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“A Wedding Tale Through My Eyes”

08/19/2014 10:55AM ● Published by Robert Frey

Gallery: A Wedding Tale [8 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Brooke Thibodeaux As Told By Michelle Matthews Calloway

Editor’s note: For every wedding there is a beautiful blushing bride and a handsome, yet nervous groom. Each couple has their unique story – but do you wonder what is going through their mind as they count down the days up to the wedding and exchange of vows? Brooke Thibodeaux and her fiancé Caleb Joseph Villnerve will marry on October 25, 2014. Here, Brooke shares excerpts from her personal bridal journal.

Before I begin this journey with you, let me tell you a little about myself. My name is Brooke Thibodeaux, a 29-year old woman with a beautiful eight-year-old daughter named Bailey Marie Hoffpauir. I have a wonderful full time career with Manheim Auto Auctions as a field sales representative and I am very close to my family. 
I have been married before, but I wouldn’t call the ceremony an actual wedding. It was spur of the moment when I was 20 years old and thought I knew what I wanted in life. The wedding was SO spur of the moment I got married in my Senior prom dress...yes, I said Senior prom dress! 
Anyway, that is a whole different story. I learned many lessons since then and I was able to come out stronger than I ever thought I would be, and gained a beautiful baby girl in the process.
Like every little girl in life, I always imagined how I would be proposed to, the dream wedding I would have and even imagined what my knight in shining armor would look like. 
Then it happened! I met him, the man that I was meant to spend the rest of my life with, Caleb Joseph Villnerve. He was everything I could have asked for, and SO much more. He loves me and my daughter unconditionally, is my calm in this crazy adventure we call life, my biggest fan and supporter, my rock and my very best friend. And we’re getting married!

December 27, 2013

We left for New Orleans this morning and I feel terrible. I think I have the flu, but I know how much Caleb wants me to go to this wedding with him. Hopefully I can kick this cold before the wedding tomorrow.

December 28

I woke up this morning, don’t have any strength and still feel exhausted, despite the whole night of sleep I just got. My chest hurts, I can’t breathe and my back along with the rest of my body hurts like crazy…definitely the flu!! Caleb asked me if I just wanted to go home. Aggravated, tired and hurting I told him yes. With no fuss, he packed us up and drove me back home apologizing the whole way. He did say something that annoyed me even more than I already was: “One day you will laugh about this weekend!” 

December 29

I woke up this morning and was actually able to eat something!! Food, real food!! Caleb and I have been looking for houses lately, and now that I feel better than death, he asked if I wanted to go look at the house we just put an offer on. I told him that I still wasn’t feeling 100% but a trip there and back wouldn’t hurt. 

Ron, our sales rep, was at the location and opened up the house for us. We walked around talking about where we would put items in the house. I leaned over the counter, feeling short of breath. My flu symptoms were still around. 

My back was facing Caleb when he started talking to me. “So this is where we are going to spend our lives together?” “Yes,” I said with my back still to him. “So this is where we are going to raise our kids?” he continued.

Feeling a weird feeling almost like, ‘Why is Caleb asking such creepy questions?’ I answered yes again while turning around. Caleb was standing right in front of me and then asked, “Will you marry me?” I instantly felt a rush of excitement rush through my body and spit out the words, “Are you serious?” He got down on one knee, pulled out the ring and asked me again with tears in his eyes. I started crying saying, “Yes! Yes I will!!” 

The ring is beautiful and I have forgotten all about my flu...aside from the continuous coughing coming out of my body from the excitement. You guessed it: Caleb intended to propose when we were in New Orleans. Ha! Ron took a picture of us in the house right after. I look like death, but it was the moment I will remember forever and now one of my favorite pictures. 

December 30

I am not sure if it is still the excitement of yesterday, but I got up this morning and put makeup on. Time to let my girls know the good news and to ask them to be bridesmaids. I had made a card last night for each of them. I went to the store and picked up a bouquet of flowers and a ring pop for each girl. I texted everyone last night to find out where they would be today so that I can surprise them. 

I have already called my “Man-Of-Honor” and told him the good news. Trever Thibodeaux, my little brother, said ‘yes’ before I could even finish asking him. I think he may have been more excited then I was!! Trever will always be my baby brother and my best friend, my biggest support and the person I can share my deepest, darkest secrets with. I love you to the stars and back, Bubbah, YOU ARE THE BEST!!!

One by one I surprised all of my bridesmaids either at work, in a restaurant, or even at their homes with the flowers, card and ring pop. I am so blessed to have amazing girl friends that jumped up and down with me, and cried with joy in the news. 

Time to get home, take a shower and make some decisions. There is so much to do, plan and think about, I can see how some people feel overwhelmed! 

January 8, 2014

October 25th, 2014. Setting the date makes it feel so official now. How exciting and nerve racking! 

January 11

Today we booked The Pavilion for the wedding and the medium ballroom for the reception at River Oaks in Lafayette. They also do catering!! Two birds; one stone!! I’m so excited! The more I do the more the experience becomes real. 

January 20

I called my Mom along with texting a few of my bridesmaids to see if anyone was free to go look at dresses with me today. Bailey and I went to meet my Mom, and then April Theriot came to meet us at the first bridal shop. So crazy...what kind of dress do I want...what looks good on me...what will take Caleb’s breath away?

We finally end up at Lemon Drop in Broussard. Sonya, a bridal consultant and my new favorite person, greets us at the door with a smile and a pleasant, “How can I help you?” I tell her what we are there for and she puts me in the biggest room they have.

Dresses, dresses and more dresses... they are everywhere!!! I start trying them on, still not knowing what I want, but Sonya, listening to me and being amazing at her job, could tell what I liked and didn’t like after trying on only three dresses.

Here we go...she comes back in with a dress and says, “I found this one and I think it is exactly what you are looking for.” I try it on...OMG!! It fits like a glove; don’t cry, don’t cry. Bailey, my little girl, tells me I look like a princess; don’t cry; don’t cry. 

It’s time to walk out to show April and my Mom. The second I walk out both my Mom and April start to cry and I can’t hold it in anymore. This is it; this is the dress that I am going to marry my best friend in. It is perfect!! Like Sonya says, “If you cry in it, you buy it, cause it is the one!” 

Oh my goodness, I am getting married and I have now found my dress!

January 21 

I put a deposit on my dress at Lemon Drop. 

January 24

I received a wedding bag of goodies and checklist from Ariel Broussard. 

January 29

Booked my makeup with makeup artist Lail De Launay and hair for all the girls and me with Elise Langston of Avarie Salon. Two things down, a hundred more to go. Hopefully the rest will be as easy as this.

February 1

I may have found my bridesmaid dresses today, but they did not have any in stock for April Theriot or Jennifer Tate to try on. :( 

February 5 

After stressing and searching for four days the lovely April has found the dress in Lafayette and it is in stock for us to try on. Why didn’t I think of calling Sonya at Lemon Drop in the first place!

After work April and I met at Lemon Drop with Sonya, and she pulled the dress for us and had April put it on. When April walked out I fell in love with it! Long, laced with a key hole back and it comes in navy. It is just what I envisioned for the bridesmaids. I took a picture of the front and back and sent all of my bridesmaids a message with pictures, the price and the deadline to buy their dress. I filled out the form that Sonya gave me with all of my girls’ names while April ordered her dress. One major thing done and I heard back from all my bridesmaids except one. I’m moving in the right direction and starting to feel like the ball is finally rolling. 

February 6 

I booked Broc Credeur as the DJ for the wedding today. Checking one more item off. 

February 7

Lori Clark is one of my best friends and when it comes to knowing what I like and my style I trust her 100%. When she told me one of her friends was a florist and did amazing work, I believed her with every fiber in my being. Lori set things up and we went in to meet with Mia at Root Floral Design today. A young artist with a new twist on old traditions, she was perfect. This meeting was by far one of the best things I have done!

February 8  

We picked out tuxes today. Caleb looked so handsome in his tux. 

February 19  

I decided on my Save-the-Dates about a month ago. I found them on Pinterest and thought they were adorable!! I figured out how to make them today so after getting the paper I needed, printing the information on the papers and getting them cut it was time to have some fun. I invited all of my bridesmaids and best man to my house for a Save-the-Date making party. 

It was so nice to have my friends around me helping and supporting me in this process and everyone getting along. I was filled with happiness and love knowing that these girls will have my back in anything that I do. 

February 25

So, I am having a ‘stay in the house on the couch kind of day’ today. I just feel like I need a day off to refresh my body and mind.

It is a day for me to play on Pinterest and get some things ordered if I can find them. So by clicking on the links that I have pinned of items I liked, I was able to order my cake topper, the favors for our guests, a decorated basket for the favors to go in, two lanterns to use for decor, the unity stand and the glass vase it will go in, my garters, and the blank invitations that I will be sending out for the wedding. 

I also called and talked to my Mom today about my “Something Old, Something New; Something Borrowed And Something Blue.” My new is the dress and for my borrowed I have decided to use the same earrings my mom borrowed from her mother on her wedding day. It is a way for me to remember and bring my grandmother’s memory to the wedding also.

For my old and blue I told my Mom that I wanted an old uniform of my dads to be cut and put together in something for me. My Dad is a retired state trooper and their uniforms are navy blue, so it will be perfect for my old and blue.

I nearly left my Mom in tears after I told her everything I wanted to do. I’m blessed to have such a close family and although we don’t say it nearly enough, I love them more than words can describe and would be lost without any of them.

I also decided to put my Mom in charge of the centerpieces. A very productive day to say the least, oh and I almost forgot the best part!! Decided that I wanted to do NOLA Red Dress Run for my bachelorette party. 

March 7

We bought my wedding dress today!! Eeeekkkk!!!!

March 10

We finalized the guest list today and booked Malibu to officiate the wedding.

March 19

I sent out my last reminder today to ALL my bridesmaids: “This is my last reminder ladies. You have a week and a half to go get fitted and order your dress. We are ordering the 31st. No dress, no walk! Love y’all!” 

I really hope everyone goes and gets fitted and orders her dress, it would be terrible if someone didn’t. I’m so worried about it, because Sonya told me that we need to order the dresses by the 31st to ensure they come in enough time to allow the girls to get fitted. 

I also decided to add my little cousin Hanna Hebert to the list of bridesmaids today. She is the little sister I never had and I am fiercely protective of her. So it was only natural that she be in the wedding. Very short notice with the dresses being ordered in a week, but she is already on the way to Lemon Drop to get it done! 


March 25

Wedding registry today!! So much fun to pretend that whatever you scan is magically yours! 

March 31

Sonya ordered bridesmaid’s dresses today and while this should be one of the happiest days for me, Sonya just told me that one of my bridesmaids did not get her dress. No phone call, text message, voicemail or anything to let me know why she didn’t go and get it. Why didn’t she call? Why hasn’t she called in months? Why did she say yes, if she really didn’t want to be a part of this day? 

I guess every bride goes through something traumatic, but this sucks. Crying, crying and crying...that is what today has been. 

April 1, 2014  

To get my mind active again and off of all of the chaos, I went to the Silver Suitcase and bought my bridesmaid’s gifts and groomsmen gifts. A one-stop shop for gift buying for the guys and girls, they made it so easy and are even going to wrap the gifts in my wedding colors. I am feeling better after paying and selecting the gifts for these girls and guys. I guess a little retail therapy was just what the doctor ordered! 

April 6

My photographer was easy to choose. Pam Belmore watched my brother and I grow up and she is like an unrelated Aunt to us. She is also an amazing photographer. We set the dates for pictures: engagement, May 31, bridals, September 13 and the wedding on October 25.

April 10

My Mom met Bailey and me at the house today and we hit Lemon Drop with a mission. Find the flower girl dress and the Mother-of-the-bride dress. I know what I want for Bailey; I saw it at the shop last time I went in. It matches my dress, but it also matches the bridesmaid’s dresses. Sounds crazy and impossible, but certain things on this little dress tie my dress in to hers and certain things tie in the bridesmaid’s dresses to hers. I hope she likes the dress I picked, cause it has to be the one she wears!! Whew! She loves it!! 
Now to my Mom: My Mom is a sassy yet modest lady who has a rocking body (hopefully that gene was passed down to me), so I want her in a dress that truly fits her personality. Sonya isn’t here today, so we are working without my good luck charm. :-(

Does this come in plum? YES!! It is perfect!! Shows off her sassy shape and personality, yet still very classy and young. I love it! We ordered Bailey’s and Mom’s dress together and I was told their dresses should come in around the same time as the bridesmaid’s dresses. 

April 15

Cake shopping today!! Classic and simple screams ‘elegant’ to me, so I am looking for a three-tier cake with maybe a strand or two of pearls along the bottom where each tier connects and my cake topper on top. I called around and went in to every bakery I could find looking for my cake.

Wait, hold on, didn’t what’s-her-face get her wedding cake at Rouse’s?? And it was good from what I remember. When I get to the store I go straight to the bakery and ask if they do wedding cakes. ‘Yes ma’am we do.’ Do y’all deliver the cake? ‘No, I am sorry we don’t.’ Oh well, let me look at what they have anyway. Here it is...a plain wedding cake with three strands of pearls where the tiers connect. She tells me it will be...let’s see...$299. I almost dropped the book I was so excited. I will figure out how to get it to River Oaks with no problems if you can make my simple but elegant wedding cake.

April 30

Caleb’s Mom, Freida Villnerve, has been working hard in Lake Charles to make sure everything will be perfect for the rehearsal dinner. She has gotten centerpieces for the rehearsal dinner, reserved the smaller ballroom at River Oaks for the rehearsal, and has offered to pay for the alcohol for the reception. She has been awesome by including me in everything that she has done.

I was passing by Brother’s On The Boulevard this afternoon while at work and had to whip my car around. I saw this adorable little white cocktail dress in the window. From the road, it looks like it would be perfect for the rehearsal dinner. I walk in and a nice lady who asks me if I am looking for anything in particular greets me. I tell her what I am looking for and she guides me straight to the dress.

After buying the dress, I then hit the shoe stores looking for wedding shoes and rehearsal dress shoes. I am my Mother’s daughter and I am crazy about shoes! I want cute shoes, but I also want comfort.

Ok...found the rehearsal shoes.... now the more important ones. I found some that I like and are comfortable. Oh well, they are only $30 and I can always use a cute bedazzled shoe. If I find something else before the wedding I am ok with that too. 


May 1 

I mailed out my Save-the-Dates today and decided to do a wedding and reception invitation with everyone invited to both. 

May 12th, 2014

The engagement pictures are coming up, and while I still haven’t decided what I want to do, we need to find what we will wear. Caleb, Bailey and I hit the stores today looking for outfits. I am thinking, maybe instead of engagement pictures we can do family pictures. 
Off to Maven’s in River Ranch for Caleb. He loves the store and it is completely his style. A completely chilled and laid back atmosphere with easy to wear clothes. Yes, definitely Caleb.

So while Caleb is looking at clothes I spot a case with men’s jewelry in it. Wedding bands!!! I have to show him when he gets done. I catch myself staring at him sometimes thinking how lucky I am that he chose me. He is perfect in every way for me. He makes me want to be a better person. Watching him interact with Bailey you would never know that she wasn’t his. It warms my heart to watch them and to know that both Bailey and I feel completely loved by him.

Caleb comes out of the dressing room and the outfit is perfect. I tell him that there are rings in a case and he flies straight to the case. We look through all of them and he keeps going back to ones that have a small diamond set in the band. “I kind of want a diamond in my ring.” All I can do is laugh, “Well if you want a diamond in your ring then that is what you will get, love.” He just grins and then says, “I mean if you have a diamond, then I want a diamond.” We both bust out laughing in the store. Priceless, Ca! At least now I know what he wants.  

May 29

I had to call and cancel the photo shoot for our engagement pictures today because Caleb is offshore. It’s a tad bit of a downer, but Pam and I decided to try to get them done in August. I hope this is the only conflict we have with his work and the activities of our wedding.

June 20

Bridal party gifts are in at the Silver Suitcase, and they are already wrapped. 

June 25

Caleb and I ordered his ring today. :) He was able to pick out exactly what he wanted. 

June 28th-July 5th

It is the Thibodeaux family vacation. The whole family attends. Every year we go to Gulf Shores as a family, relax on the beach and spend good quality family time together. It is a tradition that I hope never changes. 

Caleb survived the whole week and just as I suspected my whole family fell in love with him just as I have.

Before we left to head home my Mom looked at me and said, “When we get home we need to start really getting busy with the last minute details for the wedding. Twelve weeks until the big day!”

Only 12 weeks!!! Aaahhh...way to stress me out right before we go back home. Thanks, Mom. LOL! With her having my back I know it will be fine though. 

July 7

Sonya called me today. My bridesmaid dresses are in!! Woooohooo!! 

July 9

I went to Lemon Drop today with my dress and shoes to get fitted for the big day. I walk in the dressing room, put on the dress and feel the tears start to fill in my eyes again. I just can’t get over how perfect the dress is. I walk out and everyone is smiling. I don’t even know any of these people, yet everyone that has passed while I am getting pinned has told me, “That is a beautiful dress and it looks like it was made for you.” It surely has to be the one if total strangers are blown away by it. 

I left Lemon Drop feeling overwhelmed with happiness. It is truly happening for me. I am getting married. 

Stay tuned to the Reader’s Response section of our November issue for a wedding photo of Caleb and Brooke.

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