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Winter Weddings
12/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
Winter Weddings

Spring, summer and fall seasons seem to get all the attention when it comes to wedding planning. But there’s something innately elegant and magical about the prospect of a winter wedding. If you’re thinking of planning a winter wedding, (and there is so much to think about, right? – the venue, décor, catering, fashion, hair and make-up) we’ve got some ideas for you! Read on.

Dreaming of a White  Wedding

by Haley Tarasiewicz

Cozy fireplaces, mugs filled with hot cocoa and a chill in the air can only mean one thing . . . 

winter is coming! 

And whether you’re having a winter wedding or not, you can still appreciate some of the hottest, or, dare we say, coolest trends, according to Amanda Fontenot, Gray Plantation’s Director of Sales and Marketing.

"In Louisiana, winter weather often means a cozy sweater or an evening fire versus a snowy backdrop,” said Fontenot. "But, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your own wintry touches to your celebration using the season’s rich, gem-inspired colors, faux fur, holiday foliage, signature cocktails and more."

Fontenot offers some tips that might inspire you to plan your nuptials during the last quarter of the year:

Color Palette

If you’re drawn to the season’s classic colors – red and green – feel free to incorporate them into your big-day, but we suggest throwing in a plaid palette offering a modern contrast – think table runners or perhaps the groomsmen tuxes even.  If traditional isn’t your thing, no worries. There are many other sophisticated winter color palettes to consider. Think moody emeralds and plums, warm cream and berry tones, icy blues and shades of grey, or dazzling silver, copper and gold. 

Wedding Party

The cooler temps might mean those cold shoulders need to be covered up. Choose bridesmaid dresses with long sleeves or faux fur wraps. You could also pick a cozy fabric like velvet, or an eye-catching floral print, or beaded ensemble that sparkles! For his side of the party, consider trading the suit jackets for sweaters or cardigans, or even experiment with scarves.


While many people may think the cold weather doesn’t give you many options on blooms, that’s simply not the case.  Here are some seasonal options we are especially fond of:

Brunia berries are small silver balls that add a perfect accent to your winter bouquet. 

 The popular succulent trend is a fun winter wedding flower alternative.

Manzanita branches are wintery and rustic, and can even be spray-painted silver or gold.

Pinecones have an ultra  winter feel, so they’re a perfect complement to any winter wedding arrangement.

Hypericum berries are also a festive addition to bouquets.

Roses are a year-round classic, but their diverse colors are especially gorgeous for winter.

Yellow and white poinsettias with winding greenery create a starry night’s display.

Mistletoe brings the drama of the season to your celebration.

Catering & Cocktails

Warm and creamy soups like tomato and lobster bisque are excellent starters, but we love the trend of passing them as hors d'oeuvres! Or how about a mashed potato bar with all the fixings, or a pasta station with different noodles and sauces? And just because it's cold doesn't mean you need to avoid lighter foods like salads! Seasonal fruits and veggies such as apples and cranberries pair perfectly with heavier comfort foods. For dessert, there's no better way to treat your guests than to offer a hot cocoa bar with peppermint sticks as stirrers or fresh baked cookies and cold milk. As a traditional wedding cake alternative, maybe incorporate a gingerbread house! And nothing says cheers to the winter season like a signature cocktail such as a white Russian, mulled wine, a hot toddy, peppermint cocktail, egg nog or hot-buttered rum.


It will be dark quite early, so embrace it with lots of romantic candle lighting in both your ceremony and reception space, or even string lights to add a twinkle. Decorate your space with lush wreaths, statement florals, pinecones and berries, festive garlands and mixed textures. You could even incorporate knit blankets and plaid throws as a practical way to keep guests warm, but also just for show. Did we mention anything could be topped with a bow for the ultimate holiday-gift theme?

So if you’re contemplating ditching the typical spring wedding in favor of something a little more ‘chill,’ there are plenty of options to consider when saying "I do,” during this most wonderful time of the year!

For more information about planning your wedding at Gray Plantation, call 337-562-1663 or visit to learn more about their indoor and outdoor venues.

Deciding the Where for Your Wedding

by Angie Kay Dilmore

After he (or she) pops the question and you say "Yes!”, the next big question you need to ask is when and where. While wedding trends come and go and evolve over time, venues tend to be the one constant. "When it comes to venues, you simply want to start with a pretty canvas,” says Ashley Gatte, Event Leasing Agent for Empire of the Seed. "This allows you to add your own flare to the space without breaking the budget.”

The Where of a wedding depends on the personalities of each couple and what they want their wedding to look like. Do they envision a glamorous, extravagant affair with hundreds of guests; are they nature-lovers who prefer a quiet ceremony in the beautiful outdoors; or something in between? Many couples these days opt for smaller guest lists, not only for financial reasons, but also for an increased sense of intimacy. They’re more interested in creating an "experience” rather than following tradition, and each aspect of the wedding needs to have meaning for the couple. 

Whatever type of wedding you imagine, Gatte encourages couples to consider four major factors when choosing a venue: Price, location, capacity, and aesthetics.


Gatte says it is so important for a couple to stay within their budget. "Knowing your wedding day priorities is key. If you are in love with a certain venue, there are ways to shift things around to make your dream space a reality. It’s all about setting a few big priorities and not worrying too much about the small details.”



Do you want your wedding to take place close to your home? Near the brides’ parents’ home where she grew up? Or do you prefer a destination wedding? Do you have a large number of family and friends who might need to travel? These are considerations when choosing a venue location. 



How many people will you invite to your wedding? Does your dream space allow for this number? Will you need a large dance floor and space for a band? "Space is a significant part of the night when it comes to flow of the event and overall comfort of your guests,” says Gatte.


Finally, you need to choose a location you love! "If you are going for a particular look with your wedding, the venue plays a huge part of making that look happen,” says Gatte.

Now that you’ve pondered those factors, let’s consider several local venues, depending on the style of wedding you have in mind.

Gatte cites the popularity of "rustic elegance” (thanks to Chip and Joanna Gaines) for many couples. Examples of venues that work well with this style are Empire of the Seed’s Cash and Carry Event Center and the Paramount Room, as well as Louisiana Spirits’ Bayou Rum Event Center.

Most venues can be suitable to any wedding style simply through the couple’s choice of décor.  If you want a venue in downtown Lake Charles, consider Historic Calcasieu Marine Bank, the Charleston Hotel, the Governor’s Mansion, the Chandelier Room, and Brickhouse. Need a larger venue? Try the Lake Charles Civic Center or the West Cal Event Center.

Do you envision an outdoor wedding? 

Gray Plantation and Oak Crossing offer stunning outdoor options, but are also lovely for indoor weddings. If you plan an outdoor wedding, do arrange for a Plan B in case of inclement weather.

How early should you begin your venue search? 

Gatte says Empire of the Seed usually books weddings a year to a year and a half in advance. "I find the extra time helps brides space out the planning and reduces stress.” 

Ice Princess: An Expert’s advice on Dressing for Your Winter Wedding

by Emily Alford

Bridal magazines often focus on spring and summer weddings. Wedding dresses, often sleeveless or strapless, seem to be designed for hot weather weddings.  But winter weddings offer unique opportunities for personal expression. On your big day, consider embracing that seasonal chic with your wedding look. Here are some cooler-weather trends for outfitting a beautiful winter wedding. 

Be a trendsetter

Even though Louisiana doesn’t often see snow, there’s something whimsical about a touch of frost in the air that adds a hint of romance to the prospect of a winter wedding. According to Laurie Baynard, owner of L Bridal Couture in Lake Charles, a winter wedding is the perfect time to experiment with cooler weather trends like adding a beautiful white cape to a wedding look, wearing a long-sleeved gown, or even experimenting with denim and leather for boho-inspired brides. "Sleeves will always be beautiful in a winter wedding,” Baynard says. "Capes are really popular. And of course, fur!” 

But plan carefully

While brides planning winter weddings in states that see heavy snowfall have to worry about blizzards, at least they pretty much know without a doubt that the wedding day will be cold. In Louisiana, the weather is a bit more complicated, which brides should take into consideration when wedding shopping. "Outfit planning for a Louisiana winter wedding is going to obviously be different than your typical winter wedding,” Baynard says. "We have to be prepared for any of the seasons to show up, which makes sleeves a great choice. If it’s cold, they’ll offer a little warmth, and if it’s hot, wedding dress sleeves are normally made of an illusion tulle with lace, so they are also very breathable. You can always layer and add furs, shawls, boleros, a delicate sweater, or bridal jacket.” 

Consider texture

The great thing about winter weddings is that instead of spending the day in one wedding dress, brides can choose wedding shawls, capes, and even furs, which provide an excellent opportunity to layer textures. "With winter weddings, you can really explore a lot of different fabrics and textures,” Baynard says. "For a winter wedding dress, I love a heavier lace such as guipure or alencon lace. And heavier fabrics, as mikado silk or satin, paired with fur accents on coats and jackets is just so beautiful and classic. Textured skirts are also perfect for winter since they are a little heavier as well!”

Whether you’re planning on keeping your winter wedding indoors or getting back to nature, experimenting with wedding dress styles specifically intended for winter, like sleeves and fur accents, is a fun way to incorporate the romance of the season. 

Picture Perfect: A Bride’s Guide to Wedding Day Nails, Makeup, and Hair

by Emily Alford

For most brides planning the perfect wedding look starts months, if not years, before the big day. However, many don’t realize that achieving the perfect hairstyle, makeup, and nails for a wedding actually takes months of preparation. Here is a schedule to get started planning your best wedding look. 


Have your nails and toenails done one to two days before the wedding, and make sure to ask for a dipped or gel manicure, which lasts longer. You might even make it through the honeymoon without needing a touch up! 


One-two months before

Meet with your makeup artist to discuss your overall wedding day look, dress, hairstyle, and the vibe of the ceremony. Come prepared with some photos of wedding makeup you like. In your practice run for wedding makeup, you should be about the color you’re hoping to be in the photos, so if you plan on having a tanning session, make sure you do a test run afterwards. Take photographs of your test makeup from many different angles in different lighting—outdoors, indoors, different times of day—to ensure it’s exactly what you want. 

Three to seven days before

Plan on having a relaxing facial a week to three days before your wedding. Focus on exfoliation and moisturizing before your big day to get healthy, glowing skin in photos. If you need extractions—professional removal of imperfections—give yourself a few days for skin to calm down afterwards to ensure there is no lingering irritation on your wedding day. 

The big day

Set up a serene space in the bridal suite to have your hair and makeup done, away from the craziness of your wedding party coming and going.  Give yourself at least 40 minutes for your makeup applications well in advance of your first round of bridal photos. Make sure you ask your makeup artist how to best touch-up your look throughout the day. 


Six months ahead

If you want to make any drastic changes to your hair, such as going from brown to blonde or vice versa, it’s important to get the color exactly right before the wedding. The same goes for haircuts. Six months will give hair time to grow out if you decide you don’t love the new look and also allows time for treatments to get hair extra healthy, according to Ciarra Foreman, senior stylist at Bauhaus Salon. 

"At least six months before the wedding is a good time to start planning,” Foreman says. "Often times, regular trims and treatments are recommended for brides in order to get their hair to its best condition for the wedding day.”

When meeting with your stylist, do your homework first! Bring pictures of your ideal wedding day look so you and your stylist are on the same page. "As a stylist, I love pictures,” says Aryca Bussel, master stylist at Bauhaus. "I’m a visual person and you can point out what you like and don’t. That way there is no confusion and it turns out perfect.”

But you should probably make sure you have all the details about your wedding down before you begin thinking about your hair: "Let them know the time of year, whether it’s outside or in, if it is a large or smaller celebration and if there is a theme,” says Leigh Ann Moreau, master stylist at Bauhaus. That way the stylist can get a good idea for the day, the look you might be going for, and can help you to come up with the most functional style for you and your bridal party.

One month ahead

If you’re not making any huge changes to your tresses before the wedding, meet with the person you’ve enlisted to create your wedding hairstyle about a month beforehand. As with your makeup, come prepared with several ideas about what you would like your hair to look like. And don’t forget to ask how your stylist would like you to show up on the wedding day—some stylists prefer you skip washing your hair the day of the wedding. 

The big day

Don’t forget to wear a button-down shirt to your hair and makeup appointments! You don’t want to ruin your ‘do or smudge your contour on a collar! 

The Wedding Stylist

by Madelaine Brauner Landry

When it comes to wedding décor, the "bride” is in the details. So are the groom, bride’s mother, and every other well-intentioned person in her life. So much advice and so many decisions . . . from invitations to flowers to cakes to backdrops to personalized gift items – the to-do list can be exciting, fun, and admittedly, overwhelming. 

Any couple will tell you that their number one wedding wish is to walk down the aisle together looking beautiful, happy, and serene, surrounded by the well wishes of loved ones. If outside assistance can be budgeted, wedding day jitters can be lessened. Hiring wedding planners, designers and stylists can be helpful, but be aware that their services and job descriptions are often interchangeable. Generally, a planner handles logistical and organizational details like venue rental and vendor contracts. Decorators and stylists consider themselves helpful with the aesthetic and creative details. Lake Charles wedding stylist, Sara Lasher, notes she likes to help couples curate and elevate their vision. 

"My surrounding planner colleagues, even a local photographer, offer styling as an added service to their more traditional offerings,” says Lasher. "Your vendors are on your team, and they want you to make choices that won’t make you wince five years from now. Trendy foods can be fun for everyone, and offbeat choices are close to my heart, because oftentimes they share a couple’s uniqueness better than many traditions ever could.”

No two couples are alike. No two weddings are alike, and certainly every ‘perfect wedding’ vision differs. Some embrace tradition; others prefer to break all the rules. Details like ambiance, color, and lighting can be skillfully used to turn a couple’s ‘I Do’ into ‘This is Us.’  Wedding planning may involve some of the first major joint decisions for couples. 

To create a memorable day reflective of their personalities, consider Lasher’s caveat. Choices should still be tastefully done. "While I’m all for tradition, and especially etiquette, I like to remind the couple that I’m looking for them to share their love story and stay true to themselves. Your guests are expecting to see you in your wedding choices, and if the wedding reflects who you are, it will be the perfect beginning to your next chapter together.” 

According to design blogs, current floral trends lean heavily on the minimalist/vintage approach. Rusty peach fall colors appear to be a popular staple, no matter the season. Bright tropical florals, greenery, and loosely constructed wildflower bouquets are equally trendy. Because scents can be a powerful conjurer of memories, designers are now weaving citrus, rosemary, and lavender into floral arrangements. Looser cascading bouquets, dripping with eucalyptus, are also predicted for 2020 weddings, according to local wedding photographer, Emily Rose Martindale.

Consider atmosphere as well. Creating the right mood in a rented space can be challenging, but couples are limited only by imagination. Bohemian themes, for example, lend themselves to antique rugs, using pops of color to set the atmosphere, add dimension and break up space. Desert chic, retro, wanderlust, ocean breeze, and many other organic themes are trending, each relying on unique color palettes to evoke a romantic mood. Budget-conscious couples enjoy scouring through antique shops together in search of interesting centerpieces. Glass terrariums, brass candle holders, Moroccan lamps, handwoven baskets, even curious wooden pieces can be wrapped in feathers, furs, and pearls for added depth and texture.  

Using services to tweak the creative details allows couples to find peace of mind, knowing few details have been overlooked in their perfect wedding day vision. Save the jittery nerves for the wedding vows, not the creative details. Remember, this is your love story.

For more information, visit

Capturing Memories: Trends in Wedding Photography

by Angie Kay Dilmore

What aspect of your wedding will most likely last longer than your own memories? The photographs! For that reason, wedding photography is an integral part of the wedding plan for any engaged couple. And gone are the days when wedding photographs followed a strict script, with all the requisite, formal poses and collections of people lined up in a row and checked off a photographers list. 

Today’s couples favor natural, casual poses, stunning backdrops, gorgeous lighting, dramatic imagery, and candid shots that capture special moments in time. Couples want photographs that portray their relationship and unique personalities. And with the rise of social media, couples place even more importance on getting unique, creative images.  "Documentary-style photography is huge right now,” says local wedding photographer Emily Rose Martindale with Martindale Media Group. "That fly on the wall concept of coverage.”

Martindale says the biggest photography trend right now is moody. "While it isn’t for everyone, this darker, moodier style is unique in that it provokes more than just our visual memory. You can almost smell, taste, hear, and feel what those moments felt like with this style.

Film is making a resurgence, often used in conjunction with digital images. "There’s this whole push to nostalgia,” Martindale says. "It’s the pursuit of something timeless. I think with how fast-paced and modern life is, we all still long for simpler things. Film is part of that; it feels more intimate and intentional. It’s quite romantic.”

Photography incorporating non-traditional angles is on the rise. Overhead shots, for example, offer a unique perspective to capture the atmosphere of the day. 

Increasingly, couples are requesting their guests trust the wedding photographer to depict every detail of the day and to please keep their personal cameras and cell phones tucked away in pockets or purses. It certainly distracts from the mood of the ceremony (not to mention the ceremony photographs) when many of the guests have their phones out and pointed at the wedding party.

When choosing a wedding photographer, skill and quality are obviously crucial, as well as budget considerations. However, Martindale says clients also strive to find a photographer whom they feel a connection to; someone they trust and feel comfortable to be themselves with. "I want my clients to not only know I’m an experienced professional, but also that I’m on their team. I’ll go to bat for them in the heat of a moment that could make or break a good mood.”

Find Martindale Media Group on Facebook.

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