Whether you’re planning a wedding in NOLA or want to bring some NOLA to your wedding in some other location, you must know all the local New Orleans traditions. You won’t regret including at least a few of these touches in your wedding plans. In this blog, I’m sharing the 8 wedding traditions that I absolutely love from my favorite city.
How to Plan a New Orleans Wedding
The rich tradition of New Orleans weddings gives a guest experience like no other. Each element you add will draw guests into your personal story and your love for all things NOLA. If you’ve got the Big Easy running through your veins, consider one or all of these! So here it is, my top 8 NOLA Wedding Traditions.
Wedding Cake Pulls
I want to start with the cake because as they say life is short, do dessert first. Wedding cake pulls are a tradition that wishes good luck onto close friends. As the name suggests, small good luck charms are attached to a ribbon and placed between the layers of the wedding cake. The ribbon extends outside of the cake. Before the cake is cut, the Bride has her friends called to the cake table. Each friend chooses a ribbon, on the count of three, they all pull on their ribbon, exposing the good luck charm. All the charms have meanings. It used to be for single friends only, but that is fading, and the cake pull tradition is open to whoever the bride chooses. A local New Orleans bakery, Gambino’s, wrote a great article on this, check it out here.
New Orleans Street Vendors are one of a kind. We love when couples have street vendors show up in lieu of favors. I have a real thing for Roman Candy. There’s a Roman Candy Cart at the Audubon Zoo. I get a membership every year, my kids love seeing the lions and the seals. I mostly go for the Roman Candy. Okay, so other ideas are beignets, daiquiris, snoballs, lucky dogs or pralines.
Mule Drawn Royal Carriage
If you’re doing a grand exit, there’s no better way than the mule-drawn wedding carriage. It’s just lovely. Royal Carriages is a 3rd generation family business. They’ve been here for more than 75 years. Also, they treat their mules with love and care, with the stable right here in the city. In fact, their stable is the largest in the city.
Let’s talk about dance crews. In between Mardi Gras floats are troupes from formal dancing schools, high schools, and colleges. Intermixed with those are the DIY groups that are just downright the life of the party. If you’ve heard of any of them, you’ve probably heard of the New Orleans Sirens or the 610 Stompers. Get a dance crew to surprise your guests in the middle of the reception. Now that’s New Orleans.
Second Line Parade
Alright, its time. Time to talk about the famous Second Line Parade. This is several traditions all rolled into one. In this great city, you can get your own parade permit, hire a brass band, and then have your guests dance their way in the streets from your ceremony to your reception. That’s a pretty cool tradition in itself.
Mardi Gras Indians
Want to take it up a notch? Have Mardi Gras Indians lead the show. Never seen a Mardi Gras Indian? If you are from NOLA, you’re like yea last week. If you’re not, you’re like what is she talking about. You might need to google that. Or follow this link.
By now it’s crossed your mind, I know it. Do New Orleans Ladies wear heels to weddings, cuz this seems like a rolled ankle waiting to happen. Well onto the next tradition. A basket of flip flops at the beginning of the second line and/or at the end.
Alright, one more tradition. And maybe we saved the best for last.
Now, most the country has open container laws, but in NOLA you can take your drink with you. Order some plastic Mardi Gras cups, personalize them with your wedding details, and voila you’ve got a NOLA tradition, the Go-cup. I always need more cups, so as a guest it’s a favor I always love to get.
Thanks for letting me share all our fun traditions. Keep in mind that you can always create your own version of these traditions. Do something that represents you and your fiancé! Also, I love learning about wedding traditions from different cities and cultures. Share your own traditions in the comments! If you haven’t already subscribed to our YouTube channel, there’s no time like the present. We post a new video every single Thursday. Remember to follow us on all our social media platforms! Happy wedding planning!