On Location: New Orleans
The Chicory: Brick walls, exposed beams, and pressed-tin ceilings make this enormous former coffee warehouse a great choice for people who want space—and character; thechicoryvenue.com.
LaTrobe's on Royal: This 1822 French Quarter gem retains a few great details of its past life as a bank: hand-painted murals and a still-intact vault—an unexpected setting for cocktail hour; latrobesonroyal.com.
New Orleans Museum of Art: The Great Hall's marble staircase is ideal for a bride looking to make a dramatic entrance; then there are all those masterpieces by Noguchi, Magritte, and Renoir among the oaks in the Sculpture Garden; noma.org (pictured).
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum: A former pharmacy may not be an obvious wedding-venue choice, but this historic museum appeals to traditional and quirky couples alike. Bonus: The lush medicinal herbs, like chamomile and salvia, in the courtyard double as ceremony decor; pharmacymuseum.org.
Race & Religious: This lovingly restored venue is equal parts Greek Revival row house and Creole cottage. Wrought-iron gates open to a palm-shaded courtyard with flickering gas lanterns and fountains; raceandreligious.com.
Souther Oaks Plantation: Plantation homes are a popular choice for Brides with Gone with the Wind fantasies, but most are a long drive away. Not Southern Oaks. Just eight miles from the French Quarter, this antebellum-style beauty has an endless front lawn and all the grand columns Scarlett O'Hara could wish for; southernoaksplantation.com.
Suzanne Perron: After stints at Vera Wang and Carolina Herrera, Suzanne Perron returned home to open her atelier just off Magazine Street. Brides rave about her hand-beaded gowns, all sewn in-house; suzanneperron.com (pictured).
Town & Country: A stone's throw from the St. Charles streetcar line, this venerable boutique has been dressing New Orleans Brides since the 1930s. Designers include Amsale and Alvina Valenta; also check out the Swarovski-studded fascinators and sashes; townandcountrybridal.com.
Wedding Belles & the Stationer: Amy Casbarian and Jane Bensel combined their interests (gowns and stationery, respectively) to open this boutique featuring dresses by Romona Keveza, Modern Trousseau, and Amy Kuschel, along with invites by Bella Figura and Kate Spade; weddingbellesstationer.com.
Yvonne LaFleur: The designer's eponymous wedding-gown line has both traditional and modern silhouettes in French laces and silks. LaFleur's also a talented milliner and can design a custom birdcage veil to match your dress; yvonnelafleur.com.
Plan B Production: Aimee Barousse specializes in New Orleans destination weddings—nearly 85 percent of her couples live out of state; neworleansweddingplanner.com.
Old.New.Blue: Their Magazine Street studio may be brand-new, but don't be fooled: The proprietors have more than 20 years of planning experience. They also operate a boutique stocked with everything from quirky cake toppers to lingerie; oldnewblueshop.com.
Sapphire Events: Valerie Gernhauser is all about making a couple's vision a reality, even if it means tracking down a baby grand for the bride and groom who want piano music for their outdoor ceremony; sapphireventsnola.com.
Tying the Knot Wedding Coordination: Elyse Skansi's out-of-the-box ideas have landed her on several big-name wedding blogs. She's also known for discovering new talent, like a stationer who incorporates wax and vintage-inspired maps in her designs; tyingtheknotweddingcoordination.com.
Flour Power: Made with local ingredients, Flour Power's cakes are mostly iced with fondant. The current favorite? A sleek design with fondant ribbons arranged in a modern ombre pattern; flourpowernola.com.
Shake Sugary: Dawn Snead's Bywater bakery specializes in organic and even vegan confections. For a recent wedding, she adapted the bride's family carrot-cake recipe and garnished the tiers with flowers sculpted from carrots and sweet potatoes; shakesugary.com.
Sucre: Pastry chef Tariq Hanna creates sculptural wedding cakes, as well as rainbow-colored French macaroon cookies in hip, Oprah-approved flavors like salted caramel and bananas Foster; shopsucre.com (pictured).
Bee's Wedding & Event Floral Design: Diversity is the key word here. This husband-and-wife team has a varied portfolio—from vintage-inspired bouquets with handles wrapped in lace to modern arrangements of “pincushion” proteas, berries, orchids, and grasses; beesweddingdesigns.com.
Bella Blooms: Florist Diem Vu's glamorous designs are elaborate and over-the-top—in a good way. Case in point: The opulent ceremony backdrop she made for a recent wedding, using red roses, lilies, and crystals; bellabloomsfloral.com.
Nola Flora: Ashley Watkins-Bateman's loose, romantic arrangements are a perfect choice for artistic couples who like an unfussy, just-grabbed-these-at-the-farmer's-market aesthetic; nolaflorashop.com.
Jason Kruppa: Wedding portraits are Jason Kruppa's specialty—by manipulating light and shutter speeds, he gives his images a lovely painterly quality; kruppaworks.com.
Maile Lani: For dreamy, evocative images, try photographer Maile Lani, whose camera bag includes everything from a state-of-the-art Leica to toy cameras like a Holga and Polaroids; mailelaniphotography.com.
Studio Tran: This husband-and-wife duo are two of the most in-demand photographers in the city—they've shot weddings at pretty much every venue in town, so they'll have great ideas about framing images to really show off your location; studiotran.com.
Michael's Catering: One of the city's most celebrated kitchens also runs a catering service known for Louisiana classics like fried green tomatoes with crawfish etouffee; michaelscateringneworleans.com.
Nolavore: Anne Lloyd sources most ingredients from local farmer's markets to create dishes like garam-masala collards and a homemade vinaigrette with made-in-Louisiana Steen's Cane Vinegar; nolavore.net.
Cafe Reconcile: A teaching restaurant and catering company, Reconcile serves soul-food-meets-Creole cuisine prepared by students in its culinary program. And the food gets rave reviews (even Anthony Bourdain is a fan); they've done weddings at some of the best venues in town; reconcileneworleans.org.
A Guide to the 'Second Line'
Whether they're celebrating Fat Tuesday or mourning a funeral, New Orleanians love a parade—and weddings are no exception. After the ceremony, newlyweds and their guests (the “second line”) dance through the streets behind a brass band (the “primary line”), waving hankies and parasols. Here are the essentials to stage your own
Our Favorite Brass Bands
Kinfolk Brass Band kinfolkbrassband.com
Algiers Brass Band whiteoakproductions.com
Pin Stripe Brass Band whiteoakproductions.com
Storyville Stompers storyvillestompers.com
Treme Brass Band anewmuse.com
Resources for Parasols and Hankies
Gem Printing Company gemprinting.com
Parasols by Tamie parasolsbytamie.etsy.com
New Orleans Umbrella Company neworleansumbrellaco.etsy.com
Second-Line Handkerchiefs secondlinehandkerchiefs.com
Second Line Umbrella secondlineumbrella.com