Satchel Q&A Collaboration with Borrowed and Blue

Recently, I teamed up with Helen at Borrowed & Blue to talk about weddings in New Orleans, plus a little bit about my background as a wedding planner! Here’s what Helen had to say: 

“At Borrowed & Blue, we’re pros at helping you find amazing New Orleans wedding vendors, but it’s those vendors themselves who are going to be making your wedding into the special day you know it’s destined to be. That’s why you need a consummate professional like Josie at Satchel Planning & Design to handle your event! Her charming, minimalist aesthetic and commitment to keeping wedding planning fun make her a perfect choice for couples looking to tie the knot in NOLA, and I was so excited to get to chat with her about her job! I think you’ll love getting to know her better, just like I did.” - Helen, Borrowed & Blue’s New Orleans Market Specialist

Photo by Lance Nicoll Photography; florals by Leaf + Petal Nola. 

Photo by Lance Nicoll Photography; florals by Leaf + Petal Nola. 

1. Hey Josie! Tell us about how you got into wedding planning as a profession.

I had the idea for starting Satchel after planning my own wedding. Before, I was practicing law for about five years and felt like I was missing out on doing something creative, I have a studio art and art history background from undergrad. Wedding planning seemed like a great fit for me, and it really is—I love keeping clients organized but also bringing to life their vision. 

2. What is your favorite part of being a wedding planner?

I love getting to know new people and most of the time end up staying in touch with my clients long after the wedding.  Other than that, my favorite part is definitely wedding design, and seeing that all come together on the wedding day. What is always surprising to me is how unique each wedding turns out—no wedding looks the same, and it’s because every couple comes with different ideas and personality that’s reflected in their wedding design! 

Photo by Hannah Mulligan Photography. 

Photo by Hannah Mulligan Photography. 

3. What is the first question you like to ask a couple when you meet with them?

I love finding out how the couple met. Just hearing that story can tell me so much about them, and it’s so interesting to learn where they first met, and how the relationship developed.  I have clients who met while visiting or studying across the world, and those that grew up together. Second question, at least for destination brides, is why New Orleans? Most of the time, it’s because the couple has visited here and has great memories, and wants to share that with their guests. 

4. I’d love for you to share a bit more about your event aesthetic with us. Pick one photo that you think sums it up for us, and tell us why:

I would describe my event aesthetic as natural and minimal.  This photo is from a photoshoot I designed, which I think exemplifies my event aesthetic—I always want to work with the venue and surroundings, whether that be a beach like this photo, or an old building in the French Quarter.  Here, the table just fits in with the beach, from the colors, to the simplicity of the table settings and florals. There is beauty in simplicity, and I don’t like over-style.  I think this helps to create timeless events that will be just as beautiful and tasteful years from now. 

Photo by Lance Nicoll Photography, florals by Leaf + Petal Nola. 

Photo by Lance Nicoll Photography, florals by Leaf + Petal Nola. 

5. Let’s talk 2016 trends. What are you seeing? What trends do you think will stick around?

I’m seeing some great trends that I don’t think are going anywhere soon. I personally hope loose, natural floral bouquets and arrangements never go away! I also love how couples are incorporating details into their reception to make sure their guests have a great time—my favorite is a pre-ceremony cocktail!  Another thing I’m seeing are couples breaking with tradition, which I think can be a great thing. No one should feel pressured to toss a bouquet, do a first dance, or have a cake if you hate wedding cake—it’s your wedding, do what you want! 

Photo by Brittany Schlamp Photography; bouquet by Antigua Floral + Styling. 

Photo by Brittany Schlamp Photography; bouquet by Antigua Floral + Styling. 

6. If you weren’t a wedding planner, what would you want to do for a living?

Flipping houses for sure! I love interior design as much as wedding design, and I’ve had a great time renovating my current house and the condo I lived in prior. I love planning out and seeing the changes, but I also don’t mind getting dirty and doing some of the work.  I actually love painting walls and find it therapeutic! 

7. Share a memory from a recent wedding.

I did a wedding a couple of weeks ago for an amazing couple, they were happy and smiling all day, and spent all night on the dance floor.  New Orleans was a destination wedding for them, so of course they wanted to do a second line.  They came back from the second line on such a high, which you can probably only understand if you’ve done one before, and the bride told me “I don’t know why everyone doesn’t get married here so they can do this!” 

8. New Orleans is such an amazing city! What do you like to do on your days off?
  
Sundays after weddings are pretty much t.v. and Netflix! But I love shopping on Magazine Street, checking out smaller festivals around town, and listening to music on Frenchmen Street. I don’t do it too often, but every once in a while it’s nice to spend a day in the French Quarter and just take in the sounds and feel like a tourist.  

9. What is your favorite venue in the area?

Such a tough question! There are so many beautiful venues here with different attributes that make them great.  And, it keeps this job interesting to be able to work and design at different venues all the time.  If I have to choose one, it would be Il Mercato. Aesthetically, it fits well with my personal style, the people are great to work with it, and it has what a lot of my clients are looking for—a beautiful indoor space but also a large enough courtyard for an outdoor ceremony.  

Photo by Lauren Carroll Photography at Il Mercato Nola. 

Photo by Lauren Carroll Photography at Il Mercato Nola. 

10. What makes New Orleans “home” for you?

I moved to New Orleans a little over eight years ago and it’s definitely home, but it’s hard to describe why! I think people have always had trouble putting into words what makes New Orleans great because it’s intangible.  Obviously it’s incredibly unique, but I think it’s more the way that living here feels that makes it home.  I can’t imagine living anywhere else because I would feel like I was missing out! 

Thanks for the questions, Helen!

Borrowed & Blue is a great place to find New Orleans wedding photographers—be sure to check them out. 

 

French Wedding Lessons: All About Joy

This past July, I traveled with my husband, Pierce, and his family, to attend the wedding of his cousin, Valerie, to Sébastien, in Grignan, France.  Grignan, about a two-hour drive from the airport in Lyon, is situated in the Rhône-Alpes region of Southeastern France. While I won't bore you with a narrative of my trip, I feel incredibly lucky to have visited this place, somewhere I never otherwise would have discovered.  Out of all the places I visited while we were in Europe, Grignan was my favorite. And Paris…so maybe I just love France!

Me, drinking  rosé, because that's what you do in France.

Me, drinking rosé, because that's what you do in France.

I wanted to write this post to describe the experience I had, and to try to put into words the differences between this wedding and the weddings I see here in New Orleans (including my own).  In part, I wish I'd written this months ago when the events were still fresh, but the memory I have is more of a feeling, which I think is probably more authentic than all the little details.  

Thanks so much to Chloe Sinanoglu for allowing me to use all of her gorgeous photographs! After putting this blog post together, I realized her pictures alone tell the story of this wedding, and illustrate my thoughts perfectly.  Chloe is a destination photographer and available for travel. You can view her website here

Destination Wedding Planning France
New Orleans Wedding Planners go to France-lavender fields

The wedding took place on a hilltop, in an old monastery, overlooking fields of lavender.  Stunning is an understatement, but what struck me about the day, beyond the amazing location, was how simplistically beautiful everything was, how relaxed everyone seemed, and how joyful. Kids ran around, guests mingled for hours, champagne was flowing, and generally, the pace was much slower and laid back than what you experience in the South. This wasn't about a giant cake, fancy food, or cascading flower arrangements (although the food was amazing, and the décor beautiful). It was truly about two people, enjoying every moment of the weekend, literally laughing, running, and dancing the whole time.

Bride before the ceremony.  

Bride before the ceremony.  

Destination Wedding Planning French Prep
Destination Wedding Planning France Prep
Although I couldn't understand one word, the ceremony was beautiful! 

Although I couldn't understand one word, the ceremony was beautiful! 

Destination Wedding Planning France Details
The couple with their beautiful baby. 

The couple with their beautiful baby. 

Destination Wedding Planning France Ceremony
Destination Wedding Planning Tablescape

Admittedly, some of these attributes would be difficult to recreate for a New Orleans wedding—most venues rent out spaces for a short amount of time; you probably aren't renting out a space for a whole weekend.  But what is notable, at least from my perspective, was how relaxed everyone was, including the bride and groom. Maybe it was French joie de vivre, maybe it was the couple themselves, but it was truly an experience to learn from.

Destination Wedding Planning Tablescape
My personal favorite detail--hats for the sun-drenched ceremony.

My personal favorite detail--hats for the sun-drenched ceremony.

Destination Wedding Planning Details
Destination Wedding Planning France
Destination Wedding Planning Cocktails
Destination Wedding Planning Party
Destination Wedding Planning Party
Destination Wedding Planning Party

I had a difficult time wording this next thought as a wedding planner: don’t take the party too seriously.  As someone who plans weddings all day, coordinates the tiniest details, and lives for wedding décor, I don’t mean that all the lovely details aren't important! (And this wedding had them, for sure.) But when you’re the bride, all that planning should be finished ahead of time.  Looking through these photos, this is the experience I strive to give my clients.  On your wedding weekend, refocus yourself on your marriage, the people who are there with you, and truly celebrate—don’t waste your energy worrying about a million little details.  Relax, laugh, and live the moment, because it really goes by so fast.  

Destination Wedding Planning Party
Destination Wedding Planning Party