When your wedding day coincidently coincides with New Orleans Pride Parade, you know that there’s going to be an epic celebration ahead!

THE BACKSTORY

Kristina is a Registered Nurse in a PICU and a Respiratory Therapist. Anita is a front desk coordinator in an orthopedic office. Anita is very artistic and paints for fun. We try to travel as much as we can and experience and explore new cities. Recently, we have made it a point to try and find a brewery in every place we visit.

In January, it will be five years together. Anita grew up living next door to Kristina’s cousin, Matt, since they were 5 years old. Over the years, Anita always travelled with him and his family to visit their relatives who lived in Florida (queue Kristina). However, the last time she saw any of the family members from Florida was when she was around 18. Fast forward ten years, Kristina had decided to start fresh and uproot herself and move to New York. With the persistence of her cousin Matt, Anita and Kristina reconnected, and the rest fell into place.

THE ENGAGEMENT

Both of us used to joke around and ask each other to get married all the time. Anita gave Kristina an origami engagement ring one year, Kristina would write notes saying, “Went to get milk, when I come back want to get married?”, and so on. One random Thursday in our apartment in Queens, Anita had told me we were going to dinner with some friends and to get ready for the night. She came home and handed me a vase she had painted that was all wrapped up with flowers in it. When I unwrapped it, I saw she had painted, “Will you marry me?” at the top. Thinking it was just another one of our cute proposals, I kind of blew it off and said, “Sure, I’ll marry you.” But when I looked up, Anita was down on one knee with the ring out.

After saying, “Are you serious?” about a million times, asking if my Mom knew, and a lot of crying, I finally said “Yes!”

We were engaged for two years. Shortly after our engagement, Kristina found out she was accepted into nursing school, so we wanted to wait until she graduated to get married.

THE VENUE

Living on Long Island, there aren’t many options for wedding venues. It’s mostly country clubs, wineries, or “wedding factories” that have more than one event going on at the same time. While the venues are all beautiful, we knew it wasn’t what we really wanted, so we started looking in Queens and Brooklyn at raw space venues.

We fell in love with almost all of them but quickly started to realise how steep the cost would be if we were to book one of these spaces. One venue in Brooklyn stood out above the rest, however, we would’ve had to bring in everything right down to the toilet paper used in the restrooms.

Suddenly, planning our wedding didn’t seem fun anymore.

We were more stressed than excited, and we started looking at venues that we didn’t love, or even like, just because they were more affordable.

We had gone down to NOLA for Anita’s 30th birthday with a group of friends, and every one of us had fallen in love with the city, so when we were stressing about where to get married, one of Anita’s bridesmen who went on that trip casually mentioned, “Why don’t you just get married in NOLA?”. At first, we laughed it off, “Yeah, okay…” But he planted a seed that just continued to grow, and after being more and more discouraged about venues and budget, Anita just said, “Why don’t we seriously look into New Orleans? What’s the harm?” And from that point on, we made the decision that NOLA was it and immediately, a weight was lifted off our shoulders. We flew down, and with the help of Kristina’s parents, we looked at THIRTEEN venues in TWO days! We narrowed it down to our top two favourites, and voila! Southern Oaks Plantation was our perfect fit!

From the time we started planning, we both knew we wanted a relaxed wedding with lots of colours. From our home to our tattoos, we have pops of colour always surrounding us. We wanted the bridal party to be in dressed in earthy tones so we could play with accessories and floral arrangements to add colour pops. We just fed off of the city’s vibrancy itself and wanted to make sure all of our guests fell in love with the city as much as we did, so we would say the city of New Orleans was our biggest inspiration.

THE WEDDING OUTFITS

When I started looking at wedding dresses, the idea I had in mind was a flowy, bohemian gown. I was going down to Florida to visit my family and made an appointment to try on dresses. I wanted the first time I tried on dresses to be with my Mom, sister, and sister in law. Before I left, I told Anita that I probably wasn’t going to fall in love with any dresses, but I would at least look.

Literally, the first dress I tried on was the one I bought. If you had told me that was the dress I would wear, I would have laughed, because it was completely opposite of everything I had envisioned. With that being said, I can’t imagine wearing any other dress.

I gave a swatch of my gown to Anita, so when she was looking for her outfit she could try and match it. She originally bought a pair of pants that were very close to the colour of my dress. A few months before the wedding, she sent me a picture of a pair of pants she fell in love with and wanted to wear, but she didn’t want them to be “too much”. I instantly loved them, it was completely her. She also ended up getting the suit jacket to match the pants, and I am so happy she did.


THE WEDDING DAY

When we originally booked our wedding venue, we actually had the first weekend in June in mind, but it wasn’t available, so we booked the second weekend.

We actually had no idea that Pride weekend was the same weekend as our wedding until about 2 months before the big day. The New Orleans Pride parade was literally the same day as our wedding, which ended up working perfectly for our photos and gave us memories we will never forget.

We bought rope in our wedding colours and “tied the knot”. It is an old Irish tradition, so we felt it was perfect

We spent the day in NOLA taking most of our pictures before we headed to the venue. For a couple of hours we walked around the French Quarter taking our photos, the love we felt was palpable.

As we made our way closer to Bourbon Street, we stepped into an intersection where Pride was in full swing. When our fellow LGBTQ family members and supporters realised that a wedding party stepped into the crowd to take pictures, they all started cheering; when they realised it was two brides getting married, they exploded! It was such a beautiful moment to feel so much love from complete strangers.

WEDDING ADVICE

Just relax. On our wedding day, our videographer told us that we should write a wedding blog because we were the most relaxed brides she had ever worked.

We planned a wedding all on our own, from another state (only ever meeting the staff at the venue beforehand), and Kristina was working and in nursing school, both full time.

Trust the wedding website reviews (they helped us tremendously), and stay as organised as possible. Remember not every single thing will go as planned, but it will be ok!


Photography Xistence PhotographyCinematographer Willo Films | Cake La Louisiane BakeryCatering Southern Oaks PlantationCeremony Venue Southern Oaks PlantationCelebrant LaToya Papillion-Herr of Waning Moon Weddings & CeremoniesEngagement Rings Blue Nile | Florist Thibodeaux’s Floral Studio | H&MU Flawless Bride | Gown Designer Ines Di Santo | Bridal Boutique Solutions Bridal, Orlando, Florida | Suit Designer ASOS