On one of their first trips as a couple, in 2016, Christina and Chris visited New Orleans and immediately fell in love with the Saint Louis Cathedral, one of the oldest in North America. Christina jokingly remarked, “If we ever get married, I want it to be in this cathedral.” Four years later, in February 2020, the adventurous couple said their vows in front of 100 friends and family members under that same sweeping cathedral ceiling. “The city is all about having a good time, which is what we wanted for our guests,” says Christina. The two self-proclaimed foodies chose New Orleans not only because the vibrant destination is Chris’s favourite city but also because it provided a chance for their geographically diverse family and friends—Christina is Canadian and Chris is American—to enjoy the quintessential New Orleans experience.
There was a special family connection to Christina’s gown, purchased from Opera D’Arte, a Miami-based bridal atelier. The dress designer at this family-run studio happens to be from the same small village in Italy as Christina’s family. “A happy coincidence, which made me even more certain I had picked the right one,” she says.
After their vows, the couple led their attendants and guests in a Second Line parade through the French Quarter, ending at Brennan’s, a restaurant that has been around for more than seven decades. The staircase at Brennan’s became a breathtaking focal point for the celebration. Covered in pink florals, it created a grand entrance for guests’ arrival at this classic Creole spot.
“Having them cater the reception was a dream,” admits Christina. With dishes like fried rabbit bites, coconut shrimp beignets, shrimp and grits and the restaurant’s famous Bananas Foster, this bride and groom treated their guests to the best that New Orleans has to offer.
The couple’s cake came from Gambino’s Bakery, another cherished New Orleans establishment. The King Cake, a Mardi Gras tradition, is a cinnamon-roll-like creation topped with icing in the Mardi Gras colours of green, yellow and purple—a treat they’d been ordering from the bakery and having shipped to their Miami home at festival time for years.
Welcome bags included bottles of homemade hot sauce made with peppers from Christina’s family’s hometown of Calabria, Italy. Also tucked in the bags were local favourites Zapp’s Voodoo Potato Chips and pralines, Mardi Gras beads and tiny bottles of water and Advil—a humorous reminder of a once-in-a-lifetime evening.
Christina Crocco & Chris Malek, February 8, 2020, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Photography courtesy of Tasha Rae Photography
Bridal Gown: Cotin Sposa from Opera D’Arte
Grooms Tuxdeo: MDO
Cake: Gambino’s Bakery
Cermony Venue: Saint Louis Cathedral
Flowers: Antigua Floral + Styling
Live Painter: Alex Harvie
Parade Music: Kinfolk Brass Band
Reception Venue: Brennan’s
Wedding Planner: Brooke Casey