New Orleans Wedding Venues
The Crescent City features an incredible array of wedding venue choices, and it's safe to say that in terms of finding a location that appeals to your particular tastes and vision, there's something for everyone here. While it's difficult for me to pick a few (or even a few dozen) favorites, and downright impossible for me to predict what might appeal to you, here are some observations on a few that you should check out if you are still in the process of making this choice.
Southern Oaks Plantation
Southern Oaks is widely acknowledged to be the most popular wedding venue in New Orleans, and for good reason. In addition to having lots of visual elements that photograph nicely, this venue is very well run by a team of experienced and devoted staff members who ensure events there go smoothly. The front of the stately home is a memorable spot for your ceremony, and brides have the option of truly arriving in style by way of a carriage pulled by a pair of beautiful white horses or an antique Bentley. Numerous other options for adding even more New Orleans flair to your wedding are offered, such as a fireworks show, a snowball stand, the Cafe du Monde beignet truck, or even your own Mardi Gras parade! There is space for a band, or otherwise the in-house DJ does a fantastic job keeping the dance floor packed.
Latrobe's on Royal
Located the heart of the French Quarter, Latrobes is nothing short of spectacular! The courtyard (which is actually completely enclosed and air-conditioned) is one of the most unique looking ceremony locations in the city, and it photographs exceptionally well. The main ballroom is a perfect space for a reception, even one with a moderately large guest count. It's a historic building (once housing the Louisiana State Bank), designed by famed architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe.
The Chicory, located in the Warehouse District of downtown New Orleans, is a great choice for couples who don't necessarily want to have their wedding right in the middle of the French Quarter, but still want to be fairly close to the action. The venue features plenty of outdoor and indoor space, and photographs very well.
Board of Trade
New Orleans Board of Trade is an ideal choice for a wedding with a large guest count. The indoor space is huge, and there's also a large courtyard out front, perfect for an outdoor ceremony. I've also photographed ceremonies here that are under the carriageway, and at the end of the night the carriageway is an optimal spot for a sparkler send-off.
Venues in Jax Brewery
Jax Brewery, located on the Mississippi River across the street from St. Louis Cathedral, currently is home to three excellent wedding venues. The newest of these is The Jaxson, a gleaming and sophisticated looking event space. Also in Jax are the Riverview Room, and Pat O's on the River. At any of these venues, it's practically mandatory that you do a fabulous sparkler send-off down the large outdoor steps that descend down between the two buildings. One couple even sent a friend down the street to famous Cafe du Monde to bring back bags of beignets for all the guests to cap off the night!
Audubon Tea Room
The Audubon Tea Room is a much-loved event space located adjacent to the Audubon Zoo on Magazine Street. The circular building with its exposed network of steel beams is one of the most instantly recognizable venues in pictures, and it's large enough to handle big weddings with hundreds of guests. Ceremonies can take place outside in the brick-paved garden area directly behind the building, or at the nearby sea lion exhibit. The Tea Room also has the benefit of ample parking space.
Popp Fountain & The Arbor Room in City Park
A ceremony at Popp Fountain and a reception at the adjacent Arbor Room in New Orleans City Park is a fabulous combination. The huge fountain and it's spacious brick-paved patio provide a gorgeous backdrop for your exchange of vows, and the Arbor Room is a modern and spacious venue that is easy to photograph. Additionally, the fountain and surrounding structure has some great bride and groom portrait opportunities.
Beautiful Churches in New Orleans
Many couples wish to exchange vows in a church, and there are numerous stunningly gorgeous and historic examples in the Crescent City. Immaculate Conception, also known as the Jesuit Church, is located in downtown New Orleans, right across the street from the Roosevelt Hotel, and around the corner from the Federal Ballroom, both popular and convenient reception venues for Immaculate Conception weddings. Not too far away is Old St. Patricks, which I find photographs exceptionally well. Our Lady of the Holy Rosary is one of my favorites, and is located on Esplanade Avenue, convenient to City Park. Holy Name, located near Audubon Park, pairs up beautifully with an Audubon Tea Room reception, though I've photographed many weddings at this church with receptions at other locations such as those in the French Quarter, Southern Oaks Plantation, and even as far as Palmettos on the Bayou in Slidell! And, of course, no such list would be complete without the most well-known and iconic church in the city, St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter, convenient to numerous reception spaces such as those in the Jax Brewery building, Latrobes, and Marché, as well as several opulent and spacious hotel ballrooms.
Mid-Sized & Small Venues
Maison Dupuy Hotel
The Maison Dupuy, located on Toulouse Street in the historic and culturally rich French Quarter, features a spacious courtyard, which was recently given a complete renovation, along with indoor space as well. A custom-fitted tent is an option if the weather is looking iffy in the days leading up to your big day, which is reassuring. The hotel also has a small secondary courtyard which is the perfect spot for a first look, and can also be used for formal group shots. That space is also sometimes used for intimate weddings or elopements.
Another fabulous French Quarter courtyard for weddings! This hotel holds sentimental value for me as a wedding photographer, as it was where I shot one of my first weddings, back when it was known as the St. Louis Hotel. Ceremonies typically take place in the courtyard, while receptions are held in the hotel's indoor event space, La Louisiane. Located less than half a block from Bourbon Street, you're not far from the action!
For couples wanting a bit more of a laid back flavor and quiet setting, away from the often raucous French Quarter, the elegant Elms Mansion in the Garden District of New Orleans may be just what you are looking for. Guests are always wowed by the gorgeous interior of this mansion, and the venue staff has plenty of experience with weddings. Ample space both indoors and outdoors is provided, and being located right on St. Charles Avenue offers the tempting option of departing your wedding by way of a chartered streetcar.
Rosy's Jazz Hall
Rosy's is a truly unique mixture of elegance and grittiness. The venue's roots as a music club are clearly on display, yet it is by no means unrefined. That is evident from the very start with the gorgeous and stylish bridal suite upstairs where the girls typically get ready for the wedding, and it's obvious that a lot of effort goes into the presentation of food. The beautiful enclosed atrium as well as the outdoor patio area are both ideal ceremony settings, and in the reception space a large stage can accommodate just about any size band you could want.
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
While couples usually have their venue picked out by the time they book me, from time to time clients will involve me earlier in the process and ask for venue suggestions. When I mention this particular location, the reaction is often one of somewhat amused disbelief... "getting married at a pharmacy museum?" But once they see pictures of the courtyard, they understand. While not a huge space, the courtyard is beautiful, with tons of character, and is a great option for a smaller wedding of perhaps 50-100 guests. I've photographed weddings that have just the ceremony here with the reception elsewhere, and vice versa, as well as events that have both the ceremony and reception here. In instances of the latter, it's a good idea to plan for a second line parade to give the staff a little time to turn the space around for the party.
One of my favorite settings for mid-sized nuptial celebrations is Degas House on Esplanade Ave. While they can certainly accommodate more, a guest count of about 100 feels comfortable for this location, which features outdoor and indoor space for events. The lights strung between the two buildings provide a signature look in wide-angle wedding photographs. I've also photographed elopements at this location.
This lovely Garden District bed & breakfast is the perfect spot for a smaller wedding, and I always enjoy photographing events there. While the French Quarter is easily the most recognizable area of New Orleans and is home to many fabulous and unique event spaces, some couples' vision for their wedding may call for something different. Like the Elms Mansion, Terrell House is a great example of the other side of New Orleans, the more quiet and graceful Garden District area.
Compass Point Events
Compass Point Events in Algiers (which is right across the river from the French Quarter) is a bed and breakfast and unique wedding venue in the New Orleans area. It consists of a collection of authentic creole cottages of varying sizes arranged semi-circularly around a central outdoor space that features two graceful oak trees and a large deck with a dance floor. Most of the cottages are available to reserve for the couple and guests to stay and get ready on-premesis, with the largest of them serving as an indoor event space that can accommodate a ceremony and/or reception if needed (in case of adverse weather), or can serve as additional space for a mostly outdoor gathering. The venue's owner is a licensed florist and experienced wedding planner, and on-site catering is provided as well. Located within walking distance of the Algiers Ferry Terminal, it's just a quick and inexpensive ride across the river to the Vieux Carré!
Rural and Rustic Wedding Venues in the New Orleans Area
Oak Alley Plantation
The most well-known and impressive of all the old historic plantations that grace the Mississippi River in south Louisiana, Oak Alley can host weddings and is also a great spot for engagement or bridal portraits. I've also photographed quite a few marriage proposals there, along with numerous elopements and vow renewals. The approximately one hour drive from New Orleans to rural Vacherie, Louisiana is well worth the trip!
The Barn at Sarah Bella
This beautiful, rustic event venue is located in Picayune, Mississippi, about an hour from NOLA. It's situated on a large, hilly piece of land that really does have that coveted "out in the country" feel.
A little further away from the city is Berry Barn in Amite, Louisiana (near Hammond). This venue is actually located on a real working strawberry farm in Tangipahoa Parish, and is a pleasure to photograph events at.