Piper Donner and Drew Sessions will celebrate their wedding Saturday night on the grounds of Green Oaks. "Once we saw the place," the bride said, "we knew this is where we had to get married."
A few months ago, Biloxi politics nearly forced the Texas couple to cancel the B&B party and find a new wedding location. "I think there for a while it was a little nerve-racking," said Donner.
On Friday, a circuit court judge eased the bride's nerves. He ruled Biloxi's new bed and breakfast ordinance couldn't prevent weddings at Green Oaks just yet. So B&B owner Jennifer Diaz can keep setting up tables for weddings and receptions under her canopy of oak trees. "I now have a piece of paper that says anything that I book in the future, I can host," she said. "And that's been my biggest concern."
In December, Biloxi passed a new bed and breakfast ordinance that bans parties on these premises. But in court on Friday, city attorney Ron Peresich said the B&B law isn't enforceable yet, "because the new ordinance doesn't go into effect anyway until the city's land development ordinance is enacted. And that may be a few more weeks, it may be a few months away."
Piper Donner and Drew Sessions don't care when the land use ordinance is adopted. They're just thrilled the flak over bed and breakfast parties won't spoil their wedding. "There was no option as to where it would be held or how we were going to do it," the future Mrs. Sessions said. "This is where we wanted to get married."
The bed and breakfast fight is far from over. Green Oaks is appealing the city's new bed and breakfast regulation that bans parties. And a judge must also determine if past Green Oaks parties violated the Biloxi's original B&B defintion.