Filtering by Tag: wedding planner

Hidden Gems of the Red Stick: Baton Rouge Wedding Venues

Randi Fracassi

It's no secret that I love Baton Rouge -- the people, the culture, the way there's a mix of traditional values and traditions with modern ideas and design. The way residents of the city approach gatherings are set apart from the state because of this eclectic combination, and has created some of the most striking and beautiful wedding venues. That being said, there are quite a few popular and go to spaces that people adore, but among the charming paths of MidCity and down Old River Road, we have some of the most quaint and special hidden gems of venues that will leave lasting impressions on your guests for years to come. 

The James Grace House

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Found in the midst of cane fields, the James Grace House is a classic Antebellum home with sprawling acres of meadows and oak trees, and offers both indoor and outdoor spaces for weddings and events. With a bridal suite and restrooms on site and the availability of tables and chairs, the James Grace house has taken every detail into consideration of what an event could need or want. The property owners are kind and relaxed, and the ease of which they work with your clients make you feel like family. 

For more information about the James Grace House, you can click here. 

Cane Land Distilling Company

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With minimalist design being combined with rustic detail, Cane Land Distilling on the edge of Downtown along the Mississippi River is the perfect setting for a more modern couple. The neutral decor that allows you to get creative with colors and design elements, as well as the views into the taproom and the actual distillery, both work in the favor of this space in making it ideal for a wedding or large party. 

More information about events at Cane Land Distilling can be found here

Lucky Plantation 

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Lucky Plantation is a short drive down Old River Road, where you can fly by the sugar cane fields and Mississippi River and pull into the quaint drive of the home. Sporting a lush garden and fountain as well as oak and magnolia trees over the property, Lucky Plantation is ideal for smaller and more intimate weddings seeking classic Southern Charm. The property has indoor options as well (perfect for a Rain Plan) that matches the look and feel of the rest of the home with floor-to-ceiling shutter doors and 1860's details. 

More information about Lucky Plantation can be found here

The Trademark on Third

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Located in the heart of Downtown Baton Rouge, the Trademark on Third is a newly renovated space in neutral tones and flooded with natural lighting, and is right above the Driftwood Cask and Barrel. What makes Trademark special and unique to the downtown area is it's proximity to nearby ceremony venues, as well as the array of options you can select from for food and beverage (that is, not just seafood from this gorgeous place!). 

More info about the Trademark can be found here

The Cabin Restaurant 

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The Cabin is quaint and off the beaten path in Burnside, Louisiana, and features a brick courtyard and original buildings throughout the property. With shiplap walls and rustic motifs scattered around, the Cabin is the perfect local find for a Fixer Upper aesthetic with a reasonable budget. 

More information on the Cabin can be found here

I hope this guide about the hidden venue gems of the Greater Baton Rouge area helps you in finding a unique venue for your big day! Each of these venues have their own distinctive charm that make them unique from each other, weather it's the location or the amenities. I strive to show reasonable and beautiful venues to my brides and grooms that fit their aesthetic and style, and if you have any suggestions of spaces within the Greater Baton Rouge area (or beyond!) I would love to hear about it over a cup of coffee. 

Happy planning,

Randi 

The Best Investment You Can Make While Planning Your Wedding

Randi Fracassi

Thought I was gonna say me, huh? As much as I would like to say a wedding planner or coordinator is the best investment you can make or even photography, video, or food, I can’t lie to y’all and say that it is. Though having a planner in your arsenal of vendors can be a great benefit, and more often than not pays for itself in savings, time, and stress, I’m not going to attempt to sell you on those points. However, as I’ve been thinking a lot of the idea of investments and what actually does make a wedding memorable and gives your attendees the wow factor, and I’ve come to one conclusion.

None of it matters.

I know what you’re thinking, but stay with me on this.

The money spent on photography, food, the perfect venue, the most gorgeous dress, the gifts for your bridal party, none of it matters. How your wedding looks or what your guests say about those things, doesn’t matter. Money, after all, is only valid because we believe in the value a fancy piece of cotton and paper holds in the exchange for another thing. I live for the Dr. Suess quote, “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”. The material goods, products, and even services on a wedding day mean next to nothing if you don’t make this one key investment.

And that is, the investment into your marriage.

A wedding after all (and I’m taking this from my Christian upbringing on what a wedding is supposed to be) is the covenant exchange between you and your future spouse to build a life together, always support one another, and be each other’s partner in building a life together. Essentially, it could be just you and your spouse making this to each other, and it’s bonafide, the officiate just acts as a witness (thank you, government, for being ever present in the biggest moments of life).

Alas, I digress.

When you have a wedding, you make that promise to each other for your marriage. Whether you use traditional “love, honor, obey, in sickness and in health” vows or write your own, you do make that commitment to listen to each other always, compromise when needed (and equally), take care each other spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally, and always put each other above yourselves. It’s making hard decisions and little decisions and family and financial choices, as well as dealing with the merging of two separate entities into one (again, thanks government). There’s a whole lot of things that go into this marriage journey, and it’s incredibly different from your dating life, even if you’ve lived together or been with each other for a long time. It’s different and it’s an immediate change.

Setting yourself up for this commitment, for this change in your relationship and this new chapter you are taking with this person who you want to share the rest of your life with is the biggest investment you should be making throughout your engagement. Even if you’re not getting married by a traditional priest or pastor that generally offer counseling services, definitely go through couples therapy and let the therapist know that you’re looking for premarital counseling. Bringing to light the issues or possible issues that will come up as you continue on in your married life together before you’re married will facilitate better and healthier discussions (whether these are arguments, talking about your days, unloading stress or talking about successes), and ensure that when conflicts do arise that you as a couple have that foundation in order to have a healthy way to resolve them.

The idea of investing in premarital counseling can seem like an additional expense, and it is, but in the long run the conversations that arise in the very beginning, and that you’ve already talked about in a safe and moderated environment before you’re juggling bills, kids, work, and other stressors together, will set you and your marriage up for the best success. We’re all trying to beat the 50% statistic of failed marriages here, and the best investment you can make to ensure that your marriage and your life that you are building with your soul mate is undergoing (even if you have to find topics and bring up these conversations yourself)  premarital counseling or therapy, and making sure that your core values and beliefs in how you want your lives to be are on the same page.

I hope this was helpful and enlightening, friends, and I hope that you take into serious consideration the value of having premarital counseling and investing yourself into good, deep conversations in order to set up your marriage in the best way possible.

Happy planning,

Randi

It's Not a Hustle

Randi Fracassi

Being a small business owner is not a hustle. It’s not a side gig, or extra money. It’s not just something to do for fun (though I do enjoy it immensely), or whenever I feel like it. It’s not a hobby or a fleeting interest or trend, and it’s something I don’t play around with whenever the urge strikes me.

What a lot of people see is strictly Day Of, or at meetings, where I’m calm, cool, and collected, a figure with an assistant in understated clothes maneuvering about, occasionally talking to the bride and groom, and oftentimes cutting a delicious cake. They don’t see the hours talking to the venue coordinator about the placement of said cake and staging tables (often taking measurements and playing around with graph paper when I get home to make sure everything is perfect), the emails and phone calls exchanged between the photographer, hair and make up stylist, and transportation company to make sure times are exact and on point, or the time it takes to listen to twenty covers of the same song to get the exact pace and style to walk down the aisle to.

Besides the actual planning part, which my logistics and detail oriented mind is obsessed with, comes the less fun (well, actually, it is pretty fun when you realize the impact it has to make more of those site and vendor visits happen), is the actual running of a business. There’s annual and quarterly reports due to the Federal and State governments, taxes and licensing, making sure your business insurance is up to date and covers you in the event of a guest assaults you (yep…it’s happened). It’s putting the most up-to-date marketing and media tactics in place to garner the attention of potential clients, and figuring out how to turn those potentials into actuals. Alongside all of this, is making sure payments are received, clients and vendors are met with, blogging is done, and life is lived…

I often state that planning an event starts at 38 hours of work. Eh, yeah, just under one average work week here in America. Mind you though, that’s one event. If we took one event, that 38 hours, and added it to the secretarial and assistant work, the marketing and public relationship departments, accounting and financial duties, we’re looking at nearly 160 hours (that one event included).

Now let’s add anywhere from 10-20 events a year.

6,810 hours a year. Minimum.

Just under 130 hours a week. Minimum.

No holiday breaks, no vacations, no quit everything and have a personal day. No personal leave.

Broken down to a daily basis, you’re looking at 5 hours each day left over to sleep, socialize with friends, and have family time.

This love for that moment when my bride and groom look at each other right after they got married, or the look on a child’s face when they see their party, or the way an elderly couple hold hands as they’re surrounded by friends and family, that’s what drives the love, the passion. The care for this business. The 130 hours a week talking to people, doing floor plans while listening to business podcasts, organizing an Instagram to be cohesive and appealing, working more so that you can go to a conference to learn how to work smarter, drives this planner. That love drives this business.

So no, wedding and event planning is not a side hustle, it’s not a gig. It’s not a hobby. It’s a passion and a true love, a career that my soul is married to for all time. My small business is an extension of myself in all of the best ways, combining everything good and bad, making me want to be better as a person and as a entrepreneur. It may fail, yes, there’s a chance, but with the drive and dedication to make sure that this part of me that I hold and love so dearly there is no way that failure can happen.

Happy planning,

Randi

Cutting the Wedding Cost: What You Should and Shouldn't Leave Out

Randi Fracassi

When you’re on a tight budget or when you’re paying for your wedding yourself, the need to cut costs as much as you can is very real. However, there are just some things related to your wedding that you shouldn’t cut, and in fact invest more into if you are able to. What you actually need for a nice wedding and reception can be essentially narrowed down for a few key items, and of course should be taken into consideration based on personal preferences.

Shouldn’t Cut: Photography

Sure, you have a friend of a friend who will shoot your wedding for free or at a steeply cheaper cost than other photographers you’ve looked at. But look at the experience of this person, their editing style (if they edit their images), turnaround time, and most importantly do they have a guarantee and contract. You won’t always have your wedding flowers (silk or real), you won’t remember the cake flavor, but you will always have the images captured from your wedding. Investing money into making sure those images are exactly as you want will never be a bad thing.

Should Cut: Cake and/or Grooms Cake

Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful cake. However, if you’re pressed for money and can’t afford an elaborate four tier confection, don’t beat yourself up about it. Talk to your baker about doing foam layers, or using buttercream instead of fondant or gumpaste. Go with a more simple design and have flowers added. Or, forget a formal cake all together, and do a cupcake tree in your preferred flavor.

Shouldn’t Cut: Food and Associated Rentals

Food is the biggest cost of a wedding, there is no getting around it. Whether you choose to have a restaurant or a private company cater, there are associated costs with not just the food, but the staff in order to serve and wait staff. Most caterers also include plates and silverware in their pricing (if not, ask for a quote directly), which should be considered if you’re weighing the choices between doing it yourself or not. Also, the entire matter of doing it yourself (or having a family member do it): the stress of you or your family having to cook and take care of those details when you’re supposed to be focusing on yourself and relaxing is completely unnecessary.

Should cut: Favors

When was the last time you actually enjoyed a wedding favor or used it? Personally, I do not care for favors, and do not see the added value they give to a wedding. I have yet to hear of a guest genuinely excited about receiving a favor; in fact, guests care more about spending time with the bride and groom, and being personally thanked for their attendance. If you focus your time and ensure that you have an interaction with everyone at your wedding, I promise that no one will notice that they didn’t receive a gift for coming.

Shouldn’t cut: Wedding Attire

As a firm believer in high quality clothing, of course I will suggest that you shouldn’t cut the cost of your wedding dress. With resale websites like OnceWed beginning to become more and more popular, one shouldn’t have to settle for a reproduction dress from Ebay or another auction site. A suggestion would be Etsy to look for something truly unique, or perhaps get into contact with your local university’s fashion department.

Should cut: Signage

Though wooden welcome signs, hashtag indicators, and paper programs are nice details, they are not necessary in order to have a stylish and well thought out wedding. With the rise of DIY couples, Etsy craftsmen and women have started producing customized pintables that you can have places like VistaPrint, Fedex, and event Walgreens print for a significantly lower cost than Wedding Paper Divas or Minted. Though I will always recommend a small business (like Sue Paperie of Ruston, LA or Paper and Things in Baton Rouge), there is no denying that doing the printable route is more cost effective. And, if you still want that welcome sign, look at printing and frame options, or DIY (a tutorial to come soon!). 

 

Poppies, I hope this was helpful in your planning journey! If you ever have any questions, feel free to email

Plan with Me: Owning Your Dress Shopping Experience

Randi Fracassi

Once upon a time, I was a bridal consultant at a salon. I helped brides, mothers, and bridesmaids for about two years find their dream dresses, and it taught me a lot about how brides think and feel in regards to their wedding (and, of course, their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, best friends, and siblings). As with any other retail job, some unspeakable things are now forever ingrained into my mind, but also I have the best memories of brides finding their dream gown(s) and learned how to solve problems and questions on the fly in a short time frame. 

But one of the things I noticed was how mentally unprepared some clients were when it came to looking for dresses. Whether it was in regards to pricing, figuring out how bridal sizes work, how long it took for dresses to come in, or how alterations happened, at some point, I would catch a client trying to work out the process and "What's next?" in her head. So, now that I'm scheduling my own bridal dress shopping appointments and occasionally attending the appointments planning clients, I thought to share with y'all some knowledge that will certainly help in your nailing your dress shopping experience and making it one of the best parts of planning your wedding. 

Image: Rachel Erin Photography for Southern Celebrations Magazine

Image: Rachel Erin Photography for Southern Celebrations Magazine

First and foremost, stick to your budget. Remember that sales tax, alterations, and accessories need to factor into this money you set aside for your dress. Even if you feel like you have an open budget for your gown, think on how much you would want to spend in total on your wedding day, and if you can see the money going into your dress (that being said, is it superior or luxurious fabric like cotton dupioni versus silk dupioni, hand detailed beading, chantily or alecon lace, etc).

Remember that bridal sizing is totally different than street sizing. If you already know what designers and styles of dresses you like, compare your bust (the fullest part of your chest), waist (two inches above your belly button) and hip (the widest part of your hips, usually across your bottom) to the size chart listed on their website, and determine what bridal sizes you need to try on when you visit the salon. 

Speaking of sizing, know that the dress you may love online may not be in your size at the store or even in the store. Salons generally only purchase samples of what they have noticed as up and coming trends, what fits the location's climates, or to the tastes of their ideal client. Sizing of samples can be requested by salons, but generally the designer sends them whatever is currently manufactured and made. 

With the time in takes to have a gown come in, make sure you book your appointment as soon as you set a date. Depending on the time of year and where the dress is being made (China, Spain, or even the United States), or if there are customizations you wish to add on from the designer, dresses can take 6-8 months to arrive

I know, scary. 

Always see if you can check with the designer if they have your current size in stock, and go ahead and order if you can rather than wait to order when you will be at a different size (which, if we're being truthful, may not happen). 

And if you dress doesn't seem to fit exactly as it does on the model, or even another bride in the store, my biggest piece of advice is to remember that you are beautiful. Your body is beautiful. Your heart is beautiful. The love you have for your spouse is beautiful. And a dress that doesn't quite fit right on you, can and will with the proper sizing and alterations, will be beautiful too. And if that dress doesn't make you feel beautiful, and loved, and powerful, and all the other emotions that cannot be named when you find The Dress, then that dress wasn't for you anyway. 

I hope you take these tips to heart when you start going dress shopping, Poppies! I know that by empowering yourself with knowledge going into this planning journey, you can never go wrong. 

Finding Planning Advice Outside of Family and Friends

Randi Fracassi

Whether it's a well-meaning aunt or a friend who did a complete 180 as soon as you got engaged (not salty from that personal experience or anything), sometimes we need to get wedding planning advice outside of the circle of family and friends that we find ourselves in. We cherish these relationships and value their advice and thoughts, but when a big life event like a wedding comes up, the advice and comments can be harsh, unwanted, and unhelpful. 

Image by Lauren Talbert Photography

Image by Lauren Talbert Photography

So what are some other resources or places that you can go for neutral, third party advice? Here are my top three ideas to find planning advice besides that from family and friends.

1. Look at the first person you hired for your wedding.

Whether it was you venue, photographer, or even a friend who offered to do your flowers, these people are knowledgeable from working with brides to understand any situation and see it from your perspective. Because you already have a steady stream of dialogue with them, asking for their advice or recommendations will come easily and won't be awkward. 

2. Facebook groups that are filled with other brides.

Two that come to mind when I think of supportive and informational groups are Wild for Weddings and The Wedding Connection. Both groups have a wide variety of brides with different budgets, style, and life experiences, so finding someone to relate is convenient. Plus, there's the added security in knowing that both these groups are private, so that unless you want to share something with someone outside the group, they will not see it (hello venting about your FH's best man's crazy girlfriend!)

3. Ask a Planner or Day of Coordinator a few questions.

Though it is a career and a business all on it's own, most Wedding Planners would not mind at all answering a few of your questions (there is a line though between free advice and giving away services). Ask around to see a consensus, and if you find yourself continuing to either be frustrated at the actual planning aspect or the people around you, it would be to my recommendation to hire and bring one on your team. There is nothing wrong in making the investment for peace of mind throughout the planning process. 

Image by Laurent Talbert Photography

Image by Laurent Talbert Photography

I hope that these three tips have helped you! Please feel free to reach out to us here if you have any questions!

 

 

We're being published!

Randi Fracassi

I am SO excited to announce that Poppy Lane Event's Serenity-Inspired Styled Shoot from this past spring is going to be featured in Southern Celebrations Magazine's November Issue! 

Image courtesy of Southern Celebrations Magazine. Cover Photo by  Rachel Erin Photography .

Image courtesy of Southern Celebrations Magazine. Cover Photo by Rachel Erin Photography.

The folks over at Southern Celebrations even graced us with a teaser, and posted a sneak peak on their website. You can pre-order your copy of the magazine here, or pick it up on Southern newsstands this coming November. 

Let me tell you, Poppies, the creation of this styled shoot was not an easy task! Collaborating with vendors whose hours greatly differed from my own, and the threat of rain behind it all was exhausting and absolutely thrilling. It reminded me of why I chose to go into managing, planning, and styling events -- the stress of making sure all the details lined up and then seeing it all come to fruition made it all worth it. I love this work and its challenges working with fellow creatives to make visions and dreams a reality. 

Want to find out more about how to get published and the process behind a styled shoot? Stay tuned for more!