A stroll down memory lane
Almost nine years ago I found myself a fresh-faced college graduate on my way to HOTlanta with plans of igniting my design career. Meeting boys was the last thing on my mind, but when my cousin told me about this really cute, charming guy with a “good job” I had to see what the hype was all about. A couple days into my new residency I got a call from this guy named Mike. We engaged in a bit of small talk in which at some point he inquired if I was bald-headed (That’s a whole other story for a later date). Anyhoo, despite the odd inquiry I said yes when he invited me to dinner. I guess he thought “Let me do this favor for my friend” and I thought “What the hell, I have nothing better to do.”
The date was set for a Friday night. I constructed an outfit consisting of a colorful flowy tube top (it was 2004) and a pair of white pants that hugged me in all the right places. Ladies, you know what white pants can do for a figure The doorbell rang. My heart raced with anticipation as a made my way to the front door. What will he look like? Will he be as charming as I was
sold told? Or will this date be a complete flop? I looked through the peephole and caught a glimpse of a bulging chocolaty bicep. “Mmm-kay, so far so good”, I thought. As I opened the door I could hear my heartbeat in my ears. Needless to say that my nerves were an absolute mess! The door opened and smiling at me on the other side was a 6 foot 4 inch-ish, dark chocolate, clean-cut chunk of fine Oooo-Wee! HELLO! Although I was already completely enamored with his smile I had to keep my composure. I couldn’t let him know that he “had me at hello”. We went on to have a really fun evening filled with smiles, laughs, and eye-lash batting (on my part). By the time I returned home I knew something special was brewing. Nine years later here we are, married with our first baby on the way. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would meet the man I would spend the rest of my life with that way. I used to be the kind of person who needed to be “in the know”. Not knowing who was on the other side of that door was a bit stressful but exciting. Saying yes to that date turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made.
Last year June 23, 2012 Mike and I tied the knot…got hitched…jumped the broom (literally). It was an unforgettable weekend filled with love, family, line dancing, and food galore. The setting for the weekend’s festivities was my hometown Lafayette, LA. The nuptials took place at the beautifully restored historic ABACUS located at the heart of the city. The exposed brick walls, wooden plank ceilings, and industrial styled bar provided the perfect backdrop for our country vintage inspired wedding.
Designing for others comes easy to me. It’s what I do. Designing for myself, however, is a little tricky because I have so many ideas and I love each and every one of them. It becomes difficult to focus those ideas into one cohesive design. And let’s face it, while some facets of interior design and event planning run parallel, many others do not. To help me focus my creative energy and efforts appropriately, I enlisted the help of my dear friend, bridesmaid, and event planner extraordinaire Shari Green of Food Passion Catering and events. I knew that with our two brains, a little patience and some elbow grease, we could pull off the event of the year! Well, maybe that’s a little dramatic but we could definitely create one hell of a beautiful bash! Read on to learn about the Who, Where, and What of our country vintage wedding and to see never before posted photos of the nuptials.
Well Us! Duh!
But more specifically:
Olivia Nezey & Michael Westbrooks Jr.
The day started with an early rise. My anxiousness kept me awake all night. I slept at my dad’s house, in my old bedroom, while Mike shacked up in a hotel across town with his groomsmen. Although we had been in a relationship for some time, I still wanted us to feel the anticipation of seeing each other for the first, all dressed up on our wedding day. My sister came over with her daughters, the most adorable flower girls you’ve EVER seen. My cousin Margeaux and my good friend and make-up artist Brandi joined soon after. The festivities were quickly under way.
All professional photo credits to Erin & Geoffrey Photography. They did an Awesome job! Hire them…NOW!
(Peep the purple & gold. Geaux TIGERS!)
Meanwhile…at the Bat Cave…the groomsmen and groom prepared for the big day.
Ain’t he cute!
The ABACUS located in Lafayette, Louisiana provided the perfect backdrop for our country vintage inspired wedding. We enlisted the talented Shari Green of Food Passion Catering & Events to help us pull our ideas together. From my stylish arrival in a throwback Caddi to the crystals that sparkled in the nuptial arbor, no detail was missed. The day was magical and every detail perfect.
This gorgeous galley is where the I Do’s took place. The exposed brick walls and wood paneled ceilings were EVERYTHING!
The gorgeous arbor was the masterpiece of Flowers By Rodney. The structure was made of reclaimed columns which blended beautifully with the historic interiors. The top and sides of the arbor was draped with grape vines, hydrangeas and crystals. Bringing the arbor to life were a series of floating candles that twinkled as the ceremony took place. Be still my heart.
Adjacent to the ceremony room, which would later be broken down for the par-tay, were the rooms where dinner was served. The decor was inspired by the Sunday’s I would spend as a child in the sleepy town of Grand Coteau (my mom’s hometown) coupled with my love for all things collected and feminine. Natural elements like burlap, twine, and branches were softened by the delicate details of the flowers, crystals and linens. Vintage touches were intermixed with the use of collected mason jars and bottles that I sourced from various antique markets & thrift stores. They were used as vases for the tablescapes.
Instead of the traditional multi-tiered cake, we opted for a two-layer cake laced with buttercream ruffles and adorned with large peony blooms. Don’t fret, there was plenty of cake to go around for the guests. There were cupcakes galore for our party-goers to snack on. I found the cupcake cups on Amazon.com. Half were turquoise glitter cups with scalloped edges and the other half ivory laser-cut butterfly cups. The presence of butterflies throughout the decor was to honor my mom who was with us in spirit. I handmade the toppers which was so much more economical than purchasing them from Etsy.. Both the cake and cupcakes were beautifully crafted by my Aunt Pauline of P&D’s Cake Cottage located in Grand Coteau, LA.
For those who’s sweet tooth need further satisfying, Shari Green designed a retro candy table that brought many of us back to a carefree place and time. The pom-poms hanging from the center piece not only add a playful touch but saved us on some dough! It’s a great way to add whimsy without breaking the bank. Needless to say that the candy table was a huge hit!
Gumballs, Pop Rocks and Pixie Stix, oh my!
The celebration of our love!
Ah, yes! The reason for the shindig…to celebrate our love for and commitment to each other with our family and friends. The preparations were done. The scene was set. It was finally time to walk down the isle. One more thing had to happen before I mad my entrance. I had to see my groom. We opted to take photos before the ceremony so that we could enjoy the rest of our day once the ceremony was over. We did a series of “First Look” photos where we got to see each other for the first time since the rehearsal dinner. I couldn’t run up the stairs fast enough…literally. My six inch heels wouldn’t let me. But once I got up those stairs and opened that door, my heart stopped racing and started melting for the man that stood before me. It went a little something like this…
He’s waiting… I open the door…
I sneak up behind him and tap his arm… We get our first glimpse of each other and have the not so expected reaction, we laugh hysterically at each other.
He shows me a little surprise…His socks But I couldn’t let him steal the show.
With bling. POW!
Then we have a few tender moments before heading downstairs to the ceremony.
I know this post is getting super long and frankly I’m getting a little winded, metaphorically speaking. I’ll try my best to summarize the rest in photos. There are just so many details to share! Ok, here we go.
The flower girls and ring bearer make their entrance. Notice the butterflies perched on the ends of the banner There was a long line of gorgeous bridesmaids and handsome groomsmen that preceded them, but I’m trying to condense here.
Here Comes The Bride! You can’t see it in this photo but the stems of my bouquet were wrapped in satin ribbon and finished with a purple butterfly broach.
My dad gives his baby girl away to his future son-in-law.
The Vows. Mine were on my iPad that I had forgotten upstairs. I had to freestyle it.
The exchanging of the rings. “I got him!”, I said with a thumbs up.
Mr. & Mrs. Michael Westbrooks Jr. everybody!
And then we lived Happily Ever After!
But not before we PAR-TAYed first!
They were so serious about their job.
There was dinner then cake, and of course the proverbial cake-in-face moment.
Once dinner and dessert was done it was time to cut a rug! Up first, the newly wedded couple. We took ballroom dance lessons for five weeks!
“A dance? Why indeed I shall.”
Slow…quick, quick, slow…
And pose… And bow. Not too shabby right?
Click below to see our take on the Rumba in full motion!
Then my dad showed us how it’s really done. He kinda stole the show.
A little Soul Train line action…
After that, any move was fair game…
Alas, it was time for the party to end. It was indeed a magical night filled with new memories and lots of love. If I could go back in time a relive any day in my life it would be this one. We were surrounded by everyone we loved and their presence and support meant the world to us. Now Mike and I are on to stage two of our life together…parenting. I can’t wait to share stories of our journey with Mya Michelle with you. I’m sure they’ll be plenty of interesting ones. Thanks for reading my incredibly long post. I hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane as much as I did.
A huge thank you to our wonderful photographers Erin & Geoffrey for capturing our special day so beautifully. Also, a huge thanks to Shari Green of Food Passion Catering & Events, our day of coordinator Janie Varisco of J. Varisco Events, and our vendors. We could not have pulled this off with out you.