How the Louisiana Wedding Association will impact your business by promoting Louisiana to the Wedding Industry Worldwide

Reverend Tony Talavera cordially invites you to join him in the forming of The Louisiana Wedding Association

Topic of Discussion: How the Louisiana Wedding Association will impact your business by promoting Louisiana to the Wedding Industry Worldwide

When: Monday – May 1, 2017
Where: 1000 N. Rampart Street @ St. Philip
New Orleans, LA 70122
Time: 6pm-8pm
Brian D. Lawrence

Featured National Speaker:
Brian D. Lawrence

Brian is one of the foremost authorities on marketing in the wedding industry blending a rich career as both a multi-store owner and former longtime VP of a leading wholesale wedding invitation brand. Brian has created websites and consulted with many wedding vendors and as well as national brands.  A speaker multiple times at Wedding MBA, columnist for the trade publication Vows Magazine, he currently serves as a marketing consultant to numerous local and national wedding companies nationwide.

For more information contact Pierre Roberts 504-323-7981,

Louisiana ordered to pay $154,000 over blocked marriage law

image via moodboard

(image via moodboard)

February 22, 2018
By The Associated Press

A federal judge Wednesday ordered the state of Louisiana to pay more than $150,000 in fees and costs to attorneys for a man who successfully challenged a law that prevented him and other foreign-born U.S. citizens from getting married.

U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle’s order comes more than six months after he permanently blocked the marriage law.

Lawyers who represented Lafayette resident Viet Anh Vo had asked for nearly $213,000 in fees and more than $11,267 in costs. Lemelle awarded them $144,614 in fees and $10,140 in costs.

The Indonesia-born Vo sued in 2016 after he and his U.S.-born fiancee had their application for a marriage license rejected by court clerks in three parishes. The law blocked Vo from getting a license because he couldn’t produce a birth certificate.

Vo was born in an Indonesian refugee camp after his parents fled Vietnam. Neither country’s government recognized his birth. Vo has lived in Louisiana since he was 3 months old and became a U.S. citizen when he was 8.

Vo and his fiancee, Heather Pham, spent thousands of dollars and invited 350 guests to their wedding in February 2016 before their application for a marriage license was rejected by court clerks in Iberia, Vermilion and Lafayette parishes. The couple went ahead with the ceremony, but couldn’t make their marriage official until Lemelle ruled in their favor.


Louisiana’s birth certificate requirement for marriages blocked in court

March 22, 2017
By The Associated Press

A federal court has blocked a Louisiana law that requires marriage license applicants to have a birth certificate, finding it denies equal protection rights to those born in foreign countries.

A federal judge blocked a Louisiana marriage law on Wednesday (March 22), saying its birth certificate requirement violates the rights of foreign-born U.S. citizens.

Viet Anh Vo and his U.S.-born fiancee, Heather Pham, embraced and cried with their attorneys in the courtroom after the judge announced his preliminary injunction.

The 2015 law was meant to deter foreigners from gaining visas and citizenship through sham marriages by denying licenses to people who don’t present certified copies of their birth certificates.

But U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle said it denies some foreign-born U.S. citizens their equal protection rights as well as the fundamental right to marry.

“It treats him differently from citizens born in the United States or its territories, Lemelle said.”

Rep. Valerie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, was the sponsor of the legislation. She did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Vo, 32, said he planned to take Pham out to dinner Wednesday night to celebrate ruling. He joked that he might even make another marriage proposal over dinner.

As soon as Thursday, the couple plans to go back to the clerk’s office in their Lafayette hometown to get a marriage license. They may even officially tie the knot over the weekend.

Surprised and relieved by his victory, Vo said it shows

“one person can actually make a change in the world.”

“I just hope others can look at my situation and fight for their rights, too,” he added.

Vo, who goes by Victor, is a U.S. citizen who has lived in Louisiana since he was three months old. He was born in an Indonesian refugee camp after his parents fled Vietnam, and said neither country will certify his birth.

Vo and Pham spent thousands of dollars and invited 350 guests to their wedding before their application for a marriage license was rejected last year. They tried at three separate parishes, but were denied each time by court clerks.

They went ahead with the ceremony and exchanged wedding bands, but their marriage has lacked legal status.

“The couple, greatly disappointed, proceeded to hold a sacramental marriage in their Catholic Church. This marriage, however, is not legally recognized by Defendants or the State of Louisiana,” his court papers say.

Vo is represented by the New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice and the National Immigration Law Center. Alvaro Huerta, a Los Angeles-based attorney for the law center, said the ruling enables the couple to immediately obtain a marriage license.

Their lawsuit says Vo automatically became a U.S. citizen as a child, when his parents became citizens, and he has official U.S. government documents reflecting his birth, refugee status and legal residency. It says he’s working on getting a certificate of citizenship and a U.S. passport, but the state law doesn’t recognize either document.

Lawyers for the state and parishes noted before the hearing that Vo’s complaint didn’t say whether he went to a judge for relief from the law. They asked the judge to apply any remedy to Vo alone.

In court, Neal Elliott, an attorney for the state health department, asserted again that Vo’s situation is unique. He also said the department has suggested legislation to address the constitutional issues, but acknowledged that there is no guarantee it would become law.

Lemelle gave no indication from the bench that his injunction applies only to Vo. Lawyers are waiting to see his written ruling.

“We don’t know if it’s going to extend to others, but we presume so,” said Huerta.

– Kevin McGill and Michael Kunzleman, Associated Press