Our 2011 Collection!

May 24, 2011  |  Southern Fete News  |  No Comments

I am thrilled to finally be unveiling our new invitation collection! I’ll be posting a new collection each day till our launch on June 1.

This year’s collection was such a labor of love. Along with designing, printing, photos and updating sites, I’ve also had a BIG wedding planning season and am preparing for my third wedding this month this coming Saturday.

I honestly didn’t remember till about one hour ago that I had planned to begin sharing the collection on the blog…TOMORROW. I’m in the home stretch and excitement is keeping me going. Can’t wait to share more with you tomorrow! : ) Up first: Heroine Collection.

To Vendors (& Myself)

May 19, 2011  |  Southern Fete News  |  13 Comments

I’ve come across two types of vendors. Those that love their job and those that simply do their job.

Last Friday, I spent the day with Courtney Dellafiora, who shot the new collection (photos soon!) We chatted about how lucky we are to do what we do. Courtney is definitely one of those vendors who loves their job and oozes passion for her clients and work. It’s quite contagious.

This past weekend, I also did a wedding for Molly and Per with a team of vendors I’ve never worked with before because the wedding was in Baton Rouge. I was at first a bit concerned they’d think I was a fly by night wedding planner or someone just dipping my toe in the wedding industry…and subsequently, treat me that way. Instead, every single vendor was enthusiastic to chat with me and so excited for the wedding. These were professional vendors who do this multiple times every week. Why were they so enthusiastic?? Because they truly love their job!

Getting jaded CAN happen if you’ve been doing this long enough. You may start to feel you know more than the newbies. Or that brides are all demanding based on a few bad apples. Don’t let that affect your relationships with new, nice : ) brides and vendors.

Vendors, I cannot tell you how at ease, excited, and thankful I was for the team we worked with this weekend. I kept telling Molly, “You’re wedding is going to be amazing because your vendors are so amazing.” And it was. That night at the wedding, while guest were dancing and the bride was visiting with friends, Per, the groom told us that he and Molly agreed Southern Fete was the best value/money they spent on the whole wedding. I was so blown away and honored. I truly believe this was because with the great team of vendors we had, we were able to COORDINATE. We weren’t bussing tables, or refilling bars or taking care of anyone else’s work as we sometimes must do. We were catering to the bride and groom. I don’t think that the enthusiasm that greeted me earlier in the week is unrelated to the work the team did on the wedding day. EACH WEDDING is important to them. Vendors, I’m challenging y’all as well as myself to make sure our clients feel this way.

If BRIDES get that same feeling I got last week, from their own vendors, I can only imagine what a difference that makes to them on their wedding day. A big thanks to the amazing team:

Rehearsal Dinner Location: Shaw Center – Ashley

Reception Location: Lousiana State Museum – Ashley Pierce

Caterer: Heirloom Cuisine – Caryn and Crew

Cake Ball Cakes: Brew Ha Ha – Gabby Loubiere  (225) 923-1923

Photography: Ashleigh Jayne Photography – Ashley and Paul

Bus Service: River Parish Limousines

St. James Episcopal Church – Sue and Kakki

And a few sneak peeks from Saturday! Gorgeous work Ashleigh, can’t wait to see the rest!

City Club Bridal Show

February 16, 2011  |  Southern Fete News  |  1 Comment

I’m off for the next few days but before I go, I wanted to share a bit about the bridal show we did last week! The turnout was absolutely amazing for the first held at City Club.

Much thanks to Cat Guidry for sharing these images with me!

Our booth was a bit of an overload. We’ve added several new offerings so we had so much to share with brides and a short time to do so with each!

Our Stationery strung on a set of old vintage doors, a few items from our Southern Life that we thought were great for the new wife or for bridesmaids gifts, wedding books of our Event Planning, florals and decor featuring our Rentals, Info on our new bridal workshop Fete Connection and corkboard filled with inspiration boards from The Wedding Shoebox.

I could not do my job without Natalie! She is literally my double when I can’t be everywhere at once!

Love these people! Hannah Trahan, the private events coordinator at City Club and host for the bridal show, photographer Cat Guidry, Natalie and photographer Jason Cohen

Kamryn + Daniel: 10.23.10

February 15, 2011  |  Southern Fete News  |  4 Comments

I was so blessed to be a part of Kamryn and Daniel’s wedding. We began working on the wedding over a year before so I got to know them well. But we found out we actually played together when we were toddlers!

At the rehearsal dinner, Kamryn gave me the sweetest note I just have to share.

Valerie,

Where do I even start? First of all thank you so much for going on this magical journey along side of us. There is no way we could have put this thing together without you. You created beautiful ideas out of my scattered thoughts and gracefully handled every stressful situation. I know you did a lot of above and beyond for us and i thank you so much. That’s a little part of what makes you so good at what you do. You look out for your brides no matter what and go to great lengths for them. Your incredible patience and drive have kept me sane over the past year. Thank you so much for the incredible job you have done and the friend you have become.

Love, Kamryn

Below are some photos from the big day from my good friend Jason Cohen. Video by BrideFilm here!

Kamryn, I am so thankful to be a part of your big day and honored to get to share such a special process with you!

Sunkissed

February 7, 2011  |  Color Me Inspired, Southern Fete News  |  No Comments

Work has been crazy busy the last few months and unfortunately one of the first things that tends to get cut is inspiration boards. Oh how I’ve missed making them! This week, we will have a new inspiration board Monday-Friday.

Before I talk about today’s board, I did want to announce tomorrow’s bridal show at City Club at River Ranch. I’m really excited about this bridal show. I’ve done other big box shows in the past and they can be a bit chaotic: 300 brides, 100 booths, all in search a freebies or big discounts. This show is a bit different (still with freebies and discounts though : ). City Club selected a group of 30 or 40 vendors that they personally work with/recommend. Among them are many vendors I recommend to my own clients for flowers, cake, photography, rentals, tuxes, invitations : ). We’ve got a fun display that I’m excited about sharing. Come stop by our booth. We will have information on Event Packages, Invitations, Rental Items, Fete Connection and even our Southern Life items for the soon to be Mrs! Details below!

On to today’s board…

I was in the mood for something a bit sunny but out of the ordinary for me. I’m not a huge red person but love this tomato shade with this wheat color. It’s warm and inviting and super cheery! Enjoy!!

1. Pinterest 2. Green Wedding Shoes 3. Snippet&Ink 4. Once Wed 5. Snippet&Ink

Introducing: Fete Connection

January 31, 2011  |  Southern Fete News  |  5 Comments

Today, I am thrilled to announce the launch of Fete Connection!

I’ve been planning for a while now (since Dec 21,2009 to be exact!) to host a workshop for area brides. It’s been only in the last week that the final puzzle pieces came together.

My ultimate goal was to create a workshop that would give all brides (like those who never dreamed of being able to include a wedding planner in their budget or those that just prefer to be more hands on) the tools needed to plan a successful wedding. Most brides have never planned a wedding. That’s obvious. So why should they be expected to know how to navigate the process?

Here were my objectives:

1. Walk brides through creating a timeline for their engagement, creating a budget and even giving brides an estimate of what I think their wedding would cost based on what they tell me their looking for. (I think this fact is key in creating a realistic budget and sticking with it.)

2. Give brides tips to save money, whether it be showing them things they can cut, budget-friendly alternatives or places they can go for discounts. You may have seen me tweet last week that a bride who came in for an hourly consultation (a value of $50) left with over $1,500 cut from her wedding cost based on a few suggestions I made.

3. How to work well with vendors. Trusting the people you are entrusting with your big day is key. You need to foster these relationships well for the day to succeed. I’ll show you how to get the most out of these relationships.

4. A list of my personally trusted vendor referrels based on your needs and budget. As mentioned in #3, the right vendors can MAKE your wedding day! I’ve coordinated over 25 weddings. Find out which vendors I trust.

5. Inspiration and Ideas. Most brides today see tons of inspiration. My job is to help pull it together into a cohesive vision. I will be giving tips based on your individual inspiration on how to do this.

6. Q&A Portion. Just want to pick the brain of a wedding planner? Here’s your chance!

After crafting together the material for this workshop, I am so confidant and excited in the value this holds for brides. To have the opportunity to help wedding days, no matter what the budget or my own restraints for bookings, is something I’m very excited about.

BUT…

Here’s the catch! I don’t just want it to end after our 4-hour session. Though I’ve been dreaming of this workshop for over a year, I wasn’t satisfied with just hosting a one-time seminar for a group of 20 or so brides.

The final piece of the puzzle? Connect brides.

This workshop will take a unique form that I honestly haven’t seen done before but I believe has amazing potential. Each session will be with a group of 3-6 brides in a comfortable atmosphere to foster relationships beyond the session. The sessions will be grouped based on wedding date, budget and style and take place on Saturdays (specific date to be determined by group).

Ladies, the brides you will share that time with will be in the same boat you’re in! And my hope is that even after the session, a support system can be created based on this shared circumstance of planning a wedding. Whether it’s calling each other to see how they handled a certain issue, getting a vendor reference or even sharing decor items (AKA split cost : ). There are groups for those that want to run a marathon, learn French, read classic literature but (from what I can see) none that support ladies through one of the biggest days of their life. My goal is to provide that through Fete Connection!

As you can tell, I’m pretty passionate about this, judging from the book I just wrote. I can’t wait to start this journey!

Ladies in the Acadiana area, if you are interested in attending a session, email me at valerie {@} southernfete.com. The workshop is $200 but the first 10 brides to sign up will receive a discounted rate of $175.