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MEMORABLE WEDDINGS
Leslie & Collin


New-Orleans-Masquerade-Wedding-Select-Studios-23

Color photography by Arthur Garcia of Select Studio

What better time to feature a magical vaudeville masquerade-themed wedding than in our October issue? Two creative soulmates, fashion stylist Leslie Rivas and fashion photographer Collin Kelly, tied the knot in a Big Easy ceremony on December 1, 2012 — precisely 12 years after their first date. Old World charm, cobblestone streets, vintage décor and live performances made this a wedding to remember.

First Date And Courtship

Leslie relocated from Irvine, Calif. to Houston and became a fashion stylist for Page Parkes Talent Agency, where she connected with Collin during a Model Search at the photography studio where he worked. “I was new to Houston, and Collin was very welcoming,” says Leslie.

They quickly became friends, and their first “official date” took place at the downtown Cotton Exchange during a Page Parkes Christmas party. Bonding over mutual interests such as film, photography, fashion, arts and travel, they became a match made in
creative heaven and often worked side-by-side during photo shoots and in editorial fashion spreads.

Over the years, the couple enjoyed visiting family and friends across the country and in Mexico, and narrowed down a favorite go-to destination that embraced Collin’s Cajun heritage and perfectly suited their aesthetic: New Orleans. They loved the ambiance, rich culture, ethnic foods, architecture and historic vibe of the city.

In fact, interesting people and events in any locale fascinated the couple. During a trip to Los Angeles they experienced a performance by the vaudeville circus group Lucent Dossier at the Edison Bar. “We went there after a photo shoot expecting to walk into a regular bar,” says Leslie. “But Lucent Dossier took over the whole place. It was so beautiful, entertaining and whimsical that we wanted our wedding to have the same look and feel.”

Proposal & Engagement

Collin spontaneously proposed at a Jack Johnson concert at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion during one of “their songs.” They were engaged for two years and four months, and by this time had all the ingredients for a completely original ceremony and reception. Their favorite city, New Orleans, seemed the perfect location to incorporate multiple themes: vintage, circus, antique, rustic, masquerade, vaudeville and old films.

The Wedding

The bride and groom combined their years of talent and creative vision to throw a spectacular (and fun) celebration at Race & Religion, named for its cross streets. This private home-turned-venue was rented for four days. Family, high school friends, talented coworkers and a wedding planner were involved in designing the dreamlike, magical atmosphere. Their wedding photographers, both dear friends, captured images of the ceremony and reception that evoked the sights and sounds of centuries past.

Style: From their masquerade wedding invitation to their choice of attire, décor and music, the wedding was a purposeful departure from the “ordinary” and “traditional.” The couple showcased whimsical religious iconography and antiques to the delight of 150 friends, family and fashion industry guests, including Page Parkes.

Attire: The bride worked as a fashion stylist for several bridal publications and had her pick of traditional attire, but opted for a vintage-inspired gown that was completely unique and custom designed with ivory beaded lace, silk and chiffon. She wore Turkish marcasite and labradorite tassel necklaces and rose-cut earrings, which served as her “something new” (gifted by a bridesmaid). Vintage ivory satin slingback shoes, a 1920s beaded purse, and a custom mask of hand-dyed ostrich and albino peacock feathers completed the ensemble.

She added touches of her favorite color and fabric — black and lace — by asking her bridesmaids to select their choice of dresses from her favorite store or frocks made by a Houston designer. They wore earrings gifted by the bride.

The groom wore a vintage brown plaid suit, vest, brown bowler hat, Bally shoes with striped socks, and an ostrich skin pocket square that matched an antique viewer piece mask customized with ostrich skin leather and straps.

Groomsmen wore three-piece suits accessorized with pocket squares and bowler hats.

All guests wore masks, many custom-made for the occasion.

Floral and Decor: The bride designed her bouquet with a mix of dress patterns made into tissue flowers, and added antique brooches, dried flowers and feathers. An antique locket held a picture of her departed grandfather and the groom’s departed father in their memory. A black lucite airplane pin commemorated her father’s career as a pilot.

With the help of the groom’s mother, bridesmaid bouquets were handmade using dried natural caspia, ribbon from leftover wedding dress fabric, and Holy Spirit charms. The groom’s boutonnière featured feathers, dried twigs and camera gears wrapped in leather.

The groom designed his boutonniere to match the bride’s bouquet, wrapping in leather an assortment of feathers, dried twigs and camera gears (a nod to his profession).

Antique and vintage pieces from the newlyweds’ home adorned tables, along with moss and stripped wine bottle centerpieces topped with candles. The bride’s father made wood “Welcome” and “Masks on” signs, the cake stand, and the frame that held a red curtain in front of which the couple took their vows.

The Cake: The beautiful three-tiered red velvet cake with white butter cream icing was decorated in scrollwork. Carrot cake balls were made by the groom’s aunt.

Music: Parents and bridesmaids walked down the aisle to “Love” by John Lennon. The bride and her father walked to “Opus 23” by Dustin O’Halloran from the Marie Antoinette soundtrack. The exit ceremony song, “Jump in the Line” by Harry Belafonte, had been featured in Beetlejuice, a favorite movie.

The Wedding Party: John Foelker, the bride’s future father-in-law and stepfather of the groom, served as the officiant. Betty Jo Foelker, the groom’s mother, joined Eduardo and Maricruz Rivas, parents of the bride, in witnessing the union of their children.

Bianca Rivas, Margaret Eberle, Tabitha Garcia, Beth Foelker, Ale Helguero, Claudia Luckey and Elizabeth McClure served as bridesmaids.

Andrew Danna, Johnathan Foelker, Arthur Garcia, Michael Brooks, Derreck Poteet, Sean McClure and Robbe Kelly served as groomsmen.

The Reception: “Old film” ambiance was woven throughout the reception. A projector featured vintage Georges Méliès films, and the music was themed to favorite movies and family memories. “Day-O” by Harry Belafonte played during dinner. The newlyweds danced to “Fade into You” by Mazzy Star under a sky of lights surrounded by friends and family holding long sparklers.

The father/daughter song “Come Fly with Me” by Frank Sinatra was another special tribute to the father of the bride, who had her flying in airplanes from the time she was a newborn. The groom and his mother danced to “You Can Never Tell” by Chuck Berry.

Guests enjoyed a mix of Creole and Mexican cuisine. Each dish honored the heritage of the bride and groom: gumbo, jalapeño corn bread, seafood pasta, green bean casserole and a taco stand. They were treated to mix of live entertainment including mystery mimes, stilt walkers, a dog and clown act, fire performers, and a DJ. Two bands performed: Tuba Skinny (featured on HBO’s Treme show), and Salvatore Geloso (featured in Rolling Stone magazine as a USA Top 10 street performer). A Big Easy photo booth delighted guests, who placed a photo strip and message on the couple’s guest book and took a second strip home as a remembrance.

Behind the Scenes: The couple originally hoped to marry around Halloween, but the venue was booked. This blessing in disguise caused them to ultimately wed (almost to the hour) on the anniversary of their official first date.

Just before the ceremony, the bride and groom wrote special notes to each other. “I’m a ‘daddy’s girl’, and my father serenaded me as I was preparing to walk down the aisle,” says the bride. Seeing everyone who had traveled to New Orleans touched the couple’s hearts, and at the reception they were finally able to relax and have a good time. “We loved how our guests got so involved with our masquerade theme,” says the bride. “They wore the coolest outfits and masks, and our wedding was absolutely epic and ran so smoothly.”

The groom got a wedding band tattoo the day after the wedding, which supplemented his wedding ring of oxidized silver and three small black diamonds. The bride’s one-of-a-kind, nearly 100-year-old sapphire, diamond and mixed gold engagement ring from La Petit Fleur in New Orleans also served as her wedding ring.

The bride is a star in front of theatrical red curtains.

The bride is a star in front of theatrical red curtains.

The dapper groom and his groomsmen wore three-piece suits and bowler hats.

The dapper groom and his groomsmen wore three-piece suits and bowler hats.

The groom poses in a vintage brown plaid suit, vest and brown bowler hat.

The groom poses in a vintage brown plaid suit, vest and brown bowler hat.

Bridesmaids wore black lace dresses of their choosing and "borrowed" bowler hats from groomsmen for a fun photo.

Bridesmaids wore black lace dresses of their choosing and “borrowed” bowler hats from groomsmen for a fun photo.

The bride's gown was custom designed with ivory beaded lace, silk and chiffon.

The bride’s gown was custom designed with ivory beaded lace, silk and chiffon.

The bride chose vintage ivory satin slingbacks to complement her vintage-inspired  gown.

The bride chose vintage ivory satin slingbacks to complement her vintage-inspired gown.

The bride's father hand-crafted the ornamental "Masks on" signs.

The bride’s father hand-crafted the ornamental “Masks on” signs.

A beautiful, one-of-a-kind bouquet was designed from dress patterns cut into tissue flowers.

A beautiful, one-of-a-kind bouquet was designed from dress patterns cut into tissue flowers.

An antique locket on the bride's bouquet held photos of lost loved ones.

An antique locket on the bride’s bouquet held photos of lost loved ones.

The bride and groom outside of their enchanting venue, Race & Religion.

The bride and groom outside of their enchanting venue, Race & Religion.

Hand-dyed ostrich plumes adorn the bride's mask.

Hand-dyed ostrich plumes adorn the bride’s mask.

Vintage cameras decorated tabletops in a nod to the groom's profession.

Vintage cameras decorated tabletops in a nod to the groom’s profession.

Little touches like an old Edgar Allan Poe volume and feather added to the ambiance.

Little touches like an old Edgar Allan Poe volume and feather added to the ambiance.

The double ring ceremony was sealed with unique wedding rings.

The double ring ceremony was sealed with unique wedding rings.

The beautiful bride-to-be.

The beautiful bride-to-be.

The delighted groom watches Leslie come down the aisle.

The delighted groom watches Leslie come down the aisle.

Stilt walkers amazed guests as part of the live entertainment.

Stilt walkers amazed guests as part of the live entertainment.

The couple pose on a cobblestone street in their wedding masks.

The couple pose on a cobblestone street in their wedding masks.

The bride's father gives a little kiss after serenading his daughter.

The bride’s father gives a little kiss after serenading his daughter.

The newlyweds share a kiss.

The newlyweds share a kiss.

The wedding cake and carrot cake dessert were beautifully presented for guests.

The wedding cake and carrot cake dessert were beautifully presented for guests.

The groom and his mother share a hug.

The groom and his mother share a hug.

Guests enjoyed live music by the band Tuba  Skinny.

Guests enjoyed live music by the band Tuba Skinny.

The colorful band with the newlyweds.

The colorful band with the newlyweds.

Salvatore Geloso performed at the reception.

Salvatore Geloso performed at the reception.

The mother of the groom dances with her son.

The mother of the groom dances with her son.

The bride and groom dance to "Fade into You" by Mazzy Star.

The bride and groom dance to “Fade into You” by Mazzy Star.

The groom's aunt made "amor" carrot cake balls.

The groom’s aunt made “amor” carrot cake balls.

Guests wore masks, many custom made for the wedding.

Guests wore masks, many custom made for the wedding.


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