Wedding Affairs With Cajun Flair
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A Guide To Acadiana Venues and Wedding Services
By Hailey Hensgens Fleming
With the holidays officially behind us, bright eyed women all over Acadiana are turning their sights to the next season on the horizon: wedding season. This is a time when brides, engaged couples and the soon-to-be-engaged are making preparations not only for the “big day,” but also for the many celebrations preceding it – like bridal showers, couple showers, luncheons, bachelorette parties and bachelor parties. Every host wants his/her event to stand out, to be a memorable occasion for the bridal party as well as their guests. Luckily, for those in the Acadiana area, our rich culture and Cajun flair make it easy to find perfectly scenic venues, wonderful food and beautiful people to share it with.
Showers & Luncheons
Among the many fantastic venues this area has to offer, a few stand out for their unique style, location or service. The first worthy of note is Rip Van Winkle Gardens at Jefferson Island. This historic plantation offers scenic views of Lake Peigneur, majestic semi-tropical gardens and the shade of dozens of Louisiana’s iconic live oak trees. Although a common wedding destination, the location’s capacity for multiple other wedding events is often overlooked. The Bayless Conference Center, located directly on the lake, can accommodate large parties and is perfect for hosting bridal or couple showers. Café Jefferson, the glassed-in porch café with sweeping lake views, provides an ideal location for bridal luncheons as well as small rehearsal dinners. Let’s not forget the outdoor location itself. Any occasion hosted here, under a canopy of ancient live oaks, would truly be the embodiment of southern charm and elegance.
A Venue by Dupuy’s, a relatively new spot in the heart of Maurice, is an ideal space to host bridal or couple showers. With the slogan, “A place to come together,” the simply elegant venue accommodates a variety of events, ranging in size from 30 to 300 guests. With delicious in-house catering and rentals available, there is little for the host to prepare besides the cake. For anyone who has ever hosted one of these events before, this fact alone makes the venue an alluring choice.
Those looking to host the most charming bridal luncheon or couples shower paired with some of the area’s finest New Orleans style cuisine should look no further than Nash’s Restaurant in Broussard. A variety of arrangements can be made to accommodate private parties ranging in size from 30 to 200 guests in the beautiful Victorian home. As a third generation restaurateur, owner Nash Barreca knows very well how to please. Whether for off-site catering or in-house services, he prides himself on attention to detail and the customization of each menu for his parties. “I like to try to serve something more unique at reasonable prices that the bride, groom and their parents will be proud to serve to their guests,” he explains. “I am very flexible and easy going and I try to work with my people to make them happy.” With more than 17 years in business and 40 years experience, it’s obvious he succeeds.
If you’re a breakfast buff and downtown Lafayette is your scene then the French Press is your place. It earned the title of one of Urban Spoon’s 2013 Top Breakfast Restaurants in the country and you can book it to host your private event. In accordance with its surroundings, the restaurant holds a sophisticated rustic charm perfect for bridal luncheons, showers, engagement parties and even rehearsal dinners. A side dining room, with a capacity of 35, can be booked for daytime events with the entire restaurant available to host parties ranging in size from 65 to 100 persons at night. Although typically a brunch joint, patrons can select a variety of foods as well as serving options to fit their specifications. Additionally, their Cajun-American cuisine can come to you – even if your chosen venue lacks a kitchen.
Antique Rose Ville has a charm all its own. The unique full service event venue is the ideal setting for a bridal luncheon. The venue offers elegance and convenience to both brides and hostesses. The quaint 19 century cottage, open air pavilion and spacious banquet room are nestled on four acres, providing a wide range of possibilities in party size and event staging.
A hidden gem located just down the road in Youngsville is the Louisiana Cajun Mansion Bed and Breakfast. This large, ornately decorated home is on a gated property that provides a private, serene environment. In addition to its original purpose as a 5-Star Bed and Breakfast, the home can be rented to host mid-day bridal showers or overnight bachelorette parties. It offers three large guest suites that sleep nine comfortably, but partygoers are welcome to bring their air mattresses for a “slumber party” style event. These bachelorette parties can be booked long before the wedding arrives or perhaps the night before, giving the bridal party a scenic, relaxing space to get dressed the day-of. The venue offers in-house catering for all of its events as well as a variety of activity packages for its guests. These include massage, painting party, candle making and various bridal party packages.
If the great outdoors are more your style (and even if they aren’t), the Cajun Mansion even offers unique “glamping” tent options for a more adventurous bachelorette party. Two spacious tents occupy the mansion’s backyard - glammed up with chandeliers, climate control, lights and four twin mattresses in each. Guests are served complimentary breakfast and have access to backyard amenities, including the patio grill and pool house with bathrooms and a shower.
Every bride knows the day of the wedding can be just as hectic as all the planning put into it. Luckily, local spa’s and salons make it their job to alleviate some of that stress. Spa Almaz in New Iberia offers the perfect tranquil environment for the bride and her girls to relax a few days before the wedding. Bridal parties of up to eight can enjoy professional massages, manicures, pedicures and facials as they unwind and enjoy one another’s company. Additionally, they can return for day-of makeup applications using hypoallergenic Jane Iredale cosmetics.
The JJ Peach Salon in New Iberia specializes in wedding hair and makeup applications. Their arsenal of experienced stylists can accommodate nearly any wedding size and provide services for the youngest to oldest wedding party member. Services can be done in the salon itself during a closed time frame or they will travel, for a fee. With a schedule booked into 2018, these stylists are able and prepared. Every detail is accounted for prior to the wedding day allowing their brides to just arrive and enjoy the day. When talking about her team, salon owner, Jennifer Armentor states, “They’re great at what they do and we’re really blessed to still be doing what we do after 15 years.”
Stephanie’s Merle Norman Studio and Salon also specializes in wedding hair and makeup. Traditional Merle Norman makeup, airbrush makeup, spray tanning and even free express mini-facials are offered. Their large team of makeup artists and hair stylists can handle large wedding parties, either in-studio or off site. “Luckily we are a big team, so we have been able to accommodate by dividing and conquering,” laughs Stephanie Fitch, the salon owner. “We strive to make sure the bride has the most laid back experience for that day and that it’s a very professional and personal experience,” she adds. Brides who book her team can relax knowing even the smallest of details such as sample lipstick for touch-ups have been accounted for.
Lastly, we cannot forget the groom. Any man who enjoys the outdoors and time in the sun would love a bachelor party at Coco Marina, a fishing resort in Cocodrie, Louisiana. The guys can spend the day fishing on the water with one of three experienced charter-fishing captains before returning to the marina to enjoy dinner at the Lighthouse restaurant and a cocktail at the Cabana bar. Lodging is available with large condominiums that can accommodate up to 16 people, as well as studios and rooms for smaller parties. A weekend spent at the “Cajun Tropics” is guaranteed to make for an unforgettable trip.