Liza and Wyatt were married in the bride’s uncle’s backyard in Shreveport, La. on December 13. Liza has been battling a form of cancer called synovial sarcoma, and she and Wyatt planned the surprise wedding in just two days.
“After getting the prognosis that my cancer was terminal, we laid in bed that night and made a bucket list of things we wanted to do — mostly travel and adventure trips,” Liza said. “When we started considering it more seriously we both decided that we wanted to get married. Once we were told I only had a couple weeks left, I never thought we would have enough time to pull off a wedding, but Wyatt said he knew we could do it, and convinced me by coming up with the idea to do it as a surprise! When we returned to Shreveport the night before the wedding, Wyatt and I finally had a little time for just the two of us. He pulled out the most beautiful ring and told me he couldn’t love me anymore or be any happier to call me his wife. I was taken aback by the ‘official proposal’ because I had no idea his dad had already shipped Wyatt his mom’s ring to give to me.”
The venue was nestled on Cross Lake, “where my family spent a lot of time growing up,” she said. “I always wanted to get married there because the sunset over the lake is so beautiful.” The bride wore a v-neck lace fit ‘n’ flare wedding gown with capped sleeves and keyhole back, accessorized with her hair half-up/half-down in loose curls, floor-length veil, and a bouquet of roses and hydrangeas. “Maybe the most trickiest detail of planning a wedding in 48 hours is finding a dress,” Liza said. “Luckily for me, I had always dreamed of wearing a dress just like the one a neighbor had worn at her wedding a few years before. Because we were in such a rush, I decided to call her and just ask if I could wear it at my own wedding. She graciously said yes and even offered to allow me to make alterations. It fit perfectly. I also borrowed my best friend’s mom’s sapphire earrings. My best friend had gotten married the month before and her mom wore the earrings to her wedding. I loved them so much that she promised me I could wear them as my ‘something blue’ at my own wedding, thinking that would be years, not weeks away.”
The ceremony took place at dusk on the lawn with 150 witnessing. “It was so fun to see everyone’s faces as I walked down the aisle,” she said. “They were so overjoyed and many of the guests, men and women alike, had eyes full of tears. Wyatt said he can’t stop thinking about how happy I looked when I walked out on my dad’s arm. He said my smile has never been bigger.” The newlyweds’ performed their first dance shortly after followed by dinner and the cake cutting inside the private residence. Of course, Liza smashed a piece in Wyatt’s face! “We cut out a lot of the little details and delegated decisions that weren’t important to us,” Liza said. “I’m sure most of the details weren’t perfect, but I felt we had the best wedding ever. We realized that what makes a wedding great are best friends and family, a great setting, good food, plenty of drinks, and non-stop music.” They ended the night with the song “Shout.” “After about eight hours of celebrating, we closed the night by dancing to a favorite song,” she said. “We were in a screened-in porch and all of our family and friends swarmed around us in a circle. I remember looking around and seeing all these people we loved dancing and having the times of their lives.” A grand exit took place amongst a sea of glitter and a ride in a fancy old convertible car.
For more information on synovial sarcoma, visit the Love for Liza at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center fund. Please follow this link here.
Stephanie and Derek were married at the New Orleans Botanical Gardens in New Orleans, La. on October 13. “I have always wanted to get married in New Orleans Botanical Gardens in City Park,” Stephanie said. “City Park is such a special place for us, and I always knew I watned to get married outside. The Botanical Gardens have the perfect mix of classic New Orleans live oaks and gorgeous floral gardens.” The bride wore an off-the-shoulder a-line wedding gown, accessorized with her hair down in loose curls, while the groom wore a black suit, accessorized with a white vest and tie and a top hat. Bridesmaids wore long green chiffon dresses and carried bouquets of peonies, roses, succulents, and star of bethlehems. “When my dad hugged me at the end of the aisle, he didn’t want to let go!” she said. “It was such a moment. And when Derek and I had just left the wedding on our tandem bike, and we were biking down down Esplanade Avenue. It was just the two of us on a beautiful night, but now we are married — it just felt right.” Following the outdoor nuptials, guests were escorted inside the pavilion. Tables were decorated with tall centerpieces, gold votive candles, and lots of hops here and there. “My husband is a brewer, so that was really a cool, personal piece,” Stephanie said. “He made a special beer called “Hoppily Ever After” and even made a label with us on it.” The newlyweds’ best advice? “Make it your own!” she said. “It’s so easy to get caught up in all the Pinterest possibilities, but without a question my favorite things, and those that made our day were the ones that were so uniquely us.”
Ashley and Robert were married at a family friend’s farm in Shreveport, La. on July 21. “We love fishing and hunting, so we knew that we wanted something outdoors,” Ashley said. “We got married in a field underneath a group of Spanish moss trees in front of Lake Bistineau.” The bride wore a sweetheart satin mermaid wedding gown, accessorized with her hair half-up/half-down in loose curls, while the groom wore a black suit, accessorized with a camouflage tie. “My absolute favorite moment has to be the walk down the aisle and my dad giving me away,” she said. With only 40 guests being their witnesses, these two said, “I do.” The reception followed with lots of Mexican food! Tables were decorated with antique vases and vessels filled with hydrangeas atop burlap runners, family photos were displayed on clothespins, and the dessert display featured a giant “Mr. & Mrs.” chalkboard sign. Not to mention a mini wedding cake. “My big sister was my wedding planner,” Ashley said. “Having her help and knowing my taste really made everything go smoothly. The way she decorated the entire place was beautiful.”
What was the one thing about your venue that made you know it was the one?
We really wanted to get married outside and have an outdoor reception. The Elms Mansion gave us both, as well as an elegant atmosphere. Everything about the venue is picturesque, starting with its location on the oak lined St. Charles Avenue.
Which details from your wedding were your favorites?
One of our best friends married us. He got ordained online and conducted a very personal and memorable ceremony. He had everyone crying.
My dad and stepdad walked me down the aisle together. They both mean a lot to me, so I felt privileged to be given away by them both.
The band, TABOO [now The Phunky Monkeys]. Everyone danced all night. The band played everything from classic rock to rap, got out into the crowd, and got to know a few of our livelier guests!
Our first dance was to a Joe Cocker song, which was the concert we went to on our first “date” (along with our best friend that married us)!
If you could offer one piece of advice for other couples planning their wedding, what would it be?
Stay true to your vision for the event. We wanted a small, intimate ceremony and reception with only close friends and family. We had around 160 guests and knew every face. We truly enjoyed ourselves visiting and catching up with our loved ones. We spent the night doing exactly what we wanted….dancing and laughing!
Give us the one moment in your wedding day you can’t stop thinking about.
At the end of the night, the band led a New Orleans second line around the courtyard and over to our getaway car. Most of the guests were still there singing and dancing in the second line and waiving their handkerchiefs in the air.
I am absolutely in awe of the shots April + Paul captured of this couple’s big day. The photos of Melissa getting ready are truly stunning, they are the photos you hope to have from your wedding. Melissa’s bouquet, designed by Grow With Us Florist, was also a show stopper. Ranunculus blooms in several differ shades surrounded by berries, and hydrangeas, gave the perfect amount of color to their New Orleans City Park wedding.