New Orleans is a bold, vibrant and undeniably one-of-a-kind city so it’s no surprise that couples choose to say “I do” in the Big Easy. As a city steeped in tradition, it’s history can be traced in the culture, food and most importantly, the music! It’s nearly impossible to roam the city’s enchanted streets without the sound of music filling the air. For lovebirds looking to wed in the Big Easy, incorporating a traditional second line may be top of the list. That’s why we’ve gathered the top tips for bringing the authentic, bouncing, booming sounds of a traditional New Orleans brass band to your New Orleans wedding.
WHEN & WHERE?
So, you’ve decided that you want you want to parade down the streets of New Orleans with family and friends – after all, it’s a celebration! First things first: plan your route. Figuring out when and where your second line parade will take place is perhaps, one of the most vital parts of the process. Typically, six to eight blocks long, you will need to hire parade escorts to close the streets and move you and your guests along safely. Parading in the direction of traffic is something we highly recommend, as it’ll make everything easier for your escorts and most importantly, you and your guests! And if you are wondering how you are going to strut down those (often uneven) city streets in fancy heels, we’ll turn to Nicole Hartman, from Lydia Noble Events for her sound advice.
“Bring a comfortable pair of shoes that you can give your planner so you aren’t thinking about the pain in your feet!” – Nicole
Your ceremony and reception location is set. You’ve figured out your parade route. Now what? The City of New Orleans requires a permit before parading. You will need to file a permit with the city online by filling out the ‘Master Event Application’ and ‘Supplement C-Parade Form’ which are available at www.Nola.gov/OneStop. Be sure to submit your permit application(s) no later than 2 months prior to the parade date. The permit cost is $200.25. (Prices are subject to change.)
BRASS BAND, WHERE Y’AT?
With a bustling jazz scene, New Orleans is overflowing with options for a second line band. Our advice? Research, Research, Research! Bands are usually between 3-6 members and their prices vary based on how many musicians you’d like for your big day. Prices typically range between $500- $1,500 but can vary on a case by case basis. Would you like the band to perform in suits or traditional band dress? Be sure to specify so that everything’s just right for your Big Easy wedding! Also, be sure to book as far ahead of time as you can.
DON’T FORGET YOUR ACCESSORIES
During traditional New Orleans jazz funerals, guests would be seen waving handkerchiefs in the air. Many would even include an umbrella to add a little flair to the precession. It’s great to follow in the footsteps of the tradition set before you but there are ways to march to the beat of your drum, too! Consider customized accessories for your second line. Our wedding expert Blakeley Santos, owner of Belle Amour Weddings, suggests, “ordering customized napkins for guests to hold. These could include the couple’s name and wedding date and can also serve as favors for them to take home.”
Your second line is also the perfect opportunity to include other special items in your big day that might not have “fit” otherwise. Nicole, from Lydia Noble Events, “loved the bride in the striped dress who had incorporated patches onto her umbrella that were meaningful to her!”
We agree and think this tip along with the others listed above are a surefire way to having a sizzling second line at your showstopping New Orleans wedding!
Photo Credit for main image: Brian Jarreau Photography