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It’s Time to (Wedding) Party: Get Married in NOLA

Now that marriage equality has finally arrived across the United States, it’s time to (wedding) party. Might we suggest New Orleans?

Now that marriage equality has finally arrived across the United States, it’s time to (wedding) party. Might we suggest New Orleans? Couples – including LGBTQ couples – have long chosen New Orleans to celebrate their unions, and now that it’s legal to do so, the city becomes even more attractive as a wedding destination. Here are just a few reasons why:

Crescent City second lines

On this list, second lines get first place. You never know when you might find yourself within earshot of a parade full of brass music. Venture a little closer and you’ll likely witness a second line: a group of people with handkerchiefs, parasols, and memorable dance moves.

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Parasols, handkerchiefs, and dancing: it’s a New Orleans tradition. (Wedding photos from Miriam and Tricia Baron/courtesy of Babs Evangelista Photography)

Though second lines originally started after funerals, they’re a fitting choice for all life-affirming celebrations – weddings most certainly included. Find yourself a good brass band, hire a grand marshal, and purchase parasols for your guests. You may want to purchase extra parasols for strangers, too: whether for second lines or any other New Orleans celebration, it’s generally accepted here that the more people who join in, the better.

Have your cake and pull it, too

Cakes are often the centerpiece of your wedding reception. (Photo courtesy Bryant Laiche)

Haydel’s Bakery says it best: “You may have never heard of cake pulls, but here in New Orleans, they’re as traditional and beloved as red beans and rice on Monday night.” So, what is a cake pull? Think of it as a sweetened-up version of a bouquet toss, wherein select members of the wedding party will pull a ribbon or bracelet that’s attached to a charm hidden inside the cake (the cake pull happens before the cake is cut).

Different charms have different meanings, from the general good luck of a clover charm to the NOLA-specific water meter, which stands for strength and stability.

Everyone’s NOLA is different, and everyone’s NOLA is welcome.

Our historic landmarks are interactive

We’ve heard it before: we’re the Paris of the South. And while that’s a lovely compliment, we’re pretty sure Paris doesn’t allow for weddings atop the Eiffel Tower. (Actually, we checked… and they don’t) Here in New Orleans, though, our landmarks are more than just a photo opp. Whether you obtain a permit for Jackson Square, hold your reception at this historic Beauregard-Keyes House, or charter an iconic streetcar for your big day, the landmarks become part of the wedding party.

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A wedding in Jackson Square. (Photo courtesy Arte de Vie Photography)

You’re in good company

Solange Knowles chose NOLA’s Marigny Opera House as her wedding venue last year and pedaled side by side with her husband for a photo, showcasing her venerable style and bike-riding skills. Actress Lake Bell also chose New Orleans for her nuptials in 2013 – she, too, opted for Marigny Opera House – but the romance goes far deeper than recent years. From Tennessee Williams’ seminal classic “A Streetcar Named Desire” (tragedy aside, there’s no denying the play had romance) to famous New Orleans couples, love hangs thick in the air like the scent of Garden District gardenias.

New Orleans is also one of the oldest cities in the United States: when you share a kiss with the one you love on a balcony in the French Quarter or under an ancient oak tree Uptown, you’d be remiss not to ponder the generations of other couples who have done the very same thing in the very same spot. In the Crescent City, love runs deep.

Everyone – everyone! – is welcome

New Orleans has a long history of hospitality, and now that gay marriage is legal across the United States, we can extend that inviting, welcoming spirit even further. Everyone’s NOLA is different, and everyone’s NOLA is welcome. So when you plan your wedding here in New Orleans, invite your crazy aunt Gladys or your third cousin, twice removed, on your mom’s side – we’d love to have them.

If you’re interested in planning your New Orleans wedding, visit

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