Back in January, I approached the super fabulous wedding planner, Ashley Cash, with The Graceful Host with an idea for a Mardis Gras-inspired shoot. I had no idea that Ashley was born and raised in New Orleans and boy did she run with this idea!
From the beginning, we were hoping Southern Weddings magazine/blog would feature this shoot. Although we are based in NC, our heart lies in all things Southern (just like this beautiful publication) and Mardis Gras speaks to all of our great loves- celebration, fun, bright colors, love and southern traditions. When we got the news from the editors that SW was going to feature our shoot on FAT TUESDAY (the BIGGEST day of the Mardis Gras season)………we were beyond thrilled!
Ashley did a fantastic job of assembling an A-list vendor team to bring this Mardis Gras vision to life…with great attention to authenticity and detail.
The venue, Separk Mansion, is a historic 1920s,restored home that began hosting events for the Charlotte, NC area last fall. Talk about the perfect backdrop where Southern elegance drips from every gorgeous chandelier! The bright floral designs by Chelish Moore Flowers infused the energy and carnival fun of Mardis Gras into this elegant space. Rich purples, pink accents and gold tones brought Mardis Gras to life with a vivid and bold palette. The beautiful gold chairs, china, chargers, glassware, flatware and purple rosetta table linen from Party Reflections added another level of sophistication to the table.
The scene was set for a traditional Mardis Gras feast! The menu was created by Best Impressions Caterers and inspired by classic New Orleans fare. Guests would dine on crispy fried oysters, muffulettas, turtle soup, gorgeous red fish and “king cake” beignets. The signature drink is “naturally Nawlins” and called a La Fee Violet- creme de violette and absinthe poured over a cube of sugar in the raw and topped with sparkling wine. No detail was missed! To put a little sugar on top, Got What It Cakes created an ornate and elegant wedding cake using emerald green, gold and ivory. Of course, we were sure to tuck in purple cake pulls, another classic and fun New Orleans tradition for bridesmaids. Each cake pull charm has a different meaning and wish for the young lady that pulls. Our cake table linen was inspired by the bride’s beautiful gown. The champagne ruffle skirt linen mirrored the fashion-forward, flirty look of the bride’s train. The bride’s gown (and shorter version for the street portion of the shoot) were from Modern Trousseau courtesy of Hayden Olivia Bridal. Our models looked fabulous with make-up by Erin Ashley and hair by Adrian D. Howe.
The paper goods were designed by Elisabeth Rose. Her designs encompassed the overall look and feel of the event perfectly with a little extra sequin sparkle atop each table menu. And being that New Orleans culture is all about Southern hospitality, Ashley designed a welcome box to greet guests upon arrival full of Louisiana goodies like Abita Root Beer, chocolate doubloons, Mardi Gras beads, and Tabasco chocolates. All these goodies were wrapped up in a gold glitter boxy by Paper Source.
Last but not least, we recreated a New Orleans second line, which is a celebratory dance done at all New Orleans weddings. Our bride and groom, John and Stephanie Neuman, held boa-lined umbrellas as the brass band played and “guests” waved white napkins in celebration. The streets of Charlotte, NC came alive as we marched down the French Quarter in uptown!
A big thank you to all of the vendors who worked so hard on this shoot. Special thanks to Christi Falls and Andrew Staley for photography assistance too. It was certainly a shoot I will never forget.
Click HERE to see our feature on the Southern Weddings blog. And as they say in New Orleans…..Laissez les bon temps rouler!