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REAL WEDDING:: Isabella Finnell + Erik Fabacher {LET ME LOVE YOU}

The bride and groom kiss outside the InterContinental New Orleans Hotel entrance.

::AS SEEN IN THE APRIL 2021 ISSUE OF NOW WEDDINGS MAGAZINE::

Written By: Jessica Burke | Photos: Capture Studio Photography

Isabella and Erik’s story began while the two were working together at the InterContinental Hotel in New Orleans. One Mardi Gras the two found themselves revelling together on St. Charles Avenue while Orpheus rolled, just as friends, of course. Rebirth Brass Band serenaded the crowd with the song “Casanova” and as it would turn out, this song would become the theme for their love story. It wasn’t until months later that the two would meet for drinks, however.  

Initially the love birds kept their relationship a secret, not wanting there to be issues with mixing business and personal. Only a select few were in the know at first, but that circle would grow when coworkers spotted them at French Quarter Fest. Eventually Isabella invited Erik to go to Paris with her and “the ruse came to an end,” the couple shared on their wedding website.

Double exposure of Erik and Isabella's profiles with the wedding bouquet.

When it came time for Erik to propose, he knew “it needed to include elements of family, romance and of course it had to look good for the (insta)gram.” He decided to go big and asked Isabella to marry him on the floor of the Mercedes Benz Superdome on New Year’s Day 2020, with less than an hour to go before kick-off of the 86th Annual Sugar Bowl.

With family, friends and a Superdome full of football fans watching, Erik got on one knee at the 50 yard line and asked Isabella to marry him. Spoiler alert: She said yes.

“Since Mardi Gras was early in 2020, we decided to focus on surviving Mardi Gras then focus on nuptial planning,” shares Isabella. “ We met while working at the InterContinental hotel so we both knew that we had to have our wedding reception there, where it all began.” John Romano at the InterContinental was thrilled to host their wedding “and we even signed the contract on each other’s back as a parade passed by,” shares Isabella. “Certainly my most memorable contract signing in all my years in event sales.”

Isabella arrives at Lafayette Square via Pedicab.
Isabella arrives at Lafayette Square via Pedicab for the wedding ceremony.

“I think we all know what happened after Mardi Gras 2020,” says Isabella. “Erik and I were at a wedding in Miami on March 14, 2020.  We knew boarding the plane that this was most likely our last weekend of fun as we knew tough times were ahead. We were right in our assessment as I was furloughed from the Sheraton and Erik had to lay off more than 75% of his workforce.” 

As the year went on, the couple heard from friends in the wedding industry that many 2020 weddings were rescheduling to their proposed wedding date. “We started warming ourselves up to the idea that things most likely weren’t going to go as planned,” says Isabella.

Still they moved forward celebrating their upcoming nuptials with a wedding shower in the Fall of 2020 hosted by the bride’s mother and sister in Massachusetts, where Isabella is originally from, and then an engagement party in New Orleans thrown by the couple’s friends from the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE).

Isabella and her parents walk down the "aisle" at Lafayette Square.
Isabella and her parents walk down the “aisle” at Lafayette Square.

“I originally wanted to elope,” shares Isabella, “but Erik convinced me that we needed to have a large wedding – we have so many family and friends that want to celebrate with us.”

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The couple was concerned about planning a large event though, worrying that restrictions would result in low attendance. When New Orleans reverted to Phase 2 in mid-January of 2021, they officially decided to change their plans. 

“ We decided that we would host a small intimate wedding with only family and close friends.  Since my parents were coming to town at the end of February to attend a tasting at the InterContinental Hotel for our May wedding, we decided to just host the wedding then,” says Isabella. They had less than 5 weeks to plan!“We had to go with the flow and be adaptive to last minute changes,” says Isabella. “The biggest change of plans was a change of venue 2 weeks before the wedding. Luckily the InterContinental Hotel came to our aid and saved the day. It ended up being perfect. They did everything they could to meet our needs and took all the stress the way.

Isabella and Erik pose in front of Gallier Hall.

Erik and Isabella chose Lafayette Square with Gallier Hall, a location with fond memories for Erik’s family, as the backdrop to say their vows. “Erik’s parents hosted their wedding reception at Gallier Hall back in 1978,” shares Isabella.

Guests watch as Isabella and Erik share their vows.

Keeping the wedding day on track and running smoothly was Tenisha Keller, a.k.a. “Chocolate Bunnie, who Isabella credits with “keeping everything together.”

Isabella arrived via pedicab for the wedding wearing a knee length dress from Amsale’s Little White Dress Collection and carrying a bouquet of colorful blooms by Herbivore Floral Designs. Erik wore a suit from Indochino with a brightly-colored cravat.

After saying “I do” the couple posed for photos as they made their way to the InterContinental for their reception. 

The bride and groom pose for photos

The highlight of the reception for Erik and Isabella was their first dance. “We started our first dance with “Don’t Worry Baby” by the Beach Boys,” shares Isabella. “Erik and I both fondly remember listening to that song on cassette as both of our mothers’ kept a copy of it in their cars. I remember sitting in the backseat listening to that song and thinking of my future husband.  We wanted to have a memorable showstopper performance, so about 30 seconds into the song our DJ, DJ Cooley, mixed into “Get it Ready” by DJ Jubilee, one of Erik’s and my favorite songs. I am not from here so Erik actually taught me this song while walking our dog, Bugsy. We choreographed the dance in our living room about two weeks prior.”  

The first dance

“We were fortunate that we were allowed to bring in some of our own food and libations,” says Isabella. Erik’s family owns a specialty catering business with specialties including smoked meats and seafood and Erik’s father, James Fabacher, “worked tirelessly for weeks preparing some of his famous homemade hors d’oeuvres.” Guests noshed on their “New Orleans Old Fashioned” smoked salmon, an assortment of andouille sausages, and smoked gouda among many other treats. Erik’s family also “provided us with quite the selection of their brewing prowess and named them after some of the wedding party: there was Bella’s Ale after the mother of the bride, Lisette’s Lager after the mother of the groom, Erik’s Ale after the groom and Isabella’s IPA for the bride.”

The bride and groom kiss by the wedding cake

The morning after the wedding Erik’s family served brunch for all of the out of town guests. The menu included “champagne, mimosas and a buffet of their famous Creole grillades served over garlic cheese grits accompanied with fresh fruit with homemade poppy seed dressing,” says Isabella.

Isabella and Erik kiss as the St. Charles Streetcar passes.

The couple enjoyed a “mini moon” in Puerto Vallarta and are looking forward to having all their family and friends who couldn’t make it for the February nuptials celebrate with them later this year. “We had so much fun at our micro wedding that we cannot imagine how much fun we will have at our next!” says Isabella. “Plus, I can’t wait to wear my BIG dress!”

::CLICK HERE TO SEE THE APRIL 2021 ISSUE

FEATURING ISABELLA + ERIK’S WEDDING::

NOW FEATURED VENDORS:

GETTING READY LOCATION, RECEPTION LOCATION & CATERING: InterContinental New Orleans

PHOTOGRAPHY: Capture Studio Photography

ADDITIONAL CREDITS: CEREMONY LOCATION: Lafayette Square | OFFICIANT: Brian Henley | BRIDE’S GOWN: Amsale | GROOM’S SUIT: Indochino | VIDEO: Oscar Alatorre | BOUQUET + BOUTONNIERE: Herbivore Floral Designs | CENTERPIECES: Costco | BAKERY: Simply Sweets & Treats by Caitlin Cheramie | RECEPTION ENTERTAINMENT: DJ Calvin Cooley | TRANSPORTATION: Need A Ride NOLA | Hair: Caroline Engvall | MAKEUP: Nicole Fabre, Fabre Beauty | WEDDING PLANNER: Chocolate Bunnie Events | ADDITIONAL CATERING: CK Hot Shoppe, Jaxsons | JEWELER: Custom Jewelry by Barattini | INVITATIONS: Paperless Post | BALLOONS: The Balloon Boutique by Ebony Reed

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