These Grooms Channeled the Spirit of New Orleans Into Their Fun-Forward Wedding at an Art Museum
New York City-based Philip Cason Crane, right (he goes by Cason), and Fran McGill, who tied the knot on December 11, 2021, have one person to thank for the entire celebration: David Klafter. A colleague of Fran's and a longtime family friend of Cason's, David had an inkling there might be a connection between the pair; he connected them via email in 2019. Sparks flew as soon as they met, and took their first trip as a couple just eight weeks later when they headed to Kazakhstan to run an ultramarathon.
On a quieter trip to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, in November 2020, Fran asked Cason to take a photo for his mother's holiday card—but, instead, handed Cason an envelope containing a letter he had written a few months after they started dating. Foreshadowing their future, Fran had written about his hopes to marry Cason, and, as Cason read the heartfelt note, Fran got down on one knee and made the ultimate proposal in front of his future husband's family.
Back to David: He was there at the altar on December 11 as the officiant of Fran and Cason's New Orleans wedding ceremony, which unfolded at the New Orleans Museum of Art and was attended by 230 guests. The lush Southern celebration, which culminated in a neon-themed dance party with unique signage and a band and a DJ, was planned by the talented Amanda Price Events.
Cason and Fran's welcome party at The Country Club, one of New Orleans' most renowned and long-standing LGBTQ-led establishments, kicked off the weekend. The fun-loving group donned surprise bathing suits printed with photos from the couple's engagement shoot with Lance Nicoll. Always up for a good time (and a photo op), the wedding party took the plunge for the camera.
A Tight-Knit Reunion
Both Cason and Fran grew up with tight-knit extended families—and an incredible group of friends that feel like family. Coming out of the pandemic, this celebration was even more meaningful: It was a reunion for so many after such a long time apart. The couple explain that being surrounded by so much love was emotionally overwhelming in the best way. And they soaked up the love, friendship, and family all weekend long, especially during the getting-ready process when their loved ones donned matching PJ sets.
The grooms wore matching black tuxedos by Ralph Lauren Purple Label, complete with shawl collars, for sharp, timeless ensembles. Cason and Fran selected their suits together, not intending to match—but couldn't resist this movie star look. They completed their wedding-day attire with shoes from Hawes & Curtis.
A Gift Close to the Heart
Cason's custom cuff links were a gift from his mother upon his high school graduation. As a collector of antiques and textiles, she had the baubles made with a textile fabric evoking her passion for Asian art. This meaningful gift hit even deeper on the big day: There were times when Cason wasn't sure his mom, who has stage four lung cancer, would be able to make it to the wedding. She defied the odds to be there, and her presence is a memory Cason will hold close forever.
Tears of Joy
"The perfect day is one that doesn't necessarily go 'perfectly'—it's one where you're smiling, laughing and crying (tears of joy), surrounded by those you love," says Cason, who shared an emotional moment with his father before putting on his boutonnière, composed of a single white ranunculus bloom and pepper berry, ahead of the service.
Black-Tie Wedding Party
Fran and Cason had a joint wedding party comprised of their siblings and closest friends. The group wore classic black tuxedos and floor-length dresses that spoke to the black-tie winter celebration.
December in New Orleans
Cason and Fran chose to get married in New Orleans because of Cason's family ties to the area. The New Orleans Museum of Art spoke to them: They loved its striking architecture and stunning indoor and outdoor spaces. "As lovers of history, art, and culture, the museum had a special significance," Cason says.
The couple wanted a wedding that was as meaningful as it was fun—and hosting it at the museum allowed them to embrace the outdoors, even with a December wedding date. Amanda Price Events took their vision of a sophisticated, classic, and chic celebration and brought it to life, which resulted in a joyful garden party theme for the ceremony and reception an electric, colorful vibe come the dance party.
While the grooms opted for a Paperless Post invite, Dogwood Blossom Stationery created a stunning set of paper materials for the big day. A layered program in varied shades of garden-inspired shades created an ombré effect and laid out the ceremony's order of events. The welcome sign, programs, and napkins all featured a drawing of a mossy oak in the New Orleans Museum of Art's sculpture garden—the exact oak under which the couple said their vows.
With This Rose
Each groom walked down the aisle solo holding a single white rose that they presented to their mothers as they reached the front row.
A Meaningful Moment
The rose exchange was a particular highlight, they say—both Cason and Fran, who is pictured here with his mom, are close to their matriarchs. As for Cason? He holds this memory close: "Having that brief moment with my mother was deeply meaningful to me. In that instant, I thought of all the times we'd feared she wouldn't make it to our wedding day, but she had defied the odds, and it meant the world to me."
A Ceremony Underneath the Oak Tree
The couple wrote their own vows and chose impactful readings, including an excerpt from Justice Kennedy's majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges (the Supreme Court case legalizing gay marriage nationwide) and an excerpt from the Bible (Corinthians 13:4-13) read by Cason's grandmother, Isabella de la Houssaye. "It was deeply emotional for me to have my grandmother read a passage from the Bible," he says, adding that her love and acceptance is not something he takes for granted. "We are so lucky [to have family who loves us] unconditionally and puts our love above less tolerant religious teachings."
Fran notes that the court case reading was particularly poignant: "In that moment, I looked around, biting my lip to keep it together, and had such an incredible feeling of gratitude come over me—that Cason and I were fortunate enough to be living in a time where we could be in Louisiana together and marry, surrounded by friends and family. It was incredible," he says.
New Orleans Second Line
High winds and rain threatened the pair's cocktail hour, but as anyone who ties the knot in New Orleans wedding knows, the second line must go on! The pair embraced this upbeat tradition and paraded through the gardens and into the museum, waving parasols and custom hankies with the couple's crest in celebration.
Concentrate to Find Your Seats
Escort cards were attached to small bottles of cold brew concentrate, courtesy of Cason's brand Explorer Cold Brew. The company was incorporated in several ways throughout the evening, including in the espresso martinis and as favors, so guests could indulge in a pick-me-up the following morning.
Lush, Warm Tablescapes
Dinner featured a palette composed of several shades of green, including hunter, forest, and sage. Amanda Price Events transformed the modern space into a warm, inviting area for guests to enjoy a family-style dinner.
While the evening's festivities were spread across two room, all tables were covered arctic velvet linens and an assortment of floral centerpieces filled with white sweetheart roses, lisianthus, and sweet pea.
A Personal Touch
On each place setting was a personalized letter from the couple thanking each guest for attending their celebration and being part of their community. This personal element was one of many throughout the evening, and a testament to the extended family this couple has built. A rosemary sprig, a nod to Fran's love and passion for cooking, was the finishing touch.
Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler
After dinner, the party truly began, and Fran and Cason dove into their neon, colorful theme—a fun contrast to the elegance of the evening's earlier portions. They peppered LED glow signs throughout the space, including one that read, "Laissez les bon temps rouler" (a French New Orleans phrase that translates to "let the good times roll") above their cake and another that spelled out "The Twelfth of Never," a song by Johnny Mathis, to mark their favor station.
A Vibrant, Neon Party
The vibe for the party was bright, bold, and beautiful and featured furniture with patterned fabrics, a hot pink bar, and painted tropical greenery. A dramatic "Cason and Fran" sign was set against a teal sequin backdrop; it greeted guests and lit up the space as the couple made their grand entrance down the stairs for their first dance, which they took to an acoustic version of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream." (The couple had previously hired Sandro, a New York City-based choreographer and dance instructor to help them with their moves.) After the classic dances were done, everyone hit the floor to two of the couple's favorites, the band A R I Z O N A, followed by DJ Timo Weiland.
What a Day
The couple shared a first look earlier in the day, and the words Fran used to describe that moment echoed as the rest of event, full of raucous fun, unfolded. "It's the kind of moment you keep in your heart forever," says Fran. "We embraced knowing that as soon as we left the room, the amazing whirlwind of the celebration would continue."
Looking back on a weekend he and Cason will never forget, Fran offers others a few words of advice: "If you're having fun, everyone will have fun. Don't sweat the small stuff and remember that you're marrying your best friend—and it will be an incredible day that you'll treasure forever."
Photography, Lance Nicoll
Venue, New Orleans Museum of Art
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Amanda Price Events
Videography, Studio Vieux Carre
Flowers, Antigua Floral
Stationery and Paper Products, Dogwood Blossom Stationery
Grooms' Attire, Ralph Lauren Purple Label
Grooms' Shoes, Hawes & Curtis
Wedding Bands, Tiffany & Co.
Hair and Makeup (wedding party), Faces of Virtue
Catering, Joel Catering
Cake, Bittersweet Confections
Rentals, True Value Rental
Favors, Explorer Cold Brew (cold brew); Haydel's Bakery (king cakes)
Transportation, Big Easy Limos
Lighting, Production, Sound, Audio/Visual, See-Hear Productions
Music, Rachel Van Voorhees (ceremony and cocktail hour); Kinfolk Brass Band (second line); A R I Z O N A (band); Timo Weiland (DJ)
Bar and Cocktails, Ralph Brennan Catering
Rentals, Distressed Rentals
Linen, BBJ La Tavola
Photo Booth and Neon Signs, Boogie Booth
Massage, BHC Massage
Tent, Tents by Design
Getting-Ready Location, Virgin Hotel
Welcome Boxes, The Basketry
Dance Instructor, Sandro