Destination Weddings

Destination Wedding Cheat Sheet: New Orleans

Liddy Romaguera of Rock the Diamond Events shares some of her favorite wedding venues and vendors in New Orleans. Plus, a few location-specific wedding style ideas to help jumpstart your destination wedding planning.

Ceremony

I love the steps of the Sea Lion Exhibit at the Audubon Zoo; the site is surrounded by oak trees, and has neoclassical columns that look lovely in photos. [Editor's note: The sea lions will be elsewhere during your ceremony.] And, there are extensive guidelines for marrying at St. Louis Cathedral, but if you "qualify," don't pass up this French Quarter landmark and its dramatic interior.

Wedding Reception

An elegant indoor option for a more formal wedding is the Pavilion of the Two Sisters at City Park, which is modeled after a European orangery. If you're into classic NOLA cuisine, hold your reception in the courtyard of Broussard's, the famous French Quarter restaurant. I also love Latrobe's on Royal in the French Quarter. This special-events venue is so New Orleans—particularly the romantic Carriageway and Courtyard, with its exposed brick and dramatic chandeliers. For an outdoor wedding straight out of Gone With the Wind, try the circa-1839 Oak Alley Plantation (above, bottom-right). It's an hour outside the city, so plan on shuttle buses for guests.

Rehearsal Dinner

The supercasual restaurant Michaul's has stellar Cajun cuisine and live music. Definitely one of my favorites. I also think hosting a crawfish boil is an affordable and delicious way to welcome guests (or send them off the day after the wedding). Shaggy with Boil Inc. boils some of the best in the city, and it's convenient as the company provides all the setup and cleanup for the event.

Florists

NOLA Flora have worked with almost every venue in town, so they'll have great ideas to fit your location. If you're looking for something more "outside the box" that will completely stun your guests, you'll love the artful creations from The Plant Gallery.

Cake Bakers

If you want to serve a Louisiana-style King Cake at your celebration try Haydel's Bakery, a family-owned business that's been a local favorite for over 50 years. For a more traditional wedding cake, I like Sucré, which also carries yummy French macaroons, which make great wedding favors.

Guest Accommodations

For an affordable option, right in the French Quarter, I like the Bourbon Orleans. It's withing walking distance to most major tourist attractions and has an outdoor pool. And, if you're guests are in to ghost stories, they'll get a kick out of the fact that it's reportedly one of New Orleans' top haunted hotels. For a feeling of Old World opulence, I also like the The Roosevelt in the Central Business District, which also has a pool as well as a fantastic spa. Fun fact: Elvis and his entourage stayed on the top floor of this hotel while filming King Creole in the city.

Second Line

This NOLA tradition (in which your guests dance behind brass band) is such fun and I highly recommend couples getting married here work it into their wedding celebration. White Oak Productions can hook you up with a fabulous second line band, and the company also represents talented ceremony musicians and wedding bands, too.

Style ideas

1. Kendra wedding gown, $6,000, Rivini

2. Style 8629 bridesmaid dress in eggplant, $265, Watters

3. Fleur di Lis wedding invitation, $400 for 100, Paper & Ink Studio

4. Mardi Gras masks, $50 for 12, Masks & Make-Believe

See destination wedding cheat sheets for: PARK CITY, KAUAI, TUSCANY

Photos: Elizabeth Ray Photography (carriage, parade, carousel); Jimi Celeste (wedding dress); John Aquino (bridesmaid dress); Steven Torres (stills); courtesy of Oak Alley Plantation (plantation)

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