Home » A Backyard Wedding at the Bride’s Family Home in the Garden District of New Orleans

A Backyard Wedding at the Bride’s Family Home in the Garden District of New Orleans

by Staff

Alixe and Nat have another married couple to thank for their union: The duo first met when a married set of mutual friends invited them each to Sea Island to celebrate July Fourth weekend in 2018. At the time, Alixe was planning a move to New York in the fall; the couple figured that she and Nat, who already called the Big Apple home, could be a good match. In the end, they were right, and the two had such a strong connection that Alixe changed her post-trip plans so that she could go on a proper first date with Nat in New York.

In December of 2020, the couple was spending a little time in Alixe’s native New Orleans, and Nat knew it was the perfect place to propose. He teamed up with Alixe’s sister to plan a proposal at one of her favorite places in the city, Audubon Park, where photographers would pose as people on a picnic. Alixe thought the trip to the park was her idea as part of a tour of her favorite spots, so the proposal came as a complete surprise. After, the couple celebrated at the bride-to-be’s parents’ house, where Nat’s family was waiting (they had flown in!) to toast with the same bottle of champagne that Alixe’s parents shared the night they got engaged. “The rest of the weekend was sprinkled with surprises,” Alixe remembers. “It was so special!” 

Inspired by other festive occasions like New Year’s Eve and Mardi Gras, Alixe and Nat knew right away that New Orleans would be the setting for their wedding. With 300 guests coming from all over the country, many attendees would be experiencing the city for the first time so it was important to the bride and groom that everyone receive a proper introduction. “I wanted the entire wedding weekend to exude New Orleans,” Alixe says. “We wanted to showcase the festive nature of the city and incorporate meaningful details from our favorite places throughout the weekend.” The couple’s wedding ceremony took place at Holy Name of Jesus Church and was followed by a reception at Alixe’s aunt and uncle’s home in the Garden District of New Orleans. “I love to host people and to entertain, and at the end of the day, nothing beats a good house party!” the bride says.

To bring their big day to life, the couple teamed up with Elyse Jennings and Ashley Parker of Elyse Jennings Weddings to pull off a highly personalized NOLA weekend, complete with a second line parade at the rehearsal dinner, a streetcar ride to the reception, and a king cake at the reception. Check out all the fun details of their November 6, 2021, wedding as captured by photographer Catherine Guidry.

The invitation suite for the couple’s wedding weekend featured a custom watercolor crest that included their initials and illustrations of trumpets. Given the fact that most of their guests were traveling to be with them for the weekend, Alixe and Nat welcomed everyone to the city with a thank-you note that matched their invitation suite and featured an illustration of a New Orleans second line parade, which was seen on the RSVP cards.

The floral motif used throughout the invites later reappeared on custom matchbook wedding favors that were given out at the reception.

The couple’s wedding weekend kicked off with their rehearsal dinner where tables were topped with white linens and the white-and-blue floral centerpiece arranged in gold pedestal vases. Following the meal, the couple showed guests what New Orleans is all about with a second line parade. Alixe wore a custom white dress by Noble 31 paired with purple platform Nicola Bathie x Antonio Melani shoes and Nat wore a navy suit with a blush tie.

Although Alixe went wedding dress shopping during the pandemic, she was fortunate to have her cousin, Bridget, by her side. When she tried on the Monique Lhuillier “Serenity” wedding dress, which featured a sweetheart neckline, she loved the lace and comfort of the gown. “I loved how easy-to-wear it felt, but wasn’t certain I wanted to do fully strapless. I had always thought I would want a dress with long lace sleeves,” she says. To ensure it was exactly what she wanted, the bride-to-be worked with her seamstress to create a bolero for the ceremony using the same lace from her gown. “I loved feeling like I got the long sleeved dress I’d always wanted while also getting to feel super comfortable in a more casual dress for the backyard reception,” she adds. 

On the wedding day, getting ready was one of Alixe’s favorite memories. “I wished those few hours could have spanned days!” she says. “It felt so special to have so many loved ones under one roof and I wanted to freeze time.” Nat worked with Bridget, who she considers her best friend, to choose earrings for her to open on the wedding day. “I was stunned by the beautiful emeralds they had picked out, and they are now one of my most treasured possessions!” She completed her look with Loeffler Randall shoes and a Toni Federici cathedral length veil with lace scallop detailing and horsehair trim.

Her bouquet had white anemones, peonies, ranunculus, and roses with pale blue delphinium along with sage and other greenery. 

A few days before the big day, Alixe surprised Nat with an appointment for a shave treatment. Nat got ready on the wedding day in his suite at the Four Seasons with his brothers and closest friends watching the Tar Heels win. Nat wore a classic black tuxedo from Alton Lane with sterling silver monogrammed cufflinks that were a high school graduation gift.

Alixe and Nat shared a first look in Audubon Park, where Nat proposed, which is conveniently located across the street from the church where the ceremony took place. “I debated whether a first look would take away from the special moment of walking down the aisle, and have to say, I didn’t feel that way at all,” Alixe admits. “It was indescribably special to have a few minutes to just look at each other and take in the gravity of the day.” 

After the first look, the couple was joined by their beloved pup, Perry, for a few photos. “She ended up grabbing a stick which tore my veil a bit, but in the moment it could not have bothered me less,” Alixe says.

They also used this time to snap photos with their wedding party. Alixe included her sister, Sophie, and her cousin, Bridget, as her bridesmaids; they wore sage green dresses in different styles from BHLDN. Nat’s groomsmen wore navy suits paired with New Orleans themed ties he gifted them. The couple’s flower girls and ring bearers were their nieces, nephews, and godchildren, and they wore white outfits from Pieces by Tam. “The plan was to have the group hold onto a nine-foot garland of greenery so that the older ones could help keep the little ones moving down the long aisle,” Alixe explains. Ultimately, that didn’t go according to plan: Bridget’s son ran down the aisle during the ceremony and his dad had to chase after him. “Watching all of this go down through the back church doors was definitely a favorite ceremony memory,” the bride laughs.

At the Holy Name of Jesus Church, the couple kept the décor minimal for the ceremony, simply adding green olive branches to mark the aisle and two large arrangements at the altar. “The church interior is so beautiful we wanted to let the setting speak for itself,” Alixe says. Live musicians  played Bach’s “Prelude” and Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” as Alixe walked down the aisle with her father. “Seeing Nat in the park beforehand may have calmed my nerves momentarily, but walking down the aisle was one of the happiest and more surreal moments of my life!” the bride says.

The couple’s Catholic ceremony included highly personalized remarks from Stephens, one of the friends who introduced the couple, and a performance of “Come Thy Fount” by Alixe’s friend from college, singer Hallie Hamilton. Alixe and Nat recessed back down the aisle to John Stanley’s “Trumpet Voluntary.”

Immediately after the ceremony, Alixe and Nat piled into a streetcar with their wedding party to  head 30 blocks to the reception. “The streetcar is one of our favorite aspects of New Orleans, and it was so fun to share that experience with so many friends who had never done it before,” Alixe says. “We had no shortage of celebratory libations onboard and riding down the Avenue with close friends and family felt like something out of a dream.”

The couple’s wedding reception took place at the bride’s aunt and uncle’s home in the Garden District of New Orleans. “The house was made for entertaining with soaring ceilings, floor to ceiling windows that bring the outdoors in, an expansive backyard with inviting front and back porches, and plenty of New Orleans charm,” Alixe says. Five of her cousins and her sister had their wedding receptions at the home, so Alixe had already seen how the space could be transformed for the couple’s 300 guests.

The front porch trellis, door, staircases, and fireplace were decorated with lush flower arrangements of white florals with pops of pink and periwinkle blues. Even though the wedding was in November, Alixe decided to ditch the expectations of fall flowers and color palettes and went with white blooms. plenty of greenery, and pops of bright pink and blue shades.

In the backyard, a black-and-white dance floor was brought in as the focal point of the space. White round tables in varying heights were topped with floor-length white linens and set up around the dance floor with bud vase centerpieces. The couple enlisted help from Alixe’s uncle and brother to string lights from the home’s second floor balcony to the next door neighbor’s house, which set the mood along with hundreds of small votive candles lining the brick wall that surrounded the yard.

The couple tracked down a local man named Simon who paints wooden signs for restaurants around town. “I had him make several signs to place over our bars ‘Alixe’s Oyster Bar’ and ‘Nat’s Martini Bar,’” she says. “I can’t wait to hang these signs in our home one day!” 

As soon as the couple arrived at the reception, they were whisked away to enjoy a platter of their passed appetizers and cocktails in a private setting before joining their guests. “From that perch, we could look down at the reception flowing into the backyard, but no one at the reception could see us,” Alixe says. “It was such a fun way to share the wedding meal—not feeling like we were missing a minute of the party while still enjoying some quiet time as newlyweds.”

Alixe had been planning the wedding menu for a long time, and she ultimately enlisted her favorite local restaurant Croquette to cater the event. The cocktail hour appetizers included grilled cheese squares, fried oysters, shrimp cocktail, and ruby beets on crostinis. After the cocktail hour, the team set up a cheese and charcuterie board. For dinner, guests visited stations to fill their plate with the couple’s favorites, including shrimp and grits, cacio e pepe, and smoked beef short ribs. 

As a late-night snack, the couple had a beloved hot dog stand arrive to keep guests fueled. “Anyone who has been to Bourbon Street has likely seen or had a Lucky Dog, and nothing tastes better at the end of a wedding reception,” the bride says. “I think close to 700 hot dogs were served between 10 P.M. and midnight!”

For dessert, the couple sliced into a classic four-tiered white wedding cake that was decorated with florals and greenery. Each tier had a different flavor: almond cake with fresh coconut, almond cake with strawberry cream cheese and fresh strawberries, chocolate cake with salted caramel and ganache, and vanilla cake with cookies and cream. In true New Orleans fashion, Nat’s groom’s cake was a tiered King cake, the round cinnamon cakes served during Mardi Gras, with white and blue icing for his team, the Tarheels.

The couple’s band graciously learned KC and Jojo’s “All My Life” for their first dance. “This was Nat’s choice and it was perfect!” Alixe says. “We will never tire of playing it.” During the reception, the traditional New Orleans Zulu Tramps performed. “They came dressed in their traditional Zulu attire and their dance moves, feathers, and whistles really got the dance floor going,” Alixe says.

At the end of the evening, guests gathered at the front of the house to toss flower petals for the couples sendoff.

Alixe and Nat jumped into a pedicab with “Just Married” on the back and rode around the block a few times before returning to the house for the after-party. “Given the ongoing COVID restrictions, Nat and I felt most comfortable keeping our ‘post reception plan’ to the house,” Alixe says. “We arranged for a DJ to come after our exit and he played a super fun set (emphasis on 90s pop/rap/country) until the wee hours of the morning.”

Although the two intended to spend their honeymoon in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, they were surprised by the happy news that a baby girl would soon join their family, so they planned a delayed getaway instead. To couples currently organizing their own weddings, Alixe and Nat have some advice. “Details do matter, as they will be what ends up standing out on the wedding day, but they can become overwhelming during the planning phase,” the bride says. “Decide on a few things that really matter to you as a couple (for us it was food, beverage, music, and paper), and focus your energy there!”

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