Thursday, August 4, 2016

AAE & B&B ...a wedding planner Q&A


Q&A Collaboration with

Borrowed & Blue knows that everyone in the world deserves a beautiful wedding—but that weddings are so different between one area and another! That’s why it’s so important for local couples, and all of us over at B&B HQ, to connect with amazing vendors who know these wedding spaces better than anyone. Enter: all of the fabulous New Orleans wedding vendors we know and love, like All About Events! Carolyn was born and raised in NOLA, so I can’t imagine a better guide to plan your day. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Carolyn is such a fun person to query about what makes New Orleans weddings so special. I’m so excited to read what she has to say about this amazing city! 
- Helen, Borrowed & Blue’s New Orleans Market Specialist

Thank you, Borrowed and Blue, for choosing me to represent New Orleans! I’m so happy to be able to share my city with your readers and all of the couples that choose New Orleans for their destination weddings.  I hope I can give you a glimpse of what the city can offer and what it means to me. 
-Carolyn Arthurs, All About Events

1. Carolyn! Tell us a bit about how you got your start in this industry.
When I look back on my family growing up, I think I was destined to be an event planner.  My mother was very creative and for all of my birthday parties, she followed a theme.  If I loved Raggedy Ann, the cake, the decor, and even my dress for the day were all handmade to create that  theme.  I think that was really my true start, but I didn’t actually do any work in events until I was 18 years old and a friend got me a Summer job working on a golf tournament for the New Orleans Saints.  That was my first “event” and it's when I had my initial thoughts of doing this for a living.

2. How would you describe your event aesthetic—in 5 words or less?
"Comfortable Elegance"

3. What is something you wish every couple knew before planning their wedding?
I wish every couple knew that what they see on TV and internet is not always real.  Wedding reality shows, Pinterest, and other sites are all great for researching ideas, but just because you see something online doesn’t mean it can be done on your budget.  A lot of the posts are setup as photo shoots and aren’t from real events with normal budgets.

4. When you first meet with a couple, what is the most important question you ask them to get to  
If the couple has chosen New Orleans as their theme or destination, I always ask “Why New Orleans?”   The answer usually tells me how they met or grew up and what they love about the city.  That gives me my starting point for prioritizing my event design.


5. Tell us your favorite moment in a wedding day and why you love it.
My favorite moment is when the bridal party has walked up the aisle and the flower girl has tossed her petals and I signal the bride that it's her turn to walk. She’s usually excited and nervous at the same time. I have her pause at the beginning of the aisle so I can fluff her train and then, with a gentle pat on her back, I send her up the aisle.  That moment is always the most pure and meaningful to me because that’s when emotions are raw.  That step, as she walks away, is the first step toward the rest of her life.

6. We’re a little over halfway through the 2016 wedding season, but the fall has yet to come! What trends are you seeing and enjoying, or seeing and disliking?
I love the fact that couples are choosing timeless colors and decor.  Whether the wedding is heavily themed or just a certain color palette, couples can look back later and not have to think “Can you believe we chose that??”  I also can’t say I’m mad at the fact that burlap is on its way out!

7. What tips do you have for newly engaged folks?
Don’t start planning your wedding the day after you get engaged.  Take some time to just be in that place in life together.  Wedding planning can be stressful and you don’t want to remember your engagement only as the stressed out time you took to plan your wedding.  

Parkway Carrie.jpg 

8. You’re a NOLA girl through and through, I hear! Describe your dream day in the city.
My ancestors have a mix of European origin, but when people ask me my heritage, I say "I’m New Orleanian."  There’s something about being from here, and having at least 3 generations of my family before me from here, that makes the actual makeup of my DNA irrelevant.  I love to experience the uniqueness of this city and I know that uniqueness is reflected in me.  A perfect day in my city would be in the Fall, when the heat and humidity are most bearable.  In true NOLA style, I wouldn’t plan the day.  I’d just go where city calls me. And if I’m lucky, there’ll be a poboy, some beignets, Mardi Gras Indians, and a brass band somewhere along the way!

 9. What makes New Orleans weddings unique?
One thing that locals don’t do at a wedding in New Orleans is sit. The traditional New Orleans wedding doesn’t include any sit-down dinner.  There’s no formal seating plan. In fact, there isn’t even a chair for every guest.  From start to finish the food, the music, and the bar have people on their feet dancing, mingling, and having a great time.  That’s not to say that every destination client should have that style of wedding.  Sometimes the goal needs to be a mix of what’s comfortable for the guests and the style of the city, without losing the integrity of why the client chose New Orleans in the first place.

10. One last thing! Share a favorite memory (funny, silly, touching—your choice!) from a wedding you planned.
I have so many unforgettable memories from the weddings I’ve planned and the couples who have entrusted me with such an important moment in their lives. But perhaps the one I think will be burned in my brain forever was with a very sweet and shy bride.  She barely spoke, letting her fiance do most of the talking. She never complained and seemed ever-content with everything that comes with the whirlwind of wedding planning.  On the day of the wedding, when I was about to create that favorite moment of fluffing her train and sending her up the aisle in the outdoor garden she’d chosen for her venue, one of those awful party buses, painted bright purple and blaring music in the street, approached the block of the venue.  The guests were already standing in anticipation of the bride’s entrance and all eyes were on her.  My planning brain went into hyper-mode.  Do I walk down a block and stand in the street so the bus has to go a different way?  Do I send her up the aisle and hope the bus driver has some compassion and shuts off the music?  Do I hold the bride there and wait for the bus to pass?  But before I could make my decision, this demure and quiet bride, in her beautiful gown, with all of the guests watching, turned toward the bus, shook her bouquet in the air and yelled at the top of her lungs, “SHUT THE F#%* UP!!!”
The audience burst into applause, cheering as the bus passed.  It no longer mattered how obnoxious the bus was.  The bride stole back her moment. 

Thank you, Helen, for the questions! 
Make sure to check out Borrowed & Blue—their site can help you find awesome New Orleans wedding photographers and more!