Chloe Vespia Kingery and Finnan Patrick Connick didn’t feel sparks fly when they were first set up by their now sister-in-law. “She mentioned that her boyfriend (now husband and Finnan’s older brother) had a really cute younger brother who had also just started at the College of Charleston, and she wanted us to meet. She set us up for a date weekend, and honestly, it wasn’t an immediate connection,” Chloe admits. They were both new and having fun, but she was intrigued by him and loved that he was from New Orleans, as her father has family from there. It wasn’t until the summer following their freshman year when they actually started dating. 10 years after that, and partly doing long-distance, he popped the question on New Year’s Eve in the French Quarter.
When wedding planning begun, Chloe was still living apart from Finnan in Charleston and missing New Orleans like crazy, so she didn’t hesitate to narrow her venue search to the Louisiana city. She decided to book the Old Ursuline Convent on the spot. “It is one of the oldest structures in the city, dating back to 1745. The building has survived two fires, in 1766 and 1788, which pretty much destroyed the rest of the city. If that isn’t a miracle, I don’t know what is,” she says.
Aesthetic-wise, the bride-to-be drew a lot of inspiration from a trip to Italy she had taken with her girlfriends a few summers back—think lots of lemons and color. To help with vibrant florals, Chloe hired Pistil & Stamen, who she had been following for years. Her mother and her close friend, Kim Peters, collaborated on the invitations, with her mother illustrating and Kim doing the calligraphy. And to help plan everything, the couple hired Josie Azuma of Satchel Planning & Design.
For her big day, Chloe was set on a bridal look with a cape. A friend who had gotten married the year before her suggested Alexandra Grecco, and when London and Lace, near her parents’ house in Columbia, was having a trunk show, she inquired about the “Sawyer” gown. “I tried it on but didn’t immediately go for it. I wasn’t ever able to get it out of my head though, so after trying on many other styles, I decided it was the one. The beading and the cape felt fun and fitting for a New Orleans soiree!” Her something blue Stuart Weitzman heels were gifted to her by her bridesmaids, and she worked with her sister, Madison of Mad Made Metals, to create rainbow moonstone stud earrings.
Finnan wore a Brooks Brothers tuxedo and black Gucci loafers, which were gifted to him by his mother. Bridesmaids picked their own floral dresses, and groomsmen wore tuxes from Perlis. The mother-of-the-bride wore a black and gold gown by bronx and banco, styled with a top hat.
Attached to the convent, St. Mary’s Church hosted the couple’s Catholic ceremony. “Processing into the historic church felt like we were stepping into another world,” Chloe says. After the service, everyone walked to the reception. “As we walked out of the church, there was a tourist group right by the door that was cheering for us and taking pictures.”
For dinner, the menu was filled with New Orleans classics and also featured a taco bar—“it’s always a crowd favorite.” In addition to a wedding cake, there was a king cake tower, and near the end of the party, coffee shooters and beignets were passed out. “I added in ribbon pulls to the cake, which is a Louisiana wedding tradition where your bridesmaids circle around the cake before it’s cut and pull out a charm. Each charm has a significant meaning. It was a small surprise for my bridesmaids and something easy to incorporate in,” Chloe explains.
Then the band fired up and kept the energy high all night. “We even had some of the neighbors, who live near the convent, inquire about our band because they enjoyed listening to them perform from their balconies!” the bride adds. The couple had their first dance to “Real Love Baby” by Father John Misty and spent most of the reception on the dance floor.
For late night, Chloe changed into a white Ellery dress with pale blue fringe and a custom embellished denim jacket with a feather trim by Kelsey Campion of fringe + co. Then Kinfolk Brass Band led the second line to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, where they played “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” “They came in blasting their horns. Some of our out-of-town guests didn’t know what was going on, so it made for a fun moment,” Finnan says. They all ordered the famous purple drink and continued dancing in the streets. At one point, another bride even joined in!