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.

Amélie and Greg had the most beautiful wedding in Louisiana. Their love for one another is so palpable!

Amélie was always the older, cooler cousin. As a kid, I wanted to be just like her. Seeing the love between Greg and Amélie and the loveliness of their special day, my admiration only grows. Cheers to you two!

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.”

Avery Island, LA is typically known as the seat of the Tabasco brand, but is also home to the larger Avery family who settled on the salt dome in the 1800s. The small marsh island is about 2.5 miles across at its widest point, making it an intimate place to which current generations of the now expansive family can retreat. Amélie told us she chose the Island, for the element of heritage. "Since childhood I’ve watched other cousins have their weddings at the Marsh House [the 200 year old plantation home of the family] and I felt immensely blessed to follow in those family footsteps. For me, there was never any other place I wanted to have our wedding."

Avery Island, LA, is typically known as the seat of the Tabasco brand, but it’s also home to the larger Avery family who settled on the salt dome in the 1800s. The small marsh island is about 2.5 miles across at its widest point, making it an intimate place to which current generations of the now expansive family can retreat. Amélie told me she chose Avery Island as her wedding venue for the element of family heritage. “Since childhood, I’ve watched other cousins have their weddings at the Marsh House (the 200-year-old plantation home of the family), and I felt immensely blessed to follow in those family footsteps. For me, there was never any other place I wanted to have our wedding.”

A stunning glimpse of the sun setting through the branches of the live oak.

A stunning glimpse of the sun setting through the branches of the live oak.

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, a professional artist, incorporated her style of work into the wedding decorations.

Here is a beautiful picture of the light fixtures designed to look like the ones Amélie makes in her studio.

Amélie custom drew the emblem at the top of her invitations - a pair of married oaks, growing together.

Amélie found joy including various aspects of her art into the wedding plans. The invitation features a special symbol that recurred throughout the details of the big day. “At the top of the invitation, I drew two ‘married’ oaks, with their roots and branches growing together. Between them glows a star, calling to mind a favorite poem my stepmother, Kia Brown, passed on to me. ‘And a huge star is standing between the trunks of two trees so tranquilly promising the fulfillment of dreams.’ – Anna Akhmatova. Before Greg and I started dating, it provided me a visual for trusting that God was blessing my person and me and would bring us together when it was time.”

Amélie, who sells many of her pieces on Etsy, handmade each of the bridesmaids' earrings as a gift. Once again similar, but not all the same, Amélie asked each friend what color stone they would like to hang on the branches of the tree. Her own pair, seen above, she made with pearls from a pair of earrings she got for her 16th birthday from her parents.

Amélie, who sells many of her pieces on Etsy, hand made each of the bridesmaids’ earrings as a gift. The pairs were all similar, but not exactly the same, as Amélie picked gemstones she thought represented each of her friends’ personalities. Her own pair, seen above, she made with pearls from a pair of earrings she got for her 14th birthday from her parents.

We love bridesmaids' dresses, all different in cut and style. The similarity in color tone and variation in embellishments give each girl a unique look, complimenting her figure and personality.

I love these bridesmaids’ dresses, all different in cut and style. The similarity in color tone and variation in embellishments give each girl a unique look, complementing her figure and personality.

Sparkly wedding shoes are so fun!

Gold shoes, again all different in style, kept the bridesmaids uniform enough while still allowing them to be distinguishable. The sparkly blue ones were, of course, Amélie’s “something blue.” If you happen to be in Nashville soon and see a similar pair of blue sparkly shoes, you’ve likely found Amélie herself, as she says she still loves to wear them around town!

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The goofy crew of groomsmen were all Greg’s close friends from Vandy. Amélie and Greg kept things simple for the men, asking them to wear blue suits. Greg found the green neckties to match his bow tie, and they finished off their look with boutonnieres made from live oak leaves and duck feathers from a hunt with Amélie’s family.

Amelie and Greg opted to put their programs on fans to help guests endure the heat during the outdoor wedding.

Programs printed on fans certainly helped guests stay cool during the outdoor wedding. Amélie’s mother, a professional watercolor artist, painted a map of Avery Island to appear on one side, while the program, readings, names and a note from the bride and groom appeared on the other.

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Friends were also heavily involved in the big day. Close friend Janell Gaudin fixed Amélie’s hair. As the bride has beautiful natural curls, Janell showcased them by securely pinning the waves into place. She then pinned in duck feathers Greg had brought back from a hunt along with some small white flowers. Melissa Madison Fuller, another of Amélie’s close friends, took all the photos for the wedding — clearly an expert in her field!

Customized mini Tabasco bottles are such a fun goodie for guests to take home!

These Tabasco mini bottles were scattered throughout the tables at the reception, giving a nod to Avery Island’s famous export. The design on the back depicts an outline of the island itself with Amélie and Greg’s initials and the date of their special day.

The dress. Undoubtedly my favorite part of the wedding. What girl doesn't love a little twirling?? Amélie's dress was made of 2 pieces. While it looks like a seamless gown in the image on the left, she was actually able to shed a petticoat, showcasing the short and breezy dress you see in the image on the right. So fun!

The dress! Undoubtedly my favorite part of the wedding. What girl doesn’t love a little twirling?? Amélie’s dress was made of two pieces. While it looks like a seamless gown in the image on the left, she was able to shed a petticoat, showcasing the short and breezy frock you see in the image on the right. So fun!

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.”

Beautiful moment between father and daughter as he walks her down the aisle. Love the magnolia bouquet!

Amélie wished to carry magnolia blossoms for her wedding bouquet, as her grandmother had done. When her Uncle Rufus passed last year, a magnolia tree was planted on Avery Island. Amélie went to retrieve the magnolias on the morning of the wedding and there, among the growing tree’s glossy leaves, was her uncle’s wedding gift: fresh blooms for her to carry down the aisle.

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.

Amélie shares a sweet moment with her brother Christian before the ceremony.

Christian, Amélie’s younger brother, jokes with Amélie before the ceremony begins. Throughout our chat, she made it very clear how important and special her family is to her, both in their involvement on her wedding day and throughout her life as a whole.

I love this picture. The excitement and love on their faces makes me smile, as does Christie's (Amelie's father, in the background wearing a white jacket) doting look at his daughter walking up the aisle with her new husband.

I love this picture. The excitement and love on their faces makes me smile, as does Christy’s (Amelie’s father, in the background wearing a white jacket) doting look at his daughter walking up the aisle with her new husband.

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 told me that on days when she is “in a mood” Greg will sing “It Had to Be You” and pull her into a spontaneous dance. He apparently sang it to Amélie during the long intervals apart when they dated long distance. It was thus the perfect song for the pair to dance to during their introduction as Mr. and Mrs. Guthrie.

Amélie and her dad, Christy, danced to “My Girl,” which she now says she can’t hear without tearing up. This is such a sweet picture of a touching father-daughter moment.

Beautiful carrot cake with a German Neurnberg cup for toasting guests and families of the newlyweds.

Amélie and Greg went with a nontraditional but mutual favorite cake flavor — carrot. Rather than cutting the cake and feeding each other, the two toasted their guests and families out of a German Nuernberg bridal cup (atop the cake), which Amélie’s parents, grandparents and other relatives had done at their weddings.

Sha'on and the Girls with Success keep guests on the dance floor late into the night!

The dance floor was full all night as everyone celebrated Amélie and Greg’s love with style!

Beautiful tree imagery appeared throughout the Guthrie wedding.

More of Amélie’s original “live oak” imagery appeared on napkins, cups and cards for guests to take away.

From Amélie: “Greg loves games and is good at pulling people together to play them. So we had a lawn game area with bocce and croquet, as well as a parachute (like the rainbow ones from elementary school gym class). Much to my gleeful surprise, the parachute showed up on the dance floor later in the night and pulled the entire dance floor underneath itself. Obviously I’m biased, but it was one of the most elating dance floor experiences I’ve ever had.”

Mom and Dad high-five over a joyous evening and a well-loved daughter.

Mom and Dad high-five over a joyous evening and a well-loved daughter.

A sparkler send off on a starry night!

A sparkler send-off on a starry night!

Amélie and Greg, here’s to a lifetime of happiness and love. Thank you for sharing your story with us today!

Resources:

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

Music: Sha’on and the Girls with Success

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