October 29, 2009

Mark's Q&A: Loulie Walker of Loulie Walker Events

headshot by Tanya Tribble

My dear friend Loulie Walker heads up LWE, a boutique event planning firm specializing in sophisticated and customized weddings. Loulie works one-on-one with each bride offering a tailored menu of planning services reflective of the client’s style, sensibilities and specific needs.

1. What do you love most about weddings?
Weddings speak to the two sides of my personality – first the organized, detail oriented, military precision (!) side and second the creative, romantic, dreamer side. Each wedding is an opportunity to capture the personality of a couple and inject their relationship and story into the evening. Nothing is more gratifying than the moment at the end of the evening when the bride and groom, as well as their guests, declare the wedding magical and unforgettable.

2. What makes a Loulie Walker event different? How does your incredible attention to detail affect the overall event?
I think our weddings are different because of the degree of personalization coupled with our attention to detail and orchestration. No two weddings are the same. Part of why I love my job is that each couple presents a new challenge – to get to know the bride and groom and together create a wedding reflective of them. Whether thru the menu, the cocktails, the music, or the event design, each wedding bears the stamp of the couple.
We encourage our clients to envision their wedding from the point of view of both host and guest as we believe a wedding is a statement of hospitality. It is the smallest touches and gestures that make an evening memorable – a handwritten note card from the couple on each chair back, a little goodnight treat on a pillow each night of a destination affair, framed photographs of a couple’s family thru the generations as cocktail hour d├ęcor. It is not about price but about personalization.
Our attention to detail is also what sets us apart. A wedding involves so many different aspects – the venue, the vendors (caterer, rentals, florist, musicians, photographer, videographer) - in order for everything to flow seamlessly every detail must be thought out in advanced with a Plan A and multiple contingency plans. Our job is to anticipate and accommodate. And yet while the rhythm of a wedding is finely tuned, it should look completely unscripted to guests.
And finally there is the orchestration of the event – we are on-site the day of the wedding – first at the reception venue to oversee vendor load in and installation which typically begins at dawn if not the day before. I am with the bride at the ceremony to send her down the aisle and at the reception to subtly cue toasts and dances. I have an amazing team and could not execute each wedding without them. We love what we do and that shows through in our weddings.

3. Describe your relationship with a bride while planning her wedding.
It is certainly a close relationship as we are usually working together over several months. That being said, certain brides wish to be more involved than others, it is up to them and what their schedule allows. Some clients require more hand holding than others. While some, though the exception, say run with it and they give us creative license to create a wedding based simply on initial meetings. After just 90 days of planning, one bride saw her event design for the first time walking into her reception with her new husband by her side – their reaction that moment is why I do what I do.

4. You bring in the most fabulous brides to the Atelier! Tell us a little about your brides and why they chose you as their planner.
I have been so blessed with my brides over the past nine years. The majority of our brides are professional, sophisticated women with careers and limited time. They are looking for someone who can streamline and communicate their ideas, handle the legwork, and allow them to be in the role of decision maker.
So much of wedding planning is personality, and I think the brides who select me as their planner do so because there is a personality fit from the first meeting. They are immediately at ease, feel comfortable on all levels and know that they are going to enjoy the planning process. Brides also love that the get to work hand in hand with myself, there is no junior planner. I pride myself on service and I think that is sensed immediately by potential clients. Our weddings and former brides speak for us – there is very little ‘sell’ necessary on my part.
I remain friends with my brides long after their wedding and often times end up planning baby showers and other events for them as well.

5. Besides wanting to visit me, why do you bring your brides into the Atelier?
Well besides your fabulous self, I bring our brides to the Atelier because not only is your selection of dresses the best the city has to offer (Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Monique Lhuillier, Lela Rose, Elizabeth Fillmore, Angel Sanchez to name just a few!), but also because of the Atelier’s unparalleled service. Shopping for and selecting a wedding dress is such a personal experience and brides are met with an inviting and intimate atmosphere at The Atelier. A bride is attended to every step of the way by your staff.
I love the process at the Atelier - a bride is paired with a consultant and they work together from beginning to end. Your consultants are in effect stylists – they take the entire look into consideration – from the dress to the veil, jewels, shoes, and even undergarments. The consultants’ ability to zero in on what is important to a bride and to put a bride at ease is why I bring my clients to you. No detail is overlooked at your Atelier.

6. What is currently your favorite gown in the Atelier?
A strapless Giambattista Valli gown perfect for a destination beach wedding! It is romantic and soft yet still playful and dramatic.

Wedding photography by Christian Oth Studio
For more information on LWE click here.

October 28, 2009

Bridal Designers Show Agility in Trying Times - WWD

Great WWD article by Rosemary Feitelberg on how designers are dealing with the current economy. Includes some very insightful comments by Mark.

Bridal Designers Show Agility in Trying Times - WWD.com

October 21, 2009

The Knot Live Market Recap

Check out Mark's call-in interview on The Knot's Bridal Market Recap show. We were busy running around market so Mark couldn't stop by The Knot's offices so they kindly allowed him to call in instead. Take a look to hear about some of his favorite new looks.

The Knot Live Episode 17

October 20, 2009

Video Blog on Anne Barge

Marah, our resident Anne Barge "specialist" offers her thoughts on the new Anne Barge collection. Marah recently traveled to the Anne Barge offices in Atlanta and has promised to write a blog post on her amazing experience there.

Marah, Anne Barge, Mark, The Queen of Cakes Sylvia Weinstock and Ellen Weldon of Ellen Weldon Stationary backstage after the Anne Barge show

a look from the show

Happy 15th Anniversary Martha Stewart Weddings!!!

A highlight every October during market is the annual Martha Stewart Weddings market party. This year in celebration of 15 years publishing, they threw their best party ever -- and that is saying alot coming from that creative team! We saw all of our favorite designers, retailers, event planners, photographers, bloggers, editors and everyone in between who loves our fabulous industry. Thank you Amy Wilkins, Darcy Miller and the entire team at MSW for a truly wonderful celebration!

A few pictures below. Look for us on Martha Stewart Weddings Online Wedding Showcase coming in November.

Mark with Founding Publisher of Martha Stewart Weddings Marcia Miller

Marcia Miller, Mark, Robert Verdi, Amy Wilkins

Super chic event planners Loulie Walker and Molly Middleton

Designer Anne Bowen, Mark, and James Brown of Roma Sposa

October 19, 2009

Video Blog on Rivini

Our consultant Kelsey recaps her favorites from the Rivini show.

Video blog on Marchesa

In a cab on our way to our Monique Lhuillier appointment, consultants Sandra and Tammy offer their take on the to-die-for Marchesa collection.

Some pictures as well.

Behind the Scenes at NYC Bridal Market

Some photos from behind the scenes at our favorite shows yesterday.

Mark with Event Planner Marcy Blum at the Douglas Hannant show

Amy Wilkins, Darcy Miller, Anne Barge and Jackie Polce

Mark being interviewed by the knot at the Monique Lhuillier show

The Bridal Atelier Team in NYC Bridal Market

Twice a year, Mark and the entire team here at The Bridal Atelier have the opportunity to attend the fashion shows and visit our designers to view the new collections during the NYC bridal market. Mark understands the importance of hearing the opinions of each and every member of his team. The consultants are the eyes and ears of the salon and know exactly what our sophisticated clientele are looking for. While the final say always belongs to Mark, all of the consultants make sure he knows what their favorites are. This is why we have the best edited selection of couture bridal gowns anywhere!

Here are a few pictures of the team taking a lunch break at The Landmark in the Time Warner Center. Look for more video blogs from Mark and all of the consultants reviewing market.
Sandra, Alene, Lydia, Kristin & Eva

Kelsey, Anju, Tammy, Marah & Mark

October 18, 2009

Anne Bowen

We loved the Anne Bowen bridal show! Some adorable mini dresses and some truly elegant gowns. A very strong showing for her second season. More pictures to come.

Welcome to Bridal Market!

Our first NYC Bridal Market since we began blogging is upon us! Yesterday was our first day in market and we saw some beautiful gowns to add to our collection here at The Bridal Atelier. Other than the fantastic fashion, the best part about bridal market is seeing all of our industry friends from around the world. It's four days of fashion and celebration. We will be video blogging all day from the shows today as well as sending updates on twitter. Follow our tweets at @markingrambride and @lindsaymann. Let us know what gowns are your favorites!

Video blog from Monique Lhuillier

Our consultant Alene reviews the beautiful Monique Lhuillier show.

October 5, 2009

Atelier 2 Welcomes Rose Taft

We are thrilled to announce we have added Rose Taft Couture to our Atelier 2 collection of special occasion gowns. Beginning this Fall, Rose Taft Couture will be exclusively available in New York City at Mark Ingram. We will be celebrating our newest line for "mothers of the occasion" with an appointment only trunk show on Wednesday, November 4th. Marcia Taft, daughter of the late Rose Taft and President of Rose Taft Couture, will be making her only New York City appearance for the season at our trunk show. Marcia and her daughter Melanie, create luxurious evening wear in the tradition started by founder Rose Taft over 40 years ago.

We are honored to welcome the fabulous Marcia Taft and her elegant collection for Rose Taft to our Atelier! Below is a sneak peak of some of the gowns we will be featuring at the trunk show. To see more of the Rose Taft Couture collection click here.