One afternoon, Lieutenant Colonel John Robert Dildy paid a very special visit to Virginia Richmond Ernst. John had been seeing Mrs. Ernst’s daughter, Virginia Verret de Marigny Ernst, for two years. Mrs. Ernst, who was terminally ill, already thought of John has her son-in-law, and she was filled with joy when John told her that he would ask Marigny to spend the rest of their lives together.
This visit reflected the importance of family to both Marigny and John. Indeed, family played a huge role in both their relationship and their wedding. Their fathers, both retired physicians, had known one another for years. Marigny’s father casually introduced her to his old friend’s son, John, when they happened to be at the same nonprofit fundraiser. From that chance first meeting, to their first date at Patois during a rainstorm, to the tender moment when John proposed, they built a family together that would help make their wedding day truly unforgettable.
The family kicked off the festivities with a rehearsal dinner hosted by John’s parents in a private room upstairs at Ralph’s on the Park. At the end of the dinner, everyone toasted the couple with a bottle of Perrier Jouet that had been saved for a special occasion.
That festive feeling carried over to the next day, November 9, 2019, when Marigny walked down the aisle of Holy Name of Jesus Church, her parish, toward John, who was standing proudly in his U.S. Army Blue Mess Dress Uniform. As she walked, she carried a bouquet that honored both her parents; in addition to the white roses and olive branch, the bouquet contained her late mother’s favorite flower, peonies, and leaves from her father’s award-winning camellias. The bouquet was placed in a silver tussy mussy, a family heirloom of Meg Farris that has been used in her family for weddings and debuts, and as Marigny walked she could read the engraved names of the women who had carried it before. After a touching ceremony officiated by Fr. Van Constant, Deacon Don Richard and Fr. Doug Brougher, the newly married couple left the church under a traditional military saber arch and headed for Marigny’s family home, christened “Anthemion.”
Like the bouquet, Anthemion was adorned with peonies and roses, with orchids grown by the father of the bride perfectly complementing the navy and gold décor. In another instance of family being at the forefront of the occasion, Marigny’s cousins from San Antonio, who are talented musicians, played during the reception. Guests loved listening to the music as they enjoyed a menu created by Palate New Orleans, which included turtle soup and a slider station. The wedding cake and the streetcar-shaped groom’s cake, both from Gambino’s, rounded out the delectable selection of food.
A highlight of the reception was the newlyweds’ first dance to “The Very Thought of You.” Marigny and John chose this song because its lyrics seemed so reflective of the journey that had led them to that moment.
Marigny and John, who work as a gallery manager and an attorney, respectively, are looking forward to a new journey together this spring, when they take their honeymoon trip. Until then, they’re enjoying the giddy feeling of being married in their New Orleans home. Marigny sums up their story with this quote: “Once in a while right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.”
Coordinator: Kate David Events
Ceremony Music: HNJ Church organist, cantor and trumpet player
Wedding Gown: Pronovias – OBERON design from Town & Country Bridal with additional designs from Bride and Bridesmaids.
Groom’s Attire: U.S. Army Blue Mess Dress Uniform by Marlow White
Bride’s & Groom’s Wedding Bands: Valobra Master Jewelers
Invitation: Gem Printing
Photographer: Norris Nelson Gagnet
Videographer: Kirk Rossitier
Hair: Jimmy Schneider, Monique Munoz & Mary Sanchez
Makeup: Sara Walsh