The Best Weekend Ever: NOLA 2013

1 Nov

Sometimes you have those weekends that are great.  Sometimes you even have those weekends that are amazing.  Then a weekend comes along that is the best weekend ever.  This past weekend was my best weekend ever.  11 of my closest friends and I ventured on down to New Orleans for a Bachelorette party in style.  It. Was. Incredible.  Initially when my sister suggested New Orleans, I thought she was crazy. “Julie, everyone and their mother is doing these extravagant bachelorette parties!  I really, really don’t want to inconvenience my friends or pressure them into something they don’t want to do.”  Julie’s response? “Kelly, your friends are all over, they aren’t all in the same state… 80% of them will have to buy a plane ticket anyways, why not go to a tourist destination and make a weekend of it?  You can provide your friends with an experience.  We’re all adults, they won’t go unless they want to!”  And my goodness, an experience we had.  I hate to say Julie was right… but wow, Julie was right.  The weekend was perfection.  It was a great blend of “bachelorette” activities, but also some downtime of just strolling around the city and people doing their own thing.  It couldn’t have been a more perfect time.

My sister and I fly stand-by (my brother works for an airline) and managed to squeak onto the same flight from ATL to New Orleans (yay for flying together)!  We got in super late Friday night and crashed at our airport hotel. The official activities kicked off with lunch on Saturday, so we were able to sleep in and relax a bit before heading down to the French Quarter.

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Ready at the hotel before heading off!

With 12 gals, we squeezed 4 in a room and it worked out perfectly!  Before lunch we all managed to put our things in our rooms and settle in.  My close friend Jessica (who was the co-planner in this endeavor) created welcome bags for everyone.  It was so thoughtful and each bag had a mask, along with candy (yum) and a few other goodies (um, advil).  How cute is she??  Once the whole group was assembled (hello a million reunion hugs!), we ventured off to lunch.  Jess picked out a New Orleans favorite and we lunched right in the French Quarter.

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Eating lunch with the whole group. Yum!

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Exploring the city!

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Wandering around the French Quarter

I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed this part of the city.  It was so quaint and really did have a European flair to it!  The weather was perfection and I kept wanting to pinch myself: I was here with 11 of my favorite people… how did this happen!??  I didn’t think that I would ever have such a gathering, I was just overwhelmed by the love and support.  I know bachelorette parties are all about celebrating and maybe a bit of partying, but honestly I felt somewhat emotional and sentimental the whole time.  It was so touching to have so many of my friends there, just a beautiful thing!

After lunch and a quick roam around the center square, we split up into smaller groups with some of the gals heading back to the hotel for a quick nap, and others venturing into more of the French Quarter.  My little group ended up going to the French Market and picked up some fabulous masks (a cheap and fabulous souvenir!).  We were delighted with our finds.

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Our little group bought some fabulous masks :)

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More roaming!

After a few hours exploring we went back to the hotel to get ready for some ‘official festivities!’ Our goal was to be ready, dressed, and back in our room for the night to begin.  My sisters (Julie and my two sister in-laws) set out to decorate the room with lots of candy, streamers, decorations, and even a pumpkin.

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Yep, this really happened. My friend Jess is the best.

We were in the Halloween spirit!  The plan was for all of my ladies to wear black and for me to wear white – when they arrived it was awesome.  We looked like such a coordinated group ready to hit NOLA!  Also the outfit selection was  fun and pretty painless for the rest of the girls.  They didn’t have to agonize over what to wear too much, and black looks amazing! I’ve been to bachelorette parties before where I really agonized over what to wear, I didn’t want to be too flashy or casual.  I’m a fan of dress codes in this situation!

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The whole gang in our coordinated outfits!

At 7 we started with a few games, drinks, and snacks in the hotel room.  We played something similar to the Newlywed Game- Julie emailed Adam earlier in the week and I had to guess his responses.  Every answer I got correct, the girls had to drink, and for every wrong answer, I had to take a drink.  It was pretty hilarious, and I did a decent job…though some of the questions were pretty ridiculous.  We also opened gifts (hilarious side note: all my gifts were super practical nighties and such.  One of my friends even gave me flannels.  Do my friends know me or what??!).  Afterwards I gave each of the girls a hand written card thanking them for coming and for their friendship over the years.  It was pretty special moment.  I really wanted to find some way to express my gratitude to my ladies, and well… writing worked for me! :)

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Pumpkins, cards, candy, and silly straws…what more could you need?

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My former roomie, Katie!

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My sister and sister-in-laws (Well Katie will be my sister-in-law in June!).

Toward the end of game time my sister started tying pink ribbons on each of the girls’ wrists.  I was confused at first, but she explained that every time I wanted a drink throughout the night all I had to do was untie the ribbon to claim my drink from that friend.  It was BRILLIANT.  1. It allowed me to be in control of how much I was drinking.  Honestly I don’t drink super often and I have a pretty low tolerance.  I really didn’t want to get sloppy, and this brilliant strategy worked perfectly.  2. It spread out the burden over the girls – it allowed them to each buy me a drink without one girl buying a million. I can’t recommend this strategy enough if you’re planning a bachelorette party in the future.

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The whole outfit! I rented my dress from Rent the Runway and found my little veil at Charlotte Russe for 8 bucks. And my sister in law got my sash on Etsy!

We also played a scavenger hunt throughout the night, taking various pictures for each of the requirements.  When Julie asked if I had any preferences about the party months ago, I just told her I didn’t want to get really drunk and I also didn’t want to do anything that would make me feel uncomfortable with other guys.  I picked Adam as my man; I personally didn’t really feel the need to spend time with guys – I was there with my girls!  This scavenger hunt was great because it wasn’t focused on other guys, mainly just doing silly fun things as a group.  Some highlights?  “Dance the Macarena as a group” (which we did to some random rap song in a club.. hilarious) and “take a picture with a police man” (thank goodness it was Halloween, a ‘cop’ jumped right in one of our pictures without us even asking.)  My sister did a perfect job finding fun activities that everyone thoroughly enjoyed without making me feel uncomfortable.

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Loaded up and ready to go to eat a late dinner.

After our “game time” we all loaded up into a 12 passenger taxi to Emeril’s restaurant.  Talk about FANCY!  I was in shock we were somewhere so classy.  This kind of thing just happens on pinterest or  in the movies or to other girls! I was just on cloud nine; I don’t think I’ve ever felt so special in my life. When we walked in, we made quite the splash with our coordinated outfits.  The food was divine and it was SO special being there with my ladies. A few of the toasts brought tears to my eyes, but I was proud I managed to keep it together (success!).  At one point, a little boy came over to our table asking if I was getting married.  I smiled yes and  asked his name (Noah) and age (9) and we took a picture together.  He was so cute and gave his friend a high five when he got back to his table, talk about adorable.  10 minutes later our waiter arrived with 12 fancy shots on a tray… from the two little guys at the table next to us!  Talk about learning how to be smooth with the ladies early on!!  Though, they were there with their Dads and we could tell their whole table was getting a kick out of the whole thing. We eventually reciprocated with 2 Rory Rogers (coke and grenadine… I used to have them as kid).  The whole thing was pretty hilarious and got our night started on the right foot!  After they left, we learned that one of the Dads was the founder of Jimmy John’s!  So the rest of the night we were feeling famous after getting a round from Jimmy John (that was not subs).

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Fancy ladies dining.

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My amazing friend Jess who helped pull this amazingness off. She carved three pumpkins, that’s dedication.

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Our fun masks! With my friend Allie.

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“Uh, did a 9 year old just buy us shots?!”

Once our delicious, fun, and wonderful beyond wonderful dinner ended, we loaded back up and went out to Bourbon Street to experience it in all its glory!  Because it was Halloween weekend it was madness.  People EVERYWHERE.  Costumes EVERYWHERE.  It was just surreal being there.  I LOVE dancing (pretty much nothing I love more, it’s a sick obsession) so we went to dance clubs, karaoke places, and danced some more.  Eventually we headed home around 4 am with some hilarious memories and everyone really in pretty good shape (myself included: success!).  I couldn’t BELIEVE we stayed out til 4 – I struggle to stay up til 11pm normally… this was shocking.  But just goes to show how time flies when you’re having fun.

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All the ladies out on Bourbon!

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The bride says we must dance!

The next day we woke up for a delicious breakfast at the Ruby Slipper, which really hit the spot (hello French Toast!). We wandered back to the hotel and packed up to say goodbye.  Everyone kept saying how amazing the weekend was and how happy they were that they came.  My little heart just wanted to explode.  I am so happy that everyone had such a good time.  I mean it was pretty amazing for me – but I wanted to make sure others had a great time too.

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Brunch the next day… so yummy.

Because I fly standby I had to try for a couple flights (major bummer) and eventually made it out of New Orleans on a flight to Memphis (success.. I thought I’d be in NOLA til Monday). I thought my troubles were behind me, but shocker…eventually got stuck in Memphis overnight.  I looked up how far Nashville was… my wheels were turning, maybe I could make lemonade out of lemons and see Adam!  It was just 3 hours.  I found a car rental for $35 and made the drive to overnight in Nashville.  After such a magical weekend it was AWESOME to get to see Adam, if only for about 2 waking hours!

I made it home late Monday thanks to some flight delays…but all of the hassle has been entirely worth it.  I’m so happy I have all my memories and pictures from such a treasured weekend.  I know I’ll remember this one for a long, long, LONG time.  This week has been a bit sleepier and hectic than usual, but a fair tradeoff for the best weekend ever, don’t you think??

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18 Responses to “The Best Weekend Ever: NOLA 2013”

  1. Catherine @ A Two Storey Home November 1, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    Ahh, this weekend sounds EPIC!! I’m so glad you had such a great time! Your friends and sisters sound amazing :) I love the story about the boys and the shots… that’s awesome that you bought them Roy Rogers. Hahaha! I hope you are able to catch up on sleep this week!

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings November 1, 2013 at 11:08 am #

      Epic is the PERFECT word for it, it was so so epic! :) And you are right about them being amazing – I was just so overwhelmed with love. I’m feeling like an awfully lucky lady! And yes those boys… learning young. It was so so funny. Sleep has been meh this week… hopefully by next week I’m feeling recovered.. too much tap dancing every night. But completely worth it!

  2. sincerelylily November 1, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    ahhh so many good things in this post!!! so… mr speedy is having HIS bachelor party in new orleans at the new year. small world! that is awesome you flew standby…. kudos to your bro for having a sweet job that you can get perks from hehe

    I LOVE YOUR DRESS and love that you used rent the runway! i have yet to try renting something…. but you look super cute and chic, so i think it is time for me to try it out.

    sounds like an awesome weekend! and you are so close to your big day – almost here!

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings November 1, 2013 at 11:10 am #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! And YAY for NOLA Bachelor/Bachelorette parties. Mr. Speedy is going to stinking love it. It’s amazing and truly the perfect place for that kind of event. Just lovely. Let me know if you need any recommendations!

      I ended up going with that dress at the last minute and had RTR deliver it to the hotel. This was my first time using RTR and like you I’d been wanting to try it. This occasion was perfect for it. I loved the experience and I loved the dress.. it was just perfect. I thought about using it for bridal showers/rehearsal dinner too. We’ll see.

      Thanks for the kind words… the big day is almost here! AND that means your big day is getting closer too!! ;) Convenient how that works!

  3. Luv What You Do November 1, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    Looks like a BLAST!
    I’ve never been to NO but I hear it’s a great place for a bachelorette party!

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings November 6, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

      Oh my gosh, it was just AWESOME! It was my first time, and I’d highly recommend it if you ever get the excuse to go :)

  4. PNWRunner November 1, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    So many fun things! Totally jealous! :)
    Your dress is super cute and you look so happy!

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings November 6, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

      Thank you so much!! :) It was such a ridiculous fun weekend. Happy you approve of the dress! Gotta love Rent the Runway!

  5. Elizabeth @ Positive Change November 1, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    I love your dress!! It looks like you had a wonderful wonderful weekend!! Such a fun city to celebrate such a great time in your life!!

  6. Change of Pace November 2, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    Sounds like an absolutely perfect bachelorette weekend with all your ladies! NO would be so perfect since it has a lot to see during the day, too.
    That dress you rented is gorgeous! So happy it was such a fun time!

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings November 6, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

      Oh my gosh is was just divine…and you’re right, the whole day time/night time aspect was perfect. Plenty to do but we never felt rushed. Glad you liked the dress, I put it on and danced around like a 6 year old I was so excited it worked :)

  7. Meghan @ fitnesscrEATures November 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    This is just the most amazing, cute romantic (in a girly way), thoughtful, adorable story/weekend recap ever. Your friends and sisters are amazingggg and every detail looks like it was planned out perfectly for you. I think that dress is amazing and you’re like the 23048th person to use rent the runway with success… I’ll be a believer when I need a dress for something like this! I love the dress code too! So smart! And the pink ribbon! Adorable.
    Flying standby SUCKS so hard but it ended up working out being able to see your fiance! That’s precious and I’m so glad that you enjoyed your bachelorette weekend and like you said, glad that everyone else did too! That’s so important! <3<3 You are beautiful and this just makes me more amped about your actual wedding pictures missy!!

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings November 6, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

      Girl you’re telling me… I am one lucky gal to have my friends/sisters pull something together like this. It was so much freaking fun. I want to have a bachelorette party every year!! ;) So glad you enjoyed the recap – had to get it down for all of posterity! And a yes to RTR.. I had heard so much about it but was so nervous. I actually brought a dress with me to wear in case RTR didn’t work – this was the only way I’d be comfortable trying it. It worked out great! You and those wedding pics. HAHA. I promise they will be here very soon! And I promise to post MANY of them so you can enjoy tons of wedding porn :)

  8. Lucy @ Lucy On The Lookout November 6, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

    Ahh looks like such a lovely weekend Kelly! And love the dress (and the fascinator – totally gorgeous :) ). Like how your hen do focussed on celebrating friendship (as opposed to just getting sloshed) – sounds like my kind of hen do. Glad you got to see your man too to end the trip on a super note. Hope you are still revelling in your best weekend-ever glow!

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings November 6, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

      It was so so lovely Lucy! Happy you love the dress, and I suppose fascinator. I’m so fancy ;) And it was perfect… the focus was on celebrating friendship… with a bit of drinking on the side.. the perfect priority order. I loved it. Hope all is going well with you! :)

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