My favorite part of our New Orleans trip? I loved watching Tessa’s face as she took in sights and smells and sounds. She was always looking UP. As we sat in Pirates Alley for a short break, between the Cabildo and St. Louis Cathedral, Tessa couldn’t stop staring at crows landing on the wrought iron crosses along the tiled roof. Her eyes kept flitting to and fro, trying to keep up with the movement, with her little brow wrinkled and mouth pursed into an “O” in her concentration. Then she’d look around, at the water trickling along the cobblestone water gutters, at the artwork hung along the Vieux Carre, at the sidewalk performers tap dancing, performing solo jazz… it was making my heart so happy to see my daughter soaking in the beautiful swirl of life all around us, snug and safe in her daddy’s arms.
New Orleans is always pulling me back with its siren call of cobblestone walkways, French courtyards, lush ferns hanging from bead strewn balconies, Spanish moss, lamp posts, Dixieland jazz, creole and Cajun cuisine, the mystical and muddy Mississippi River, and history ranging from cultured plantation life to primal voodoo bayou life. I just can’t get enough.
Jonathan and I fell hopelessly in love with this place when we first visited with our best friends David and Shauna when they were living in San Antonio, Texas. We immediately started making wedding plans for a small and intimate gathering at our new favorite getaway spot. It was quite the feat, planning for a wedding in Louisiana from California.
Now, a year and many many life changes later, we find ourselves living just a short three hour drive from the spot where we said, “I Do”. Hello first year wedding anniversary trip!
Last year, it was just Jonathan and I, enjoying life together. Now, we are SHARING life with our little girl. It was so nice to be back in New Orleans, reflecting on our past year and dreaming about the years to come.
Oh. And the BBQ Shrimp, Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice, Beignets and Café au Lait was nice too. (Sometimes my love for New Orleans is 99.9% the food!)
A couple of repeat visits to The Big Easy are in order before we have to leave Pensacola, methinks. *nods*
Exactly one year ago today, on October 14, 2012, I married my best friend under the lamp posts and hanging Spanish moss of Jackson Square Park in New Orleans, Louisiana, and became Mrs. Jonathan Freeman.
And what a year it has been! I can’t even begin to count the ways our lives have changed – and all for the better! I cannot even wrap my head around where God has brought us, and how He has blessed us, let alone put it into words.
For our first year wedding anniversary, we visited New Orleans again, but this time with an infant in tow. It was surreal, walking the same streets, eating at the same restaurants, standing in the spot where we said “I Do”… but this time with a precious little munchkin looking around bright eyed and curious at the sights and sounds and smells.
Last year we had strangers congratulating us on our wedding, this year we had strangers congratulating us on the beautiful baby. I didn’t see that one coming.
Jonathan and I agreed months ago that we would like to incorporate the Victorian Era custom of gifting one another according to the traditional yearly “themes”, and giving the traditional anniversary flowers for our future wedding anniversary celebrations.
The tradition of giving specific anniversary gifts based on the number of years a couple has been married dates back to the Middle Ages, but the Victorian Era (1837-1901) was especially focused on creating traditions. Although no one is certain how the traditional list of symbolic anniversary gifts originated, the gifts according to year are pretty well established.
The traditional first year anniversary flower is the carnation, and the first anniversary gift theme is paper.
In the language of flowers, carnations are associated with love, distinction and fascination.
Specifically, white carnations suggest pure love and good luck. Light red symbolizes admiration. Dark red represents deep love and affection. Purple represents fascination. And pink carnations carry the greatest significance, beginning with the belief that they first appeared on earth from the Virgin Mary’s tears – making them the symbol of a mother’s undying love.
Jonathan got me a bouquet with each of these colors, and while I picked out the bouquet with him on more of an “oooh shiny” factor, rather than thinking of the symbolism behind the petals, it all seems rather fitting now that the stems are sitting in my coffee thermos vase in the kitchen. I’d say each of the meanings apply to our relationship this first anniversary.
And as for the paper theme: Jonathan and I bought each other, as a mutual gift, a large hand-bound linen photo book with all of our wedding photos. The book is gorgeous and the craftsmanship of the book itself is a work of art – not to mention the photos inside, which feature a mix of the photos our wedding photographer took, and photos that Jonathan and I took on the weekend and day of our wedding.
I am still so desperately and hopelessly in love with my husband. We’re still starry-eyed kids at heart, daydreaming about how we’ll fulfill the rest of the 75 traditional wedding anniversary gift themes. And there is no doubt in my mind that we will.
“Once in a awhile, in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairytale.”
Jonathan and I shot this beautiful destination wedding in New Orleans, Louisiana just ONE DAY before our own wedding! Brittany and Shad had their ceremony at Jackson Square Park and the had a Second Line parade that meandered through the gorgeous French Quarter to their reception at the House of Blues. Maybe it was the festive N’awlins air, or maybe this group is just exceptionally friendly and awesome, but these guys made us feel like family while we photographed their wedding.
While I never really saw spending the day before my wedding working as a chore (I saw it as a welcome distraction to keep my mind off of the madness soon to ensue with our wedding!) it ended up being one of the coolest things we could have done. We didn’t have a big enough group (or budget) to validate a second line, but we desperately wanted to take part in one.. and we got to sing at the top of our lungs, wave our arms and snap some gorgeous pictures for Brittany and Shad in their second line! It was a blast!
And the reception? Absolutely stunning. The atmosphere, the lighting, the live music, the food, the booze… it was the epitome of a New Orleans wedding, which (and we may be biased since we chose it as our wedding location) is one of the coolest weddings you can have. 😉