St. Charles Avenue’s Couture Wedding Guide
A handpicked list of 20 of our favorite resources
Photos Cheryl Gerber
Amal & George (Clooney), Brad and Angelina (Jolie-Pitt) and of course Kim and Kanye (West Khardashian). When you think “Couture Weddings” your mind might easily go to any of these high-profile celebrity nuptials. However, the true meaning of couture, according to the Oxford English Dictionary is: “the design and manufacture of fashionable clothes to a client’s specific requirements and measurements.” Though there’s no mention of an astronomical budget, the evolution of the word has come to mean customization and personalization. For any bride looking for a true “couture” wedding, New Orleans is a honeypot of experts and artisans within a culture renowned for the celebration of the individual spirit. Following is a handpicked list of 20 of our favorite couture resources:
Adler’s, 722 Canal St., 523-5292, AdlersJewelry.com • Betty Hunley, 6057 Magazine St., 895-2870, BettyHunley.com • Blanc Bridal Couture New Orleans, 3819 Magazine St., BlancBridalNewOrleans.com • BLEU, a Blow Dry Bar, 701 Metairie Road, Suite 112-2A, Metairie, 309-5999, BleuABlowdryBar.com • Boudreaux’s Fine Jewelers, 701 Metairie Road, Metairie, 831-2602, BoudreauxsJewelers.com • The Elms Mansion & Gardens, 3029 St. Charles Ave., 895-9200, ElmsMansion.com • Friend & Company, 7713 Maple St., 866-5433, FriendAndCompany.com • Generations Hall, 310 Andrew Higgins Drive, 581-4367, GHNewOrleansEventVenue.com • Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St., (800) 916-4339, HotelMonteleone.com • John’s Tuxedos, 3200 Houma Blvd., Metairie, 455-5353, JohnsTuxedos.com • Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry, 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Suite 110B, Metairie, 832-0000, lmfj.com • Party Rentals Delivered, 2323 Bainbridge Street, #108, Kenner, 441-8705, PartyRentalsDelivered.com • Perlis Clothing, 6055 Magazine St., 891-2073, Perlis.com • The Plant Gallery, 9401 Airline Highway, 488-8887, ThePlantGallery.com • Race and Religious, 510 Race St., RaceAndReligious.com • Sapphire Events, SapphireEventsNola.com • Scriptura, 5423 Magazine St., 897-1555; 3301 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, 219-1113; Scriptura.com • Southern Oaks Plantation, 7816 Hayne Blvd., 245-8221, SouthernOaksPlantation.com • Town and Country, 1514 St. Charles Ave., 523-7027, TownAndCountryBridal.com • Yvonne La Fleur, 8131 Hampson St., 866-9666, YvonneLaFleur.com
Scriptura offers customization at the highest level: a vintage letterpress, handmade paper, wax seals and custom inks. As owner Margaret Jones says: “Bridal clients can select from a wealth of motifs, patterns and designs inspired by the spirit of New Orleans, or work with our designers to capture their own unique vision.”
Betty Hunley Designs is part of the New Orleans social scene while also designing invitations for clients all over the country. “With us, designing a wedding invitation ensemble is a full and rounded experience,” Hunley says. “We represent and celebrate each bride’s personal style with warm, unwavering customer service.”
The great thing when it comes to choosing the dress that you will be immortalized in is that whether you are spending $700 or $7,000, experts are on hand.
Town and Country, which has been helping brides since the 1930s, houses one of the largest choices of bridal styles in the South. The on-site tailors and consultants also help brides with jewelry and footwear options.
The newest bridal shop in the city, Blanc Bridal Couture New Orleans, is offering labels such as Badgley Mischka as well as hot new designers, including Project Runway winner Leanne Marshall. Bertia-Elie, a favorite at NYC Bridal Fashion Week, is also exclusively to Blanc Bridal.
Yvonne La Fleur has played matchmaker to many a bride and her dress as she explains: “We stock exclusive one-of-a-kind dresses and wedding gowns from all over the world as part of the Yvonne LaFleur Private Designer Collection. We also offer our internationally renowned custom millinery.”
Town and Country
These days the groom and his groomsmen have many more choices than just the traditional tuxedo. Joey Hunter, CEO of John’s Tuxedos explains: “We have a very large inventory in house so grooms can find a suit that reflects their personal style. We also stock a large range of cufflinks and ties for further personalization,” he says. “Most importantly, we have seamstresses on hand at the store for alterations; the best form of customization is a perfect fitting suit.”
Perlis, recognized nationally for its blend of classic Southern style and more fashion-forward designs, has been providing grooms with formalwear since 1939. A range of suit options, with accessories, is available both for sale and for hire.
BLEU, a Blowdry Bar is a fun location for bridal pampering. Owner and Make Up Artist Emily LaBorde Cheramie explains: “We can accommodate a bride and her entire wedding party at our salon. Most recently, brides can have BLEU come to them through our “BLEU 2 U” on location service.”
When it comes to engagement rings and wedding bands, the true meaning of the word “couture” still applies. In New Orleans, brides have access to a host of family-run, expert jewelers who will create individual rings for budgets big and small.
“My family has been designing jewelry since 1933 with my great grandfather,” Brandon Boudreaux of Boudreaux’s Jewelers says. “Creating custom jewelry completely in-house is a major process. We begin with a sketch, then a technical drawing and then we use computer 3D modeling software to create the mold. We also do hand wax carving for certain designs. We then cast the piece and set the stones. However,” he continues, “we will cast the ring as many times as we need to, to ensure it’s absolutely perfect. We have the quality control and flexibility to ensure that every client is delighted with their piece, regardless of their budget.”
Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry, another family-run local jeweler with eight locations, will exhaust its large inventory to find the perfect rings. The jeweler also offers useful services such as free cleanings, its Ultimate Diamond Guarantee and a “Five C’s” app – a handy guide to diamonds.
Another trusted option is New Orleans’ own Adler’s. “Adler’s has been assisting brides and grooms for over 100 years,” Tiffany Adler says. “From finding the perfect engagement ring to setting the table of your dreams.”
Friend & Company specializes in the design and manufacture of fine jewelry, and also offers estate jewelry and a Bridal Registry. “The engagement period is a special time in a bride and groom’s life,” Nina Friend says. “At Friend and Company we specialize in the process of selecting the perfect ring. We love what we do and we want you to love it too.”
Anyone who has seen the decorations at The Roosevelt at Christmas has insight into the creativity of The Plant Gallery (TPG). Any bride working with TPG can rely on the team to harness whatever materials it takes, from shrubbery, plant and statuary rental to lighting, linens and other props, in addition to flowers, to create a one-of-a-kind wedding scene.
The Plant Gallery
One of the wonders of the Crescent City’s rich history is that whether a bride envisages a Gone with the Wind-style ball or a 1930s jazz and second line event, she’ll find just the right spot.
At Generations Hall, a venue that has hosted too many music greats to mention, you can design your own event with state-of-the-art audio and video technology.
Race + Religious is one of those eclectic New Orleans’ treasures hiding in plain sight. It is a Creole Cottage, a Greek revival row house and converted slave quarters. Kirsty Oustalet explains, “The historical buildings and courtyards include so much innate character that our couples are able to focus on adding the personal touches that reflect their personality … No two weddings are ever the same.”
The Elms Mansion, dating back to 1869, offers grandeur and Southern charm. The original décor of the mansion is matched with gardens, live oaks and a fountain. “Our artist hand-painted several of the first floor rooms to create a lovely new environment,” Events Manager Judy Fern says.
The Southern Oaks Plantation is a classic antebellum-style stately home and specializes in outdoor wedding. As Bobby Asaro, owner explains, “Our focus is on super service, spectacular ceremonies and superb food.”
Started in 1886 and still run by the family, The Hotel Monteleone is full of romance and history and is home to the Carousel Bar. This institution offers couples the resources of the hotel with generous add-ons and a ballroom Truman Capote (who claimed to be born there) would be proud of.
The Party Planners
In a party town, brides have their pick of the best party planners. “We offer a wide range of linens, tables and other supplies,” owner, Robynn Beck of Party Rentals Delivered says. “However, the thing brides seem to value the most is our superior customer service. Our on-time and flexible delivery and pick-up service works around their schedule and we also offer a complimentary design service for all sizes of events.”
Sapphire Events, run by Ivy League educated ex-lawyer Valerie Gernhauser, offers her talents for creating “wow” events: “I’m a stylist, a financier, a creative director as well as a production manager, and my job is to create unforgettable milestones and memories.”