Planning your big day in the Big Easy? Get started by reading our list of ideas for a variety of wedding styles, from luxury ceremonies to budget receptions.

Classic Romance

Enchanting Venues
From quaint courtyards to historic homes, prepare to be swept off your feet in some of New Orleans’ most romantic settings. Choose one of the many wedding venues in the Garden District, a charming neighborhood with Victorian mansions and pristine gardens. These venues are ideal for brides who would like the ceremony and reception in the same location.

For the ultimate Southern gala, à la Gone with the Wind, invite your guests to an enchanting evening at a nearby plantation. At these historic estates, you can say your “I do’s” amid moss-laden, hundred-year-old oak trees, followed by cocktail hour on a sweeping veranda. As night falls, head indoors for dinner and dancing in elegantly appointed rooms. Many plantations even offer overnight accommodations, making it easy for guests (and newlyweds) to relax after the festivities.

Cocktail Hour
Mingling comes naturally with a sophisticated cocktail in hand, especially in the city that invented the cocktail. Serve guests a New Orleans classic like the French 75, a delightful blend of cognac, Champagne, freshly squeezed lemon juice and a sugar cube. 


Low-Cost Reception Ideas
Food costs at your wedding reception can add up quickly, but an easy way to nix a hefty catering bill is to host a cocktail reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres, rather than a sit-down dinner. Feature flavors of New Orleans with finger foods like petite po-boys, mini muffalettas and bite-sized beignets. 

If a sit-down meal isn’t something you want to go without on your big day, consider hosting a jazz brunch reception. People tend to eat and drink less at brunch than they would at an extravagant nighttime affair, and a morning or midday reception often can save money on venue fees.  Serve up New Orleans breakfast specialties like chicken and waffles, eggs Sardou (a dreamy combo of poached eggs, artichoke hearts, spinach and topped with hollandaise sauce) and pain perdu (New Orleans’ version of French toast), and make the morning special by hiring a jazz trio for live music. You also can save money on your alcohol budget by featuring a mimosa or Creole Bloody Mary bar, rather than hosting a full bar.

Inexpensive Party Favors
As guests leave, give them a taste of New Orleans to take home. For a spicy gift, send them off with Creole seasoning and a mini bottle of Tabasco sauce, or put together something sweet, like pralines and Café du Monde beignet mix.


Lively Venues
Harness the Big Easy’s dazzling music scene with a reception at one of the city’s many jazz clubs or music venues. A popular option for private events and weddings is Preservation Hall, a historic venue built in 1750 that is known for its traditional New Orleans jazz concerts. If you’ve already chosen your dream wedding venue, why not hire a local jazz trio or live brass band? It’ll get guests moving on the dance floor, and it’s a great way for music lovers to bring some authentic New Orleans sounds to their reception.

Add a Local Tradition
One of the most popular traditions during New Orleans weddings is the famous second line parade. A lively brass band leads the wedding party and guests from the church to the reception venue. Why “second line”? The band and the newly married couple make up the first section of the parade, and the celebrating guests follow behind, forming the second line. The revelers wave handkerchiefs or cocktail napkins while the bride and groom twirl elaborate umbrellas. Find out more about how to obtain a New Orleans street parade permit.


Unexpected Venues
Brides with a nonconformist bent will love the array of non-traditional wedding venues in New Orleans. Turn your special day into a unique party at Rock ‘n’ Bowl, a rockin’ bowling alley with live music and options for private parties and catering. Or step aboard the Creole Queen paddlewheeler for an open-air wedding on the mighty Mississippi River.

Outrageous Ceremony Ideas
For a truly alternative wedding ceremony, turn to Bloody Mary’s, the company known for paranormal walking tours and eerie nighttime events. They offer a range of unusual ceremony options, such as a Gothic graveyard wedding, voodoo rituals, Celtic hand fasting, a Renaissance-themed wedding and more. For the reception, keep the theme going with a spooky soiree or haunted pub crawl. 


Glamorous Venues
Revel in Old World glamour when you plan your luxury wedding in New Orleans. You can take your pick from a number of premier hotels that pay homage to the classic elegance of New Orleans’ past. These properties feature decadent details like sweeping staircases, dazzling crystal chandeliers, grand ballrooms and gilded lobbies, and their on-site planning specialists take the stress out of organizing your big day.

Decadent Food
If money is no object, why not splurge on some of the city’s most decadent dishes? Think: seafood galore. Guests will love New Orleans classics like Oysters Rockefeller, boiled Louisiana shrimp, garlicky escargot, jumbo lump crab cakes and fried soft-shell crabs with hot melted butter.


Chic Venues
Maybe Victorian parlors and horse-drawn carriages feel a little too old-fashioned for your tastes — not a problem. New Orleans also has plenty to offer contemporary couples looking to tie the knot in a modern venue. Plan a sophisticated soiree in one of the Contemporary Arts Center’s exhibit spaces, or opt for an intimate art gallery on nearby Julia Street.

If you prefer a one-stop location, plan your big day at the W New Orleans, which comes fully loaded with jet setter-approved amenities like an outdoor rooftop pool, sultry nightlife venue and chic tapas-style restaurant. 

Contemporary Cuisine
Make the most of the city’s creative culinary scene by choosing a menu featuring contemporary Louisiana fare. This genre artfully blends classic Cajun-Creole dishes with modern presentations and inventive ingredients. For dessert, opt for one of New Orleans’ latest trends, like a new-fangled ice cream float made with prosecco, blood orange sorbet and vanilla ice cream.

Let Us Help 

For assistance in planning your wedding in New Orleans, contact Leslie Straughan at lstraughan@neworleanscvb.com800-748-8695, ext. 5018, 504-566-5018 or click here for more wedding information.

Photo Credit: Miles|Weaver, Chris Granger