Category Archives: Wedding Planning

Who Should Walk You Down The Aisle?

Who Should Walk You Down The Aisle?


When you are planning your wedding there are many factors to consider.  One of the things you need to think about is who will walk you down the aisle.

With divorced families, this decision can be especially hard.  Sometimes you don’t just have a biological father…but you also have a step father that you are close to and would like him included in walking you down the aisle. What should you do?  There is absolutely no reason both can’t be included as you see in the photo above.

Another option is to have one walk you halfway down the aisle and then the other dad or step dad walk you the rest of the way.

I’ve had brides who have no father living and decide to have their mom walk them down the aisle.  That is so awesome!  Their mom was not only their mother but also their father to them….why shouldn’t they pick their mother to walk them down the aisle.

Others opt for a close family member….sometimes a brother, uncle or even a grandparent.  I’ve had some brides who have no father or mother and a brother will walk them down the aisle.

Just remember that this is your day.  Do what makes you happy!

Happy Planning!

Flower Idea For Your Wedding


Sometimes my brides have accent colors they want to use…but they also have a certain flower they want to use that doesn’t come in the accent color they are using.

This happened to my daughter.   Her accent color was lavender.   She really loves Calla Lilies, and to this day she grows them beautifully in her gardens in Austin, Texas.  So she bought white Calla Lilies and took lavender eye shadow to highlight the tips of the Calla Lilies.  Perfect idea!  Her bouquet came out beautiful and the colors were just what she wanted.

Remember this when you are planning your flowers.  Think outside the box, like Maggie did.  I’ve told many of my customers this idea….and it’s helped many of them.

Happy Planning!

Bridal Dressing Room A Must!

dressing suite 1 e

It is so important to have a place large enough for not only yourself but your bridesmaids and moms to get ready before your wedding reception.  There are a few options you can use.

For many years our clients had a choice of hoping to find a relative’s house that was large enough for everyone to dress in…and then get them to come and get all of their items they had left there after the wedding reception …or rent a hotel room or two for everyone to dress in.

What better way to start your day than to have all of your wedding party with you and a perfect place to take photos while getting ready, than a bridal suite just for you!

While at a wedding conference in 2013,  we decided to make a bridal dressing room our top priority for 2014.

We completed the 900 sq. foot dressing suite and named our new area, Rhona’s Dressing Suite, after my mother-in-law, who was a very dear friend of mine.

My clients get the key to Rhona’s Dressing Suite at 9am the morning of their wedding.  This gives them ample time to do their hair, makeup, dress, etc.  There are 3 vanities as well as a large glass table with four makeup mirrors and chairs.  We have a large dress rack for the dresses to hang as well as four dressing rooms, three full length mirrors, a bar, refrigerator and bathroom.

Each bride I have shown our dressing room to walks in amazed at the size and what the room has to offer for their wedding party.  If it helps make my brides just a little bit more relaxed to have a place to get ready…..I’ve done my job.

Happy Planning!

Planning Your Rehearsal Supper

Dustin and rebecca

Planning a wedding can be stressful enough.  It’s one of the reasons I try to give you all of the tools you will need to plan this special occasion.

Four to six months before your date it’s time to start looking for a rehearsal dinner location.   Finding a location that fits into your budget is very important.

Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner falls on the groom’s family…but times are changing.  Many of my couples are either paying for part or all of their own wedding….or if the parents are paying for their wedding, they are very conscious of the budget they have been given and realize there are ways to cut expenses.

Having the rehearsal dinner at a parent or relative’s house, especially outdoors, is one option.    When you are talking about it and the sun is shining, it sounds like a great idea!  But what if it rains?  Do you have a plan B?   Is there enough room in the house to seat all of the wedding party and their guests?  And do you have a plan on who will cleanup afterward?

Then there is the option of a restaurant.  Another good idea!  But then again that can cost a pretty penny….and we’re talking about just one night!

That’s why we have so many rehearsal suppers here at Magnolia Court Reception Hall.  For a small fee you have a wonderful place outdoors, if weather permits, or indoors if it doesn’t.  Many couples decide to do a gumbo or jambalaya with some sides.  Or if your relatives want to help, ask them to bring a dish!

You can supply water and tea and if you don’t mind your guests drinking, they can bring their own.  Just remember, keep it simple, and stay in budget!

Happy Planning!

Your Wedding and Beyond!

1515050_10202518929311818_643519335_ngrandkids 2014

Planning your wedding can be stressful…..but while you are in the process of planning please remember that though it is very important…beyond your wedding is really what it’s all about.

This month Billy and I will be married for 25 years.  Above are photos of our grandchildren….that’s what I’m talking about!  The years after your wedding when you start to plan your family…and believe me, time just flies by!  Before you know it your children are all  grown up and have children of their own….and then you’re grandparents!

I know it’s hard to imagine all of this now…when you are busy planning your wedding…but my point is don’t be stressed over the little things that go wrong.   Remember that you are marrying your best friend…..the person you will spend the rest of your life with and build a future with.

These things are very important, whether you believe it or not right now.  I love seeing my past couples who post their photos of their babies and the changes that are taking place in their lives.

So try to stay calm during your planning.  And remember…your wedding is just the beginning of your new life!

Happy Planning

Budget Ideas. Wedding Cake Tower

Cake tower make by Chris Lasage 

The wood tower was made by Chris Lasage, father of the bride.


Found on Pinterest on

It seems many couples planning their wedding are on a tight budget.  I am always keeping my eyes open….looking for ways they can save money.

A cake can be very costly.  But there are several ideas I have seen, not only from my customers, but searching around on Pinterest.    You will see the top photo….the tower was made by the father of one of my brides.  I thought this was a unique idea and have seen many variations of this idea on Pinterest!

You can have a small cake for the top so you can cut the top and take photos.  The bottom can be filled not only with cupcakes, but you can use a variety of items such as brownies, petite fours, cookies, etc. that will go with your color scheme.  You can choose individual desserts and put them in cupcake paper or small plastic cups, using your color scheme and place them on the tower.  Extras can be kept on hand to replace as the guests eat the delicious items on your tower.

Are you a baker?  Are there family members who make special candies or items they would be willing to bake for you?  You would be surprised how many would love to make these items for you….a cost saver and they get to brag!  Be sure to send them a thank you note for their help!

Your guests will love this idea because of the variety and easy access!

Keep in mind, some of my clients just don’t like cake at all!  So leave the cake out at the top and instead put the bride and grooms special sweet item…these can be shared for the photo taking!  Remember….it’s your special day…do what makes you happy.

Happy Planning!

Catering Table Options


catering tables

When it comes to setting up your catering tables, you have many options.  Of course, there is the traditional “L” shaped, as shown in the first photo.  The second photo shows the straight line…which is also good.  The main thing to remember is never to make a “U” shape….guests tend to “bottleneck” in the middle and the line will not move well.

A unique, trendy idea that will also increase the mingling of the guests is a food station reception with each table having a different theme of food and/or floral displays.

One table could be a display of cheeses with a variety of breads, fresh fruit and vegetables.  You could supply several dips for the fruit and vegetables.

Perhaps you and/or your fiance love tacos….why not designate one table a taco station…with a variety of condiments for your guests to use.  You could become very creative with putting not only the traditional lettuce, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes and avocados…but perhaps a few different local salsas!  I recommend Cajun Power Salsa made locally here in Abbeville, Louisiana.   It’s my personal favorite!

One table could have a slow cooker filled with jambalaya…pork and sausage jambalaya is not only a great filler for your guests…but it is also easy to make and can be made a few days ahead…waiting until the day of your event to put in the rice.

Why not have a popcorn station… with a variety of different flavors of popcorn!  Items could be placed in large clear glass containers with scoops for self serving.  The kids will not only love it but so will many of the adults.  (I recently went to a conference and this was used at one of the cocktail parties.   The table had  6 varieties of popcorn…you couldn’t keep the guests away from those tables!)

Always remember to keep in mind the food allergies that some of your guests may have.  Remember to label each item…especially the seafood and nuts.

Whatever you decide to do…remember it’s your event…make it your own by putting the food items you like and be creative!

Happy Planning!


Grooms Cake?

cpix18    Ccpixx By Crystal

I’m am really surprised that twice this week I had clients that either the bride or groom was shocked to hear there was such a thing as a “grooms cake”!

Yes there is the main cake where you, as a married couple, will take many of your photos….typically this is called the “Wedding” cake. But there is also a separate cake that is commonly called the “Groom’s” cake.

And what exactly is the groom’s cake?  Actually, I was a little curious about that myself so I looked it up on Wikipedia and this is what I found.

“A groom’s cake is a wedding tradition originating in Victorian England,[1] but observed more often in the modern age in the American South. While a wedding cake may often be decorated in white and light in texture or color, the groom’s cake can take a variety of forms, many incorporating chocolate or fruit.[2] Cheesecake sometimes serves as a groom’s cake. The groom’s cake is often served at a table separate from the wedding cake at a wedding reception or wedding breakfast, though it may be served as a dessert for a rehearsal dinner.”

The article also said…. “One tradition was to cut a piece of the cake and put it in a small box, then present the box to an unmarried woman attending the wedding.[5]”

I liked that idea when I read it!   But….then I read…..

“The woman was not expected to eat the cake, but rather to put it under her pillow. Superstition held that this tradition would help an unmarried woman find a husband.[5]”


Did you know this?   I didn’t so I’m glad I looked it up.

I must say I have seen many different wedding cakes….and now they are just not decorated in white and light in texture or color…I have even see a red wedding cake!

As for the grooms cake, you will notice the LSU cake above.  Usually whatever the groom is into…that will be the theme of the cake.  Saints and ULL cakes are very popular as are any type of hunting themes.  I’ve seen 3D deer, rabbit and ducks!

So be creative in planning your grooms cake theme!

Happy Planning!

Accommodations for Your Wedding Night

DSC02651la solange 020

The wedding reception is over.  Have you planned where you will be staying your first night as Mr. and Mrs.?

There are some couples who  cannot afford a honeymoon trip right away….with plans to take a trip later.   I still tell them to try to plan something for your first night together as a married couple… should be special and romantic.

And then there are some couples that do have a honeymoon planned but are not leaving until the day after their reception.  Either way, take into considerations several factors.

Are you planning to drink at your wedding?  If so, make sure you have a driver to take you to your destination, with plans the following day to pick up your car.  Or you could park your car at the lodging and have someone bring you to your venue.  Whatever you have decided…….just make sure you are not stranded the next day!

If you have booked your event with us take advantage of our two-person Honeymoon Jacuzzi cottage.  You don’t have to drive on the road to get to the cottage from our reception hall.  You can either drive on our property or you can easily walk to the cottage.

Happy Planning


Picking Your Color Scheme


Ccpixx Photography by Crystal

Coordinating your color scheme for all of the different elements of your wedding can prove exhausting.  Where do you start?  There are several things you must consider, but for now  we will talk about your venue.

Depending on where you are getting married…say it’s in a hotel…the color of the walls or carpet cannot be changed.    You need to work with the colors that are already there.  You will definitely need to check out the colors in the carpet…you won’t be able to hide this in your photos; so work with those colors.  Take this in to consideration for all aspects of your wedding,  including your flowers, bridesmaid dresses, tuxes, cake decorations, etc.

If you are fortunate enough to have a venue that has neutral  colors….say an outdoor reception or even a venue with a neutral color for the walls….then your options are wide open.   Yay!

This is the main reason we chose grey for our walls….I consulted a photographer friend before we painted and he told me to go with grey because that would allow our customers to use any color scheme they wanted for their event.

As a bride you have a lot to consider…and you want to add the colors that not only go well with the venue you have picked, but also the colors that flatter you…that you love…and that your fiance loves as well.

Happy planning!



Wedding Day Emergency Kit

Wedding Day Emergency Tackle Box via

It’s your big wedding day!  It’s an exciting day…but now you have dropped the push back post to one of your earrings on the floor…and you just can’t find it!  Problem?  No it’s not…because you have downloaded my Wedding Day Emergency Kit and you have spares in your kit!  Whew…aren’t you glad you had that packed?

I have had this list on my website for years…and have added many items as I think of or read about them.  Then I came across this idea and thought….wow…what a great way to stay organized.  And a tackle box is so inexpensive!

Before your big day check out my list to the right of this blog, Magnolia Court Emergency List.  There are just too many items to list here.!

Remember….some of these items you may not feel you need, because they just don’t pertain to you or your wedding party.  Just leave those items out.  But I promise you…this list is very important!

Especially the first item….DON’T FORGET YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE!

Happy Planning!



Personalize Your Wedding Ceremony

Jason, Andree and Janie

Your ceremony should be as exciting as your reception!  Start the celebration as soon as guests arrive by throwing a short pre-ceremony cocktail party.  Sprinkle your programs with personal details like facts about your VIP’s or photos from your engagement shoot.  If you’re marrying at a location like a museum, zoo or garden, give your guests the option of taking a fun behind-the-scenes tour before your I Do’s.  Want to do a slideshow?  Play it before your ceremony rather than at the rehearsal dinner.  It’s a unique way to entertain guests until the ceremony begins.  Have your ring bearer carry your bands on something unique like a mini fishing rod or a slice of wood that says “Here comes the bride…”  And finally change tradition and walk down the aisle with your Groom, it’s a great way to kick off your new life together!!

Janie Varisco, Wedding Officiant



Garden Weddings And Mother Nature

bryan and kyleen outdoor

Many of my customers who book with us want to have a garden wedding.  I tell them all the same thing… must have a plan B.  Mother Nature will tell you what you can and can’t do.  Fortunately my brides understand this….and have a plan if they have to move the wedding indoors.

Yesterday was a good example of this.  On Friday the grounds were still wet….too wet to put chairs down because when the guests sat down the chairs would sink.

But we still had one more day before Brian and Kyleen’s wedding.  The wind was blowing and the sun was shining…that was a good sign!   Kyleen and I spoke on Friday……she had a plan B to move her wedding indoors…but she really wanted an outdoor wedding.  They were going to wait and see what Saturday looked like.  Great idea!

By Saturday morning the wind and sun from Friday had dried the grounds enough to move the chairs outdoors.  Crystal with Acadiana Event Rentals was already in the gardens decorating the gazebo when my husband and I arrived to clean all of the leaves out of the garden area and path.

Brian and Kyleen were lucky….but most importantly, Kyleen had a great attitude….this was her day.  Attitude is everything!




A Wedding Budget Reminder

Bryan BlonPhoto by Bryan Blon Photography

So you’ve planned your wedding budget.  That’s a good thing.  But remember the fifty dollars spent here or a hundred dollars there…..that you didn’t figure into your budget….adds up!

Let’s talk about “your look” for the day.  Make sure to add everything into your budget for “your look”.  Take into consideration not just the dress……remember to add all of the other expenses that come into play.

Let’s just say you decided on $1500….that doesn’t mean you can buy a $1500 dress….there is tax to consider.   What if you ordered it instead….there will be shipping costs involved.

And don’t forget the alterations!  Many of my customers are surprised with how much alterations cost!   And then you need to figure in your undergarments, nails, pedicure and jewelry as well.

Are you having your hair done by a stylist?  If so, this cost needs to figure into your budget as well.  And speaking of hair….what about your veil….that can be costly….so make sure to figure that into your budget.

And of course your shoes are very important!  Try to stay away from buying shoes that are marketed as “bridal shoes”….instead buy a nice pair of pumps or sandals that  you know you will wear in the future.  Your comfort should be your only real concern…you want to enjoy your day…hurting feet will not be fun!



Is Your Pet “One of the Family”?

Daisy 2  Daisy

It’s not unusual…because it’s happen to us…to have a couple that want to include their pet in their event.  I had one customer who wanted their dog to be the ring bearer.

We had a dog for 17 years…Daisy was very much a part of our family.  This is why I totally can understand when a customer of ours wants to include their pet in their “special day”.  Yes, we at Magnolia Court Reception Hall do allow this.

There are a few things that you must consider because even if they have gone to obedience school….they are still a pet.  Below are a few tips that I suggest if you want to include your pet in your event.

Designate someone who isn’t in the bridal party to watch your pet for the day.  Make sure your pet is allowed to run and play during the day…to get out as much energy as possible.  We have a large field for additional parking at our facility…the perfect place for your pet to run and play.  Please remember to bag any “poop”….you don’t want your guest walking in that!

Take photos of your pet before the event or even on a different day.  If your pet is going to be a ring bearer, practice with your pet a few times.  If your pet is going to wear a new item…like a bow tie collar or a ring pillow…put it on several times before the event…offering treats for a job well done while you practice.

Make sure your pet relieves himself right before your event…you sure don’t want an accident happening during your event.

Please remember you are dealing with an animal and anything can happen….if things don’t go quite as planned…try to laugh it off and stay relaxed.

After all, I’ve seen some crazy things happen with a child who is a flower girl or ring bearer….it just makes your wedding more personal and is always a good story to tell!

Remember…have fun!  Relax!  Enjoy your day!

A Wonderful Wedding Idea!


My son, Zack, met and married a wonderful girl, Kaysha, who had a daughter, Jenna, then four. ( Oh, my…she just turned 13 this year and now they have two children of their own, Addison and Molly…how time flies!)

When Zack and Kaysha got engaged, Jenna would say, “we’re getting married”.  After Zack and Kaysha exchanged vows and the rings, Zack bent down to Jenna, who was standing next to her mom, and put a ring on Jenna’s finger too!  Jenna was so excited and surprised.  It was very touching to watch as Jenna was included in this very special way.  I don’t think there was a dry eye in the reception hall…it was a surprise for everyone….including me!

Remember, when you are getting married and there are children, to include them in some kind of way.  This is a special and big day for you, as well as for them.

wedding 4

Should I Have a Friday Wedding?


ABSOLUTELY!  Friday night weddings are becoming more and more popular. So are Sunday afternoon weddings!  Brides and grooms are looking for ways to save money, some wedding venues and vendors typically have major discounts for Friday or Sunday weddings.

Remember…by the time Friday rolls around…people are looking for something to do Friday nights…what better way to unwind and celebrate the beginning of the weekend…than at your wedding!

By choosing a Friday or Sunday wedding, some of your out of town guests may not be able to make your “special” event because of travel or work obligations.  But the local guest are sure to attend!

I always suggest to my clients to make sure they send out Save-the-Dates to your out of town guest, at least 6 months before the wedding, so they can ask and plan for time-off well in advance.

Haloween Wedding at Magnolia Court Reception Hall

Ashley and Andrew wedding party photo for Halloween wedding at Magnolia Court Reception Hall.
Bride and groom, Ashley and Andrew, along with their wedding party. Our first Halloween wedding held at Magnolia Court Reception Hall.

On the day of any event, I like to go to our facility and see how it has been set up and decorated. In our 17 years of business…no two have ever looked the same….and I’ve been amazed, many times, at the transformation our facility takes.

I love seeing the “personal touch”  each of my clients put into their event.   I walk around and take photos, always with their permission, so that I can use some of them for my website, blog or even to put in my photo album.  On this day…I was lucky !

Ashley and Andrew decided to take photos, with their wedding party, before the wedding. I was at the facility taking photos, when I saw them outdoor with their photographer. I was thrilled when they let me take this photo.

I just love the brides wedding dress, as well as the bridesmaids dresses…and the black tux with red tie was perfect! And I love the shoes…you can be assured…these bridesmaids danced all night…without hurting feet or blisters! 🙂

Being comfortable and feeling beautiful…is such a perfect match!