During the pandemic this year my friends and I would call each other almost daily to discuss business ideas, how to pivot due to Covid-19, and to simply check in to say "Hello." or "How was your day yesterday?" We were truly each others support system through postponements, cancellations, and tough conversations that I personally have never had to have in the last 6 years as a small business. One day in June 2020 after being in the pandemic for over 3 months I came up with an idea of a FREE WEDDING in the New Orleans area, and when I called all my friends to tell me it was a bad idea to offer this during the time I actually got a totally different response than I excepted: They all wanted to offer a free wedding to a couple in the best city on earth!
Our wedding got featured on Martha Stewart Weddings about our professionally designed free wedding in Nola.
Maite Rodriguez and Torrey Pierce's originally-planned New Orleans wedding was intended to host 200 guests—a mix of both local and international loved ones—in a large ballroom, with plenty of good food and endless dancing. However, when the pandemic derailed their elaborate plans, the pair cut the guest list and scaled everything down to what fit inside the guidelines set by the city. "Postponing was simply not an option for us," says Maite, noting that their re-plan, however, was also threatened by COVID-19. Amid their changing strategies, Maite came across a wedding giveaway on Instagram, and—with no real thought of winning—decided to enter it. "Seven short days later, I received a direct message that I was the winner," she says. "Insert total shock and awe."
The prize was an intimate event led by an amazing team of luxury wedding professionals. "Admittedly, I chose nothing," says Maite. "The creative team selected everything—our color palette, our attire, and even my lipstick color! Seriously, I had no say, and I must admit, it was the best feeling ever. We put our entire trust in the creative team, which put us at ease. We knew it was going to be fabulous, no matter what." Michelle Norwood of Michelle Norwood Designs held the key to the vision for the intimate event. "We had the best planner and creative partners in the world," says the bride. "From the time I entered the contest to the wedding day—which was about three weeks—the surprises were endless." - MSW
Color Palette :
The outdoor soirée featured pops of burgundy and neutral tones—and was a complete surprise to the bride and groom.
The storybook grounds of the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum served as the site for the couple's nuptials. Brick pathways contrasted beautifully with the surrounding trees and greenery, and ambient lighting gave the space a romantic glow. Throughout the décor, neutral shades of sand and toffee were accented with hints of burgundy and gold, pulling in some of the colors from the couple's original design plan. "Stepping into our day was a feeling unlike any other," says Maite. "It was surreal taking it all in as I walked down the aisle. It was like the vendors all knew us and knew exactly what we wanted. It was magical and perfect, a day we will forever cherish." - MSW
For the Groom :
Torrey wore a contemporary tuxedo from John's Tuxedos; the ensemble featured a side-vented, single-breasted coat with a modern fit. He embellished the look with a very special accessory: "It was a must that I wear my burgundy socks," he says. "Maite gifted them to me on our wedding day!"
For the Bride :
The creative team channeled an Old-Hollywood vibe for Maite's big-day look, an aesthetic that was achieved in part by her one-shouldered, draped-bodice wedding dress by Amsale. Bold makeup and glam waves completed the look.
The couple celebrated their union with a Champagne toast and wedding cake. Dancing—as originally intended—was also a huge part of their soirée. "Honestly, we enjoyed our intimate wedding so much, it makes the larger wedding a bit up in the air at this point," says the bride. "We may have a big celebration for our anniversary or much later down the road for our vow renewal." Their experience was so memorable, that they encourage other couples not to lament having to change their plans. "It will all work out and be the most special day by virtue that you are marrying the love of your life," explains Maite - MSW
Second Line Band :
With the help of Knockaz Brass Band, Maite and Torrey started a second line and began dancing with all of their guests in true celebratory fashion.
Vendor Team :
Photography, Mo Davis Photography
Venue, New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
First-Look Venue,Beauregard Keyes Garden
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Michelle Norwood
Flowers and Lighting, Leaf and Petal New Orleans
Invitations, Eglantine Rose Letterpress
Celebrant, Latoya Herr
Jewelry and Hair Accessories, Faces of Virtue Bridal Collection
Hair and Makeup, Faces of Virtue
Groom's Attire, John's Tuxedos
Music, Knockaz Brass Band
Cake, Chasing Wang
Rentals, Lovegood Rentals