Whether you’re looking for a place to quietly elope or getting hitched in front of 500 of your closest friends and family members, there are seemingly endless possibilities of places in New Orleans to tie the knot or host wedding-related festivities. We’ve scouted out 12 sweet spots in and around the city that provide just the right ambiance to make your wedding memorable and romantic.
English Turn Golf and Country Club
Racheal Apken of English Turn Golf and Country Club says the facility is classically elegant and can be easily transitioned to host a modern or vintage-style wedding ceremony. The home of many major PGA tournaments and events, English Turn accommodates up to 500 guests and provides catering and assistance with entertainment, though couples are also welcome to bring in their own caterers. For those who want to tie the knot outdoors, English Turn has a ceremony area that can seat up to 350, overlooking the water feature, a fountain and 18th green. “Our sunsets are always so beautiful, and the peaceful tranquility of the lush grounds is so romantic,” says Apken. The venue can also host outdoor receptions. For overnight accommodations, The Villa at English Turn is a 5,000-square foot home, directly across the street from the clubhouse, which can sleep up to 16. “It’s a perfect place for the bridal party and family to stay the weekend of the wedding,” says Apken. She recommends booking it about a year in advance.
The Royal Sonesta in the French Quarter accommodates weddings from 10 to 500 people, says Colleen McCourtney, marketing manager. It also offers in-house catering (the hotel doesn’t allow outside food or beverage), though couples must hire their own entertainment. “The feeling here is romantic and exciting,” says McCourtney. “We are known for our exceptional style and service, timeless elegance and the modern charm of our versatile facilities.” Areas of interest include the hotel’s Grand Ballroom; Fleur de Lis Suite and lush tropical courtyard, as well as the hotel’s second-floor terrace. The hotel itself has more than 450 guest rooms, including 36 suites, which makes it convenient for out-of-town guests. “We offer the highest degree of personal service from a team of warm and wonderful wedding professionals,” says McCourtney, “from bridal showers and rehearsal dinners to hospitality suites and the final brunch.”
The Cannery was once a warehouse space for the American Can Company that sat dormant for years until the Pel Hughes company purchased it in 1997 and breathed new life into it. Today, it’s a sleek, modern event space with a flexible floor plan and layout and an outdoor patio connected to the front entrance. It also provides secure off-street parking. The Cannery has catering in-house by Toulouse Gourmet, but the betrothed couple must bring in their own entertainment. Overnight accommodations are not offered, and it is advised that brides book The Cannery about eight months to a year in advance. “Smaller events like luncheons and weekday events can be pulled together in as little as a month,” says Julie Mathews, production coordinator. She adds that cocktail receptions can accommodate 500 guests.
The Louisiana Castle in Franklinton is a replica of an English Norman Keep castle, located on 10 acres of lush land away from the hustle and bustle of the Crescent City. The glass-enclosed ballroom is frequently the site of wedding receptions, featuring crystal chandeliers, white columns and inlaid floors. The “Throne Room” has king and queen thrones, a suit of armor and a wedding sofa. On the top floor of the castle is the Juliet Suite, where members of the bridal party can spend the night before getting ready for the Big Day. The Louisiana Castle’s standard packages include catering, a DJ for the reception, a wedding and groom’s cake that is custom-designed with the on-site baker, Ms. Tina. L
Broussard’s: New Orleans French Creole Restaurant
One of the grand dames of New Orleans restaurants, Broussard’s first opened its doors in 1920 on Conti Street. To this day, the five-star, family-run restaurant is an elegant, quintessential must for visitors and locals looking for a nice meal. But it’s not just a restaurant — it’s also a timelessly elegant wedding venue accommodating up to 200 guests with the use of the adjacent Hermann-Grima Courtyard, and receptions hosting up to 350. Of course, the restaurant provides catering (bringing in another caterer is not allowed), though brides should provide their own wedding cakes. Clients are encouraged to bring in outside entertainment. With careful restoration of the centuries-old building, the space is historic and glamorous. Trent Verges, marketing director, recommends that it be booked about a year and a half in advance, adding that the “lush courtyard and our ability to use the beautiful Herman-Grima courtyard, along with our rich history, set us apart from any other venue in the French Quarter.”
Built in 1852 as a coffee warehouse, The Chicory is now a well-received event space (getting nods from both Martha Stewart Weddings and The Knot). It can fit up to 400 guests, and the rental fee is all-inclusive, providing catering (except for the wedding and groom’s cake), tables, gold Chiavari chairs, ivory linens, china, glassware, silverware, personal attendants for the couple, on-site security and a private room for the couple to dine at the beginning of the reception. The historic building features hard wood floors, exposed brick walls, exposed woodbeam ceilings, brass gas lanterns and a 2,000 square-foot balcony overlooking Fulton and Lafayette streets. Another bonus is that it’s within walking distance to the French Quarter, so guests who are staying nearby will be able to get there easily.
The JW Marriott can accommodate up to 500 guests, reception-style; and 400 guests, plated-style, in its iconic Île de France indoor ballroom, featuring six crystal chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Canal Street and city lights. It also can host more intimate wedding ceremonies and receptions on its eighth-floor terrace. The hotel has a catering team that works closely with the couple to “ensure that their wedding is both memorable and authentically New Orleans,” says Maggie Hartz- Zschiedrich, catering sales executive. “We can customize any menu that suits your taste. We offer reception-style menus and plated menus.” Couples can also bring in an outside caterer if they choose. Hartz- Zschiedrich says that couples can also bring in their own entertainment — and they won’t get charged additional power or setup fees. Complimentary cake-cutting services are also offered. The overall ambiance of the hotel, she says, is “a perfect blend of distinct class and Old World charm, with unparalleled accommodations, personalized services and an abundance of upscale amenities.” As an added bonus, brides can enjoy getting ready on-site — the hotel offers a complimentary suite. Hartz- Zschiedrich says that weddings should be booked around 10 months to a year in advance.
The Blake Hotel
For a more intimate rehearsal dinner or bridal luncheon, check out the Blake Hotel in the heart of downtown next to Lafayette Square and Gallier Hall. “The space is perfect for rehearsal dinners and bridal luncheons,” notes Andy Le Bouef, director of sales and marketing. “We don’t host ceremonies or receptions because the space is too small, but our restaurant Café at the Square can handle the catering, or the client can bring in their own.” The hotel features a landscaped balcony overlooking St. Charles Avenue, and it offers discounted room rates. Le Bouef says that the staff begins booking up to a year in advance. He says it is a great choice for accommodations for wedding guests as well as hosting small celebrations.
After an extensive renovation completed in April 2015, the Jaxson, located inside the historically significant Jackson Brewery Building, is one of the newest venues in the French Quarter and accommodates up to 375 guests indoors and 125 outdoors. For seated dinners, it can fit about 150 inside. The overall ambiance is clean, sophisticated and modern with touches of warm New Orleans-style finishes, says Vicky Bayley, who works in business development. “We provide catering and all of the sound and lighting equipment for entertainment,” she says. “Brides can’t bring in their own catering, but they do bring in their own entertainment.” The facility does not offer overnight accommodations, but it does allow flexible scheduling — while many venues need up to a year or more in advance, Bayley says that they can book events up to two weeks in advance. “We focus on creating a custom experience by offering the ability to create your own menu and build your own bar,” she says. “We have a full-service restaurant kitchen and everything is cooked on-site. We also feed the band!” She adds that the venue provides on-site management of the event and ceremony coordination and the rental fee includes many other amenities and discounted prices during certain times of the year.
Cedar Grove Plantation, according to owner Jill Mercer — who works on-site with her husband, Joey, and their children — can accommodate anywhere from around 50 to 350 guests in the historic home that was built in 1790. She and her family strive to be attentive and kind to all visitors. “Our motto is to create a beautiful and peaceful home so that everyone who visits here will leave a better person than when they came,” she says. Going hand-in-hand with that hospitality is the catering they provide: “We are known for our delicious cuisine,” she says. (Outside catering is not allowed.) In terms of entertainment, “We welcome wedding bands, jazz bands or second-line bands; however, only our in-house DJ is allowed at the plantation,” she says. The 225-year-old building is complemented by new construction allowing it to “flow with the hustle and bustle of parties and receptions.” With a chapel that’s attached to the ballroom, the plantation is praised for its romantic ambiance. “Many people ask if it’s haunted, and although I always say no, it would be remiss not to recognize how many souls have passed through this home in the past 225 years,” says Mercer. “I say that it is a spiritual place. When people come through the front door, there is a peaceful tranquility that transpires. It’s not something we created. It just came as a gift from the house.” While it doesn’t offer overnight accommodations, Mercer says there are several hotels nearby.
Southport Hall in Jefferson, off River Road, accommodates up to 400 guests with a variety of options for on-site catering as well as offering space for outdoor caterers. Although it was once an illegal casino, owned and operated by Carlos Marcello, today it’s a “fun atmosphere” for a wedding, says Mark Bagnetto, who recommends booking it anywhere from eight months to a year in advance.
On historic (and picturesque) Esplanade Avenue is the Degas House, an elegant Southern mansion with a French Quarter-style courtyard (with a fountain). History and art buffs, along with Francophiles, will take delight in knowing that French Impressionist Master Edgar Degas once lived and painted within its walls. Packages offered through the Degas House include an engagement party; bridal shower; champagne candlelight rehearsal dinner (that can take place in the parlor or in the courtyard); bridal brunch, luncheon or tea; dressing of the bride; honeymoon suite; morning-after champagne brunch; French Creole breakfast; a tour of the home itself; elopement ceremonies and art classes with a wine reception. Degas House has wedding coordinators on staff that can help coordinate every detail. Entertainment such as wedding bands or DJs are not provided. Brides are also welcome to bring in outside catering.
Il Mercato — a Works Progress Administration project — was designed by Sam Stone in 1930 as a food market. In 2014, it underwent a restoration bringing it back to its original look and feel, but with grand upgrades. Enjoy your cocktail reception in the gorgeous courtyard, say your vows in front of the fireplace and enjoy elegant and delicious food by Joel Catering in the spacious main hall. The cozy and sophisticated library is the perfect place for guests to mingle in a quieter setting. Il Mercato accomodates anywhere from 150 to 500 guests in its historic Lower Garden District setting
P.S. Save the date for the June 2016 New Orleans Magazine Bridal Show, 6 to 9 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Meet with the city’s premiere wedding industry professionals and plan every aspect of your Big Day from the engagement to the honeymoon and everything between! Click here for advance tickets and additional information.