Why 'Newly NOLA Bride?'

Well, since you're reading this website, I'll assume that you're probably a bride or groom-to-be, so you know how it feels when you first get engaged. The entire wedding industry is new to you; it's an experience you've probably never had before, and its a bit overwhelming. Amirite? The same goes for when you first move to a different city or state. There is nothing familiar; things are done differently and you don't have any of your close friends or family to rely on. It's all new. Simply put, I moved to a new city and was newly engaged at the same time; quite literally the Newly NOLA Bride. I just go by The NOLA Bride now, though. Or the Mother of Dragons, depending on who you're talking to.

Your site says 'Bride.'  Does that mean you only cater to 'traditional' couples?

Hell to the NO! The original concept of The NOLA Bride (read above) was based on my experiences AS a NOLA Bride. I wholeheartedly support, accept, and LOVE to work with couples of all shapes and sizes! I don't believe in judging other people (except for maybe about how they treat those of the four-legged variety), and I certainly don't stand in the way of true love. Whoever you are, whomever you love- you're welcome here (and I do little happy dances because I get to work with you)!

Should I hire a wedding planner?

Whew. That question is pretty broad and hard to put into a 'one-size-fits-all' answer, but I'll do my best.

If you have an unlimited budget, I would absolutely say that, yes, hiring a full-time wedding planner is in your best interest. Generally speaking, they can make your life way less stressful, help you think of or expand on your kick-ass ideas, and are familiar with all the inner workings of a wedding. They can definitely save you time, and sometimes, even save you some money. More importantly, they will be there to save the day if the sh%t hits the fan. Which is probably reason enough to consider it! Think of it this way: I could probably cut my own hair if I really wanted to, but instead, I hire a hairdresser; because a). she knows what she's doing, and b). it makes my life that much easier (and saves me lots of hours of internet scouring, MAKING ABSOLUTELY SURE I've watched every video in existence for properly cutting hair {Why yes, I AM a recovering perfectionist. Thanks.}). (Side note: If you've got money to burn, there are some really awesome NOLA wedding planners on the other end of the budget spectrum that can help you plan a beautiful day.)

ONE HUGE ASTERISK HERE, THOUGH: While I think a wedding planner can be beneficial, you should ONLY hire one that completely meshes with your personality and your style. A wedding is not the time for cookie-cutter, follow-the-rules, 'same wedding that happened last Saturday' type of mindset. You need someone who supports YOUR vision, YOUR aesthetic, and YOUR desires above all else. And who is just as excited to plan your day as there were planning their first wedding. Don't make this decision lightly!

That being said, if you do have a budget, and really have to focus your funds appropriately, hiring a wedding planner is probably not the highest priority. I mean, every day there are couples who pull off planning their entire wedding without professional help. Many times, this is made possible by friends and family who care about the couple. {Where there's a will, there's a way; and where there is love and support, mountains can be moved (can I get an amen?)!} It also helps if you are an organized person, and that you've hired vendors that you can count on to DO THEIR JOBS.

So, why is deciding whether or not to hire a professional planner so difficult for couples? Sadly, the discrepancy lies in the fact that most planners charge a hefty price for their services, while a lot of couples have financial reasons that prevent them from spending a small fortune on their wedding. It's like this: wedding planners are humans who, just like everyone else, need to make a living; and every couple, no matter what their budget, deserves to have an unforgettable wedding. I think somewhere along the way, both sides forgot this. And now, we're stuck in a vicious cycle where, a lot of planners lose focus on what's most important about a wedding and are looking to turn a profit; and a lot of couples are looking to cut costs or don't realize how much weddings actually cost, or that planners' work should be valued and that they need to make a living, too.

While it can be difficult to find a balance, this is where day-of planning, consulting services, thrifty-thinking, DIY-utilization, an awesome support system, and mad organizational skills come into play. Bottom line: having a planner can make your life easier in many aspects, but I fully believe that you can pull off an epic wedding on your own as long as you have the right resources. Hence, why The NOLA Bride exists!

Or did I just make this more confusing than it already was?

So, dog-friendly weddings, huh?

YASSS! Seriously, I adore all things furry, fluffy, and cuddly (turtles can be cuddly, right?). And having my dogs in our wedding was absolutely non-negotiable. If you want to have your pet in your wedding, you are my people; and I will do whatever it takes to help you have your animal-family there for your big day!

Do I have to do __________________ (insert centuries old, outdated wedding tradition) at my wedding?

No, no, and, one more time, NO. Any question you might have that involves asking if something is 'required' of you due to tradition will 9 times out of 10 be answered with a big, fat. 'NOPE.' No, you don't have to get married in a church. No, you don't have to have an even-numbered bridal party (or any attendants for that matter!). No, you don't have to do a bouquet toss. No, you don't have to have a receiving line. By all means, if you want to do any of these, have at it! But do it because its something you want to do- not because it is 'expected' of you. For real- the only thing really required is that you are openly, unashamedly, and whole-heartedly marrying the best person in the world for YOU. (AKA your lobster.)

I've been dreaming of doing __________________ (insert non-traditional, unique idea) for my wedding- do you do that?

Absofrigginlutely!! No, seriously. I LIVE for the outlandish, the quirky, the eccentric, and the ADVENTUROUS. I love the things that make you unique (a major reason I adore this 'color-oustide-the-lines' city of New Orleans), and I'm all for helping you bring out the best in your wedding.

Darth Vader officiating your ceremony? I will totally bring my light saber
Zombie-esque wedding vows? I know I've got some fake blood around here that we could incorporate
The TARDIS as your wedding alter? I've got the Doctor on speed dial. (No seriously, I know people.)
Puppy-dog ring bearers trotting down the aisle before you? You are my people! And I may negotiate payment in puppy kisses.

Whatever inspires you, whatever you can dream up, we'll make it come to life. And if you think of something that I'm not familiar with, I will put my Sherlock skills to good use and help you realize your dream.

And don't let my offbeat tendencies scare you, I'm all for tradish with a twist! The most important thing here is that you embrace and incorporate...well...YOU into your wedding. You and your fiance's personality and vision; it is YOUR love story, after all! Stuffy, 'not your bag of tea, baby' traditions need not apply.

What separates you from other wedding planners?

Well, for starters, I'm not your average wedding planner. I'm a DIY-embracing, budget-saving, pet-cuddling sitting, dreaming it up and creating ninja. I like to wear a lot of hats (mostly because I think I look good in them) and help people in whatever way I possibly can.

HOWEVER, if we're getting specific, one huge thing that separates me from other planners is budget. As I've mentioned before, I don't believe that having a small budget should dictate how awesome your wedding is. It breaks my heart to see couples feel like they have no options because they don't have a larger price range. Having been a quirky, budget-savvy bride myself, I know how important it is to want to see your vision come to life without going in to debt. So, I work with you- within your budget- to create YOUR style + vision. (Together, we'll make some magic.) Another thing that separates me is the fact that I don't work like a regular planner, giving you cookie-cutter ideas and generalizing my services. I work to deliver services that are hand-tailored to YOUR needs, as well as to offer products and tools that you need to make your day one for the books. And, I don't represent a network of wedding vendors. When you hire me, you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll work to find solutions that fit YOUR unique style + budget- not someone elses. No hidden agenda here.

Also, by trade, I'm a Registered Nurse; so, on top of my many years in the hospitality industry and some venue rep experience, I have a variety of unique skills that have been awesomely transferable to my planning business. I'm great at communicating with people during stressful situations; I think fast on my feet while keeping cool; I'm extremely solution + detail oriented; and I'm good at predicting possible problems, while pre-emptively formulating solutions for them. (Whew!)

I'm also one of those rare breeds whose right and left brain operate almost equally, so I've also got a kick-ass creative side and love to use my imagination. #winning

What areas do you cover, and do you travel?

You may have guessed from my name (you smartypants, you) that I cover the greater New Orleans area (you'd be correct). And, while the majority of my services don't require much travel, I am definitely open to it and readily available. If you are interested in hiring me for an event, or even just as a bridal buddy to help you accomplish things in your hometown, shoot me an email and we'll chat! Lucky for me, I'm able to obtain flights quite easily, so the only extra charges you'll incur will be for lodging and maybe a few other small incidentals. I'm all about budget, here.

Speaking of budget, your fee seems pretty inexpensive compared to other planners.  What's that about?

Sigh. Well, despite my family thinking I'm insane, I refuse to charge an absurd amount of money for my services. Sure, rolling in the dough sounds fun (and definitely something I'd like to try!); but, that's not why I started this business. I want to help couples get married in a unique and personalized way, without making them sweat over price. I have no desire to be a part of the 'typical' wedding industry who nickel and dimes my couples simply because I can. I would honestly do this for free if, you know, I didn't need food, shelter and all that jazz to live. My aim is to be an affordable resource for NOLA couples who really want to get married, and really don't want to take out a loan.

Can I really have it all, even with my small budget?

YES! Well, yes and no. Let me explain (BOLDED SO YOU PAY ATTENTION!):

While I absolutely believe that a small budget shouldn't dictate the ah-mazingness of your event, every wedding- regardless of budget- will probably have to compromise on something somewhere down the line. (I know, I know....but hear me out!) What I mean is, if you have a small budget by today's standards, there are certain things that you will really have to consider when planning your wedding. For example, the guest list. If you have a budget of $10,000, a guest list of 250 is going to be almost impossible, unless you opt to have a smaller scale reception (think cocktail style) or cut out other details. Simply put, keep your expectations realistic when it comes to your budget (ie a Met Gala-esque affair with a 400+ guest list and a $8,000 price range is not going to happen). My point is, things can be worked out and worked around, but you have to be willing to make some exceptions and decide what is really important for you to have on the big day. If inviting every person you ever met is what's most important, then you probably need to rule out that exlusively small and expensive venue you've been eyeing. If photography is your main goal, but your budget is tight, then you should think about cutting down the amount of fresh flowers you have. Yes, it is a balancing act; but you can still have an incredibly amazing wedding. And trust me when I say, no one is going to notice that you cut out a few flowers.

Do you gain anything {dolla, dolla billz, ya'll} from recommending certain vendors?

Not a chance! As I mentioned above, no hidden agendas here. If I recommend someone, it is because I believe they are the best person for the job and will help you accomplish what you need; not because there is any compensation involved. Simply put, I won't suggest someone if I don't think they're what's best for your vision and/or budget. Here's how it works: If they're the wrong fit, I'll tell you and we'll discuss the details. If I'm not sure they're a good fit, I'll tell you and we will hash-out the pros and cons. If they're perfect for you, I'll tell you and back you 120% if you choose to hire them! And, even if you go with a different vendor, I will still back you 120%, because that's what I'm here for: to support you and make sure your wedding is amazing! The only thing I won't do is trash talk other vendors to gain an edge. (I will, however, be completely honest with you regarding my experiences with them.) At the end of the day, I just want you to have a really amazing wedding; and if that also happens to help a great vendor gain a fabulous client, then that's a win-win in my book.

Are you a good fit for me?

Well, my friend, that entirely depends on you and what you're looking for. I guess I should start off with saying, I'm not your typical planner, and I don't offer generic, full-on wedding planning services that follow strict, "THIS IS HOW IT'S ALWAYS BEEN DONE!" guidelines. And I don't have the type of relationships with other vendors that affords either party any sort of incentive for a recommendation. If I suggest a vendor, it's because I think they're good for you, not because I'm getting paid for the referral (as mentioned above). So, if the typical wedding industry style really floats your boat, then that is wonderful. That's awesome that you know what you want,and I fully support you seeking out planners who fit that your style. There are a lot of theme in NOLA and they won't disappoint!

However, if you're in search of someone to be your sidekick while navigating the adventure that is wedding planning, look no further. I might not fit the 'traditional' definition of a wedding planner, but hey, change is good! If you are in need of someone who will embrace your secret dream of being married by The Doctor, I'm your girl (legit, I offer that service). If you really just need someone who is going to listen as you vent your worries and dissect your problems, I've got a sturdy shoulder that's ready for you to lean on. If you're scared that your small budget means you won't be able to have a wedding as awesome as you've imagined, I've got the drive and DIY-initiative to put those fears to rest. In short, I'm here to help you plan the wedding of your dreams- sans judgement or coersion; and I've got my mad research skills and unbeatable work ethic at the ready to make your day epic.