Coordinator- Weddingsbylulu, Lu Alexander (A+++) A MUST HAVE! I originally made inquiries with many local planners before meeting Lu and I never got a good vibe from anyone and seemed like just another bride to them. I then thought I would try to do it all myself. I got to the last few months before the wedding and solicited help from weddingsbylulu. She made me feel like I was the only bride in the world and it did not matter what my budget was, my wedding would be special to her and everyone else. Lu is always available to talk with and kept me on track. She has literally responded to me when I emailed her at midnight during my planning process! She truly takes time to get to know you and saw my vision and executed it impeccably. Lu is reasonably priced, dependable, and pleasant to deal with. She was totally reliable in my last minute emergencies, kept me on time, gave me suggestions and helped me to stay on budget. For the wedding she outlined the day in 10 minute increments so that at every moment I knew what to expect would be happening and her and her assistants made sure it all went as planned. My 20 month old son was having a temper tantrum minutes before the walk down the aisle and Lu’s assistant located his diaper bag on the other side of the church in minutes to get his favorite snack and located the person I needed to babysit him. Her design for my décor was beyond what I imagined. Hiring Lu was the best wedding planning decision I made.
Ceremony- St. Louis Cathedral (A+) Although I seemed difficult to contact them in the months before the wedding, during the weeks before they became increasingly more available and the wedding coordinator’s there are prepared for anything and had everything under control. When we showed up for the rehearsal, Kevin was organized and gave us excellent instruction and everything during the ceremony was executed seamlessly. The music coordinator was very responsive, helped me with my music selections and I did not even have to hire outside musicians.
Reception- Riverview Room (A++) Mary and her staff at the riverview room are truly experts in weddings. The riverview room is a prime French quarter location and was easily walkable from the cathedral. From the moment I walked in the door and assistant greeted me with a smile and she didn’t leave my side the entire time. The had an assistant for each the bride and groom and the couples parents. They waited on us hand and foot. If we wouldn't have had a coordinator, they would actually contact your vendors in advance to ensure ontime arrival. Between lu and the riverview room staff, I didn’t have to ask for anything! The food was excellent. It was always hot and they replenished the food whole night.
Invitations & Programs- Dubois Expressions, Baton Rouge (A+)(225) 936-5339 I had personal attention throughout the entire process. Jill and Sonia were amazingly knowledgeable about etiquette but made whatever adjustments I wanted to make sure I was happy. They have selections for every budget. I got 150 invites for $800 and 120 programs for $200 and they were beautiful! They had a quick turnaround time and respond immediately when contacted.
Limos- Big Easy Limos (A+) On time, super easy booking, negotiated within my budget, and the rolls was air-conditioned! The drivers were super nice. I rented the white mini bus for the bridal party and for elderly guests who couldn’t secondline to the reception, the rolls Royce for the bridal car, and a white sedan for the driving away car.
Photographer- Renaissance Photography (A+) (504) 228-7508This husband and wife team did an excellent job. They were on time and communicated with me prior to the wedding to be sure they knew exactly what pictures were important to me. They were a third of the price of many others and the photos captured the day perfectly! Here is a link to some that she’s posted on her facebook site as a preview… https://www.facebook.com/renaissancephotonola
Videographer- LOM films, Derrick Greenwood (A+) 225-324-0701 Derrick was on time and even came for the rehearsal to get video of the church and the surrounding areas. He got footage of the Jackson square and café du monde so that he could put these cultural images in my wedding video. He is more reasonably priced than many other videographers and is extremely easy to work with.
Cake- Cake designs by Meg, Megan Foucheaux (A+) www.cakedesignsbymeg.com I got both cakes for $500. My wedding cake was a 4 tier for 150 ppl and my grooms can was for 50 ppl. She made both cakes to look exactly like what we asked and they exceed our expectations. She was on time and the cakes were both moist and beautiful!
DJ- Captain “Chiggy Chiggy” Charles (A+) 504.723.3677 He was on time and kept everyone dancing the ENTIRE night. He listened to the style of music I wanted and I didn’t have to give him a list of songs! People are still talking about how much fun they had and how awesome the DJ was. He also DJ’s at the masquerade, the nightclub in Harrah’s a lot.
Rehearsal Dinner- Ralph & Kacoos (B) The food was excellent, however I was somewhat disappointed. I had planned this event for months and when we arrived at 6:30pm, they were not ready for us. The waitstaff said they were told the arrival time was 7:00pm and the manager admitted that they had made a mistake in communicating what time the room needed to be ready. The temperature in the room was too warm and it took a while to cool off. We reserved the mardi gras room and the rodrigue room(for the buffet). It was reasonably priced at 28 per hear and the staff was really nice but I was underwhelmed overall.
Florist- Christina O’Malley (B) I know this rating may come as a surprise. While I loved my bouquet and her delivery was efficient and on time, there are some notable cons to working with a florist solely by email. While she does work within your budget, there were some last minute delivery and setup fees that i wasn't expecting. The email descriptions of what the bm flowers would be had me imagining one thing(colors) and left me disappointed at the delivery at how small the bouquets were. I did get all my flowers for under $2000 though (1 brides, 12 bm, 12 groomsmen), so i guess i can't complain too much. If you want inexpensive and you can be flexible about the look, she's a great choice.
Hotels- Bourbon Orleans (A)/Hilton Riverside (A) I reserved the townhouse suite at the bourbon Orleans for the getting ready room and it was sufficient for 12 bridesmaids! We ordered fruit and sandwich trays and drink and ice and it was set up in the room for the bridal brunch. The Bourbon Orleans is newly renovated and has an excellent central location. It’s walkable to Jackson square and Bourbon and I didn’t hear bourbon street noise too much at night. The staff was accommodating. I did a room block at the Hilton riverside also, because they negotiated a much lower price than many other reputable hotels. My guests who stayed there had no complaints.
Secondline Band- To be continued Brass band (A) 504-782-5576 They were on time and reasonably priced. They sounded amazing. They are much younger in age than many of the other bands but did an amazing job. No complaints.
Cake stand Rental- Weddingsbylulu (See review above)
Hair- Ringletts Salon, Tawanna Laurent (A+) (504) 483-9031Tawanna does my hair regularly. She does hair for all nationalities but is a “must have” for the multiethnic or natural hair bride. She was on time and communicated with me and I got exactly what I wanted! She is so easy to work with and I reasonably priced.
Bridal Makeup- The Makeup Lab, Kisha Williams (A+) 504-982-0289 Kisha was on time and she did an amazing job beyond my expectations. Bridal makeup is $200 but it includes a trial run. I used my trial run for my rehearsal dinner. I definitely recommend her.
Bridesmaids Makeup- Beauty by Brisco (A+) 504-813-0973 [email protected] She was on time and did 8 faces in a couple hours. All my bridesmaids looked amazing and she also does hair for weddings too. She is so easy to work with and her personality lights the room. She worked with my budget and is very reasonably priced and I could not have been happier with her work!
Flowergirl dress- etsy, Oliviakatecouture (A+) The dress was amazing and beautiful. See the picture below.
Favors- Fleur de lis chocolates, secondline hankies, and personalized matches…Love them all. Chocolates by Treatme cupcakes, Baton Rouge, LA;Secondline hankies by Purple Monkey, New Orleans, LA;Matches- theknot.com
Bridal Gown- Casablanca Bridal,The Bridal Boutique Covington, la (A) The bridal boutique is no longer in business but Casablanca is sold many places and I loved my dress!
Tuxedos- Men's Warehouse (A)
Baby Formal Wear- Banbury Cross, Metairie, LA (A)
Bridesmaids Dresses- Alvina Valenta and Jim Helm, Bella Bridesmaids (A+) Large selection, easy to order, accommodating, individual attention and free fittings, nationwide locations.