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A Mother of the Bride’s Experience: New Orleans Wedding and Reception at Audubon

As submitted by: Bev, New Orleans (Guest Blogger)
Wedding at the Odenheimer Sea Lion Pool

Every mother-of-the-bride hopes for that storybook experience for her daughter on her wedding day—a sentiment that’s amplified when it’s your only daughter and your baby. That’s where I was, 18 months ago, when we began planning. We scoured New Orleans checking venues and comparing prices. We had many pieces and we had to find the right place to bring it all together into our one vision of the fairy-tale wedding.

Eventually, our path crossed Audubon. The pictures of a wedding on the steps of the Sea Lion Exhibit were unparalleled; we wanted that ethereal portrait for our Jenny. The venue would be large enough to accommodate our guests, yet intimate enough for everyone to share the spiritual promise of the moment. As images and sounds of chamber music in the cool, still night air danced through our heads, we knew this was the place. It would be classical; it would be graceful; it would be fitting for a princess. Venue? Done—Sea Lion Exhibit.

Next was the reception. Who says elegance can’t be fun? A second-line from there to the Audubon Tea Room could start the party. Cocktail time in the expansive, oak-lined courtyard to the soft tunes of a live jazz band would give the newlyweds and our family time for pictures while the outdoor bar and oysters, shrimp and other tidbits would serve only to whet the appetites of our guests for more. I could never justly describe the beauty of the lit columns, vaulted ceilings, wood floors and exquisite culture of the rotund space. Our guests would be in awe of the ambience. Reception venue? Done—Audubon Tea Room.

So, did the actual experience live up to our expectations? Absolutely! Our friends complimented the food (the oysters were to die for—oh, no, wait…it was the Chicken Orleans that was to die for…and those were second only to the quesadilla station that, according to one of my 50-year-old-ish friends, “rocked this reception!”) There aren’t really enough superlatives to do justice to the food—enough said! Both venues gave us the storybook princess experience. The phone photos are outstanding and captured what was a surreal night; therefore, we can’t wait to see the ones from the photographer.

Bouquets to Michelle Borchard, our Zoo event planner! Never have I encountered such an accommodating and attentive business partner. But the night of the event topped everything! From the “mike – ed” hostesses who were in constant communication telling us where to go, when and how—to the wait staff who “wowed” our guests with continual welcoming comments—each person played their role in the best possible manner. As the happy couple drove out of sight, we sighed heavily and reflected just for a moment on how perfect the evening had been. But, then there was clean up to do. Each staff member carried box after box to our car to help us pack up the evening as best they could. That was certainly a first for me; usually, it’s “we do ours” and “you do yours.” But, again, we came first.

Jenny chose to get married on Friday, the 13. So, of course, there had to be one “bad luck” story. When the limo company chose not to return at the appointed time to pick up the fairy princess and her handsome prince, Audubon staff knew before we did that the driver was MIA. They immediately contacted the company on our behalf, came to us with the news, and brokered a plan of another limo before we had time to panic. They interceded, achieved an alternative, and offered us options—all rather than the typical attitude of “what are YOU going to do!” So, again, hats off to the wonderful, efficient and effective Audubon staff!

Thank goodness I only have one daughter. But if I did have two, we would definitely again “do the Zoo”— because every girl deserves the right to be a princess—at least once in her life!

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