My cousin Amélie Brown is an artist, and a very talented one at that. She captures the grace and elegance of trees in her wire sculptures, breathing life into the metal medium. Her Louisiana wedding to Greg Guthrie, like the art she creates, was an absolute breath of fresh air on a steamy Cajun night.
Greg and Amélie met at Vanderbilt University in 2006 during their freshman year. Though Amélie instantly had a crush on Greg, the two were just friends throughout their four years at college. A few years after graduating, the pair reconnected in New York City, where Amélie was living at the time. Months of flirtatious emails later, Amélie found she had to confess her six-year crush. The two then went on their first date—a Mardi Gras ball—while visiting Amélie’s hometown of New Orleans. So began nine months of long-distance dating between Nashville and New York until Amélie decided to return to Music City to be closer to Greg. The two were together for almost a year in Nashville before Greg proposed.
Greg planned a trip for the two of them to the Big Apple, as she loves New York City at Christmas time. Though he styled it as a birthday trip for Amélie with promises of seeing a Broadway show and the Rockefeller Center tree, Greg had bigger commitments in mind. His original plan was to get down on one knee in front of the giant, lighted tree, an especially romantic gesture since Amélie finds incredible peace and beauty in trees and Christmas. However, Amélie, according to Greg, had given a “not-so-subtle hint that a public proposal may be met with a ‘yes, but try again.'” So with a racing heart, the nervous groom-to-be pulled Amélie into the New York Palace Hotel courtyard, a serene escape amid the bustling crowds (but still with a view of the hotel’s own lovely tree), and asked the girl he loves to spend the rest of her life with him. Greg told me that the two had “20 minutes of kisses, tears and mutual relief before Amélie even noticed she had a ring on her finger.”
After setting a late May wedding date, Amélie and Greg turned to the details. Amélie knew she wanted an entirely natural, casual and unmanicured look for her wedding theme. When deciding colors and flowers, she and Greg only wanted things that would seem to blend with the landscape of Avery Island and the surrounding area. “Live oak green” thus became the main color for the wedding and appeared on invitations, programs and Tabasco mini bottle labels. Floral decorations included magnolias, Spanish moss, oyster shells, duck feathers and Tabasco pepper boxes and mash barrels. Tucker Fitz-Hugh and David Stassi of New Orleans handled many of the decorative components of the big day, even including light fixtures based on the sculptures Amélie makes professionally. The pair was aided by wedding coordinators Morelle Corle and Denise Galloway, in addition to the rest of what Amélie called her “wedding planning team.” As an artist with a very creative brain, Amélie recognized that logistics management was not her strong suit and happily depended on her parents and stepmother for help with decisions and planning.
Amélie’s dress was actually a wedding gift from her paternal grandmother, Louisette Brown. She told me this was extra special as she “would get to design the dress with [Louisette], [Amélie’s] lifelong fashion goddess, and get to spend lots of time together.” Amélie said the chief inspiration came from a garden, the natural world being a recurring theme throughout the wedding. She told me, “Like a flower upside down, asymmetrical layers of flowy silk chiffon and delicate tulle make up the skirt. On the torso, different flowering laces grow organically across the bodice and trickle down into the skirt. Among these laces are swatches of lace from my grandmother’s dress, which made it even more meaningful to me.”
The ceremony took place at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in New Iberia, a short drive from Avery Island, where the reception was to be held. Amélie and Greg are both devout Christians involved in their church. Though they originally wanted to write their own vows, they found special peace in saying traditional ones. The classic listen and repeat structure allowed Amélie and Greg to pause and really appreciate the weight of what they were saying to one another.
After the ceremony, guests made the short drive to Avery Island. While the wedding party took photos, guests listened to a Dixieland band from New Iberia as the sun set. The couple decided to have a specialty cocktail from Lockeland Table, a popular bar in Nashville. They settled on it because it contained two of Amélie’s favorites: Tabasco and tequila. Other ingredients included champagne, pineapple juice and cilantro. While sipping on the fiery cocktail, guests also indulged in some local cuisine. Food stations around the reception included an oyster bar, seafood station, a cochon de lait, grillades and grits, and a dessert table. Amélie gushed about the band, which kept people on the dance floor all night: “As night fell, Sha’on and the Girls with Success, an INSPIRING band from New Orleans, ignited the dance floor. They were excellent musicians and tremendous entertainers. A switch from one set of vibrant costumes to another and incorporating Greg’s name into Motown lyrics were among the highlights.”
Amélie and Greg, here’s to a lifetime of happiness and love. Thank you for sharing your story with us today!
Photographer: Melissa Madison Fuller
Wedding coordinators: Morrell Corle and Denise Galloway
Florist and catering: Tucker Fitz-Hugh and David Stassi
Bridal gown: designed by bride and grandmother, created by Suzanne Perron of New Orleans
Hair and makeup: Jannell Gaudin
Invitations: Amélie Brown Guthrie