New Orleans Wedding Venues
The New Orleans area 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 for your event, 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 should definitely be on your list of locations to check out if you are still in the process of making this choice.
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 options of 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. I have extensive experience photographing weddings at this location, and always enjoy working there.
Latrobe's on Royal
Located the heart of the French Quarter, Latrobes is nothing short of spectacular! The courtyard (which, despite its name, is actually now a completely enclosed and air-conditioned space) 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, designed by famed architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, and originally home to the the Louisiana State Bank. It benefits from a central location, not too far from popular ceremony locations like St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square. It's also just steps away from Exchange Place, a quaint pedestrian alley that makes for a great location for a first look and for portraits of the couple.
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 with its abundant exposed brick, it photographs very well. Ceremonies can be held in one of the indoor spaces, or for an outdoor ceremony, on the rooftop deck area. For couples who want a church ceremony, St. Patrick's and Immaculate Conception are located fairly close, easily within second-line distance.
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 covered outdoor Arcade adjacent to the courtyard. This spot also can server as a back-up plan for planned courtyard ceremonies in case of rain, and at the end of the reception the Arcade is an optimal spot for a sparkler send-off if you choose to have one.
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 space for parking.
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.
One of the most famous hotels in New Orleans, the Roosevelt Hotel has several great options for wedding ceremonies and receptions. The Blue Room on the lobby level is a historical music venue where famous performers like Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald would entertain New Orleanians in the 1930s, while the mezzanine level features several spacious and elegant ballrooms. The hotel is particularly well-known for its absolutely gorgeous Christmas decorations in the lobby, with crowds of people flocking to the hotel during the holiday season to view the splendor. While the Roosevelt can host your ceremony, the hotel is also conveniently located right across the street from Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, with St. Patrick's just a few blocks away as well.
Royal Sonesta Hotel
Located right on Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter, the Royal Sonesta has a courtyard that can be used for smaller ceremonies, and for formal group photos. The Fleur de Lis Suite, a ballroom which opens up into the courtyard, is a great option for small to medium size weddings, while the luxurious Grand Ballroom can accommodate much larger events. Couples also sometimes have a welcome reception the night before the wedding in the hotel's Bourbon Balcony Hospitality Suite, which as the name implies, overlooks Bourbon Street.
Omni Royal Orleans Hotel
This opulent hotel features several ballrooms of various sizes, and the spacious Royal Garden Terrace that is a perfect spot for an outdoor ceremony. And, of course, it's practically mandatory for the bride and groom to sneak away during the reception to head up to the rooftop observation deck for some great photos with the New Orleans skyline in the background. A little historical side note, this was Led Zeppelin's favored hotel when visiting the Crescent City.
Bourbon Orleans Hotel
This elegant hotel is located just steps away from the iconic St. Louis Cathedral, and features the spacious and historic Orleans Ballroom, which dates back to the early-mid 1800s and can also host your ceremony. A grand staircase in the lobby is a good spot for group shots, and I've also done first looks in this area. The ballroom's balcony is also a great spot for an elopement, and the hotel also offers St. Ann Cottage for smaller weddings.
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 of Jesus, 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, and even as far away 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 and very elegant looking 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.
The Gallery Venue at Tomas Bistro
This is a very nice event venue in the Warehouse District. The main space is a large room that has a wonderful mix of a retaining the look of what I assume was once an old industrial building, combined with some modern decorative elements. Lafayette Square park is located nearby, as is St. Patrick's Church. Immaculate Conception Church is within second-line distance as well. Like many wedding venues, this main room typically serves as both the ceremony and reception space, so if your ceremony is here, it's a good idea to plan on a second line parade before the reception to give the staff time to flip the room.
Another fabulous French Quarter courtyard for weddings! This hotel holds sentimental value for me as a wedding photographer, as it was where I shot my first full wedding, 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! Hotel Mazarin is unique among outdoor wedding venues in New Orleans in that it has a retractable canopy that can cover the courtyard in adverse weather, which means you can relax in the knowledge that your ceremony will be able to take place as planned even if it's raining, without you having to commit (financially, and aesthetically) to having a tent several days in advance. And speaking of aesthetics, the canopy is quite high, and you don't even realize it's there unless you specifically look for it!
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, as will friends who are getting married. 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 after the ceremony 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 (which, fascinatingly, used to actually be one structure and were separated many decades ago) 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.
Bourbon Orleans St. Ann Cottage
In addition to the above mentioned Orleans Ballroom for large weddings, the Bourbon Orleans Hotel also offers St. Ann Cottage, which consists of a small but beautiful courtyard and several indoor rooms, perfect for more intimate weddings of up to around 50 guests.
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!
Northshore Wedding Venues
Trinity Banquets & Receptions
This Slidell wedding venue is located on Old Spanish Trail near I-10, and is a very nice event facility. If you would like to have your ceremony there as well, they have a separate room for that, along with a very spacious ballroom for your reception. One really nice thing about Trinity is that they have a large bridal suite, which is also perfect for formal group photographs (and I've even done first looks in this room), along with a separate suite for the guys. And the food is excellent! The company also offers trolley buses and limos for rent if you need transportation (and not just for weddings taking place there).
Palmettos on the Bayou
Palmetto's on the Bayou is located in Slidell, near the old historic train station. As the name implies, it sits near the bank of Bayou Bonfouca, and has a walkway leading back to a nicely sized dock on the water, where the newly married couple typically has their first meal together. The grounds next to the restaurant is where ceremonies usually take place, with a large oak tree serving as the backdrop. An outdoor (but covered) area in the rear of the restaurant overlooking a naturally beautiful wetland area serves as the primary reception space, and your ceremony can take place here as well, either as your first choice or as an inclement weather alternative.
The Greystone is a modern, top-notch event venue in Mandeville that is ideal for larger wedding celebrations. It features a beautifully designed and landscaped outdoor area with several different options for ceremonies of various sizes, a very spacious ballroom, and a bridal suite where the girls can get ready.
This venue, located just north of Covington, is the former St. Gertrude Convent dating back to the 1800s, and was renovated in the mid-1990s. It features two indoor spaces, as well as two outdoor spaces, to accommodate ceremonies and receptions of varying sizes. The beautiful grounds provide ample options for portraits of the couple and formal group shots, and as an additional amenity, Vintage Court allows its wedding couples the use of the grounds for engagement and bridal portraits at no additional charge during regular business hours.
Rural and Rustic Louisiana and Mississippi Wedding Venues
Oak Alley Plantation
The most well-known of all the old historic plantations along 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. Plus it's a fabulous educational resource. 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 away from any development, truly giving it that coveted "out in the country" feel. The barn itself makes for a beautiful backdrop for a smaller outdoor wedding ceremony, and of course provides indoor space for a reception.
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. On-site lodging is available, and there is outdoor space for a ceremony as well.