Dress of the week – Last week of May

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This week’s “Dress of the Week” was the easiest choice thus far.  This is my beautiful bride from last Sunday’s wedding wearing a custom-made Galia Lahav dress.  If you follow the Proper Planner, you know that I’ve featured a lot of dresses from this designer.  Eugenie found the designer on this very blog and went to New York to have this amazing dress made just for her!  Of course, the back of this dress is my absolute favorite part, and the skirt and train are simply stunning.  You wore this dress well, Eugenie.  It fit like a glove and it fit the theme of your wedding perfectly!  Congratulations to you and your groom!!!

New Kids on The Block Concert in New Orleans

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In the 80’s, as a preteen, I went to my very first concert – New Kids on The Block! At the time, it was the biggest deal of my life. Along with thousands of other preteen and teenage girls, I saw the young men of NKOTB sing to me and only me! Didn’t we all believe the concert was just for us? Having Jordan Knight touch my 10 year-old hand was something I could only dream about.

Flash forward about 25 years to Friday, May 16th at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. I didn’t think there could be anything more obnoxious than 15,000 little girls screaming out to a boy band. Now I know that 15,000 middle-aged women, hyped up on margaritas and beer, screaming out to the “next father of their children” trumps the teenage crowd any day!

Let me set the scene. I was dropped off downtown with some of my girlfriends at 5pm (safety first – no drinking and driving.) As we turned on to Poydras Street, it was an all out female fest. Every restaurant and bar within a three – block radius was filled with women, many of them dressed in florescent accents, New Kids on The Block shirts and old school 80’s garb. With full bellies and pre game cocktails in hand, we all headed into the Smoothie King Center for a 7pm “kick off!”

We’ve all been to Pelicans games, Saints games and other concerts, but none of those events had anything on the lines at the bar and the woman’s restroom that night. Just after 7pm, Nelly took the stage and he was the perfect opening act! As a matter of fact, if something would have happened and we all had to leave, I would have felt fulfilled just by having seen Him. As someone that had no expectation one way or the other, I was blown away and shall now start stalking him to see every show he’s involved in!

Next up was TLC, another success for sure. They wore what I consider to be the 90’s uniform, a one shoulder over all assemble, and their choreography was the same as it was 20 years ago. For that, I am grateful. They played all the classics and made sure we heard all the things they knew we were there to hear!

Finally, at about 9pm, Joey, Jordan, Jonathan, Donny and Danny took the stage and the ladies went crazy. They looked amazing and I will admit that I did find myself googling Jordan Knight in the middle of the show to find out his age (and to find out if he’s single.) He is 44 and married in case you were wondering. When Joey brought out his 7 year old son, I believe that threw the estrogen into overdrive and suddenly the ticking of 15,000 biological clocks was overwhelming. And I’m speaking of myself as well even though it is my personal belief that I was born without batteries in my clock.

At any rate, the night was amazing! Although an unlikely trio of entertainers, it was perfect! The night was filled with nostalgic feelings, dance moves that have withstood the test of time and lyrics that are still imbedded in our brains for some reason (although I can’t remember what I ate for dinner last night, I can still sing every word to TLC’s Red Light Special.)

We had a chance to let loose and relive our youth and we were given that hope once again that an ordinary New Orleans gal could maybe catch the eye of a now 44 year-old New Kid on The Block. As a matter of fact, some of our New Orleans locals even made it on to Joey McIntyre’s Instagram. If that’s not a dream come true, I don’t know what is!

photo courtesy of Joey McIntyre - shout out Kellie Bode and Katie Walsh

photo courtesy of Joey McIntyre – shout out Kellie Bode and Katie Copeland

Sippin’ In Seersucker Event

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Photo from Girl’s Guide to New Orleans

Last Friday, I joined over 500 other guests decked out in our best seersucker outfits to attend the 11th annual Ogden Museum’s Sippin’ in Seersucker event. Kicking off the summer social season, the event was held on the first and second floors of Canal Place with cocktails and food from over 15 local venues. Entertainment was provided by the beautiful vocals of Robin Barnes and the upbeat jazz sounds of the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys.

Throughout the night, the sharpest of dressers were chosen to participate in a Seersucker Contest hosted by Charles Divins and judged by Tracee Dundas and L. Kasimu Harris. Select stores offered shopping specials and a photo booth provided by GoGo Photo Booth was on hand to provide some fun photos to commemorate the amazing night! Raffles were also awarded throughout the night for shopping, wine, entertainment and much more.

Mark your calendars for this event next year and start planning your seersucker outfit early. The competition is steep and the seersucker look is definitely a summer must!

If you missed this event, make sure to come out to celebrate the Ogden Museum at “Ogden After Hours” – more information is listed on their website – http://www.ogdenmuseum.org/calendar/index.html

** Vendors providing food and cocktails at Sippin’ In Seersucker included:

– Acme Oyster House

– Redemption

– Tivoli & Lee

– Highly Seasoned Catering

– Chappy’s

– Baker Maid

– Southern Candymakers

– Pralines by Jean

– Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse

– Banana Blosson, Mizado Cocina

– The Grill Room at Windsor Court

– The Roosevelt Hotel

– Nirvana Indian Cuisine

– Catering d’Orleans

– Fulton Alley

– Food Drunk

– The Munch Factory

A special mother’s day tribute to the Baby Boomers!

 

nanan and maw maw             Traci n nanThis week’s blog is dedicated to my aunt who lost her battle with cancer 4 years ago. While going through her pictures in preparation for her memorial, we found her wedding album with all of her old receipts and planning details.  I was facinated to see the price differences and how details have changed when compared to today! In light of the fact that it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday, and also my cousin Traci’s 5 year wedding anniversary, I thought it would be fun to compare my aunt’s retro wedding to her daughter’s more current affair.

First and foremost, just to give a reference of the difference in financial status, the average salary in 1974 was $8,030.76, according to the national average wage index. In 2010, the average salary was $41,673.83 – that’s 5 times the money that was being made in a 35 year span.

My aunt was married on May 18, 1974. Her invitation had a picture of a bride and a groom kissing on the front of it and the scenery appears to be a forest of some sort, which already screams “1970’s.” She was married at St. Christopher Church in Metairie and had her reception at the Champagne Room on Jefferson Highway, which was one of the most expensive reception halls at that time, according to my mother! The church, from my mother’s memory, was free as long as you paid the priest and gave “a little extra cash” to the altar boys. My aunt had a 3 hour reception for 300 guests and the package included food, alcohol, the wedding cake, engraved napkins, coffee service and the use of palm trees, which was apparently serious back then! The service charge was 15% and the grand total – $1,656.25 (which breaks down to $5.52/head)

Her daughter, Traci, was married on May 8, 2010. Her invitation was on plain ivory thicker card stock with black print which is more traditional in this millennium – no picture, no fold, just a straight forward invitation! She was married at St. Patrick’s Church in New Orleans and her reception was at the Chicory on South Peters, which was brand new at the time of Traci’s wedding. St. Patrick’s charged $2,000.00 plus a coordinator fee, plus a fee to the music director and “a little extra cash” for the priest. She had a 3 hour reception for 275 guests, which included food, alcohol, tables, chairs and linens, but no palm trees, however the Chicory provided potted plants for Traci to use if she do desired and she did!
Service charge was now 20% and the grand total was almost $25,000 (which breaks down to $90/head tax and tip included)

My aunt purchased her invitations from Gem Printing, who is still in business and a company that I use regularly today. As a matter of fact, Traci ordered her invitations from GEM as well! For my aunt, 200 invitations and printed envelopes totaled $47.18. For Traci, 175 invitations, printed envelopes and thank you cards totaled $175. The most remarkable thing about finding the Gem Printing receipt was not the price. It was the fact that the receipt is exactly the same in 1974 as it is today – the only difference is the address!

Some other comparable prices were the photographer which was $140 for my aunt and $1800 for Traci (I can tell you that 5 years later, that same photographer’s minimum package is $2500. Something that I found interesting about the photographer’s contract back then is that you paid the photographer in full once you picked up your order, not before the wedding/on the day of your wedding, and your order was ready 6 weeks after the wedding. Today, most of the photographers take a minimum of 6 weeks to get the pictures online.  The only other two receipts I found was one for flowers and one for the band. I did not find a total for my aunt’s final floral order, but I can tell you that her bouquet was $15.00 versus Traci’s which was $150.00.  The band was a grand total of $275 versus Traci’s that charged $3300.

What we can learn from this look back is that although the average salary has increased by 5 times the amount it was 35 years ago, the cost of a wedding has increased by a heck of a lot more. The reception alone is more than 10 times the amount today as it was in the 70’s. I think there are several contributing factors to why weddings have become so commercial and out of control, but one of those factors has to be the very generation that this blog goes out to: The Baby Boomers. The moms that got married when my aunt got married and grew up when times were tough, money was tight and women did not have their own careers and income.

Now, moms want to give their daughters everything they had and then some and since a lot of these women work, they can do just that. So next time you are fighting with your mother over wedding decisions, remember that they just want more for you, although how far these moms will go is a different entry all together. We can at least give them a bit of a reprieve this weekend – it is Mother’s Day after all!  So thank your mother for all she’s done especially as it relates to the financial luxuries because as you can see, salaries aren’t always growing as quickly as the cost of living!