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Real Wedding | Deena + Aaron

Tell us a little about yourselves!

In October of 2021, we had a New Orleans trip planned to celebrate 18 years of being together. We’d gotten engaged the year before (after many, many years of wondering whether we would ever get officially married or just remain Kurt-and-Goldie status forever) and had picked a date in September of 2022 to celebrate with family and friends in Los Angeles. But about a month before the trip, I came across a picture of the beautiful chapel at Hotel Peter and Paul, and I brought up the idea of eloping to Aaron. I half expected him to think it was absurd, since we’d already planned for the bigger celebration. But he didn’t. We’re both pretty intense introverts, and we quickly fell in love with the idea of standing in this stunning old chapel, just the two of us, exchanging vows that encompassed the last 18 years we’d spent together. As we talked through it, we knew it was something we had to do. We woke up at Hotel Peter and Paul the day of in a room that used to be part of a convent. It was a gauzy and humid fall morning, and we walked to breakfast beneath thunderclouds, listening to a playlist Aaron had made for the day, one ear bud in each of our ears. We got ready together and then had our ceremony in the early afternoon. The chapel was breathtakingly beautiful. Fall afternoon light filtered in through stained-glass windows. The space smelled like time. All we brought were two dozen red roses. After exchanging vows, we had our first dance and drank a bottle of sparkling rosé. Afterwards, we headed to Café du Monde for our wedding 'cake'. Then we walked through the French Quarter to have a celebratory drink at The Carousel Bar and finished up with dinner at The Elysian back at the hotel. While we were eating dinner, the sky finally broke. We’d intended to go catch some music on Frenchmen Street, but it was coming down pretty hard, so we took it as a sign to spend the rest of the night huddled in our room. We watched When Harry Met Sally - my first time - while the storm raged outside.

Why did you decide to get married where you did?

New Orleans has long been one of our favorite places in the world. Aaron is a musician and had come through there on tour a couple of times, and I’d been out to visit on a handful of occasions. It’s such a storied city and so much has been said about it, but in some ways, I think it’s the stuff that defies articulation that makes it so special.

Tell us about your outfits.

Before we decided to elope, I’d been looking for something vintage or second hand for our bigger celebration in Los Angeles. I came across this Dolce + Gabbana set on TheRealReal and immediately fell in love. I wasn’t sure whether I’d get to wear it as part of our LA celebration, since it wasn’t quite what I had in mind, but I bought it on a whim anyways. When we made the decision about New Orleans a few months after that, it all just seemed to fit together. We had to scramble a bit for Aaron’s suit, since it was pretty short notice, but we had a beautiful custom tux made with Indochino.

What was the most important aspect for you, in terms of planning your wedding?

We wanted to be able to swim in the depths of that moment, just the two of us. We knew that when the day came for the bigger celebration with family and friends, it would be one of the greatest gifts we’d ever receive. But we also knew that we’d want to give a lot of ourselves to all the people who showed up for us on that day. So this was our way of carving out a time and place just for each other. In that same spirit, we didn’t want to do a lot of stuff around I - no extra decorations or formal cake or anything that really required much planning. It was important to us that the thing was just the thing.

Any tips for couples getting married, particularly during the pandemic?

Make decisions because it’s what the two of you ultimately want. Weddings have a funny way of separating out layers of very complex feelings - both for the couple and for everyone touching them. There’s no way to please everyone or to protect everyone’s feelings. I think one of love’s highest expressions is feeling free - be free!

Are there any vendors that you would like to tell us a little more about?

Our photographer Jes Workman did our engagement shoot and we hired her right away for our bigger celebration in LA. We’d become fast friends through all that, and when we decided to do this in New Orleans, I asked her if there was any way she’d be able to make it out to New Orleans, knowing full well she was super busy and that it was a long shot. But she happened to be shooting in New York the weekend before, and like the miracle worker genius she is, she made it happen. She flew straight from New York with her very talented second shooter, Kayla, and they were there for less than 24 hours before they had to fly off to shoot another ceremony in Colorado. And Ash, our planner for our bigger celebration in Los Angeles, was so helpful in coordinating some of the logistical details and the schedule for the day. With both Jes and Ash, it hammered home what good decisions we’d made in choosing to work with such wonderful, generous people.

Photographer : Jes Workman @jesworkman | Ceremony Location : Hotel Peter and Paul @hotelpeterandpaul | Celebrant : Ranna Zahra McSwain @letselopeneworleans | Planner : Ashley Garcia, Thread Events @threadevents | Ceremony Space : Chapel at Hotel Peter and Paul @hotelpeterandpaul | Dress : Vintage Dolce + Gabbana (via TheRealReal) @dolcegabbana; @therealreal | Aaron's Suit : Indochino @indochino Engagement Ring : Erstwhile Jewelery @erstwhilejewelry | Wedding Rings : Polly Wales (Aaron) @pollywales | Deena's Shoes : Valentino @maisonvalentino | Deena’s Necklace : Mondo Mondo @mondomondo


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