Wedding venue with white chairs under a columned roof facing the water

Your Guide to an Outdoor Wedding in New Orleans

New Orleans, Weddings

The unique history, beautiful architecture, and warm weather are some of the many things that make New Orleans an ideal spot to celebrate an outdoor wedding. Many areas throughout the city feature gorgeous, intimate outdoor venues fit for a ceremony and reception. While many couples are moving their venues outside to adjust to COVID-19 restrictions and to help keep guests safe, there are plenty of other bonuses that come with this non-traditional setting. Here’s the ultimate guide to planning your outdoor wedding.

Why You Should Consider Having an Outdoor Wedding New Orleans Style

Ditch some of the decor, and let the outdoors be your wedding backdrop! Outdoor weddings offer an allure that indoor weddings cannot match. The natural lighting enhances the beauty of the ceremony and captures the celebration with authenticity. Unlike harsh artificial lighting, the sunlight creates a soft glow for photos and an inviting atmosphere. Outdoor venues also offer a superior sense of space and flexibility, while indoor venues have fixed layouts and limited space. Whether you choose to have an intimate gathering or a grand event, outdoor venue spaces accommodate diverse guest counts and allow for a seamless transition between ceremony and reception.

If you choose to host an outdoor wedding, New Orleans presents an opportunity to immerse yourself and your guests in the lively culture and picturesque settings. With its unique atmosphere characterized by colorful history, architecture, and music, outdoor venues offer couples an exceptional wedding day. Many hotels, museums, and historical spots throughout the city feature intimate outdoor venues fit for a ceremony and reception. Outdoor wedding venues in New Orleans are versatile and customizable. They range from floral gardens to funky modern spaces. With endless opportunities to celebrate, couples and guests can make the most of New Orleans. Ready to start planning? Here’s what you need to know.

How to Select an Outdoor Venue

When selecting an outdoor wedding venue in New Orleans, consider the following factors:

  • Weather Conditions: Account for the city’s hot, humid summers and frequent rain showers. Choose a venue with ample shade or indoor spaces for protection from the sun or shelter during rain showers.
  • Accessibility and Logistics: Ensure the venue is easily accessible for guests, vendors, and equipment. Inquire about amenities like restrooms, parking, kitchen, and bar access to ensure convenience. Consider accessibility for guests with mobility issues and any necessary accommodations.
  • Ambiance and Aesthetics: Select a venue that complements the wedding’s style and theme! Ensure it matches your vision, whether it’s a garden, park, waterfront, or courtyard.
  • Venue Restrictions: Inquire about any venue restrictions or regulations regarding noise, vendors, and decor to avoid surprises during the planning process.
  • Budget Considerations: Understand the venue’s pricing, packages, and additional fees. Factor in costs for rentals, decorations, cleanup, permits, and licenses to stay within budget. Be aware of any hidden fees.

Outdoor Wedding Venues in New Orleans

Some of our favorite outdoor wedding venues in New Orleans include:

  • The Mazant: a Greek Revival mansion with fenced courtyards in the Bywater.
    • Most events are 100-150 guests, though they can host a limited number of large weddings with up to 250 guests.
    • The space features a corner yard beneath an oak tree and a fenced yard connected by a central house.
    • Outdoor features: pool, string lights, fire pit, dining tables. 
  • Race + Religious: a rustic oasis in the Lower Garden District.
    • The space can hold 200 guests for a cocktail-style reception and 90 for a seated dinner. 
    • The venue offers overnight packages for couples and a select number of guests.
    • The renovated courtyard is centered around a pool. 
  • The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum: a unique tropical courtyard in the French Quarter
    • The primary courtyard is 2200 square feet.
    • The venue can seat 130 guests for a ceremony, 150 for a cocktail reception, and 70 for a seated dinner.
    • The space can be rented for 1-4 hours in hour increments. 
  • Derbès Mansion: a restored 19th-century mansion by City Park.
    • The grounds extend 33,000 square feet.
    • Outdoor features: pool, string lights, built-in bar, stocked kitchen.
  • Margaret Place: a charming hotel and venue in the Lower Garden District.
    • Weddings can be booked on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays after 5 pm.
    • Their flat-rate price includes lights, sound, furniture, and more. 
    • The venue offers hotel rooms for couples and their family.
  • Music Box Village: a whimsical and interactive village created by New Orleans-based artists.
    •  The venue requires a minimum guest count of 150 and can fit up to 500 people.
    • The rental price includes an on-site event coordinator and a private backstage dressing trailer.
    • The rental fee grants 4 hours for the event and 4 hours for set-up and clean-up.

Make a Rentals Checklist

Outdoor weddings will require some additional planning and equipment to create the right atmosphere and accommodate guests. Aside from the basic ceremony chairs and reception tables, make sure to include these items on your rental list:

  • Tallboy tables and linens
  • Tents and flooring (depending on the venue)
  • Additional lounge seating, such as love seats or sofas
  • Outlets and speakers
  • Outdoor fans or heaters (depending on the season)

Prepare for the Weather

Hosting an outdoor wedding comes with the risk of unexpected weather. You’re likely familiar with the city’s hot, humid summers and frequent rain. Consider booking your wedding in October or early November for a lower likelihood of rain and comfortable 70- to 80-degree temperatures. If you envisioned a warmer, springtime wedding, schedule your wedding in either April or May—the summer heat sets in by June and usually lasts through late August.

Make sure your rental contracts cover inclement weather. In the event that it does rain, ensure all rental items can still be set up on wet ground.

Plan an Outdoor-Friendly Menu

When hosting an outdoor wedding, you might consider a picnic-style buffet featuring small dishes that guests can easily pick and choose. Incorporate local favorites such as chargrilled oysters or an oyster bar, mini Louisiana crab cakes, boudin balls, beignets, and other bite-sized dishes. You can even create a customized catering menu tailored to your outdoor reception.

Outdoor weddings require significant preparation but create a memorable, beautiful experience. Elysian Events Catering can help your big day go smoothly with full-service catering. Choose from our wedding catering packages or create a custom menu with authentic local cuisine prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Our team can also provide eco-friendly plateware and coordinate rentals. Get in touch with us by sending us a message or calling (504) 541-0091 to start bringing your vision to life!

Planning Your Wedding Menu

At Elysian Events Catering, we ensure that each dish is prepared using only the freshest ingredients, bringing the soulful flavors of Crescent City straight to your table. Our menu pays homage to Louisiana’s rich culinary heritage. 

Whether you envision a traditional sit-down meal or a more interactive dining experience with food stations, our team will work closely with you to curate a menu that exceeds expectations. Buffet-style catering is a practical and convenient choice for outdoor weddings. Here’s why we love it:

  • Flexibility: While the weather or guest count may be uncertain, buffet-style catering allows for flexibility in accommodating varying numbers of guests without worrying about pre-portioned meals. It also allows guests to socialize as they eat.
  • Customization: Buffet setups offer a wide array of dishes, accommodating different dietary preferences and restrictions. From vegetarian options to gluten-free alternatives, guests can pick and choose according to their tastes and needs, ensuring everyone is satisfied. It also eliminates the need to choose meals per guest. Guests can try a little bit of everything!
  • Freshness: With buffet-style catering, guests can enjoy hot dishes while they’re still hot and cold items while truly cold.

Trust Elysian Events Catering

Celebrate your big day at an outdoor wedding venue in New Orleans! By carefully considering factors such as venue accessibility and ambiance, couples can select the ideal outdoor venue to suit their style and preferences.

Trust Elysian Events Catering to handle your catering needs! With years of experience in New Orleans wedding catering, we are experts in crafting the perfect menu for any wedding style. Choose from one of our flexible wedding catering packages or customize your own, and let Elysian Events Catering serve you on your wedding day. To share your vision, simply fill out our contact form, email us at, or give us a call at 504-541-0091.

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