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A Music-Filled Wedding with Parisian Influences at Il Mercato in New Orleans

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Sophie Kaye

|Planning by 

Elyse Jennings Weddings

Even though Emilee Anne Hefflefinger and Patrick Davis Leiser grew up just a few blocks from each other in Dallas, Texas, they did not meet until high school. The two both developed a crush on one another and eventually began dating long-distance at the end of college.

Ten years later, the two were celebrating their December 26 anniversary on the steps of Emilee’s friend’s old apartment stoop—the very place they first kissed. But Patrick made this annual tradition the most special yet and proposed with an antique Victorian cluster ring that the couple picked out together.

New Orleans is a destination of “hauntingly romantic” proportions and has been the setting of some of the most pivotal moments in Emilee and Patrick’s relationship. Their very first photo together was taken at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop on Bourbon Street. It was only natural that the couple would choose this city for their nuptials.

Ultimately, they postponed their wedding twice because of the pandemic. “Patrick and I still got our marriage license in 2020 at the Napa Courthouse, where my parents eloped over 30 years ago, and the same judge who married them even came to officiate our marriage!” Emilee says. Ultimately, marrying in such an intimate and private ceremony took all the nerves out of their larger celebration in New Orleans. They gladly sent out their late May 2022 invitations by Shasta Bell Calligraphy.

“I love the French influence that runs through the culture of New Orleans,” Emilee notes. “We made sure to incorporate a few Parisian touches like French 75 cocktails, a cheese selection with mini baguettes, and a croquembouche tower by Bittersweet Confections, instead of a traditional cake.” She and Patrick turned to Elyse Jennings Weddings for planning and enlisted Sophie Kaye to photograph the day. “Baby’s breath is my favorite flower, which was perfect for creating an ethereal cloud-like ambiance, even the chandeliers at our venue were dripping with the tiny white blooms,” Emilee adds. Bella Blooms Florals brought her vision to life.

The bride wore a delicate, layered Marchesa gown with Swiss dot and intricate velvet appliqué. “I was drawn to it since the fabrication reminded me of my mom’s wedding dress,” Emilee shares. Instead of a traditional veil, Emilee donned a baby’s breath floral headband. She accessorized with Jennifer Behr earrings and bespoke shoes by Margaux. Jessica Carnley applied her glowing makeup look, and Beth Washington styled her hair.

Emilee’s bridal party wore the Ghost London Salma dresses in ivory. “I loved the old Hollywood, vintage glam silhouette,” she confides. They all slid on vintage earrings that she personally sourced, along with sprigs of baby’s breath interwoven through their hair.

On May 30, 2022, a white trolley chauffeured the wedding guests staying at the historic and picturesque Henry Howard Hotel to Il Mercato in the Lower Garden District. As the family and wedding party walked down the aisle, a string quartet strummed the couple’s favorite songs like The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” and The Beatles’s “Across The Universe.”

Emilee descended the aisle as “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs played. The bride and groom exchanged their handwritten vows in front of Il Mercato’s grand outdoor fireplace. Once they said “I do,” jazz filled the air, and it was time for a traditional New Orleans second line parade around the block.

The reception followed with an intimate candle-lit seated dinner. The menu by Joel Catering featured tomato salad, hand-made gnocchi, and sautéed vegetables. While everyone danced to the DJ’s selections and violinist, mini beignets and iced coffee were served.

The newlyweds swayed to an acoustic version of “Twilight Galaxy” by Metric, one of Emilee’s personal favorite bands. “When Patrick and I first started dating, a remix of this song came up on Patrick’s playlist while we were driving home after a late night out. It naturally evolved to be ‘our song,’ always popping up throughout our relationship,” she recalls. On the day of their engagement, this song even played on the jukebox of the campy dive bar they went to with friends.

“Music has been such an important part of our relationship, so we really wanted this moment to be a representation of all the memorable late nights we’ve jumped around at crowded concerts and music festivals,” Emilee explains. The playlist showcased plenty of LCD Soundsystem, MGMT, Cut Copy, Outkast, Major Lazer, Grimes, Kings of Leon, and Fatboy Slim. The bride changed into a sequined BHLDN gown for all of the twirling and spinning that the last few songs required.

After a late-night photo shoot and sparkler send-off, the after-party commenced at the famous Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone.