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 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.

March 10, 2011

Picking a New Orleans Wedding Caterer

Famous author Mark Twain once mused that “New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.” Since you’ve decided to have a destination wedding in New Orleans, picking the right caterer is an essential but sometimes difficult choice to make.

New Orleans food is unique for its tasteful combination of Creole, Cajun and French cuisines and could make for some delectable wedding dishes. Here are some ideas for picking the right caterer in New Orleans.

Set a budget

As with selecting a New Orleans wedding band, setting a budget helps start you off by narrowing your search. The price of caterers can range widely depending on the number of guests, type of food and meal packages, so it’s a good idea to set a general range and then refocus it once you get into more serious conversations with the caterer.

There are many things in a wedding you can save money on by going cheap, but food should not be one of them. Like the music, the quality and type of food really sets the stage for the evening. If your guests are left hungry, it can put a damper on the rest of the evening. However, if they’re full and energized, it will be a night they remember forever.

Decide what type of food you want

Before looking for a caterer, you should first decide on what type of food you want to serve. This will help direct you to certain caterers for your wedding meal. The decision should coincide with your theme and personal preferences. There are plenty of options for a traditional New Orleans wedding, including delicious seafood and other Louisiana specialties.

If you’re not interested in diving into the culture of your New Orleans destination wedding, many caterers have traditional wedding packages that come with meat, sides and vegetarian options.

Buffet vs. sit down meals

The choice between a buffet and a sit down meal is a big one for most couples. This choice will define the dinner experience for their guests. Both methods have pros and cons. A buffet allows each guest to have a wider selection tailored to their preference but may also mean they have to wait in line. A sit down meal allows for a more relaxed dining experience but doesn’t offer the same level of choice. For those couples who have already set smaller budgets, a buffet is usually the cheaper option because it requires less preparation and fewer servers.

Set up consultations

Once you’ve finally decided your price range, type of food and setup, the next step is to arrange meetings with a few different caterers. If you’re planning on going with the food from the reception hall, then it’s simply a matter of tasting the different options you’re considering. For other caterers, it’s also important to ask them how long they’ve been in business, what their cancellation policy is and if they have references.

January 26, 2011

Picking a New Orleans Wedding Band

So, you’ve decided to have a destination wedding in New Orleans. Great choice. You have a number of important decisions in front of you, from picking a wedding venue to your wedding colors, but I’d like to focus for a second on an element that’s particularly important for a New Orleans destination wedding: the band.

New Orleans is not just the birthplace of Jazz, but also home to lively blues, funk and rap scenes. There’s a ton of great music here and picking a stellar band can be an intimidating process, but it shouldn’t be. Here are a few tips for picking the right wedding band.

Do you want a live band or DJ?

There’s no hard rule stating that you must have a wedding band, in fact many wedding parties decide to have a DJ instead. One of the benefits of having a DJ is that they have a huge variety of music, so they can better cater to specific requests. They’re also able to play a variety of genres, which can be beneficial if your wedding party has many different musical tastes

On the other hand, it’s tough to beat a hard-rocking wedding band. Live music is a dancing magnet and watching musicians jam out on stage will often ramp up the shaking and shimmying at your reception. Remember, the main goal of a wedding band or DJ is to get your wedding party out of their chairs and grooving, so whatever direction you decide to go, just make sure your music has some spunk!

Cover Bands or Original Bands

Cover bands are extremely popular at weddings for one reason: they can play almost anything. Whether you’re into Earth Wind and Fire or Al Green, most cover bands can fit the bill, especially if you give them a heads up on what you’re looking for.

The downside to cover bands is that all that variety means that the music often lacks a distinct style. In New Orleans, we have a huge pool of talented musicians qualified to play weddings and many of them bring a local flair that is a great compliment to a New Orleans wedding.

How much do you want to spend?

Before you start searching for bands, it’s important to establish a budget for what you’re willing to pay. A good wedding band usually charges at least $3,000 and can be as high as $10,000. DJs are usually much cheaper, depending on their following, but the bottom line is that good grooves often come with a big price tag. Though it’s tempting to skimp on this part of the wedding, I’d advise against it. The music at a wedding reception really sets the tone and is worth prioritizing among your wedding expenses.

December 10, 2010

Video Blog Upcoming!

The next step in WeddingsByAnthonyLala.com is right around the corner: Videos of great weddings, wedding venues and points of interest to honeymooners and wedding party-goers. Stay tuned – the best New Orleans destination wedding videos are coming soon.

November 14, 2010

New Orleans Destination Weddings: A Little Country, A Little Chic

I’ve been going on and on about destination weddings in New Orleans‘ famed French Quarter – and with good reason – but I’ve left out a very important aspect of New Orleans’ charm. Outside the furor of the other city that never sleeps, and not far outside, is true country. The kind you don’t find in too many places anymore: untamed, yet civilized.

Why bring this up? Two words: Honey moon.  Is there a more perfect honey moon than a week on a working farm? Trail riding, serenity, home cooked meals of ingredients gathered not 100 feet away?  Maybe I’m a romantic, but I find the marriage of the crop to the soil to be the perfect analogy for man and wife.  Being out of cell service range is romantic enough in and of itself.

There are plenty of bed and breakfasts to choose from within an hour drive of New Orleans proper, and any are perfect for your perfect destination honeymoon, whether you just want peace and quiet or are looking to saddle up and get out into the real middle of nowhere. After your energizing party-wedding in the French Quarter you can have a honeymoon that seems to take all the time in the world, just in one sunrise-to-sunset.  Give me a call and I can help you find whatever it is your heart desires.

November 6, 2010

New Orleans Indoor Wedding Season

New Orleans may be the nations best wedding destination, but around two months out of the year it is the nations best indoor wedding destination. Yes, even in our tropical clime, the weather may dip, and dip it has. Until February the best place to hold a wedding will probably be within the walls of a fine hotel or cathedral, and so that is what the next blog posts will be about.

When most people think New Orleans Wedding, they think, French Quarter Wedding. And with good reason. As I’ve written here before, and will tell anyone who will listen, the French Quarter really has it all: cordon bleu trained chefs and bakers, old-world french architecture, the charm of the south and Europe, the best musicians the country has to offer and the best party atmosphere for the in-laws and the out-laws. This season is an excellent time to take advantage of every facet New Orleans has to offer.

You may think that with the colder weather that tourist season is at an end. Not so. Conventions, revelers and international travelers all ensure that you will have plenty of people to watch your second line – and probably follow along. And what’s even better is that the cool weather that will keep you from sweating in your suit or gown is still warm enough to allow outdoor glamour photography. Best? The heat is banished, and with it irritation. No one has patience for impatience.

Check back next week for information on one of New Orleans’ fabulous hotels, and be sure to ask me anything you want to know about New Orleans weddings.

October 24, 2010

New Orleans Wedding Reception Halls: The Westin

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Anthony Lala @ 3:55 pm

If you’re looking for a definitively New Orleans wedding, how about looking down on the entire French Quarter, river walk and most of the Central Business District? There’s a reason The Westin is the place where people in the know choose to have their wedding receptions. It doesn’t scream party, but it speaks very calmly of comfort and optimism.

The lobby is a plush affair at the top of the Canal Place shopping center with floor to ceiling – HIGH ceiling – windows that afford a clear view of most of the city south of Decatur street. That means you can see the cathedral, the square, the water, the sky and at dusk you can see the great cloud of starlings that occupies the skyline and gather to flock in front of a pink and orange streaked horizon. It’s actually a shame that the view atop The Westin is so spectacular because it actually distracts from view of the interior. Plenty of room, well appointed bars and the perfect mix of privacy and spectacle make The Westin a good choice for a larger reception for any New Orleans Destination Wedding.