You can meet the love of your life in a bar… and sometimes, while waiting in line to get into the bar. Before model Brooks Nader turned 21, she was in the line wrapped outside of New York City hotspot Mr. Purple when her fake ID was rejected. A young professional named Billy Haire was there to witness the incident, and neither Nader nor her new friend went into the bar. From there, the two eventually dated.
In 2018, it was Haire’s turn to fake something with Nader… in a way. The digital ad sales exec hired a fake blogger to feign photos along the South Street Seaport, so that a photographer was covertly on hand to document his proposal to Nader. A year later on December 14, the couple married in an all-out New Orleans wedding before 300-plus guests.
Here, they share exclusive details about their wedding with The Knot, including information about her Oscar de la Renta gown, how the ceremony compared to Kate Middleton’s wedding to Prince William, and their Mardi Gras-inspired wedding exit.
New Orleans Had Its Own Role in the Wedding
“I’m from Louisiana and I went to Tulane University for two year before moving up to NYC for modeling,” says Nader. “I’ve always found New Orleans romantic and a great time. Our guests no doubt felt the same way. After viewing lots of venue spaces, we both knew immediately this was the ‘one’ upon entering the space.”
The Bride’s Family Members Had Roles in the Ceremony
While the bride was escorted down the aisle by her father, the groom escorted Nader’s grandmother into the ceremony space, which was held inside the opulent St. Mary’s Church in New Orleans. “I walked out to the same hymn as Kate Middleton,” says Nader. “It fit the holiness and the power of the church!”
The pair opted for traditional vows. “We kept the ceremony decor romantic with lots of floating candles and minimal greenery with two large arrangements on either side of us,” Nader says. “It’s such an extravagant old church, we didn’t want to take away from its details. We even had our bridesmaids and groomsmen sit instead of stand.”
Nader Wore Oscar de la Renta
The bride looked beautiful in a wedding dress by Oscar de la Renta, though she narrowly avoided a bit of a wardrobe disaster. “One of the pieces of the wedding dress was set to make it to NYC from Paris on December 15, the day after the ceremony,” she recalls. “Lucky for me, that came earlier.” She topped her custom gown with a veil by Daphne Newman.
Nader was adorned in “tons of diamonds from Ring Concierge,” including rings, tennis bracelets and more. Of course her engagement ring from Hamra Diamonds and her sparkling new wedding band from Angara Jewelry were also present for the occasion.
Haire went with classic wedding attire in a tux from The Black Tux. Nader says her favorite moment of the day took place during the ceremony. “It was when Billy saw me walk down the aisle,” she reflects. “It was priceless.”
Neon Was Necessary
In the final stretch of wedding planning, the bride decided she wanted a custom neon sign. While the typical vendors like Name Glo and Vida Signs among others were options, the two went with Lite Brite Neon who delivered custom signage “just in the nick of time.”
Adds Nader, “Although our ceremony location and my were very traditional, we had some very fun, more modern and outside-of-the-box components to the reception.” The pair included touches like a custom Hermes blanket in the lounge area, ice sculptures near the bar space, and, of course, their crowning achievement with their “amazing neon sign that read, ‘The Haires.’”
The Bride Did a Dress Swap
Brooks Nader, a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model, swapped into a second gown for the reception. The piece was a custom gown by Viero Bridal and the inspiration for some of her stationery. “I was lucky enough to with the most amazing artist Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York,” she says. “Ceci crated the most gorgeous invitations with a lace-like envelope, which represented my reception dress which was so special and sentimental.”
Other key vendors included planner Leslie Campbell, who’s based in Baton Rouge and managed most details since the couple is based in New York City. Photographer Jenn Ocken captured the glorious sunny occasion.
The Food Was Thoughtful and Flavorful
“In true New Orleans style we had a 90-minute cocktail hour,” says the couple. The couple offered up passed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails while a brass band played “upbeat” New Orleans jazz music as their hundreds of guests mingled.
The couple served lots of fresh seafood, “a must when in the ‘Big Easy,’” they add. “We obviously had to stuff our guests with delicious New Orleans cuisine and cocktails. We also had a second line after the reception to the after-party, which we shut down a part of the French Quarter for.”
The Groom’s Cake Paid Homage to His Dream Team
While Nader had a clean and sophisticated seven-tier cake with flowers cascading down—Billy Heroman’s made the flowers explode throughout the nuptials with Tibet roses sprinkled everywhere—the groom had a sentimental cake close to his heart. “Billy’s cake was NYC-themed,” says Nader. “It featured the New York skyline and call-outs to his favorite sports teams, the New York Rangers and the New York Giants.”
The Exit Was Everything
“Our exit was very similar to a Mardi Gras parade,” says the couple, who partied the night away in the Ursuline Convent in town. “All 310 guests had beads and white napkins they were throwing around.” The couple walked out holding black and white Mardi Gras-style umbrellas. We even had a brass band lead the charge.”