Jesse's New Orleans-influenced laid-back wedding

Updated Oct 17 2019

Jesse & JamezThe offbeat bride: Jesse, Jewelry designer and style blogger

My offbeat groom: Jamez, Restaurant manager and musician

Location & date of wedding: March 2007 at the oldest Unitarian church in the South, the Unitarian Church of Charleston

What made our wedding offbeat: The concept for our wedding was planned over drinks in a tapas bar the night after the proposal. We decided we wanted a fun party that paid tribute to one of our favorite cities, New Orleans. Everything fell into place after that.

Flowers were largely replaced by candles, both in the decorations and in what the bridesmaids carried down the aisle.

The church was chosen for its beauty and its message of tolerance for all people and cultures. Their reception hall, which we used afterward for the celebration, was built many years ago with funds that came from a family belonging to the church. They donated the money simply because they wanted people to have a place to dance. While the venues honor joyous traditions, our clothing styles, vows, food and entertainment brought new life to these historic places.

JesseWe wrote our own vows and had a talented friend read a poem he wrote for the short ceremony. As guests left the ceremony, they were bejeweled with Mardi Gras beads, signaling to them that this was to be a laid-back, fun party. Wedding photographs were taken in the lush, overgrown graveyard. Flowers were largely replaced by candles, both in the decorations and in what the bridesmaids carried down the aisle. The groom wore a zoot suit and matching hat, and his ring was a custom made piece with skulls and crossbones on it.

I chose a short dress and red heels- the better to dance in! We didn't cut the cake or do toasts. The flow of the party was commanded by a live Dixieland jazz band, and even my grandmother got in in the action. We saw the night as not just being about us, but as being a celebration of everyone around us, our community of family and friends.

Bridesmaids with candlesOur biggest challenge: We wanted a live band, full bar and great food. That left us with no money for anything else! The solution: I had the bridesmaids carry candles down the aisle, which was gorgeous and eliminated the floral expense. Candles also replaced flowers in the reception hall. For photography, we "hired" a talented friend. We left out anything that we were "supposed to have" but didn't care about, like a bride's room, limo, etc.

Marching bandMy favorite moment: The wedding guests breaking into an impromptu parade around the hall led by the band playing "When the Saints Go Marching In".

My offbeat advice: Look inside yourself, and don't worry about what you're supposed to do.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn: Jesse's got a few choice shots on Flickr and you can read a bit more about the wedding on her blog.

Tell me all about your offbeat wedding!

  1. Thank you so much! Actually my mother made it, it was a Vogue pattern. I looked on the site but it seems they don't have that particular one any longer. It was very comfortable!

  2. Love! Love! Love what you said on your site about just going with your wildest fantasy. I love that you mean that in a sky is the limit imagine away kind of way, not a WIC spend spend spend kind of way. Inspiring, and fun.

  3. dammit! I figured as much. I already have a dress, but I really want a dress like yours. I think it might be one of those pick your battles things because my dress is beautiful and my Mom really wants the fancier type dress.

  4. Loved your wedding! So personal and fun! Your entire outfit suited the Audrey in New Orleans theme perfectly. I accidentally stumbled across your pics on Flickr awhile back and was quite taken by them. It's great to get to read the story that goes along with them. Thanks for sharing your day.
    xox,
    delilah

  5. Your wedding was gorgous! I am going for kind of the same feel for mine. Where did you find the zoot suits?

  6. wowie-zowie, that is an amazingly fun looking wedding! and seeing you in your shorter-length dress makes me feel surer about mine. yours is simple gorgeous, by way!

    congratulations on your marriage. 🙂

  7. Love, love, love the dress! It looks like you captured the feel that we're aiming for! Crossing the fingers we can do it as simply and beautiful as you seem to have!

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