Written by: Natalie Pompilio
Photography by: Trent Spann, Images by Robert T.
After the wedding ceremony in the library of the Ritz-Carlton; the reception in the hotel penthouse complete with four ballerinas; the second line led by a brass band and the Zulu Tramps and Indians; the amazing food prepared by Chef Edgar “Dooky” Chase IV; and the fireworks show, newlyweds Charles Alexander and Travis Watson had the same words run through their minds, “Who would have ever thought?”
“It’s something we always say,” says Charles, who grew up in New Orleans. “What was supposed to be a night of fun turned into eight years and a wedding.”
The couple had met in a Biloxi casino in 2011. Travis was playing the slots. Charles noticed the handsome man and went over to make conversation, opening with the line, “Are you winning?”
Thus began their long distance relationship, with Charles in Louisiana and Travis in Florida. Over the next 18 months, they saw each other for at least two weekends every month, traveling between their homes and visiting new places together.
Then Charles, a pharmaceutical representative, found work in Florida and the pair moved into an apartment in Miramar Beach, the same city where they now live. At some point in their fifth or sixth year of dating, Charles casually asked Travis to marry him while driving back to Florida after a stay in New Orleans.
“He said, ‘I need a real proposal,’” Charles recalls, laughing. “’ If you’re going to ask me, don’t ask me when we’re driving across the toll bridge.’”
He did and the wedding planning began. Charles wanted to have both ceremony and reception at the Ritz-Carlton on Canal Street.
“That was one of my fairy tale dreams,” he says. “You’re in a hotel, but you’re not. It feels like home.”
On May 11, in the hotel’s elegant wood-paneled library, each man and his mother walked through 100 guests seated on leather chairs and couches to stand before Rev. Philip Brockett of the Central St. Matthew United Church of Christ.
The couple exchanged self-written vows. Travis promised to let Charles win an occasional fight. Charles told Travis he was eternally grateful for his steadfast support.
“I’m the crazy one, the more social one,” Charles says. “Travis has never asked me to change. That means a lot to me.”
From there, they moved to the Stewart Junneau residence on the hotel’s 15th – and top – floor. There, the terrace provided a view of the city from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain, from the French Quarter to the Crescent City Connection.
Their relationship had begun in 2011 when Charles asked Travis if he was winning in a Biloxi casino. Eight years later, surrounded by loving friends and family and forever bound, both men felt like they’d won the jackpot.
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PHOTOGRAPHY: Images by Robert T.
Additional Credits (FOR BLOG ONLY, NOT PRINT):
GETTING READY + CEREMONY LOCATION: The Ritz Carlton | OFFICIANT: Pastor Phillip Brockett | RECEPTION: Stewart Juneau Residence | MENSWEAR: Luca Falcone |VIDEO: Tim Mcaskill Cinematic Weddings | FLORIST: The Plant Gallery | BAKERY: Crescent City Sweets | CEREMONY MUSIC: Michaela Harrison | RECEPTION ENTERTAINMENT: DJ Rqaway | HAIR: Agnes Weary | MAKEUP: Chanell Malott, Perfecto Studio | HONEYMOON DESTINATION: Rivieria Maya, Mexico | WEDDING PLANNER/DESIGNER: Cheryl Ellsworth | CATERING: Chase Catering, Chef Edgar “Dooky” Chase IV | JEWELER: Cartier