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REAL WEDDING:: Melanie Parent + Duke Williams {Duke and Duchess}


Written By: Jessica Burke | Photos: Calvin Gavion, Jr.


“We met at NOPSI for the first time,” shares Melanie, “and on the way up to the rooftop bar this guy made the comment that we made a good looking couple.” Although Duke was quick to note they weren’t together, the two struck up a conversation and as Melanie puts it,  “We really clicked.”

Duke had a dramatic proposal planned with him jumping off a float during the NOMTOC Mardi Gras parade, but the engagement ring didn’t make it in time due to traffic. Instead of the original public proposal, afterwards, Duke took Melanie to a gazebo in her parents’ backyard and popped the question. “As I turned,” Melanie shares, “he was on one knee with the ring! He asked me if I would spend the rest of my life with him, if I would marry him. I just remember hugging him, and he was like, ‘so, is that a yes?’ I said, ‘Yes!’”

The invitation suite featuring a Magnolia motif.

Melanie and Duke say their wedding vows.

It was important for Melanie and Duke to show their nieces and Duke’s daughters ‘that marriage is not only about a giant reception but committing to each other before God.” The couple had a Catholic wedding ceremony at Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church on their original wedding date but with only 10 of their original 400 guests attending due to gathering size restrictions. “Our videographer, Lonely Eskimo, was also able to shift with our plans and helped produce our ceremony live,” says Melanie. “We had over 183 households watching and sharing in our ceremony. Some were dressed in tuxedos and gowns, and had champagne. This concept at the time was quite new, and we were probably one of the trailblazers for pandemic live-streamed weddings! Although the ceremony was intimate, we definitely felt and appreciated the love and support from all over.”

Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church


The newlyweds kiss.

Melanie and Duke incorporated a sand ceremony into their reception and invited their guests to join.
Melanie and Duke incorporated a sand ceremony into their reception and invited their guests to join.
“At the original reception we wanted something that would represent our guests pouring into our marriage,” Melanie shares. “We understood the importance of our family and friends pouring into our lives and helping us along the way. The idea was the guests would pour some sand in the vase to represent how they’ve helped us along the way. It also represented the blending of our families together, and Duke and I becoming One!”
Wedding guests participate in the sand ceremony.


Melanie and Duke cut their wedding cake in the NOPSI Hotel lobby.


The couple dance in the NOPSI Hotel lobby.


The wedding party celebrates in the street.


For their  “mini reception”, the couple returned to the place they met, NOPSI Hotel.  The couple posed for photos and cut their cake in the hotel lobby. Their first dance, however, took place outside the hotel: “We really enjoyed dancing in the street, how often do you get an empty street in New Orleans to have your first dance?” says Melanie. After the wedding, artist Christina Pappion painted their first dance, a beautiful work of art for the couple to remember the moment forever!


The wedding painting by Pappion Artistry





CATERING: Pigeon Catering and Events


BRIDESMAIDS’ GOWNS: Pearl’s Place Bridal


PHOTOGRAPHER: Calvin Gavion, Jr. | VIDEO: Lonely Eskimo Films | GETTING READY + RECEPTION LOCATION: NOPSI Hotel | CEREMONY LOCATION: Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church | OFFICIANT: Father Peter Weiss | BRIDE’S GOWN: Stephen Yearick (Brickhouse Bridal, Houston) | GROOM’S ATTIRE: Luca Falcone  | FLORIST: Nola Flora | BAKERY: Zoe’s Bakery | CEREMONY MUSIC: Immaculate Conception’s Cantor | RECEPTION ENTERTAINMENT: Mannie Fresh live stream  | TRANSPORTATION: Riculfy Limousine  | HAIR: Tawana Laurent, Tre Elle Salon | MAKEUP: Navis Hill, Navis Hill Makeup Pro | EVENT PLANNER: Tenisha Keller, Chocolate Bunnie The Event Planner | JEWELERS: Le Jewelers (Bride’s ring), Cut Fine Jewelry (Groom’s ring)  | INVITATIONS: Scriptura | WEDDING PAINTING: Pappion Artistry



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