Lavish gowns conjuring old-world fantasy and stately ceremony serve as the prelude to the abundant couture goods and services available to contemporary New Orleans brides with modern expectations. Sourcing your rings and registry, venue, attire, invitations, trousseau, bouquets, cake and even the service itself is just the beginning of your new beginning.
A generations-old tradition for New Orleans brides, Adler’s (722 Canal St.; Lakeside Mall, 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., 523-5292, AdlersJewelry.com) gift registry offers a vast selection of tabletop and home décor in traditional and contemporary patterns, as well as engravable silver accessories for the wedding party. Adler’s hand-written gift cards encourage flexibility in purchasing and receiving gifts, and for every seven place settings received the eighth is free. Adler’s collection of fine jewelry, gifts for the table and stationery ranks among the finest available in the world, making Adler’s the newly engaged couple’s one-stop-shop.
Founded in 1976, family-owned Friend & Company (7713 Maple St., 866-5433, FriendAndCompany.com) designs and crafts custom diamond engagement rings and is home to a wide-ranging collection of spectacular antique and estate jewelry as well as South Sea pearl collections. With headquarters in Uptown and offices in New York, Russia, Israel and Hong Kong, Friend & Company boasts global resources while keeping its neighborhood boutique feel. Their full-service bridal registry offers individual assistance in selecting china, crystal, sterling flatware and gifts, and a secure parking lot makes stopping by their Maple Street store a breeze.
The Louisiana Landmarks Society’s “Hurry Up and Say ‘I Do’ at the Pitot House” (1440 Moss St., 482-0312, LouisianaLandmarks.org) on Bayou St. John is a new one-day event for weddings, commitment ceremonies and vow renewals. Each couple and 20 guests have 45 minutes for a seated ceremony in the back garden followed by a champagne toast on the upstairs gallery. The flat rate package includes the officiant, photographer (two photos are included with the option to purchase more) a fabulous bouquet along with scrumptious his and hers cupcakes. My fiancé and I booked the 4 p.m. time slot November 10, 2012, and I can personally recommend the intimate experience from start to finish, with a breezy, mild Indian summer weather as a bonus.
The Roosevelt New Orleans (123 Baronne St., 648-1200, TheRooseveltNewOrleans.com), a Waldorf Astoria Hotel, not only provides brilliantly restored historic venues, luxurious accommodations and impeccable service; it’s also home to the nationally celebrated Sazerac Bar, the world-renowned Blue Room and the exclusive, serene Guerlain Spa, providing a couple’s therapy suite and relaxation lounge when you need it most. The hotel’s delectable cuisine can be customized for your event to include Kosher and cultural fare, with spectacular cakes created in-house. The magnificent Church of the Immaculate Conception is conveniently located directly across the street for traditional Catholic ceremonies.
A 2012 “Best of Weddings” pick by The Knot Wedding Website is Race & Religious (510 Race St., (985) 768-2956, RaceAndReligious.com). A relic of an older Louisiana, the Greek Revival row house and its slave quarter were built in 1836. A masterpiece of Creole nostalgia, Race & Religious is a love song to New Orleans, a whimsical European fairy tale, a spectacle of design that makes it a truly distinctive location for weddings and special events. Welcoming up to 300 guests to its romantic compound, Race & Religious offers state-of-the-art venue accommodations with packages that vary from leisurely weekend stays to all-inclusive coordinated celebrations.
A wedding or rehearsal dinner at Latrobe’s on Royal (403 Royal St., 299-0601, LatrobesOnRoyal.com) can be romantic or sultry, lush or exotic, traditional or trendy. A preservationist gem, its wrought-iron balconies featuring the Louisiana State Bank cartouche, ancient stuccoed brick walls, cypress woodwork and hand-wrought iron hardware provide a rich backdrop for glamorous celebrations and exquisite photographs. This historic venue radiates the genuine old world charm of the Vieux Carré.
Amy Casbarian, owner of Wedding Belles (3632 Magazine St., 891-1005, WeddingBellesStationer.com), offers stylish brides in New Orleans a chic alternative to traditional styles. Her young, fashionable team takes appointments to make fittings intimate and fun in an inspired boutique environment. Casbarian’s masterfully edited collection of designer bridesmaid’s dresses and bridal gowns make Wedding Belles the destination for sophisticated, modern brides.
Mimi (5500 Magazine St., 269-6464, MimiNola.com), the South’s largest Vera Wang Bridal retailer, is now Louisiana’s authorized dealer for Monique L’Huillier as well as sole purveyor of haute couture mantilla Monvieve Veils from Milan, Italy. Along with superb after-sale service, free expert alterations by seamstress Dami Behlar and private appointments with Vera Wang specialist Gail Hester, now Mimi has partnered to offer free valet parking Wednesdays through Saturdays from noon until 5 p.m. to facilitate the gown experience.
Owners Lisa and Collum Swords, along with their fabulous and friendly consultants, are always on hand to personally guide you through their stunning collection of designer wedding attire at Garden District grande dame Town & Country Bridal Salon (1514 St. Charles Ave., 523-7027, TownAndCountryBridal.com). A destination for brides since 1932, frequent trunk shows, spacious fitting rooms and professional in-house alterations experts enhance the shopping experience.
Perlis (6070 Magazine St.; 1281 N. Causeway Blvd., Suite 6, Mandeville; 891-2073, (800) 725-6055; Perlis.com), a mainstay in the men’s clothing business since 1939, is famous for its selection of summer-weight suits in poplin, seersucker and white linen and carries classic Eton suits for the smallest members of the bridal party. Perlis also offers superior formalwear rentals including tuxedos and tails, as well as morning and afternoon attire. Registering your wedding is as simple as choosing your style and providing a list of each person in your party. The in-store Ladies Boutique collections cater to special occasion needs, and the signature crawfish shirt remains a popular gift to groomsmen.
In 2002, Jane Bensel took creative control of the Uptown classic The Stationer (3632 Magazine St., 895-4868, WeddingBellesStationer.com), a fantastic resource for brides looking for advice on etiquette and latest trends. In ’10, The Stationer combined its Magazine Street storefront with Wedding Belles’, offering brides a more comprehensive experience and commissioning gorgeous windows crafted by visual display artist Kaki Foley. Together Wedding Belles and The Stationer give brides the best of both worlds: exquisite gowns and gorgeous stationery.
New Orleans decorative painter and designer Kaki Foley has received national acclaim for her Tattered Design (TatteredDesign.net) environmental installations. Using torn paper, decoupage and other techniques, her ethereal visual display artistry is particularly suited to New Orleans, echoing the city’s tattered and worn texture. Her ongoing collaboration with assorted Magazine Street boutiques has resulted in arresting shop windows with total “Wow!” factor. The artist offers design consultation on weddings, special events and home décor.
Discover your wedding stationery trousseau at Scriptura (5423 Magazine St., 897-1555, 3301 Veterans Blvd., 219-1113, Scriptura.com). Sisters Sallie and Margaret Jones employ turn-of-the century letterpress, studio and couture designs, signature New Orleans themes, and their personal attention and expertise are unparalleled. Letterpress printing beautifully prints an invitation that not only has definition, but depth and texture as well. The cotton paper stocks used feel thick and luxurious, and can be printed with any design to set the tone of your event.
Leontine Linens (3806 Magazine St., 899-7833, LeontineLinens.com) allows you to create your own unique trousseau of custom monogrammed linens for bed, bath and table. Showroom consultants offer expert guidance on stocking your linen closet with necessities for setting up housekeeping as newlyweds, as well as selecting the perfect gifts for your bridal party and shower hosts. Each piece is made to order in the fabric and style of your choosing, creating textile heirlooms as precious as your grandmother’s sterling flatware.
Self-proclaimed flower child and licensed florist Diane Mouton launched Fat Cat Flowers (486-8580, FatCatFlowers.com) in Spring 2005. Weddings are her passion, and the inspiring styles Mouton creates for your event utilize seasonal elements, fresh details and color palettes in hypnotic fashion. Since ’11, the Mid-City design studio has been chosen as a top wedding professional by The Knot Wedding Website, and a quick trip to their online gallery proves Fat Cat Flowers’ bridal bouquet and nuptial event portfolio is prolific and fabulous.
From his lower Garden District shop shared with partner Roy Dunn, floral stylist Stephen Sonnier of Dunn & Sonnier Flowers and Antiques (2138 Magazine St., 524-3235, 524-3239, DunnAndSonnierFlowers.com) has earned a special place in the hearts of New Orleans brides as the go-to guy for blossoms artfully crafted with the old world elegance of the city in mind. He consults his brides on venue selection as well as comprehensive floral design, and inspired by the gown itself, he creates the bridal bouquet using first-cut blooms imported from growers all over the world.
When it comes to planning your wedding, few decisions are as delightful as choosing your wedding cake. From the traditional to beyond, Sucré (3025 Magazine St., 520-8311, Lakeside Mall, 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., 834-2277, ShopSucre.com) will design a one-of-a-kind creation as memorable as the day itself. Dessert Professional Magazine recently voted executive chef Tariq Hanna one of the top 10 chocolatiers in North America, and his signature macaroons and chocolates packaged two-by-two make perfect celebration favors. Browse through Sucré’s cake galleries to find some sweet inspiration.
Master Chocolatier Cheryl Scripter, proprietor of boutique bakery Bittersweet Confections (725 Magazine St., 523-2626, BittersweetConfections.com), not only creates elegant tiered wedding cakes, sophisticated groom’s cakes and bridal-themed cookies, but has also fashioned an interactive Chocolate Truffle Bar for receptions with 18 varieties of truffles from which to choose. Guests select their favorite eight and watch as they’re rolled to order. Scrumptious flavors from the “Second Line Collection” include Praline, Crème Brulée and Bananas Foster.
On call 24 hours a day, NOLA Wedding Ministers (382-2924, NolaWeddingMinisters.com) specializes in the personalization of your out-of-church nuptial ceremony. Certified life coach and registered officiant Marsha Sagona offers couples advice and guidance, creating a ceremony that reflects your values and taste. Whether you write you own vows, incorporate poetry or lyrics or opt for a simple civil or traditional service, NOLA Wedding Ministers helps you live this epic romantic moment whenever and wherever you choose.