I Wanna Be “Bayou”
Story by: Starlight Williams
“You should meet my brother!” said a friend of one of Carrie’s coworkers at a party. Shrugging it off with a “sure,” the fleeting moment was soon forgotten. That is until the next year in which, once again Carrie’s coworker’s friend reminded her that she would like her to meet her brother. After a month of missed calls and phone tag, Carrie had a date with Jonathan.
When they finally met, it was love at first sight…at least it was for Jonathan. Carrie was a little hesitant to call it even ‘like’ after he arrived 10 minutes late and the restaurant he selected was closed for a private event.
However, Carrie was patient and curious to see how Jonathan would salvage the date. While at the end of the date Carrie was content but not happy enough for a second date, Jonathan knew he couldn’t let Carrie be the one that got away. After some prodding from some friends and a next day phone call from Jonathan, Carrie agreed to give him another chance. And thank the fates that she did! During the second date, they found their love connection.
Sharing a passion for their similar careers and love for sports, politics, 80’s music and travel, they became a couple, or as Carrie puts it: A couple of football fans who would cheer for Florida State in the National Championship game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena (USC was on probation), a couple of travelers who went to Bali, Costa Rica and all over Mexico and Hawaii, a couple who worked out side by side three days a week and spent their weekends eating pizza together while binge watching “The Wire.”
After four blissful years together, Jonathan was ready to tie the knot. Planning to attend the scene of their first date for a couple of pre-dinner drinks, Jonathan, a screenwriter, hired an actor to prevent the couple from entering the restaurant unless they were “on the list” for a private event. When Jonathan asked who the event was for, Carrie was not expecting the host to say, “the future Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Abrams” nor for Jonathan to drop to one knee with a ring in hand. Shocked and dazed, Carrie didn’t have any other answer but “Yes.”
Going back to Carrie’s roots, the couple planned a New Orleans destination wedding filled with traditions and laughter.
“When you love the city you’re from nearly as much as you love the person you’re marrying, you know you’re well on your way to the wedding of your dreams,” Carrie says.
Despite not being able to say she fell in love at first sight, there was no doubt of Carrie’s love when she said “I Do.”
PHOTOGRAPHER: Morgan Lynn Photography | REHEARSAL DINNER: Bayou Barn | REHEARSAL ZYDECO BAND: Jimmy + Waylon Thibodeaux | GETTING READY LOCATIONS: Omni Royal Orleans Chartres Room (bride) + Roosevelt Hotel (groom) | CEREMONY: The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum | RECEPTION + CATERER: Omni Royal Orleans Grand Ballroom | VIDEOGRAPHER: Contrast Films | OFFICIANT: Judge Daniel Link | BRIDE’S GOWN: Matthew Christopher, Lovella Bridal | BRIDESMAID’S DRESSES: White Runway | MENSWEAR: Trunk Club | CEREMONY MUSIC + SECOND LINE BAND: Kinfolk Brass Band with Frenchmen Street Productions | HAIR: Miranda St. Pierre | MAKEUP: Brittany Ford | RECEPTION ENTERTAINMENT: Yacht Rock Schooners | INVITATIONS: Carly Hammond | WEDDING PLANNER: Tracie Domino Events | DECOR RENTALS: MMD Events
"The theme of the weekend though, was just family, friends, and fun. The majority of our guests traveled from California to attend our wedding...With that in mind, we wanted our guests to feel as though they earned a vacation when they came to New Orleans. We wanted to ensure the weekend encompassed some of the best parts of Louisiana, and that our guests were able to meet one another and share in the fun together."
"We often remind people of our names by saying, 'Jon, Carrie', like 'John Kerry, Secretary of State.' Given that 2016 was a presidential year, the theme of our pre-wedding events was of a Presidential campaign. Our 'Save the Dates' directed people to a website which allowed people to 'donate to our campaign fund' (i.e., our wedding registry) and we made pins with our slogan 'We Wanna Be Bayou.'"
"My departed friend's theme for getting through cancer was, 'Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain' and that's exactly what we did because it rained nearly the entire wedding weekend with the sun opening up at the exact moment it should." - Carrie
French signs were made by Carrie's sister which welcomed the guests to wine and champagne before their Second Line through the French Quarter.
"Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of wedding planning, you don't get a moment to take it all in, so it was important to us to have that moment during the ceremony where we just looked at all of those who were there to celebrate us. Of all the moments from the wedding that's one of my favorites."
"Our vows were one of my favorite parts. I could't do them justice in describing them, they were just so fun and heartfelt. I spoke of how difficult it was trying to find the write words for a writer, so I might as well steal some of the best ones written before me. Then I told the story of our relationship using famous movie quotes, before finally saying that no film or line could ever match the greatness of our fairytale. And then coincidentally, Jon's vows were very similar. Our friends were blown away by not only what we wrote to each other, but that the similarities were proof that we are soulmates."
Having lost dear family and friends to cancer, Jon and Carrie felt it was important to remember those who were there in spirit. "We had a moment of silence during the ceremony for those who were not in attendance," said Carrie. She also wore a locket with photos of her dear friend and Jon's dad around her bouquet.
"The wedding was decorated with careful thought to bring the love of Louisiana and the love of California together. From street lamp table settings reminiscent of the New Orleans gas lanterns, to King Cake and bananas foster for dessert, to a wedding day screenplay written by the groom on a typewriter display."
Carrie and Jon's mothers danced to Ernie K Doe's "Mother in Law." "It was my mom's idea," shares Carrie, "probably because she thought it would be funny, but also because the bride's mom doesn't get a dance. It was such a a big hit."