The ceremony should be beautiful- after all it is a heartfelt reflection of you and your beloved’s commitment to one another. The reception, on the other hand, is where you throw the party of a lifetime- the one you’ve always wanted to go to- plus it has all your closest friends and family, favorite foods and music.
So, where to start? Well, we knew we wanted to start in New Orleans, so we looked at tons of amazing sites all over the city. Yet we were restricted because we needed to find a venue that was large enough for at least 250 people!
We decided to focus our search to the New Orleans downtown area- basically the French Quarter and the Warehouse District. While the Quarter is notorious for a good time and full of great hotels, restaurants and venues, we found that our large guest list prohibited us from using certain venues, particularly courtyards.
The Warehouse District ended up being a perfect fit. It runs alongside the Mississippi river between New Orleans’ Central Business District (CBD) and the Lower Garden District. It is full of old grain storage facilities and other industrial buildings that once thrived when the city was in its hey-day as a bustling port city. Today, many of these buildings have been renovated to meet New Orleans' modern #1 industry: tourism.
The Warehouse District is full of museums, like the National D-Day Museum and the Contemporary Arts Center, as well as numerous hotels, event facilities and art galleries. In keeping with our mission to give back via our wedding, we immediately began researching the available venue spaces. These are just three of the great venues that we found that also benefit great causes. Click on them to find out more:
The National D-Day Museum is host to many events, but almost no weddings. We checked it out because my grandfather was one of the original carpenters for the Higgins’ boats that landed in Normandy during the invasion. The decor wasn't quite our style, but it could be the perfect venue for a couple of history buffs who want their wedding reception to help preserve the past by providing funds for the nation’s largest WW2 museum.
|The D-Day Museum|
Preservation Hall has served as a venue for some of the greatest jazz musicians of all time and it also doubles as a tavern, inn, photo studio and an art gallery. While not a not-for-profit, Preservation Hall serves an important mission: preserving New Orleans’ rich musical history, while educating a new generation of young musicians. In the end, its 125-person capacity was just too small to accommodate us, but it could be a great venue for a smaller wedding.
The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) has awarded $350,000 in grants since Hurricane Katrina to individual New Orleans' artists who were affected by Hurricane Katrina through the CAC Theatre Arts Fund and the SweetArts Katrina Fund. The CAC's education department also helps over 10,000 children and adults annually, including those with special needs and those from economically deprived backgrounds. We loved the CAC, but unfortunately they were unavailable for rent the weekend of our wedding because of their annual gala.
Since this post is a tad on the long side, I'll leave it as a cliffhanger. In the next post, I'll provide even more information on other great venues and finally reveal our reception site :)