Courtade Carrère Miller and David James Critchell met six years ago at a work event in New York. Courtade worked in public relations for restaurants and chefs in New York and David was one of the journalists invited to attend a dinner she had arranged. After that first work dinner, David kept stopping by the office for random visits – not something that many journalists do after public relations events. Fortunately, Courtade welcomed David’s visits and they began dating soon after.
In December 2010, David had made plans to propose to Courtade during a romantic dinner. She got held up at work and several hours after the dinner plans were cancelled, David decided that he was going to propose when she
got home. Things were going smoothly until Lauren Scott Miller, Courtade’s sister, called to say she was locked out of her apartment and a locksmith wouldn’t be able to open the door until Monday. Stranded, Lauren asked if she could stay the weekend.
The next morning David was feeling a little dejected at the lost opportunity, but was determined to wait for the next opportune moment to propose. He called his sister, Vanessa Daugherty, and explained everything that transpired over the past day. Vanessa explained that it wasn’t how one proposes but the very act of proposing that was special. Comforted by his sister’s words and resolved in his mission, David rushed home, saw that Lauren was out, tossed the dry cleaning on the couch and immediately dropped to one knee.
On April 16, 2011, Courtade and David married at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in the French Quarter. The church was conveniently located next to the Soniat House, the hotel the bride and groom’s families had taken over along with their guests; it was also close to Antoine’s, where the reception would be held.
Courtade’s wedding dress was made by Jim Hjelm and purchased at Town & Country in New Orleans. Courtade had been visiting with her mother and decided on a whim to swing by the store an hour before closing time. She only tried on four dresses, and the very first dress she tried on ended up being the one she bought. Her veil, lovingly restored by Gentle Arts of New Orleans, was originally owned and worn by her great-grandmother, Mary Ellis Leake, as well as her mother.
Her bridesmaids wore floor-length, French blue chiffon dresses made by Amsale and purchased at Town & Country. Their earrings were a bridesmaid’s gift created by Stephanie Carendi, a dear friend of Courtade’s, who makes sterling silver jewelry for her company, V. Carendi. The earrings were in the shape of blades of wheat that matched the lace of Courtade’s dress. Lauren Miller, Courtade’s sister, served as maid of honor.
Marcia Gauthreaux from Salon Dante did Courtade’s hair as well as her bridesmaids’ and the mothers’ of bride and groom. Cecil Covert did an equally beautiful job with all of the wedding party’s make-up.
David and his father wore matching bespoke white linen suits by Ermenegildo Zegna. The groomsmen wore matching Italian-made white linen suits by Effetti. The groomsmen also wore white shirts and the same Hilfiger ties as David. William Christian Peter Van Nes was David’s best man.
The couple wanted to have their reception at Antoine’s because Courtade’s family has been dining there for many years; pictures of many of Courtade’s family members’ hang on the walls including one of her great-grandmother, Mary Ellis Leake, and her great great-grandfather, Hunter Collins Leake. Courtade also knew that her family would be in the good hands of their usual waiter, Charles Carter, a fourth-generation waiter at Antoine’s. The restaurant’s upstairs was adorned by the flower creations of Meade Wenzel.
The couple had a cocktail-style reception with passed hors d’oeuvres of Oysters Foch and souffléd potatoes followed by a buffet that included alligator soup, chateaubriand, trout amandine, oysters Rockerfeller and crab claws.
The wedding cake was four-tiered, made by Flour Power. It had alternating layers of lemon
and fresh berry-soaked white almond cake. Antoine’s signature baked Alaska was served in place
of a groom’s cake.
The Original Pinstripe Brass Band led a second-line from the church to the reception, where Deacon John & the Ivories kept the majority of the guests on the dance floor all night. Courtade and David had their first dance to Otis Redding’s “That’s How Strong My Love Is.”
Chris Williams of Zoeica Images served as photographer for the wedding. Sallie Miller managed to round up every member of the Carrère family (Carrère is Sallie’s maiden name) for a large family portrait; there were so many Carrères in the photograph that Chris needed to stand on a chair pressed against the far wall to fit everyone in the frame. Bobby Nelsen from Nelsen Video Production in Mandeville was
Courtade’s going-away outfit was a white silk dress made by Oscar de la Renta and Manolo Blahnik heels, both purchased at Marissa Collections in Naples, Fla., where her parents live. The couple honeymooned at Verana, a small eco-resort of nine villas on the Pacific coast of Mexico, just south of Puerto Vallarta near a small fishing village called Yelapa. The newlyweds spent a week relaxing surrounded by the jungle, ocean and far from everything else.
The couple resides in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Courtade works in the film and advertising industries as a freelance production coordinator, and David is a freelance magazine writer and a sailboat captain in New York Harbor.