Luxury wedding planner + designer based in New Orleans. Personalizing traditional, yet custom + timeless, yet modern weddings. Named Martha Stewart’s Top Planner 2014
[love story from their Brides Magazine feature]
Though Lizzy and Chandler first met in calculus class at the University of Georgia in 2007, they didn’t start dating until after graduation. “We were on campus for a football game, and spotted one another at Chandler’s old fraternity house,” Lizzy remembers. “We reminisced about the class and realized we were both living in Atlanta. The rest is history!” Flash forward four years to Thanksgiving, when Chandler joined Lizzy’s family in New Orleans. “I had a full agenda planned, including a trip to the WWII museum,” Lizzy says. “My father, who passed away when I was a freshman in college, fought in the war as a Lieutenant in the First Marine Corp Division, and is featured in the exhibit. I wanted to share this with Chandler because he’d never met my dad.” After touring the museum, Chandler suggested that the pair grab a drink before heading home for dinner. “I wanted a nap, but Chandler was persistent—and then my friends started texting me to meet them for a drink, too,” Lizzy recalls. She started to get suspicious, especially because Chandler was wearing a jacket in the 80-degree heat. He won out, and as the couple crossed Jackson Square, Chandler got down on one knee.
Lizzy grew up in New Orleans, and after a proposal like that, there was no question about where the pair would tie the knot. “We wanted our guests to enjoy the New Orleans culture we love so much,” says the bride. They filled their big day with romance— from floating candles and a flickering fireplace to the lace sleeves on Lizzy’s wedding gown—and added fun details like a second line band, boozy snowballs, late-night Mardi Gras masks, and hand grenades. Photographed by Greer Gattuso and planned by Elyse Jennings Weddings, this wedding (with a holiday twist!) is one you don’t want to miss. Keep reading for more!
The bride’s classic bouquet combined peonies, gardenias, ranunculus, patience garden roses, dusty miller, and silver dollar eucalyptus. The bride attached a locket full of photos of her father to the stems, and wore his Purple Heart in the lining of her dress.
Arrangements of white blooms flanked the altar, where the couple exchanged traditional vows. Says Lizzy, “I would have been way too emotional reciting our own vows. Instead, we wrote them to one another in letters, and exchanged them during our first look.”
After their kiss, Lizzy and Chandler grabbed umbrellas and led their guests through the streets of New Orleans to their reception. “The energy and excitement was incredible,” Lizzy remembers.
Upon arrival at Il Mercato, guests found antique lounge furniture arranged around an outdoor fireplace. Hundreds of votive candles floated from the ceiling in glass orbs, which added a feeling of enchantment to the space.
Layered textures created a soft, romantic setting for the reception. Gold metal platforms held roses, peonies, and greenery high above guests’ heads. White linens were topped with gold-rimmed chargers and plates, with ranunculus and tea roses tucked into gold mercury glass compotes.
A canopy of hydrangeas, roses, and peonies was suspended above the dramatic cake display. The six tiers featured three flavors: White chocolate raspberry, lemon poppy seed, and chocolate raspberry. “Chandler doesn’t love cake, so we also had boozy Louisiana Snowballs,” says Lizzy.
The bar offered four signature cocktails by Grand Bevy, a nod to the couple’s love of making craft cocktails at home. One even featured their combined monogram in foam at the top—talk about a cool personalization idea!
Thousands of candles glowed from every imaginable surface, creating a warm, inviting, and totally magical setting for Chandler and Lizzy’s celebration.
Late-night, the reception turned into a Mardi Gras party. The couple threw beads, and guests donned sequined masks. Waiters passed Hand Grenades, a French Quarter specialty that combines melon liqueur with gin, vodka, and rum.
As the night came to a close, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” poured out of the speakers. Says Lizzy, “Chandler was, by far, my best Christmas gift! We kept pinching one another throughout the day, reminding us to stop for a moment and soak it all in.”
Planning and Design | Elyse Jennings Weddings
Photography | Greer Gattuso
Videography | Bride Film
Ceremony Venue | Trinity Episcopal Church
Reception Venue | Il Mercato
Florist | Bella Blooms Floral
Rentals | Event Rental
Rentals | Perrier Party Rentals
Lounges | Distressed Rentals + Revival
Linens | Nuage Designs
Candles + Bars | Luminous Events
Lighting | See Hear Productions
Tent | Gulf Coast Tents
Bakery | Melissa’s Fine Pastries
Catering | Joel Catering & Special Events
Speciality Beverages | The Grand Bevy
Snoballs | Plum Street Snoballs
Band | Az IzZ
Live Painter | Harvie Oil Paintings
Makeup | Ashley Sievert Beauty
Hair | Hair by Nicole Leigh
Wedding Dress | Monique Lhuillier
Bride’s Shoes | Jimmy Choo
Bridesmaids’ Dresses | Monique Lhuillier
Groom + Groomsmen’s Attire | Knot Standard
Ceremony Music | New Orleans Classical and Jazz
Second Line Drinks | Brady’s Wine Warehouse
Pedicabs | Bike Taxi Unlimited
Stationery + Monogram Design | Scriptura
Calligraphy | Ragan House Lettering
Vinyl Bar Signage | Uptown Graphics
Second Lind Handkerchiefs | Backyard Printing
Cups + Napkins | ForYourParty
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
When I rebranded my business from Tying the Knot to Elyse Jennings Weddings, I wanted to design a shoot that would speak to my ideal clients! While I could have only dreamed that it could also speak to the nation, I about died when the editors said YES!
Here’s their take on our ideal wedding!
This beautifully gilded wedding of a former pageant girl and her Dr. is still making me smile! The wedding’s backdrop was the chippy and charming Race and Religious in New Orleans, LA and Greer Gattuso Photography captured every emotion and detail through film so perfectly! We designed the wedding with the idea of pure timeless glamour by bringing in some gold beaded lace, a Debra Moreland crown cake topper, a monogrammed Velvet Raptor guest book, and many more golden touches that helped to dress up the space! The bride’s Jenny Packham gown glistened and flowed so effortlessly, while the bridesmaids stunned in their own white gowns! It was just the right pairing of glamour and natural beauty!
In fact that it won Borrowed and Blue’s award for the Most Glamorous Wedding of 2016 in their Best of B&B awards! Fitting since Morgan is the most glamorous woman I know! XOXO
Planning and Design | Elyse Jennings Weddings
Photography | Greer Gattuso Photography
Ceremony and Reception Venue | Race & Religious
Florist | Kim Starr Wise
Rentals | Event Rental
Candles and Lighting | Luminous Events
Videographer | Bride Film
Catering | Pigeon Catering
Bakery | La Louisiane
Band | Tip Tops
Hair | Brian
Our wedding. In Print. Le sigh.
See the full gallery of our wedding here…