A Southern Plantation WeddingWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Rae Leytham Photography
Lara and Kevin initially planned on getting married in San Diego, California where Kevin was stationed with the Navy. However, shortly after they got engaged over Christmas, they found out they were being relocated to Maryland. Since there wasn’t enough time to plan a California wedding before the big move, the two decided to go a totally different direction: a destination wedding!
“I was proudly born and raised in the South, and I have always dreamed of having an outdoor wedding in true Southern style,” says Lara.”Because Kevin’s family lives all over the U.S., most of our friends live in San Diego and my family was in the South, we decided New Orleans would be a great central meeting spot for everyone.”
Lara was first introduced to the area in which she would ultimately say “I do” as a teenager. She took a road-trip to visit the historic plantation homes on Old River Road which line the Mississippi River in Lousiana. “It was absolutely magical,” recalls Lara. “I knew from that trip that it would be a dream to get married at one of those plantations. When it was time for us to chose a [venue], we went down for a weekend to visit and tour the plantations. That was how we found the Houmas House Plantation and Gardens – it really was love at first sight!”
Lara was a hands-on bride who worked with her friends and family to really personalize her and Kevin’s destination wedding. “The DIY was my favorite part of the whole wedding,” she says. “Being able to add special touches and make it our own was the best part.” One of the couple’s favorite details was the “welcome” baskets they put together for each of their guests.
Her granny made 150 jars of her famous plum jelly which went in the old peach baskets her dad had collected from a local farmer’s stand. After lining the baskets with burlap and lace, the couple also added the bride’s dad’s homemade candied pecans, a bag of Louisiana Zapp’s chips, local chocolates, water bottles with a personalized label, a map of Louisiana and a personalized letter from the couple.
Another special touch Lara and Kevin provided their guests were favors of Tennessee moonshine in homemade flavors of cherry, pineapple and apricot. The yummy concoctions were in mason jars tied with lace and burlap. All of these items helped to welcome the couple’s guests to their destination wedding in “true Southern style.”
While Lara and Kevin’s wedding was unquestionably beautiful, there were some complications which couldn’t be avoided thanks to Mother Nature. Hurricane Sandy rolled through the Northeast just as guests were planning on making the drive down to Louisiana. Unfortunately, the damage to roads was significant enough that some guests weren’t able to make it down for the wedding. All-in-all, though, the couple stayed positive and pulled off the wedding of their dreams.
“Planning a weekend wedding event that lasted over the course of three days was exactly what we wanted,” recalls the bride. “The men all had a big fishing trip back in the bayous and the ladies toured the Oak Alley Plantation and had brunch in the mansion. Everyone was able to experience the true ‘old South.’”
This DIY couple rolled with the punches to pull off a wedding they can look back on with pride and pleasure. Lara has some great advice for other couples planning a destination wedding: “I would absolutely urge any new bride to remember to stay calm and focused and to find ways to relieve stress. My main focus throughout the whole process was to remain stress free and to stay focused on what it was truly all about. Kevin and I really made an effort to work together and enjoy our time planning. It really does go by so quickly and I would encourage all couples to make sure they have those special, quiet moments with one another.”Vendors: Photographer: Rae Leytham Photography, Ceremony/Reception Site: Houmas House Plantation and Gardens, Darrow, Louisiana, Wedding Planner: Caity Beaudoin with the Houmas House Plantation and Gardens, Florist: Billy Heroman’s, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Hugo Boss, Gown Designer: Lazaro from Bridals by Lori in Atlanta, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: Adrianna Papell/Hugo Boss, Wedding Cake/Groom’s Cake: Betty Weber Creative Confections, Ceremony/Cocktail Music: Joy Keown with Grace Notes Music Studio, Catering: Latil’s Landing at Houmas House Plantation, Videography/DJ: COMPLETE Music and Video Baton Rouge
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