Photographed by Andy Kyle Roberts Photography
Peace Corps Physicians Marry in the Sculpture Garden
Taiwanese-Canadian Olivia Chang and New Jersey native Ted Pei met when they were both studying at Tulane Medical School. Their first date was The Muppets movie followed by a Papa Grows Funk performance at The Maple Leaf Bar in Uptown. “We fell in love with each other in this bohemian city. We explored the nooks and crannies of New Orleans, went to concerts, danced at festivals, and ate our hearts out at the best restaurants,” recalls Olivia.
A few months after graduating, they needed a break from their hectic work schedules, so the adventurous couple planned a trip to Alaska, a trip that had been on their bucket list. “In Denali National Park, we bushwhacked through shrubberies, hiked up rocky hills, and found refuge in the wild amongst the natural habitat,” recalls Olivia.
“On the fifth day, after a long hike, we finally reached Primrose Ridge, which overlooked The Denali Mountain. It was there that Ted got down on one knee and asked me to marry him!” There wasn’t another soul in sight and the couple celebrated under the Alaskan sky, eating kettle corn popped over a campfire, while the Northern lights danced overhead. It was unusual for them to be visible that time of the year. “Ted and I would like to think that they came out for a special occasion,” said Olivia.
Four years later, Olivia and Ted had completed their residences and were now full-fledged doctors, an OB/GYN and a pediatrician respectively. They often reminisced about their time in New Orleans, however sweet, had been short-lived. They still miss “the natural beauty and raw energy of New Orleans,” especially compared to big-city Boston, said Olivia. The couple knew they wanted to return to New Orleans for their nuptials.
Olivia wanted “an outdoor wedding with the beautiful oak trees draped in Spanish moss.” So, they decided to host their wedding at New Orleans Museum of Art’s Sculpture Garden, where the two had gone frequently for Summer Shakespeare plays. “We also wanted to have a second line in the French Quarter since the majority of our guests were from out of town and we wanted them to experience the New Orleans culture,” said Olivia.
On April 15th, Olivia walked down the grassy aisle in a Paloma Blanca gown to join Ted. The couple took their vows under “The Mardi Gras Tree,” an oak trees draped with an art installation that resembles giant Mardi Gras beads hooked onto the tree branches. After the ceremony, the happy couple and guests made their way to Pine Grove, where the cocktail hour was held, and then to The Grand Hall of the museum.
Guests were served New Orleans traditional fare by Joel Catering. But the highlight was dessert. “We wanted the cake to reflect a display in the museum — George Dunbar’s work that featured gold paintings in geometric shapes,” said Olivia. The cake was a peach and gold white chocolate chiffon cake layered with whipped mascarpone mousse and fresh raspberries flavor. The bakery added touches of edible gold foils and florals throughout the cake. There were also fresh beignets served to guests later in the evening.
After the reception in the Quarter, parasols in hand, Olivia and Ted led their guests in a second line down Chartres Street following the Kinfolk Brass Band. Olivia says the band was “fantastic,” keeping the crowd energized as they paraded down the street. “There was a lot of hootin’ and hollering, and bystanders were taking videos of us because it was the first second line they had ever seen!” They ended their parade in at Jackson Square. Surrounded by celebrating loved ones, they shared a final kiss, marking the end of their amazing wedding day, recalls Olivia.
When reflecting on being married, Olivia says, “I now have a husband! As we said to each other in our vows, we would love each other of what we know, trust what we do not yet know, and have faith in our abiding love in all that life may bring us.”
Presently, Olivia is busy planning her upcoming honeymoon at Yosemite National Park, “Ted and I wanted to relive our engagement trip at Denali National Park. We actually consider Yosemite to be our economical mini-moon,” says Olivia. The couple is moving to Malawi to join the Peace Corps in August. They will be attending physicians at the Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi. “We hope to use our vacation time to explore East and Southern Africa – that will be our real honeymoon!”
Venue: New Orleans Museum of Art | Caterer: Joel’s Catering | Bakery: Melissa’s Fine Pastries | Florist: Iris Florals | Hair and Makeup: NOLA GLAM | Music: After 8 | Transportation: New Orleans Tours | Photographer: Andy Kyle Roberts Photography | Videographer: Montoto Productions | Wedding Planner: Caroline Broussard | Honeymoon: Yosemite National Park, California | Bridal Attire: Paloma Blanca | Bridesmaid Attire: Sorella Vita | Second Line Band: Kinfolk Brass Band