Thirty years ago, Clem Goldberger met William Arthur Morgan at a coffee shop. While neither remembers exactly what they said to one another, Clem does recall Bill telling her that she was pretty. Bill asked Clem on a date to UNO’s Jazz Club, the Sandbar. They were a couple for many, many years before deciding to get married.
On Clem’s birthday, Bill gave Clem her gifts and then left the room. When he came back, he had one more present for her: a ring they had bought as a souvenir from a trip to Africa. Knowing he wanted them to design the engagement ring together but wanting to keep the element of surprise, Bill proposed with this “placeholder” ring. After she said yes, Tiffany Adler helped them create a ring using family diamonds worn by generations.
Clem had always loved the Pavilion of the Two Sisters at City Park, both for its architectural features and the fact that made an indoor/outdoor event possible. On the evening of Sunday, October 25, 2020, the couple was married in the Pavilion’s Camellia Garden. Under a chuppah created with gold iron screens and columns, heavily covered with white and ivory flowers and foliage with hanging votive candles, they exchanged vows and rings, with Clem putting Bill’s father’s ring from 1944 on his finger.
As luck would have it, the place Clem already loved was also the perfect place to have a wedding with COVID restrictions! There was ample room at the Pavilion of Two Sisters to space out chairs and tables to accommodate guests while still abiding by the mayor’s guidelines.
COVID restrictions were a factor in other aspects of the celebration, including the rehearsal dinner co-hosted by Dr. Raphiel and Karen Benjamin, Clem’s aunt and uncle, and Joan and Julian Feibelman. Palate New Orleans created a socially distanced cocktail supper. The meal took place throughout the Feibelmans’ home and included eclectic passed hors d’oeuvres, a landscape of entrée bites in individual clear containers and a buffet attendant serving the main course from hammered copper chafers.
Clem and Bill also created COVID-inspired wedding favors. As guests entered, they were encouraged to sign the guest book with a personalized ballpoint pen that doubled as a keepsake. Guests also received face masks imprinted with the names of the bride and groom and the wedding date.
These masks could be seen throughout the evening at the reception inside the Pavilion, which was decked out in the same white and ivory as the Chuppah, providing an elegant complement to the venue’s greenery. Soaring arrangements of orchids appearing to bloom on willow branches rose from tall glass trumpet vases. This color scheme also appeared on the tables, which featured white linens with ivory organza toppers and satin borders.
Sitting at those beautiful tables, guests enjoyed the menu created by City Park’s catering staff under the direction of Pat O’Shaughnessy. Everyone raved about the food, especially the crabmeat ravigotte, crab cakes, shrimp dishes and grilled tenderloin. Bill and Clem were having so much fun that they completely forgot about their first dance! They had jokingly planned to play “At Last” by Etta James, because they had been together for so long.
After the wedding, they spent a few days on “staycation” before returning to their home here in New Orleans, where Bill has retired from a career in social work and Clem has recently ended her career at The National WWII Museum. Decades in the making, this wedding was right on time in 2020, reminding us that love inspires creativity in the face of adversity.
Coordinator: Melanie Martin, New Orleans Celebrations
Celebrant: Rabbi Barry Weinstein; Rev. Robert Massett assisting
Music: Ceremony: Harry Hardin, String Quartet; Reception: Ben Schenck & Panorama Jazz Band
Wedding Gown: Martina Liana, MaeMe Bridal Boutique
Groom’s Attire: Tie & cummerbund from Perlis
Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Adler’s (custom made with Tiffany Adler)
Florist: Stephen Sonnier of Dunn & Sonnier Antiques, Flowers & Gifts
Invitation: Crane, Betty Hunley Designs
Caterer: Pat O’Shaughnessy, City Park Catering
Wedding Cake: Swiss Confectionery
Photographer: Jeff Pounds Photography
Hair: Sandy Dantin, Brooks & Company
Makeup: Shay-Leigh Gill, Brooks & Co.