Getting Your Marriage License in New Orleans

Getting your marriage license in New Orleans can sometimes be a hassle that will make you want to run to Vegas.  But don’t fret!  There are ways to make this step much easier.  First, don’t even think of trying to go to the Jefferson Parish/Orleans Parish office of vital records.  It’s worse than the DMV.  Instead, spend $2 and take the scenic and relaxing Algiers Ferry across the muddy waters of the Mississippi to its ferry landing.  Once you’re on dry land, look for the clock tower (not unlike the one Doc Brown frequented in Back to the Future).  This marks the Algiers Court House.  Here is where you will find salvation.  If you take a car on the ferry, spend the $5 to park across the street from the building.  If not, its a nice, short stroll to the entrance.  Once inside, you may or may not go through a metal detector and security check, depending on the break schedule of the security guard.  Ladies, you may want to pack light, leaving behind the abyss that we all call a purse, just to shave off even more time, in case the guard happens to be at his post.  Head up the gorgeous wooden staircase and toward the beautiful windows to the judge’s office.  You may find another couple waiting there, but usually not more than that.  Tell the secretary that you are there to get your marriage license and she will hand you some forms to fill out.  If you’re really organized, you can do this paperwork in advance by printing it online ahead of time.  The application can be found on the Louisiana Dept of Health website here.

Once your paperwork is complete, pay the $27.50 (money order, cash or check only and they don’t always have quarters for change) and within a few minutes you’ll be walking out with your license and detailed instructions on how to process it after the ceremony.  This is going to be the job of your officiant, who will want to fill out whatever he can in advance and just have you sign on the dotted line along with your witnesses at the event.  Then he’ll take some of the paperwork with him to turn in and leave the pretty, souvenir, strictly decorative copy with you.  If you lose it, it does not mean your marriage is null.  It means you will only have the ugly copy for your records, once it comes back to you in the mail.

Here are a few details you really need to know before you start this process:

  • There is no blood test needed in Louisiana to get your marriage license.
  • You will need to show divorce papers, death certificates, visas, passports, and/or military ID’s when applicable.
  • You need to have both sets of identification (bride and groom) with you to get the license, but you don’t both have to be there.
  • You must get the license within 30 days of the marriage date and have a 72 hour waiting period between the time you get the license and the time you get married.  By “time” I mean exact time.  They will ask you what time your ceremony is and count back from there.  If you are from out of town or military, you can ask for an exception to the 72 hour wait and get a 24 hour waiver.  Its not difficult to get.  You just need to ask for it.
  • The state marriage license is not the same as the one you get from a place of worship.  You’ll need both if you’re doing a church ceremony.
  • They will not automatically send you a copy of the registered marriage license.  You keep the decorative one, but if you want a copy of the official, order it while you’re there.
  • Not every state allows their marriage licenses to be transferred to a different state.  If you plan to get a marriage license in Louisiana, but are getting married in another state, you’re out of luck.  Louisiana marriage licenses do not transfer to other states.  To learn if your state license can be used in Louisiana, contact your state’s marriage license office.
  • To see the official requirements on getting a marriage license in New Orleans, visit the Louisiana Dept of Health website.

After this 20 minute-or-so process, you’ll be happy and stress-free on your way back to the ferry landing.  If you’re there around lunch time, stop off at one of the little cafes around the corner from the courthouse for lunch.  The ferry comes every 15 minutes, so you’ll have lots of time to catch your ride!

 

Need a Second Line Permit?

Check out our blog post on How to Plan Your New Orleans Second Line in 7 Steps!

Need someone to plan your second line for you?

Check out our Second Line packages here!

Don’t know what the heck a second line is?

Read about the history!

Save

A Bride’s Guide to Cake Pulls

If you aren’t from New Orleans, you may not have ever heard of cake pulls.  Its a tradition that seems to have only lived on from Victorian times in the heart of our timeless city.  There are lots of articles online about the history of the Cake Pull.  This post is about what cake pulls are, who does them, and how you can incorporate them into your wedding.

Originally, cake pulls were charms on white ribbons inserted into the back of the wedding cake in the icing or into the cake itself.  Many variations of this have come up over the years, including long, cascading ribbons, beaded bracelets or necklaces, and even key chains with the charms on the end.  Their meanings focused on marriage, family, good luck, and fulfilled wishes.  And then there was the one no one wanted….the thimble, which meant you’d be an old maid.  I can remember, when I was a young teen, being picked to pull.  I felt both honored and scared at the same time.  What if I got the thimble?  It would be so embarrassing!  Luckily, I never got the thimble.  But I also never got the true love or next to have a baby and now I’m a child-free, single divorcee.  Maybe I can blame the cake…

Now that brides are more mature and independent, the charms and the rules have changed.  Many brides choose their charms instead of buying the traditional set, and can decide what the meanings will be for each lucky friend who gets a chance at a pull. Destination and local weddings alike pick symbols of their love for the city like a streetcar, a gas lamp or a fleur de lis, and make up positive fortunes to go with each.

SO, WHAT ARE THE CHARMS?  Charms are usually sterling silver and less than 1/2 inch in size.  The prices can range from hundreds of dollars on the coveted, local Mignon Faget brand, to less than a dollar a charm at String A Bead.  Meanings for the charms are fortunes or well wishes and can be whatever you want them to be for your particular group of women.  There are so many charms to choose from! I’ve become quite an expert on making up meanings for seemingly meaningless charms.  A crawfish? hmm…. A life of plenty!  A martini glass? …Your cup will runneth over!

Here’s is a common list I use a lot:

  1. The Fleur de Lis = A life of many blessings
  2. The Streetcar = A life of leisurely travel
  3. The Gas Lamp = A bright future
  4. The Crown = A life of great success (or live like a queen)
  5. The Mardi Gras Mask = Life of mystery and intrigue
  6. The Clover = You’ll have good luck
  7. The Jester = A life of filled with Laughter
  8. The Heart = A life filled with love

HOW MANY? Notice I have 8 charms listed above.  This is for practicality as well as for photos.  Keep the number of girls under 10.  Any more than that won’t fit around the cake.  And if you want the pulls to stay in the back, rather than go all the way around the cake, stick to 6 or 8 pulls.

WHO PULLS?  You’ll find a lot of articles online that say that the bridal party does the cake pulls, but from my personal experience, that’s not the case.  Traditionally, the ladies who pull are single friends or family that are special to the bride or groom but aren’t so close that they would be a bridesmaid.  This is a way to recognize these special people without having to extend a bridal party invite.  Many times these ladies are high school friends who still mean a lot or a cousin you were close to at one time but may have distanced from as an adult.  I’ve even seen the pulls include a stepmother or stepsister.  This is not to say that a bridesmaid can’t be a part of the cake pulls, or that you have to choose outside of the bridal party at all.  There are many ways to do it and you should choose the one that works the best for you and your friends.  Usually everyone is surprised with the list and only the bride, the wedding planner, and the person on the mic know who will be chosen.

WHEN DOES IT HAPPEN?  When its time to cut the cake, you’ll do the cake pulls first.  An announcement is made for all of the ladies that will pull to come to the cake table and the cake pulls are done before the bride and groom cut the cake.

HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?  Each one chooses one ribbon or strand and holds the end to pose for a photo with the bride.  The bride stands in the middle and the girls stand on either side, hence the even number for a more balanced picture (if you have an uneven number, the bride can stand at one end with the girls behind her). After the photo, there’s a count to three and they all pull at the same time, creating a great shot of all of the hands in the air with beaming smiles of anticipation and whimsy on their faces.  The charms are covered in icing, so its always interesting to see who chooses to stick the charm in their mouth to not waste a morsel of buttercream and who chooses to wipe the charm on a napkin.  Once the charms are revealed, the bride reads the fortunes out to them one at a time.  The charms become a memento of the evening for those special friends.

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? Here are some examples of cake pulls and of ways that they can be inserted into a cake.  Use your imagination!  There are no rules or etiquette as far as style and placement is concerned.  Just remember to tell you photographers what your cake pull plan is, so that they are prepared to get the best shot and use the best angles and lenses.

To learn more about the history of Cake Pulls, click here for a good article from the New Orleans Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Make your wedding truly unique!  Visit All About Events to learn about planning your New Orleans Wedding Second Line!

Save

The Persian Wedding Experience (from a non-Persian perspective)

This post was originally published on blogspot on Monday, May 21, 2012

This weekend I designed my first Persian Wedding for Tala and Kian. Tala came to me asking for help with the décor for the event, with a general theme of a Moroccan Lounge with blues and greens as the color palette. She knew she wanted candles and flowers and an air of romance, but, like most brides, her vision changed daily. Email after email came through with lovely designs she’d found on Pinterest, TheKnot, and Style Me Pretty, among others. With each photo, the design changed, and the result was a very romantic, glowing PINK wedding!

Throughout the experience, I learned a lot about the Persian wedding traditions. I’d done some planning for Persian parties and receptions in Los Angeles and remembered the elaborate displays of food and the fantastic Persian music—a DJ accompanied by a conga drummer that made everyone rise to their feet and dance, but I’d never seen or dealt with the ceremony. It’s really a beautiful setup, with symbolism and history in every detail.  The Sofreh (ceremony table) is set with elements like spices, apples, grapes, pomegranates, honey, and candles. A large mirror faces the couple that sits at the end of the low table, the couple facing their guests. As the two entered, the guests applauded their arrival and at the end of the ceremony, the couple stood to receive well wishes and gifts from close family and friends.

Tala and Kian had an English interpreter for the Persian ceremony, and I learned what each item I’d set up on their Sofreh meant to them. This website explains very well all of the elements and their meanings: http://www.persianmirror.com/wedding/sofreh/sofreh.cfm#spread

At the reception, the couple’s first dance was to traditional Persian music and was a conversation in undeniable seduction. They followed this ritual with a customary American bride and groom dance. Guests joined the couple on the dance floor throughout the evening and the room revved with energy when the DJ switched from the American style of music to the Persian dance music. My favorite part of the evening was the cake knife dance—yet another ritual involving an unmistakable element of seduction. Ladies from the pool of guests take turns dancing with the cake knife, enticing the groom to want to get the knife from them by giving them money. Gentlemen guests do the same, dancing for the bride and teasing her (usually in a comedic way) into reaching for the knife. The guests take turns, refusing to give up the knife, but taking the money and passing the knife to the next woman or man in the audience. The last of the guests to dance for the bride and groom finally gives them the knife, to the applause of the bride and the rest of the guests, and the cake cutting continues.

Here is the explanation of the cake knife dance from www.persianmirror.com :

The purpose of the Persian Knife dance (Raghseh Chagoo) is for the couple to retrieve a knife from the dancers so they can cut the wedding cake. The dance starts with one person dancing a typical Persian dance, with the knife and basically asking the couple for money. Once the dancer gets the money, the knife is passed on to the next dancer. The bride and groom continue to offer money to try and get the cake knife. A little back and forth, and a few dance moves later, the couple finally are given the knife and are able to cut the cake. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDi0uFYw8TQ&feature=related

Best Wishes to Tala and Kian!

Are you planning an outdoor wedding?  Learn what NOT to do! Click here

Save

Product Review Story: Vivian Lou Weight Shifting Insoles & Good Feet

Finally a way to make cute shoes comfy!

I’ve been told for most of my life that I have flat feet.  I even went to a podiatrist when I was a kid to have my parents spend hundreds of dollars they didn’t have to get me these horrid, clunky, plaster of Paris molds that I had to wear in my school shoes and a rubber thing they put between my toes to prevent bunions.  Every night I was in pain, wearing that stupid thing between my toes to sleep, only to find it shot across the bedroom in the morning.  And those plaster arches?  They lasted about 6 months before they’d broken down and I would have needed new ones that just were not affordable.  I had a AAA heel and a AA foot in a size 9.5 by 8th grade.  When I was 19 I started ballroom dancing and the constant rolling on the ball of my foot in the Latin dances actually widened my foot enough that I could wear regular width shoes!  I also found that ballroom dance shoes, with their flexible leather insoles and satin fabric, were extremely comfortable to stand and dance 10 hours per day!  Ah but alas, you cannot wear ballroom dance shoes all day every day when you are no longer a ballroom dancer.  When I became a wedding planner, I started advising my brides to get ballroom shoes and break them in as their wedding shoes.  But still most woman, including myself, need a designer shoe or two in their lives and there is not one I’ve found that has a comfortable stitch on its strappy little body.

In my late thirties I finally found out how vague the statement “flat feet” actually is.  I don’t technically have “flat feet”.  I have one fallen arch (there are three!) in the ball of each foot.  Because of that, the weight distributes very unevenly through my whole body and I get, not just foot pain, but shin splints, back pain, arched shoulders and had at one point lost 85% of the curvature of my spine in my neck.  I had no idea you aren’t supposed to be able to see your feet when you walk normally until I came out of a chiropractor after being in traction.  I felt taller but also realized quickly that I had no idea what I might be stepping on!  And it felt amazing!

One Summer I was lucky enough to go on a Celebrity Alaskan Cruise.  (Side note: If you can manage to splurge on a balcony and Aqua Class, its TOTALLY worth it!)  The day excursions and rough terrain were really causing me pain by night-fall with those shin splints screaming at me when I went to bed.  Then one of those cruise ship sales pitches happened to be about Good Feet inserts.  I totally drank the Kool-Aide and bought the “discounted” insoles.  I wore them the next day as we trekked around Skagway and I had to admit I was in foot heaven!  No pain whatsoever and I was able to do this all day without changing to a different shoe! The trick is that these inserts are molded plastic that are made in the shape of what your foot should be, not shaped to your already incorrect foot.  It made total sense to me when I saw the design, with the little bump where the metatarsal arch should be and the uplift in the middle on both sides.  Not only did this shape release the pressure that was on the wrong parts of my foot, it also made my arch lift where it had fallen, so now I can actually wear a size 9 shoe!  Any woman who has tried to find half sizes over 9 will totally understand just how exciting that actually is.

As an event planner, I am on my feet for hours at a time and I would typically change the height of my heel at least three times in any given event day.  But with the Good Feet inserts, I was able to go 4-5 hours with an open-toed 3.5″ heel and even longer with a wedge.  But I still couldn’t do the closed-toe because the weight, even with the insert, still eventually and painfully pushed to my toes.

I decided to try the Vivian Lou Insolia Classic Insoles that I saw advertised on Facebook.  Yes, I drank the Kool-Aide again.  I bought the bundle two-pack.  Today I received them and tried them on in one of my favorite pairs of leopard print, closed-toed stilettos.  Go big or go home!  I didn’t follow the instructions, which very clearly tell you to try both on at the same time.  I wanted to see if I could feel a difference so I put the new insole in my left shoe and none in my right to start.  It took awhile to get the position right, but I realized quickly, walking on the hard wood floors, that my weight in my right foot was definitely more to my toes than on my left.  I could feel an instant difference in the way the shoes fit better, filling the shoe more comfortably instead of leaving spaces around my food, on the left as well.  So far so good, the Vivian Lou insole seemed to be doing the job it claimed to do, shifting my weight more to my heel and evening out the distribution.  But I still had the issue of the fallen metatarsal arch to deal wit and I knew this weight change would not really fix the whole problem.  So I add the Good Feet on top of the Vivian Lou and started to walk around, still with one shoe with no insole and now with the other having two insoles.  This really seems to do the trick!  So I bit the bullet and adhered them “permanently” into my favorite closed-toes and plan to layer the insoles whenever I wear them for real.

One note about the installation of the adhesive insoles from Vivian Lou… The instructions say that you should place the insert 3/8″ away from inside of the heel of the shoe.  Then as you stand on them, if you feel a “bump under your heel”, move it down until you don’t feel it any more.  By the time I didn’t feel it, the insert was over an inch from the heel, but it shifted the weight as expected, so I think its still ok.  Perhaps they’ll read this post and correct me if I’m wrong.  And apparently today they launched a new line called “Couture” insoles that form to the left and right feet, where the ones I bought are interchangeable.

Overall I’d say both of these products work well separately and also together.  If you’re a bride looking for a solution for your Jimmy Choo’s I’d say go with the Vivian Lou first and spend about $30 for what could be just what you need.  You can only use them in one pair of shoes, so you have to buy a set for each pair.  The Good Feet are VERY expensive, but can be moved from shoe to shoe, so you only have to buy one set.  I’d only recommend those if you’re in every-day pain, like I was.  In that case its worth every penny!

Now I just need someplace to go in my comfy leopard heels!…

All About Events and its represenatives were not compensated in any way for this review.

To learn about our wedding planning packages and pricing, visit www.allaboutevents.net/weddings!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

To tip or Not to tip…

To Tip or Not to Tip…. That’s every bride’s question.

There are lots of articles out there explaining who you should tip and who you shouldn’t tip.  At the end of the day, it comes down to this:  if you would tip that person when its not your wedding day, you should tip them when it is your wedding day.  If you feel like someone went out of their way or went above and beyond, tip.  Tips should be 10-20%, just like when you tip at a restaurant, based on the performance of the person giving the service.

Here’s the breakdown:

Tip Expected:

  • Transportation drivers (check first to see if tip is included–you can pay this in advance)
  • Hair and Makeup
  • Head Waiter
  • Bridal Attendant
  • Waitstaff (check first to see if this is included)
  • Bartenders (if they put out a tip jar, you can tip them just for you and the groom.  If not, give a little extra for the guests)
  • Hotel bellmen and concierge
  • Anyone that does something extra for you

Tip Appreciated but not Expected (more of a bonus than a tip):

  • Musicians/DJ
  • Extra Entertainment
  • Caterer
  • Wedding Coordinator
  • Celebrant
  • Anyone that works day-of and on-site

Tips are best in cash, but if that’s not possible, you can add it to a payment by check.  Have tips and payments ready in advance, in sealed, labeled envelopes that will be easy to hand out day-of.  If you have a wedding coordinator, you can give these envelopes to him or her at the rehearsal and check that off of your list.

If you have more advice or questions about tipping, please comment!

Save

Save

Save