Welcome to New Orleans, where the city never sleeps and the party never ends! Whether your bachelor party is here for the food, the drinks or simply looking for a good time, New Orleans has plenty of options fit for a memorable pre-wedding weekend. In this city, any way you choose to celebrate will end in fun, but we’ll present you with a suggested itinerary filled with a few must-include activities for your Big Easy bachelor party weekend.
For your first day in the Crescent City, grab lunch and a few brews at Gordon Biersch. This brewery restaurant serves up their own beer alongside made-from-scratch creative cuisine. After lunch, spend your afternoon exploring this lively city with all your friends.
At night let the drinks, dice and good times roll at Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel and Casino! Located in the heart of downtown New Orleans, Harrah’s is a great place to start the night. Begin with dinner at the highly acclaimed, Besh Steak. Here, you and your crew can feast at the Chef’s Table for a dinner personally prepared by the restaurant’s Executive Chef.
Feeling lucky? Following dinner, head over to the casino! With over 100 table games, 20 poker tables and more than 1,800 slot machines, you and your friends can try your luck all night long. Play a game of Texas Hold’em, Omaha or 7 Card Stud with your entourage and up the ante by reserving a private gaming table just for you all to enjoy!
The fun doesn’t have to stop there. Aside from gaming and dining, Harrah’s offers an assortment of entertainment options. You and your bachelor party crew can party it up at Masquerade, one of the hottest nightspots in the city, featuring some of the best DJs, an ice bar and a VIP ultra-lounge.
Take a pit stop from the traditional bachelor party festivities and engage in some friendly competition at Nola Motorsports. This 700-acre park would be perfect for the groom-to-be with a need for speed. As home to the largest karting track in the country, you and your crew can enjoy 40 acres of pure go-kart racing fun, filled with hair raising twists and turns.
For something a little more extreme, strap on a helmet, hop in the driver’s seat and go head-to-head with your squad in some of the world’s best supercars. Choose from the Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini LP560-4, Porsche 911 GT3 or the Nissan GT-R for some high-speed fun during your weekend bachelor bash.
Consider a track-side hospitality tent for the whole gang so you can kick back and relax with a perfect view of your friends battling nearby. With all inclusive packages that include luxury transportation to and from the track, champagne and more, you can enjoy hours of adrenaline pumping fun, surrounded by friends.
The night is still young! Get cleaned up, hop in a cab and head over to the Warehouse District. Here, you’ll find Barcadia— an eclectic bar that combines the nostalgia of childhood with flavors suited for the grown-up palette. Grab a drink or two from the bar’s extensive menu and channel your inner child with a game of Pac-Man with friends. With a menu full of gourmet grub and a matchless collection of vintage arcade games, you can eat, drink and play with friends until the early morning!
After a weekend of non-stop thrill you may want to take it easy before heading back home. Round up your friends and start your morning at New Orleans City Park with a cup of Café au lait and beignets from Morning Call.
After breakfast, stick around City Park for a relaxing game of golf. A traditional game is fine, but in New Orleans we have a way of making just about everything uniquely ours. While in the Big Easy for your last day, let tradition take the back seat as you tee it high and let it fly with a round or two of City Park Disc Golf. Few places are more tranquil than City Park and with a game of Disc Golf you can explore it in its entirety!
Let us help you plan a one-of-a-kind bachelor party trip to New Orleans! For Complimentary Planning Assistance, please click here.
Congratulations, you’re engaged! Now the planning for your New Orleans wedding begins! We know how easy it is to get caught up in a whirlwind of seemingly endless decisions—from picking out the perfect dress or tuxedo to securing a venue for your ceremony. On this list of must-haves, wedding welcome bags are nowhere to be found. But, your wedding day is all about you and your spouse-to-be, so you can’t forget about the people who have traveled from a distance to support you both.
It’s expected to incorporate something old, new, borrowed and blue on your wedding day, but why wait? Make your Big Easy wedding all the more memorable for your traveling guests, instead! When it comes to wedding welcome bags, finding the ideal options to include can be overwhelming. Thankfully New Orleans is brimming with possibilities. With a culture unmatched, food unrivaled and traditions aplenty, this city makes it easy to greet out-of-town guests with unique and unforgettable tokens of appreciation. Here are a few ideas on how to include this age-old trend in your wedding welcome bags.
New Orleans is certainly a city of tradition. For generations, people have second-lined through the vibrant city streets; dancing and waving handkerchiefs in the air. Guests have strolled through the French Quarter time and time again only to end up at Café du Monde where they’ve experienced those sweet and savory beignets.
For your “Something Old”, try incorporating century-old New Orleans traditions in your welcome bags. Local print shops can help you add a personalized touch to handkerchiefs by embroidering a sweet message and don’t forget to include a bag of Café du Monde beignet mix so your guests can bring a little taste of New Orleans back home.
The Fleur de Lis symbol and New Orleans go hand in hand. The symbol is omnipresent; seen in architecture throughout the city, on pieces of jewelry, flags and on the helmets of our beloved National Football Team, The New Orleans Saints.
For your “something new”, combine the love of the Fleur de Lis with the city’s love of libations by giving your guests fleur-de-lis bottle openers. Not only will they come in handy on your big day, but when your guests return home to celebrate on their own, they’ll always be reminded of your New Orleans wedding.
With a unique mix of Cajun, French, African and European influences, it is no surprise why New Orleans is famous for its one-of-a-kind cuisine. Why not borrow a tasty New Orleans recipe to add to your wedding welcome bags? From Shrimp and Grits to the classic Chicken & Andouille Gumbo, there are many dishes that would be perfect for your guests to try. And, don’t forget dessert! Let your guests satisfy their sweet tooth with any one of your favorite Big Easy sweet treats and send them off with a cocktail recipe so the party won’t end beyond the city limits. For a tailored touch, place the recipe of your choice on a luggage tag for each of your traveling guests.
It’s impossible to roam the city of New Orleans without the sound of music filling the air. Give the gift of music to your traveling guests by adding some blues music to your welcome bags. With legendary artists such as Fats Domino and Dr. John, New Orleans is filled with blues musicians and the Louisiana Music Factory has plenty of options for you to consider.
For the busy bride or groom-to-be, don’t fret! The Basketry provides beautifully packaged gift baskets filled with New Orleans favorites. You can even customize the basket to make it perfect for your traveling guests and have it shipped directly to you.
Your guests will to be excited about your New Orleans wedding that they’ll want to know all the great things they can do while here to celebrate your big day. The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau can assist with giving sample itineraries to keep guests busy throughout the stay. We can also provide you with complimentary French Quarter Walking Maps and Official New Orleans Visitors Guides, crammed full of information, ideas and special offers for your guests.
With weddings trending toward extravagant affairs, children at destination weddings can be a topic of differing opinions. Some couples prefer an adults-only celebration while others think “the more the merrier.” It is the wedding couple’s decision on whether children are invited, but is it okay to bring the entire family to the destination for the pre-and-post activities? This topic can be even stickier when it involves a destination wedding.
The best way to eliminate guesswork for your guests is to clearly state who is invited on the invitation for the ceremony and reception. Including “and family” or the individual children’s names is the best way to make it clear that they are invited.
If the couple does not want children to attend, many opt for adding “adult-only” wording added to the save-the-date or invitation.
The weekend itinerary is very important for all guests. If the guests’ schedule is packed with a pre-wedding spa day, bachelor/bachelorette party, and post-wedding brunch; they may be more inclined to see this as a wedding weekend, not just being away for the actual ceremony. Likewise, if the guests are only invited for the ceremony and reception, they may be inclined to work out a sitter for a few hours.
Leaving the children at home may not be an option for some guests. If you know that some of your close friends cannot make the arrangements without missing the wedding, having some resources available will help the parents navigate the festivities.
Putting together a list baby sitters or sitting services for the parents would be a very beneficial resource. If budget allows, a nice touch would be to have a sitter available at a nearby location for guests to utilize.
If leaving the child is not an option, an alternative may be available for guests. Destinations such as New Orleans have a great appeal. There may be a parent or family member who would not mind being a permanent babysitter for the weekend. Additionally, many Convention & Visitors Bureaus can refer you to a list of family-friendly activities.
Families come in all shapes and sizes. Many soon-to-be-newlyweds are embracing children in their wedding celebrations. Destination weddings can incorporate kid-friendly activities throughout the weekend. Many New Orleans attractions are family friendly and can be a great addition to the wedding weekend.
Destination weddings follow the same rules of etiquette as a “local” wedding. Many couples realize that having a destination wedding is asking more of a group of guests. Ultimately the choice of the couple should be honored if possible. Who knows, many parents may see your wedding as a chance to reconnect and will want to keep the kids at home.
Getting engaged is an unforgettable time in a person’s life. You and your fiancé share a euphoric moment that is only a prelude to the joy you’ll share spending the rest of your lives together. Taking engagement photos is the perfect way to capture the overflowing love shown on this day and will ensure the memories last forever.
With grand plantations, enchanting gardens and breathtaking architecture, New Orleans can provide the perfect backdrop to commemorate this special time in your life. Here are a few of the countless picture perfect spots New Orleans has to offer for your engagement photo shoot:
New Orleans City Park offers a multitude of scenic options for your engagement photos. The 1,300 acre park is home to majestic live oak trees draped in Spanish moss, with a blooming wildflower field and bridges that cross a winding waterway. For couples who enjoy romantic and relaxing atmospheres, the lush Botanical Garden can create a serene setting perfect for any shoot. The unique Sculpture Garden inside the park can be an ideal backdrop for couples who share a love for the arts. Be sure to obtain a permit for photography and this outdoor wonderland can serve as a flawless background for your pre-wedding photographs.
The French Quarter proves that you certainly don’t have to break the bank in order to get great engagement photos. The versatility of the French Quarter provides couples with a plethora of free photo-shoot options. The colorful streetscapes and stunning architecture add to the natural photo-ready scenes of New Orleans. From the picturesque courtyards and historical buildings, to the hustling and bustling streets, there is something to please every couple. The Quarters are filled with plenty of hidden gems and has something spectacular looming around each corner.
Nestled in the heart of the French Quarter, Jackson Square rests facing the mighty Mississippi River. This beautifully landscaped park is anchored by two historic buildings— the Cabildo and the Presbytère. The square remains one of the most iconic and heavily photographed spots in New Orleans; And for good reason! The cast iron fence surrounding Jackson Square is some of the finest ironwork around, with engraved fleur-de-lis and coquille on its posts. With the St. Louis Cathedral glowing overhead, your photos will be elegant and timeless. A fee and permit is required to properly secure your session but after doing so, let the good times roll! This Big Easy beauty will be perfect for your engagement photos.
Outside of New Orleans, settled along scenic River Road, is the home to some of the South’s most magnificent antebellum estates. Their incredible architecture and manicured gardens can surely set the tone for a swoon-worthy engagement shoot.
Built in 1840, the Houmas House and Gardens is a one-of-a-kind estate. The two and a half story brick mansion is upheld by stunning Greek columns and features a white-picketed belvedere overlooking the property. Booking Houmas House Plantation and Gardens for your engagement photos will provide you and your love with 38 acres brimming with live oak trees and beautiful gardens. The breathtaking backdrop will create enchanting memories and photographs to last a lifetime.
Oak Alley Plantation provides the quintessential Southern charm that many hope to capture in their engagement photos. Featured in countless movies and music videos, this Greek revival style mansion sits atop 25 historic acres of antebellum elegance. The estate features a tree-lined walkway with 28 live oaks leading up to its entrance. With the allure and fairytale charm of Oak Alley as your backdrop, you won’t regret scheduling your shoot at this classic southern home. Oak Alley Plantation is a spectacular setting for the engagement photos of your dreams.
With a vibrant facade to match its colorful history, the San Francisco Plantation is six acres of antebellum elegance and charm. This uniquely designed estate is brimming with eye-catching backdrops for unforgettable pictures. From the century-old oaks surrounding this eclectic estate to the hand-painted ceilings inside, there are a number of options that will do your photo shoot justice. Choosing San Francisco Plantation for your engagement photos will add a pop of color and a touch of elegance to your timeless pre-wedding photographs.
Capture the photographs of your dreams at the Longue Vue House and Gardens. This charming 8-acre estate is the perfect spot for couples who want to include the beauty of the outdoors in their photos. An alley of oak trees introduces this grand estate and the ornate gardens only complement its beauty. The masterfully landscaped grounds provide a lush and effortless backdrop. From the bursts of color in the garden, to the opulence of the manor itself, the home provides endless options for couples who desire a photography session on-site.
With so much culture, history and European influence, New Orleans is no doubt a city filled with romance. Glamour and excitement light up the night no matter the time of year, and finding the perfect spot for a date or romantic rendezvous is an easy task no matter the exact locale.
But, like any city, NOLA has its shining stars. Check out the following three romantic neighborhoods that are top rated for romance based on amenities and popularity amongst newly wedded couples.
While the Garden District is filled with top-rated restaurants, taking a walk through the scenic streets can make for a date in itself. Stroll down the sidewalks and gaze at the Mid 19th Century Victorian architecture on a Sunday afternoon date with your loved one. Alternatively, if you’re single and looking for a new place to live, moving to the Garden District is an option as well. About half – 54 percent – of the residents in the Garden District are not single, and the median age is 48 years old. However, prices in the Garden District are higher than other neighborhoods throughout NOLA with an average list price of $1,235,363 and median rent of $4,300 per month.
Located in the smack dab of NOLA, Mid-City is a neighborhood packed with restaurants, bars, cafes and music venues. Residents and visitors can step just a few blocks outside their doors to reach a bustling hotspot, with delicious local eats or exciting live shows. Café Degas, just one of many acclaimed eateries in Mid-City, is popular amongst couples as it leaves many patrons feeling as though they visited Paris for the evening. Whether you’re single looking for love or newly wedded, Mid-City is yet another attractive option for relocation. Residents in Mid-City tend to skew younger, with a median age of 34 years old. Most residents rent over own homes in Mid-City, as only 28 percent of locals are homeowners. The median rent in Mid-City is $1,500 per month, while the average list price is $349,394.
The Arts/Warehouse District, also referred to as the Lower Garden District, is yet another popular and vibrant community in the city of New Orleans. Residents of the Arts/Warehouse District vary between millennial and Generation X, with a median age of 35 years old. Living in the Arts/Warehouse District costs a median $1,650 per month for renters, or $512,399 for homebuyers – assuming they pay the average list price.
Keep in mind, the best spots for romance are those where you create lasting memories, no matter the surroundings. Whether you opt to live in the Garden District, relocate to Mid City or look for a home in the Arts/Warehouse area, choosing a home with your loved one in your favorite neighborhood can be the perfect start to a happy, long-lasting relationship.
The guys go with guys and the girls go with the girls. Traditionally, this is how bachelor/bachelorette parties have gone. But who said that the bride and groom-to-be have to celebrate the end of their single lives separately? And what are you to do if you and your future spouse share a group of friends? Try having one awesome co-ed celebration! This can be an experience for everyone to enjoy. After all, the more, the merrier! Festivals are a great way for the whole gang to come together for the weekend or even for just a day. With festivals year-round showcasing its extraordinary food and electrifying music and art, New Orleans is a city that undeniably brings people together and will definitely show you a good time!
New Orleans is known as the birthplace of jazz and it’s impossible to roam the city without the sound of music filling the air. If you and your spouse-to-be are
music lovers, then a music festival would be a perfect idea for your co-ed celebration! The festivals below will be a sure smash and have a diverse lineup so there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Every March, there are plenty of live artists performing, installations filled with eccentric art, and food vendors! “Too Buku” weekend VIP pass holders receive a private section on the S.S. Buku with elevated views of the main stage. With complimentary bottle service, access to the artist/staff-only Grand Oaks Mansion, and access to a licensed massage therapist, this will definitely be an unforgettable weekend. That is, of course, if you don’t party too hard at the exclusive after-party of your choice that comes with this package.
With jazz, pop, funk, hip-hop, rock, zydeco, indie, and blues, Jazz Fest has live entertainment for everyone. The seven-day music festival is held at the end of April through the beginning of May at the historic Fair Grounds Race Course. If you want to view all the action up-close then the Krewe of Jazz Fest VIP package may be just right for you. With high-end folding seats along with private, upscale restroom facilities and a dedicated beverage concession area, your squad can enjoy Jazz Fest right in front of the Acura Stage. Everyone will be able to celebrate in style, while watching musical superstars perform just feet away.
Known as the “party with a purpose”, Essence Festival is a celebration of contemporary black music and culture. Past performers include Beyoncé, Charlie Wilson, Jill Scott, Frankie Beverly, Maze and the locally formed Rebirth Brass Band. Your co-ed celebration can be spent front and center in the Superdome watching your favorites perform with the VIP Weekend Ticket package. You can also enjoy a more intimate performance with artists performing in the four, club-level, super lounges. This will be a truly memorable experience for everyone.
Each October, the Voodoo Music Experience hosts a spellbinding weekend of music, food and culture in the Big Easy. With past performers such as Metallica, Drake, Outkast and the Foo Fighters, this Halloween-themed festival has continuously been a hit. You can dress up in a costume or arrive as you are. With food, drinks, interactive large-scale art installations, live entertainment and even carnival rides, the atmosphere at this festival will give your entire group a chance to let loose and have fun.
If it’s food that you and your bride or groom-to-be enjoy, then you’ve come to the right place. New Orleans and food are practically one and the same. From
gumbo to beignets, there is never a shortage of food here. Your group can savor the flavor for your celebration at any of these fine food festivals.
Calling all food and wine lovers! Each spring thousands of food and wine enthusiasts gather in the French Quarter for the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience. The festival showcases hundreds of wineries and restaurants that feature local flavor and innovative new creations. Top chefs from around the city come together for this four-day event to create culinary experiences like no other. Whether you’re a group of food connoisseurs, or you’re just looking for a tasty time on the town, this festival has packages to please everyone in your party.
If your group enjoys a cocktail, shake things up for your co-ed celebration at this week-long festival! Each summer, the Tales of the Cocktail festival fills the French Quarter with thousands of people alongside some of the country’s best mixologists and bartenders. You and your crew can also enjoy lectures, book signings, dinner pairings, cooking and mixing demonstrations. Let the drinks and the good times roll!
With the Gulf of Mexico nearby, the Big Easy serves up some of the best fresh seafood around. You and your crew can get a taste of New Orleans at this much-loved three-day festival. With free admission you all can enjoy three days of live music, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, local arts and crafts, and cuisine from top New Orleans restaurants and caterers. For the food lovers, music lovers, art lovers and even shoppers, this festival has you covered.
The culture of New Orleans is certainly unlike any other city in the world. This is evidenced in both the food and music. However, your co-ed celebration does not have to be limited to a food or music festival. New Orleans certainly has more to offer and these festivals serve as lagniappe, or a little something extra, to the Big Easy festival scene.
Does “Streetcar Named Desire” ring any bells? Playwright, Tennessee Williams gave birth to some of literature’s greatest works and credited the wondrous city of New Orleans as his muse. Held each year in late March, the five-day festival celebrates Tennessee Williams’ work and includes a plethora of noteworthy events. With speakers, contests, classes for aspiring writers, countless panels and live theater, this festival has it all; but it wouldn’t be complete without the Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest held in Jackson Square!
Every July in New Orleans, the Annual Running of the Bulls thumps through the streets of downtown New Orleans! The event is meant to pay homage to Encierro of Pamplona held in Spain. Though there are no actual bulls for the event in New Orleans, you and your crew can run from the Big Easy Rollergirls instead. This adrenaline pumping event will be fun for any group and of course there will be wine and spirits to get you in the spirit before and after the run.
For a full list of festivals in New Orleans click here.
Congratulations! You’ve officially tied the knot. No more stressing over choosing the best cake, the right flowers, or the décor for your ceremony. Though your wedding night is over, you’re in a city where celebration never ends! If you’re not in a rush to jump start your honeymoon, hosting a post-wedding brunch is great way to gather your nearest and dearest before parting ways. Enjoy a blissful post-wedding brunch at any of these fine Big Easy bistros.
Have a fond farewell with family and friends at this French Quarter eatery. It’ll be a match made in heaven for your taste buds at Angeline’s where there is an array of perfectly curated southern comfort food. With a timeless menu including country fried steak and eggs, brioche French toast and fried chicken and biscuits, Angeline is the perfect place for you and your guests to wind down from all your wedding festivities.
Reminisce together about the weekend’s events over brunch at Brennan’s. Amid a menu of classic dishes, like eggs Benedict, there are some unusual additions, like the wonderful egg yolk carpaccio with Andouille vinaigrette and crispy sweet potato. Feel free to sip on all your favorite cocktails, like their spicy Cajun Bloody Mary with pickled okra or Temperance Tea made with Tito’s vodka, blueberry and black tea infused syrup and honey liqueur. And don’t forget to ask for the famous bananas Foster, flambéed right at the table. It’ll be love at first sight!
After a long night of dancing, you and your guests will be more than happy to sit back and relax. The lush courtyard at Broussard’s sets the ambiance for an unforgettable brunch to follow an unforgettable wedding! Located on the historic Conti Street rests one of the best ways to start off your day. Revel in a scrumptious three-course brunch featuring a very tasty raspberry mascarpone stuffed pain perdu and a plethora of other local delicacies! Enjoy a cocktail, or two, as you dine with Broussard’s $12 bottomless mimosas and let the good times roll!
The relaxed atmosphere at this restaurant allows you and your guests to catch a breath and slowdown from the night before. Nestled on Royal Street, in the heart of the French Quarter, the Court of Two Sisters serves up a superb selection of hot and cold dishes as part of their brunch buffet. Allow yourselves to be carried away by a live jazz band while feasting on some fine creole cuisine. Be sure to try the eggs benedict and shrimp etouffee, but leave some room for dessert, as the courtyard bread pudding with whiskey sauce is out of this world!
Ease into your honeymoon plans at this New Orleans favorite. Located steps from the St. Louis Cathedral and overlooking Jackson Square, Muriel’s offers guests a glimpse of New Orleans’ historic past. Embrace the rich history, ornately decorated dining rooms and the mouth-watering menu. It is full of New Orleans favorites like the highly recommended veal grillades and grits. With a live jazz band, it’s a perfect spot for brunch with your loved ones.
If you didn’t get to dance enough the night before, the party doesn’t have to stop yet. The House of Blues Gospel Brunch combines your love of music and love of great food, seamlessly. Each Sunday acclaimed gospel producer Kirk Franklin selects traditional and contemporary gospel to be performed on stage by local musicians. The brunch buffet is filled with soul food and other breakfast favorites. You’ll be dancing and dining for this truly unforgettable experience.
If it’s upscale dining you’re looking for take a stroll with your party through the Garden District where you’ll be sure to spot Commander’s Palace. Since 1880 the world-renowned restaurant has been a mecca for outstanding creole cuisine. Every Sunday they feature a changing brunch menu filled with both traditional and unique breakfast items. Listen to the soothing sound of live jazz music and indulge in Lally’s Praline Parfait while you’re at it. Be prepared to experience New Orleans dining at its finest.
Experience a Traditional New Orleans Jazz Brunch in the Heart of the French Quarter. Sunday brunch is a time-honored tradition in New Orleans and is always a delightful beginning to a leisurely day. Revel in the sounds of Dixieland Jazz while dining from an extensive four-course “prix fixe” Sunday brunch menu. If you are looking for a private setting, one of our private event coordinators can assist you with all the details for an exceptional dining experience.
For a full list of eateries click here!
New Orleans is home to an impressive number of unique wedding venues. The city’s venues can easily satisfy an assortment of tastes and preferences, as long as the engaged couple wants to embrace the laissez les bons temps rouler (“let the good times roll”) attitude. A wedding in New Orleans guarantees an inimitable experience for you and your guests. Between the Southern charm, enchanting atmosphere, energetic culture and world-famous cuisine, your New Orleans celebration will be remembered for years to come.
Here are a few examples of the many unique wedding venues New Orleans has to offer:
French Quarter Courtyard – Exchange the city vibes for an intimate, peaceful ambiance. These romantic gems are the French Quarter’s best kept secret with flowing fountains, exposed brick and string lights. Say “I Do” surrounded by your family and closest friends.
Mississippi Riverboats – Get a feel for what puts the “crescent” in Crescent City with the unique perspective a Mississippi Riverboat provides. Float down the Mississippi River while dancing to live music with your new life partner and dining on delicious New Orleans cuisine. Let the city’s skyline provide an exquisite backdrop for your special day.
City Park’s Botanical Gardens – Stroll through this colorful, lush oasis to admire the centuries-old oak trees, the acres of gardens and outdoor sculptures. With the warm New Orleans weather, your Botanical Garden wedding can take place during a sunny spring day or a magical winter evening. Celebrate your major life event in the heart of Mother Nature.
Local Museum – Not dusty or boring, New Orleans’ museum scene is as eclectic as it’s resident and local museums can be the perfect backdrop to a themed affair. Be the Queen of the masquerade at Mardi Gras World. Or, swing the night away in a 1940’s themed affair in the National WWII Museum. Animal lovers can rent out space at the Audubon Zoo or Aquarium, and children-at-heart can play at the Louisiana Children’s Museum.
New Orleans Hotels – Go the more traditional and elegant route at one of the hundreds of New Orleans hotels. Southern hospitality will have you feeling at home in no time, so you can enjoy your big day stress-free. Make it personal at a beautiful boutique hotel or host a grand wedding reception in one of New Orleans’ skyscrapers. You can party until you drop with your hotel room nearby!
Lake Pontchartrain – Float off into a gorgeous sunset with your love by your side. Charter a boat and spend your wedding day on the water with some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste. Snap picturesque photos to remember this relaxing escape from reality.
Plantations – Grand plantation homes offer the best in Southern charm. Easily turn your wedding into a weekend of celebration by renting out the entire home. Relax while you’re getting ready on the balcony overlooking century old oak trees. Then have a garden reception with music that will make you want to get up and dance and food that will be talked about for years to come.
For Complimentary Planning Assistance, please click here.
You have made the grand decision to hold your wedding in New Orleans, a city with fun for everyone, where the celebration never ends. Now, among your long list of to-do’s, you have the task of incorporating your favorite things about New Orleans. While brainstorming centerpiece and party favor ideas, Mardi Gras is the first thing to cross your mind. But how does an elegant bride make the holiday wedding-appropriate? The solution is simple: Mardi Gras beads!
You have made the grand decision to hold your wedding in New Orleans, a city with fun for everyone, where the celebration never ends. Now, among your long list of to-do’s, you have the task of incorporating your favorite things about New Orleans. While brainstorming centerpiece and party favor ideas, Mardi Gras is the first thing to cross your mind. But how does an elegant bride make the holiday wedding-appropriate? The solution is simple: Mardi Gras beads! A tell-tale symbol of Mardi Gras, beads come in every color and are fairly inexpensive. Many brides might have some left over from Mardi Gras past. People normally associate the beads with the colors purple, green and gold but other colors are commonly thrown including pearl, silver, and clear beads. New Orleans based stores such as The Mardi Gras Spot sells them in almost every color and shade imaginable and can easily be shipped anywhere. The options are endless, but below are the six great ways to (tastefully) incorporate Mardi Gras beads into your wedding. Scroll down to see how your New Orleans wedding can come to life!
Make chandeliers of gold, silver, pearl or clear beads to light up your reception with a festive twist. Learn how with instructions from DollarStoreCrafts.com
Drape ivory, silver or gold beads over chair backs to turn a practical element into elegance.
Enhance the romance by adding Mardi Gras beads to candle holders of various shapes and sizes.
Create a mosaic with your favorite New Orleans scene or your initials as a keepsake. You can even have your guests add beads at the reception.
Having an autumn wedding? Wrap any color Mardi Gras beads around pumpkins for a fall flair. Tutorial at www.theswelldesigner.com
Add a personal flair/touch to your reception by forming Mardi Gras beads into your initials. Then use them as centerpieces, standalone decorations, or cake toppers! Visit Blog.MardiGrasOutlet.com to see how.
New Orleans is known as the “Paris of the South.” French influence can be found throughout the city from its food to the overall joie de vivre of the locals. There are endless opportunities for lovers to steal a kiss, whether it is under a gas-lit glow of the French Quarter or picnicking under a canopy of oak trees.
In no particular order, here are 10 of our favorite places to kiss in New Orleans:
On the Banks of the Mississippi River in Woldenberg Park
The twinkling lights of the city to your back, the cool breeze coming off of the Mississippi and a lone saxophonist playing in the background makes a perfect date-night atmosphere. Couples can picnic or grab a bench and watch the world go by. See cargo ships from around the globe and steamboats navigate the waters as other couples stroll by.
On the Streetcar
For $1.25 per person, each way, hop on the St. Charles Ave. streetcar for a scenic tour of the historic Garden District. Snuggle up on the mahogany and brass seats under the flicker of exposed ceiling light while passing stately mansions and perfectly manicured lawns and relax to the hum and sway of the car.
(photo courtesy Audubon Nature Institute)
When the St. Charles Ave. streetcar stops at Audubon Park, get off and take the opportunity to stroll the century-old oak tree-lined 1.8 mile walking path. The path encompasses lakes that countless swans, egrets, ducks and turtles call home. Walk through the trees, lay a blanket out by a pond or take a seat in one of the gazebos that dot the trail. Pack a lunch and spend the afternoon pond-side.
Lakefront at Sunset
For a quiet, relaxing trip out of the city center, go 15-minutes from the French Quarter to the South shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Seafood restaurants dot the shore in the West End area or charter a boat and spend the day on the water culminating with a wonderful sunset.
French Quarter Roof Top
Get above the hustle and bustle of the city streets for a picturesque view of the historic French Quarter. Many new hotels have intimate rooftop cocktail bars perfect for watching people come and go while enjoying each other’s company.
Carriage Ride through the French Quarter
The charm of the French Quarter is best captured from horseback. Hop in a private carriage for a great tour and learn about the history and folklore of New Orleans. The mild winter weather is just the excuse to snuggle close under a blanket.
New Orleans City Park
With more than 1,300 acres of lakes, centuries-old oak trees and green spaces, City Park is an outdoor oasis within the city. Connected to the French Quarter by the Canal St. Streetcar, couples can rent paddle boats in Big Lake, stroll through the botanical gardens, or steal a kiss on the wooden carousel.
Top deck of a Riverboat
Enjoy a relaxing dinner cruise while a steam-powered paddle-wheel churns through the Mississippi River. After dinner, sneak up to the top-deck for beautiful views of the city skyline or dance to the on-board band while landmarks pass you by.
Streets of the French Quarter
Strolling down Royal Street window shopping and watching street performers or grabbing a cocktail “to-go” and walking under the glow of a gas streetlamp, let the architecture transport you to another time.
In a Corner Booth at a Dimly-lit Jazz Club
Let the intoxicating sounds of jazz carry you away from the day-to-day. Dance close together all night or grab a corner booth in one of the many live music venues in the city.
From old world charm to innovation, New Orleans has something for every bride. Who wouldn’t want a reception in the city known for throwing the greatest free show on earth, Mardi Gras?
Stepping into the French Quarter is like stepping back in time. Colonial Spanish architecture line the streets with elaborately intricate wrought iron balconies covered with flowers, or decorated for the season. Traditional Southern roots can be seen in the Greek revival mansions on St. Charles Avenue or in the Plantation homes less than an hour outside of the French Quarter, both shaded by century-old oak trees. Have a royal wedding in St. Louis Cathedral, one of the oldest churches in America or a grand party on the great lawn of a St. Charles Avenue mansion or antebellum plantation under the stars.
Over the past ten years, New Orleans has undergone a cultural renaissance. If tradition isn’t necessarily your “cup of tea,” head to the Marigny, the neighborhood adjacent to the French Quarter with a quirky attitude and some of the best live music spaces in town. Dance the night away to funk, Caribbean and brass bands; grab some tapas at Three Muses or soul food at Praline Connection. If you are looking for something more modern, go for refined contemporary in the Warehouse District. Also known as the Arts District, the neighborhood is filled with art galleries, trendy hotels and mixology bars, your modern bash will be the talked about for years to come.
“Laissez le bon temps rouler!” or “Let the good times roll!” is not just a saying in New Orleans, it’s a way of life. People linger longer with friends, enjoy great food and spirits and never stop having a great time. Incorporating the joie de vivre of the Crescent City into your wedding celebration will mean laughing harder and loving longer.
Music is a huge part of experiencing the Crescent City. After all, New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz and the cocktail, which makes it a great place to incorporate live music at your wedding and have a good time. Have your very own parade lead by a brass band through the streets of the French Quarter, with your guests making a “second line” with handkerchiefs and parasols waving to the beat. Additionally, New Orleans’ mild temperatures and sunny days are perfect for outdoor festivities.
New Orleans is the perfect location for a wedding as unique as the city itself. In the Crescent City, a wedding is more than just a one-day event – it’s a weekend celebration. An incomparable blend of Southern hospitality, world-famous cuisine, and vibrant culture will make your special day in New Orleans one you and your guests will never forget.
There is no shortage of extraordinary wedding venues in New Orleans. In addition to more than 900 beautiful churches, the city boasts some of the most impressive and romantic settings for your one-of-a-kind ceremony. Exchange vows beneath the shade of centuries-old live oaks, on a rooftop terrace overlooking the skyline, or tucked away in a French Quarter courtyard with fountains and exposed brick. Historic plantations and Mississippi riverboats provide an enchanting backdrop for both the ceremony and reception. In New Orleans, the possibilities are endless.
The rich history of New Orleans lends itself to several classic wedding traditions. For a great way to get the girls involved, incorporate a wedding cake pull during the reception. Cake pulls are small charms or favors attached to a ribbon and tucked inside the cake. Each charm represents a way of wishing friends luck on their future endeavors. Many brides also choose to surprise their husbands with a Groom’s Cake – a separate, smaller cake of his favorite flavor that features his sports teams, hobbies, or interests.
With over 37,000 hotel rooms, 1,400 restaurants, and a countless number of attractions in the New Orleans metropolitan area, your guests will be eager to make their way to the Big Easy. Most guests won’t hesitate to book their stay (perhaps even adding a few days to their trip) so they can fully experience the essence of the city. They can sip café au lait while browsing miles of charming boutiques and antique shops or admiring the work of local artists. Many iconic landmarks are just a short walk through the French Quarter or accessible via streetcar, so getting around is a breeze. With your guests taken care of, get ready to eat, drink, and be married!
In New Orleans, there’s something for everyone. Celebrate your wedding weekend with a bridal jazz brunch or a fun night out on Bourbon Street. Enjoy live music at a Frenchmen Street club or explore the outdoors on a swamp tour. Savor the flavor of New Orleans at your reception with an assortment of mouth-watering regional fare – from jambalaya to seafood gumbo, bread pudding to Bananas Foster. Keep the dance floor rocking with entertainment from a local band. To wrap up your special day, head out in style in a horse-drawn carriage or leading a traditional Second Line.
In a city known for its celebrations, your wedding is sure to be one fantastic party. Plan your wedding in New Orleans – where the good times always roll.
10 Things You Must Do in New Orleans
Experience the French Quarter
The historic French Quarter is comprised of over 100 square-blocks of art, dining, shopping, entertainment and architectural treasures. Start your day off in the French Quarter experiencing some New Orleans traditions by stopping at Café Du Monde, Central Grocery, Gumbo Shop or Mother’s Restaurant. Take a leisurely stroll and enjoy antiquing on Royal Street or take a carriage ride and see the architecture that make New Orleans look like no other American city. No night is complete without dining at a legendary restaurant like Antoine’s, Arnaud’s, Broussard’s or enjoy traditional jazz while dining at Palm Court Jazz Café. You can also visit Preservation Hall after diner and soak up the sweet sounds of jazz in this legendary venue.
Take A Musical Journey
No city loves music more than New Orleans. The rhythms fill the streets, clubs, churches and concert halls. Enjoy listening to legendary trumpeter, Jeremy Davenport or try free Cajun dance instruction and authentic, delicious Cajun food at Mulate’s. Between House of Blues, Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro and Club 300 Jazz Bistro you are sure not to miss a beat!
Culturally & Artistically Speaking
The New Orleans Arts District and Magazine Street are vibrant, diverse neighborhoods alive with galleries, shopping, dining and special events. Named for the French work – magasin – Magazine Street is one of the oldest and most diverse shopping districts in New Orleans. The New Orleans Arts District, called SoHo of the South, is a bustling and vibrant community stretching from Julia Street across to Magazine Street.
Let Us Entertain You
Entertainment, culture and performing arts options are as unique as the city itself. Be a part of the interactive improv audience at Yo Mama’s Bar and grill or roll over to Mid City Lanes Rock ‘n Bowl, a local landmark where Zydeco, blues, Cajun and dancing are combined with bowling and games. Between Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré and The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, you’ll enjoy it all!
Don’t Let the Parade Pass You By!
Come and see where Mardi Gras is made at Blain Kern’s Mardi Gras World. See artists and sculptors working on the world’s largest fleet of floats. Learn about the history, traditions and pageantry of Mardi Gras at The Presbytere, A Louisiana State Museum, that explores five major themes of Mardi Gras.
Take a Culinary Journey
Experience America’s most delicious city at Brigtsen’s, Café Amelie, or Commander’s Palace. Taste a charbroiled oyster from Drago’s or a steak from Dickie Brennan’s. Whether it’s Red Fish Grill, Mr. B’s Bistro or NOLA you’ll wonder why everyone doesn’t celebrate life this way!
Museums: A Feast for the Eyes
New Orleans is a city rich in living history, traditions and customs that are woven into the fabric of our everyday life. With a variety of museums like The Southern Food and Beverage Museum, Children’s Museum, African American Museum and The National World War II Museum, there is something for everyone.
Explore the Outdoors and More
Take a ride through a bayou and experience the beauty of the swamp or enjoy a riverboat excursion along the Mississippi River. From the Zoo, Aquarium and Insectarium to year-round golfing, fishing and more, New Orleans is a true urban resort.
A Trip with History
Start your journey downtown and ride the famous St. Charles Avenue Streetcar Line. Proceed uptown where an amazing architectural tour unfolds before your eyes. On your way back, pass through the Garden District, the second-largest historic district in the country. After enjoy the convenience of the Canal Street and Riverfront lines, which provides access from the foot of Canal Street to City Park Avenue and along the mighty Mississippi.
Take New Orleans Home
All styles have their place here, from exquisite antiques to funky fashions. Find the perfect take-home memory from your visit to the Crescent City!
You can’t come to New Orleans without experiencing a Jazz Brunch! Arnaud’s in the French Quarter serves up fantastically delectable New Orleans brunch fare in a historic setting to the tune of live Dixieland Jazz.
Or if you’re ready to jump start your Uptown adventure, go ahead and hop on the St. Charles Streetcar, ride it up to Washington Avenue, then walk down Washington to Commander’s Palace. This iconic Garden District restaurant serves up a three-course Jazz Brunch that’s absolutely to die for. Make sure you try out one of their delicious daytime libations (they’re famous for their Creole Bloody Mary) – they’re too good to miss!
Take some time to explore the Garden District after your meal, then hop back on the Uptown-bound streetcar, and take in the scenery as you glide down St. Charles Avenue to Audubon Park. When you get to the park, step off the Streetcar, and take a stroll under the canopies of oak trees, heading around the park through along the track until you hit Magazine St.
Cross Magazine St. until you come to the entrance of Audubon Zoo and get ready to step into one of the nation’s top-ranked zoos.
The Audubon Zoo is a world of its own – see exotic animals, reptiles, elephants and more. Walk through The Louisiana Swamp exhibit, which is a re-creation of a 1930s swamp settlement equipped with a trapper’s cottage, Spanish moss, white alligators and cypress knees. Sometimes one of the best ways to rekindle a flame is to act like kids again, and nothing is quite as care-free as a trip to the zoo. Pose for pictures by the elephant fountain, or check out a show at the sea lion pavilion. You may even learn a thing or two at this state-of-the-art nature facility.
After you’ve seen your fill of wildlife, head back through Audubon Park until you hit St. Charles Ave. and hop on the streetcar back towards downtown. If you’re ready for a bite to eat, get off at Robert Street (about five blocks past Jefferson Avenue), and head towards Upperline Restaurant.The menu is decadent and delicious – Creole contemporary at it’s best. The walls are dripping with artwork from local artists, and the hominess of the building itself creates a comfortably upscale ambience. Try the restaurant’s signature fried green tomatoes topped with shrimp remoulade, or opt for the opulently delectable roast duck.
Or if you’d prefer to stop for a pre-dinner cocktail before settling into a meal, forgo the Robert Street stop, and continue riding down St. Charles until you reach The Columns Hotel. This iconic New Orleans hotel, and the bar that spills from its lobby onto its expansive front porch, is a must-see for anyone visiting the city. The dark, Victorian lounge-y atmosphere of its interior lends itself to an almost scandalous sense of romance (after all, it was used as the bordello in the 1987 Brooke Shield’s flick “Pretty Baby”). Feel like getting some fresh air? Take a seat outside – where you can sip your cocktail while overlooking the beauty of St. Charles.
When it comes time for dinner, call a cab and head over to either La Petite Grocery or Lilette. Fine French fare is always on the menu at La Petite Grocery. If tasty food with a continental touch is for you, be sure to drop in for dinner.
Lilette, on the other hand, is an upscale bistro that specializes in Italian-French fare. The space itself is sophisticated and sultry, with deep red walls, and creamy white banquettes. The restaurant can tend to get a little loud as the night goes on, but that’s all the more reason to lean in closer.
As your weekend winds down, you may want to return to the Quarter for one last late-night stroll, or grab a nightcap at one of our picks for the city’s most romantic bars. No matter how you choose to wrap up your romantic tryst in the Big Easy, one thing is certain; the memories you made in a weekend will last a lifetime. Now that’s amore.
Start your morning off right with a delicious brunch at Broussard’s. The restaurant itself is enchanting; it’s nestled in a beautiful courtyard along a quieter stretch of Conti Street. Their notoriously tasty brunch is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, so you’ll want to call ahead and reserve a table.
After brunch, it will be time to hit the streets for a leisurely stroll around the French Quarter. Wander in and out of the galleries that line Royal Street, stopping to steal a quick kiss or two along the way. And be sure to look up to check out the lush “hanging gardens” that fill the wrought iron balconies of the homes as you explore side streets along the way.
Slowly make your way up to Killer Po-Boys, where you’ll grab a couple of sandwiches to go for a picnic in City Park. Don’t think you’ll be hungry enough for a full lunch? You can also swing by Rouse’s Market on the corner of Royal and St. Peter streets and grab some cheese and crackers (and maybe a bottle of wine…) to bring with you on your way.
Head up to catch the Canal Street Streetcar (City Park/Museum line), which will bring you right up to the front of the City Park. Take a short walk along the City Park Avenue side, and settle down under a canopy of oak trees to enjoy your picnic. Prefer waterfront dining? Check out the beautifully ornate Peristyle that overlooks Bayou Metairie. Once you’ve finished your meal, wander over to the dock at Big Lake, where you can rent yourselves a pedal boat from City Park Boat & Bike Rentals. Feel like having someone else do the rowing? City Park also offers gondola rides, which take off from the same dock. Pedal boats are first come, first serve, but gondola rides require a reservation – so be sure to call ahead.
As the sun starts to set, and you’re ready for a change of scene, head down Esplanade Avenue, crossing over Bayou St. John. This particular neighborhood, known as Esplanade Ridge, has a decidedly funky romantic vibe. If you’re not quite ready for dinner, swing by Pearl Wine Co to have a glass of wine. If you like what you try, go ahead and grab a bottle – most of the restaurants in the neighborhood will allow you to bring your own wine for a slight corkage fee.
If you’re in the mood for French, head right across the street to Cafe Degas, a quaint little bistro tucked away on Esplanade Avenue. This charming café provides the perfect intimate setting that makes you feel like you are in a world of your own away from the city scene.
Or if you’re craving Spanish food, walk across Esplanade to Lola’s. What Lola’s lacks in square footage, it more than makes up for in charm. Locals flock to the cherished neighborhood eatery for what many swear is the best paella in the city. With only a few tables, and a strict no-reservations policy, Lola’s tends to fill up quickly, so be sure to factor a potential wait into your evening plans.
After dinner, call a cab and have them drop you off down in the Marigny on Frenchman Street. This part of town is unlike any other in New Orleans, hosting artists, philosophers, musicians and anyone looking to live the chill, bohemian lifestyle. The jazz clubs along this strip are some of the best in the city. Snug Harbor, d.b.a., and The Three Muses are just some of the popular venues to catch live, local New Orleans musicians.
Looking to head back to the Quarter? Close the night out with a trip to the Palm Court Jazz Cafe or Pat O’s Patio Bar and listen to jazz while sipping on classic New Orleans cocktails. The laid back atmospheres make these great places to unwind and take in all the beauty of a traditional French Quarter courtyard while listening to the wonderful sounds of jazz.
Or if you’re in the mood for something unique and unforgettable, then check out the revolving Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone. Hop aboard and sample one of the many delicious signature cocktails served up in the famously lux setting of this legendary New Orleans hotel.
This will be a night you will never forget!
Make your first romantic evening in New Orleans completely unforgettable.
Stops at a Glance:
Start your evening off with the sunset at Woldenberg Park and watch the sun dance across the Mighty Mississippi. Take a walk along the Moonwalk, which is on the river at Jackson Square.
Toast your relationship over pre-dinner cocktails at Napoleon House. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you take a seat in the dimly lit, rustically romantic barroom. Order up the bar’s signature Pimm’s Cup, and take in the scenes from the street outside – or just stare longingly into each other’s eyes.
Once the sun has gone down, get ready to dive into some good ole New Orleans cuisine. If you’re in the mood for a distinctly New Orleans Cajun meal, stroll hand-in-hand down Chartres Street to Kingfish Kitchen & Cocktails. Aside from having outrageously delicious food, Irene’s also has the added allure of being somewhat off the beaten path. Irene’s does tend to get busy and even with a reservation, you may still have to wait. Pass the time with a glass of wine, some good conversation, and perhaps a quick kiss or two – trust us, it’s worth it.
Bayona is another top pick for romantic fine dining in the French Quarter. With its eclectic global cuisine crafted by beloved (and critically acclaimed) New Orleans Chef Susan Spicer, Bayona truly provides a feast for the senses. Linger over artistically crafted cocktails in the lush courtyard before taking a seat in the main dining room. The warmth from the walls seems to radiate throughout the whole interior of the restaurant, providing a dining experience so intimate, it will leave you glowing.
After dinner, swing by Jackson Square (on the Decatur Street side), and sweep your loved one off of their feet – literally! There are few things more quintessentially romantic than a late-night ride around the Quarter in the back of a horse-drawn carriage. Tales of the city and picturesque views envelop you on this 45-minute journey through one of America’s most historic areas. In those rare cold winter months, blankets are provided, so snuggle up and get ready to go!
Finally, it’s always fun to end an evening with a little something sweet, so before heading back to your hotel, swing by Cafe du Monde for a cup of café au lait and an order of world-famous beignets.
A Southern Tradition
A modern wedding is not only a celebration of the happy couple’s commitment to each other, but also can be a time to celebrate relationships with family and friends. While the wedding party is by your side, there are often additional friends and relatives you want to be a part of your special day. One way to include these extra special guests is by doing a cake pull at your reception.
Wedding cake pulls are a local tradition carried over from the Victorian era as a way to wish good luck onto close friends without extending the bridal party. The average bridal party today consists of about four to six bridesmaids, where the wedding cake pulls have anywhere from six to 12 women participating. Traditionally, all young eligible women are selected to participate.
As the name suggests, small charms attached to a ribbon are carefully placed between the layers of the traditional wedding cake with the thread lying gently on the outside of the cake. Before the cake is cut, the selected ladies are called to the cake table by the bride and each one places a hand on the ribbon of their choice. On the count of three, they all pull on their ribbon, exposing the charm.
Fortunes or well wishes are associated with each charm. Common charms include a ring (“next to get married”)a horseshoe or four-leaf clover (“good luck”), heart (“love will come”), anchor (“hope”), a telephone (“good news is coming”) and a thimble or button (“old maid”). A modern update to this tradition is to include married friends as well as new charms that wish happy marriages and healthy families.
Many local jewelry designers and stores have recently embraced the tradition. Once a small trinket, cake pulls are now also available in sterling silver or gold and can be found attached to a pearl bracelet. Lucky ladies can wear the good fortune on their wrists, reminding them of the bride’s fondness and friendship. Additionally, New Orleans-themed charms have become more popular, including a streetcar (good news is coming) and a fleur de lis (love and prosperity).
Wedding cake pulls are a great way to incorporate more friends into your special day. If one of your ladies is upset that she didn’t pull the ring charm, tell her not to worry. She has another chance during the bouquet toss!
For Complimentary wedding assistance in New Orleans click here
© My Wedding In New Orleans 2016