Real Weddings Archive
Please select the links below to view previously featured Real Weddings

Maria And Christopher - A Valentine's Day Celebration in DC

Tracy and Duane - A Celebration of the Arts in DC

Sheeva and Brendan - Elegance and Magic at a Pennsylvania Mansion

Ariana and David - An Oceanside Celebration in Newport, RI

Randi and Christian - A Destination Wedding and a Re-creation

Bonnie and Michael - An Elegant Boston Fairytale

Cori and Jeff - Southern Hospitality
in Georgia

Sara and Justin - Classic Seaside Style in Connecticut

Marcy and Nick - Oceanfront Elegance in La Jolla, California

Melanie and Tim - Southern-Style Splendor in Alabama

Chaney and Chris -
Birmingham Romance

Lindsey and Tim - Relaxed Seacoast-style
in Rye, NH

Mary and Toby - Palm Beach Florida

Jessica and Dante - Bermuda

Read inspriational Real Weddings stories. This month:

Hurricane Katrina ñ Canít Breach Allison and Andyís Determination to Marry

(C) Fred Ungrund, Cincinnati, OH
The Bride:
Allison Liebman, Attorney, Sessions, Fishman & Nathan, LLP

The Groom:
Andy Cannizaro, Professional Baseball Player, New York Yankees

The Date:
(October 15, 2005; New Orleans, Louisiana)
October 15, 2005; Cincinnati, Ohio

Photo (C) Oscar Rajo - New Orleans, LA
Love Blooms in the Big Easy

The city of New Orleans certainly provided a poetic backdrop for Allison and Andy’s five year courtship, which began in the classrooms of Tulane University. As an area native, Andy’s love for the city was innate, while Allison, though hailing from the mid-west, grew to feel at home amongst the city’s transcendent culture. It was, after all, the place where she fell in love and essentially came of age.

When graduation came, Allison decided to remain in New Orleans and attend Tulane Law School, while Andy headed off to the New York Yankees farm team in Staten Island to pursue his dream of playing professional baseball. Although Andy’s profession often kept the two apart, their devotion to each other surmounted the distance. During a visit back to New Orleans, Andy asked Allison to be his wife. She accepted, and the wedding plans commenced
A New Orleans Extravaganza

New Orleans made the obvious location for the couple’s nuptials. With fellow Tulane friends now scattered across the country, it was the perfect destination for a group of people who, like anyone else touched by the city, never could quite pluck New Orleans from their souls. Allison set out planning an extravaganza infused with that special New Orleans flair.

Envisioning an elegant evening affair illuminated with candlelight and bedecked with rich red roses, Allison chose St. Louis Cathedral, one of the city’s most historic and celebrated churches, for the ceremony location. The Sheraton Hotel’s Armstrong Ballroom, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a retractable roof affording panoramic views of the cityscape, made the perfect location for the New Orleans-style reception featuring traditional local fare such as Oysters Rockefeller and seafood gumbo. And of course, they booked a lively jazz band to lead the festivities.

Excitement steadily built as the months ticked away and the plans unfolded. July gave way to August, and out-of-state guests enthusiastically booked plane tickets and hotel rooms for what was sure to be a party to remember. Allison and Andy stood poised – ready to enjoy the fruition of almost a year and a half of careful planning.
Katrina's Nightmare

Of course, sometimes plans change. On the morning of August 29th, less than two months before the wedding date, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana, ultimately flooding nearly 80% of the city of New Orleans. Although Allison had safely evacuated to Atlanta, she found herself cut off from the rest of the world. Her New Orleans cell phone unresponsive, she desperately tried to make contact with Andy, then in Columbus, OH, her parents in Cincinnati, and Andy’s parents, forced to remain in the flood zone due to his mother’s nursing position at a Covington, LA psychiatric hospital. The news unfolded over the subsequent days, painting an ever bleaker picture, and Allison and Andy could do little more than watch from afar as the situation deteriorated.
Assessing the Damage

They both knew that Katrina had sealed the fate of their New Orleans wedding, and although the realization hit hard, they faced much weightier issues. “I was scared because my whole life was left behind in New Orleans,” Allison says. “Andy’s parents were there, and initially we didn't know that they were safe.”

At first, Allison couldn’t bring herself to think or talk about the wedding, but her father finally broached the subject in order to make a decision and inform guests. “Of course, I had to cry when we decided to cancel the wedding, but I couldn't let myself wallow in it. There were too many other people with much more serious problems than my own. I felt guilty grieving over a wedding when others were grieving the loss of family members, homes and virtually life as they knew it.”
Starting Over

Amidst the confusion, Allison relocated with her New Orleans law firm to Dallas and set up a temporary life in Texas. With the honeymoon already booked for October 16th, the couple just wanted to get married and enjoy their vacation. Allison’s mother graciously stepped in to attempt the seemingly impossible – pull off another wedding in less than two months. This time, however, the wedding would be in Cincinnati, as New Orleans was still in shambles. Starting from scratch with no location or vendors, step by step Allison’s mom began to craft a wedding.
Good Fortune and Acts of Kindness

As the couple set out to perform the unthinkable, pieces came together in a remarkable display of a wedding truly meant to happen. They booked their reception at The Triple Crown Country Club, whose staff went out of their way to accommodate a lunchtime reception on the same date as their original wedding. Allison was thrilled when they were able to book the Mother of God Church in neighboring Covington, Kentucky for the morning ceremony. “I felt incredibly fortunate to have found the beautiful old cathedral that was seemingly transported from the streets of New Orleans.”

Another pleasant surprise came when Allison’s priest from Tulane announced he would travel to Cincinnati to perform the ceremony. “We felt so blessed that, considering the circumstances, important people in our lives were still able to play an active role in our special day.”
Last Minute Details

Though the morning wedding in Cincinnati differed from the originally planned New Orleans evening affair, Allison and Andy were able to infuse their event with that special Cajun flavor. The original black and white theme carried throughout the décor accented with white roses and black linens, and they found a lively band with a jazzy New Orleans vibe to lead the festivities. Even their wedding cake, with a fondant bow cascading down three smooth tiers, looked identical to the original cake Allison had chosen in New Orleans.
Triumph Over Tragedy

Allison and Andy of course missed their original New Orleans wedding and the many Louisiana guests unable to attend amidst the turmoil. But from the depths of disaster and disappointment arose an affair steeped in joyfulness and love. An undeniable spark illuminated the scene, as everyone determined to celebrate. For amongst those present, the true importance of the day was plainly obvious – and it wasn’t the location… the details…or even the time of day…. On October 15, 2005, all that mattered was the marriage of Allison and Andy.
How it All Came Together

A special thank you to the following vendors, who worked with Allison and Andy to pull off a joyous occasion amidst the chaos:

Bridal Attire: Pearl's Place, New Orleans
Groom's Attire: Folchi's Formalwear, Cincinnati
Photography: Fred Ungrund of Distinctive Image
Florist: Carol Ruffin of Blossoms
Invitations: Fine Paper and Invitations by Rica Hodesh
Hair: Frank Lauber, Salon at Towne Place, Cincinnati
Makeup: Karen Zollett, Fitting Image, Cincinnati

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