Delaney Brooke Johnson, who works in visual merchandising for Tommy Hilfiger, downloaded Bumble after moving to New York City from New Mexico. Her first (and last) swipe right was on Chris Michael Henrich. After a little more than a month of chatting, they had their first date at Dear Irving. “I did just about everything you aren’t supposed to do on your first date,” she says. “I talked about my ex-boyfriend, told him I had only kissed five people in my entire life, and lamented about how I was going to be alone for forever because I was old—I was 24 at the time, so one could say I am a little dramatic.”
After two years together, he proposed on the Hudson River Path. Once engaged, they decided to choose a destination that they had no ties to for their winter nuptials, in order to avoid favoring one’s hometown or having a costly wedding in the city. “Do you know how hard it is to find a place, when you can literally pick any place in the world to get married?” Delaney asks. “It was all over the board from a ranch in Montana to a manor in the South of France.”
On a last-minute Google search of “Prettiest places to have a wedding,” Race + Religious in New Orleans—a place the couple had never visited—popped up. “I was in awe,” Delaney says. “I honestly had never found a place where I felt like I loved absolutely every single detail.” After a virtual walkthrough, followed by an in-person viewing, they signed the contract. Delaney took on all of the planning and hired a day-of coordinator through Mint Julep Productions to make sure everything ran smoothly.
While finding a venue, the bride-to-be watched a lot of wedding videos and came across a bride who got married in Moab. Delaney loved her look and messaged her on Instagram asking who made her gown. It was from Rue de Seine, and only one shop in New York carried the label. The bride-to-be went with her mother, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law to try on dresses and ended up falling in love with the Avril gown—the exact one she had seen in the video. “I immediately burst into tears of joy,” she remembers. “The dress couldn’t have fit my style, the venue, or the vibe of New Orleans more perfectly.”
On February 15th, 2020, Chris, in a custom tux from Knot Standard, walked down the aisle first with his mother and his and Delaney’s dog, Moo. Then the bride marched with her parents in the open space to “Shallow” from A Star is Born, played on saxophone and piano. “Of course because I wanted to have a cathedral long veil, it actually got stuck on a lantern and pulled me back, right when I got to the altar,” she says. “It provided such a fantastic laugh for everyone.”
Delaney’s father, wearing a vintage, emerald velvet Yves Saint Laurent tuxedo jacket, officiated the ceremony and started with a reading from The Wedding Singer. Then the two recited their own vows. “I did mess up my very first line in my vows, which actually only made me feel even more comfortable because everyone was laughing, and I felt totally like myself,” the bride says. At their first kiss as husband and wife, a second line brass band came out, and everyone filed out to kick off the celebration.
Before the reception started, Delaney changed out of her heels and into Louis Vuitton canvas high-top sneakers. Then she rejoined everyone for a gourmet New Orleans comfort food-filled dinner, catered by Black Pearl Catering Co. Since the newlyweds don’t favor cake, they served frosted donuts and cupcakes instead, and late-night essential mini beignets, mini hot dogs, and beer flights were passed around.
On the dance floor, the DJ kicked off the party well, and the new Mr. and Mrs. had their first dance to “Proof I’ve Always Loved You” by Gyth Rigdon. Then the party plateaued at a peak. “We had limbos going, beads and furs flying, leg air guitars going—it was incredible,” Delaney remembers. “We also had a cigar roller rolling cigars for people to take a break and take home as favors.”
“If I had to pick a moment that stood out more than others, it would be a tie between the moment that all of our guests lifted up our wedding coordinator, Kelsey, and we all started chanting her name, giving her a crowd surfing moment, or when we stopped the party to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to my aunt and Chris’s aunt who had their birthdays that day,” Delaney says. And Chris’s favorite moment was the endless dancing after dinner.
At the end of the night, the two had a sparkler send-off, and everyone got into coach buses headed for Bourbon Street. Dancing resumed at The Gold Mine Saloon until the early hours of the morning—the perfect and appropriate ending to a New Orleans wedding!