A High Kick followed their "I Do's"

Jim and Erica were such a fun couple!! Jim with his goofy nature and Erica as classy as can be. The main thing that exuded from them was their love for each other. The couple chose the breathtaking and historic Elms Mansion as the centerpiece for their wedding. The Elms Mansion was built in 1869 for Watson Van Benthuysen II. Watson was a wine and tobacco merchant as well as the President of the Saint Charles streetcar company. It is safe to say that the Elms Mansion is an excellent representation of New Orleans and the perfect backdrop for their wedding.

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Jim and Erica were fun loving and so excited for their big day from the start. They wanted their guests to experience a very authentic New Orleans wedding and Uptown is the perfect neighborhood to capture a local feel. The big day went as smooth as can be. Erica looked striking in her grandmothers veil and a smile on her face all day that said everything. Her bridesmaids and mother fluttered around her with so much excitement. The couple wrote each other notes to exchange while getting ready and if possible, Erica’s smile got even bigger as she read Jim’s, “I’m eating all the chips later love, Jim”

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Their first look was under the Tree of Life in Audubon Park. The Tree of Life is an iconic spot in New Orleans Uptown neighborhood. The tree’s official name is Etienne de Boray Oak named after the first mayor of New Orleans, and the man who was a huge part in bringing sugar cane to the area. Renamed by locals as “Tree of Life” it is a favorite spot by all and makes for a gorgeous picture.

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Erica was led down the aisle by her mother, who has been the constant in Erica’s life. I love when one of my couples cares more about making their wedding be theirs than to try to follow what is “traditional.” Erica’s mother radiated as she walked Erica down the aisle.

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Jim and Erica wanted to get their party started immediately. With a high kick from Jim, Kinfolk led the couple and their wedding party from the aisle to their second line with “Just Hitched” stitched on their parasol. They paraded down St Charles as Kinfolk led them back to their reception and went right into their first dance.

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The couple danced all night with their friends and family. Erica and her mother had their mother/daughter dance and their bond and love poured out and caused everyone to get emotional, yours truly included.

I always like to remind my couples that their day goes by extremely quickly and is filled with so many people that they love and to try to absorb it as much as they can. There is not another day in your life that everyone you love is in the same room, so you need to make the most of each moment.

I love getting close with all my couples and am honored that they want me to help them organize and plan one of the biggest days of their life. Erica and Jim were so fun loving and incredible to work with.

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Candice & Tyson: The Greatest Gatsby Affair

The past year has proven to be some of the most rewarding and tumultuous times of my life and career. My family and I suffered the devastating and unexpected loss of my father-in-law, Barney Lampp. He was a bright beam in my life and the loss of him is felt greatly. While processing this grief, we’ve also moved three times in three months. But then to have the joy of breaking personal wedding records (hello Martha Stewart), I say all this to help explain why it has been so long since my last blog post and the decision to bring a Creative Director to the team to help assist in articulating my thoughts and feelings about every wedding that has taken place.

           Candice and Tyson picked one of the most fun, yet busiest times to get married in New Orleans. That’s right, Mardi Gras. New Orleans begins to celebrate Fat Tuesday weeks before the big day with parades and parties happening every weekend, all weekend. While it does provide one of the best backdrops for your wedding, it could also possibly come with its own set of potential issues. I knew from the beginning that every situation needed to have a plan A and B (and possibly C).

           The ceremony took place at the historical St Peter Claver on a mid February day. The time before the ceremony means checking in on every vendor to make sure they are on schedule and meeting the couple’s expectations. Also, seeing where I can lend a hand or make any last minute changes that need to be made.

          

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   One thing I find that is essential prior to ceremony is to check in on the bride and groom. It is very special to have the opportunity to witness some of the closest people in one’s life surround them with love and support on this life changing day. When I peeked in on Candice, everyone was very relaxed and laughing. Her gown hung in the window to be photographed and I watched the flower girls giggle to themselves and stare in awe while they whispered, “I want my wedding dress to look like that.”

          

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 I was then honored to experience one of the loveliest sights; Candice’s bridesmaids prayed over her with joined hands while Candice held her mother Linda’s hand and Linda held Candice’s step mother Karen's hand. To see the joining of all the friends and families to support the couple on their special day will always make my heart swell.

           

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The couple chose to see each other for the first time at the ceremony. The choice of first look versus no first look depends entirely on the couple, but Tyson wanted to see Candice on the aisle and was overcome with tears the moment the door opened.  

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           During the ceremony I was informed that a parade for Mardi Gras had unexpectedly closed down Carondelet Street, one of the busiest streets in the Central Business District. Time for Plan B. Kinfolk Brass Band led a private Second Line inside the Federal Ballroom for the couple and wedding party and then marched them inside the reception. While a Second Line’s fun is to be out in the streets of New Orleans where people can join in and dance with you, it is just as great of an experience to make it more personal for your wedding party. It will also save the bottom of your dress from getting ridiculously dirty.

           

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Candice wanted to see the reception décor immediately and with Tyson by her side (sweetly carrying her train) they took in all of their details together. 

           The Federal Ballroom provides the perfect ambiance for a glamorous wedding with the gorgeous chandeliers, high ceilings, traditional columns, and stuffing view of the city. All of the details screamed Candice and Tyson, from the decorated tables of candles and strung pearls to the black fondant cake with delicate white flowers.

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The wedding party was best dressed of the night; the men in dapper suits and sporting their on site hand rolled cigars and the bridesmaids in their beautiful glitter dresses all unique to the individual. But, it was Candice that stole the show with her two dress and three shoe changes. Candice glowed as she talked to her friends and family and danced with Tyson. Her father kept looking at her in awe and reminding her how beautiful she is. 

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The couple kept their reception busy with dancing, toasts, cake cutting, and the traditional ‘Jumping the Broom’ to celebrate becoming Husband and Wife. After the reception, the couple and their wedding party continued to dance the night away in Downtown New Orleans where the party never ends.

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The Monastery: My Inspiration

 

I would like to begin by asking you to imagine the following scene, I would ask you to close your eyes, but you also need to read! So imagine with me; a Monastery dating back to 1812 grand in nature, on the corner of the French Quarter of New Orleans, with seven private courtyards, glass lanterns, exposed brick, and original wooden beams stretching the length of a chapel rich with history. If only these walls could talk, you can feel the history as you walk through every space in The Monastery.

Let me now lead you to a room with the whitest of walls, and light filled spaces made to convey spirituality and scenreity. A space where keeping things simple, clean and elegant is a must, anything too over the top would take away from the sanctity of the space. This is a venue where you let it do most of the work for you. As a planner I am just there to fill in where needed, and at The Monastery, what is needed is very minimal. 

When entering, I could see this bride here; the guests arriving in sharp tuxedos and shimmering gowns, through an entrance lined with candles and greenery and a harp playing on the front lawn. Every guest is met with gold rimmed champagne flutes filled with a soft brute or sweet rose to set the tone for this celebration, a coveted invitation only held by a select few. 

As the bride and groom make their way to the dance floor, I can hear a jazz ensemble accompanying the likes of Robin Barns, singing “Unforgettable,” in a way that only a solo voice can make you feel in love with the moment. 

The right accents can make the biggest impact. I picked only one for this styled shoot; I wanted to keep things as simple and elegant as possible. Against the crisp white purity of the venue, I choose a metallic; gold. If you keep your elements simple it allows for a bit more flexibility in areas such as floral and other design elements. Symmetry is noticed; but not talked about. I work with my clients to discover if they want to create conversation in design elements, or allow for the conversation to flow from the experience we create through entertainment, food and celebration, this guides me in two very different directions when making choices on behalf of my client. 

Less elements means less areas to adversely impact the continuity of your event. Surprisingly enough the more detailed you get in your theme or brand, the more attention to you have to pay to those design details so the continuity is apparent and easily picked up on by your guests.  Therefore by keeping the elements at this venue classic, simple but yet impactful. 

I had to balance a tipping point; not too over done, but not disposable cutlery or over the top decor. With intentional choices such as tablescapes; which I allowed for more on the table, in turn limiting wait staff having to clear and prepare each setting for multiple courses, I could have all of it be part of the design of the room. Accented with gold and greenery I hoped that each table would provide for friends to gather and share in the experience. 

With this styled shoot I kept the experience at the forefront of all my decisions; with the inspiration coming from the abundant historic value of The Monastery as well as the beauty that the bride brought all on her own. 

I could not have picked a better dress for this bride if I had one day or one year. It is simple, clean and elegant. Only standing at 5’4” the front piping of the dress elongated her silhouette, with leading lines from top to bottom. With more of a broad shoulder, the cap sleeve and detailed floral lace, allowed to soften the shoulder and allow for just enough skin to compliment the conservative but dramatic deep vee, which could be worn with modesty. The hair, pulled up of the neck, to again compliment the back detailing of the dress also allows for the bride to stay comfortable during the heat of the day in a city such as New Orleans.

The guests end the evening with a neatly tied box of three macaroons from Sucre, delicate and light but a sweet reminder of the of the sophisticated and memorable event they just attended. 

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Photographer // Catherine Guidry  

Venue // The Monastery 

Floral // Leaf + Petal

Bridal Gown // Town & Country

Cake // Gambinos Bakery

Stationery // Exquisite Events Invites

Makeup // Faces of Virtue

Hair //  Becca Ortiz

Model // Alexandria

Rentals // Event Rental

Vampire Chic

There is a reason events go as well as Mark and Whitney’s wedding; it is based on the communication they had with the vendors they hired, and the relationship they built with me as the director of their day. As a planner it is critical that I can perform two different functions;

1. Executing my client’s vision they already have in their own mind

or

2. Discovering my client’s vision is and bringing it to life

Often it’s a combination of the both, one maybe more one than the other, however these principles are based trust that is developed between myself and you, the client.

With little direction from Mark or Whitney other than a few keywords; dramatic, simple, focal points, inclusive and vampire chic, I was able to connect the dots and put together a day that embodied them as a couple. This did not mean that Mark and Whitney did not have input on the day; however the trust they were able to place in my expertise allowed them to breath easy and enjoy their union.

Despite weddings following a similar cadence; there are a multitude of ways a couple is able to infuse their style in the days events. From color to themes; this day - of all days -  should be a display of personal style. That being said; it isn’t uncommon to feel as though there are things that have to be done at a wedding or a way in which the day should go, and falling into a line of thinking; “well everyone else does it that way, I guess I should too.” Not the case, I am seeing spins on traditions, different ways of doing the “typical,” and many people scraping conventional all together!

From the moment I met Mark and Whitney I knew their day was going to be anything but typical. From the food, to the music, to reception seating and venue; I saw creativity and personality in every choice these two made for their day. It began with The Civic Theater hosting the ceremony and reception, this space, although not typical for a wedding, was transformed into a dramatic, candle lit night scape.

In existence since 1906; The Civic Theater has evolved as New Orleans has grown, watching over the city, filling with memories as crowds of people have entered the doors to share in the diversity of performance offerings. From vaudeville, burlesque, musicals, and disco, The Civic Theater has entertained and hosted many. Remodeled in 2011 with extraordinary attention to historic detail and appropriate updates for hosting a multitude of events this space was a blank canvas for Mark and Whitney’s wedding.

When selecting this type of space everything, right down to the rugs are customizable and a choice you may have to make, a total allowance for free will and creativity. Overwhelming to some, but with this couple, they had a vision and followed through with ease. Taking Vampire Chic to a whole new level; with candles in every corner, uplighting that allowed to enhanced the dramatics of the tall ceilings, brick work and ornate theatrical details of this New Orleans landmark.

When an event is uneventful; meaning that everything goes as planned, set up is easy, vendors follow through and everyone has a good time; I can see the look on my clients face and it means the world to me to know they are stress free and enjoying the day with their family and loved ones. Mark and Whitney had smiles on from beginning to end and I could not have been happier to orchestrate their wedding day.

With the venue as the host, the vendors shined through at this event. No one wanted to leave the dance floor with DJ Aaron Lane Entertainment, however when they did, they were met with unique food truck / street food choices from; Two Girls One Shuck, Theo’s Pizza, Fete au Fete and Imperial Woodpecker Snoballs and the Civic slinging drinks all night.

Credits:

 

Second Line: Kin Folk Brass Band

Music: Aaron Lane Entertainment

Cake: Bittersweet Confections

Caterer: My House Social

Theo’s Pizza

Two Girls One Shuck

Imperial Woodpecker Snoballs

Fete Au Fete

Bar Service: The Civic Theater

Venue: The Civic Theater

Rentals: Party Rentals Delivered

Lighting:Firefly Ambiance

Florist: Crystal Vase Flowers

Photography: Dark Roux

ideography: Silver Loop Studios

Hair & Makeup: Flawless Bride

 

If there is ever was a picture that could take your breath away, it has to be this one. With a team of three staff members to lower the chandelier 30+ feet to position above the wedding cake, it made for a focal point that greeted every guest and stop them in their tracks. Captured by:  Dark Roux

If there is ever was a picture that could take your breath away, it has to be this one. With a team of three staff members to lower the chandelier 30+ feet to position above the wedding cake, it made for a focal point that greeted every guest and stop them in their tracks. Captured by: Dark Roux

Kin Folk Brass Band  always starts the party off with a bang! Despite having the ceremony and reception at the same location, I was able to coordinate a 2nd line route through the Central Business District of the city. Captured by:  Dark Roux

Kin Folk Brass Band always starts the party off with a bang! Despite having the ceremony and reception at the same location, I was able to coordinate a 2nd line route through the Central Business District of the city. Captured by: Dark Roux

Although this space is large and seemed ominous; I played into that feature as it gave a grandiose and dramatic backdrop for the intimate gathering. The floor plan and vendor placement contained the guests so they didn’t feel lost, but also were able to take in the vastness of the space. Captured by:  Dark Roux

Although this space is large and seemed ominous; I played into that feature as it gave a grandiose and dramatic backdrop for the intimate gathering. The floor plan and vendor placement contained the guests so they didn’t feel lost, but also were able to take in the vastness of the space. Captured by: Dark Roux

These shared moments are ones you likely won’t be able to remember in the days that follow, but thankfully a photography team like Dark Roux knows where to be at the exact moment to capture it. No matter how in the moment my clients might be, things are forgotten, and to have these photographs are priceless. Captured by:  Dark Roux

These shared moments are ones you likely won’t be able to remember in the days that follow, but thankfully a photography team like Dark Roux knows where to be at the exact moment to capture it. No matter how in the moment my clients might be, things are forgotten, and to have these photographs are priceless. Captured by: Dark Roux

Simple, but what a statement. Planning this layout and decor and seeing Mark & Whitney exchanging vows proves to me that even minimal enhancement can make a powerful impact. Captured by:  Dark Roux

Simple, but what a statement. Planning this layout and decor and seeing Mark & Whitney exchanging vows proves to me that even minimal enhancement can make a powerful impact. Captured by: Dark Roux

I can hear your “awe,” as you scrolled to this picture! Dark Roux knows how to capitalize on the space provided. This is the perfect nook for these two to pop-a-squat and snap a picture. It just makes my heart melt. Captured by:  Dark Roux

I can hear your “awe,” as you scrolled to this picture! Dark Roux knows how to capitalize on the space provided. This is the perfect nook for these two to pop-a-squat and snap a picture. It just makes my heart melt. Captured by: Dark Roux

It would be strange for me to frame this and put it on my wall, right? Ok, just checking! It is such a beautiful and simple image. With Hurricane Nate predicted to make landfall the week of this wedding; the winds were a force to be reckoned with. Taking full advantage Mark and Whitney could not have asked for better image. Captured by:  Dark Roux

It would be strange for me to frame this and put it on my wall, right? Ok, just checking! It is such a beautiful and simple image. With Hurricane Nate predicted to make landfall the week of this wedding; the winds were a force to be reckoned with. Taking full advantage Mark and Whitney could not have asked for better image. Captured by: Dark Roux

I had about 45 seconds to stand and take this in before I had to orchestrate a complete venue flip from ceremony to reception. How could I not be in awe of this; a simple cake by  Bittersweet Confections  made to look like a piece of art. I convinced Mark and Whitney to lower the chandelier and make this the focal point of the room, there were no regrets. Captured by:  Dark Roux

I had about 45 seconds to stand and take this in before I had to orchestrate a complete venue flip from ceremony to reception. How could I not be in awe of this; a simple cake by Bittersweet Confections made to look like a piece of art. I convinced Mark and Whitney to lower the chandelier and make this the focal point of the room, there were no regrets. Captured by: Dark Roux

In the eye of the storm

Couples hope when selecting that special day; one out of 365, that perfection will follow and all things will come together. As a planner I stray away from optimism, and try to think of everything. Often staying up late strategizing on plan b; negotiating with the florist, the caterers, the venue and others so that you don’t have to. Working on the fly to switch gears and execute the event with minimal disruptions. If there is one piece of advice that I can give my clients it is: panic does nothing to change the outcome of your event and this is so important to remember.

Repeat this through the planning process, make this your mantra, heck, let’s monogram it on some napkins if that helps! Trust me, if clouds start looming, a vendor falls through, or God forbid, a wardrobe malfunction occurs the day of or even the week before your big day; don’t panic; go to your planner, explain your concerns and sit back while we work to ease the anxiety. It’s very likely we already have a plan for what you are thinking of!

Nearing the eve of Ashley & Brian’s big day Hurricane Harvey was predicted to make landfall on the Louisiana coast. Weather predictions aside; Ashley kept calm, her preparedness allowed her to focus on what was really important; the union between her and Brian, all the family that came together and the future that would follow with Brian by her side.

Ashley and Brian were lucky enough to be the first wedding with new owners at Masion de Macarty; a Bed & Breakfast. After receiving an extreme facelift; this staff proved to be an ease to work with. Our teams were tasked with turning the ceremony configuration into the reception space with a 20 minute time limit. It was all hands on deck in the 100+ degree heat, setting up a 100+ seated dinner arrangement all the while, changing the floor plan in response to unforeseen issues.

Despite the things that could have gone wrong and were out of this couple’s control; that wasn’t their focus. Their demeanour, trust in each other, supportive family and reliance on me as their planner, made their special day come together flawlessly. With the culmination at the end of the night the wedding party, guests and family, jumping in the pool, celebrating with style! Talk about an unplanned event, but worth a lifetime of memories.

Having the time during your day to share a secret and a cocktail with your maid of honor is priceless. It is a balancing act to make sure you enjoy your day, interact with your guests, and take it all in. Work with me on how we can make sure you can navigate the event and feel as though you get the most out of a cocktail hour and reception. Captured By:  Becky Cooper Photography

Having the time during your day to share a secret and a cocktail with your maid of honor is priceless. It is a balancing act to make sure you enjoy your day, interact with your guests, and take it all in. Work with me on how we can make sure you can navigate the event and feel as though you get the most out of a cocktail hour and reception. Captured By: Becky Cooper Photography

The smiles shared in this moment speak for themselves. Hand in hand down the aisle this proud father is able to escort Ashley to her groom and support her through this new chapter of her life. If you are admiring the bride’s bouquet, send compliments to  Pistil & Stamen , for the bride’s bouquet and the boutonnieres. The centerpieces on the tables were a creation of Ashle, her mother and the bridesmaids; a great bonding experience and creative way to infuse a personal touch in the days’ details. Captured By:  Becky Cooper Photography

The smiles shared in this moment speak for themselves. Hand in hand down the aisle this proud father is able to escort Ashley to her groom and support her through this new chapter of her life. If you are admiring the bride’s bouquet, send compliments to Pistil & Stamen, for the bride’s bouquet and the boutonnieres. The centerpieces on the tables were a creation of Ashle, her mother and the bridesmaids; a great bonding experience and creative way to infuse a personal touch in the days’ details. Captured By: Becky Cooper Photography

Leading the charge the second line band;  Kinfolk Brass Band , lead Ashley and Brian through the streets of New Orleans. A tradition, I personally had at my wedding, and wouldn’t trade for the world! Ashley and Brian can feel the support of their family and friends behind them and start the celebration off with a bang! Captured By:  Becky Cooper Photography

Leading the charge the second line band; Kinfolk Brass Band, lead Ashley and Brian through the streets of New Orleans. A tradition, I personally had at my wedding, and wouldn’t trade for the world! Ashley and Brian can feel the support of their family and friends behind them and start the celebration off with a bang! Captured By: Becky Cooper Photography

I love when these moments are captured; only Ashley and Brian know what they were thinking and talking about on this walk; and it should stay that way! If you know me; I hold those private moments in very high regard and will work extraordinarily hard for my clients to have those moments during their day. Captured By:  Becky Cooper Photography

I love when these moments are captured; only Ashley and Brian know what they were thinking and talking about on this walk; and it should stay that way! If you know me; I hold those private moments in very high regard and will work extraordinarily hard for my clients to have those moments during their day. Captured By: Becky Cooper Photography

The  Masion de Macarty  property was perfect for this intimate gathering; a dynamic space that allowed for everyone to celebrate together, but also provided corners and curves for private conversations, shared laughs and great photo opportunities. The pool was taken advantage of by night's end. . .luckily there isn’t photographic evidence of those shenanigans! Captured By:  Becky Cooper Photography

The Masion de Macarty property was perfect for this intimate gathering; a dynamic space that allowed for everyone to celebrate together, but also provided corners and curves for private conversations, shared laughs and great photo opportunities. The pool was taken advantage of by night's end. . .luckily there isn’t photographic evidence of those shenanigans! Captured By: Becky Cooper Photography

I use this as a barometer of the couple; do they politely use forks, delicately feed each other, select an appropriate bite size piece, or are they a mouthful, handful cake in the face, couple? It’s a mystery until this time during the day, and I look forward to it at each wedding! Captured By:  Becky Cooper Photography

I use this as a barometer of the couple; do they politely use forks, delicately feed each other, select an appropriate bite size piece, or are they a mouthful, handful cake in the face, couple? It’s a mystery until this time during the day, and I look forward to it at each wedding! Captured By: Becky Cooper Photography

A Special Thank You

The honoring of Veterans holds a very special place in my heart; as my Grandfather, Father and Husband all served in the military.  There is something about defending the freedom and rights of those you do not know and may never know that is beyond admirable.

Finding a way to give back is extremely important to me. As a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, it doesn’t always feel like enough.  My time can fill up quickly with consultations, site tours, events and so much more.  I am sure we can all identify with our lives filling up quickly and passing by in a blink. I like to remind myself that “having” the time versus “making” the time is a critical difference, and the very least I can do when it comes to serving those who have served for me.

With Spanish Oak Events, I offer a military discount as a gesture, that while it does not compare to the risk and sacrifice made on a service members behalf, I hope that it signifies my gratitude. Please mention your service when contacting me in regards to your event.

Looking to give back to Veterans today or in the future? The National Veterans Foundation has important information to consider so your efforts are well spent and directed appropriately.

In regards to your wedding, there are a few ways you can directly or subtitling showcase you or your partner's service.Inside Weddings has a fantastic information regarding military accents and traditions; LINKED HERE is the full article, it’s worth the read!

A few of my favorites that I have executed at prior weddings are shown in the pictures below, along with my favorite Veterans.

The smallest of details can make the biggest of impacts; these Navy cufflinks were worn by the groom; a veteran wanting to subtly pay tribute to his time of service. Not every detail has to be loud or noticeable by everyone; small choices such as these add to the continuity of the theme and can have special meaning to only those that are aware.   

The smallest of details can make the biggest of impacts; these Navy cufflinks were worn by the groom; a veteran wanting to subtly pay tribute to his time of service. Not every detail has to be loud or noticeable by everyone; small choices such as these add to the continuity of the theme and can have special meaning to only those that are aware.

 

In a recent wedding, The Bluejacket’s Manual was used for a groom whom had served in the Navy. The tradition shared at this event was the passing of The Bluejacket Manual from a current Navy wife, to an incoming Navy wife; a special token that can be on display for years to come with multiple meanings to both spouses.   

In a recent wedding, The Bluejacket’s Manual was used for a groom whom had served in the Navy. The tradition shared at this event was the passing of The Bluejacket Manual from a current Navy wife, to an incoming Navy wife; a special token that can be on display for years to come with multiple meanings to both spouses.

 

My brave Father, right before heading to Vietnam.

My brave Father, right before heading to Vietnam.

My brave Husband and his Father.  As this picture was damaged from Hurricane Katrina, this photo captured him right before heading to Desert Storm.  My Father In Law also in the photo, always encouraged his son to join the military as he is a Vietnam Veteran as well.  

My brave Husband and his Father.  As this picture was damaged from Hurricane Katrina, this photo captured him right before heading to Desert Storm.  My Father In Law also in the photo, always encouraged his son to join the military as he is a Vietnam Veteran as well.  

My life long friend Chris (far right) whom I've always called brother.  I proudly share he has done 5 tours of duty for his country.  

My life long friend Chris (far right) whom I've always called brother.  I proudly share he has done 5 tours of duty for his country.  

Paige & Parker: A Beautiful Celebration

Paige and Parker met in high school; their relationship developed into nothing short of a classic love story that we all look in on and fondly admire. Their wedding was the magnificent culmination of their love and the grand entrance into their life together. Simply stated this couple and their day, captured timeless elegance, which I was honored to be a part of in the smallest of ways.

When I was brought in to assist with the nuptials of Paige & Parker it was only 4 short months before the big day. This isn’t uncommon, and what I enjoy about offering this a la carte service to clients is that they might be the most prepared in every way, however, knowing that when it comes to last minute items leading up to the day-of celebration someone on-site will alleviate stress and really help everyone enjoy what is meant to be enjoyed.

The magic of Paige and Parker’s day was enhanced by the fact that they had the honor of being the first wedding and event at New Orlean’s newest luxury hotel; The NOPSI - New Orleans Public Service Inc. Built in 1927 and formally the power and transportation headquarters of the city, this historic landmark has been completely remodeled to a charming, elegant and classic venue, just blocks from the French Quarter with amenities to enhance the smallest of events.


Being the first to “test” the venue, Paige and Parker are event featured on the website; http://www.nopsihotel.com/celebrate/overview. This couple had enough trust in this venue and a vision of of their day, with me by their side, we worked through the logistics and helped to set procedures and practices that will be used for many events to come on-site. The Spanish Oak Events team cannot say enough about the NOPSI Team, polished and patient and completely accommodating.

 

 

 

What additionally stood out with Paige and Parker was their vision of their day. Intentional planning and selection of vendors is what set this couple apart from just anyone planning a special event. The couple outlined and identified their expectations, and when they communicated that to the vendors they had interest in, it was clear right away if those expectations could be met.

 

As I have mentioned before, I don’t like sharing too many moments from these special events. I do my very best to honor the sanctity of the day shared between family and friends. That being said let me tell you about Andrew No-Pants! With 8 bridesmaids & groomsmen, as well as 8 users, this wedding party was the size of small town, at least where I come from. The bridal party’s efforts in celebration was nothing short of a celebration we all want to be invited to and a group we wished we were all apart of. It became the effort of all the groomsmen and ushers to hoist Parker, the groom, in the air and throw him above their heads, with such gusto; Andrew, a groomsman, split his pants, from tail to toe, not once, but twice. Needless to say Andrew No-Pants earned his name and required my team to track down a pair of tuxedo pants 34 x 32 at 6:45pm on a Saturday.

Often when working within a budget, or timeframe or any other limiting confine; selecting the appropriate vendors can be overlooked as we just need to check a box or make a fast decision. However, knowing that your expectations can be met by the particular vendor is critical. If you ask a fish to climb a tree they will fail every time; Albert Einstein said some version of this and the way I look at it is that you can’t ask vendors to do something they aren’t able to complete in the first place, they will fail and you will get frustrated. The intentional selection of vendors to meet your expectations is extraordinarily critical to the success of an event.


There is a very common saying; “you get what you pay for,” and at times that absolutely applies to the world of events. However more importantly, and often overlooked; is my mantra; “you get what you communicate you want.” This not only applies to vendors, but it also applies to the relationship between myself as a planner and the clients that I work with.

While not everything can be predicted or prepared for in the world of events; the Andrew No-Pants of these celebrations make my time worth it. I enjoy working behind the scenes so brides can stay on the dance floor all night and not worry about if the band can play an extra hour. I work diligently with vendors in advance so the venue knows when the bride and groom are having a first look, no one else should sneak a peek. I ask the questions that allow me to discern who can fulfill the expectations set by not only the bride and groom, but also the parents and guests.

It was truly a celebration I will always hold close to my heart.  Cheers to the new Mr. & Mrs. Galloway!

 

Giving credit where credit is due, below is the team that helped make this magical day come together.

 

Photographer: Caitlyn B Photography

Videographer: Harmonic Films

Music: The Wise Guys

Floral: Meade Wenzel; New Orleans, LA (504) 289-9883

Ceremony: Immaculate Conception - Jesus Christ

Celebration Venue & Catering: NOPSI

Cake: Maple Street Bakery

Photo Booth: HD Photobooth

 

I can’t use the word class enough with this couple. From the moment of our first interaction both families were gracious, helpful and full of class that extended beyond the event but also in the personalize thank yous sent. Paige looks elegant in her dress picked at  Town and Country Bridal.

I can’t use the word class enough with this couple. From the moment of our first interaction both families were gracious, helpful and full of class that extended beyond the event but also in the personalize thank yous sent. Paige looks elegant in her dress picked at Town and Country Bridal.

What I love about weddings in New Orleans is the traditions.  The second line experience  is so magical and fun and a photographer's gold mind! Paige and Parker were lead by  The Wise Guys  from ceremony to celebration and this image was captured by  Caitlyn B Photography .   

What I love about weddings in New Orleans is the traditions. The second line experience is so magical and fun and a photographer's gold mind! Paige and Parker were lead by The Wise Guys from ceremony to celebration and this image was captured by Caitlyn B Photography.

 

Just because you’re a classy bunch, doesn’t mean you don’t know how to have fun, and this group mastered the art of fun. Here is Parker in one of the MANY moments his feet were off the ground and I was cringing in the background waiting for the worst! Thankfully Andrew No-Pants was as bad as it got!

Just because you’re a classy bunch, doesn’t mean you don’t know how to have fun, and this group mastered the art of fun. Here is Parker in one of the MANY moments his feet were off the ground and I was cringing in the background waiting for the worst! Thankfully Andrew No-Pants was as bad as it got!

You know a florist is special when they don’t have a website or social media links and it takes a few calls to get a call back or someone on the line. Advertising is not needed for this seasoned professional. Meade Wenzel, is well known within the New Orleans event circle, and the results speak for themselves. Simple, classic, fresh and exactly what you never knew you always wanted. Keep calling; it’s worth getting ahold of this vendor.

You know a florist is special when they don’t have a website or social media links and it takes a few calls to get a call back or someone on the line. Advertising is not needed for this seasoned professional. Meade Wenzel, is well known within the New Orleans event circle, and the results speak for themselves. Simple, classic, fresh and exactly what you never knew you always wanted. Keep calling; it’s worth getting ahold of this vendor.

It’s difficult to capture the grandness of the church where Paige and Parker exchanged their vows. The  Immaculate Conception Parish  is a beautiful location, making the day extraordinarily special by beginning in such a sacred space

It’s difficult to capture the grandness of the church where Paige and Parker exchanged their vows. The Immaculate Conception Parish is a beautiful location, making the day extraordinarily special by beginning in such a sacred space

It was a goal of Paige and Parker’s that they didn’t want to leave the dance floor the entire night; mission accomplished. Although the evening had to come to a close; Paige and Parker have the rest of their lives together to make memories as special as this. Captured by  Caitlyn B Photography ; the newlyweds exiting through an avenue of their loved ones, waving ribbons and sending them on their way to begin their honeymoon.

It was a goal of Paige and Parker’s that they didn’t want to leave the dance floor the entire night; mission accomplished. Although the evening had to come to a close; Paige and Parker have the rest of their lives together to make memories as special as this. Captured by Caitlyn B Photography; the newlyweds exiting through an avenue of their loved ones, waving ribbons and sending them on their way to begin their honeymoon.

New Yorkers take on NOLA: An Adventure in Planning a Destination Wedding

To call our time together a marathon, would be putting it lightly; it was an IronMan of an adventure at the very least! Six people; two grooms, a sister, a mother, a step-father and myself, in ONE vehicle, took on 17 venues, multiple tastings, 2 band performances, a walking tour of the city, ONE PROPOSAL, 300 macaroons and 560 cups of coffee - at minimum per day - from Sucre, a family dinner at The Pelican Club, countless happy tears, endless laughs, ZERO car accidents, and final decisions made for the future grooms Joe and Tim, pretty much summarizes the 96 hours we had together. I can’t fit all the details about our time together in this post, but please see the photos & captions for continued stories of the fun we had!

What I enjoy doing for all my clients, and especially wedding planning couples, is to showcase why I love this city; more importantly why I love my job and what I can do to help make this process as easy as possible. It begins with a full itinerary of a planned day or days in Joe and Tim’s case, transportation and navigation provided, if desired, and most all moments with me intentionally scheduled in hopes that we are able to see the sights, taste the foods, and listen to the tunes to end our time together with you making the decisions that results in a spectacular wedding day.

Joe & Tim flew in from Brooklyn, NY with their family, and we had to make the most of their time here; experiencing as much as possible without creating information overload and decision fatigue. It was so fantastic to have Joe & Tim’s support network accompany them on their visit to the Big Easy. Having the honor of meeting immediate and extended families of my clients paints a full and vibrant picture of what I get to look forward to on the big day. It also allows for additional perspective and feedback, something I always welcome.

I see clients spend countless hours scouring the internet, virtually visiting venues, reaching out to vendors, gathering ideas and attempting to put together ways to make their special day stand out. At times it has to feel like an endless battle of reaching out, not hearing back, waiting, calling, emailing, filling out forms, and not making any progress. That’s where I step in; I have made the connections with sites and vendors so you don’t have to. I know the number to call to get answers, set tours and check on pricing and availability, details aren’t left out and you get exactly what you are dreaming of. It isn’t anything other than having an insider connection; and I am happy to put that to work for you.

I pride myself on getting to know my clients; asking the right questions and hearing the vision through your interests and expressions. I select locations, caterers, florists and other supporting vendors through my knowledge of the city of New Orleans, and surrounding area, in hopes that you will fall in love with the treasures we uncover through a perspective that only a connected planner can provide.

It isn’t easy to plan a wedding, especially a destination wedding. Joe and Tim vacationed to New Orleans on their first trip together as a couple, and when the time came to plan their nuptials it was an easy choice to return to this special city where they fell in love. The abundance of diverse choices and quality options for everything regarding their special day is only part of the reason New Orleans is a great city for Joe and Tim.

I don’t want to share all the moments I had with this group; firstly there are simply too many to write about, but also, my time with them was so special that some of those experiences you just have to hold close to your heart so they don’t escape. However the story of Tim proposing to Joe is a sweet story. Orchestrated among Joe’s family members with a ring snuck into luggage, the proposal was captured on video and spontaneous enough that Joe had no idea and his reaction was beyond words. As Joe proposed to Tim earlier this summer in a grandiose gesture, Tim didn’t want Joe to miss out on the feeling of being asked for his hand in marriage. 

We visited multiple venues, ate with a variety of caterers, had a multitude of experiences, that in the end lead to making some very difficult decisions. There are a multitude of factors that go into final choices and ultimately the vision for the day shines through when connections are made.  Joe and Tim finalized the location for the ceremony and reception as well as a band. There are a remainder of vendors to still be selected, and will be showcased when I blog about their big day in June of 2018.

Ceremony: The Tree of Life - Named after the first Mayor of New Orleans and officially called the Étienne de Boray Oak, and affectionately called the Tree of Life locally. This spot provides a magnificent backdrop to the ceremony. And if luck should have it on the big day the giraffes from the Audubon Zoo will peak in!

Reception: New Orleans Board of Trade - Founded in 1880 and working until the 1960’s this was a location for the Green Coffee Trade, that once filled the port of New Orleans. With historic details from the three clocks indicating the times of New Orleans, New York and Rio de Janeiro, all major players in the coffee trade, to the original 8 sectioned mural dome hand painted by a local artist; Alvin Sharpe in 1932.

Band: The Phunky Monkeys - This group will bring everyone out of their seats and onto the floor, it is a guarantee. Numerous awards and extensive history in New Orleans, this group has a variety of genres that it has perfected and will serenade all your guests.

Joe and Tim at Tree of Life - Can you see what I see? When visiting sites like this is easy to see the special day come together; the best part is watching the groom’s faces light up when they see it too.

Joe and Tim at Tree of Life - Can you see what I see? When visiting sites like this is easy to see the special day come together; the best part is watching the groom’s faces light up when they see it too.

Cake tasting at  Bittersweet Confections  - A local shop with a story of perseverance through rebuilding after Katrina this chocolatier and her creations make it impossible to leave without a sugar high and big smiles. Thank you for hosting us putting together the sweetest of tastings.

Cake tasting at Bittersweet Confections - A local shop with a story of perseverance through rebuilding after Katrina this chocolatier and her creations make it impossible to leave without a sugar high and big smiles. Thank you for hosting us putting together the sweetest of tastings.

Tasting at Pigeon Catering - luckily enough with the reception venue selected,  Pigeon Catering  is on site and is delectable! Working with this staff is seamless and the food selection provides ample opportunity for personalization and individual tastes.   

Tasting at Pigeon Catering - luckily enough with the reception venue selected, Pigeon Catering is on site and is delectable! Working with this staff is seamless and the food selection provides ample opportunity for personalization and individual tastes.

 

Family picture at  The Van Benthuysen-Elms Mansion  - Each time I visit this site it becomes more magical. The only historic home on St. Charles Avenue that offers a space for events; with a magnificent 48 foot grand ballroom and infinite amounts of details around every turn.

Family picture at The Van Benthuysen-Elms Mansion - Each time I visit this site it becomes more magical. The only historic home on St. Charles Avenue that offers a space for events; with a magnificent 48 foot grand ballroom and infinite amounts of details around every turn.

The proposal - This couple showered each other with affection the entire weekend, and this proposal was just one of many lasting memories that was the start of Joe and Tim’s life together! It is evident that this process is going to be a fun journey and having the honor of witnessing special moments like these is truly the best part of my job.   

The proposal - This couple showered each other with affection the entire weekend, and this proposal was just one of many lasting memories that was the start of Joe and Tim’s life together! It is evident that this process is going to be a fun journey and having the honor of witnessing special moments like these is truly the best part of my job.