A year after studying abroad in Berlin, Germany, Emily Dumas got together for trivia night with the group of students she participated in the program with. John Patrick McLemore happened to be at the same bar and grill, recognized some college friends at her table, and approached to say hi. He and Emily chatted throughout the evening, and John Patrick got her phone number from a mutual friend. “It’s been love ever since!” reveals Emily.
After graduating, John Patrick worked in Scotland for four years until he was finally able to move back to the United States. Living just outside of New Orleans, he was much closer to his beloved Emily. One rainy March day, he met his sweetheart in Alabama, where they went to the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. “After working up his courage and laughing about the bad luck with the weather, John Patrick got down on one knee and asked for my hand in marriage,” shares Emily. Naturally, she said yes.
Though they considered venues in New Orleans, the pair ultimately decided to get married at a manor belonging to the family of the groom. The wedding theme was “British Garden Party” – much like what Her Majesty The Queen throws every spring to celebrate the good weather. Once they chose a date for the celebration, the lovebirds realized it would be Earth Day. “I took [the date] as a sign to incorporate tones of blue, green, and white into the florals,” explains the bride. “[I also] wanted touches of blush in my flowers and on the head table to really bring out the colors of the blues and greens inside of the reception and cocktail hour spaces.” While they always had a backup plan in case of rain, they were blessed with sunny skies for the alfresco ceremony and tented reception.
In addition to the United Kingdom touches – including vintage English china for place settings and Scottish thistle in the bridal bouquet and boutonnieres – Emily and John Patrick incorporated their love of J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels into their big day. A wooden sign with The Hobbit quote “No admittance except on party business” hung on the door to the bridal suite while Emily and her bridesmaids got ready. Another quote from the author, about adventure, was written on a painted globe that showcased where the bride and groom lived during their relationship. “I loved having magnolia leaves with gold calligraphy on the head table,” shares Emily. “It’s reminiscent of the Elven leaves that the members of the fellowship of the ring [from The Lord of the Rings trilogy] all wore on a brooch.”
Despite these personal touches, the bride and groom agree the most unique aspect of their day was having the opportunity to host their nuptials on a property that had been in John Patrick’s family for so many generations. “Being where so much history for the McLemore family took place made the wedding day all the more special,” muses Emily.