An Intimate New Orleans Weddings

Photographs by  Allen Tsai

Photographs by Allen Tsai

To say Tonya and Jeffrey are busy is an understatement. Both are in the medical field and were in constant movement and constantly swamped. Many of our couples have been in the medical industry and I have the utmost respect and empathy for how hard they work! I digress. To top it off, the couple live in two different states and were having their wedding in New Orleans, where Jeffrey is originally from. For their big day, it was a destination for most involved, with many traveling in from all over the country.

Tonya knew that their schedules would be packed throughout the months, and reached out early, giving us ample time to plan for their wedding. She and I connected immediately over her vision. She is someone with exquisite taste and knew exactly what she wanted for her big day. Although the couple originally wanted to have their wedding in Dallas, once Tonya stepped foot into Race and Religious, she knew it was the perfect spot. Walking into the venue, it seems as if you're stepping back in time. Race and Religious is screaming with character and is so, immensely rich with history. Its French tiles and other details are 150-200 years old, and the owner outfitted the place with one-of-a-kind pieces of antique furniture fitting for the place. In short, imagine yourself walking into an Anthropologie ad.

I was excited to work with three other Dallas vendors for this wedding—Allen Tsai, Everly Alaine and Scribbles, and Swirls—two of whom are my studio mates!

Here are a few words from Tonya: 

Are there any special details that made the day stand out like your flowers, gown, cake, etc.?

I was fortunate that my mother in law was gracious enough to let me wear her mantilla veil as my 'something borrowed'. It was gorgeous and I think it really helped tie everything together perfectly.

And I was completely blown away by how beautiful the flowers were. Leslie, with Everly Alaine florals in Dallas, really outdid herself. They were just divine. I have never seen wedding flowers that beautiful. They made me so happy that day!

How did you and Jeffrey meet?

Jeffrey and I met in Chicago in the fall of 2011 but didn't start dating right away. I was a third-year medical student on a plastic surgery rotation and he was the General Surgery Intern on the service! We definitely had some very awkward yet flirty moments. I found myself drawing hearts on his patient lists in pink markers! (I found those same patient lists with hearts on them, in his dresser drawers six months later when were dating and he was moving to start his Orthopedic Surgery residency).

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What was your favorite part of the day?

The first look. The entire day is so full of "things" you need to do and think about (though our planner Sarah Kee with Keestone Events really made sure that we had nothing to worry about that day...she is incredible. Everyone should hire her). But, with the first look, for that period of time, it was like everything stopped. Jeffrey and I were able to share this incredible time of laughter and love and that is where we shared our vows with each other. We had a fairly traditional Christian ceremony and had traditional vows in front of everyone but during our first look, we had things we wrote down that we wanted to promise one another. It was beautiful. I will always cherish that time.

What were the unique or DIY elements of your wedding?

My father passed away about one year prior to our wedding. I knew it was going to be really difficult for me the day of the wedding to not have him there with me. My mother has also been extremely ill over the past five years and I wasn't sure if she was going to be able to be at the wedding or not. I know it's not especially rare anymore for a mother to walk the bride down the aisle, but it was so meaningful to me that she was able to do so. We were also able to have a moment of silence during the ceremony in memory of my father, and the seat next to my mother remained empty. We placed a bouquet of yellow roses in the seat where my father would have been. Growing up my father always had a rose garden in our backyard. And any time he would come in from outside he would bring in handpicked flowers. This continued even as I moved away from school. Anytime he would visit he would have roses from the garden, usually yellow.

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What advice do you have for other brides-to-be?

My only advice would be to make sure you take the time to pick vendors you know you can trust. Our wedding planner was incredible (and also helped vet many of the vendors we ended up choosing). Our photographer, Allen Tsai, was also incredible. As was our florist. Everyone really. Just phenomenal. And this really ensured that I did not need to worry about anything at all leading up to the wedding, aside I like my makeup/hair (yes! GlamNOLA was amazing) and how much can I eat tonight before my dress gets too uncomfortable to dance in? It was a wonderful night.

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Venue, Race and Religious Photography by Allen Tsai Planner, Keestone Events Catering by Catering D'Orleans DJ, Music Source Media Florals by Everly Alaine Makeup and Hair by GlamNola Rentals from Distressed Vintage Rentals Stationery by Scribbles and Swirls Signage by Wit & Fellow Cake + Desserts from Melissa's Fine Pastries Dress by Catherine Deane