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New Orleans Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

Go Inside One Couple’s Fun-Filled New Orleans Wedding

 New Orleans, Real Wedding Videos, Real Weddings  Comments Off on Go Inside One Couple’s Fun-Filled New Orleans Wedding
Sep 102016

Looking for some ultra-romantic wedding inspiration? Then look no further than our real weddings video channel, packed with tons beautiful celebrations and countless ideas to steal for your own big day. Each week we take a deeper look at one of our favorite new love stories, and today's inspiration comes courtesy of Cait and Rhett's incredible summer wedding in New Orleans.

The team from 63 Films joined this twosome at the Pavilion of the Two Sisters for a ceremony and reception dripping with Nola flair. From a drive through the beautiful city and a Spanish moss-covered ceremony to the couple's glamorous reception décor and Mardi Gras-inspired exit, Cait and Rhett totally embraced the style of the city where they swapped vows.

See More: 32 Ideas for a Neutral Wedding Color Palette

It's not hard to see why the bride and groom selected this venue for their big day: The stunning backdrop was worth every penny, and they certainly got their money's worth during a first look portrait session and open-air ceremony. Manicured gardens, lush trees, and an abundance of moss made for an unforgettable setting. The couple made the outdoor ceremony all the more romantic with a live pianist and guitarist and by surrounding the space with plenty of glowing candlelight.

They turned up the charm and party vibe for their reception. Feathered umbrellas gave a nod to the city's traditional first line and streamers in traditional Mardi Gras colors made for the perfect locally inspired exit. All in all, it's safe to say this bride and groom totally captured the fun-filled vibe of the city throughout their big day.

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See How One Couple Worked a Bold Color Palette Into Their Plantation Wedding in New Orleans

 Louisiana, New Orleans, Real Weddings  Comments Off on See How One Couple Worked a Bold Color Palette Into Their Plantation Wedding in New Orleans
Jun 172016

For Lindsay Scott and Wells Winfrey, the third time truly was the charm. After a mutual friend attempted to set them up not once but twice without any luck, it took a third meeting — at a wedding, no less! — for sparks to fly. And fly they did. Once they got engaged, this somewhat indecisive couple went back-and-forth on a few wedding day details, including where they'd host their May 9, 2015, destination celebration. These two travel lovers considered several spots, but ultimately landed on New Orleans, where the bride-to-be attended college. With the city's world-renowned cuisine and old Southern charm, Lindsay and Wells felt confident their 92 guests would have fun on their day and beyond. "If you can't manage to have a good time in New Orleans, then I'm not sure where you can," Lindsay points out.

With the help of the team at Nola Bash, this bride and groom created an intimate and elegant celebration with a focus on fine food, wine, and of course, an all-night dance party. Charlie Juliet Photography was there to capture every striking deep purple and green detail, all seen below.

Wells asked Lindsay to marry him with an heirloom diamond ring that had been in his family for years. "It's really beautiful and it's an honor to have been entrusted with something so important," Lindsay says.

The couple planned their celebration at Stella Plantation, where guests could enjoy the venue's live oak trees and sprawling lawns without some of the rules imposed by other historic spaces. "That was a huge plus logistically," she the bride says. Their invitation suite even featured a rendering of the foliage their friends and family would see on the big day.

Unlike most other brides, Lindsay says finding her dress was one of her least favorite parts of planning the wedding, noting it was difficult going into shopping without a clear idea of what she was looking for. She ultimately decided on an A-line Vera Wang wedding dress with a sweetheart neckline, draped tulle bodice, and open back. "This was the dress I liked the most, so after a week of debating, I went for it," she says.

She also carried a mixed bouquet made of succulents, anemones, ranunculus, and eucalyptus pods. Wells went classic, wearing a custom tuxedo — an easy pick for the groom!

With a large live oak tree as the backdrop for their outdoor ceremony the pair didn't feel they needed much in the way of decor. Instead, Lindsay and Wells opted for small purple flower arrangements that were hung from the branches of the tree and let the beauty of the plantation do the rest of the work.

Lindsey and Wells hosted their reception in a white tent on the grounds, and guests could find their seat assignments — at tables named for New Orleans streets — hung by clothespins on a line. Before moving inside the tent, everyone enjoyed a cocktail hour beside the enclosure. "Thank goodness our wedding planner remembered bug spray," Lindsay says. "Dusk in the swamplands of Louisiana means a lot of mosquitos!"

When they moved inside the tent, guests were greeted with a striking sight: Purple fabric draped along the ceiling of the tent, completely transforming the interior. "The tent was a permanent one," Lindsay says, "so I didn't get a say in the size or style of it. It was larger than I wanted, and it wasn't most attractive tent, so I had very dark purple fabric draped across the top of the tent to help bring the ceiling down and create a more intimate feeling." Another plus? The draping hid some of the metal poles the bride wasn't fond of.

Centerpieces varied from table to table, but most were made of a mixture of moss, succulents, and deep purples flowers with candles mixed in at varying heights and sizes. "I don't think that was any real specific way in which we personalized the wedding. I think it was just reflected in our choices overall," the bride says of their décor. "We really just focused on great food, great wine, and a great band, because that's what we love in general."

And talk about great food. As indicated on their menu cards, the couple served an amazing meal that included Southern favorites like Louisiana shrimp-stuffed flounder, beef short ribs, and banana pudding.

The feast didn't end there: Dessert also included a white three-tier confection made from layers of almond cake and chocolate buttercream filling.

Music was also important to the bride and groom, who chose to hire two live bands for the day's entertainment.

Thinking back on the day, Lindsay cautions other brides to keep it simple. "It's so easy to get carried away when planning a wedding but focus on the things that people will truly remember and you can't go wrong," she says.

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Stella Plantation || Wedding Planner: Nola Bash || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Shoes: Gianvito Rossi || Hair & Makeup: Flawless Bride || Groom's Attire: My Suit || Groomsmen Attire: Suit Supply || Florist: Le Deux Soeurs || Invitations: Kelly Draws|| Music: The Gumbo Trio; Dwight Raby || Catering: August || Cake: Bittersweet Confections || Rentals: Luminous Events; Event Rental; Rent Distressed || Videographer: Bride Film || Photographer: Charlie Juliet Photography

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Ready for more Southern wedding inspiration? Then watch another couple say "I do" in Tennessee in the video below.

This Multicultural Wedding in New Orleans Was Inspired by The Great Gatsby

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Feb 052016

When Nina first started medical school in 2010, she had no idea that the man sitting next to her in her very first class would one day become her husband. "We became study partners, and were best friends by the end of the year," Nina remembers. When CV came to say goodbye to Nina before heading to Minneapolis for an internship, the pair shared their first kiss, and their relationship began. Two years later, at Nina's grandparents' home near New Orleans, the bride arrived at the house to find her nephew waiting for her with dozens of red roses. He told her that CV was waiting for her outside, and Nina headed out the back door. "My family and friends were standing along a path decorated with candles and rose petals, and CV was standing at the far end," she says. On the dock behind her grandparents' house, surrounded by the people they love most, CV got down on one knee and asked Nina to be his wife.

Their wedding planning began when they found a ceremony location: Peristyle in New Orleans City park. "The stone structure has rows and rows of columns, surrounded by beautiful oak trees. CV and I both knew we had to get married there," says Nina. What followed was an Old Hollywood glamour theme, brought to life by Wink Design & Events. They infused the day with both of their cultures, including a Hindu ceremony with attire selected by CV's family in India, and brought 250 guests to New Orleans to celebrate on November 15, 2014. Get an inside look at this multicultural affair, photographed by Mark Eric Photography.

Nina's wedding lehenga, in bright hues of fuchsia, orange, and gold, was selected in India by CV's mother. The ornate gold belt she wore was a gift from CV's parents, one that the bride will pass on to her own daughter one day. CV's traditional attire was also purchased in India, with a hand-sewn turban in deep crimson, edged in gold.

The ceremony followed Hindu tradition, including the exchange of vibrant floral garlands.

Multicultural Wedding in New Orleans, Bride's Embellished Wedding Shoes Multicultural Wedding in New Orleans, Bride in Custom-Made Wedding Dress

Photo: Mark Eric

For the second ceremony, Nina paired bejeweled Badgley Mischka pumps with a custom-made lace gown, complete with a plunging neckline and a five-foot train. "Nothing I tried on in stores came close to what I'd envisioned, so I found an amazing designer who was able to bring my dream gown to life," she says.

CV and his groomsmen wore navy tuxedos with black lapels, a modern twist on the classic style.

Multicultural Wedding in New Orleans, All-White Wedding Bouquet Multicultural Wedding in New Orleans, Bridesmaids in Taupe Wedding Dresses

Photo: Mark Eric

Nina's all-white bouquet combined phalaenopsis orchids, peonies, mini calla lilies, and Tibet roses, finished with white ribbon and a crystal flower. Her bridesmaids, who wore taupe-hued high neck gowns by Amsale, carried duchess peonies, Tibet roses, and dendrobium orchids accented with green hydrangeas. "We kept their look very '20s-inspired, with soft finger waves and deep plum lipstick," says the bride.

At the ceremony site, gold Chivari chairs flanked an aisle decorated with gold columns and candelabras draped with roses and hydrangeas. Two arrangements of white blooms were set on either side of the altar.

Nina's father walked her down the aisle, and she and CV exchanged traditional vows. "We had both Bible verses and Hindu scripture included in the ceremony to represent both of our faiths," says Nina.

The reception took place at Sugar Mill, where a crystal chandelier draped with orchids and peonies greeted guests as they entered. White linens, accented with gold lace runners, were topped with dozens of candles. Some tables featured tall pillars topped with floating candles and roses, while others had lush arrangements of white roses and soft green hydrangeas in gold vases. "We took a lot of inspiration from the '20s, and used gold throughout to create a luxe feel," says Nina.

The Great Gatsby inspiration shone through in the rentals as well, with a tufted white and gold love seat set beneath an acrylic structure that was a modern spin on the traditional Hindu mandap.

After Nina and CV shared their first dance to "Make it to Me" by Sam Smith, the Tulane Bhangra team took over the dance floor, performing while a mix of contemporary and traditional Indian songs played.

The combination of cultures also extended to the menu, where Creole-style crab cakes and Andouille gumbo were served alongside lamb biryani and Alu Gobi. "CV lived in India until he was ten, so it was initially hard to find a caterer who could prepare Indian dishes that rivaled those of CV's mother. However, when we found Nirvana Indian Cuisine, we knew it was the perfect fit!" says Nina.

The six-tiered cake, with a mixture of hexagonal and round tiers, was decorated in gold and white details and textures, as well as white sugar flowers. Flavors included red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, lemon cake with fresh raspberry filling, vanilla cake with French buttercream, and almond cake with Bavarian buttercream.

"Remember to have fun planning your wedding," says Nina. "Sure, you'll have disagreements, but remember to take a deep breath and focus on what this day is truly all about."

Ceremony Venue: The Peristyle || Reception Venue: The Sugar Mill || Wedding Planner: Wink Design & Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Pedram Couture || Shoes: Badgley Mischka || Hair: Ringletts Salon || Makeup: Makeup by Becca || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale || Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Blue Nile || Florist: Bella Blooms Floral || Invitations & Paper Goods: Exquisite Events || Music: DJ Diagnosis || Catering: Pigéon Caterers; Nirvana Indian Cuisine || Cake: Royal Cakery || Rentals: Event Rental || Videography: Dyle Films || Photography: Mark Eric Photography

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Did you love this wedding? Then check out another couple's multicultural celebration in the video below.

Feb 022016

Every new year comes with new trends and for brides that love to know about all the hottest spots before everyone else — look no further! We teamed up with The Venue Report, which curates the world's coolest event Spaces, to pick the country's 10 Buzziest New Wedding Spots for 2016. These gorgeous venues will definitely have all your guests asking "how did you find this place?!" Trust us — they'll be completely wowed by every single spot on this list.

The Cedar Room, Charleston, South Carolina (Above)
Ideal for a chic vintage-inspired fete, this renovated 1800s cigar factory features an outdoor courtyard, authentic Low Country fare, and views of the Cooper River and iconic Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.

The Inn at Newport Ranch, Fort Bragg, California
If you're into dramatic cliffs, awe-inspiring redwoods, and farm-to-table cuisine, check out this 2,000-acre cattle ranch on the Mendocino coast. Our favorite ceremony site? Celebration Point, a rock promontory with crashing Pacific waves on two sides.

Millwick, Los Angeles
Brides are flocking to this indoor-outdoor space in the downtown Arts District. The draw? A 2 a.m. curfew, the palm-lined garden patio, and 4,500 square feet of loft-like interiors.

The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Chicago
Built in the 19th century, this former men's club was closed to the public until last year, when it opened as a meticulously restored hotel. The White City Ballroom still has its original marble floors, ornate fireplaces, and stained-glass windowpanes.

Il Mercato, New Orleans
Get hitched next to citrus trees at this food market turned events space, then move the party inside to the mod great room. The library bar is perfect for a wild after-party.

See More: Caribbean Honeymoon Destinations for Every Couple

Granite Ridge Estate & Barn, Norway, Maine
Take over this 128-acre private mountain for the weekend and get married al fresco in the forest or in a wooden barn overlooking the countryside below.

26 Bridge, Brooklyn
Once a steel factory, this colossal space in arty Dumbo plays up its industrial past with steel-vaulted ceilings, original brick walls, and a skylight that runs the length of the room.

Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York
Long Island's famous museum opened its Water Mill location in 2012 and is now (finally!) booking weddings. Take advantage with vows in a gallery, flanked by Jackson Pollock paintings, or in an open pavilion that seems to go on forever.

Prospect House, Dripping Springs, Texas
Say your vows in a field of Hill Country wildflowers, then move inside to a sleek 220-foot-long aluminum space that will appeal to your inner minimalist.

The White Sparrow, Quinlan, Texas
Thanks to its whitewashed interior, high ceiling, and six vintage brass chandeliers, this massive barn 43 miles outside Dallas is more elegant than rustic. FYI, the owner
is a wedding photographer, so the place was made for gorgeous wedding photos.

Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES February/March 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!

Want to see more up and coming venues? Check out our Venues page to find your perfect wedding location!

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A Candle-Filled Ceremony and Reception in New Orleans

 Louisiana, New Orleans, Real Weddings  Comments Off on A Candle-Filled Ceremony and Reception in New Orleans
Dec 042015

In true New Orleans fashion, Danielle Couturié and Jared Papania met the night of a Mardi Gras ball in 2011. "We were supposed to meet at the ball but he took the initiative and asked me to be his date instead," says the bride. Two years later, Jared planned a NOLA-style proposal in the city's famous Audubon Park.

So when the couple started planning their January 24, 2015 wedding, the Big Easy was the obvious choice for their chic black-and-white ceremony and confetti-filled dance party. Keep reading to see all of the stunning details, as captured by Eau Claire Photographics, below!

Danielle found her dream gown, an embellished fit-and-flare, at Bustles & Bows Bridal Boutique in nearby Metairie, Louisiana. "It was the first dress that made me feel like a bride," she says. She accessorized the beaded gown with a lace-lined veil and a white bouquet wrapped with striped ribbon and a piece of lace from her mother's wedding dress.

Danielle's eight bridesmaids wore long black dresses by Dessy, which they could wrap however they wanted. They carried smaller versions of the bride's bouquet mixed with ranunculus blooms.

The bride loves candles so much that she picked St. Theresa of Avila specifically because they allowed open flames and non-traditional music. There, after musicians played Coldplay's "Fix You," Danielle and Jared exchanged vows in a traditional Catholic mass.

After the ceremony, guests moved the party to the New Orleans Board of Trade, where they were greeted with tomato basil shooters, mini grilled cheese sandwiches, crawfish cakes — and, of course, more candles! "It was freezing but I just love the courtyard and the city's architecture that surrounds it," says the bride.

The five-tier wedding cake, surrounded by tons of votive candles, was a focal point of the room.

The newlyweds ended the night on the dance floor as Groovy — "The best cover band in the city," says the bride — played Joe Cocker rendition's of "With a Little Help from My Friends" as cannons shot gold confetti everywhere. "Having fun on the dance floor was our main priority," Danielle says.

Ceremony Venue: St. Theresa of Avila || Reception Venue: New Orleans Board of Trade || Wedding Coordinator: NOLA BASH Event Design and Planning || Bride's Wedding Dress & Veil: Bustles & Bows || Hair: Samantha Damico || Makeup: Mary Flood || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Dessy, purchased at Southern Bridal || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Warehouse || Flowers: NOLA Flora || Music: Groovy 7 || Catering: Pigeon Caterers || Cake: Sweet Life Bakery || Rentals: Yur Event, Event Rental || Candles: Luminous Events || Videographer: Bella Productions || Photographer: Eau Claire Photographics

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Did you love this formal black-and-white celebration? Then check out another couple's elegant wedding in the video below.

An Elegant Early Spring Wedding in New Orleans

 Louisiana, New Orleans, Real Weddings  Comments Off on An Elegant Early Spring Wedding in New Orleans
Oct 022015

Ten years after meeting in their freshman dorm, Athena and Philip found themselves on a beach in Mexico, with Philip down on one knee. With an elegant, timeless wedding in mind, the pair searched all over New Orleans before finding the Marigny Opera House (where Solange Knowles tied the knot!). "We loved the vintage feel, the stained glass, and the open floor plan," says Athena of the former Catholic church, now a non-denominational space that celebrates art and music in all forms.

Athena and Philip spent nearly two years planning their March 21, 2015 wedding, staying organized with the help of NOLA Bash as their blue, ivory, and gold celebration came together. Keep reading to see how they celebrated New Orleans (and their love), captured by Erika Parker Photography.

The simple invitations featured elegant script and played off the color scheme of Philip and Athena's vintage map save-the-date cards. The bride let the vibe of the city shine through in her wedding-day attire, choosing soft pink Badgley Mischka pumps and an ornate vintage-inspired beaded clutch.

Athena's fitted Maggie Sottero gown had a full skirt made of tulle rosettes, which was a perfect match for her wild rose, anemone, ranunculus, hydrangea, and tulip bouquet. Dramatic drop earrings sparkled beneath her elegant chignon.

Athena's bridesmaid wore a beaded navy gown and carried a smaller bouquet of ranunculus, hydrangea, and roses, studded with light blue tweedia.

Philip donned a vintage tuxedo, with his best man in a navy blue suit. Both men's boutonnieres were accented with tweedia and rosemary.

"It was so touching to have guests come together from out of town and overseas to celebrate with us," says the bride.

White arrangements flanked the aisle and the altar. Athena's mother walked her down the aisle and the couple's officiant read the Apache Wedding Blessing. Following the ceremony, musicians played the Bourbon Street Parade as guests headed into the street.

The venue was transformed for the reception, with blue linens, gold chairs, and tall arrangements of lilies, roses, hydrangeas, and tulips decorating the grand space. Dinner included New Orleans classics like boudin balls and red beans and rice.

Instead of a cake, the couple served pear and apple tarts alongside a candy bar that featured everything from white chocolate dipped Oreos to rock candy.

For the reception, Athena changed into a floor-length silver sequin gown. A jazz band played as the bride and groom had their first dance to "It Had To Be You" by Frank Sinatra.

"We honeymooned in Tulum," says Athena, who advises brides and grooms to not get bogged down in other people's opinions. "Make sure your wedding is what you want as a couple."

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Marigny Opera House || Wedding Planner: NOLA Bash || Bride's Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero || Bride's Reception Dress: Nasty Gal || Shoes: Badgley Mischka || Hair: Ringletts || Makeup: Katie Malone Makeup Studio || Engagement Ring: Friend & Co. || Wedding Bands: Aucoin Hart || Florist: Arbor House Floral || Invitations & Paper Goods: Scriptura, Rudman's || Music: Joe Simon's Jazz, Panorama Jazz Band || Catering: Martin Wine Cellar || Tarts: La Boulangerie || Candy Station: Della Hooper Promotions and Productions || Rentals: Perrier Party Rentals, Event Restroom Rentals || Photo Booth: Oh Snap! Photo Booth || Photography: Photography by Erika Parker

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Did you love this formal wedding? Then check out another elegant party in the video below!

A Glamorous Destination Wedding in New Orleans

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Sep 032015
Glamorous New Orleans Destination Wedding, Tented Reception Area

Photo: Mark Eric

For Sofia and Joseph, their very first post-grad careers proved to be invaluable — the pair first met in January 2010, when the two recent college-grads accepted jobs at an event planning company. "We were friends and colleagues for over a year and we were even lucky enough to travel around the United States on event tours, so we got to know each other very well," Sofia remembers. But timing wasn't quite right as Sofia was seeing someone else and it wasn't until she was single for eight months that she finally took Joey up on his dinner offer. "After that, we were inseparable!"

Three years later, the pair was gearing up to celebrate their birthdays in New York City (the two are born just three days apart!) when Joey surprised Sofia with the gift of a lifetime. "Two days before our trip we planned to have dinner with his parents to celebrate our birthdays," Sofia recalls. "I came home to a path of candles and petals leading me to our outside patio where Joey was waiting on one knee with 2,000 candles and lanterns. It was so intimate and breathtaking!" Once she said yes, Joey surprised his new fiancé with an engagement party that was just as shocking for their guests as it was for the bride-to-be. "He invited our friends and family to my mom's house for a 'surprise birthday party' for me," Sofia says. "As they arrived, they realized it wasn't a surprise birthday party, but rather a surprise engagement party!"

The pair spent just under a year planning their nuptials and, on November 8, 2014, Sofia and Joey exchanged vows in front of 140 guests in New Orleans, Louisiana. Keep reading to see all of Mark Eric's photos from their elegant ceremony and reception.

Glamorous New Orleans Destination Wedding, Lilian Designs Formal Invitation Suite

Photo: Mark Eric

Sofia and Joseph knew they wanted a destination wedding weekend where guests would feel transported back in time. They worked with Wink Design & Events to plan a formal event with a 1940s feel in a palette that incorporated gold, pewter, rose gold, green, ivory, and champagne. To match the feel of their big day, the couple works with Lilian Designs Studio to create their classic white-and-gold invitation suite.

Glamorous New Orleans Destination Wedding, Monique Lhuillier Wedding Dress

Photo: Mark Eric

Sofia wanted a wedding-day look that felt romantic yet timeless, and finding her wedding dress proved to be a simple task. "I was casually shopping for dresses with my mom and decided to start by trying on different silhouettes to see which style was the most flattering for me," the bride remembers. "My Monique Lhuillier gown was the second I tried on!" She accessorized with her grandmother's earring, which every generation of brides in her family has worn, and a bouquet of white peonies, dusty miller, and gray brunia berries. "My bouquet included a locket that had a stone called an 'Azabache.' In the Cuban and Hispanic culture, babies and brides wear it as protection from the evil eye," Sofia says.

Glamorous New Orleans Destination Wedding, Bride with Bridesmaids in Sequin Gowns Glamorous New Orleans Destination Wedding, Bride with Flower Girls

Photo: Mark Eric

Rather than having a large bridal party, Sofia decided to have just two attendants, both splitting the role of maid-of-honor. She wanted their dresses to evoke the feel of old Hollywood glamour, and found just what she was searching for in pewter sequined gowns from Adrianna Papell.

The couple also had three flower girls, and each young member of the bridal party wore pewter dresses made by Dani Ferringo. "My youngest flower girl had a mini meltdown just seconds before walking down the aisle because she wanted to wear her hot pink cheetah printed ballerina flats," Sofia says. "There was so much tulle and they looked so cute that nobody noticed. And more importantly, she was happy!"

Glamorous New Orleans Destination Wedding, Groom in Tux Glamorous New Orleans Destination Wedding, Groom and Groomsmen

Photo: Mark Eric

Joseph and his groomsmen didn't skimp on style, either. The groom donned a custom-made midnight blue tux while his attendants dressed in custom-made black versions.

Glamorous New Orleans Destination Wedding, St. Joseph Church Wedding

Photo: Mark Eric

"St. Joseph Church is one of the most gorgeous churches I have ever seen," Sofia says of their ceremony site. "As soon as I walked in, I knew that was where we'd get married." Since the interior of the church already lived up to the couple's glamorous expectations, they didn't need to bring in tons of décor. Instead, they lined the aisle with gold-candled lanterns and arrangements of white-and-green flowers. The couple's priest from Miami traveled to New Orleans to preside over Sofia and Joseph's traditional ceremony.

Glamorous New Orleans Destination Wedding, Glamorous Reception Tent Glamorous New Orleans Destination Wedding, Gold Laser Cut Name Signs Glamorous New Orleans Destination Wedding, White Floral Centerpiece with Clear Candlesticks

Photo: Mark Eric

Following their I do's, Sofia and Joseph invited their guests to join them for a reception at the Elms Mansion. "It had the feeling a southern plantation home," the bride says. "The entire reception was a total dream." The party was held in an outdoor tent that was draped with champagne fabric and filled with chandeliers, hanging eucalyptus, and mirrored tables. Gold candelabras, centerpieces of lush white-and-green flowers, and gilded place settings helped transform the space.

Glamorous New Orleans Destination Wedding, Suspended White and Gold Wedding Cake Glamorous New Orleans Destination Wedding, Bride and Groom First Dance

Photo: Mark Eric

The pair wanted to do something unexpected and statement making with their wedding cake, which was filled with vanilla cake and strawberry buttercream, so they decided to have it suspended over the corner of the dance floor and decorated it with plenty of fresh greenery and flowers.

Sofia and Joseph shared their first dance to Otis Redding's "That's How Strong My Love Is." "We loved the idea of having the long tables all surround the dance floor," the bride says of their set up. "It made our first dance so magical!"

Glamorous New Orleans Destination Wedding, Outdoor Lounge Area Glamorous New Orleans Destination Wedding, Live Painter

Photo: Mark Eric

For guests that needed a break, a luxurious lounge area was set up outside, where friends and family could watch as an artist live-painted the reception.

Glamorous New Orleans Destination Wedding, Late Night Party

Photo: Mark Eric

While the reception was a blast, the couple felt the party didn't really kick off until their late-night festivities. "After dinner and dancing, the after party really got started with confetti explosions while our brass band and grand Marshall led the guests on a parade back to the mansion where two dueling pianos were waiting for us," Sofia says. "It was a night full of surprise and nonstop excitement!"

"This day is all about making memories for you and your husband," Sofia reminds future brides. "It's true when they say the day goes by so fast. All that time, planning, anticipation, and stress, and then boom, it's over, so focus on the elements that will give you memories!"

Ceremony Venue: St. Joseph Church || Reception Venue & Catering: Elms Mansion || Wedding Planner: Wink Design & Events || Officiant: Reverend Father Richard Vigoa || Bride's Wedding Dress & Veil: Monique Lhuillier, purchased at Chic Parisien || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair & Makeup: Cat Vo of Aristocat Beauty || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Adrianna Papell || Groom's Attire: Bolado Clothiers || Flower Girl Attire: Frills and Fireflies || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Maurice's Jewelers || Bridesmaids' Monogram Necklaces: Gables Gems || Florist: Bella Blooms || Invitations & Escort Cards: Lilian Designs Studio || Other Paper Products: EE Invites || Welcome Packets: Paper Please Studio || Music: Michelle Richards; The Courtyard Kings; Felix and Fingers || Cake: The Sweet Life Bakery || Rentals: Décor to Remember; Julia Hohne; Classic Party Rentals || Transportation: Limo Livery || Accommodations: The Roosevelt New Orleans; Wyndham Garden Baronne Plaza New Orleans || Videographer: Montoto Productions || Painter: Alex Harvie || Photographer: Mark Eric

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Want more glamorous wedding inspiration? Then you'll love watching a formal bash come to life in the video below!

Jul 222015
Best Bridal Salons in South

Photo: Kelly Cummings of Spindle Photography

Sometimes in the great search for that one perfect dress, you don't even know where to begin. The answer? With an appointment at a top-notch bridal salon. In our new August/September 2015 issue (on newsstands now!) we call out the best 50 bridal salons — big and small, luxury and budget-friendly, boho and traditional — across America. How did we go about creating such a list? We asked more than 1,100 real brides nationwide to weigh in on the best spots to find that dream wedding dress by rating and submitting their own gown-shopping experience. From precious, personalized boutiques in the South to giant wedding dress meccas in the Northeast to intimate indie shops in California, we found them all. So take note, brides-to-be! These are our readers' favorite bridal boutiques in the South.

Ivory & White Bridal Boutique, Birmingham, Ala.
Been to a few shops but haven't found the One yet? On request, this Mountain Brook salon will reach out to its designers (including Monique Lhuillier and Hayley Paige) and set up a private trunk show of dresses that are exactly your style. "All my friends told me I had to come here, and now I'm recommending it to every bride I meet too!" says a reviewer.

Carine's Bridal Atelier, Washington, D.C.
Take it from D.C. wedding planner Caroline Dutton, who bought her own gown here: "Carine, the owner, treats you like gold, whether you're there for a sample sale or to buy a $15,000 custom gown." Also a draw: the well-curated selection of styles by haute designers like Angel Sanchez and Carolina Herrera. Says one bride, "Every dress in the store was on trend but still timeless."

Joan Pillow Bridal Salon, Atlanta and Houston
Both locations earned stellar reviews for gorgeous gowns (Romona Keveza! Mira Zwillinger!) and bend-over-backward sales consultants, who brides say are pros at finding the best dress for your body.

The Sentimentalist, Atlanta
Housed in a cozy cottage, this shop specializes in vintage gems and airy gowns from indie designers like Sarah Seven and Leanne Marshall. One bride liked the owners so much, she hired them to plan her wedding.

Chic Parisien, Coral Gables, Fla.
This glam salon features the sexy, close-to-your-body gowns that are all the rage right now. "Everything about planning my wedding was stressful except shopping here," says a fan. "I changed my dress three times, and they never once questioned me or charged a fee."

See more: The Ultimate Wedding Dress Guide: The Best Necklines by Body Type

Ever After, Miami
Fashion addicts flock all the way from South America to this famed salon to try on dresses by the likes of Oscar de la Renta and Inbal Dror. "I wanted to look unique, so they used the fabric left over after hemming my dress to trim my veil. I couldn't believe it!" says one bride.

The Collection Bridal, Winter Park, Fla.
Pulling from the area's largest selection of in-demand designers, like Vera Wang, stylists here know what they're doing. "They pushed me out of my comfort zone and into the perfect dress," says a bride. "It's not what I'd imagined, but it's exactly what I needed."

I Do Bridal Couture, Baton Rouge, LA.
Have a momzilla on your hands? "Ramsey, the owner, responded to all my mother's 4 a.m. texts and emails with kindness and patience," says a grateful bride, who loved the salon's fairy-tale vibe and killer selection (including styles by Austin Scarlett and Amsale).

Wedding Belles, New Orleans
Reviewers rave about the friendly staff at this Magazine Street shop, where you can browse dresses by Jenny Yoo, Lula Kate, and Dolly Pearl. "Everyone was so nice, and they pointed me toward great vendors and websites I'd never heard of!" says a bride. Tip: Walk-ins are welcome on weekdays.

Hayden Olivia, Charlotte, N.C.
Not only are all the dresses made in the U.S.A., but sales consultants are totally open to customizing them. Getting married in the cooler months? The salon has a selection of fur stoles and shrugs you can rent for the big day.

Maddison Row, Charleston, S.C.
This downtown boutique has all the designers label-conscious brides are looking for, as well as cost-conscious lines like Monique Lhuillier's Bliss. "The gown I wanted was going to be at a trunk show, but I was out of town that weekend. The staff made a point of getting it in early so I could try it on," says a bride.

Maggie Louise Bridal Boutique, Collierville, Tenn.
Molly Farrell, the salon owner — a former wedding photographer and a recent newlywed — asks her clients to fill out a questionnaire and talk to a consultant before their appointment, then has a rack of handpicked gowns by the likes of Anne Barge and Liancarlo waiting on arrival. "I've gone dress shopping with many friends in many cities. But I've never seen anyone go to one salon and pick out her dress in two hours the way I was able to," says a bride.

Julian Gold, Austin, Tex.
Reviewers couldn't gush enough about Judy Dupre, the bridal manager at this boutique department store. Says one, "I went to a ton of salons in Houston, but after just 20 minutes on the phone, Judy sent me a link to my dream dress." Bonus: There's a lingerie department, so you can do your honeymoon shopping too.

Warren Barrn Bridal, Dallas
Brides in this city take their wedding dresses very seriously, which makes this haute salon's near-perfect reviews even more impressive. (Raves one: "The place is amazing, and the service is from the heart. It looks like a palace but feels like home!") Expect chic styles from Reem Acra, Lela Rose, and Watters, plus an insane selection of luxe lace veils.

For even more of the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES August/September 2015 issue on newsstands now and available for download.

A New Orleans Wedding Bursting with Floral Details

 Louisiana, New Orleans, Real Weddings  Comments Off on A New Orleans Wedding Bursting with Floral Details
Jul 152015

Christy Meisner, owner of the flower crown company Crowns by Christy, first met Luke Doramus in May 2011 at a Memorial Day party. After friends introduced the pair on Luke's terrace, he and Christy quickly hit it off. Just three years later, Luke brought their relationship full circle and popped the question in the very same place where they first met.

When it came time to plan their wedding, the two already knew New Orleans, Louisiana would be the spot. "My family is from Louisiana and Luke's lives in Texas, so New Orleans has always been on our mind when considering wedding destinations," Christy says. The couple worked with Emily Sullivan of Get Polished Events to plan a southern wedding with plenty of authentic New Orleans flavor. With 185 guests in attendance, Christy and Luke said, "I do" on April 25, 2015, and asked Dark Roux Photography to capture every special moment.

"It was always my dream to get married in St. Louis Cathedral," the bride says of their ceremony location, so booking their big day at the church, which dates back to the 1720s, was a no brainer. Choosing a reception venue proved to be just as easy — when Christy and Luke visited the city during a long weekend in 2014, they were immediately taken with Broussards and its beautiful courtyard.

When it came time to find her dress, Christy didn't let the search drag on. She chose a beaded Jenny Packham gown with a low back while on a solo shopping trip. "I put it on and that was it," she remembers. "I was totally alone and knew I didn't need a second opinion." She accessorized with a veil from the same designer, Manolo Blahnik pumps, and pearl earrings her mother wore on her own wedding day.

As the finishing touch, she whipped up a flower crown with lily of the valley and ranunculus the morning before the ceremony!

Christy wanted her bridesmaids to wear a dress they love, so after a trip to New York's Rent The Runway showroom, each attendant rented a mint green floor-length gown designed by Badgley Mischka. The bride's bouquet was made up of peonies, ranunculus, and lily of the valley. Her attendants all carried similar arrangements with the same blooms.

Luke wore a light gray suit and mint green tie. His attendants rented similar styles from The Black Tux. "We loved the idea of a grey summer suit to keep the attire more on the casual side," the bride says. The groom and his groomsmen all finished their looks with a ranunculus boutonniere.

With flowers being such a big part of Christy's life and work, she knew she wanted them to make an impact on her wedding day. But with St. Louis Cathedral being such a beautiful space, the couple decided not to add any additional décor. "It's such a work of art in and of itself," she says. The bride walked down the aisle with her father as a live trumpet player performed.

After the ceremony, Christy and Luke walked from St. Louis Cathedral to Broussard's, and their guests followed along in what is referred to as the Second Line Parade. "It rained the morning of our wedding so we were worried that the parade would be canceled, but Luke and I insisted on parading anyway so we purchased over 60 large umbrellas for our guests to use," the bride says. Despite the less-than-ideal weather, their entire party moved through the streets of New Orleans as they stared the couple's celebration.

Everyone ended up at Broussard's, where the courtyard was transformed into a flower-laden reception area. "I wanted flowers hanging from the ceiling, which Bella Blooms was able to execute perfectly," Christy says of her chandeliers dripping with peonies and ranunculus.

Tables, both indoor and on the courtyard, were topped with mint mason jars and berry bowls, all filled with peach-and-cream mixed arrangements. Guests were treated to a traditional New Orleans meal, complete with gumbo, crispy Creole-spiced Catfish bites, and bananas foster.

Guests enjoyed the couple's signature cocktail, which was crafted by the lead bartender at Broussard's. He mixed Luke's favorite — absenthe — into a refreshing drink served in custom cups complete with the wedding hashtag and playful patterned straws.

For dessert, Christy and Luke turned to Haydel's Bakery for a New Orleans classic. The couple cut into a layered King Cake, filled with flavors like lemon, strawberry cream cheese, and praline and cinnamon.

The dance floor was packed all night long thanks to performances from the couple's band, The Phunky Monkeys.

Christy and Luke exited the reception in a flurry of flower petals before their traditional French Quarter departure in a horse-drawn carriage.

Following the wedding, the couple enjoyed a honeymoon in Burgundy, Paris, and St. Barth's, but not before Christy shared a piece of advice for future brides. "Things will always go wrong on your wedding day, especially the little details that girls like myself spend so much time stressing out about beforehand," she says. "You can either get upset about the things that go wrong and ruin your day or you can let them go and have the best day of your life."

Ceremony Venue: St. Louis Cathedral || Reception Venue & Catering: Broussard's || Wedding Planner: Emily Sullivan of Get Polished Events || Bride's Wedding Dress & Veil: Jenny Packham || Shoes: Manolo Blahnik || Bride's Hair: BLEU Blow Dry Bar || Bride's Makeup: Neil Scibelli || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Badgley Mischka from Rent the Runway || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux || Flower Girl Attire: Celebrate Heaven || Ring Bearer Attire: J. Crew || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Hammerman Brothers || Florist: Bella Blooms Floral || Invitations & Paper Products: Paper N Things || Music: The Phunky Monkeys || Wedding Cake: Haydel's Bakery || Rentals: Firefly Ambiance || Favors: Rush Imprint; Old Navy; Totally Promotional || Accommodations: The Omni Royal Orleans || Videographer: Studio Vieux Carre || Photographer: Dark Roux Photography

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