Jaime & Sean’s Colorful and Jazzy Mardi Gras-Style Wedding (Part 1)
Happy Friday, everyone! I have another special 2-part feature for you and you get to see part 1 today. Jaime and Sean had a bright and colorful wedding at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen. The lovely pair met online through RPG gaming in the late ’90s so their wedding was infused with geeky personal touches along with eclectic Mardis Gras style details (because of the venue) — like beads, masks, and custom fans instead of bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids and Star Wars bouts for the guys. Since they love Disney + their venue was in the Downtown Disney District, the back of Jaime’s gown had hidden Mickeys and Stitch & Angel made their presence felt in some of the elements as well.
How adorable are they? We are able to witness their unique ceremony today through the talents of Jenna Henderson of White Rabbit Photo Boutique (see previous features she photographed) who has the behind-the-scenes scoop:
When I first heard from Jaime, it wasn’t under the best circumstances. She had just learned her father had pancreas cancer and was working on shifting all of her wedding plans. Their Florida Disney World wedding was relocated to California, in order to make sure her father didn’t have to travel far, and that the wedding was soon enough for him to be comfortable. You’d think that Jaime would have been even a little stressed, but she was always amazingly calm and positive.
As we got to know each other, we learned we had a lot in common. Jaime reached out to me one night on Facebook, and shared that she was adopted like my own baby boy. We began to e-mail back and forth about our experiences, what I can expect, and what Jaime can expect as a parent when she starts the adoption process herself, because she’s hoping to adopt someday. Now, she’s not only a client, but a mentor and friend to my family. It’s one of my favorite parts of the job, getting to know incredible people like Jaime and Sean.
On their wedding day, I had the pleasure to meet and photograph everyone closest to them. It was 103 degrees outside, but even the heat couldn’t keep the smile off Jaime and Sean’s face. Jaime and Sean are the kind of couple where you can instantly see their connection, and it was beautiful to be able to photograph them together. They were also thoughtful to everyone around them, and you could feel how much love they have for their friends and family (who all helped in various ways to make their wedding awesome). Her father was able to walk her down the wedding aisle, which I know was very meaningful and important to everyone in the room. Especially Jaime. After their vows, they danced and celebrated as they made their way down the wedding aisle, and took special care to make sure everyone was having a great time, even this photographer and her assistant. Their venue (Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen) couldn’t have been more perfect, with all of the beads, rich colors, and echoes of live New Orleans Jazz playing below. It may not have been what Jaime had originally planned, but it was perfect.
There are hidden Mickeys embroidered on Jaime’s gown and her sneakers (below) had Stitch and (his girlfriend) Angel shrinky dinks!
(I see one of the hidden Mickeys — do you?)
Let’s meet the beautiful twosome. Here’s Jaime to tell us more about how they met and got together:
Sean grew up in Michigan. I grew up in Southern California. We met online before meeting on-line was cool – sometime in the late 1990’s. Both of us did some Sci-Fi/Fantasy freeform roleplaying online in our teens. Our characters met and we built a story with them (the process is very similar to co-writing a book or a screenplay). We started to get curious about the player behind the characters, and so we started chatting out of character. Soon the chats turned into near daily phone calls, averaging anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. About 13 years passed, and we’d grown into best friends and carried a torch for each other, but we didn’t know where this was going. I had no intention of moving to Michigan, and he had no plans of moving to California. Sean decided to join the Navy in 2009, and we both realized it really wasn’t fair to anyone we were dating since we always had this “what if” in the back of our minds. About the time Sean went to BootCamp, I was undergoing a medical crisis back at home. One of my favorite stories of when I realized he was “The One” was when I was going through everything from MRIs to surgery and the word “cancer” had been tossed around. I had written Sean a letter (the only means of communication in Boot Camp) to let him know what was going on and I had a gal pal over one night to chat. I mentioned to her how I wish I had someone, more than a friend or a family member, who was really in the trenches with me, saying they’d love me no matter what and it would okay, despite the fear that comes along with medical uncertainties. The very next day, a letter from Sean arrived. The first few lines were nearly exactly what I had told my friend I needed the night before. From that moment on, I knew that we needed to meet. We finally met face to face Thanksgiving of that year. I flew from from California to his base in Kings Bay, Georgia – and I already knew, “If this isn’t like kissing my brother, he’s the one.” Lucky for both of us, it was nothing like kissing a family member. Having become best friends over the decade plus, there was nothing more natural than finally being together.
From this point on, the lovely bride will be taking us through their delightful celebration. Over to you Jaime!
Our theme was celebrating life. This was the 3rd rescheduling of the wedding thanks to scheduling conflicts with the Navy. Our original plan was to get married at Shades of Green in Disney World, FL. However, once my dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer in April, we knew time was no longer on our side. So we ditched our East Coast plans and rescheduled everything for as soon as possible on the West Coast, so my dad wouldn’t have to travel. Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen had been a favorite place to eat for me for YEARS, and my sailor enjoyed it too, so once we booked the venue, we embraced the New Orleans Mardi Gras style, decorating with beads and masks, and were free to use lots of color, which made all the wedding attire work out perfectly.
We also embraced the jazzy feel by having Sean’s sister since “My One and Only Love” by Ella Fitzgerald as our processional. I also wrote our ceremony, which didn’t include a ring exchange. Unable to find rings we liked within our budget, I designed a hand blessing ceremony instead, which was beautiful and very meaningful for us. We also did a play on the wine box tradition, by starting a Love Letter box which we can open and read the letters on 2 occasions – when we reach our 25th wedding annivesary, or if, in a time of darkness, we’re considering ending the marriage.Every year, we’ll add a letter to the box on our anniversary.
For years as a bridesmaid, I’d dared my friends to walk down the aisle to “Brick House”. None of them took me up on it. Well, we made “Brick House” our recessional, dancing all the way! It was a fun, great memory.
Sean is a big Star Wars fan, so instead of boutonierres, the guys all wore pins with a different Star Wars symbol on it.
Being “flower free” was important to me. I just didn’t see the point in spending so much money on something we couldn’t enjoy for more than a day or two. So we went with the idea of fans instead.
There’s so much more to love in this wedding so please come back on Monday to see the rest of Jaime and Sean’s jazzy and colorful Mardi Gras-style celebration! Here’s a sneaky peek to whet your appetite:
Thank you so much Jenna for sending your beautiful images of this wonderful wedding my way and congratulations, Jaime and Sean!
Photographer: Jenna Henderson of White Rabbit Photo Boutique
Cinema and Video: Window to the Magic
Dress Designer (bride & bridesmaids): Alfred Angelo
Dress Customization by BJ Munderloh (Bride’s Mother)
Bridal and Bridesmaids fans: custom made by Tina Henley-Hicks
Bridal Jewelry: custom made by Fast Fix Jewelry
Shoes: by Sears with Customization by Heather Bouermeester (Matron of Honor)
Shrink dinks: Jaime Humenay (Bride)
Groom’s Suit: JC Penney
DJ: John Lomber DJ
Makeup Artist: Flawless Faces
Hair Clip: Ola’s Dream World
Cake: Dream Cakes
Clay Cake Topper: Custom made by Marie Segal at Clay Factory Inc.
Coordinator (from Jazz Kitchen) – Bruno Duarte
Venue: Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen
Masks and Beads: Mardi Gras Outlet
Singing during Ceremony: Genevieve Humenay (Groom’s Sister)
Officiant: Jonathon Rossal reading Ceremony written by Jaime Humenay (Bride)
Image submission via Two Bright Lights