Maggie Martin celebrates 50 years with The Times
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COUSHATTA – Fireworks bursting high over a Red River agricultural field filled the sky Nov. 3, surprising newlyweds Thomas L. Lester and Kimberly M. Biagini as they departed their wedding reception in a flower bedecked 1952 green Chevrolet.
Farmer Ed Lester and wife Lisa Lester planned the spectacle for the couple who had fled the reception in a rain of pale pink roses and had no idea they’d be off in such a spectacular way. The bride’s parents are David and Beth Biagini, of Gulfport, Miss. The groom’s brother, Jay Lester, handled best man duties and the bachelor party with much aplomb.
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What a way to end a magical celebratory gala located in a voluminous tent turned into a lush garden at Cabin Point Plantation, Ed’s ancestral home where his mom, Evelyn Lester, widow of Ed Lester Jr., lives. The groom’s maternal grandparents are Coushatta residents Maxie and Mary Tom Almond.
Wedding party members included: Justin Palatini, Andrew Seay, Dan Swanson, Drew Davis, John Joyce, Josh Snyder, Jon Sochovka. (Photo: Paul L. Schuetze/The Times)
“We held it here because Thomas is sentimental about Coushatta,” explained Lisa.
Thomas and Kimberly, who met at Ole Miss, married earlier in the evening at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Natchitoches.
Mom of the groom Lisa Lester wearing a custom-made dress by Dallas Designer Patti Flowers, and hubby, groom’s dad, Ed Lester Jr. at the reception. (Photo: Paul L. Schuetze/The Times)
Some 350 gathered in the candle and chandelier lit 10,000-square-foot carpeted and floored tent filled with soaring arrangements of peonies, lilies, roses, orchids in fall hues created by Shreveport floral designer Kendall Bailey. Eighteen topiary-inspired arrangements centered tables overlaid with burnished gold linens of varied designs were among the array of arrangements.
When guests arrived, their path to a champagne bar was illuminated by lights from three crystal chandeliers hanging from giant, humble sycamore trees.
And, a menu card outlined cuisine by Margo Bouanchaud, of Baton Rouge, served in four courses: southern churrascaria — a method of cooking; iced seafood bar; A Taste of Italy; and Charcuterie Table.
In the Churrascaria, grilled elk, beef and quail wrapped in bacon plus marinated skirt steak. Moving to Italy, diners could select Crown Rack of Lamb Scottadito and butter-poached lobster — with, of course, yummy sides like butternut squash ravioli and blanched asparagus.
When Natchitoches resident Tommy Whitehead arrived, he headed straight to the 10-foot, 4,800-ton iced seafood bar for “Raw Oysters Shucked to Order.’
And for sounds of music, The Atlanta Rhythm & Grove band played “Earth Angel” for the newlyweds’ first dance and other hot hits for guests.
The Lesters thought of everything, including a television set broadcasting the LSU-Alabama Game which guests lost interest in by halftime when the score was already 16-
Reception notes: The 1952 Chevrolet truck is a familiar sight at Ed Lester Farms Vegetable & Fruit Stand under the Grand Oak, 1165 U.S. Hwy. 84, Coushatta, open from May to July … Wedding Painter Keith Morris, of Baton Rouge, translated the reception scene onto canvas throughout the evening … In an unusual touch, cotton candy was available to eat on paper sticks or topped glasses of champagne, including the groom-bride toast … From the dance floor’s 12-foot-by-12-foot images to the small linen squares handed out at the seven, custom mirrored bars, the newlyweds’ glittery gold monograms were the event’s talisman.
Who came to the party: Dorothy Semon, Tommy and Trish Hogan, Alaina Mei, Carolann Howard, Shreveport Caterer Vicki Potts, Dr. Claude and Bethia Bundrick, Dr. Larry and Stacey Hand, Glenn Lang and Emily Mott, Joe and Karen Dill, John Greco, Jim Nelson and Paul English, all of Dallas, and Rose Cox, of Natchitoches – and Shreveport Photographer Brian Lewis, recording it all with his camera.
The wedding-weekend-to-remember over, and guests returned home, Thomas and Kimberly jetted off Monday to Africa for a safari honeymoon.
Upon their return, they will settle in Shreveport.
Maggie Martin is a Times reporter/columnist. She can be reached by calling 820-7404. Email: email@example.com.
More wedding reception photos at: www.shreveporttimes.com.
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