I so often get asked questions about the wedding planning industry, how I started my business, what makes New Orleans weddings unique, and more, so when Helen from Borrowed & Blue— the online planning resource that can help you plan a New Orleans wedding—got in touch with me to learn more about my company, I jumped on the opportunity to share my insight with them (and you!)
As Helen, Borrowed & Blue’s New Orleans Market Specialist, says
“Borrowed & Blue is your online guide to planning New Orleans weddings, but you’ll be relying on wedding professionals to pull off a successful set of events. Enter: Elyse Jennings. Elyse and her team are incredible wedding planners and designers who clearly go above and beyond in order to make sure you and your partner have an amazing wedding experience. I love their attention to detail and focus on their couples as they help them design the wedding of their dreams. I approached Elyse to answer some questions about planning so that couples all over the country have some fabulous insight into how to go about crafting their dream day.”
How did you find your way into the event planning business? I had always been fascinated by weddings since I had never been to one! After becoming social chair of my sorority, I became hooked on the buzz of hosting events! At the first wedding that I assisted on, I started tearing up as we sent the bride down the aisle. I knew in that moment that I would make wedding planning my career! Then after a few years of working with amazing wedding planners, I decided to take the leap and start my own wedding planning company where our main goal would be forming meaningful relationships with my clients and getting to truly know them so that I can infuse every ounce of who they are into their big day!
Describe your event aesthetic in five words (or fewer!). Natural elegance with a touch of glam
What is the first question you like to ask a couple when you meet with them? “So tell me all about the proposal!” I find that I can learn so much about the couple from hearing about this special moment in their lives! Are they simple or like the big production? Who takes the lead? Private or close to their family and friends? It also allows me to start the consultation on an exciting and happy note! Wedding planning can be very stressful and my approach to the planning process always starts and ends with a smile so they can truly enjoy this journey!
What are your top tips for people who just got engaged? Think big picture before diving into the details! It’s so easy (and fun!) to start putting stickies in wedding magazines and get lost for hours on Pinterest and wedding blogs, but it’s important to think about what this wedding means to the two of you first and foremost. Establish your priorities, budgets parameters, and overall style! Then hire a professional planner + designer to help you bring that vision to life!
We’re at the very beginning of the 2016 wedding season. What top trends are you seeing? We’re seeing more timeless, formal, and natural affairs in mainly neutral colors! I’ve always believed that traditional can be done in a unique way, too, and now I’m getting to design those weddings every weekend! Lots of movement, loose greenery, and custom elements!
What is your favorite aspect of your job? As cheesy as it sounds, it’s really fulfilling to be such a special part of this moment in each couple’s life! I love getting to know them, designing a wedding that portrays who they are as a couple, show their guests why New Orleans is such a magical place to say I do, and keep up with them well after the wedding to watch their families grow!
What part of a wedding is your favorite (if you had to choose)? Can I have two?! For the bride and her ladies, it’s a really special moment when that veil goes into her hair and completes her bridal ensemble! From what we’ve seen for years, that’s the moment when emotions overwhelm everyone in the room and we start handing out the tissues! My other favorite moment is when the groom sees his bride for the first time! Whether it’s during an intimate first look or when the church doors open and there’s a collective gasp, the look on his face is always priceless! Cue another round of tissues!
I’d love to pick your brain about where you live, just a bit! Describe your dream day in New Orleans. I don’t think there’s a better word to describe New Orleans than magical! Everywhere you look, there’s something rich in culture, oozing with energy, and the most delicious thing you’ve ever eaten – it’s like the city gives you a big (humid) hug! Playing tourist in Nola is definitely something my husband and I love to do! Start with brunch in a charming French Quarter courtyard, window shop all the way down Royal St., enjoy a cocktail in a cabana at the W French Quarter while watching the tourists pass, then finish the day with a delicious dinner!
Any underrated touristy spots in New Orleans that we should check out? I love Lilette Restaurant for it’s delicious food and charming, cozy atmosphere. I love the Carousel Bar because it really is one of the top ten best bars in America. I love Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop for its Voodoo Daiquiri. I love Willa Jean for brunch and cookies. I love Sylvain for its Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas. I love Stanley for its omelettes and people watching. There’s always something special to eat, drink, and see in this city!
Describe something that sets New Orleans apart from other places you’ve lived. I’m born and raised in New Orleans, so it certainly has a special place in my heart! But having travelled to many other places, I have to say that EVERYTHING sets New Orleans apart! 13 x 9 blocks of restaurants, boutiques, bars, antiques, hotels, history and music on every corner- what could be better?!
Come get married in New Orleans and I hope you’ll take a peek at Borrowed & Blue—it’s a great place to find and book your New Orleans wedding vendors!
All photos | Greer Gattuso Photography