Amber WHITESIDE and Eli MURPHY met in 2013 when they were set up by friends to attend a school dance. Eli was 15 and attending Hannan High School and Amber was 16, attending St. Scholastica Academy. Amber received her Marketing degree from Southeastern, and Eli will graduate in December of 2020 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Eli proposed in February of 2019 during a stroll on the Mandeville Lakefront after a romantic dinner. He had secretly arranged for a photographer to be on site to capture the moment and had a surprise party waiting for them at the home of Amber’s mother, Karen Celestin.
The date was set for August 29 and the wedding planning started immediately, recalls Amber, with Benedict’s Plantation the choice for both the ceremony and the reception. “I liked their layout because I wanted an outdoor ceremony and an inside reception. Everyone there was very nice to work with.”
On the recommendation of a friend, Amber and Eli selected Paige Kirkland to capture the event in pictures with videography by Chuck Billiot. The couple also chose those with personal connections to help celebrate the day. Eli’s former baseball coach, Jeff Tircuit, with Mobile Beat Entertainment provided music along with lighting and a photobooth, and family friend Lucien Gunter presided as the officiant.
After searching locally without luck, Amber said ‘Yes to the Dress’ at Azarue’s Bridal and Formal in Bossier City while celebrating Thanksgiving in Ruston with Eli’s family. The bridal outfit was a low-cut, shouldered ball gown accented in lace with a button-up back and extremely long train.
The flowers, provided by C J’s Florist reflected the event’s color scheme of slate blue, blush and white and coordinated with the four-tier cake which was created by Dream Cakes by Violet and topped with blooms of matching colors. As a nod to their Thursday night tradition of dining at La Carreta and Eli’s fondness of the traditional Mexican libation, his groom’s cake featured a margarita and bottle of Patron.
Following a rehearsal at Benedict’s on Friday, the wedding party and guests enjoyed pre-ceremony festivities at The 19th Hole in Covington. On the day of the wedding, Amber and bridesmaids enjoyed the hospitality of her aunt, Toni Celestin, at her home in Brookstone where the girls enjoyed festive decorations and party food as they got ready for the once-in-a-lifetime event. Aunt Toni further surprised Amber by inviting photographer Paige to document the pre-ceremony celebration.
The wedding party of nine groomsmen, and ten bridesmaids outfitted in dresses of slate blue with blush accents, led the ceremony’s processional. The bride, escorted by her brother, Austin Whiteside, walked up the aisle to “From the Ground Up” by Dan + Shay. A storybook event ensued including traditional vows, a first dance to the tune of “Better Together” by Luke Cohen, cake cutting with bridesmaids participating in a cake pull, and a bouquet and garter toss. The night was brilliantly concluded with a sparkler send-off as Amber and Eli made their way to their night’s carriage—a limo waiting to whisk them away to their new life together.
The couple enjoyed a short honeymoon in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, and has plans to celebrate their one-year anniversary in Cancun.