Real Wedding | Hannah + Andrew

If only the vibrant Second Line Parade could be a mainstay in wedding traditions everywhere – what a magical declaration of life, love and music! For Hannah + Andrew, their outdoor wedding had a “traditional New Orleans feel from start to finish”. With friends and neighbors to provide the live music and Hannah’s cousin in charge of coordinating and designing the event, today’s featured wedding was intimate,  lively and charming.  Don’t miss Hannah’s description of their special day, why she chose her ethereal Judd Waddell strapless gown and her full explanation of “second-lining”.  Enjoy!

Hannah + Andrew | October 22, 2011 | Edgar Degas House, New Orleans, Louisiana

The Ceremony
We were married just before sunset in the courtyard of the Edgar Degas House, which is a historic home where Degas once lived and painted.  We had about 100 guests, many of whom stayed at the Degas House for the weekend.  My cousin, who is an event designer, did the decorating, and our ceremony musicians were family friends and neighbors. Upstairs before the ceremony, with the windows open on a perfect fall day, I could hear the musicians warming up and our families laughing and calling to each other as they set up.  That’s actually one of my favorite memories of our wedding day.  The whole wedding had the feel of an intimate weekend house party, which is exactly what I wanted.  The ceremony was short, with a reading by my brother from a book I loaned Andy during our freshman year of college, when we first started dating. The kiss was memorable.  I expected a chaste peck, but he pulled me in an planted one on me.  It perfectly expressed our joy and passion, and people told me later it was one of their favorite moments.  Our processional was Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring on guitar and clarinet.  The recessional was a playful jazz standard, “Ain’t Misbehavin'”, sung by our neighbor, accompanied by guitar and clarinet.

The Second Line & Reception
We met, live in and love New Orleans, and we wanted a traditional New Orleans feel from start to finish.  After the ceremony, we had a brief “cocktail interval” with cocktails from our favorite restaurant in town.  Then, the jazz band struck up a happy tune and we grabbed our umbrellas, handkerchiefs and beads and set off dancing around the block in our own second line parade.  The second line is actually a traditional part of a New Orleans jazz funeral, when the family and friends of the deceased make their way back from the cemetery.  As they went, passersby would join in.  It’s meant to be a buoyant celebration of the life of the deceased, a declaration that, even in sadness, life and love still go on.  The tradition expanded to include all kinds of happy occasions, and sometimes parades spring up spontaneously in the city.  The parade is part of traditional New Orleans weddings too – a chance to share your good news and give the neighborhood a chance to join you in celebrating by dancing or “second lining” behind the band.  Ours was so much fun!  When we got back, it was dark, and the courtyard had been transformed with cafe lights, candles and lighted hanging stars.  The band was a local six-piece jazz band, Meschiya Lake & the Little Bighorns. Our first dance was “A Kiss to Build a Dream On” by Louis Armstrong.  We had a New Orleans style buffet with shrimp & grits, roast beef debris, and crawfish monica.  In a flash, it was time to cut the cake.  It was the happiest, and the shortest, day of my life.  No one wanted to leave, so Andy rushed to find the manager and extend the reception for half an hour.  Everyone was still on the dance floor!

Hannah’s Dress Search
I had the idea that I wanted something fit and flare and strapless, but I didn’t realize how much emotion a dress brings with it or how different styles would make me feel inside.  I thought I wanted lace, fit and flare, and strapless, and I liked dresses with some kind of embellishment on them.  When I tried on dresses though (fifty of them in three different cities!), I found that heavy or constricting fabric and ornamentation just made me feel like I was wearing a bride costume.  I ended up with a simpler dress with a lighter, more ethereal feel than the ones I had picked from magazines.  I felt I could do anything in this dress.

How Hannah Felt in Her Wedding Dress
Beautiful, jubilant and loved

Why Hannah Decided to Sell Her Wedding Dress
Andy is my first love, my first kiss (bit of a late bloomer here), and my best friend of 11 years.  Our wedding was about true love, and I feel that the joy and hope of our day is woven into the dress.  I couldn’t keep that joy locked up in my closet.

Hannah’s Wedding Dress | JUDD WADDELL / Photography | TOM LOEHR / Florist / Event Designer | FLOWERS & DECOR BY BILL MCCONNELL AND TISSA LOEHR (