Last week, I visited my high school for the first time in what seemed like ages for “Career Day.” Boy, do I wish Career Day would have existed when I was in high school. More than 100 alumni gathered and were divided into panels based on our occupations. I landed on the “hospitality” panel, which I may propose be renamed to entrepreneurs (or even lagniappe, or people-pleasers). But, hospitality is what we went with.
The guidance counselors provided talking points they recommended we cover in our presentations. Even though I answered all of them in preparation, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to be the take-away. I struggled with putting together a PowerPoint (major flashback to the “corporate” days), and ended up pulling together a 2-minute video with some of my favorite images from past events. How else do you explain to high schoolers that on any given day, I can direct traffic, babysit, wire a dying hydrangea back to life, steam linens, cut a 5-tier cake, act as a psychologist, pin bouts in my sleep, crank out timelines like there’s no tomorrow, reconcile bank statements, send invoices, sign contracts, and the list goes on?
Two event planners, a restaurant owner extraordinaire, and a food-truck operator/cane-syrup-soda creator stood in front of a seemingly uninterested group of students and explained what we did. We quickly realized our individual occupations were not that interesting to the students, so we decided to change it up. We explained that as four small business owners we chose to be in charge of our own journey. Being an entrepreneur is surely not for the faint of heart, but it opens up opportunities that allow us to push ourselves harder each day, further outside of our comfort zones, and choose the people we want to work with. It demands that we wear many hats, some we never thought we’d want (ah hum, accounting, legal, etc.).
Justin (owner of the fabulous The French Press) used a sports analogy to explain how the fast-paced life of a chef was perfectly suited for him and how his journey started with a spur-of-the-moment dishwasher gig. Collin (Viva la Waffle owner and Swamp Pop co-creator) explained how watching a partner in a law firm kick over a $25,000 copy machine taught him he wanted something other than a life in the legal field. And, Sarah (owner, Mint Julep Productions) chronicled her journey beginning with getting paid mere pennies to put on sporting events to realizing the job of event planner was choosing her rather than she choosing it.
It was as another panelist talked that I saw this poster on the opposite side of the classroom.
As I reread the poster, I had my own career day revelation or my own Oprah “ah-ha” moment. I realized that what we said every day in school and wrote at the top of our tests (stop the memories already) “God’s Servant First” was what, above all, I learned in high school. I guess the jury’s still out on how exactly I use what I learn (since it should be obvious I haven’t been out of high school for more than
5 (ok, ok) 10 years), but I hope that as I continue the journey to wherever I’m headed, I will always remember to be kind … and that hard work can and will take me wherever I want to go – something else I hoped stayed sandwiched between the students’ ears.
I’m not sure if the students took away as much as I did from career day, or even if they enjoyed our attempts to impress them with references to Anthony Bourdain, Lady GaGa, Anthony Hopkins, etc. It was nice to go back “home,” but most of all it was a beautiful reminder that the people who are part of my life are in it for reasons I may yet to fully understand. Equally as nice was the reminder that the pettiness of high school (and life in general) will fade over time, but the kindness you show(ed) others will always be remembered.
There are so many places I could start this “story” … when Mandy’s mom called to tell me there “may” have been an upcoming engagement … that Mandy is the second sister of the Todd family that I’ve planned a wedding for … that Mandy – so very sweetly – called me and asked if I would be her planner. Regardless of where I start, it will end the same way … recapping one of the most memorable weddings I’ve yet to be a part of. So, here goes.
When Mandy and John Albert decided to get married at Rip Van Winkle (the same location as her sister, Erin), they knew they wanted to stay true to what they enjoy so much – the outdoors. We decided to tent the area in front of Lake Peigneur knowing that it would be unbelievable … if Mother Nature decided to join the party. When I called RVW to see what dates were available, one of the available dates was FRIDAY, March 13. Who dare have an outdoor ceremony AND reception on a Friday the 13th? These two. It really was a no-brainer. March 13 was Mandy’s brother, Scooter’s, birthday, her soccer number, and John Albert’s dad’s lucky number. March 13 it was.
As with any tent wedding, we had talked through three different rain plans. The weather the entire week left me less than optimistic that the ideal plan A would even be an option. As I sat watching the tent go up in rain boots and jacket, I emailed their vendors with a note of caution to choose appropriate shoes. Much to my surprise, Mr. Sun decided to arrive to the party about two hours prior to the ceremony and dried the ground just enough so Plan A could happen. Ah-mazing.
I’ll let the beyond-amazing photographs Erin and Geoffrey Photography captured do the rest of the talking … ok maybe with just a tiny bit more commentary!
LOVE this custom invitation suite!
This locket was Mandy’s something old that was pinned to her bouquet. It’s her mom’s locket, engraved with her initials “SR,” that had two of the sweetest photos in it – one with her dad (who passed away of cancer) and the other holding her dad’s hand. A few of us told Mandy that we knew her dad was a part of the day when the sun came out, and I know he was holding Mandy’s hand the whole day!
The wood planks were made from an already-fallen tree that they found at their camp in the Atchafalaya Basin. After cutting the planks, they used a custom brand with their new last name and date of the wedding on each centerpiece. I don’t think they could have come out any better!
The antlers placed on each wood centerpiece also had ties to the couple. Mandy’s childhood neighbors, the Meagher’s, collected the antlers from their hunting lodge in Texas.
Have to love a bride who values comfort on her wedding day!
“Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be.” So. perfect.
These two. They are already professional flower girls and adored their custom-made dresses made by Mandy’s mom and aunt.
One of my favorite parts of the wedding day is when the bride and groom open gifts from each other. There’s so much thought put into these gifts (ok, usually), and this was definitely an instance of that. Mandy gifted John Albert with a pair of Swarovski crystal binoculars, which have been on his wish list “for forever.” Who knew binoculars could make a guy so happy?!?
John Albert gifted Mandy with a blue topaz drop necklace – the birthstone they both share!
Mandy’s dress was beyond gorgeous. Later that evening when the band introduced them, the singer added that Mandy was one of the most gorgeous brides he had yet to see. Working with this band regularly, this is not something I’ve ever heard him say, and I couldn’t agree more. I wish he knew that her inside is just as beautiful as she was in her dress. John Albert, you done good.
Getting in your flower girl dress is pretty nerve wrecking!
Behind the scenes :: Aubrey, flower girl on the left, wasn’t really into smiling here. I remember at her mom’s wedding in August how much she loved Frozen (ok, who doesn’t?). So, I stood behind Erin and broke out my best version of “Let it go.” Not sure if it was that good or bad, but it got her smiling!
This should be in a magazine.
Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Majors!
After the ceremony while the guests were making their way through the gardens to the reception, Erin and Geoffrey sneaked away with these two and snapped some of my all-time favorite photos!
To honor the bride during what is usually the bride/father dance, Mandy’s uncles and leading men in her life all stepped up to dance with her for a few minutes. Every single guest stopped what they were doing (which isn’t always the case) and watched as each of them took turns. While it was definitely a touching moment, John Albert’s dad decided to lighten the mood and twirl Mandy through the end of the song.
When we were working on the last details, and I asked John Albert what song he would dance to with his mom, he said “Over the Rainbow. It’ll make her melt.” We kept the song choice a surprise and when the first few notes sounded, her reaction did not disappoint.
I wish I had more of these “how do we cut the first piece” photos. The real “cutting the cake” photograph!
So much meaning packed into this groom’s cake. John Albert’s sister, Townsend, designed this logo for her brother and his friends to commemorate their hunting and fishing trips in Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma. Of course his dog, Stella, had to keep watch of the cake.
Remember I mentioned it was Mandy’s brother’s birthday? They surprised him with his very own cake during the reception. (Note the singer’s excitement!)
Sometimes, wedding planners are flower girl holders
Just like that the most magical of Friday the 13ths was over. We sent them off (possibly with the groom sporting a pair of split pants as a result of an incredible Proud Mary performance) as Mr. and Mrs. Majors.
Mandy and John Albert – It was truly an honor to be part of your wedding. The trust that both of you had in me made my job a complete joy – even when the forecast seemed to challenge what I’m made of. You put so much thought, love, and detail into your wedding, and I hope that the memories you made will always bring you smiles and joy. And, I may know a pretty good seamstress if John Albert wants to “mend” his party pants.
Cheers to #salutingthemajors!
— Their wedding couldn’t have been what is was without the team of vendors who helped me make it possible! —
Photographers :: Erin and Geoffrey Photography
Venue :: Rip Van Winkle Gardens
Event Rentals :: Event Rental
Florals :: Root Floral
Cakes :: Sugar Belle by Elise
Caterer :: Heirloom Cuisine
Band :: Phat Hat
Ceremony Musicians :: Lafayette Symphony Orchestra
Hair and Makeup :: Carly with Bleu Coiffure
Invitations and koozies :: Inkling Design Studio
I remember my first phone call with Claire like it was yesterday. Her photographer, Brandon O’Neal, asked her who would be her day-of contact and when she told him herself, he told her she needed a planner. I remember explaining what I did, and she kept saying, “Yes, I need that!” Her contract arrived in my mailbox [literally] the next day, and the rest is history.
Claire and I have similar personalities, so we hit it off from the beginning. I remember having lunch at Abacus to pick her menu, and it was like having lunch with a friend. She was so detailed and organized but equally as trusting and go-with-the-flow. Claire and Mike are my very first couple who met online! There must really be something to it, because I couldn’t imagine a better match for each of them!
63 Films did an outstanding job capturing the joy and happiness of their special day. I hope you has as much fun watching the video as I did!
Claire and Mike – Thank you so much for trusting me to be your “day-of” contact! I had the best time getting to you both of you and have so many fun memories from your wedding. One day, I need to see the go-pro video!
Photographer :: Brandon O’Neal
Videographer :: 63 Films
Church :: St. Bernard
Reception :: Abacus
Hair / Makeup :: Beauty by Victoria
Transportation :: Washington Trolley
Cake :: Sky’s the Limit Cakes
Florals :: Spedales
Band :: Phat Hat
When I sat down to think and write my goals for Southern Fete in 2015, attending a floral workshop wasn’t on the list. But when Mia with Root Floral spread the word about a Bows and Arrows Flowers workshop in NOLA, it kept entering my mind. I remember talking to my mom about if I should go, and she thought I was crazy to even be debating it. I kept going back and forth, so one day I sent Mia a text that said “Doing it.” And, I did.
I sat behind a garbage truck on my way into the Quarter and kept asking myself, “Why did you do this? Seriously?” A few moments of self-doubt crept into my mind. I don’t want to be a florist, but as a planner I wear so many hats, this is inevitably one of them. I told Alicia that just the week before, I had to wire a hydrangea in the CENTER of a bridal bouquet back to life to make it through pictures. The struggle is real.
In the first few minutes of the workshop, I felt about as alive as that dying hydrangea, but I pulled it together. I may have been the only non-florist for that portion of the workshop, but I quickly reminded myself I had nothing to lose.
On the way home from NOLA, I kept looking over at my sweet arrangement buckled in the front seat. While I of course loved the way that it turned out, the little piece of self-doubt that I banished that day may have been all that I needed to accomplish!
I hope you enjoy looking through all of the lovely that I was lucky enough to be able to
hack include into my arrangement!
Cheers to adventure and to Natalie for snapping these photos!
Coffee. Check. Cell Phone. Check. Sheers. Check. Tape Grid on Vessle. Fail.
Coffee still in play. Check. Alicia showing me how to crack open a rose. Check. Poor little thing. Anything for a beautiful picture!
Oh, what a sweet couple! Sweet as pie. Sweet as the four boxes of girl scout cookies in our pantry. Sweet as sweet tea. You name it. This is genuinely sweet! I remember Jennifer telling me the first time we met that she just couldn’t wait to get engaged and work with three vendors :: Southern Fete, Val Marie Paper, and Catherine Guidry. There’s no better feeling. I’m sure I can speak on behalf of all of us, we loved our time with the Kirkleys!
As usual, Catherine out did herself with the photos. Each time she sends me a gallery, it gets harder and harder to choose just a handful. But, I do my best!
Jen had Michelle with Styled. help her choose her bridesmaids jewelry. After the wedding, Jen told me how much each bridesmaid LOVED their jewelry and just how much she enjoyed working with Michelle. She had initially picked out different jewelry but with Michelle’s guidance was so much happier with the final selection!
These girls were so fun! It was contagious!
I loved the way Jen’s bouquet turned out! It’s so cheery and bright!
I mean really? How darn sweet. I LOVED all of the bridesmaids’ dresses! Although there was a bit of a dress hiccup, Roxanne with Blanc Bridal literally became a fairy godmother (as Jen coined her) and stayed on the phone with boutiques across the country until we had another dress. You’re a rock star Roxanne, and all of us can’t thank you enough!
Practice makes perfect! Get ready for the first look …
So, from the first time I meet with clients I delicately try to warn them that every wedding day has its bumps. Jen was so excited to gift David with the wooden box holding his card. Well, we have a box but no card. I’m happy to report that the card was finally found just this week but it made for a great picture and of course a great wedding story!
Mr. Jerry saved his most special words for Jen until right before she walked down.
Standing in the middle of St. Mary was SO worth it for these photos!
Seriously, is this not the GREATEST get away car ever? It belongs to David’s great uncle and was in the most impeccable shape. We all had so much fun looking at it!
ALL of the food, with the exception of the delectable goodness below, was gluten-free. Jen often attends wedding receptions and isn’t able to eat anything because of her allergy. It was important that she be able to enjoy her reception, so they worked closely with Hannah at Bibi’s Patisserie to create a gluten-free menu. Hannah even went the day before the wedding to completely sanitize the kitchen to ensure no cross-contamination with previous foods prepared in the kitchen. And can I just tell you how amazing the mac and cheese was!
Are you drooling?
Please note the small vase of flowers. Why don’t we have those in cars these days?
I can’t say enough about the band Jen and David chose. Compozitionz (with a z), from Jackson, was beyond good. There was not ONE person in the place that wasn’t shuffling their feet, humming a tune, or down right boogieing. From Proud Mary (you know this planner was in heaven) to Uptown Funk, their choreographed moves and high-energy was contagious. AH-MAZING!
And just like that the night was over. Jen and David, it was such a pleasure to be part of your wedding planning journey. Thank you for being so kind, thoughtful, and trusting. You are loved by so many, and your wedding was a testament to that. May you be blessed with an abundance of continued love and support and happy memories for many years to come.
Photographer :: Catherine Guidry
Band :: Compozitionz
Florist :: Flowers and More by Dean
Church :: Our Lady of Wisdom
Venue :: L’Eglise
Hair / Makeup :: Bleu Coiffure (Carly, Marae, Lauren)
Transportation :: Party Time Trolley
Catering :: Bibi’s Patisserie
Mag Swag. Six Oaks. Charenton. I feel like this wedding needs it’s own crossword puzzle. Anyone up for it?
I remember the day Anna first met with me like it was yesterday. She skipped into my office, wearing something fabulous as usual, and promptly said “I’ll sign the contract.” Just like that. I decided since we knew each other from way back in children’s choir, she knew what she was getting into. She did. All she wanted was “someone that would handle her s***.” I was honored that she thought/knew I was the planner for her. Anna had a vision, and I was bound and determined to Get. It. Done.
The planning process was never short of laughs, crazy abbreviations, or silly hashtags. I’m sad that January 31, 2015, has come and gone but I know that the St. Blancs will always be friends and I’ll always be an honorary “Broussard sis.” There’s so much that I could say about this wedding, but I’ll try to keep it short and sweet.
Here goes …
This front porch … and the simplicity of the color palette in these bouquets. Someone get me a rocking chair and a glass of sweet tea!
Introducing “mag swag!” Disclaimer :: No magnolia trees were hurt in the making of this wedding’s mag swag …
These girls have the kindest hearts, and I loved the few minutes I had with them during the day. They were all smiles and even played “police” when I charged them with keeping Anna in the hotel the morning of the wedding (so she couldn’t sneak a peak)!
This is why first looks are the bee’s knees!
I’m in LOVE with these cufflinks and Anna’s Chloe + Isabel ring!
Can’t say I’ve ever seen a bigger card! You win, Anna!
This picture, y’all. A man, his best friend, and his best friend for life (Anna, that is).
Can we talk about these oak trees? This bridal party?
Oh, and this tent! From the beginning, Anna knew what she wanted and it happened. A big thanks to Cristina at Event Rental for being the mastermind behind this incredible ivory drape! Swoon!
I really should end the blog here because these cakes were the very best cakes I’ve eaten. Can we take a moment? Blaise’s godmother poured all of her love into making these cakes, and every single guest loved her for it. Are you eating your screen yet? Because, you should!
I spy a fan-tabulus chandelier … oh and a pretend garter toss!
Where does this Go Pro video exist? Blaise’s look is priceless!
Back to the front porch, the mag swag, the oak trees, a fist pump, and a few parting words:
Charenton – I’m sorry I didn’t know you existed until Anna sat in my office and we looked it up on a map. You may be quiet but are filled with so much love. Thank you for welcoming this big-city (Lafayette is big city to Charenton, right?) girl with more love I could have ever expected!
Anna and Blaise – May you always remember just how magical January 31, 2015 was! I wish you only the very best! Thank you for trusting me with such a special day in your lives. I can’t wait to visit casa de St. Blanc once it’s ready!
Cheers to the St. Blancs!
Photographer :: Second Line Photography
Event Rentals :: Event Rental
Hair/Makeup :: Flawless Bride
Florist :: Root Floral + Bride’s Mom
Church :: Immaculate Conception Church
Reception :: Six Oaks (family property)
Food :: Stacy Landry Catering
Band :: Krossfyre