Sarah and Nathan chose Bouligny Tavern for their wedding because it holds such a special plates in their hearts – it was the first place each truly felt chemistry with another person, which just so happened to be with one another! This intimate and emotional wedding is so very New Orleans. Full of whimsical details, like the comic book boutonnieres and the local snow cone cart, this celebration shows you can have the sweet wedding you dream of while sticking to a budget.
Photography by Arte De Vie.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Chill out. Freaking out serves no purpose. I’m a procrastinator, but if you have offers for help, take them!
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? The day turned out exactly like I hoped it would. Maybe it was luck but it was perfect! I do wish we would’ve had more time. Six months was quick!
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? I did. I’m not the most religious, but I was raised in a Catholic family and I wanted to have something that meant something to my mom. My “something old and borrowed” was her rosary. My “something new” was my dress, and the “something blue” would have been a garter but the thing wouldn’t stay up!
Stationery by Suite Paper.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? The whole “altar” was DIY. The three curtain rods were from Home Depot. The material from JoAnn fabrics. We had some real foliage and the rest was faux greenery. But they looked great and were super affordable.
Floral design by Harkins.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? When Nathan and I met, I was engaged to someone else, but Nathan kept saying I should be marrying him. Of course, I thought he was crazy. We work together, and had a great working friendship, but one day after several dirty martini’s, I invited him to meet me and the girls at Bouligny. Maybe I needed the liquid courage to be honest with myself, but that night I felt the chemistry kick in. I took a leap of faith and called off my wedding 2 weeks later – I hadn’t even kissed Nathan! We both just knew. I gave myself time to clear my head, and it has been the best decision of my life.
“It was important that it reflected us. Nothing irritates me more than a cookie cutter ceremony. It was the most significant moment of our life to date, and it had to be as personal as possible.”
Your ceremony in three words. Personal, emotional, and kind of funny.
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? The first time we ever hung out outside of work was at Bouligny. It was also the first time I ever experienced real chemistry with another person. It was intense and our forever moment—the wedding had to be there!
What was your ceremony music? Nathan is really into music and wanted only music that reflected our time together. Everyone walked to Lana del Ray’s, “Born to Die”—we still can’t listen to it without getting emotional. We all left to Jimmy Cliff’s, “You Can Get It”.
Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? One of Nathan’s best friends, Gabe Cofield. They met as neighbors maybe three or so years ago, both moving to the city for the first time—it was love at first sight [laughs]. He was Nathan’s wing man that night he met me at Bouligny and he’s been there for our entire relationship.
What were your ceremony readings? It’s a Bob Marley quote:
“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.”
What were your vows like? I wrote them, they embody what’s important to us. It’s essentially the same with one different sentence to make it about the other person.
Do you (Sarah/Nathan) vow to be faithful, honest, open-minded, respectful, and kind. Vow to be patient, even when (Sarah/Nathan) is having a moment. Be supportive through every high, but especially in every low. (for Sarah) Vow to tickle Nathan’s feet even when he doesn’t deserve it/ (for Nathan) vow not to use all the hot water even though you love to nap in the bath tub. Vow to love (Sarah/Nathan) mind and body. Vow to always put each other first even when life throws you every unexpected obstacle that makes you want to fall apart. Vow to love and cherish (Sarah/Nathan) for the rest of your days.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Gabe gave a toast to us with all of our guest which I thought was cool. He also did a ring warming. He did a bit about the ring, a joke, and then a symbolization. He gave the rings to our parents to pass on good energy, love, and well wishes for our marriage. In a moment of emotion when my dad walked me up, Nate wiped my tears and kissed me—I loved that. I asked if he was ready, and usually a man of complete composure he said, “As long as you don’t lose it, I won’t.” Who says that to any girl before she walks down the aisle? I was a mess!
How did you go about planning your ceremony? We asked Gabe to put something together for us, and he went above and beyond. I got inspiration from Pinterest for the space. I had dinner with my boss ten days before the wedding and she came up with the brilliant idea of having the ceremony on the front porch. She said, “Having a sit down is so not y’all’s style” and doesn’t fit the whole cocktail party (that we happen to get married at) vibe. I still hadn’t ordered chairs for the ceremony, anyway, so it was just the idea I needed—it was perfect. Gabe wanted to do a champagne toast at the beginning of the ceremony. Then we had everyone move to the front, and it really gave the personal, carefree vibe I was hoping for. My boss decorated the space exactly how I envisioned. I like light colors,warmth, natural, and lots of green. It was amazing.
“Everything went as I hoped and we had an amazing time—it was so surreal and goes by as fast as everyone says. We made a pact not to separate from one another for too long, which I loved! It’s so easy getting caught up with everyone else and I didn’t want that to happen to us. I wanted to remember being with him on our day. Nothing is better than flirting all day with your new husband on your wedding day.”
How would you describe your reception? It was really cool and sophisticated. It was exactly what I was going for.
Menu: Gougeres / Duck Confit / three types of Bruschetta: White Bean with Pickled Carrot & Black Garlic, Marrow & Garlic, and Burrata with Pesto & Lemon Zest / Gouda Beignets / Tempura Fried Green Beans with Aioli / Deviled Eggs: Salmon & Caviar, Pork Belly / Tempura Fried Seafood // Burgers / Fries with Aioli / Beef Short Rib with Chimichurri
Did you have a signature cocktail? No. The only rule was keep the Old Fashioned’s coming!
Catering by Bouligny Tavern.
What was your first dance song? My husband is a huge Hall and Oates fan, and wanted “Sara Smile”. I do love the song and I’m just glad I married someone who has the same appreciation. Although, dance lessons made us want to never hear it again.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Flour Power’s chocolate mousse cake— six layer cake with mousse in between and chocolate ganache heaven on top!
Cake by Flour Power Confectionery.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? I’m not sure I have one. My dad couldn’t speak to Nathan or me the entire time with out getting emotional and that was really special to me. A week later when we had lunch he was still a little overcome.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? I don’t mind sharing. I feel like no one really notices small details. We also had a small wedding. I’m sure it’s hard for large weddings where you need a huge space.
Here’s the full budget breakdown and vendor list for Sarah & Nathan’s New Orleans wedding for 60 guests:
Venue, Rentals, Catering, Alcohol: $7000 space food/booze – $7000
(We got a steal because we know the owner, he usually starts at $10000)
Photography by Arte De Vie: $4,300
Wedding Dress by Tarik Ediz: $,2000
Suit by Luca Falcone: $1,500
Bride’s Wedding Band: $1,900
Groom’s Wedding Band: $5,000
Flowers by Harkins: $400
Stationery by Suite Paper : $500
Music: Free – it was pre selected on an iPod.
GRAND TOTAL: $25, 550
Sarah’s budget tips? “I would wait for a gorgeous space within your budget that you don’t have to spend much to decorate. Our space for the reception needed nothing. Places to spend: photography, dress, venue. If you can’t afford a good band, get a good DJ.” For other real wedding budget breakdowns, see Kate and Billy’s wedding feature, Jessica & James’ wedding feature and Nicole & Morgan’s wedding feature.
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