My first wedding here was back in January of 2007. Now, more than a decade later and with more than 40 events at this location under my belt, I'm exceedingly experienced at the venue and how events are run there, and I am intimately familiar with how to capture beautiful photographs of weddings at this top-notch facility.
Because I've worked at this location so many times, in every season, and for early afternoon, late afternoon, and night time ceremonies, I have experience here in just about any weather or lighting conditions.
There are numerous standard and optional amenities available for events here. For receptions without a band, a fantastic in-house DJ is provided, who always does a great job. Want a brass band to lead you and your guests in a second line parade into the plantation at the end of the ceremony? Or perhaps a sushi chef, Cafe du Monde beignet truck, char-grilled oysters from Dragos, or snowball stand for your reception? No problem.
But there are also options that you will not find at any other New Orleans wedding venue, such as their signature horse-drawn carriage for the ceremony, a full-blown Mardi Gras parade (complete with floats and beads!), and, perhaps most impressively, a spectacular fireworks show at the conclusion of your ceremony (or, in some cases, at the end of the night, after the reception if the timing works better that way).
The staff always does an excellent job in communicating the details and timing of various aspects of the reception, such as when the cake cutting, bouquet and garter toss, money dance, etc. will occur.
Another benefit of this venue is how they handle inclement weather. Through the dozens of Southern Oaks weddings I've photographed over the years, only one single time did a ceremony have to be moved inside due to rain. The reason for this track record was made obvious on that one occasion... while many venues will want the decision to move inside made an hour or two before the ceremony start time to give them time to set up the space, Southern Oaks is able to wait until the last possible moment if the radar or forecast hints that the rain may clear in time. They can do this because their large and efficient staff can be called upon to quickly swoop in and set up the ballroom for an indoor ceremony in the blink of an eye (I'm convinced they run military-like practice drills, with a stopwatch!). Likewise, If a brief rain shower does happen to move through before the ceremony begins, the staff can very quickly dry off the chairs for your guests.
As a result, your outdoor wedding ceremony is given the greatest chance of proceeding as planned, as there are few things as frustrating as seeing a ceremony get moved indoors only to have the weather clear up in time for it to have remained outside as originally planned if the decision could have been deferred until just a little later.
That said, it should be noted that even if the ceremony must be moved inside, the spacious and beautiful ballroom is well suited for this, with large windows along the back wall overlooking the lushly landscaped pool and garden area, and horse stables where equine brothers Magic and Majestic live.
Location: 7816 Hayne Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70126.