Beaucoup Love: 5 Expert Tips For Planning Your Wedding in New Orleans
Look at you, you’re engaged! You found your soul mate, the gorgeous ring, the proposal happened — the hard part’s over. Now all you have to do is plan a wedding, and because you love the romance and adventure of it, you’re considering a destination wedding. Wedding planning can be a LOT, so let New Orleans do all the heavy lifting — with its rich culture, music and restaurant scene, the parties almost plan themselves, and the city’s colorfully eclectic art and architecture will provide the most unique and striking backdrop for your beautiful photos. And just to make things easier, we sat down with one of our favorite top wedding planners in the region to talk about her best recommendations when getting hitched in New Orleans.
Image from Caroline's Instagram
But first, meet Caroline:
Hey everyone! I’m Caroline Broussard, the owner and creative behind Iris and Oak Events, a wedding planning company based in New Orleans. I’m from Abbeville, LA, which is in the heart of Cajun country. My love of party planning started from a very young age, because in small Louisiana towns, it’s common to have large gatherings with family and friends to enjoy each other's company. After graduating from Louisiana State University, I moved directly to New Orleans and dove into the event industry.
Wedding planning is such a special profession. I love it because I get to be an integral part of a huge milestone in these couples’ lives. It’s a stressful career, because weddings — let's face it — are stressful! But each event is also so beautiful, emotional and exciting, which definitely outweighs any stress.
There is special meaning behind the name Iris and Oak Events: Growing up, my mother’s favorite flower was the iris. When I went to college, I gained a love for the iris flower, as well, because it’s the flower of my national sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. Oak trees have also always been a consistent image in my life; growing up in southern Louisiana, oak trees were always around to give me shade and support.
I moved to New Orleans to become a wedding planner because of this city’s great culture — it’s a city that loves to celebrate, and what’s a better celebration than a wedding! On that note, here are five tips that I recommend you prioritize when planning a wedding in New Orleans.
Here are my top five tips for planning your wedding in New Orleans:
1. Show Off New Orleans!
Your guests are giving their time and traveling great distances to take part in your big day, thank them by showing them the best parts of this city! Take your loved ones to more than just the famous French Quarter. While Bourbon Street should definitely be on your list of destinations to visit, some of my favorite days in the city include grabbing a poboy from Parkway and enjoying it on the bayou, or simply going for a stroll and stopping into the many charming locally owned shops on Magazine Street. If your ceremony and reception are in the French Quarter, consider having your rehearsal dinner in the Garden District, just to ensure your guests can see all that NOLA has to offer.
2. Prioritize Your Vendors!
At the beginning of your wedding planning journey, you’ll want to decide what matters to you most as a couple regarding your event vendors. Is it the band? Photographer? Venue? Food? Florals? All of these are great options, but prioritizing your vendors will make planning go a lot more smoothly. For me, I think I’d prioritize entertainment. We’re in a city filled with music, so I want to capitalize on that!
3. Book a Second Line!
This may seem a bit out of left field, but believe me, when hosting a wedding in New Orleans, there’s no better way to surprise your guests than closing down the streets and dancing down the street with a brass band leading the way. Really, nothing makes me happier! (My friends at Old No. 77 Hotel recommend booking the Kinfolk brass band when you’re planning your nuptials.)
4. Have a Cocktail-Style Reception!
New Orleans is wonderfully different than so many other places in the country, and we excel at cocktail-style, grab-and-go and action-station food service. Don’t get me wrong, I love seated dinners, and I think seated rehearsal dinners are great, but the relaxed energy of a New Orleans wedding definitely jives better with a cocktail style reception!
5. Keep Yourselves at the Center of the Planning!
I’m sure you’ve already noticed — when planning a wedding, there are lots of opinions and “experts” out there. But remember, this is your event, and it should be unique to you as a couple, which means no wedding will have been done exactly like yours before. Of course, listen to the actual experts if they’re guiding you in a way that’s helpful and suits your needs, but do what’s best for you!