Bev Entertaining: Weddings Southern Style

The National Association of Caterers and Events held its meeting in New Orleans in July with 600 delegates attending. Tony Leggio of Mardi Gras Productions is president of the local chapter and co-chair of the convention, and he asked me to be one of the presenters at the wedding brunch, representing the way we create the ultimate Southern wedding.

Many of you know that I authored the book, Weddings Southern Style, with Lisa Ruffin Harrison in the 1990s, which spotlighted incredible weddings from Houston; Highlands, N.C.; Seaside, Fla..; Mobile, Ala.; Nashville; New Orleans and more. I wanted to incorporate new designs and ideas that reflected the South. We are definitely traditional and elegant, but with a twist! One of the how-to ideas featured in the book was a cake table designed by Bitsy Duggins. Kellie Grengs and I reinvented the table, which was the focal point of our design – it even had spaces for the bridesmaid’s bouquets.

Next, I called Luis Colmenares, who created the tent look: The central pole of the tent had four candelabras at the corners, complete with vases so we could add spectacular flowers. Colmenares also made the circular table with a hole in the center so we could swag the cotton fabric and silk illusion tulle from the top of the center pole to the four chandeliers. In addition, he created the cake stand that held five different wedding cakes (one unpictured) created by Doyle Defores, owner of Flour Power.

Our decorating couldn’t begin until 10:30 p.m., and my presentation started at 9 a.m. the next day, so we decorated all night! We got a few hours of sleep, and attendees started arriving to see our vignettes at 8:30 that morning. The panel discussion began after guests viewed the tablescapes representing North, South, East and West! Of course, we thought we “WOWed” them! How exciting to have a NACE convention in New Orleans so we could spotlight our remarkable city. The Sheraton was the host hotel, and did a fabulous job!

Mardi Gras Productions is now creating weddings; Luis Colmenares (491-4854) rents the tent and fabrics and can create anything you can dream up!

Bev Entertaining: Weddings Southern Style  Bev Entertaining: Weddings Southern Style

Close-up of the center of the tent with flowers provided by Mardi Gras Productions and designed by Bev Church.We followed Bitsy Duggins’ instructions and used artist canvas, wallpaper paste mixed with latex paint, clips and plastic cups for each bouquet. Kellie Grengs created the canvas tablecloths and added jumbo cording to make the canvas undulate.  Cakes designed by Doyle Defores of Flour Power Confectionery, Inc. Call 276-9095 to get in touch with Doyle and his team. They are wonderful to work with.

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