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A Moody, Victorian-Inspired Wedding in New Orleans

by Staff

Meagan Apodaca and Oscar Murphy “met how most modern couples meet nowadays,” Meagan says with a laugh. “We both swiped right!” They went on their first date in March 2014 to a St. Patrick’s Day festival in downtown San Diego, and a relationship quickly formed. 

In August 2019, the couple finally took a trip to Spain they’d been dreaming of for years. “While one of us—me—was getting their flawless European attire packed and ready; the other, Oscar, was preparing for a proposal speech.” They took a train from Seville to Granada and had a lovely dinner overlooking the Alhambra castle. “After dinner, we walked along the narrow cobblestone streets and I wondered why we were still walking aimlessly and not going back to the hotel,” Meagan recalls. “Each viewpoint we stopped at had large crowds, which made Oscar nervous. He decided that there could possibly be another viewpoint with less people.” Of course, each spot was more crowded than the last, so Oscar finally gave in. “People were chatting, guitars were strumming, and Oscar took a knee,” Meagan says. “Suddenly, we felt like we were in our own world without anyone else around, because all that mattered was each other.”

“Even before being engaged, we knew we wanted to get married in New Orleans,” Meagan says. They’re native Angelenos, but NOLA is their favorite city. “To us, New Orleans represents everything we love: It’s a vibrant city filled with music, beautiful people, culture, art, and history. We were so excited to introduce our family and friends to our favorite city, and most of them decided to arrive a week early to explore. We set up dinners and ghost tours, and went dancing every night until the sun came up.”

The couple describe themselves as non-traditional, and that definitely factored into their wedding planning. “We didn’t give much thought to wedding traditions and, instead, only made choices that made sense for us as a couple,” Meagan says. (Case in point, Oscar took her last name after the wedding.) “We wanted to stay true to our personalities, while still giving our guests the best experience possible.”

Read on to see all the unique details of their October 9, 2021, wedding, planned by CJ and Dominick of Lonney Jane Productions and photographed by Shelly Anderson Photography.

“Aesthetically, our favorite word to describe our vision was moody,” Meagan says. “We wanted to embody fall in New Orleans with a touch of Victorian-era influence.” They set a color palette of mauve, burnt orange, mustard, sage, and dark greens. “I was nervous that it would be too much, but I think all of the colors worked with one another really well to achieve our moody theme.”

Groom Oscar’s look was classic, with a vintage edge. He paired a charcoal gray suit with brown buckled dress shoes, brown leather suspenders, and a forest green tie. His groomsmen followed suit. 

I showed Claire Pettibone the venue and jokingly asked her to make me look like a Victorian ghost.

Meagan went directly to the Claire Pettibone salon to find a dress. “I showed Claire the venue and jokingly asked her to make me look like a Victorian ghost,” Meagan says. “She pulled this dress and I fell in love with the ornate details and romantic touches.” The long sleeve lace gown featured embroidered net tulle, tiny seed pearls, rose-gold metallic thread, and a scalloped-edge train.

“My favorite accessory was my custom cape,” Meagan continues. “I opted for a cape instead of a veil, and Claire was able to match the pearl pattern while adding romantic and dramatic flowers. The first time I saw the cape, my breath was taken away.” Meagan finished her Victorian-inspired look with romantic Hollywood waves pulled back with a Versace hair pin, and heirloom earrings dating back to 1890 from a New Orleans antique shop.

Meagan sent her bridesmaids the color palette and asked each to chose a color within it. “After they chose the color, I told them that they were able to choose whatever style they wanted, I just wanted a few of them in velvet and a couple in [satin] so the textures were not all the same,” she says. “They all wore a very special accessory. When I asked them to be my bridesmaids in the beginning of 2020, I gifted the ladies with gold filled bracelets from the 1880s. For my bridesman, I gifted him an antique brooch.”

“After shopping around for venues online, we landed on Race + Religious,” Meagan says. “The care that has been put into the design of the property is second to none. The owner has carefully curated each and every space, and it matched our taste to the T. The beautiful thing about our venue is that it doesn’t need much décor. The building itself is stunning, and we decided to highlight that by creating a statement floral altar, paired with fall foliage on the ground.”

Since they didn’t do a first look, Meagan’s walk down the aisle—to “Holocene” by Vitamin String Quartet—was all the more emotional. “We wanted everyone to be as surprised as we were when we first saw each other,” Meagan says. “It was a special moment that meant the world to us and everyone we loved was there to witness it. Oscar was so emotional, I was trying so hard not to cry seeing his visceral reaction.”

“We had a non-traditional wedding ceremony and decided against reading vows,” Meagan say. “Instead, we focused on curating a ceremony that represented us as a couple. We also decided on a sage blessing, which was a beautiful way to begin our new chapter together.” 

Marching in a second line with a brass band out of the ceremony with all their family and friends was a highlight for the couple. “There’s nothing that can beat that high,” Meagan says.

“My husband and I keep telling each other that we wish we could go back and live in that moment again,” Meagan reflects of the wedding. “Try not to focus on what can go wrong, and enjoy every single second of it. It’ll be over before you know it, and you want to look back and remember that you actually enjoyed the day, instead of stressing over small details that don’t really matter.”

“It wouldn’t be a moody New Orleans wedding without a ton of candles,” Meagan says. Those glowing lights were the starting point for their décor. “We had candles everywhere throughout the property. For the tablescape, we had candlesticks, fresh fruit, stunning flowers, and Victorian-esque plates and utensils.” 

Each place setting featured a custom tarot card place card to amp up the voodoo vibe.

We put a lot of thought into the details, we wanted to include food that meant a lot to us and our families,” Meagan says. Rather than being served a typical meal at their seats, the couple’s 60 guests indulged in unique stations with cheese and charcuterie, oysters, seafood paella, pork shoulder, and a variety of salads. “Everyone was going back for seconds and thirds,” the couple remembers.

Our tarot reading as a newly married couple was one of my favorite moments.

The place cards foreshadowed the post-dinner activity. “We had a tarot card reader stationed in a small room filled with floral arrangements and lit up by candles,” Meagan shares. “Our guests lined up to get their cards read. Our reading as a newly married couple was one of my favorite moments. She told us that we have been debating having kids and traveling—let’s just say traveling is in the cards for us right now!”

The newlyweds cut into a lemon cake decorated with painted florals, and offered bananas foster as an additional dessert. “My mom used to make us bananas foster growing up, so we chose to share that with our guests,” Meagan says. “We wanted to create a culinary experience.”

The duo danced to “River” by Leon Bridges and the night ended on yet another high. “Toward the end of the night my husband, brothers, and dad jumped into the pool on the property,” Meagan remembers. “That was followed by a group of our friends jumping in and celebrating. It felt like the perfect ending—everyone was truly living in the moment.”

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