As you know from my Getting Started post, New Orleans was the first city we decided to tour venues in. New Orleans is an extremely popular wedding destination. There are a ton of options both inside and outside the French Quarter ranging from tiny balconies for elopements to grand ballrooms for a big southern soireé. We fall somewhere in the middle with our intimate wedding so the venues we toured were on the smaller side. We really wanted a courtyard space for the ceremony and close proximity to the Quarter for a Second Line and reception afterparty, so that helped us narrow our selections. Here are the four we ended up scoping out.
Cane and Table
This is a restaurant on the east end of the Quarter, tucked amongst a busy street; you’d never know it was there if you weren’t looking for it. It has a lovely atmosphere in the main dining space and their cocktail program draws inspiration from historical trends like the European Grand Tour which just tugged at my historian heartstrings.
The venue space is upstairs and consists of a smaller room which holds the buffet and a larger one with a small walk out balcony. I loved the ambience of this space but my dreams were crushed when I realized there would be no room for dancing and we couldn’t use their courtyard for our ceremony. If you rent out the entire restaurant you have more flexibility, but at a starting price of 10k that wasn’t going to happen for us. It would be a lovely spot to host a small dinner party style reception or a rehearsal dinner, but it wasn’t a good fit for my vision.
Bourbon Orleans Hotel
Before we got engaged, when I would browse Pinterest for wedding ideas, this was the spot I would always come back to. The courtyard photographs so beautifully and opens right to a small ballroom space. I thought it would be perfect for us. In many ways it was, and my fiancé was particularly smitten. The hotel also has a bar and a restaurant attached to host rehearsal and welcome parties, and it is perfectly situated right off Bourbon for an FQ second line.
As much as I loved the idea of the space, it was over our budget and it didn’t wow me in real life as much as it did in photos. Maybe that’s because I went in hoping to not like it as well (knowing it would be over budget) or because I had built it up in my mind. Either way, it was not the space for us.
Starlight is a hidden gem of a bar right off Bourbon, but the atmosphere is worlds away from the rowdy bacchanalia happening just down the street. It feels like you’ve stepped into someone’s home for a glass of wine, even on a busy Saturday night. Head upstairs and you’ll find three beautiful adjoining rooms perfectly suited to an intimate house-party type of wedding.
I wanted to love this place, it felt so cozy, it was in budget, and it was in a great location. But at the end of the day, the courtyard was really lacking, and it just didn’t measure up to my most favorite venue.
/ Kathryn: I was a big fan of Starlight myself—especially because there is a Taylor Swift song to match. We enjoyed a drink on their balcony, and then came back to Starlight as the last stop on our Saturday night Bourbon bar crawl, and it was a really cozy, quiet place to end the evening. /
I love this venue, and I am currently trying to twist our date and budget every which way to see how we can make it work. The secluded courtyard connected to an amazing dining space, already perfectly suited to my dark and moody wedding dreams. The lobby boasts a live music venue and bar (far enough away not to interfere with your music but close enough for an easy afterparty). There is a coffee shop in the hotel and it connects to two restaurants. It is just far enough away from the Quarter to keep your wedding separate, but close enough for an easy transition to an afterparty if the hotel lobby bar isn’t cutting it.
After grabbing a coffee and hanging out in the lounge-y lobby, we headed up to the the rooftop pool. This place was an oasis, covered in plants, with a poolside bar, heated pool, and fire pit tables—I could have been sold on the possibility of a post-wedding pool party alone.
Now for the downside, the space and catering would be 60% of our budget for a Thursday date. As much as I love this space, the location, the decor, I am not sure if I can justify inevitably going over budget for a three hour party (did I mention New Orleans weddings are usually shorter cocktail-style parties?). So for now I will wistfully look at photos and draft budget after budget figuring out how I can swing a dress for $2 to make my dream venue happen.
Stay tuned for more wedding venue tours, because this indecisive bride has a few more locations up her sleeve. What city are you hoping to see featured next?