Happy, happy TGIF! I know on Fridays we usually display oodles of inspiration via photo shoots but today we are going to switch it up a bit and bring you a plethora of inspiration from very real, very pretty weddings. We have a whole line-up of beauties to send you off into the wilds of weekend fun. And don’t forget, this is just a sampling of each celebration. By clicking on the gallery, you can revel in every inch of gorgeous that each wedding has to offer.
We are going to start things off with the absolute cutest day held in good ol’ New Orleans. The perfect combination of historic beauty and fun-filled whimsy, this wedding is an absolute charmer and we just can’t get enough of that perfect, perfect calligraphy by Jenna Hein. See the full celebration, NOLA style, in the gallery.
From the Bride…
Dan and I live in New York City. His family is from California and mine is from New Jersey, and so for our wedding, we decided to have everyone meet somewhere in the middle: New Orleans! New Orleans is one of our favorite American cities and holds a special place for us as a couple because we got engaged there. Everything we love about the city—its casual vibe, amazing food, vibrant music, fun, energy and magic—basically described the kind of wedding we wanted to have. There was no other place to have our wedding but New Orleans. About sixty-five of our closest friends and family joined us in New Orleans for our wedding, coming from 10 different states and three countries! (Not one person was from New Orleans!) To have all of our favorite people from all over the world in one place (just for us!) made the entire wedding feel so special. We had a very traditional Catholic ceremony at the Holy Name of Jesus Church, followed by a fun-filled reception at a historic building/event space called the Board of Trade. Dan and I were both equally involved in the planning and were super into it. We have the excel spreadsheets and millions of tearsheets to prove it! But the things I remember the most about our wedding day are the things we didn’t plan for: The street performers who played “Here comes the bride” when we walked by; hopping on a street car before our ceremony and having all the strangers onboard cheer applaud, the moment before we walked down the aisle and Dan was trying to make me laugh so I wouldn’t cry, eating leftover wedding cake together, with one fork, in our hotel room when it was all over.
Here is my advice for any bride planning their wedding from afar:
I highly recommend visiting your location to choose your venue in person. Places looked A LOT different on the internet than in person, and so I am really glad that we made a trip out there to check out venues. You can do a lot of things on the phone/internet, but it’s hard to do this one without someone being there in person Go with the local customs. Where I live in the Northeast, a traditional wedding reception is about 6 hours long with a sit-down dinner. We found out in New Orleans that they tend to do 3-hour long receptions with a buffet dinner. We opted to do it how the locals do it, and I am so happy we made that decision. Not only does it make it easier for your vendors to do what they’re used to, it will actually make your wedding more memorable and different for your guests. Then again, don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path. Since our wedding reception was so short…we didn’t do any of the typical wedding stuff: Cut the cake, throw the bouquet, etc. I am glad that we didn’t because it would have felt like we just had to cross things off our to-do list rather than enjoy our day. We did do a first dance—only because we took some swing lessons and wanted to show off our skills. But even that was not super choreographed and planned. We also walked down the aisle together which felt so special to me. It felt like we were walking into this thing called marriage together. When it comes to finding vendors, do a ton of research. Don’t always rely on web sites. Sometimes they look a little cheesy, but when you speak to the people on the phone, you get a better vibe. Trust your instincts. When I found a vendor I trusted, I often ended up asking them for recommendations for other vendors. When the photographer we wanted was booked, they recommended me someone who they worked with in the past who ended up being more affordable and just as great! If you are doing any DIY stuff you want set up beforehand, do everything before you arrive to the location. You don’t want to be tying bows the night before. Ship everything (with tracking number!) to the location or your wedding coordinator a few days ahead of time. And if you can afford it, hire a day of coordinator to set everything up. Even though it was an added expense, I am so happy I did that and didn’t have to worry about it the day of the event. (The only this is that you SHOULD bring your wedding dress on the plane with you as a carry on. Don’t ship it) • Learn to let go. Not everything is going to be perfect. It’s a destination wedding. Things are bound to go awry. Focus on the stuff that is important. You are getting married! All your family and friends are there. This is freakin awesome! If you keep this in mind, you will have the best day of your life. We did!
Ceremony Location: Holy Name of Jesus Church / Reception Location: Board of Trade / Food: Pigeon Catering / Photographer: Ooti Billeaud / Second Photographer: Brittany Mitchell/ Florist: Nola Flora / Cakes: Flour Power / Band: Some Like It Hot / Second Line Band: Jazzmen Brass Band / Hair and Make-up: Glam Therapy / Veil and Hairpiece: Bridal Veil Falls / Invitation and Save the Date: Michele Lee / Calligraphy: Jenna Hein / Cake Topper: The Small Object / Praline Favors: Southern Candymakers / Day of Coordinator: Taylor Quintini / Wedding Dress: Melissa Sweet Reverie / Bridal Shoes: Stuart Weitzman (heels)/ J. Crew (flats) / Bridesmaid Dress: Priscilla of Boston / Groom’s Suit: Perlis / Groom’s Shoes: Tommy HilfigerJ.Crew is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here.