it is a chocolate cake in order to offer guests more dessert variety. Some of the most popular southern groom’s cake designs revolve around hunting, fishing and football. What else is there, right?! If your wedding falls within carnival season and your groom doesn’t have a specific desired design, this is a great way to incorporate a king cake!
  4. New Orleans Specialty Cocktails: The Sazerac, the Vieux Carre, the French 75, the Hurricane… instead of the standard “Blushing Bride” cosmo, why not treat your guests to a specialty cocktail that was invented in New Orleans? We promise that nobody else does them better!

Now that we’ve covered our bases, who’s craving some cake and a cocktail? We can work it off in the second line parade that’s happening in 3… 2… 1!