Dr. John Ernst and Virginia Richmond have known each other since they were teenagers, when they first met at a Jesuit High School dance. Soon they were madly in love with each other. He was 18 and she 17 when he asked her to marry him (Mrs. Richmond, Virginia’s mother, explained that they both had to graduate from college before they could get married). John attended medical school and Mrs. Richmond took Virginia to London where she attended the University of London so she would be far away from John.
Virginia was called home to make her debut early and reign as Queen of Prophets of Persia, so she began attending Tulane University. She and John were near each other again. Finally, John graduated from Medical School and Virginia from Tulane, and they were married one week later.
Before they were married, John's close family friend, May Legendre, interviewed Virginia to make certain that she would be a suitable wife for John and after a few questions such as, “Are you a Republican?” and “How late do you stay out at night?” she told John, “You’ll be mad as hell with her, but you’ll never be bored – she’s perfect for you!”
There was a minor problem: John was Catholic and Virginia was Presbyterian, so they had two wedding dates. First they were married at St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church, with the reception at Mrs. Richmond's home at 3 Richmond Place. Metairie Ridge Florist created a magical setting in the Richmond home and garden with hundreds of gardenias, magnolia blossoms, greenery and candles. Four hundred guests dressed in formal attire attended the reception. Mrs. Richmond even created a secret door so the servants could serve all of the guests properly.
Virginia’s dress was from The House of Balmain and was created especially for her with the help of close friend Harby Kreeger. He also collaborated with her on her going away outfit. The cake was from Gambino’s. Mr. Ernst bought an inconspicuous dark blue Chevrolet for the getaway car so no one would decorate it in a tacky fashion. Of course, Dr. Noel-Serge Meadows found it and decorated it so that when they left for their honeymoon, it was very identifiable. They spent the first night at the Maison de Ville, then were off to The Grand Hotel and finally to the King and Prince Hotel on St. Simon Island.
John and Virginia just celebrated their 50th anniversary, and he gave her two diamond-studded rings: one for the wedding in the Presbyterian Church and one for the wedding in the Catholic Church.