JaRita and John can agree on two things, that they've known each other since they were 15 and have been interested in one another ever since. But the lines get blurry when it comes to agreeing on who fell in love with whom first. Their parents were friends for years but the couple didn't become close themselves until after college. Ms. Juana's son was beginning to look different in JaRita's eyes, something she couldn't really explain. After a few years, they ran into each other again and started spending more time together as friends. "After I decided that he had suffered long enough in the friend zone, I finally allowed him to take me out on a proper date for dinner and a movie," JaRita shares. They'd been enjoying each other as young professionals with little responsibilities when John told her that he accepted an offer to play professional basketball in Australia. "We spent seven months apart and, while it was quite a challenge, the experience deepened our relationship. Soon after he returned, we were overjoyed to find out that we were expecting our first child, a son, together," she says.
The couple were married in a gorgeous black and gold wedding, true to their Louisiana backgrounds. Sophisticated linens subtly glistened over the reception tables as modern centerpieces with white roses and candles in hanging glass bowls gave the space its unique flair. Louisiana Creole and Cajun culture was beautifully infused in the wedding. From a French Quarter Street band to traditional New Orleans cuisine, JaRita and John's black and gold wedding was a stunning ode to their beloved NoLa and their timeless love. Take a look at their beautiful day, photos by Studio Tran.
Favorite item on the menu: Shrimp & Grits martinis
Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts: Monogrammed shot glasses and mini bottles of liquor for the groomsmen; monogrammed bags filled with makeup and jewelry for the bridesmaids.
First dance song: "Stay with You" by John Legend
Bride: JaRita Booker
Groom: John Pichon
Wedding location: New Orleans, LA
Tell us all about the proposal!
I finally asked her to be my wife on January 12, 2013. I was disappointed that we wouldn't be able to spend her birthday, February 6th, together since I was leaving to play basketball in Australia, so I decided to plan something special before I left. I took her to Martinique's Bistro in New Orleans for a nice dinner in the courtyard and proposed after dessert was served. Somehow I was able to trick her into saying "yes" and the rest is history. I’m looking forward to spending the rest of my life with her and I feel so blessed to have her and our son, Christopher, in my life.
Describe your wedding dress. How was your shopping experience?
I wore two wedding dresses throughout the night. I really wanted to look classic and timeless for the ceremony, so I ended up going with an ivory Lazaro dress with a lace, sweetheart bodice and a full A-line, tulle skirt. The bridal shop added a champagne belt with rhinestoned for the bling factor, which matched my gold, black, and ivory wedding colors. My mother asked that I wear a Catholic-style veil, so I chose one with a lace trim that matched my dress. My reception dress was more glitz and glam with a fitted, backless Tarik Ediz dress from Hermz LA, which I absolutely loved!
I'm not a big shopper–generally when I go shopping, I know exactly what I'm getting and when I know, I just know. Wedding dress shopping was not so easy. I tend to like unique pieces, but was unsure if I wanted to stand out or be traditional and timeless on my special day. Ultimately, my mother and close friends helped me find a happy medium by wearing two dresses, and I'm so glad I had their help! My mom and my Matron of Honor were really helpful throughout the process.
How was culture incorporated in your wedding?
Being that both of our families are from Louisiana, the Louisiana Creole and Cajun influences played a huge role in our wedding, from a French Quarter street band playing during the ceremony to our Second Line with the Rebirth Brass Band at the end of the night. Our food menu included traditional NoLa dishes, such as shrimp & grits and other seafood options. As an ode to John's Cuban heritage and our traditional Catholic backgrounds, our mothers draped us with a Lasso during the ceremony. We also made sure to include our sorority and fraternity by singing our traditional hymns, and honoring our friends with cake pulls (each friend pulls a charm from the cake, such as "next to get married," "prosperity," etc.).
What is your best memory from your wedding?
Our absolute favorite wedding memory is the impromptu Soul Train line that broke out in the middle of the reception. I don't remember how it got started, but it sure was fun to see our family and friends engaged and celebrating with us on the dance floor!
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
Take your time and enjoy each part of the planning process, as well as the wedding! It flies by, so make sure to be present and savor each moment.
Planning and Design - Weddings by Lulu
Band - Starz Band
Floral Design - Weddings by Lulu
Brass Band - To Be Continued Brass Band
Photography - Studio Tran
Makeup - Lacee Gonzalez
Hair - Ringletts
Preparation Venue - Hyatt Regency New Orleans
Reception Venue - Pavilion of Two Sisters
Ceremony Venue - Camellia Garden
Lighting Design - Luminous Events
Videography - High Rise Productions
Bakery - Royal Cakery
Ceremony Musicians - Tanya & Dorise