Lakeside historic venue spring wedding in Mandeville, Louisiana
Teddy and Eric tied the knot at a beautiful historic home in Mandeville, Lousiana, just across the water from New Orleans. They celebrated with their closest friends and family surrounded by the lush vegetation of the South, which they incorporated into their decor with succulents and eucalyptus leaves. They danced the light away to the crooning of a six-piece band and still made time to sneak away to a private gazebo for romantic couple portraits.
Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?
Our wedding was incredible. We were married on May 10, 2019, in Mandeville, Louisiana, at a historic home called Maison Lafitte. We had an evening wedding, and due to rain, it was held in the covered pavilion at the rear of the home. We invited about 200 of our friends and family and had about 150 attend the wedding. We were married by one of our long-term friends who personalized the ceremony and was able to really capture our relationship. The day was really amazing and a great evening and celebration with our friends and family. For many of our family and friends, this was their first “gay” wedding, and I think we exceeded expectations. In terms of theme, we didn’t choose a specific theme, but from the very beginning of planning, we knew we wanted to focus the wedding around lavender and succulents. This influenced most of the remaining decisions around the wedding including the floral arrangements, the color palette and our clothing. While we did not include cultural traditions in any part of our day, Teddy is a member of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and will likely participate in a traditional cultural ceremony later this year or next.
Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
Through the wedding venue, we connected with a local decorator to help us design and decorate the wedding space. The venue provided all tables and chairs, but we wanted to have some classy, yet simple, decorations for the ceremony and reception. For the ceremony, we had a white cloth backdrop with a lot of greenery, lanterns, and chandeliers. For the reception, which was held in the same location, we decorated the inside of the home with photos of us as a couple to make it a really homey space. None of our decor was DIY.
What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?</strong)
We centered our entire theme of the wedding around our floral arrangements. We wanted to include succulents and lavender in as much of the wedding as we could. For our centerpieces, we opted for rustic planter boxes with dusty miller, a variety of succulents, and fresh French lavender. For the boutonnieres, we opted for one small succulent with a piece of fresh lavender and a dusty miller backing with rosemary accents. Lastly, we had a ton of eucalyptus stems to decorate tables, chairs, and other areas of the home.
Did you personalize the day in any way? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
There are a few ways that we personalized the day. First, the venue has special meaning to Eric’s side of the family. Eric’s uncle lived in the home prior to Hurricane Katrina and Eric’s parents were married in his uncle’s home. After Hurricane Katrina, the home was sold and renovated into the event space it is today and it was special to be married in a “family home” and the same place where Eric’s parents were married. Secondly, our wedding band, The Crooked Vines, was an incredibly personal choice. Eric’s best friend plays the saxophone in the band we selected. They are a local band of notoriety that typically plays at local venues and festivals, but because of our relationship with the band, they agreed to play our wedding. They were absolutely brilliant and a highlight of the night. I think our favorite parts of our wedding were the band and the food. The food was catered by the restaurant that owns the venue. They have become a world-renowned catering business and have catered for many cinematic film productions, and most recently, the 2019 NFL draft in Nashville. The food was amazing and a highlight for us and our guests.
Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.
Again, we based a lot of our wedding choices on the flowers we chose. We both wanted to wear suits but didn’t want to be wearing the exact same thing. We decided to wear a charcoal grey suit and accessorize based on our own styles and personalities. For example, I love wearing bowties and people know me for my bowtie collection. Eric, on the other hand, is a little more conservative in his fashion choices, so he opted for a traditional tie. Eric’s favorite color is green and mine is purple. To fit with the color palette, Teddy wore a lavender bowtie and Eric wore a sage tie. Eric opted for black loafers and Teddy chose oxblood brogues.
How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.
Eric and I met while I was visiting New Orleans. We matched on a dating app (Tinder) and met later that evening for drinks at a bar. After hours of chatting and talking, we both really connected. However, I was living in Washington, D.C., at the time and was leaving early the next morning. So Eric took me to the airport and paid for me to come back two weeks later. That’s when we decided to start dating long-distance, with the goal of moving together by the following May. We visited each other every other weekend until I moved to New Orleans the following June. Christmas is my favorite holiday, so I decided to propose to me around Christmastime. Initially, he planned on proposing to me at his sister’s Christmas party, but his family convinced him to make it a little more special. The day after Eric’s birthday, we went to a Reveillon dinner, a traditional New Orleans Christmas tradition, with his family under the guise of a birthday dinner. Afterward, we went to a local Christmas Festival to take pictures in front of the big Christmas Tree. Eric proposed to me in front of the tree. Eric had asked for my mom’s permission almost a month earlier.
What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
The most anticipated moment of our wedding day was our first dance. While we were dating the song that represented our relationship and had deep meaning to us was the Twenty One Pilots’ cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” We organized with the band’s lead singer to take that song and make it her own. It was very beautiful and she did an amazing job.
Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?
In terms of wedding planning, I think it’s important that couples take the time to discuss expectations, wants and needs. We decided that each of us got to choose one thing that they absolutely wanted. I chose the venue, and Eric chose the band. These were non-negotiable things, while other things could be changed if necessary. This helped us manage our budget while making sure both of us got at least one thing we both wanted out of it. I would also say that, if you can afford it, make sure you get a planner. At the very least, a day-of planner is absolutely necessary. Lastly, make sure to eat before, or schedule a time after the ceremony and before the reception. We were given this advice, and I’m so grateful because there was no time for anything other than talking and dancing with family and friends.
Photographer: Rachel Veltri Photography
Band: The Crooked Vines, LLC
Floral Designer: The Lemon Tree
Event Venue: Maison Lafitte
Alaina Leary Lavoie
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