Updated: Feb 24, 2020
Deciding what couple to start the blog with was so hard! In the 5 years that I've been a Professional Wedding Officiant, I've officiated almost 400 weddings. Can you believe that!? Sometimes I'm even kind of floored by it myself. Almost 400 different couples with their own trials, triumphs, and love stories. <3 I've been blessed to hear some of THE MOST amazing love stories. From a couple that had been together 20 years and survived battles with cancer and long distance to a couple that spends their lives together travelling on boats around the world (hint hint: see Nadia & Sern below). Seeing as how I can't bring all of ya'll along during the consultations and through the ceremony experience with each couple - I decided to blog some of my faves! <3
As you may have already guessed, I decided to start the blog with the bad ass couple (yes I curse a little lol), Nadia and Sern! What's kind of funny about these two is that... they almost weren't one of my couples. Can you believe it?! Someone NOT want to work with mmmeeee?! Crazy... I know; but true. <3 They were planning to have Sern's dad officiate their union but he decided he'd rather enjoy the service and celebrate with them than have the pressure of performing. So with that being said, they locked in with me and I couldn't have been happier about it. He's from South Africa, she's from Australia, and to New Orleans they came to head down the aisle!
How They Met
These two met as shipmates on a yacht! He was the ship engineer (making sure that bad boy was running smooth) and she was a ship maiden (making sure folks on that bad boy were feeling smooth). No, it wasn't all the way love at first sight but I gotta tell ya - when you're in close quarters with someone day in and day out... things happen (winkwink)! Lol. But hoonneeyyy... when I tell you things took off from there - THEY TOOK OFF. These two were like perfectly paired peas in a pod. Through work craziness and all; love between them grew.
As they traveled around the world on a variety of charter ships and yachts they experienced things most couple don't get to until later in years. There was that one time when Nadia played/was his nurse while they were abroad. Not just a normal nursing situation though - think poor couple, looking for their next gig, feverish, rotting canker soar mouth infection (gross I know... just roll with me), only herbal teas on hand, barely getting by while his mum heard about his condition step by step from "some woman he met on a boat." OMGOODNESS! Lol. I WISH I could make it up.
Needless to say, they found comfort in one another, genuine care, and lots of adventures. Sern told me that he fell in love with Nadia's "ruggedness"; with how she wasn't afraid to go at it all on her own. She was different than any other girl he'd met and he loved everything about her. Nadia told me that Sern made her feel safe. He created space for her to be vulnerable and open up. Seriously ya'll the freaking sweetest.
Learning their love story was like reading a really good romance novel. <3
When They Knew It Was LOVE
This is always such a fun question for me to ask my couples. "When did you know that this was a serious thing rather than just dating? When did you know - this was IT?"
And the answers always have such a broad range. Sometimes I get full on stories *cue romantic music* about the moment they heard their partner laugh hard for the first time. Or when *the music is still playing* they fell asleep together and one of them drooled all over the other but no one moved. LMAO!! I also want to note: those are all real stories I've heard.
But sometimes, I get statements like the ones from Sern and Nadia. They just knew. Nadia never imagined herself the marrying type and Sern never felt like he'd ever been with someone he wanted to marry. They were happily moving along through life - making decisions that kept them connected; refusing jobs that would separate them, only going out with friends that knew them both, and making long term plans together. Plus, when you learn how Sern popped the question... you'll TOTALLY understand why Nadia wouldn't dare say no.
Picture it... Sicily 1922... (any Golden Girl fans out there... no, just me? ok moving on -->) Well, it wasn't Sicily and it wasn't 1922 but it might as well have been! They had been traveling for work and snuck a vacation in for a few days (it was either some place here in the US or in Australia... my notes on the exact location are kinda spotty) and little did Nadia know, Sern had been chasing down a black diamond ring he had made especially for her (if you can't tell by now - black is totally her thing).
They had a suite overlooking the snowy mountain top, had ran a romantic jacuzzi tub (filled with too many bubbles lol), and were having a glass of fancy wine while they reflected on their lives together. In an instant, Sern realized this was the perfect moment! Imagine a confused Nadia, sitting in a jacuzzi with romance eyes, and her boyfriend high tails it out of the jacuzzi covered in nothing but suds. LMAO! I don't know about ya'll but I'm cackling (and I totally snorted when they told the story lol). He grabs the ring, tries to run/briskly walk back over and slips! Needless to say, he caused a scene, cut his knee, fumbled with the ring, and asked her to marry him. <3 After going "What are you doing?!" SHE SAID YES!
Their Wedding Day
The wedding... oh my goodness! Full black gown, private event at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, and a group of amazing friends and family (what Nadia lovingly called a "9Pax"). There were amazing details, lots of laughter, and even more champagne (and cheese). Sern was insistent that I have a glass (or 2) with them before the ceremony, "It's part of our culture." And welp... this is New Orleans! After our meeting (just a few days before), I was able to write a ceremony that was ALL them. Some romance, some laughter, lots of tears, and genuine connection. It was amazing!
Sern was an amazing groom. While we stood at the altar, I looked at him and realized... he still had his wine! "Are you gonna keep that?" Lol. Yes, he put it down just before Nadia appeared at the bottom of the steps. An instant jaw dropper! He was overwhelmed and you could feel the energy of his heart racing as she walked down. Now, Sern is forever a groom that I talk about (which is why I probably picked them first). When we finally got to the part of the ceremony for them to read their own statements to one another - he went first. But, every time he opened his mouth to speak - he started crying! And I mean every-single-time.
Finally, he balled up the vows, threw them on the ground, and started talking from his heart. HE NAILED IT. We were all in tears. It seriously couldn't have been more perfect. As if his tear jerking vows weren't enough, Nadia read a poem that she'd written to him some time back. And finally, them being pronounced as husband and wife -sounded off the cheers! Their 7 friends and family (remember Sern's dad - yep he was there drinking and cheering) let loose and it was joy all around!!
Their wedding is actually featured on Green Wedding Shoes. Check it out.
Their Experience with Me
For me, the experience of us getting to the altar is just as important as the energy shared at the altar. <3 Making sure that couples know they have me as a resource, that I am EXCITED about their marriage, and that I am here to fully support them are some of the deepest points for me.
Nadia & Sern's 5 Star Review
"LaToya is an incredibly warm and shiny presence and our wedding would absolutely not have had the vibe it did without her. We had an intimate event of 9pax that was planned in under three months, and her intuition and understanding of what we wanted and what help we needed was instant. Chatting with her via email and telling our stories over coffee was an absolute pleasure, and on the day we could not have hoped for a brighter, sharper, more perfect person to help us tie the knot! Huge love to you LaToya, we are stoked that you will always be part of our memories!"
Reviews like this really mean a lot to me. They are reminders to keep showing up and celebrating people the way I do. And to be honest, I'm realizing that blogging about my couples gives me extra reminders to pray for and over their marriage. They deserve that - a constant reinforcement of love and well wishes (even if they are a million miles away). Where ever Nadia and Sern are in the world, I hope they are filled with joy, being gentle with themselves, and celebrating their love story over and over again!
Until next time ya'll,