The last day of February proved to be a picture perfect day for Megan and Philip’s New Orleans wedding. From the bride’s timeless style to the second line send-off, it was a celebration full of both elegance and fun.
Megan wore a classic veil and carried a simple white and blush bouquet of garden roses.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding day? I surprised Phil by using his late grandfather’s ring as his wedding band. He has always felt so connected to him, so it was a really emotional moment giving him the ring. I also included a piece of lace from my late grandmother’s 75 year-old wedding dress on the ribbon of my bouquet. My ten best friends/bridesmaids started a tradition of passing the same garter to each other when someone gets married. My last friend who got married, Emily, sewed my new initials into the garter and gave it to me on wedding day. Now I’ll get to do the same for whoever is next!
Megan’s gorgeous Monique Lhuillier dress featured soft tulle and several tiers of romantic lace.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? To do a first look. I was hesitant at first but we decided to go for it so that we could get pictures while the sun was still out. Having that moment alone with Phil before the ceremony ended up being such a blessing. Phil read the letter I wrote to him just before we saw each other and when he turned around to see me, it was such an emotional and beautiful moment. It also gave us the freedom to take all of our photos in one of our favorite places in the city, Audubon Park, which is just a couple of blocks away from our house. After the first look, we both felt so much more relaxed and could really enjoy every part of the ceremony and reception.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? Our favor was a bag of koufeta, or sugar-coated almonds for each guest. Giving koufeta is a Greek tradition that wishes happiness, health, wealth, children, and a long life to the bride and groom! A week before the wedding, Phil’s mom gathered about a dozen women to assemble hundreds of favors. It was a beautiful picture of love and heritage.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? My mom gave me the best advice when she told me to stop throughout the day and take snapshots of the small moments. The sounds, the smells, the expressions, all of it. Taking pauses to really look and notice what was going on made me feel so grounded and present in the moment.
Ribbon wands were a fun detail for guests to wave at the end of the night to send off the bride and groom.
“Even though we weren’t being married in a church, it was really important to us that our faith was at the forefront of our ceremony. My parents were invaluable and offered important advice and insight on choosing our readings and hymns. Because we knew that the ceremony was the most important part of the day, we focused on making it personal and meaningful for us a couple. The officiant has known Phil since he played in guitar chapel in third grade and the soloist is one my mom’s closest friend. We have never been surrounded by so much love.”
Your ceremony in three words. Intimate, spiritual, warm.
Who officiated your ceremony? Father Michael Kuhn officiated the ceremony. Phil has known him since childhood as he was the chaplain at Phil’s elementary school. Father Michael set the tone of the ceremony as being serious, yet very warm. He is one of the kindest, most sincere men Phil and I have ever known and we were so honored to have him officiate.
What was your ceremony music?
Seating of the Mothers and Grandmother: “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” JS Bach
Procession of the Attendants: “Canon in D Major” J. Pachelbel
Entrance of the Bride: “Trumpet Voluntary” J. Clarke
Soloist Hymn: “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
Recessional: “Allegro Maestoso” (Water Music-Suite 2) G.F. Handel
What were your ceremony readings?
Genesis 1: 26-31
Colossians 3: 12-17
John 15: 1-17
What were your vows like? We used traditional vows and exchanged letters beforehand with our more personal feelings on the day.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? For both of us, it was the exchange of vows. Even in a room full of people, in that moment, we had never been more connected as we committed our lives to each other.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? Right after the ceremony, our amazing wedding planner, Elyse Skansi, set us up to have some time alone for a glass of champagne and a bite to eat before we headed downstairs to the reception. It turned out that those fifteen minutes were some of our most memorable from the day. Having a minute alone to laugh, cry, and start to process what had just happened was so fun! We were filled with so much joy, excitement and relief in that moment, it was so special.
“Our relationship began long distance between New York City and New Orleans. Phil is from New Orleans and, like so many other natives to the city, he is incredibly rooted there. Visit after visit, I fell so in love with the city, the culture, the vibrancy, and the unique personality. I moved down to New Orleans and haven’t looked back since. There were lots of different places we thought about having our wedding, but ultimately, New Orleans is our home and where we fell in love, so we decided to do it there. Also, me being from Lexington, Kentucky and both of us having family and friends all over the country, we were excited to show off the city that we love so much to our guests. The guest experience played a major part in all of our decision making. When we went to look for venues, we fell in love with the Chicory at first sight! It has such a rustic elegance and we knew our guests would love the uniquely New Orleans feel of the space.”
How would you describe your reception? Elegant, romantic in decor and celebratory in feel! Phil and I wanted the reception to reflect the things we love most: incredible music, dancing, and food. Music was the focus of the night, from our incredible Motown band, to an interlude of Greek music (Phil’s family’s heritage is Greek), to the finale of the second line band to close out the night. So many people traveled from so far away and we wanted them to enjoy a memorable New Orleans night together.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Neutrals and blush, candlelight, New Orleans, our wedding planner Elyse Skansi, and my mom of course!
Did you have a signature cocktail? Yes! We served a “champagne julep,” a drink combining Phil’s love of bourbon and my hometown of Lexington, Kentucky!
passed hors d’oeuvres: asparagus with phyllo / crabmeat ravigote on endive / sicilian meatballs / mesquite chicken quesadillas / fried catfish / Natchitoches meat pies / pulled pork sliders with asian slaw // buffet: fresh fruit presentation / imported cheeses / charcuterie and antipasto / crawfish and brie dip / roasted artichoke dip // stations: shrimp and grits / steamship roast carving / 5 cheese macaroni and cheese // late night passed snacks: chicken and waffles
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Denise St. Pierre, an amazing cake designer and close family friend, was beyond generous and gifted our cake to us as a wedding present. She is known for doing cakes with incredibly detailed sugar flowers that take three days for her to complete. I told her that I would love a cake with cascading flowers and suggested peonies because that was the flower I was using in my bouquet. Otherwise, I didn’t know what to expect on wedding day. Needless to say, I was completely stunned at how breathtaking the cake was. As soon as I saw her at the reception, we both started crying. It was such a gift of love and one that we could never repay.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Phil’s family’s heritage is Greek so we were so excited to Greek dance at the wedding. I took lessons with Phil’s family before the wedding and they were beyond patient with me as I struggled through the moves! Fast forward to the reception. I’ll never forget the circle of family and friends from all over, my arms around my mom and my new husband, and everyone laughing and dancing like we all knew what we were doing (many of us didn’t ha!). After the group dance, Phil surprised me and told me he wanted to “dance for his bride.” He sat me in a chair in the middle of the reception and did a traditional dance for me. As he jumped through the air, showing off his moves, all I could do was laugh and smile from ear-to-ear.
What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance?
First dance: “Can’t Help Falling in Love” Elvis Presley
Father/daughter: “In My Life” The Beatles (this is the same song that my brother danced to with my mom at his wedding!)
Mother/son: “I Get a Kick Out of You” Frank Sinatra
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? During the second line send-off at the end of the night, I looked back and was so overwhelmed with love. Seeing all of our family and friends dancing and marching through the streets of New Orleans with the brass band playing was a feeling I will never forget. Strangers were coming out of neighboring bars and restaurants to join in on the celebration with all of us. Phil and I just looked at each other and laughed because it was the perfect New Orleans moment and the perfect ending to the most incredible weekend.