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REAL WEDDING:: Chelsea Dean + Ross Raley {New Year’s Eve Bash}


Written By: Jessica Burke | Photos: Erin & Geoffrey


Chelsea and Ross’ families had been friends for over 15 years and despite the fact that Chelsea had told herself she was “not going to date a

guy from ‘back home,’, her friendship with Ross “grew into something that we had both been looking for in a partner,” she shares. 

Chelsea had spent several years living in New York City and her family had a tradition of spending Thanksgiving in the city since she was a child. Ross knew how much the city means to her, so he knew that he had to propose there. 

“Ross planned a Thanksgiving trip to New York with both of our parents,” says Chelsea. “I was excited that Ross’s parents decided to join. I was thrilled to be back and share this experience with Ross and his family. The families took a walk in Central Park and afterwards Chelsea wanted to show them one of her favorite spots to picnic near the MET. “I noticed Ross was speed walking, I was the fast walker usually, but as we approached a favorite bridge of mine he got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him,” she shares. “This was the most romantic and beautiful moment. A hired photographer that was pretending to take pictures of the park when we approached, captured this beautiful and life changing moment.”


Chelsea and Ross' wedding and engagement rings.

The Lake Charles residents chose New Orleans for their nuptials. “We always knew we wanted to do a destination wedding,” says Chelsea. “We found New Orleans to also be a central location that was convenient for many of our family and friends, who came from all over the United States to attend. We could not have been happier with our choice of New Orleans and cannot imagine being married anywhere else!”

The Marigny Opera House in New Orleans.

Back detail of Chelsea's Lazaro wedding gown.

Chelsea describes the wedding style as “very Gatsby meets winter classic.” Every detail for the wedding, “from the floral arrangements to the Chuppah….was exquisite and well beyond our expectations!” shares Chelsea. “I worked really closely with Dustin (Nouvelle Fete Celebrations) to make sure everything from the flatware to the flowers went with our 20’s Gatsby vibe. It was absolutely magical.”

Chelsea walks down the aisle.

The couple planned a New Year’s Eve interfaith ceremony celebrating Christianity and Judaism with Chelsea’s father officiating the wedding. They married under a Chuppah, incorporated the breaking of the glass and also lit a Unity Candle during the ceremony. Voice of Greatness Gospel Choir performed throughout the ceremony and friends of the couple composed a new melody for Chelsea and Ross’ song “I’m Gonna Be” by The Proclaimers for Chelsea’s processional.

Voice of Greatness Gospel Choir

Chelsea and Ross stand under the Chuppah.

Ross breaks the glass.
“For the conclusion of our wedding ceremony, we chose the well-recognized and ancient Jewish wedding tradition of the breaking of the glass,” says Chelsea. “This old custom has acquired many meanings and interpretations over the thousands of years. To us, the breaking of the glass symbolized the shattering of barriers between people of different cultures and faiths, as in our interfaith marriage. Also, we believe the shattered glass to be a representation that our lives would be forever altered by our union in marriage. When Ross broke the glass, everyone in the audience shouted “Mazel Tov!”, meaning congratulations and good luck!”

Chelsea and Ross celebrate as they walk down the aisle.

The couple and their guests enjoyed a traditional Second Line while their event planner, Dustin Castrinos of Nouvelle Fete Celebrations, transformed the venue for the reception.

Chelsea and Ross pose for a portrait on a Trolley with Kinfolk Brass Band.

The Marigny Opera House transformed for the reception.

Messina’s Catering created a decadent menu including a Duo Grit Station with smoked Gouda grits and Louisiana BBQ Shrimp and Veal Grillades, traditional Creole Chicken and Sausage Gumbo and Chelsea’s favorites for the late night snacks, Truffle fries and beignets.

The wedding cake

“Our wedding cake was a lemon cake filled with real fruit,” says Chelsea. Everyone “agreed it was one of the most delicious things we’ve ever tasted!”

Ross' tennis-themed groom's cake

“Ross loves tennis!” shares Chelsea. “In fact, both of us have played from a very young age and continue to enjoy the sport. Ross’s cake was a delicious chocolate peanut-butter cake from Bywater Bakery. It was a big hit at the wedding reception.”

At midnight, the happy couple and their guests rang in the new year and entered into 2020 with a sparkler send off.

The newly weds kiss at midnight as streamers and confetti fall around them.

The sparler exit at the end of the evening.





CATERING: Messina’s Catering



PHOTOGRAPHER + VIDEO: Erin & Geoffrey | GETTING READY LOCATION: Hotel Peter and Paul |CEREMONY + RECEPTION LOCATION: Marigny Opera House | OFFICIANT: Dr. Carl Fastabend  | REHEARSAL DINNER: Brennan’s Restaurant | BRIDE’S GOWN: Lazaro, Ivory Bridal Atelier (Houston) | BRIDESMAIDS’ GOWNS: Betsy & Adam |GROOM’S + GROOMSMENS’ ATTIRE: Groom: Custom Tuxedo by Giorgeo Carreli, Bill Walker Clothier (Houston) | Groomsmen: Calvin Klein Shawl Lapel Tuxedos | PARADISE FLORIST: Paradise Florist (Lake Charles) | BAKERY: Bywater Bakery | CEREMONY MUSIC: Voice of Greatness Gospel Choir | RECEPTION ENTERTAINMENT; Phunky Monkeys | TRANSPORTATION: Trinity Trolleys | HAIR + MAKEUP: Faces of Virtue | WEDDING PLANNER/DESIGNER + DECOR RENTALS: Dustin Castrinos, Nouvelle Fete Celebrations | JEWELER: Simon G & David Yurman | SECOND LINE BAND: Kinfolk Brass Band | INVITATIONS: Shop Aurea | FAVORS: New Years’ swag



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