Forever AfterThe official kick-off for wedding plans begins with an engagement ring, and if you buy it at Adler’s, 10 percent of its value goes toward your bridal registry, giving couples a lovely head-start. Adler’s has been a family-owned tradition since it opened its doors in 1898, and offers the irresistible registry bonus of completing sets by giving the eighth set free. Three citywide locations and a searchable database make Adler’s a piece of cake for the new couple.
   
Kenneth Friend Jr. is president of his family-owned business, Friend and Company, which specializes in crafting and directing the design of unique custom jewelry.  To create the ring of your dreams, Friend personally selects superior quality gems worldwide, relying on relationships with international brokers and manufacturers nurtured since the store’s inception in 1976. The bridal registry staff offers personal assistance in the store’s elegant showrooms, and in selecting china, crystal, sterling flatware and gifts from a wide range of celebrated designers.
   
Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry specializes in the finest gems, timepieces and giftware by the world’s most distinguished designers and craftspeople. Ryan Berg, Lee Michael Berg’s oldest son, is in charge of the family’s New Orleans businesses, with Jay Aronson overseeing the Canal Place store’s bridal registry.  Look for jewelry and gift ideas for the entire wedding party beginning at $20, such as pearl studs or monogrammed money clips.
   
Once the engagement is official, the date and venue rise to the top of the to-do list.  Overlooking the Audubon Park Golf Course is the Audubon Golf Clubhouse.  Designed to resemble an Acadian cottage, the oak-tree shaded veranda surrounded byForever After impeccably kept greens boasts one of the most beautiful settings in New Orleans, with a wonderful selection of wedding menus, ample parking and a professional and caring staff to match.
   
If you’re considering the French Quarter for your nuptials, Antoine’s French-Creole cuisine, service and atmosphere have combined to create a romantic setting for over 160 years.  Renovated private dining rooms and a variety of floor plans accommodate rehearsal dinners, luncheons and receptions of all sizes.
   
After booking the venue, the invitation is the bride’s next priority.  Scriptura has designed a line of invitations that feature New Orleans landmarks in both elegant and playful ways for the couple who want to enhance their event with a bit of local flavor. Personal attention, expertise and the creative images and ideas the staff brings to each meeting helps make certain anticipation levels stay high on both ends.
   
If you have lived in New Orleans for any time, chances are you’ve received an invitation created by Betty Hunley Designs.  A one-stop shop for traditional printed and engraved wedding invitations, announcements and thank-you cards, the staff is well versed in the traditions and rules of etiquette, and features the finest papers.
   
Shopping for bridal fashion can be fun torture.  Bustles and Bows Bridal Boutique is a great destination for brides planning their wedding– it’s all there and it’s all fun!  Owner Shelley Maestri adores her job of talking weddings all day, and offers one-on-one attention in a relaxed and beautiful environment. Maestri suggests the bride make an appointment to come in together to choose the right dresses for mothers, bridesmaids and flower girls. “Prepare yourself to be pampered,” she says.
   
Forever AfterThe groom and his friends will find themselves in capable hands at John’s Tuxedos.  With over 20 years experience in the formalwear business, a Web site that includes tutorials, and a delivery/pick-up service for out-of-town guests, what truly separates John’s Tuxedos from the competition is their on-site inventory and alterations, which allows them to handle last-minute changes and requests with ease.  Always in tune with current trends and consistently ahead of customer requests, John’s Tuxedos has just what the groom is looking for.
   
When a bride walks into the world of Mimi, the Vera Wang gown featured in store’s window will undoubtedly transfix her. Mimi Bowen offers Vera Wang Bridal as part of her eponymous fashion house, and represents the entire collection as the largest Vera Wang Bridal retailer south of Washington, D.C.  The famous bridal designer’s philosophy is one of simplicity and timeless elegance, and her use of fabric and knowledge of construction is unparalleled in the industry. Mimi invites you to come in and lose yourself in the beauty of this collection, no appointment necessary, but lots of help on hand.
   
Pearl’s Place can fulfill the wardrobe dreams and needs of every bride and bridal party attendant. Offering a stunning array of gowns at every price range, Pearl’s Place is always at fashion’s cutting edge.  The store also prides itself on the fastest delivery of special orders, a wonderful alterations department and the most professional team of consultants a bride could wish for.  Owned by the Schulman family for 38 years, Pearl’s Place is the largest bridal store in the New Orleans area.
   
Designer and owner Suzanne Perron opened her doors in 2006 bringing 13 years of New York City fashion industry design experience to New Orleans.  Focusing on exquisite couture gowns that she designs and constructs individually for each client, she is known for flattering silhouettes, which start with a faultless foundation and fit.  To create the perfect design, she collaborates with the client from sketch to finished garment, and has specialized in recreating family heirloom, lace and vintage items into romantic and ethereal modern gowns for the current bride.
   
In continuous operation since 1932, Town and Country is the oldest bridal salon in the New Orleans area.  Owner Lisa Swords says her store features many exclusive bridal designs that cannot be found elsewhere in the area, eliminating the possibility of seeing the same gown on another bride.  Return customers include brides who fell in love with the Town and Country experience as bridesmaids in the past.  Three full-time, in-house tailors can fit any bridal gown or special occasion dress and deliver it on time.
   
At Wedding Belles, sisters and co-owners Amy Anseman and Mary Sides represent boutique design companies that are unique to the region and present quality workmanship and modern, yet wearable styles, offering something fun and fresh to the local market.  Wedding Belles contacts each bridesmaid personally and handles the orders individually with each, allowing the bride to side-step the task of harassing friends to place their orders and pay their balances.  The fabrics are beautiful, the price points are moderate, the designs are flattering and the service is personal and non-pressuring to create an enjoyable bridal shopping experience.
   
Once the fashion decisions are finalized, visions of bridal beauty quickly fill the gap. Owner Chloe Watters’ Beauty 101 is the place to take all the girls for the ultimate treat: nails get polished, brows get groomed, lashes get longer and lips get luscious.  Featuring cosmetics from exclusive lines like ID Bare Minerals, NARS and Smashbox, Beauty 101 also offers an editor’s pick of the coolest boutique beauty products you discover in magazine credits, but don’t know where to find.  The entire bridal party can arrange to sit down at once and play with make-up artists on staff to create a romantic down-the-aisle look that flatters every face.
   
Another traditional nuptial necessity is the selection of the floral stylist.  Diane Mouton, self-proclaimed flower child and wedding specialist, opened Fat Cat Flowers three years ago. She walks each bride through the entire decision-making process until they come up with the right flowers at the right budget for their vision, discovering her client’s unique personality and style along the way. The advantage of using a floral boutique is the personal attention, and your wedding day will be Mouton’s only wedding that day.  She usually delivers the bride’s bouquet herself for the pleasure of seeing the bride on her wedding day, one journey over and another just begun.
   
Jennifer Mutter, owner of three-year-old business Hestia Luxury in Linens, can help any bride complete her registry with fabulous bed, bath, table linens and stoneware from the finest brands in the industry:  Sferra, Bella Notte, Juliska, Ann Gish and Casafina, to name a few.  A lovely selection of lingerie along with discounts and special offers for the brides who register there make this luscious little shop and must-see.
   
Lee McKee, owner of The Linen Registry, has been selling fine linens for 11 years.  She offers all customers a design consultation, an essential service brides need to create the ideal bedroom retreat as well as directing the listing of registry items needed to build that dream. Gift cards are a great way for newlyweds to be gifted, as the perfect bed is a process that takes time.  “We don’t believe in disposable merchandise, so we work hard to ensure that what you buy from us will last.  Your grandmother would approve.”
   
All the Best opened in 1997.  Owner Lynn Templeton’s idea was to incorporate custom framing with the gift and home décor business.  Offering a Wedding Registry for the unique and fun items that every new bride wants, paying special attention to her likes and dislikes, makes it easy to decide what to give. Custom framing of wedding portraits and treasured memories is done with top quality conservation techniques and products to make sure these memories will last a lifetime.

Hair and Makeup by Cat Wall
Bridal fashion worn by model Claire Cox
Photographed at Audubon Golf Clubhouse