The bride is the daughter of Linda and Joe Stemplewski of Iota.
She is the granddaughter of the late Remy and Annette Seilhan Lantz of Iota; and the late Joe and Hazel Massey Stemplewski of Raceland.
Gretchen graduated from Iota High School before attending Northwestern State University, where she earned an associate’s degree in general studies with a concentration in psychology. She also holds a Computer Information Specialist technical diploma from Acadiana Technical College in Lafayette.
The groom is the son of Karla and Timothy Bernard of Opelousas.
His maternal grandparents are Rachel Darbonne of Washington and the late Merlin Darbonne. His paternal grandparents are Anna and Berton Fontenot of Opelousas; and Ella Bernard of Plaisance and the late Louis P. Bernard.
Timothy graduated from Northwest High School in Opelousas and later obtained a technical diploma in drafting and design technologies from T. H. Harris Technical College. He is currently employed by Frank’s Casing in Lafayette.
Guests were greeted by Remie Leblanc, cousin of the bride, who presented them with fans depicting the bridal party on one side and the couple’s initials on the other. She wore a dress of dusty lavender.
The bride’s father, a trumpeter, performed “Trumpet Fanfare” before escorting his daughter up the aisle. Additional recorded music for the ceremony was provided by Nathan Cormier.
Gretchen was radiant in an elegant gown of ivory silk taffeta. The fitted strapless bodice featured a sweetheart neckline and was enhanced with asymmetrical pleating gathered just below the bust, where it was embellished with crystal beadwork. The full skirt was designed with a drop-waist effect and asymmetrical tucks that fell to a semi-cathedral train.
For her headpiece, Gretchen selected an ivory tulle veil edged with crystal beadwork matching that of her gown.
The bride’s bouquet was an arrangement of white hydrangeas, vendella roses, lavender stock and ivory spray roses with a number of brooches tucked inside.
Two of the brooches in Gretchen’s bouquet, those belonging to her godmother and her late maternal grandmother, served as “something old.” Gretchen’s pearl earrings, a gift from her parents, were “something new;” a pearl necklace loaned by close family friend Margaret Leger was “something borrowed;” and her mother’s blue crystal rosary blessed by Pope Paul VI and entwined in her bouquet, was “something blue.”
Alicia Pousson, the bride’s best friend, served as maid of honor. Holly Marceaux, friend of the bride, and Josie Aguillard, close family friend, served as bridesmaids.
The bridal attendants wore street-length dresses of varying styles in lavender satin. The maid of honor was clad in dark lavender, while the remaining two bridesmaids were in a lighter dusty lavender.
The bridesmaids carried bouquets of antique green hydrangeas, lavender stock, pink spray roses, seeded eucalyptus and bupleurum.
Brandon Dejean, friend of the groom, acted as best man. Serving as groomsmen were Neil McGowan, friend of the groom, and Joshua Stemplewski, brother of the bride.
Hunter Aucoin filled the special role of ring bearer. He entered carrying a banner of white satin with lavender trim bearing the words, “Here comes the bride.” As the bridal couple exited the church, Hunter reversed the banner so that it read, “Mr. and Mrs. Tim Bernard.”
For her daughter’s special day, the mother of the bride, the former Linda Lantz, selected a beautiful champagne-colored raw silk dress with cap sleeves. The dress featured an empire waistline from which flattering tiers of shutter pleats flowed. A classic double-strand pearl necklace and pearl earrings completed the ensemble.
The mother of the groom, the former Karla Darbonne, wore an elegant pleated dress in fuschia crepe with white accessories.
Both mothers wore similar wristlet corsages woven through with pearls and designed to match the bridesmaids’ bouquets.
Following the ceremony, a reception for the couple was held on-site.
The entryway was decorated with pictures of the bride and groom. The guest tables, covered with silver cloths, featured centerpieces of hurricane lamps and flowers matching the bride’s colors. Similar flower arrangements designed by the bride’s aunt were placed throughout the ballroom.
Gretchen’s cake was a three-tiered confection filled with a variety of different flavors including amaretto, strawberry cream, raspberry amaretto, raspberry fudge and coconut. The base of the cake was surrounded by white hydrangeas, lavender stock, roses and mixed greenery, and the spaces between the tiers were filled with the same flowers. The bottom tier was decorated with lavender pearls, the middle tier bore the couple’s monogram and the top tier was adorned with a silver and rhinestone double heart. The cake was served by Loretta Short, godmother of the bride.
The groom’s two-layer rectangular cake was chocolate with an Oreo filling and was surrounded by chocolate-dipped Oreos. The top layer was a replica of an opossum wearing spectacles and a Saints’ jersey in homage to the groom’s nickname and favorite football team. Donna Bernard, godmother of the groom, served the cake.
Out-of-town guests traveled from Texas and various points throughout Louisiana.
Prior to the wedding, on September 15, the groom’s parents hosted a rehearsal dinner at their home. Guests were served seafood gumbo and chicken spaghetti with coordinating side dishes. A three-layer cake made by the groom’s grandmother and decorated with the bride’s colors was served for dessert.
Following a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida, the couple is residing in Youngsville.