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St. Mary’s Church at the Old Ursuline Convent in the French Quarter was the very first venue that Olivia Millet and Zachary Loupe considered when planning their wedding. "My mom went to Ursuline and I’d heard of the convent, but had never seen it," Olivia explains. "The minute we walked into the church, we knew that this was where we would be married." For a young couple with a deep respect for tradition and a love for the city’s rich history, this stunning old world location afforded them the opportunity to bring a youthful sensibility to one of the oldest buildings in the city, if not the country.

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"We loved the modern feel of having the ceremony and reception all in one place. And the indoor and outdoor options—guests entering the church in dazzling daylight and then walking to the convent to dance under the stars—was a dream come true," says Olivia. "I come from a family of designers and creators, so the ‘blank slate’ of the convent courtyards and formal gardens was so appealing. We wanted to plan a wedding weekend immersed in the romantic allure of the French Quarter resplendent with our own personal touches." 

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And so it began. Family friend Laura Bordelon painted a watercolor of the convent which The Queen Bee in Baton Rouge used for save the dates and Scriptura incorporated into invitations and programs. Olivia and her mom, Monette Romair Millet, then turned their attention to wedding fashion and décor, which in turn informed the overall aesthetic for everything from bridal accessories to floral design to a carefully curated reception.

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As a buyer and stylist for Chatta Box Boutiques, the fashion-forward company her grandmother founded in 1962, Olivia is accustomed to visualizing how runway silhouettes will translate to real life red carpets. While out to dinner one night, she simply scanned the shows from New York’s Bridal Fashion Week and confidently chose an all-over Chantilly lace Monique Lhuillier gown. Done and done. The dress features an accentuated sweetheart neckline, soft barely-pink underlay, and dramatic sculpted circular skirt. Her custom cathedral length veil is trimmed with the same romantic ivory lace and the fitted top was added a week before the wedding. "When I tried on the dress right before the wedding, the stylist in me envisioned a well-tailored coverlet that could be removed for the reception—something with a high mock turtleneck and statement sleeves. So my mom and I quickly designed it." For hair and makeup, Olivia went with elegant simplicity. "The ceremony was at three, so I wanted a fresh, polished look that would work well from day into evening." A classic low bun was the perfect counterpoint to the regal and extravagant dress.

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During the wedding weekend, the bride and her party settled into the Windsor Court while Zachary and the men enjoyed Hotel Provincial, a hidden gem tucked away in a residential section of the quarter. Bridesmaids donned blush-pink Marchesa Notte gowns embellished with whimsical chiffon flowers and groomsmen wore classic black tuxedos with creamy rose and Star of Bethlehem boutonnieres. After the nuptial mass, guests migrated to the convent for a dazzling reception. Chandeliers and antique tables filled with winter greenery, candlelight, and an abundance of coral, blush, and ivory flowers lined the tent. Deanie’s Seafood Restaurant shucked oysters for a raw and chargrilled oyster bar and Ralph Brennan Catering presented old school favorites like seafood gumbo along with unexpected twists like chilled champagne over hot-pink cotton candy. A five tier layer cake and groom’s carnival king cake, both from Zoe’s Bakery, were showstoppers of the night.

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From a rehearsal dinner at Galatoire’s to the Phunky Monkeys bringing down the house to Olivia exiting in a white leather rocker-chic jacket from her shop, Olivia and Zach’s wedding was a luminous, of-the-moment experience that honored timeless traditions while creating memorable new ones.

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This article appeared in the Bridal 2020 Issue of Adore Magazine.