I do!

I do!

5 Steps to planning the perfect wedding.

So technically, I didn’t, I don’t…I mean I haven’t ever said I do; but what’s that expression? Those who can’t do teach?

Here’s why I am qualified to give wedding planning advice:

I’ve been a real live party/events planner for the past 15 years; and a wedding is basically a big event.

Before that, I was a hotel convention sales manager and dealt with many brides; but the job that most qualifies me to give wedding advice was my four year stint as a banquet waitress, while in University.

I seriously must have I worked hundreds and hundreds of weddings! And if I hear the song, “I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll”, one more time, I am going to lose my freaking mind!…oh and I was a bridesmaid twice; both friends are no longer married, but I hardly think I can be blamed for that?? (and they did result is some pretty amazing children!)

Capture
Photo by CJ Hovey

Here are my top 5 expert tips

What’s your vibe?

You need to decide what vibe you’re going for? Here’s a hint, if your DJ plays, “ I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll”, you have failed in creating a cool vibe, lol.

But seriously, before you start planning you need to do a bit of soul searching on what you and your mate want your wedding to be?

You’ll be surprised by how many decisions you’ll need to make and you’ll be shocked at how quickly things can snowball out of control, so you need a plan.

In order to help you figure out what’s your vibe, you need to decide what kind of bride you want to be? Are you a Princess Bride, a Hippie Bride, a Shy Bride or a Party Bride? Ok, I just made those up, but they are brilliant!

The Princess Bride wants to be…well a princess, obviously. She wants a full ballgown with 8 to 10 bridesmaids. If you want a Princess wedding, then don’t look at beachfront locations.  Ballgowns and beach balls don’t mix.

Now if you’re a Hippie Bride a beach wedding with a flowy dress and flip flops are a perfect fit!

The photos below are of a Princess Bride in all her glory! The horse drawn carriage, the adorable flower girl and the castle.

EF2087C0-41B0-4622-AEE3-A7368FC8118F
Photos taken by me in Jackson Square in New Orleans.

 

1ECC1FA9-FCAD-432B-8338-02E8DDFA54B7
Photo by me! Taken in New Orleans.

The bride in the picture above is definitely a Party Bride. The most important thing to a her is to have fun. Her dress is fun, her shoes are fun; she’s literally dancing in the streets.

One of my cousins is a Shy Bride, she knows her vibe and is owning it. She doesn’t want to be on display or be gawked at, which is the princess bride’s dream.

Knowing this she has planned a super small fall wedding in a rustic cabin. No head table and no fussiness, oh and she is bringing her dog and I am pretty sure she and her dog will have a matching dresses, lol.

9535779B-4A96-4485-A699-23F12A625013
Elsa ready for her walk down the aisle!

Adding your own quirkiness to your big day is endearing. The trick is to know your vibe and keep it consistent.

E509FA87-D924-4CAF-ACE3-EC576EB12AA7
Photography by Daniel St-Louis, in Moncton.

I absolutely love this picture above of my friend Stacey on her wedding day getting her glam on. I love it because, this is Stacey’s vibe. She’s always calm cool and collected. There’s no need for a big entourage and no drama. FYI, she is still happily married; I wasn’t a bridesmaid.

Show me the money honey!

Weddings are expensive!! So before you start making plans and spending money, you need a plan. You need to list out what’s important to you and what’s not.

Here’s an idea, right off the bat. What if you could take an extra few thousand dollars from your wedding and spend it on your engagement ring?  Since it’s something that you will wear everyday and have forever; as opposed to something that will be over in a day?? Just a thought.

Now if you’re a Princess Bride, there is nothing I can say to you that will sway you away from all the bells and whistles; and if  that’s what you want, then go for it!

For those who are more budget conscious, you need to list out your priorities. If I was planning my own wedding, I would spend money on my dress and the photographer. I would skimp on other things in order to stay within my budget.

There are things that I would skip altogether, like wedding favors and the grooms cake; and here’s why. Now, full disclosure, when I throw parties, I always have a party favor, but, and this is a big but, I host small gathering so I buy nice favors. If yo can’t afford a nice favor, maybe just skip it? Also a lot of wedding parties make their own favors, which is very sweet, but depending on what it is, you may want to focus your energy on other things?

While working as a banquet waitress, I will tell you that more than 50% of your party favors end up being left behind and thrown out; same thing with the grooms cake?

Let’s just say that a grooms cake is out of fashion anyway and move on. If you have your heart set on having a wedding favor, go with a bottles of wine or home made jams or something like that. I am going to be harsh here, but the only people who want something with your face or your initials on it is your mother and your crazy aunt Carol.

You may also want to revisit your wedding cake. I would get an amazing looking cake, but it would be a small cake for you to cut in the photos and take home with you. If you are doing a full meal, your guests are going to be too full for cake by the time it’s served.

Or do cupcakes or donuts, something a bit different that people will remember. If you do want to serve cake, get a big slab and have the venue serve your guests.

Fun fact; did you know that some wedding cakes are fake?? Those big fancy cakes that you see couples cutting, some are just one layer of real cake and the others are foam covered with icing. Why spend hundreds of dollars on a fake cake?

Another great way to save money is to select an amazing looking venue so that you don’t have to spend lots of money on decorations. And here’s a question to ask yourself when deciding if you should spend the money or skip it? Will your aunt Carol remember it in a year?

If budget wasn’t a concern you could have huge overflowing flowery centerpieces on each table a la Kardashian. But just modest flowers on every table in a large wedding is going to cost you thousands of dollars without making a huge impact. Now let’s ask the question; will aunt Carol be able to remember what type of flowers were at her table in a year? The answer is no! So why not boost up and spend a bit more money on your bouquet and skip the table flowers? Candles are less expensive and create a cozy mood.

It’s also worth exploring a different kind of wedding. A former coworker of mine has opened an amazingly brilliant business. They do pop up weddings, elopements and engagements and they are spectacular!! You need to check out their website: https://www.thehytch.com/  and follow them on Facebook, (The Hytch) and Insta, (thehytch).

The locations are breathtaking, the pictures are soooooo pretty! They currently offer pop up weddings, renewals and engagements in Reno, Lake Tahoe and Denver.

9F6CA301-D817-496A-A74B-E8C706CE59DD
The beautiful Yeliz Berg from The Hytch. Photo by @journeeclarkphot

Be prepared to be blown away by crazy beautiful wedding photos, all provided by The Hytch. These are real couples and real weddings. I feel like I need to add that because they are so Instagrammable, they look staged.

BA5B2AD6-A187-477E-A676-F5900BA8BA62
photo by @imashleymarie
33BF6BF7-8B82-4FE1-9DCC-737272E1F014
photo by @imashleighmarie
101D4384-D556-4520-BDA8-AC38CB0A3871
Photo by @theboundys

 

88E29814-4E75-4452-9EB9-192F01F374AE
Photo by @sirberry

I am going to show the picture above to my cousin Brigitte, she is going to love this idea.

This is definitely the kind of wedding I would want. I would want a winter wedding…maybe I should book it for 2020? Yeah, that should give me enough time to find the perfect man right??!!

I think it’s possible to have an amazing chic wedding on a limited budget, you made need to think outside of the box? And maybe as you get older your priorities change? But a small intimate wedding seems like are a better choice then spending a down payment on a house on a wedding; but that’s just me, you do you!

Know your limitations

Do you get stressed out hosting a dinner party for 8? If so, you might not have what it takes to execute the perfect wedding by yourself? And that’s ok; know your strengths and be real about your limitations.

Get a wedding planner or recruit your friends and family. If you are asking friends and family members to help you, give them specific tasks and don’t overload one person, spread it out! If you aren’t paying them, you need to be nice and thankful!!

You can also lean on your venue manager to help with centerpieces and a few other tasks…within reason.

One thing you should never do is be setting up your own reception in your wedding dress! If you can’t get in your venue the day before, delegate, delegate, delegate! I have seen brides blowing up balloons for an arch while all made up and in their dresses. Don’t do it!!!

Show Up!

By show up, I mean, be present. It’s a big day with lots going on. You will be running on excitement, nerves and adrenaline. You have been working on this day for months and have spent a lot of money; you need to make a conscious effort to stop and enjoy your day.

You also need to eat and stay hydrated, plan ahead and have healthy snacks, or chocolate…either or, on hand when getting ready.

And when at the reception, pace yourself with the champagne, a puky bride is never cute!!

Let It Go!

So it’s your big day and you are present; now let it go!

I have witnessed so many bridezillas, in the early nineties, before that was a thing, we just called them crazy brides.

Here is the best advice that anyone will ever give you on your wedding day; let things go!! I have witnessed so many crazy brides sabotage their own wedding receptions, it was hard to pick just one crazy bride story.

But here’s a good one; this one bride poked her head into the ballroom before we opened the doors to see how the room looked. It looked beautiful, btw, but she proceeded to freak out because the salmon colored napkins, looked more peach than salmon. Freaked out may be an understatement, because she had a full blown, stage 5 meltdown over salmon napkins, minutes before her guests arrived. May I add that the lights were dimmed and candles lit, the napkins were perfectly salmony.

To make my point, I googled the color salmon and the color peach, can you tell which is which??? No, no you can’t, because there isn’t a difference. Lol

C6FE1F2D-0DBC-4951-BDC2-46CD329F85E4

Needless to say, she never really recovered and looked pissy all night. I have seen so many brides look absolutely miserable during their wedding receptions; don’t be that bride!

The only way to enjoy yourself the day of your wedding is to roll with the punches and go with whatever happens. If anything goes wrong on the day of, and something will, let it go! First of all, chances are you will be the only one who notices that something is off; so don’t point it out or make a big deal, just let it go!

I have one great example of a bride who rolled with it. The MC was speaking and said that he had a game that would determine who wore the pants in the family. He explained that the bride had to hug each male at the reception and the groom each female and that whoever did so and got back to their seat first would be the one who wore the pants in the marriage.

The groom looked horrified and after an awkward moment of silence, you could tell this was not planned; the bride stood up, hiked up her dress and stared running to the first table to start the hug fest. The groom quickly followed and the crowd went wild!

40B50BB0-C529-4581-B68A-13DCD1A6EB1F
At the time I posted this my mom was out playing cards so I couldn’t ask her the name of the photographer, lol.

I love, love, love this picture of my parents. Tell me they are not adorable!! My dad looks like a movie star. There is something really glamorous about old wedding pictures. Their 53rd wedding anniversary was this past May.

At the end of the day, your wedding is one day in hopefully many, many days together. It’s so easy to get caught up in the wedding that you lose perspective and focus more on the wedding than the marriage…said the single girl. But think about it, you know I am right.

I am pretty sure I will be a fun bride…just saying, lol.

6A8F8281-9364-4BAC-9111-228F1F9C84F8
Showing off my something blue, a vintage dinner ring that was my moms. Apparently dinner rings were a thing in the seventies.

My dad recently passed away, a few weeks before his death, one of my cousins asked him for relationship advice. He told her to be herself and that she needs to find someone who makes her happy, if he doesn’t make you happy, don’t marry him. Treat him like you would want to be treated and you will be ok, because you are a good person. It seemed like simple advice, but if you stop and think about it, it really is that simple!

I hope you enjoyed this post even if you aren’t planning a wedding at this very moment or are already married. If you are happily married and want to share your words of wisdom, please do!!

And if you are happily divorced, you probably have words of wisdom too! Sharing is caring, lol.

muah!!

Liette

32D68A0E-95EA-4E5D-8C18-CD386E2C4503
Downtown Vegas, I had to stop and snap a quick pic.

New Orleans, It’s Too Much!

New Orleans, It’s Too Much!

If asked to describe what New Orleans is like, I would describe it as an assault on your senses; it’s all too much.

It’s too much food, it’s too much music, the smells are too much, the people are too much, there is too much culture; it’s just fabulously too much!

55233960-1CA9-4BE6-A5BF-AEE53162DB5B
Be prepared to have crazy hair, it will either be too fuzzy or too flat, or a combo of both.

Here are my to 5 things to do in New Orleans that are too much!

#1 Too much history and culture!

New Orleans oozes culture; it’s impossible not to soak in the culture and history of the city. I don’t think there is any other city in the US with such a distinctive vibe and energy.

If you are a first time visitor you need to take a guided tour because there is just too much to see and do. I have done a few walking tours and a bus tour. Both types were excellent, if you do a walking tour in the summer make sure you are dressed properly and stay hydrated, because the summer heat and humidity is way too much!

There are also several night time walking tours that are fun and will be cooler and to say that the city comes alive at night is a huge understatement. I recommend you visit one of the cemeteries and the Garden District; and of course the French Quarter, which is so full of history, that you almost need a guide to fill you in on all the fabulous and tawdry history.

8F0634BE-B25F-44A5-96BF-3B78C061C19E
This was our cemetery tour.

#2 Way too much music!

New Orleans is the birth place of jazz; if you love jazz, you have to visit!! You will want to go to French Street, but music floods pretty much all of the French Quarter, it doesn’t matter where you go.

While shopping on Royal street a few years ago, I made my way outside to find that the street had been closed and a band was playing. They played three songs, packed up and the street was open again. Spontaneous concerts seem to be the norm.

Each bar on Bourbon Street has music blairing; most have live bands, country, R&B, Cajun… there is something for everyone. The music spills out into the streets with musicians on every corner.

8D7FC500-9F93-465A-80E1-8726FF30A7B3
A spontaneous concert on Bourbon Street.

Everytime I’ve been to Jackson Square I have heard students busking, the talent is amazing!

042828AB-BD07-4B81-8329-38396CBFEE54
Students at Jackson Square.

#3 Bourbon Street is waaaayyyy too much!

Bourbon Street is over the top too much. I have been to New Orleans 6 or 7 times now and I’ve had the pleasure of traveling with Bourbon Street virgins a bunch of times. I have noticed that most react to Bourbon Street in the same way; they are flat out freaked out! Lol

And here’s why; it’s an insane place! It does assault the senses, it smells, it’s dirty and it’s home to a few ligit scary people.

People who think that Vegas is a wild place have never been to Bourbon Street. I think it puts a spell on people and makes them lose their minds…or that could also be the alcohol?? Lol, no one knows for sure?

Each person who I’ve taken there for the first time come away thinking, omg, this is too much! But then something happens, once the shock of it all fades a bit, intrigue and fascination take over. This usually takes 24 hours, then they are hooked.

738459D8-85B0-4289-AA30-7787FFBE5D16
I was walking behind these ladies on Bourbon Street and just needed to snap this pic. They were on a mission.

The French Quarter is a contrast in extremes. You can dine in the most fabulous restaurant and then cross the street and walk past the most raunchy strip club.

On this past trip we left Bourbon Street at 6:30pm on a Friday night to make our way to the airport to catch our flight out; as we left, the crowds of people were already starting to file in; things were starting to get crazy…and it was 6:30!!! Lol

You need to experience this for yourself, it’s better to travel in a pack, go with the “no one left behind” rule and just be smart about things. And the number one rule, do not walk in puddles on Bourbon Street, it’s not water!!!!

#4 People watching, so much to see!

You will see and hear the most amazing things in the French Quarter; on this past trip, as I was walking down a side street when I happened upon a wedding procession. It was unlike anything I had ever seen; I was honored to be part of it in some small way. It started with a police escort, followed by the bride and groom literally dancing in the street accompanied by a band and their friends and family following behind waving handkerchiefs. It was so beautiful it looked staged! We saw two wedding processions during our walk, I think it’s a very common thing in these parts. The video and pictures below really captured the moment.

FA6613C9-C02E-4C24-8B5C-6336D0D8890A

Everyone who encountered the procession stopped, clapped and danced; there was just no way not to smile and be happy. This to me embodies the spirit of New Orleans. After all their motto is “laissez les bons temps rouler »; Let the good times roll.

 

98F5B5A5-3861-488C-9164-4AA669411E10

Another example of New Orleans contrasts is that a few blocks away from Bourbon Street and it’s hedonistic revelers is Jackson Square. It was Walt Disney’s inspiration for Cinderella’s castle, learned that fun fact on my walking tour!! You almost expect to see a princess in a horse drawn carriage to pull up at any moment.

228F900F-DC51-4BFB-9B51-AB3748E67373

This is Cathédrale Saint-Louis, apparently Walt Disney was a huge fan of New Orleans and could be seen in and around Jackson Square sketching and soaking in the sites and sounds; he was also very inspired by the jazz music that floods the streets.

2742EC7D-EE1F-4B47-9A3B-44D9548B3D37

As I was coming out of one of the little boutiques that surround Jackson Square, I saw another wedding party making their way to the front of the Cathédral; I decided to follow them…ok so I may have some stalker tendencies? Lol, I am attracted to pretty dresses, what can I say??

Voilà! A horse drawn carriage and a princess…ok, it was a bride, but she was obviously fulfilling her princess dream.

9E3B6DA2-7506-420E-AC77-AC409B139D3B

The bride was ok, but this little flower girl was adorable!! The dress, the flower crown, the hair…the dress.

35A81420-120F-4289-B15F-037ED3689EAA

#5 Too many unique boutiques and shops!

Even though Bourbon Street feels very frantic, the surrounding cobblestone streets remind you that you are in the South where there doesn’t seem to be a big rush. You need to embrace this laid back vibe when boutique hopping.

There are so many little shops; I even love the real trashy touristy shops that seem to all sell the same things. But there are also unique shops where you will be able to find treasures to take home.

514137C7-6A53-41A6-A09E-F90F19ED2845
Bourbon and Canal Street are lined with shops selling beads, masks and feather boas. I love the colors.

I love, love, love roaming around going from shop to shop. I always discover new places. On this trip we stopped in a shop that looked like just another mask shop until we went inside. It’s called Masquerade and is located on St-Anne Street. All the masks are hand made out of leather, they are mini works of art. I am kicking myself for not buying one for next Halloween. I hate having reverse buyers remorse, when you regret not buying something.

F28CDADB-61F0-4917-BF1B-874B2E26EF15

We found one shop that looked like several others that sell spices and rubs, but it turns out they also give Cajun and Creole cooking classes, how fun would that be?? I am adding this on my to do list for my next trip.

E39CA72C-23FB-4EF9-99E8-984EA82222E8
New Orleans School of Cooking, definitely going to try a class!!

There are voodoo shops, we found a super cute milliner shop (hat maker) on Royal Street; I found a funky lamp shop and lots of antique places. One place that I would recommend going to is the Local Artist Co-op, it’s located on Dutch Alley. It’s behind Cafe du Monde, which is the super popular places for beignets.

05E8BE10-117C-404F-86CF-B7B5F81C36D9
I always buy something here and love supporting local artists.

And if you want a few touristy things go to the French Market, you can hit Cafe du Monde, the Local Artist Co-op, then just keep walking and you will hit the French Market.

426305F0-F42D-4111-943E-D3089AC5BC0A

Ok, I may have taken too many pics of cute shops? I couldn’t help it!

E64E9706-2EF8-4DB6-9F61-6E65B705EBDA
Modern Mid-Century lamp shop on Royal Street.
DFE96019-6BB6-4D73-AE40-617E40ECEE54
Who doesn’t need candy and crazy scary animal masks?? Decater Street has lots of funky shops.

Here are my finds for this trip; a Kelly green leather clutch, it comes with a wrist strap and body strap, in case you are wondering lol. A small framed hand painted skull from the Local Artist Co-op. I buy a lot of art when I travel, they don’t need to be big or expensive. I love having reminders of my trips in my house. And I couldn’t resist a feather mask, pink of course!

45417D2A-4785-45D6-8A1A-EDBFF7EEB5D5
I came, I shopped, I ate, I left! I left really, really full! lol

Too much amazing food!!

My most favorite thing to do in the South, not just in New Orleans, is eat! They have the best food on earth!! There is just too much good stuff to add to this post, I will dedicate a full post to all the yummy things to eat!

Bonus Thing To Do!

Because a visit to New Orleans means that you will be walking for hours, I always stop for a quick and cheap massage. There are a few places almost on the corner of Canal and Bourbon Street, you will see an Asian man sitting outside trying to entice customers to come inside.

We made our way inside for a 30 minute foot massage, then we let ourselves get talked into a 30 minute neck massage, prices are great and it feels soooo good!

Here’s a funny story, as soon as we sat down for our massages, we could hear a ruckus outside. It just got louder and louder until it turned into a full on fight. The top picture is Staci and I nervously discussing how super relaxing it was to have a fight during our massage. The funny part is that the little man on his bench outside didn’t even flinch. It eventually quieted down, so we did get to relax and enjoy. New Orleans is full of surprises, you really never know what you are going to see or hear.

A50CC64A-3F41-4133-A4DB-0FDBF658A74C
bottom left is me relaxing after the street fight outside was over.

I hope this post has given you the urge to visit this beautiful city; there is just too much not to love!!

FF1648AC-0EE7-430F-89DB-E5FC286E6BFE

Les bons temps ont roulé, so now it’s time to go.

I already can’t wait to go back!!! Stay tuned for all the yummy food we ate in New Orleans ans Mississippi! That will be coming up in the next few weeks. Next Sunday I will share my day in a maple syrup sugar shack! I should be down from my sugar high by then? lol

Muah!

Liette