Expert Wedding Advice: Nathalie Cadet-James


Successfully pulling off a wedding takes balance and creativity. Nathalie A. Cadet-James, founder of Luxe Fête Event Planning and Design Studio in Miami, uses her experience as an interior designer to elegantly blend the couple’s style, the ambiance and the attitude into a chic affair. Cadet-James shares her secrets to an unbelievable evening.

nathalie cadet-jamesHow does a bride decide on her wedding atmosphere?

Personalizing a wedding is as easy as asking yourselves, “Who are we and what defines our relationship” Once you narrow it down, create a loose inspiration board filled with images you love and that represent both you and your fiancé. The element that gets you most excited is your “brand. For example, let’s say your favorite pictures in your inspiration board are set in the great outdoors. Why not bring it to your wedding by using natural and organic containers [and] twine and raffia incorporated into your invitations, favors and escort cards Keep in mind the tone of your wedding is set as early as your invitations, so be sure to have a general idea of your branding before anything goes out the door.

Why is the inspiration board a vital decor tool?

An inspiration board to a wedding is a like a zipper to a tight dress. It holds it together and keeps you on track in terms of your design and vision. Ideally, you could share your inspiration board with different vendors and each item they designed for your wedding would still be cohesive.

What are some fresh design approaches?

We treat wedding design as if we were commissioned to create art. After we’ve listened to your vision and story [and] after we’ve seen the images that inspire you, we create boards and renderings that translate everything into reality. Funny enough, as cool as it is to be trendy, most of our brides want some classic element to ground their design. We like to say, “We’ll design a wedding that’s fab, but not so trendy that 10 years from now you’ll cringe at the pictures but definitely, it won’t be your momma’s wedding.

One of the hottest trends that I am seeing is the use of the letters L-O-V-E. There are so many fun ways to incorporate this famous four-letter word.

How can you keep your guests talking about a reception after the last glass of Champagne?

Yes, they want to witness your union, yes they love you dearly, but for the love of God, give the people what they want—a party! Understanding the demographic of your wedding guests is crucial when considering your entertainment. For an American/Brazilian wedding, we hired beautiful costumed samba dancers to teach the guests some cute routines (after a few rounds of caipirinhas, of course). It was so much fun and definitely the talk of the town long after the reception.

What are some creative mementos to offer guests?

Most people will throw away those wedding favors you spent so much time coordinating with your theme, but one thing they will always cherish is a personalized gift. I love the idea of creating a simple mini scrapbook for each guest. If that seems daunting, try handwriting a personal note on beautiful stationery to each person. Once your guests realize their note is different from the next person, you’ll hear a sea of “oohs and ahhs. Don’t be surprised if you walk into your friend’s home in a few years and see your note framed. True story.

What are some unique locations to host a wedding in Florida?

I remember watching the remake of Father of the Bride, and laughing at the two very different visions both father and mother had for their daughter’s backyard wedding. Today, the quaint notion of marrying in a simple backyard is fresher than ever and, trust me, can be extremely luxurious and beautiful. South Florida is home to some of the most amazing estates in the country. Think oceanfront or waterfront, privacy and splendidness.

How can a bride help you properly plan her vision?

I want to learn about a couple’s personal style and lifestyle: What restaurants, hotels and travel locales do they love What’s their story How do they spend their free time How is their home decorated What design styles do they gravitate toward I want to see anything that inspires them. That is where the perfect wedding design comes from.

How does fashion and interior design influence your vision for decor?

Fashion, interior design and weddings are definitely close cousins. I’d even throw in exotic locations into the family mix. Good interior and fashion designers tell stories with their work. I love to interpret how the story is told, to see the materials and colors used and the way the design is accessorized. My travels also serve an important role in my design process. I pretend I am a photographer and take tons of pictures for inspiration. All these visual images are ripe sources of inspiration for all of my wedding design.

What is the most creative themes/schemes you’ve executed?

One of the most creative concepts I’ve executed was a rock’n’roll inspired wedding photo shoot. Our directive was to make it edgy, fun but sweet. Our bride channeled her inner Madonna with a black belt around her Dolce & Gabbana gown, and the groom wore a polka-dotted tuxedo jacket with black skinny jeans. Their head table included two vintage Louis armchairs that were painted a bright fuchsia, [and] zebra patterned plates.

An inspiration board can inspire your personal brand and make your wedding memorable long after the ceremony.


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