Countdown to 'I Do': Part 3

Countdown to 'I Do': Part 3
ESSENCE.COM Mar, 23, 2009

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Welcome Back! It’s Pamela Edwards (pictured here with my hubby-to-be Nigel), Beauty Editor of ESSENCE magazine. We’re up to my third edition of Countdown to ‘I Do’ on ESSENCE.com.

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And take a peek at my inaugural post »

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I paid a visit to the downtown New York City Tracy Reese boutique for some bridesmaid options. The great thing about having only one grownup attendant is that she can wear a pretty dress from anywhere. Here I am with the boutique manager, Stevie, with one of his favorite options.

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Another Tracy Reese sales associate, Sarah, lets me know that she’s received several calls for this dress for bridal. Of course it helps that First Lady Michelle Obama wore it on the cover of People magazine. Pink is pretty…

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But I think I like this one better for a bridesmaid!

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5 of 20 Jennifer Cooper

Speaking of something for bridesmaids: One of my greatest discoveries in this wedding process? The experience of a customized fragrance. Neil Morris, neilmorrisfragrances.com, paid me a visit, and 50 questions and 200 sniffs later I had my own scent.

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Remember Johnny? I paid another visit to my tailor-extraordinaire this week. We’ve added some tulle to the dress equation…

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I haven’t forgotten to use my talented friends in this wedding planning process. Karen Oliver is one of the most creative people I know. She runs her own P.R. firm by day, but also sews, paints and designs like a pro. When Johnny asked me to get tulle, I turned straight to K.O. Here she is in BJ’s Fabrics in New York City comparing tulle bolts to my swatch.

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I had a photo shoot for work last week, where I ran across these show-stopping sandals by Cesare Paciotti. I really don’t want to wear white shoes….so these pink strappys could be a winner.

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At my New York bridal shower in February, there were showers of tears. I don’t know what got into everyone, the food was amazing and the well-wishes I’ll remember forever. K.O. styled the table….check out the pretty white roses, bows and cupcakes…We’re ordering the same ribbon for my wedding programs. I’ll get to that next week. The hit of the day were the Tarte Nigel and Pam lipglosses…

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10 of 20 Jennifer Cooper

Aren’t these the cutest?!? All of my New York shower attendees received one of these as a thank-you gift. If you want them for your bridal shower favors, visit tartecosmetics.com.

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Many of you have asked, why New Orleans? I’m from Virginia; Nigel’s from Trinidad. We have no family there…but we fell in love with this great town, together, six years ago on our first visit. It was after seeing the documentary “Faubourg Treme, The Untold Story of Black New Orleans,” (tremedoc.com), that we were inspired to wed in The Big Easy. We want to spend our money in our beloved town which needs the financial flow.

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Speaking of courtyards, we found a gorgeous one for the big day in The French Quarter, Cafe Amelie (princessofmonaco.com). The food is delicious…

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The restaurant Dooky Chase is a New Orleans institution. Damages from Katrina have prevented the hot spot from reopening, but proprietor Leah Chase (left) is still dishing out gumbo and much more via her catering services. Nigel called last week and placed our order for the rehearsal dinner. We’ve got a serious gumbo jones, and we can’t wait to introduce our friends and family to this authentic N.O. cuisine.

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While Nigel was handling the catering, I booked our Second Line band, the Treme Brass Band. I spoke to their leader, snare drummer Benny Jones, Sr., who, thank God, said they were free on the eleventh! When I discovered that New Orleanians second line for weddings, I was hooked on this being a part of my big day.

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Got any song ideas for my first dance with my dad? Let me know. We’re still kicking around options….

See you next week!

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Before my first trip to N.O., an aesthetician friend of mind recommended we stay at her fave Bed & Breakfast, Monrose Row, monroserow.com. The proprietor, Cindy Keuffer is a true New Orleanian historian and makes a scrumptious blueberry muffin. This gorgeous 170 year-old building is in the heart of the Treme. Free people of color settled there in the 1800s and it’s arguably the birthplace of jazz––good stuff.

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One of the best things about New Orleans are the lush hidden courtyards. This is the courtyard of Monrose Row, a favorite place to chill after too many hurricanes….

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And Nigel loves the fountain, the second oldest in N.O.!

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K.O. showed off her entertainment skills when she hosted, along with my dearest college friends Nat (left) and Jules (right) my New York shower….

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This beauty prep for the wedding is a process. I swear by deep conditioning hair treatments which is why I returned to the Eiji Salon, eiji-newyork.com after they enticed me their Cashmere Hair Treatment, a protein and moisturizing mask followed by lots of steam. Here I am under the watchful eye of stylist Jess Hong.

Check out last week’s post here »

And take a peek at my inaugural post »