When Matthew Lee Mann met Kristen Michelle Darnall, it was love at first strike! They met after one of his teammates on the Tulane baseball team, Carter Hill, married Kristen’s lifelong friend, Lauren Barksdale. After meeting, they hit it off but remained friends for about three years before they started dating. Then, after a year of being together, Matthew decided to propose to Kristen.

While Matthew was in law school at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, he and Kristen decided to take a weekend trip to New Orleans on October 6, 2007. While walking through Jackson Square in front of St. Louis Cathedral, Matthew got down on one knee and proposed to Kristen. She instantly said yes! After the proposal, Matt had reservations at K. Paul’s and afterward he took Kristen to the Ritz-Carlton for drinks, where their friends who introduced them, Carter and Lauren, met them. (Matt secretly arranged for them to come to New Orleans to join him and Kristen on their special night, unbeknownst to Kristen, of course.)

The couple waited a year-and-a-half for their Baton Rouge wedding because when they got engaged, Kristen had just gotten into graduate school and Matthew was still in law school.

When the wedding finally arrived on December 12, 2008, the ceremony was held at Our Lady of Mercy Church and the bride walked down the aisle in a strapless Vera Wang gown from Mimi in New Orleans with a champagne-colored box pleat top and ivory satin bottom with silk-covered buttons going down the back. The bride also wore an ivory cathedral-length illusion veil. She carried an all-white bouquet of lilies of the valley, roses and hydrangeas designed by Cut Flower in Baton Rouge. Her bridesmaids wore slate blue silk taffeta strapless Melissa Sweet gowns with ruching along the sides. The bridesmaids carried bouquets of hydrangeas, also designed by Cut Flower.

The reception was held at the Camelot Club in downtown Baton Rouge, overlooking the river. The couple danced their first dance to “It Had to be You,” and then the band, The Issue, took over and really got guests out on the dance floor.

Guests also enjoyed a menu of mostly Cajun-inspired food, including stuffed mushrooms, fried catfish strips, angus prime rib roast au jus, pasta jambalaya, jumbo coconut-crusted shrimp, meat pies and a mashed potato bar with crawfish etouffee. The wedding cake was a simple multi-tiered white wedding cake with almond filling and butter cream icing. For the groom’s cake, all Matthew wanted was his favorite: a double-chocolate doberge cake with strawberries on it.

Near the end of the evening, the couple bid their guests farewell and began looking forward to their week-long honeymoon at a resort in the Dominican Republic.

The newlyweds currently reside in Uptown New Orleans while Kristen finishes up her master’s degree in occupational therapy at LSU Health Science Center and Matthew is an attorney at Porteous, Hainkel & Johnson.