Catherine + Claire's Wedding!

Photographer: G. Chapin Studios | Bella Showroom: Atlanta  |  Designers: Amsale Bridesmaids & Jenny Yoo Collection  9 years in the making, sounds like a reason to celebrate! We are in love with Catherine & Claire's N'awlins nuptials! These brides celebrated in a BIG way in the big easy, complete with a traditional wedding parade led by a brass band! We are loving it! Not to mention Catherine's MOH is the owner of our Atlanta showroom, Mandi! Enjoy! #BellaAtlanta

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How did you two meet? Claire and I are college sweethearts.  We met while attending the University of Georgia, and more specifically at the famous music venue, 40 Watt, in Athens.  We were both attending a concert there, and I noticed Claire with a mutual friend of ours, so I made sure to introduce myself and give Claire my number.  She called a few days later, and here we are a decade later!

Details on the proposal! Claire really knocked this one out of the park!  I am obsessed with Christmas and especially Christmas decorations, and I have always wanted to visit the Biltmore Estate during the holidays for this reason.  It was our year to do Christmas with my family in Atlanta, so Claire told me she planned a little side trip before our family festivities would begin.  We flew into Atlanta and rented a car and headed up to Asheville, North Carolina to stay at the Biltmore Estate.  Claire had booked a candlelight tour that night and dinner reservations on the property.  We ended up getting there early to explore the grounds. On our walk, Claire took me behind the house to a more private area overlooking the mountains and got down on one knee, and she began by saying “it’s taken us 9 years and 9 days to get here.”  It dawned on me she meant more than just that beautiful mountainside spot.  She pulled out a ring, proposed, and I eagerly said “YES!”

10991568_10104178068304470_7928795972048756123_o Amidst the celebration,Claire pointed out a photographer that had been hidden and taking our picture. I love that I will always have these photos to look back on and remember that special moment!

10984536_10104178070959150_371849206587863571_o We continued the celebration at dinner where Claire had my favorite bottle of wine awaiting us. She called the vineyard in Napa Valley and had a bottle engraved with our names and the date of proposal and had them ship it to the Biltmore Estate so it would be waiting when we arrived. Claire really put so much thought in to making the proposal not only special but so personalized and so us.  And it was so much fun spending the holidays with both of our families and celebrating our engagement with the people we love the most in the world!


Location, location, location! How did you choose your venue? What type of venue were you looking for? We got married in New Orleans where we live.  There are 3 things that make a wedding memorable-food, music, and booze…and well, those are the 3 things New Orleans is known for so we knew we had to do it there.  And, we knew we wanted a pretty traditional New Orleans wedding.  We wanted a courtyard ceremony and to do a second line (a traditional New Orleans wedding parade led by a brass band and the newly married couple).  We also were looking for somewhere we could do the ceremony and reception in the same location. That wishlist helped to narrow down the venues in New Orleans, and about a week after we got engaged I heard about a brand new venue that had opened up on Magazine Street in the Lower Garden District called il Mercato.  It was a turn of the century market that had been historically renovated.  It had a large courtyard, and it was in one of the most picturesque settings in the city. They had their first wedding the week Claire proposed and we visited with Claire’s parents and sisters as soon as the holidays were over.  We all fell in love with the venue and its setting.  And, one of the biggest selling points for me and Claire was that because it was so new it was kind of a blank slate. It was romantic and elegant, and we loved the European charm.  We could not have asked for a more quintessential New Orleans setting.  

Who designed your wedding attire? Where did you get it?  We shopped for all of our wedding attire in Atlanta.  I’m from Georgia, and so I’ve always been partial to the Atlanta bridal boutiques, and it was so much fun spending time with my family picking everything out. All of my older cousins wore Anne Barge gowns when they got married. I was in 8th grade when my oldest cousin got married, so Anne Barge was probably the first wedding dress designer I was really aware of and so she took on this really sentimental ideal for me that has just increased as I’ve gotten older and had more family members and friends wear her dresses on their big day.  I’m also more of a traditionalist when it comes to wedding gowns, and so her style really appeals to me. And I LOVE the fact that she is a University of Georgia alumna just like like the two of us.   My Anne Barge gown came from Buckhead Bridal which was my last stop on my bridal boutique tour, and it worked out perfectly because they are connected with Guffeys of Atlanta which does custom suiting. So they were able to take care of Claire and design and create a really gorgeous suit for her to wear on our wedding day.  

Describe the wedding.  The look, theme, style, colors, etc. We wanted our wedding to reflect our style which is classic, but we also wanted to infuse it with a fun and relaxed vibe as well.  Our colors were navy and gold with a touch of blush pink. I feel like we found a pretty good balance.  The ceremony was very traditional and elegant, and then we really let our fun personalities shine during the reception.  Our venue had a great romantic European vibe, so we really wanted to highlight that during our courtyard ceremony.  We used lots of flowers and candles for decoration, and we had beautiful long dresses for all of the bridesmaids. The guests were greeted with champagne upon entering the venue so from the get go we made sure our guests were relaxed and ready to enjoy the night.   One of the most important and exciting aspects of the wedding for us was all of the New Orleans culture and traditions we were able to include.  We had a brass band that welcomed guest, played our ceremony music, and then led us all on a second line after the ceremony (complete with personalized second line handkerchiefs).  It was one of my favorite memories from the day and such a blast for all of our guests visiting the city from out of town.  We had lots of traditional new orleans food like a raw oyster bar where they were freshly shucked and late night pass arounds that included beignets and cafe au lait.  And since we didn’t have a “groom’s cake” we opted to include macaroon trees from our favorite bakery to our cake table.  

Tell us about your bridesmaids dresses! All of our bridesmaids dresses came from the Bella Bridesmaids boutique in Atlanta.  We had an all female wedding party, so we wanted to break it up a little without getting too complicated (my goal was to keep things as simple as possible!) so we decided to put our matrons of honor in a different color than the rest of the bridesmaids.  Our colors were navy and gold so we chose gold for our MOH dresses and navy for our bridesmaids. I fell in love with the Amsale navy gown with the lace back when we were in the store, so I was sold on that dress right away.  It was a long dress that I felt would be flattering on all of our girls, and the lace accent was the perfect romantic touch.  It was such a beautiful dress and it really matched the elegance of the venue.  The girls looked stunning walking down the aisle in this dress and I loved that it visually complimented my lace wedding gown so well.     Our Matrons of Honor wore the Jenny Yoo Annabelle dress in gold, and these dresses really brought a touch of glamour. Their dresses did a great job of tying the whole wedding party look together.  

Any must haves, must dos, or can’t live withouts?  Anything you would do differently? The best decision we made was to do a first look.   Claire and I got ready separately.  She spent the day at her mom’s home just like her two sisters had done on their wedding day, and we rented a cottage in the French Quarter at the Audubon Cottages for the weekend so my girls and I spent the day there getting ready.  It was secluded and private, but had that true french quarter ambiance. Claire’s side took a trolley to the quarter to come meet us once everyone was ready and our wedding party and family gathered in the courtyard to watch our first look.   Claire had not seen my dress, my veil, or any of my wedding day accessories, so our first look was a total surprise to her.  I will never forget the look on her face when she saw me and it was so special to have that private moment with our closest people and then to be able to spend some time together soaking up all of the magic.  Some of my favorite pictures and memories from our wedding day were in those moments when it was just the two of us.    

Favorite memory from the day! My favorite memory was the ceremony.  We waited a long time to stand before our family and friends and marry each other, so the gravity and blessing of that moment was definitely felt by the both of us. When we were announced as a married couple, and it was officially official that we were a family, it was without a doubt the best moment of our lives.

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