May 5, 2011

Ideas For Best Man Gifts

Filed under: Gifts — Tags: , — Anthony Lala @ 8:47 pm

Anyone who’s been married will tell you that a wedding is perhaps the most planning-intensive and demanding event you’ll ever have to deal with. There are so many options to choose from, things to consider and gifts to give. As a New Orleans wedding planner, I work with couples to streamline the wedding process and accommodate any needs and requests that might come up. One question I get from clients is what types of gifts they should get for their Best Man. These are some of the ideas I give my clients.

Embroidered or Engraved Items

Of course, before I start giving out recommendations for gifts I always ask my clients what their Best Man is like. You probably already know his taste and preferences, so don’t get him anything he’s not going to enjoy. A very common gift for the Best Man is an object that they might like with their name engraved or embroidered on it. If he’s into something commemorative, then consider an engraved pen. If you want to get him some more practical, you can get an embroidered travel bag.

Golf/Sports-Themed Gifts

For most men, golf (and sports in general) are more than just a hobby but a lifestyle. There are a lot of unique ideas for gifts in this theme. For example, you can get a personalized golf bag or golf balls. Another option is a golf towel or golf-related key chain. You can also apply these same ideas to customized items of favorite sports teams.

A Weekend Trip With His Wife

If you want to avoid getting him a traditional gift, think about getting him something he’d really enjoy like a weekend trip at a nice hotel for him and his wife. Though it could be a little pricey if it’s someplace far away, you could go simple and get him a weekend getaway in the next town over.

A Guys Day Out

Continuing on the less traditional way to go, you could also get your Best Man a guys day out. Let him pick anything he’d want to do for one day (expenses paid), such as playing a round of golf, going to a baseball game or a simple night at the bar. Letting him pick what he actually wants to do will make it more pleasant for him.

Gym Membership

This is not a good idea if you simply get him one out of the blue, but if you know he loves working out or he always goes to a specific gym, consider getting him a membership or at least paying for additional months on his current one.

Executive Gifts

This idea is once again more traditional than the previous ones and a surefire treat if he’s a businessman. An executive gift includes anything from a nice clock and pen set to a leather desk blotter or brief case.

May 2, 2011

Five New Trends From the Royal Wedding

Filed under: Wedding Trends — Tags: , , , , — Anthony Lala @ 11:50 pm

Not since the marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles has the world been so enthralled with a wedding, but on April 29, 2011, people all over the world were once again fascinated with the marriage of their son Prince William to Kate Middleton.
While this momentous event was fun to watch for all the drama and to-do, from a wedding planner’s standpoint, it will definitely spark some new trends for future brides and grooms.

As a New Orleans wedding planner, I’m always looking at the newest trends that might interest my clients, so after such a huge event, I’ve decided to compile a list of the 5 trends from the royal wedding that might make waves in the wedding world.

1. The Classic Long-Sleeved Gown

In the run-up to the wedding, Kate’s dress was on lock-down and no one knew what she’d wear. A few weeks ago I posted about the five basic wedding dress styles, and her dress was an A-line style with long lace sleeves and a low neckline. What’s so interesting about this dress is that most American women wear sleeveless and even strapless dresses. Experts are anticipating that to change with Kate’s lacy sleeves, which resembled Grace Kelly’s dress.

2. All-White Bridesmaid Dresses

This possible trend sparked some controversy after many people wondered why Kate’s sister was wearing a white dress. However, having an all-white wedding party may be the new thing. An all-white wedding gives it an elegant, uniform and clean feel. On the other hand, many brides are still uncomfortable with this because they want to be the one to stand out and not be bested by their maids.

3. Going Organic and Staying Local

With the world becoming a more environmentally conscious place, it was only a matter of time that it changed the way weddings are done. The royal wedding pushed the idea of an eco-friendly wedding to the forefront when they decided on having local greenery and flowers. By not requesting exotic flowers from other parts of the country or world, they were not only supporting local businesses but were also lowering their carbon footprint.

4. The All-Day Wedding

Typical weddings start in the late afternoon and have a reception right after. The royal wedding and traditional British weddings have the ceremony in the morning and spend the rest of the day celebrating and partying through the evening. This allows more time to mingle and enables the couple to go at a slower, more relaxed pace.

5. Toning Things Down

For all the excitement and news surrounding the royal wedding, the couple was able to have a personal and toned-down affair. Everything from Kate’s dress to her hair was well done, but not overly flashy or large. She did her own makeup and wore her hair down, so that she was actually comfortable. This may be something we see more brides do.

April 28, 2011

Essential New Orleans Destination Wedding Tips

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Anthony Lala @ 9:48 pm

Your wedding will be one of the most memorable times of your entire life, so you should never feel afraid to splurge by going all out and having a beautiful destination wedding. There’s not a more magical location for a destination wedding than the great city of New Orleans. While destination weddings are definitely one of the most special types of weddings, they are also more complex and demanding. So, if you’re having a destination wedding here in New Orleans, here are a few essential tips you should remember.

Get a good wedding planner

While this may sound like a little bit of self-promotion, a good wedding planner for a destination wedding is absolutely important. I personally know New Orleans extremely well, so I can assure you that your destination wedding will go swimmingly and will be remembered for the rest of your life. If you’re not familiar with the area, this is the first place you’d want to start. To view more information about myself and my wedding packages, please click here.

Give plenty of warning

Sometimes it’s difficult for your guests to take time off work or school, so you should be considerate in letting them know when the wedding date will be far ahead of time. The earlier you tell them, the more likely they will be able to attend and not feel so inconvenienced.

Ask for discounts

While you’re researching and selecting hotels to house your guests for the wedding, don’t be afraid to ask for discounts. Some hotels will take off some of the price if you’re planning on bringing in a large number of guests to their hotel. Additionally, if you’re buying a lot of plane tickets, you might be able get discounts from airlines.

Provide transportation to and from the airport

Since you’re the one bringing everyone in for the wedding, it’s your responsibility to make sure they get to their hotels. The New Orleans airport, Louis Armstrong International, is a short drive away from the French Quarter where most couples like to have their wedding, so you should rent a shuttle and organize a way for everyone to get around. If you’re having your reception at a separate location, you should also be prepared to provide transportation for your guests. Make sure the shuttle drivers are familiar with the routes, so they don’t get lost.

Be accommodating to your guests

As previously stated, you’re bringing the guests to a place they might not be familiar with, so in addition to providing transportation, you should also accommodate them with other needs, like information about New Orleans, dietary needs and weather expectations.

Make a trip to New Orleans beforehand

The best way to ensure you love the location of your reception, ceremony and hotel is to a take a trip prior to the wedding. Although you may not want to spend the extra cash with an early visit to New Orleans, it’ll lower your amount of stress and worry about the big day and leave you excited to go back to the Big Easy.

April 27, 2011

15 Essential Items For A Wedding Day Kit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Anthony Lala @ 12:44 am

As a New Orleans wedding planner, I work closely with the bride and groom all the way through to the wedding day, and one thing I always advise my clients to do is create a bridal emergency kit or an essential day-of wedding kit. Since there are so many things that could potentially go wrong on that big day, it’s important to have a few things ready in case of a wedding predicament. In order to be prepared for the worst, here are 15 things you should have in your bridal emergency kit.

1. Aspirin – Nothing will ruin a wedding day quicker than a splitting headache. That’s why it’s always good to have a couple aspirins for yourself and your bridesmaids.

2. Water – Whether you’re taking pictures out in the Louisiana sun or just out and about the whole day, you run the risk of getting dehydrated, which could lead to a host of other problems. A simple bottle of water will go a long way.

3. Brush/Comb – You want everything to be perfect so a loose strand of hair could be annoying.

4. Floss – Throughout the day, you’ll have to talk to all of your guests and take hundreds of pictures with a big smile, which means the last thing you want is a big piece of lettuce lodged in your teeth.

5. Mints – As previously stated, you’ll be talking to everyone all day so you don’t want to put them off with bad breath.

6. Small Mirror – Although your bridesmaids will be there to tell you how you look, it’s always a good idea to have a portable mirror to make sure you look perfect.

7. Tissues – Whether there are tears of happiness or you have a runny nose, you never want to be placed in the awkward position of not having a tissue at your disposal.

8. Emory Board – While you might think this one isn’t necessary, you don’t want to have sharp nails around delicate dresses that might snag easily.

9. Double-Sided Tape – This comes in handy for a lot of things, such as holding up your dress, so you don’t want to be without it.

10. Hairspray – It’s good to have some handy to keep your hair looking fresh and pristine.

11. Band-Aids – After walking around all day in your shoes, you or your bridesmaid might develop painful blisters. Some strategically placed Band-Aids could help ease the pain.

12. Make-Up – This one is probably a given but having things like lipstick in case it smears or compact is important.

13. Eye Drops – Crying makes your eyes red so you should keep this nearby to get the red out before pictures.

14. Straws – Preemptively prevent your lipstick from being smeared by keeping some straws nearby.

15. Spot Remover – Finally, the risk of wearing a beautiful big white dress is getting it dirty. Remove stains and any imperfections from your dress by quickly applying some spot remover.

April 21, 2011

Picking A New Orleans Wedding Florist

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Anthony Lala @ 7:40 pm

A destination wedding in New Orleans is typically made unique by a few things: the music, the food and the location. Along with these things, however, is the general appearance and natural feel of the wedding. One of the major aspects of a wedding that makes it come all together and gives you an open feel is the flowers. For those who are trying to create the best visual ambiance for their New Orleans destination wedding, here are some tips for picking the right wedding florist.

Know what you need flowers for and set a budget

Just like everything, you need to set a budget to give you a foundation to work with. Before you set the budget, you should be aware of the average cost and what you might need flowers for. The average cost of wedding flowers ranges between $800 and $1,000. Obvious things you will need flowers for are the bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids, boutonnieres and corsages. You might also want flowers to have on display at your ceremony and as centerpieces during the reception.

Assemble your ideas and wishes

Once you’ve set your budget you should think about what you want, so when you approach a florist, they’ll be able to tell you if they can do it. Think about how you envision your ceremony and reception and what sorts of visual elements you want your flowers to add to the occasion. This will act as a starting point to where you would want flowers at the wedding.

Get recommendations or look florists up on the Internet

The best way to ensure a florist is trustworthy is personal recommendations. If you’re planning a destination wedding to New Orleans, your friends probably won’t have recommendations, which is why you should research over the Internet. Reliable florists will typically have websites with comments from past customers, and although that doesn’t guarantee perfection, it’s often a good place to start.

Set up meetings and explain what you want

After you’ve compiled a list of florists you might want to select, set up meetings so you can express what sorts of things you might want. These don’t have to be finalized plans, but at least preliminary ideas for the florist to get an impression on your desires.  This will also give you the chance to make sure they will be available around the date, have the flowers you want and will accommodate your needs.

Select the best one and work from there

From your meetings, narrow the florist down to the one who you think suits your personality and needs best. Once you’ve decided, continue to work with the floral designer until your wedding date  in order to ensure you have the best New Orleans wedding possible.

April 14, 2011

Having A Perfect Outdoor New Orleans Wedding

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anthony Lala @ 7:18 pm

As a wedding planner in New Orleans, I’ve seen many beautiful weddings done elegantly outside in the Louisiana air. When people are having their destination wedding here in New Orleans, they typically opt for an outdoor wedding because the sweet air and allure that cannot be replicated. Although outdoors wedding are absolutely enjoyable, they are sometimes more difficult than indoor weddings. If you’d love to have the perfect outdoor wedding in New Orleans or anywhere else, here are some tips to remember.

Be proactive and aware of the weather beforehand

Weather is unpredictable anywhere, but in New Orleans, it can be particularly mercurial. While it doesn’t get as cold as certain places up north, New Orleans also gets cold during winter months. When you’re planning your wedding, it’s important to look at average temperatures around the wedding date. The opposite of that issue is the heat, which is much more problematic in New Orleans. During certain summer months, the humidity gets uncomfortably high. So, try to plan a wedding during those ideal months when the weather is just perfect.

Have a backup plan if it rains

Regardless of where you’re at or what date your wedding is, there will always be the unexpected. Heavy rain is one of those things that can really ruin a wedding if you’re not expecting it. You will have a better idea of the weather as the date approaches, but you should always have a plan B just in case the weather forces you indoors. Most places that accommodate outdoor weddings also have an indoor reception hall, so the worst that might happen is you’ll simply have to move things inside.

Make sure everyone’s comfortable

If you’re having an outdoor wedding in the middle of the day, chances are it’s going to get hot. That’s why you should anticipate this and make sure there’s ample shade and water available. For example, if your wedding is beneath a majestic oak tree, it shouldn’t be an issue, but if it’s in a meadow, consider having umbrellas for shade. Fans are also useful to have on hot days because they will keep your guests focused on you rather than the heat.

Watch out for bugs

Bugs are a terrible nuisance, especially in New Orleans, so simply anticipating their presence by lighting bug-repelling citronella candles and hanging zappers not far away will make things much better.

Pay attention to lighting and sounds

One of the luxuries of being outdoors is that you get to bask in the aura and light of nature. However, if you’re getting married near dusk, it may start getting darker so you’ll want to predict the type of lighting you might need so that guests can see clearly. Sound is another issue. You’ll want your guests to hear what’s being said at the altar, but things sometime get lost in the outdoor sounds. Setting up a sound system could help combat that problem.

April 12, 2011

The Five Basic Wedding Dress Styles

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anthony Lala @ 1:53 pm

For a bride, one the most important things on her wedding day is the way she looks. This involves everything from her hair and makeup to her shoes. However, nothing is more prominent than her wedding dress and how it looks on her. Whenever she’s reminiscing or looking at wedding pictures years later, the dress will be the first thing she notices. That’s why, as a New Orleans wedding planner, I always advise my clients to really think about the dress they want to wear on the big day. If you’re beginning to think about what type of dress you might want to wear, here are the five basic styles.

Ball Gown

For those brides who have always dreamed about the traditional wedding, the ball gown is the dress for you. With its full skirt and fitted bodice, the ball gown is ideal for brides seeking something grand and stately. Ball gowns offer brides many options as well. There are usually a variety of necklines to choose from and the gowns look great with trains. The large skirt makes it best for taller brides who are thinner or even pear shaped, since the skirt hides the lower half of the body.


The mermaid dress is growing in popularity and is considered a modern and sexy style. It’s typically a snugly fit dress that emphasizes the bride’s form before flaring out just before the knees. This style requires the bride to be comfortable with her curves and is often called unforgiving. Nevertheless, if you can pull it off, the look is tremendously sexy and contemporary. Like the ball gown, the mermaid style accommodates a range of necklines, so there are a number of options with this dress.


The A-line, which is probably the most common, is named so because the dress resembles the letter A. The dress hugs the upper torso and flares out from there. A-line dresses are common because they have the widest range of options, including all types of necklines, hems, fabrics and designs. Likewise, A-line dresses are complimentary on nearly all body types, so there’s no need to worry about your specific figure.


Like the A-line, the column style of dress is named after its appearance. The dress consists of an even hem line from the top to the bottom, which gives it a column-like air. One of the major attributes of the style is its simplicity making it easy to mix in other designs and looks. Overall, the dress is ideal for lean brides because it doesn’t hide very much and may slightly limit mobility.


The main aspect of this style is its clearly fitted waistline just below the bust. Other than that, this dress is open for interpretation and unique designs. Typical empire dresses come with straps or sleeves and are made out of light fabrics. This gives the dress a flowing and delicate feel that maximizes mobility and comfort. It’s ideal for outdoor summer weddings in New Orleans or an elegant indoor wedding.

April 8, 2011

Tips For Choosing Your Maid of Honor or Best Man

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anthony Lala @ 1:29 pm

As a New Orleans wedding planner, I understand the excitement that newly engaged couples feel. From the moment they decide to get married, a thousand things pop into their heads, such as where to have the wedding, what dress to wear and of course who the Best Man or Maid of Honor should be. Since my goal is to give you the best wedding possible, here is some advice for choosing your Maid of Honor or Best Man.

Understand the role of the Maid of Honor and Best Man

Before making any decision on who your Maid of Honor or Best Man should be, you should first understand what their roles and responsibilities are. In the traditional sense, a Maid of Honor helps the bride do a range of things, including mailing invitations, selecting a dress, offering advice, organizing the bridal shower and bachelorette party, helping the bride get ready on the big day, holding the bouquet and acting as a witness to the marriage license.

The Best Man has similar duties. It’s his job to organize tuxedo fittings for the groomsmen, help the groom on the wedding day, plan the bachelor’s party, hold the rings, act as a witness and give the first toast during the reception.

Make sure they’re responsible

While the Best Man and Made of Honor don’t necessarily have to do all the things stated above, a good selection will obviously help you with the majority of things. That’s why you need to pick someone who’s responsible and reliable. If you’re considering someone with the reputation of never keeping promises and not fulfilling basic duties, you should cross them off the list. Your wedding will be a major affair and you should only surround yourself with people who are supportive and responsible.

Make sure they’re available

There may be someone who first pops into your mind when you’re thinking about a Best Man or Maid of Honor, but you have to make sure they’re available during the lead-up to the wedding and the actual day. If you’re absolutely set on someone, then being available in the lead-up is not essential. However, if you want someone to help out with the typical duties, then you want to be sure they’re going to be in New Orleans during the time they’re needed.

They don’t need to be family

Most people think you have to select a family member, but that’s not always necessary. The reason why people choose a family member is because they are usually closest with them. Nevertheless, if you’re not very close to your family or you’ve had a best friend for your whole life, select someone you think will fit best.

Talk it over with them

After you’ve made your decision and both you and your partner have agreed, it’s time to talk to them about it. For most people, it’s a privilege to be selected as a Maid of Honor or Best Man, but others may feel uncomfortable in the role. That’s why you need to let them know about the responsibilities, expectations and timeline. You should not make them feel obligated to take on the role, but should express your enthusiasm for your decision.

April 1, 2011

Indoor Vs. Outdoor New Orleans Wedding

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anthony Lala @ 1:51 pm

So you’ve chosen the ideal date for your wonderful New Orleans destination wedding and are beginning to imagine all the breathtaking things you can have at your wedding. As a New Orleans wedding planner, one of the biggest debates I’ve noticed is whether to have it indoors or outdoors. If you’re currently asking yourself if you should have your wedding indoors or outdoors, here are some tips to help you decide.


Simply answering the question “when will the wedding be?” will usually help make the decision easier. If you’re having the wedding at the height of winter in a notoriously cold and snowy area, then it’s probably not a great idea to have it outdoors. In New Orleans, while it does get cold sometimes in the winter, the real weather to monitor is the heat. During summer, the heat and humidity can rise to uncomfortably high levels. Unless you and your guests are largely used to the heat and humidity of summer, it’s a good idea to keep it indoors with air conditioning.

Cost and Accommodations

Of course, like every other wedding decision that must be made comes cost considerations. One type of wedding does not necessarily cost more or less than the other. What you do have to account for is the price of the locations you’re considering. Since you’ve already set your budget, you should select the type that matches best with your budget.

You may also have to make sure that the outdoor or indoor venue can accommodate any additional things you might be having. For example, if you’re having your wedding reception outdoors, you might also have a live wedding band, which will need an ample source of power to plug in equipment. For indoor weddings, lighting is an important thing to take into account.

Ceremony outdoors, reception indoors?

There’s no rule that says you have to have the ceremony and reception at the same place. You could easily have the ceremony outdoors in the sweet New Orleans air and have the reception indoors away from the elements of nature. This can also be reversed. I’ve had clients who want to have the ceremony inside a church, but then want to take the reception outdoors where guests can enjoy the sights and sounds.

Follow your dreams

I constantly advise my clients to follow their dreams. You should never have any regrets about your wedding ceremony or reception. If you’ve always pictured yourself getting married in the cool evening outside or having guests mingle in a beautifully decorated banquet hall, follow your dreams and trust your instincts. You’ll find yourself extremely satisfied with your New Orleans destination wedding if you have it in the setting you want.

March 28, 2011

The Wedding Cake Conundrum

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Anthony Lala @ 8:34 pm

One of the most photogenic points of a wedding is that moment when the newlyweds cut the cake and playfully feed it to one another. As a New Orleans wedding planner, I understand the many considerations and debates that eventually lead the couple to that iconic moment. There are many things to think about when shopping for and deciding on a cake that you might not be aware of. Here are some of the biggest debates I’ve seen when couples are selecting a wedding cake.

Traditional Wedding Cake Vs. Wedding Cupcake Tower

There’s nothing like the traditional wedding cake with the figurines of the bride and groom resting atop. Many couples opt to go with the traditional tiered cake, because that’s what they’ve dreamed about since they were young. However, a new trend emerging recently is the wedding cupcake tower. There are a variety of stands for the cupcakes, but it typically comes in about three tiers and packed with beautifully decorated cupcakes for each guest.

This is a great alternative that some couples are now choosing, because it’s easier, quicker to serve and more unique than the traditional cake. Another added benefit of the cupcake tower is that it usually costs less than a cake, because it takes less time to make. However, if you’re someone who cannot get past the idea of having that multi-tiered traditional cake, it’s a better idea to stick with your dream.

Fondant Vs. Buttercream

For those who do select the traditional cake, an age old debate quickly emerges: fondant or buttercream. Fondant is a thin layer of icing that fits over the cake but is usually overly sweet. The great thing about fondant is that it can be easily molded to give intricate designs around the cake or smoothed out perfectly. On the other hand, buttercream tastes much better than fondant and typically costs less.

One of the things that should help you select a type is the conditions the cake will have to endure. Buttercream melts very quickly in the heat while fondant traps in the cold, so it lasts longer in warmer environments. Nevertheless, you should let the taste determine your decision, because it’s better to have a cake you want to eat than one that looks nice but tastes bad.

Grand and Ornate Vs. Simple and Elegant

While there’s definitely some middle ground to these two options, this is a fairly common debate when deciding on a wedding cake. There are budgets to take into consideration, but for the most part, this has to do with personal preferences. If you’re having an extravagant wedding, the ornate cake might suit it better. However, if the wedding is accessible and candid, a smooth cake without a lot of fluff may be more impressive.

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