Patrick Walsh Browne III and Joan “Joanie” Blakemore McEnery met when they were “itty bitty,” the couple recalls, growing up in grade school together at Trinity Episcopal School. They parted ways when Joanie and her family moved away to Nashville, but met again at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn. The two were friends who loved to dance together at parties all throughout school, but it wasn’t until they started dating after college when Patrick realized that Joanie was the one with whom he wanted to dance all his dances.
The two had been dating for four years when Patrick decided to pop the question. One evening, Joanie just thought she was going over to her brother Parke’s Uptown home for dinner, but little did she know, Patrick had something up his sleeve. Patrick had bought the house from her brother a week earlier and stood in the entry way surrounded by candles, ready to propose when she arrived. His plan was almost foiled when a pizza delivery guy rang the doorbell at the wrong house, walking in on Patrick’s candlelight proposal! Luckily, Patrick shooed him away right before Joanie walked in. She was shocked when he presented her a ring made of three emerald-cut diamonds – even more so when Patrick told her they were standing in their house, not her brother’s!
The two planned a traditional New Orleans wedding with a ceremony held at Trinity Episcopal Church on June 20, 2009. Father Val McInnes presided over the ceremony, as well as Father Michael Kuhn, a dear family friend that both Patrick and Joanie have known since they were children. He also happens to be Joanie’s boss at Trinity.
Joanie’s brother Parke walked her down the aisle. She wore a strapless Vera Wang gown with layer upon layer of sheer lace and a sweetheart neckline from Mimi. She also wore her godsister’s cathedral-length veil for the ceremony. Her bridesmaids wore long, strapless pale blue dresses from Town and Country and carried bouquets of blue hydrangea and lilies, while the bride carried an all-white bouquet of lilies, her favorite flower, created by Glenda Ivy.
Near the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom knelt on a pillow needle-pointed by Joanie’s mother and grandmother, in memory of her grandfather. Patrick slipped the wedding band that Joanie’s grandfather had given her grandmother on Joanie’s finger and after a kiss, the two were pronounced husband and wife.
An elegant reception followed at the New Orleans Country Club. The newlyweds danced their first dance to “It Had to be You,” and then the band E.L.S. had guests on their feet all night long. As a special treat, Patrick’s 76-year-old father took to the stage and sang “Hello Dolly,” and Patrick and the groomsmen serenaded Joanie with their own rendition of “My Girl.”
Guests were also treated to a room called the “Favorite Foods” room, created by the bride and groom, filled with the couple’s favorite foods: sushi for Patrick and Mexican food for Joanie. Guests were also treated to a menu of beef tenderloin, crawfish etouffe, a garlic mashed potato bar, and a trio of oysters.
The wedding cake, by Haydel’s Bakery, featured five delicious tiers with a band of frosted pearls on each layer and fresh lilies on top. The Country Club made beignets and waiters served them to guests in Café Du Monde paper hats in place of a groom’s cake.
At the end of the evening, the couple left their reception in a golf cart, paying homage to Patrick’s family’s love of golf. They stayed that night at a suite in the Ritz Carlton on Canal Street and spent their honeymoon at Cap Juluca Resort in Anguilla, British West Indies.
The newlyweds reside in Uptown New Orleans. Joanie is the director of development at Trinity Episcopal School, and Patrick is a commercial real estate appraiser for Murphy Appraisal Services LLC.