Photos by A Wandering Creative / Laramie Wheeler

Timing sure is everything. Just ask native Memphians Baylee (née Less) and Monte Eiseman. The two crossed paths a bit here and there in high school – Baylee attended White Station; Monte was at Memphis Jewish High School. Their real connection began when Monte moved back to Memphis from Chicago in 2017.

“I’d been living in Memphis for a year post-graduation, and one of my closest friends, Samantha Notowich, suggested that we hang out together,” Baylee explained. “We started spending more time together, mostly in group settings at first, but eventually I worked up the nerve to ask Monte on a date (he said yes!).”

Their first date was at Midtown hot spot Alchemy, a fun cocktail bar and restaurant. It just so happened that Baylee had decided to follow a vegan lifestyle just a week before.

So, as they figured out together what to order, they spent the night laughing and chatting. Overcoming that unexpected obstacle was just the beginning of what has turned out to be a beautiful journey of love and happiness.

Fast-forward to 2023, when wedding plans were in full effect for the happy couple. “We were very involved with all aspects of the planning,” Monte said. “We worked with Rabbi Jeff Dreifus at Temple Israel to develop a ceremony that felt representative of us as a couple and would remain meaningful for years to come. It was important to us to include our loved ones in many of the ritual aspects all throughout the weekend, so we found creative ways to honor and memorialize many significant people in our life during the ceremony, Havdalah, and the ketubah signing.”

Among her many fabulous qualities, one of Baylee’s claims to fame is throwing festive New Year’s parties to ring in the new year with friends. Since New Year’s has always been a favorite time for Baylee, they landed on December 30, 2023, as their wedding date at The Kent in Downtown Memphis. “We chose the Kent because it was such a blank slate,” added Baylee of the cool, industrial-looking space, with high ceilings, “and we could turn it into anything we wanted.” The ethereal décor, centerpieces, and stunning chandeliers were delicate yet tastefully striking.

Monte focused on the important job of “catering captain,” while Baylee chose the band and worked closely with their wedding planner to make sure the night was remembered as an evening of fun. Indeed, it was!

The chuppah was adorned with beautifully flowing flowers and lush greenery, with perfectly placed floating candles in vases and mood lighting setting the ambiance for the special night.

As the wedding party walked down the candle-lit aisle during the ceremony, a local musician performed original songs and covers adding to the cozy serenity. “She also played during the cocktail hour and our first dance,” Baylee noted, “and she did a wonderful job making it all extra special.”

“All the incredible details of the event were awesome – we had so much fun! The moment your child is married is just spectacular,” shared Monte’s dad, Dr. Bob Eiseman, who’s thrilled to have gained another daughter. “One of the best memories for me was watching my wife, Tami, bless the happy couple.”

Following the heartfelt ceremony, tasty drinks flowed, guests enjoyed delicious appetizers then dinner, and of course, the high heels came off as the band and dancing proved to be the highlight of the night. The energy was palpable, with the first dances being some the most special moments for everyone: Monte and Baylee’s; Monte with his mom; Baylee with her dad; Baylee and her brothers.

“Monte and Baylee never stopped smiling!” said Tami Eiseman, Monte’s mom. “The wedding had a very warm feeling with all the family and the kids’ close friends. You could feel the love in the room.”

Big music lovers, the band and dance scene were super important to the couple. And boy did they deliver! The dance floor was constantly packed as the super-talented band showcased an impressive range of pop, rock, and R&B songs, including “Hava Nagila,” and choreography that kept the spirited vibe and party going all night.

“Monte loved the hora! You could say he’d been waiting for it his whole life!” Baylee happily proclaimed. “But really, he loved having all his favorite people in one place to celebrate us – especially his 100-year-old grandfather. And I loved getting to spend a night with nonstop fun and joy. There were many (happy) tears, and I could feel the happiness and love coming off every attendee – the feeling was invaluable.”

Toward the end of the festivities, Baylee surprised Monte with a song the band learned just for their simcha. “Monte loves Israeli and Hebrew dance music – when the band played ‘Hashem Melech,’ his jaw dropped! His friends joined in immediately to jump around and celebrate!”

“We are so grateful to all our friends and family who joined us to celebrate Monte and Baylee,” added Monica and Bert Less, Baylee’s overjoyed parents. “It was a magical night we won’t ever forget!”

Now settled in their East Memphis home, the newlyweds are enjoying their lives together, with friends and family they love dearly nearby. Baylee double-majored in Jewish Studies and English at the University of Maryland and now works in the nonprofit sector as the director of development for the Memphis Jewish Home & Rehab. Monte majored in finance at the University of Miami and works at Additive Advisory PBC.

“Our wedding was more memorable than we ever could have imagined, and it is all thanks to our wonderful parents,” noted Baylee. “We are so grateful to them for all of their work, time, and effort to make our weekend such a beautiful reality.”

The sash that wrapped Baylee’s bouquet is embroidered with her late mother, Debbie Less’s, initials and their wedding date.

Planner: Bella Baxter Events / Katherine Benson

Photographer: A Wandering Creative / Laramie Wheeler

Caterer: Elizabeth Heiskell Catering

Florist: Snapdragon Floral

Decor: Mahaffey and White Door

Band: 8 South Band

Dress: Maggie Louise Bridal

Ceremony Music: Bailey Bigger

Videographer: Lynn Productions

Bar: Bar Ties