Planning a wedding weekend in your hometown starts with visits to local pros for “I do” advice on every “to do.” From buying a diamond to saving the date, from shopping for gowns to booking the perfect venue, sourcing locally creates a celebration that’s both uniquely yours and uniquely New Orleans. Read on for profiles of and tips from local experts to take you from engagement past your walk down the aisle.
Jewelry and Gifts
Founded in 1976, family-owned Friend & Company Fine Jewelers 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 New Orleans 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 unique gifts.
Stack of diamond wedding bands in various styles and settings in white gold or platinum at Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry.
Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry specializes in gems, timepieces and giftware by the world’s most distinguished designers and craftspeople. Chad Berg serves as General Manager at his family’s New Orleans location at Lakeside Shopping Center, where you’ll find an extensive collection of diamond engagement rings and wedding bands to fit any style and budget. Lee Michaels travels internationally each year to purchase diamonds directly from the source. A family member personally evaluates each stone before it ever makes it into the store, which puts Lee Michaels value at a premium. Gift ideas for the wedding party include pearl studs, monogrammed jewelry boxes and money clips, customizable and available for purchase.
Towels in white terry with buff poplin trim and Alcott appliqué monogram to order at Leontine Linens.
Leontine Linens owner Jane Scott Hodges believes one’s linens should be a reflection and an extension of one’s personal taste and lifestyle and that they’re meant to be used every single day – not pulled out of a drawer for special occasions. Showroom consultants at their Magazine Street flagship store offer expert guidance on how to decorate with fine linens and how to stock your linen closet with necessities for your newlywed home. This sought-after luxury brand was founded in New Orleans in 1996 and is famous for its extensive collection of monogram styles and embellishments that are embroidered, appliquéd or quilted. Each piece is made to order in the fabric and style of your choosing, creating textile heirlooms that will be cherished by future generations.
Amy Casbarian of Wedding Belles and Kaki Foley of Tattered Design joined forces with Peony Fine Children’s Clothing to style and stage a cozy casual banquet beneath the branches of Audubon Park’s famous Etienne de Bore Oak, dubbed “The Tree of Life”. These images captured by wedding photographer Sarah Becker Lillard demonstrate how completely magical New Orleans weddings can be.
Photo credits: Wedding gown “Regan” by Modern Trousseau; “Isabella” cuff and “Helena” hairpiece by Enchanted Atelier; Big girl’s dress by Peony Fine Children’s Clothing available at Angelique Baby.
Since the 1960s, generations of brides have been choosing to register with Adler’s because of the convenience of their unique gift card system, which allows for flexibility in purchasing and receiving gifts. Couples aren’t limited to only the items on their original registry but can tailor their final selection based on their registry credit, which may be used in Adler’s tabletop and gifts department as well as at Waldhorn & Adler Antiques. With its generous selection of fine jewelry, wedding party gifts and stationery, Adler’s offers newly engaged couples all they need for their big day and beyond.
Stationery and Invitations
Discover your wedding stationery trousseau at Scriptura. Sisters Sallie and Margaret Jones’ turn-of-the century letterpress studio creates couture designs featuring signature New Orleans themes. With almost two decades of experience, their personal attention and expertise are unparalleled. In addition to letterpress, Scriptura also provides engraved, thermographed and foil stamped invitations from the finest wedding purveyors in the United States. Thank you notes, cups, napkins, programs and customized party invitations from Scriptura will set the perfect tone for your event.
“Vintage Modern” letterpress invitation suite at Scriptura.
If you’ve lived in New Orleans for any amount of time, chances are you’ve received an invitation created by Betty Hunley. Her fun party characters have made Betty Hunley Designs a hallmark of the New Orleans entertainment scene. From the minute you walk into the traditional New Orleans cottage that serves as her design studio and retail storefront, you’re surrounded by the creative energy of her team. Offering custom-crafted formal invitations and fine personal stationery, Hunley and her staff will also help you create the perfect party accessories to give your event its own unique feel and spirit. An important emerging tradition is to send friends and relatives “Save the Date” announcements, which helps out-of-town guests set aside dates and plan travel well ahead of the traditional six-week lead time for the formal invitation.
Wedding Dresses and Apparel
Amy Casbarian, owner of Wedding Belles, represents boutique design companies that are unique to the region, offering stylish brides in New Orleans a fun and fresh alternative to traditional styles. Her young, fashionable team takes appointments to make fittings intimate and fun Uptown in an enchanting boutique environment. Wedding Belles contacts each bridesmaid personally and handles each order individually, allowing the bride to sidestep that time-consuming task. Beautiful fabrics, moderate price points and flattering designs from chic designers make Wedding Belles a destination for sophisticated modern brides.
Peony Fine Children’s Clothing
Yvonne La Fleur creates beautifully feminine original designs incorporating romantic touches from around the world, including custom turn-of-the-century flowers from France and silk ribbons from Switzerland. The “Fashion Galleries” of her eponymous Riverbend Boutique offer a unique European approach to shopping, featuring exclusive, romantic selections of silk dresses, evening gowns, lingerie and custom millinery. In the Bridal Room you’ll find gowns suspended from the ceiling, each displayed like a work of art, and best of all La Fleur and her daughters are on hand to personally assist you through an unforgettable shopping experience, including champagne with which to celebrate when you find “the dress” and free expert alterations.
Mimi, owned by mother-daughter duo Mimi Robinson and CeCe Colhoun, is now, even more than ever, New Orleans’ premiere party dress and shoe resource. At Mimi and CeCe Shoe, boutique designer dresses by Lela Rose, Kevan Hall and Monique Lhuillier, and shoes by Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik and Loeffler Randall are stylish power picks for celebrations. Mimi also houses a stellar beauty team including Jesse de Leon, New York trained hairstylist and resident manicurist Glenda Larsen. The Trish McEvoy collection of makeup is new at Mimi in 2014, and makeup artist Teresa Waters is the on-site specialist. Resident seamstress Maria Martin makes certain every garment is perfectly fitted, so add Mimi to your pre-nuptial to-do list.
Lela Rose gown at Mimi. Bottom, right: Nicholas Kirkwood printed lace heel at Mimi and CeCe Shoe
In continuous operation since 1932, Town and Country Bridal Salon & Ladies Apparel is a grande dame among New Orleans area bridal salo ns, where many a flower girl and bridesmaid return as a bride. Owners Lisa and Collum Swords are always on hand to greet you when you walk in the door of their St. Charles Avenue boutique, and their experienced and friendly consultants enjoy guiding you through their stunning collection of designer wedding attire for brides, mothers of the bride and bridesmaids. Their impressive collection of ready-to-wear includes a fabulous selection of party dresses for rehearsal dinners and late-night dancing. Frequent trunk shows by the top names in bridal fashion, spacious fitting rooms and professional in-house alterations experts combine to make this a one-stop shop.
Charlotte Olympia Pandora clutch at Mimi
Perlis, a mainstay in the men’s clothing business since 1939, is known regionally for its selection of summer-weight suits in poplin, seersucker and white linen, as well as its fully stocked young men’s and boys’ department, also carrying 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. The in-store Ladies Boutique collections cater to special occasion needs, and the Perlis signature crawfish shirt remains a popular gift for groomsmen.
Nicholas Kirkwood printed lace heel at Mimi and CeCe Shoe
In 2012, friends Jennifer Atkins and Crickett Lapeyere established Peony, a line of fine children’s clothing beautifully designed with a splash of modern and vintage elements. Designed and made in New Orleans and marketed via trunk shows throughout the South, the clothing combines classic styling, luxurious fabrics and gorgeous lace with admired old-fashioned and modern
Tattered Design started as a decorative and faux painting business that has evolved to include visual display, window and environmental installations and design and consultation for any creative project. In addition to original painted furniture, artist Kaki Foley creates handcrafted objects, including a lace furniture line, colorful garlands, nests and mixed media creations. Staging an enchanted space, telling a meaningful story and celebrating the romance of life, whether it’s for a special event, personal sanctuary, home or business, the only limit is your imagination.
Paul Andrew Chalk high heel pump at Mimi and Cece Shoe
Ken Marino’s Fabulous Flowers has captured The Knot Best of Weddings New Orleans honors annually since 2011, and his design studio specializes in decorating venues of all sizes. Whether your dream is to repeat your vows in a large church or say “I do” in an intimate ceremony in a garden tent, Fabulous Flowers can reflect your personal style with traditional, contemporary or European-inspired designs.
Race and Religious
A distinctive location for weddings, receptions, rehearsal dinners, engagement parties and special events, Race & Religious , a Greek revival row house and its slave quarter, was built in 1836. Welcoming up to 275 guests to its romantic compound, it offers state-of-the-art venue accommodations with event fees starting at $7,000 and two tailored packages that include security guards and access to all three buildings. Options include coordination, rehearsal dinner and overnight accommodations, and vary from leisurely weekend stays to all-inclusive coordinated celebrations.
Wedding Photographer Sarah Becke r Lillard relocated to New Orleans in 201 2 from Chattanooga, Tenn., where she spent three years shooting weddings and earning a reputation for capturing wedding photographs that tell stories with every frame. Her secret to getting the best shots is to connect with her clients, and her emotional photo-journalistic style is natural and vibrant. In addition to working regionally, she says she’s “always happy to travel for love.”
Adler’s: 722 Canal St., Lakeside Shopping Center: 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., 523-5292, AdlersJewelry.com
Betty Hunley Designs: 6057 Magazine St., 895-2870, BettyHunley.com
Fabulous Flowers: 2020 Chestnut St., 909-0253, FabulousFlowers.us
Friend & Company Fine Jewelers: 7713 Maple St., 866-5433, FriendAndCompany.com
Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry: Lakeside Shopping Center: 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., 832-0000, lmfj.com
Leontine Linens: 3806 Magazine St., 899-7833, LeontineLinens.com
Mimi & CeCe Shoe: 5500 Magazine St., 269-6464, MimiNola.com
Peony: 5519 Magazine St., 957-9397, PeonyChildrensClothing.com
Perlis: 6070 Magazine St., 895-8661, Perlis.com
Race and Religious: 510 Race St., 523-0890, RaceAndReligious.com
Sarah Becker Lillard: SarahBeckerPhoto.com
Scriptura: 5423 Magazine St., 897-1555, 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., 219-1113, Scriptura.com
Tattered Design: Kaki Foley, 210-7166, TatteredDesign.com
Town & Country Bridal Salon: 1514 St. Charles Ave., 523-7027, TownAndCountryBridal.com
Yvonne LaFleur: 8131 Hampson St., 866-9666, YvonneLaFleur.com
Wedding Belles: 3632 Magazine St., 891-1005, WeddingBellesStationer.com