Places and Spaces
Renovations, expansions and new venues provide something for every Big Easy wedding
The Elms Mansion
Greer Gattuso photo
If you want a central location in New Orleans, you can’t get much better than The Jaxson on the River on Decatur Street near Jackson Square. Newly opened in April, The Jaxson overlooks the Mississippi River and has a sleek, modern feel. But it’s not just the vibe of the place that is attractive. Because the space was essentially rebuilt, the many amenities available to couples are incredible. “We have a state-of-the-art sound system and all kinds of specialty lighting all built in,” says The Jaxson’s sales director Tanya Waller. “So they can expect a lot of in-house perks that a lot of places don’t have, since we literally gutted the space and built it out.” It’s a large space, seating 200 maximum for a formal sit down reception or 375 for a more casual cocktail party, and the outdoor space allows for a natural flow.
Originally built in the 1820s as a sugar plant, Generations Hall is now a music and event destination of epic proportions. With three massive rooms that can be rented separately or as one giant space, this venue is an audio-visual masterpiece. Known as a place for amazing musicianship and history, you can also host your wedding party here in a setting with all the funky furniture and lighting one could want. The venue provides an excellent and accommodating staff who are sure to attend to your every whim, large or small, and will help you plan the perfect event. The different rooms provide different vibes, from the exclusivity of a VIP event to the openness of a luxury warehouse. The new renovation is geared towards weddings and the largest change came in the Metropolitan One room, which once could only seat 60 to 70 people. “We removed an island bar that we used to have in the middle of the space and pushed it to the back wall, so we gained a lot of square footage, says Generations Hall’s sales manager Hector Laines. “Now we can do 120 to 150, depending on how they want to do it. But there’s a new lovely four-person bar with five chandeliers, and it really opened up the space.”
A Brennan’s Restaurant wedding reception is a historic experience. With the choice of seven different rooms, each with its own pleasant storied New Orleans ambiance, the choices really are endless at this venue. The most intimate room can hold 12 seated or 25 in a reception setup, while the largest allows for 110 guests seated or 160 reception style. Whether it’s the Chanteclair Room with its fantasy interpretation of French Organerie or the muted, cozy setting found inside Morphy room, guests are promised a vibrant European décor evoking romanticism in even the most hard-hearted. Brennan’s was already iconic in its history and tradition, says wedding sales manager Ashley Brodie, “and so when we closed and renovated it using the designer Richard Keith Langham from New York, he just transformed it into this incredibly magical place with lots of little bits of history and touches that make it a one of a kind experience for people coming to New Orleans or who are from New Orleans.” The food is guaranteed to be exemplary and even more exciting is the must-have signature dessert flambéed tableside, the traditional Bananas Foster.
Crawford Carroll photo
Redemption’s name is well earned. Housed within a former church built in 1914, the space formerly hosted Christian’s Restaurant until Hurricane Katrina laid waste to the building. Now the structure has earned another shot in the arm as Chef Greg Picolo renovated the space once again, as he expanded the bar and main floor and added a bridal suite upstairs. Now the bride has a place to prepare and hang out before the Big Day. “We do full service weddings,” Picolo says, “not just receptions and rehearsal dinners. We’ve done quite a few. We have the outside pergola, which is beautifully landscaped and we do weddings out there as well as seating.” The space can accommodate between 110 and 140 people depending on the setup. But if it’s a reception you want, feel free to sneak in a few extra guests.
The Elms Mansion
The beauty of the Garden District is hard to beat, so it’s tough to imagine Elms Mansion could become even more gorgeous after its most recent facelift or refreshing of the mansion. But those behind the former Garden District home have achieved the impossible and continue the traditions they’ve carried since 1969 by accenting the inherent beauty of their space, which can hold between 150 and 400 people. “We made it very light and bright,” Elms Mansion sales manager Judy Fern says, “and took the room that was formerly a pink room and made it silver in white and gold touches and hung a chandelier. [We] call it the Crown Room.” Now it’s a room where brides prefer to cut their cake. But that’s not all they did during the renovation. The former dark red carpeting was replaced with a striking cheetah print and the wall coverings in the main dining room were removed. Now the walls carry hand painted chinois, a duplicate of a wallpaper from the 1800s.
Eugenia Uhl photo
Elegant accommodations are only 45 minutes north of New Orleans at the Southern Hotel. A building that balances the historic aspects of the mission-style architecture, with deep porches and a courtyard, with a modern aesthetic, the Southern Hotel strikes a luxurious pose and keeps it. “We rebuilt it from the inside out, says owner Lisa Condrey. “The inside has the high ceilings, historic looking windows and whatnot, but it’s more updated than that. We’re not trying to make it like a museum.” Outside the hustle and bustle of the city induces an easiness of the moment, and here one can find a picturesque outdoor space where you can even enjoy your ceremony. A cocktail style reception with a buffet fits about 225 people in the ballroom, but the courtyard and porches allow for up to 300 people to celebrate in style. Smaller weddings can also be hosted here as the Olympia room provides for those more intimate ceremonies and receptions. The hotel can also play host to much of your wedding party with 42 rooms and a few suites, which can be connected as a sort of pre-wedding clubhouse for the bridal party.
Moviesets: A Reel Venue
Do you want to have a little fun with your wedding? Why not invite in some of your favorite film settings into the mix at Moviesets: A Reel Venue. This new space is one part event venue and one part props department for films (seriously there’s a prop house in the back). The owners partnered with Lawrence Barratini a propmaster for movies filmed in New Orleans. “If you go to L.A. you can get married at Universal Studios, so the owners thought, why not use our resources and provide that to New Orleanians?” says venue manager Sarah Worsley. “It’s a fun New Orleans vibe, and the bride and groom get to come in and theme it up or use the set.” Sets include the ship from “12 Years a Slave,” a scene from “Planet of the Apes,” the Chinese Garden from “G.I. Joe Retaliation,” the circus tent and Airstream trailers from “American Horror Story” and many more. “They can bring in their own caterer [and] drinks and we’re only 25 minutes away from [the Central Business District].” The massive space fits up to 500 and though it might seem a distance away for some, you don’t have to worry about transportation. Your package includes tons of parking and a souped up school bus that fits 45.
The casual Italian-eatery Amici’s now has a space for those who love its modern rustic feel. On the second floor of the Magazine Street restaurant wedding parties can enjoy a private room with hardwood floors, stained glass windows and chandeliers. The space comfortably seats 160 people, but a cocktail setting opens it up to 200 to 250. Privacy also means a private entrance and a fully stocked bar just for guests. Amici also will cater the entire event, serving its own style of delicious Italian cuisine. The most attractive part of the room without a doubt is its uncomplicated sophistication. “Most clients say they like the elegance and the coziness of it,” says Danielle Luken, Amici’s event sales manager. “They don’t have to do a whole lot more to decorate it and there’s a simplicity to it that makes it very attractive.”
Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak
Eugenia Uhl photo
Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak now has two private rooms for its guests, both with balconies overlooking Bourbon Street. The second floor room is the larger of the two and can fit between 150 and 250 guests. This room hosts a very soft color palate: neutral tones, taupe colors, with striking gold chandeliers throughout. The third floor room, called the Wine Room, can hold between 30 and 50 people depending on the setup. It’s a more intimate room with rich mahogany wine shelving along the walls and a built in wet bar. “All the drinks are made right there in the room by your waiter,” says Lisa Anzaloneso it’s really meant to feel like you’re in a French Quarter townhome rather than a restaurant.” Wedding organizers can decide between the menus of Galatoire’s or Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak, which is, of course, a fun decision to make.