As I was preparing for my wedding, a dear friend gave me two pieces of advice: Make sure to eat rich food the week of your big day or you’ll be sick after the rehearsal dinner; and, if nothing goes wrong, no one will have anything to talk about.

I agree with the first point and thought I agreed with the second – then my wedding day happened. Except for a little time-management issue about posed pictures (add more time than you think you’ll need, trust me), nothing went wrong; well, nothing that I knew about, anyway. In the weeks after, there were many who gleefully recounted the things that they didn’t like or passed on stories about some little thing here or there that went awry. I let those comments wash over me and disappear because, to me, there has yet to be a day in my life that was more perfect.

I could go on and on about how amazing my team of vendors was and how they all made me feel special and taken care of; how the weather miraculously cleared in time; how much I enjoyed getting ready with my mom, my bridesmaids, my grandmother and those who made us look gorgeous; how handsome my groom looked and how amazing our bands were and that we had more fun dancing than should legally be allowed …

Instead, you’ll have to wait for our next issue, which will appear on newsstands and online Jan., 1, 2013, to view my wedding in our Real Weddings section. Each issue our selection of these New Orleans wedding profiles grows, and with each issue I am more inspired by the vision and determination of brides who choose to be married in the Big Easy.

With that in mind, we created the magazine that you’re holding in your hands, which is chock-full of more local resources than ever before and more information on creating your perfect wedding in our wonderful city.

I hope that you enjoy the following pages as much as I have and that, whether or not you’re getting married soon, you show some of these stores a little local love – we could all use more of that.