Marching into Forever: A Guide to Planning Your New Orleans Wedding Second Line

Hey there lovebirds!

A New Orleans wedding isn’t complete without the iconic tradition of a Second Line parade. If you’re dreaming of a wedding celebration that merges romance with the lively spirit of the Big Easy, why not add a touch of New Orleans magic with a Wedding Second Line parade?

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Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of planning the perfect New Orleans Wedding Second Line.

What is a Second Line?

The Second Line tradition has deep roots in African and Creole cultures, dating back to the 19th century. Ingrained in the cultural fabric of New Orleans, the Wedding Second Line is a centuries-old tradition that adds an extra layer of joy to the nuptial festivities. The “first line” consists of the main event, like a wedding couple, and the “second line” is everyone else who joins in on the fun. Originally an accompaniment to jazz funerals, today’s Wedding Second Line is a celebratory procession that symbolizes the couple’s journey into a new chapter of life.

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I’ve ran in front of many second lines in my time photographing weddings in New Orleans (that’s me down there with the camera) and I have some tips to not only have a great time during your second line but how to get the best pictures out of it!

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Make sure you stay connected!

A second line can be so stimulating you might forget to stay connected to your new spouse! While you should dance your heart out make sure to hold hands and kiss along the way. I’ll remind you several times to kiss throughout the parade but it’s fun to catch all the spontaneous moments of you celebrating together.

Think about having it before dark

Some of the dreamiest second lines I’ve been a part of have been during the day or right at dusk! There are so many benefits to having it during the day from being able to see and dodge the potholes easily to having the best light for your photographs, to it just being a safer vibe.

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Think about changing shoes

With all of the cute bridal sneakers available today, consider picking out a different pair of shoes and spread the word to your guests to consider the same thing!

Pick out an amazing brass band

Not all brass bands are created equal! Without the amazing work that the brass bands put into second lines, we would be walking down the street in silence. Make sure to find a band that fits your vibe! Kinfolk is always a good choice!

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Get a Fancy Umbrella

On top of getting fun napkins for your guests to wave around, you should put some extra effort into getting beautiful umbrellas for the two of you! Try to tie in either the color palette or the aesthetics of the wedding day to your umbrellas. They’re going to be front and center in all of your photos.

Ask for a shorter route

Either your planner or the brass band you hire will spearhead the logistics! Permits, police escorts, and routes can all be handled for you…but don’t be afraid to ask for a shorter route. There’s a sweet spot where the second line goes from fun to exhausting and you want to finish up before all of your guests have had enough. You can always dance with the band at the end to squeeze some extra joy out of the experience.

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Book some pedicabs in advance

Second lines are hard work and not everyone will be comfortable marching through dozens of city blocks. Make sure to have some pedicabs on hand for not only grandparents but for little ones to climb into. This way, they still get to be a part of the celebration without all the worry if they’ll be able to keep up.

Have drinks waiting for your guests

Having a cooler of drinks waiting for your guests at the starting point will make their experience better! Not only are New Orleans’s open container laws a novelty for out-of-towners, but keeping everyone cool is a priority on most Louisiana days. Don’t forget to have water as an option as well.

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