Christina Hendricks Marries George Bianchini in 'Sexy' Wedding Ceremony in New Orleans (Exclusive)

The actress said "I do" in a Katya Katya gown during a ceremony officiated by Shirley Manson, the lead singer of Garbage

<p>Sophie Lin Berard |@Sberardweddings </p> George Bianchini (Left) and Christina Hendricks (Right) on their wedding day.

Sophie Lin Berard |@Sberardweddings

George Bianchini (Left) and Christina Hendricks (Right) on their wedding day.

Christina Hendricks has tied the knot!

The actress, 48, married George Bianchini at the historic Napoleon House in New Orleans on Saturday, April 20. The guest list included Mad Men creator Matt Weiner, Christian Siriano, Mae Whitman and Retta.

Hendricks tells PEOPLE that both she and Bianchini — a camera operator who has worked on numerous films and TV shows — chose the Big Easy for their nuptials as they both have a special connection to the city.

"New Orleans is a place that I always loved to go before I met George, and a place that he always loved to go before he met me. And then when we first started dating or meeting up, because we lived across the country from one another, it was the place in the middle," she explains.

"It just feels like our city together, even though we both loved it individually," she adds.

<p>Sophie Lin Berard |@Sberardweddings </p> George Bianchini (Left) and Christina Hendricks (Right) on their wedding day.

Sophie Lin Berard |@Sberardweddings

George Bianchini (Left) and Christina Hendricks (Right) on their wedding day.

As for their venue, they landed on Napoleon House — a French Quarter landmark that was once the residence of New Orleans mayor Nicholas Girod, who famously offered Napoleon Bonaparte refuge during his exile — after falling in love with the restaurant's history and eclectic grandeur.

"It's got this rustic Cuban, Spanish, European textured, high-low feeling to it, which I guess is how we feel about ourselves a little bit — a little high-low," Hendricks says. "It's got the most gorgeous walls with paint peeling off, and then you walk upstairs and there's these grand dining rooms with the beautiful ceilings."

Related: Christina Hendricks Engaged to George Bianchini After They 'Proposed to Each Other'

The couple — who began dating in 2020 and got engaged in February 2023 — invited 76 guests, a number Hendricks says felt perfect for her and Bianchini. "It seemed like the right amount for us to be able to embrace and visit with everyone and not feel overwhelmed," she explains, quickly adding: "But it's certainly not a tiny, intimate wedding. No, [we wanted] a celebration — a grand celebration.”

When it came to planning the event, Hendricks took charge — so much so that she joked that Bianchini was "going to be surprised at his own wedding." She let the location guide the details, leaning into the decadent vibe of old New Orleans.

The planning process was a bit challenging, as she was pulling the wedding together from afar while filming the Sky TV series Small Town, Big Story in Ireland. "I really felt like I had to be able to bob and weave in a situation where you're planning a party in a city that you don't live in," she recalls. "I just kept saying to myself, 'At the end of the day, if all of our friends and family together being happy and celebrating… If all else fails, I'll order pizza, and we're going to have a great time.' "

Earl Gibson III/Shutterstock George Bianchini and Christina Hendricks
Earl Gibson III/Shutterstock George Bianchini and Christina Hendricks

The three-day wedding weekend kicked off with a welcome cocktail party, held at a mini mansion on the Soniat House property, followed by a ghost tour in the French Quarter. The mansion also served as the couple's "home base" throughout the weekend and a place to get ready for the various festivities.

For the wedding itself at Napoleon House, Hendricks says she went "full floral," filling the venue with an abundance of fresh blooms.

"I've always loved flowers. It's something so special to me, and I've never really indulged in just having an event and just letting it be a festival of flora and fauna," she tells PEOPLE.

She worked with New Orleans floral design studio Sharime Kayla to bring her vision to life. "I came [to her] with Pinterest pictures and, 'I like this and I like this and I like this.' And she went, 'Oh, you want Southern Gothic with Dutch masters.' And I went, 'Oh God, that's exactly what I want,' " she recalls.

Hendricks chose a color palette of plum, blush and chocolate shades, which she describes as "gothic, moody and sexy," with lots of Queen Anne's lace. "George and I are both ex-goths, so that speaks to us," she says.

<p>Dave Benett/Getty</p> George Bianchini and Christina Hendricks

Dave Benett/Getty

George Bianchini and Christina Hendricks

Related: Christina Hendricks Opens Up About Wedding Plans with Fiancé George Bianchini: 'We Love New Orleans' (Exclusive)

Hendricks and Bianchini's ceremony was officiated by her close friend Shirley Manson, lead singer of the rock band Garbage. "It was super exciting for us because I really think [Manson] is one of the most extraordinary writers and poets. We just look at her and her marriage to her husband Billy [Bush], and they are couple goals for us," the Good Girls star says.

The couple hand-wrote their vows for each other, which Hendricks says was one of the more "nerve-wracking" items on their wedding to-do list.

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With the nuptials stretching across multiple events, the style-loving actress embraced the opportunity to have a little fun with fashion, telling PEOPLE she had "incredible designers" who created looks for each of the different occasions. Christian Siriano designed her cocktail evening dress, which she describes as “spectacular” and a "red carpet moment that was not on a red carpet."

For the main event, Hendricks wore a custom Katya Katya bridal gown which she says made her cry the first time she tried it on "because it was so beautiful." She paired it with a Claire Pettibone custom version of her Boho Juliet veil with pale grey silk ribbons and lace flowers.

<p>Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Getty Images</p> George Bianchini and Christina Hendricks

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Getty Images

George Bianchini and Christina Hendricks

Following the ceremony, the newlyweds embraced the classic New Orleans tradition of a second line, leading their guests on a jazzy parade in the street with parasols and umbrellas in hand.

Hendricks and Bianchini then treated their guests to a sit-down, multi-course dinner fittingly featuring Southern New Orleans fare. The menu included steak and shrimp and grits, with muffuletta for a late-night snack. In lieu of a wedding cake, they chose Bananas Foster — Hendricks' favorite dessert — and the restaurant staff flambéed each guest's dish right at their table.

The weekend's festivities capped off with a celebratory brunch on Sunday, April 21.

Related: The Buccaneers' Christina Hendricks Wanted 'to Sit with a Corset and a Teacup' After Good Girls (Exclusive)

<p>Christina Hendricks/ Instagram</p> Christina Hendricks and George Bianchini

Christina Hendricks/ Instagram

Christina Hendricks and George Bianchini

For the Emmy Award nominee, it was important for her and Bianchini to officially honor their love with a wedding.

“We're both romantic, and I think it's easy to say when you've been married before and it's been so hard and it didn't work, and you feel like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is very scary. We don't have to do this. We could just love each other and not do this.’ But I think there's something to be said about really making that commitment and saying it out loud with some of your friends and family,” she tells PEOPLE.

“There is a romance to it, there's a celebration about it, and there is also just something that makes you feel different. There’s something that says, ‘You’re not going anywhere and I’m not going anywhere.' "

She says getting married is a rare, special moment in life, and she and Bianchini couldn't be more thrilled. “How many times do you get to bring all your best people a together at once? You're going to remember that forever, and I wanted that for us.”

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