“One day, if I’m lucky enough to get to 13 years of marriage, I will celebrate,” I told myself a few years after getting married. Luckily, this year we had the opportunity to celebrate, and we did!
We went back to the place where it all began, at the Columns Hotel on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. This historic hotel is quite the experience, both as a hotel guest and when throwing a party or an event. As you can see from this video, the setting could not be any more classic New Orleans.
The menu included Miniature Muffulettas, Caprese Salad Brochette, Miniature Crawfish Pies, Louisiana Crab Cakes with Lemon Butter Sauce, Aligator Sausage, Prime Rib, Raw Oysters, Baked Oysters Rockefeller and Bienville, and Crawfish Pasta.
Instead of his and hers cake, since we didn’t have to “cut the cake” as in a traditional wedding, we chose his and hers cupcakes instead. I’ve already shared the Red Velvet Cupcake recipe with you, and some day, when I finally come down from my current sugar coma, I’ll share the Peanut Butter Cup Cupcake recipe as well.
When our friends asked the type of party we were throwing, I explained that we were essentially planning another wedding reception, since no detail was left unchecked from the process. From Save-the-Dates, Invitations, Dessert planning, music, decorations, choosing the dress… all had to be done again. Honestly, I feel that I worked harder to put this party together than I did planning my wedding!
13 years is a lot to celebrate. For starters, the friendship and respect Eric and I have for each other is stronger now than when we first got married. I love being able to look back and see our incredible journey as a couple and parents; and most importantly, our attitude remains that “we are in this together.”
We also have three amazing kids, a gift we don’t take for granted each day we are lucky enough to wake up and live another day with them. Our children have taught us more about life and perspective than possibly anything else this last decade. They are kind, loving, and accepting souls; and while they still bicker like all siblings do, they too share our “family first” sentiments.
Now that they are homeschooled and we’ve had the opportunity to travel extensively with our kids, both Eric and I feel that this celebration was more about the life we’ve been able to build for our family and the ability to celebrate with our friends and family. The only person missing was “Uncle Joey” since he is stationed with the Navy in Washington, but that was easily solved as you can see below.
Some of our close friends traveled a distance to be here and celebrate with us; including my dearest friend Ashley, who also happens to be my first American friend. She had the patience to play with me and be my friend for a whole summer and slowly teach me conversational English, and our friendship is something I’ll always cherish.
These guys, though, I’m pretty sure saw our menu and came for the food. I’m kidding! Alcides and Kathleen are some of my closest NY friends, and they came to celebrate and explore New Orleans. They are now letting everyone else know that they too should visit NOLA -it’s their new favorite city!
Of course, Eric got to celebrate our party with his closest friends. Friends he’s had since high school and whom he can call up anytime.
For photography, I flew down my talented friend and staff photographer Alison Bickel, who has photographed all three of my cookbooks and many of my projects. From photography, video and audio, marketing, detail planning, social media, to our intern, the entire MOMables team was present.
After the party, a group of us rode the street car and headed downtown to the Piano Bar, an iconic experience inside Pat O’Briens. Continuing the after-party tradition from our wedding, it was an evening full of fun and entertainment.
We couldn’t have asked for a better time together, and we feel tremendously lucky to have had the opportunity to celebrate 13 years of marriage with our friends and family.
And these guys? They are future wedding crashers.
Thank you for letting me share this fabulous experience with you.