Written by: Natalie Pompilio
Photography by: Lance Nicoll
Taylar Major is a meticulous planner and the 2017 Christmas party was especially important to her: It would be the first event she and her long-time boyfriend, Vincent Hirstius, would be hosting in their new Lakeview home. Taylar spent four months tending to details, determined to get everything – the invitations, the food, the décor – just right.
On the night of the party, she’d just begun her prepared speech thanking guests for attending when something she hadn’t planned happened: Vincent reached into his jacket pocket and moved to stand in front of her. He dropped to one knee, held up a ring box and looked at her expectantly.
A video of the moment shows Taylar, mouth open, slowly looking turning her head to look at the guests surrounding them. Then she whispers to her silent, but smiling, future fiancé, “You have to ask me.”
“I was so shocked,” Taylar says. “The moment was magical and surprising in the best way. I had planned my own engagement party!”
Their love story had begun almost a decade earlier when mutual friends introduced Taylar, then a junior at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, to Vincent, a Brother Martin High School senior. Both were shy and introverted. Still, within weeks the pair’s relationship turned romantic.
“Little did I know then he would be my husband 10 years later,” Taylar says. “When you’re a teenager, you don’t think you’re going to meet the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with.”
The big date was set: December 22, 2018, exactly one year after Vincent’s surprise proposal. With the New Orleans Tricentennial being celebrated the same year, “it was important to have all of my events at well-known locations,” Taylar notes.
The bridesmaids’ lunch was at Broussard’s; the rehearsal dinner on the second floor of Ralph’s On The Park. The couple exchanged vows in front of 200 guests in St. Mary’s Church at the Old Ursuline Convent. Dedicated in 1845, St. Mary’s is slightly older than St. Louis Cathedral, which does have sections dating back to the 1700s but was largely rebuilt in 1850 and rededicated in 1860.
The party continued at Il Mercato, a Spanish colonial-style building accented with gas lamps, reclaimed brick and herringbone floors that felt “like we were going back in time, but it was also modern,” Taylar says. The venue was decorated in “French elegance” style, with neutral and pastel colors and the couple’s personalized crest – an intertwined “M” and “H”- on display. Guests took home pralines made by a family friend.
“The reception was magical,” Taylar says. “We had a Second Line band come and play for 45 minutes. It was a ‘You had to be there’ moment.”
NOW Spotlight Wedding Pros:
BRIDE’S + BRIDESMAIDS’ GOWNS: Pearl’s Place
MENSWEAR: John’s Tuxedos
TRANSPORTATION: Audubon Limousine
HAIR: Jessica G of BLEU, a Blowdry Bar
GETTING READY LOCATION: Melrose Mansion | CEREMONY LOCATION: St. Mary’s Church at the Old Ursuline Convent | OFFICIANT: Father Tony of St. Jude Catholic Church | RECEPTION LOCATION: Il Mercato | REHEARSAL DINNER: Ralph’s on the Park | BAKERY: Chasing Wang | CEREMONY MUSIC: Dreaux Montegut | RECEPTION ENTERTAINMENT: Bruce Roussell | MAKEUP: Rita Lanchey, Luxury Beauty Clinic | WEDDING FLORIST/PLANNER/DESIGNER/DÉCOR RENTALS: Karen Owen | CATERER: Joel Catering | INVITATIONS: Scriptura