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Luxury wedding planner + designer based in New Orleans. Personalizing traditional, yet custom + timeless, yet modern weddings. Named Martha Stewart’s Top Planner!


Seated dinner at the Four Seasons New Orleans

Jun 11, 2024

Marissa and Herb were featured on BRIDES and they just raved about how we married the black tie formality of their seated dinner with Love Shack Fancy pastel garden blooms! And we couldn’t agree more! This seated dinner at the Four Seasons New Orleans wedding was the perfect combo of formality and flair!

I love that wedding features are a true reflection of the couple’s sentiments, which the BRIDES editors captured and elaborated on so beautifully, so I will quote them throughout this blog post!

“When they started wedding planning, they booked the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans well before it actually opened (“We just had a good feeling about it,” says the bride)—and Marissa actually made contact before the pair was even engaged. “Our first tour of the space was actually a hard-hat tour!” says the bride. “My husband always says that I am a girl who knows what she wants. Ultimately, we loved that the property combined an ultra lux, glam vibe with the feeling and culture of New Orleans that we love so much. We also liked the idea of having views of the Mississippi River on one side and the French Quarter on the other.”

The property set the tone for their “black-tie, garden-glam-meets-NOLA-fun” nuptials, which unfolded on November 5, 2022. “I wanted it to feel romantic and whimsical, but elevated and elegant; formal, but not stuffy. I wanted our guests to feel and experience the energy of New Orleans that we have fallen in love with over the years,” says Marissa. “There is just something so magical about the city—the culture, the food, the music—and I wanted our guests to feel that every step of the way.” The duo leaned on Elyse Jennings Weddings (hiring her was “undoubtedly the best decision we made in the entire wedding planning process,” she says) to weave that ethos into the event’s guest experience. The result? A celebration that brought forward the city’s most energetic elements (a brass band, a second line parade) and melded the pair’s backgrounds and aesthetics; the ceremony’s over-the-top floral chuppah, for example, fit what a close friend dubbed their “black-tie, Love Shack Fancy” vibe. See every lush, upbeat detail captured by Catherine Guidry Photography below.”

“Guests’ introduction to New Orleans began with the pair’s invitation suite, which was designed by Juliana Cardoso of Ink + Nibs Studio. Several elements on the suite, including its border, reappeared on the big day (that motif was translated across the couple’s dance floor).

Juliana also designed the illustrated welcome bag inserts, which accompanied a slew of New Orleans, Maryland, and personal specialties, including hand-painted cookies by Iced Iced Amie (“They were made to look like our labradoodle, Luna, with Mardi Gras beads around her neck for a Nola twist,” says the bride), Zapp’s potato chips, Old Bay-potato chips (“To represent Maryland, where we both grew up!”), Albanese gummies (the bride’s favorite) and sea-salt dark chocolate caramels (Herb’s go-to!).”

“The bride and her 12 bridesmaids indulged in plenty of pampering on the morning of the wedding. “Every time me and my friends are in New Orleans, we do so much dancing and walking that we make it a point to get foot massages while we’re there—so I had a masseuse come to the bridal suite while we were getting ready,” she says. “The girls really loved it and it ensured they were ready to dance the night away! Another favorite moment from the day was blasting Taylor Swift and having a dance party on the bed—I truly felt like I was living my best life having so much fun with my best friends.”

“The couple always knew they’d share a first look ahead of their ceremony. “We just really loved the idea of having a private moment for the two of us, and we didn’t want to go the entire day without seeing each other,” the bride says. They also used this moment to share hand-written vows, since Herbert—in a Tom Ford tuxedo with a black shawl collar and satin trim—was adamant about keeping their most intimate promises private. “Our vows were filled with so much raw emotion. It was like at that moment, after seven years together including two years engaged, we just felt so overcome with excitement that we were finally about to be husband and wife,” says Marissa. “It had been raining all day and the sky cleared just in time for us to have our first look outside, and then as the sun was setting, we raced upstairs to the observation deck on the roof, the only place in all of New Orleans with 360-degree views of the entire city and the Mississippi River, to take it all in before the ceremony. It was perfect.”

The wedding party’s florals were designed with intention. “I loved the idea of my bridesmaids having super-textured mono-botanical bouquets in light pink tones that complemented mine and the overall aesthetic,” says the bride; individual arrangements featured astilbe, wax flowers, bouvardias, and Nerine lilies. “All of the groomsmen had boutonnières that matched the flower-type of the bridesmaid that they walked down the aisle with,” notes Marissa.

For the couple’s ceremony, held inside the property’s River Ballroom, Bella Blooms Floral created a chuppah beyond their wildest dreams. The structure featured a mix of color-blocked florals in pastel pinks and purples. “Dee of Bella Blooms and Elyse also had the brilliant idea to make the chuppah a subtle trapezoid shape, where the back legs were slightly narrower than the front legs,” explains the bride. “This made the chuppah appear twice as lush, because the flowers on the back legs were fully visible, rather than being hidden by the front ones, as they would have been with a normal, rectangular-shaped chuppah.”

“The couple’s traditional Jewish ceremony began just after sundown. “Standing together and holding hands under the chuppah with our parents on either side of us and our wedding party seated in the front row, Herb’s late grandfather’s tallit hanging above us and my late grandfather’s tallit wrapped around us, we felt like we were surrounded by so much love; it was just the two of us finally solidifying what had felt so right for so long,” says Marissa. “It was such a powerful, magical, indescribable feeling.” After sealing their union with a kiss, the joyful couple recessed back up the aisle to “Sign, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours).”

After a food-focused cocktail hour that served up a mix of New Orleans staples—including mini fried chicken biscuits with hot honey butter, foie gras PB&J bites, jambalaya arancini, beef on crispy grits, and tuna tartare crisps—and plenty of tequila sodas with lime and jalapeño slices, guests found their seating assignments for dinner on a lavender-backed chart by Ink + Nibs Studio.

“The newlyweds love hosting at home, so they wanted their event’s second act, held in the Four Seasons’ Plimsoll Ballroom, to feel like an intimate dining experience. “Despite being a nearly 300-person wedding, the reception somehow still managed to feel like a dreamy, ethereal dinner party (combined with an epic dance party, of course),” says the bride. “There is nothing we love more than being surrounded by our best friends, so we knew from the start of planning that we wanted a head table with our entire wedding party so we could be surrounded by our best friends all night long.” That head table needed to hold 45 people, but Elyse pulled it off. “This giant table somehow ended up managing to work perfectly with our floor plan, and it was so special being surrounded by all of our best friends (and so many flowers!) during this portion of the night—it was like the best dinner party ever.”

Marissa and Herbert continued their garden-glam aesthetic during the reception. A wavy floral garland in pastel shades added texture and dimension to the head table; other stations, a mix of squares and rounds, were topped with three different types of arrangements (low and lush, tall and stately, and smaller groupings of singular varieties). Linens also varied by table; some were topped with lilac coverlets, while others featured tulle. Taper and votive candles placed in textured crystal holders made the ballroom glow.”

“A dramatic floral-covered truss defined the stage, where clusters of color-blocked florals mimicked the ceremony’s chuppah and framed the pair’s band. “At one point, my dad joked that he wasn’t sure if this was a wedding or a music festival because we had so many different musicians throughout the weekend: a string trio at the ceremony, T-Ray the Violinist at the cocktail hour, The Phunky Monkeys at the reception, and then the Kinfolk Brass Band for our second line from the reception to the after-party,” explains the bride.

The band was positioned in front of a customized dance floor that utilized motifs seen on the pair’s invitation suite. “We had a dance floor wrap with our floral trumpet monogram in the center and a lavender border that mirrored the border used on our invitation,” says the bride. “Ink + Nibs Studio also created our menus, which had a floral border that matched the centerpiece flowers and calligraphy lettering that mirrored the rest of our paper.”

“The couple shared their first dance to “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne—and following dinner, which gave guests their choice of lamb chops with chimichurri, seared red snapper (a classic New Orleans dish!), or a vegetable tian, they got everyone back out on the dance floor for the hora. The seated dinner at the Four Seasons New Orleans wined and dined them, but they were immediately ready to party! “This kicked off the rest of the night in the most epic way possible. We danced harder than we’ve ever danced, we got lifted in chairs, I crowd surfed, there was an energy in the room that I’ve never felt in my life,” says the bride. “We’ve experienced a lot of horas, but we had truly never experienced anything like this. We were completely out of breath after, although that didn’t stop us from getting on stage to dance. We didn’t stop until it was time for the second line at the end of the night.”

Following the seated dinner at the Four Seasons New Orleans, and to truly close out the night, Marissa (who changed into a Zimmermann mini dress) and Herbert led guests on a second line parade so they could “truly experience what makes New Orleans so special.” “A second line is a New Orleans wedding tradition that celebrates the beginning of a new life together. You have your own police escort and a brass band—it is literally a parade just for you and your guests, with onlookers cheering you on from the sidewalks,” says Marissa. “Parading down Canal Street and then Bourbon Street with nearly 300 people dancing and singing was the most surreal experience imaginable. We still have friends and family telling us how epic it was. One of my best friend’s brothers actually texted her saying, ‘Did Marissa and Herb’s wedding turn into a Broadway show?’”

The question made a lot of sense, says Marissa: “Part of the tradition is that the bride and groom hold umbrellas—with the band and all of our guests right behind us, with everyone swinging handkerchiefs, the photos truly do look like a scene out of a musical.”

Planning and Design | Elyse Jennings Weddings

Photography | Catherine Guidry

Videography | Nathan Willis Wedding Films

Welcome Night Venue | il Mercato

Welcome Night Catering | Joel Catering & Special Events

Welcome Night Tables + Lighting | Perrier Party Rentals

Welcome Night Linens | BBJ La Tavola

Welcome Night Dinner Musicians | New Orleans Classical and Jazz

Welcome Night Party Musicians | Kinfolk Brass Band

Welcome Night Photobooth | Boogie Booth

Welcome Night Hair | Hair by Beth Washington

Welcome Night Makeup | Melissa Vaccaro

Welcome Night Menus, Table Numbers, Escort Cards | Sam Allen Creates

Welcome Night Transportation | Big Easy Limos

Welcome Night Dress | Ulla Johnson

Welcome Night Purse | Fendi

Welcome Night Shoes | Amina Muaddi

Dressing Location | Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans

Ceremony + Reception Venue | Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans

Florals and Candles | Bella Blooms Floral

Ceremony Chairs, Chargers, Dancefloor, Band Floral Truss Structure | ELEMENT

Head Table Chairs | Chair Couture NOLA

Reception Chairs, Tables | True Value Rental

Lounges | Firefly Ambiance

Speciality Linens | BBJ La Tavola

Overlay Speciality Linens | Nuage Designs

Speciality Lighting | Radiant Rentals

Dancefloor Vinyl Wrap | AD Event Group

Catering + Wedding Cake | Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans

Ceremony Music | New Orleans Classical and Jazz

Cocktail Musician | T-Ray the Violinist

Band | The Phunky Monkeys

Second Line | Kinfolk Brass Band

Second Line Handkerchiefs | Backyard Printing

Hair | Hair by Beth Washington

Makeup | Jessica Carnley Makeup

Invitations, Programs, Menus, Place Cards, Seating Chart Design | Ink and Nibs

Seating Chart Production | CCI Productions

Wedding Dress | Vera Wang

Bridal Dress Salon | Vera Wang Bridal House

Fittings | Carine’s Bridal Atelier

Veil | Vera Wang

Shoes | Aquazzura and Alexandre Birman

Engagement Ring Setting | Tiny Jewel Box DC; Stone was an heirloom

Wedding Bands | Tiny Jewel Box DC

Groom’s Tuxedo | Tom Ford from Bergdorf Goodman

Afterparty Dress | Zimmermann from Moda Operandi

MOB Dress | Oscar de la Renta

Flower Girl Dresses | David’s Bridal

Custom Cookies for Welcome Bags | Iced Iced Amie

Getting Ready Pajamas for Bride and Moms | Nadine Merabi

Getting Ready Pajamas for Bridesmaids | Flora Nikrooz

Ballroom Weddings, Elyse Jennings Weddings, Favorites, Seated Dinners

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