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Sarah Elizabeth Dewey -- Dr. Phillip Petitto


Sarah Elizabeth Dewey was in no mood to be set up on a date. But her roommate and a friend were having a dinner party on New Year's Eve to ring in 2014, and they took matters into their own hands. They sat Sarah Elizabeth next to Dr. Phillip Anthony Petitto.

Sarah Elizabeth admits she was standoffish at first. Philip, though, was "very interested right away. But she didn't want anything to do with me," he said.

Eventually she warmed to his charm. "We had an old-fashioned courtship," said Sarah Elizabeth, a designer and co-owner of the fashion brand Jolie and Elizabeth. "We dated for a few months before we became a couple. Lots of courting, him being sweet, very thoughtful, like walking me to the door. I got flowers, we went out to dinners and on trips.

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"It was a true dating experience."

As the relationship got more serious, Phillip, a dentist at Petitto Family Dental, started thinking about a proposal. "She was kind of waiting for it," he said. "Christmas (2015) went by, then Mardi Gras, her birthday, Valentine's Day ... but I told her that you will never suspect when I am going to do it.

"Then I got the ring, and it was burning a hole in my pocket, so I called her friends and said let's do this."

Phillip proposed at St. Alphonsus Church, one of Sarah Elizabeth's favorite places. With the help of Sarah Worsley of Mint Julep Production (who also planned the wedding), the church's steps were decked in candles, and Sarah Elizabeth's friends were gathered to witness the moment. After she said yes, a pedi-cab whisked them away to Brennan's, where family and more friends were waiting to celebrate. The wedding date was set for March 24, 2017.

Sarah Elizabeth and Phillip are both of Italian descent, so they planned a traditional Italian wedding "mixed with New Orleans" style, she said.

"We wanted a very traditional, reverent Catholic Mass," she said. The priest, Rev. Reuben C. Dykes, was Phillip's friend from college, and the couple received a papal blessing. After the ceremony at St. Mary's Assumption Catholic Church, the wedding party left in a second line with Italian flags and streamers, with Phillip and his father, Frank Petitto Jr., carrying walking canes filled with flowers in the colors of the Italian flag. That red, white and green color scheme also was used in subtle ways decorating Il Mercato, where the reception was held.

Since it was Lent, the couple opted for no meat at the reception, but their priest advised that alligator would be considered seafood. So Joel's Catering created an alligator bar that featured alligator and grits, alligator sauce piquant and fried alligator. And while champagne and other libations were flowing, guests also were offered strawberry wine from the Petitto family farm (in Amite and Monroe).

After much dancing to music from the Bucktown All-Stars (which also lead the second line), the night wound down, and Sarah Elizabeth and Phillip left the party to the sounds of the Tulane University a cappella group singing "Hooked on a Feeling," apropos for the night's celebration and for this couple.

THIS PHOTO: Sarah Elizabeth Dewey and Dr. Phillip Petitto second-line from St. Mary's Assumption Church to the reception at Il Mercato, March 24, 2017.

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