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Aug 8, 2011 08:44 AM

Help finding venue or large wedding reception

Note: Typo in the heading, it should say 'for large wedding reception (not or). >.<

My fiance and I are getting married in New Orleans October, of 2012. He has a sparse few family members there, but the rest of the fam is flying in from both the West and East Coast. We are looking for some help or suggestions with finding a nice place to hold our reception.

Here is the kicker; We could potentially have up to 400 people at our wedding.

Our budget is not very big for this wedding, but the attending list is. I'm seeking help in finding a nice, comfortable, yet inexpensive place to have all of our guests, but not go completely broke.

What we'd like: Indoor or outdoor (the option of a covered area in case of rain would be great; not sure what tent rentals go for), simple, authentic New Orleans cuisine; no need to rent decorating or go through all that hoopla. No outside catering needed, just good, tasty food. We prefer to manage this at $30 or a little more per person. Most people are staying in the French Quarter, so it would be helpful to have the location within walking distance if at all possible.

Suggestions and tips are GREATLY appreciated, as we are both from Oregon, and will only have one day to visit the area when we arrive.


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  1. Ernst's Cafe is about 7/8 blocks W of Canal in the CBD but they have a great bar and restaurant. They have a large upstairs room that can accomodate large groups for events like yours. I would contact them. Napoleon House is another suggestion. Good luck.

    Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
    500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

    1. Apart from what you have already been told, the Two Sisters Pavillion at City Park is a thought. I have been to several receptions there and everything was just fine. But it is not walking distance I'm afraid.

      Other than private Clubs, the only other suggestion I can make is The new Orleans Board of Trade...its a beutiful spot across Canal Street from the French Quarter BUT it ain't cheap..I think the big room is $4K for three hours so that whacks $10/person off your target.

      5 Replies
      1. re: hazelhurst

        I honestly don't think it is possible to do a 400-person event in the French Quarter for $30/head. Latrobe's on Royal won't hold more than 200, Napoleon House can't hold more than 150....any of the larger hotels in/near the FQ can probably accommodate you, but not for $30/head. Hard Rock cafe has an upstairs room, but it won't hold 400 either. Oh, the Riverview Room atop the Jax Brewery will hold 400....

        Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
        500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

        Hard Rock Cafe
        418 N Peters St, New Orleans, LA 70130

        Riverview Restaurant
        555 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

        1. re: Hungry Celeste

          That is quite a task. I'm thinking like Hungry Celelste.

          The old Plimsoll Club might have been a possibility but the new one in the Westin will probably be hotel pricy. Locals, Is Mardi Gras World a possibility? I know they rent out but don't kow any deatils.

          1. re: collardman

            MG world is a cool venue, but I don't know how expensive it is. I went to the Coast Guard gala a while back, and it was much larger than 400 ppl.

            In general, it's going to be tough to find a place for that many people at that price. NOMA is big enough (I think), but you'll have to cater it and arrange for transportation.

        2. re: hazelhurst

          You could take streetcars or cab it to city park.

          1. re: JazzyB

            Trust me, I had my out of town family stay in the quarter for our wedding and to get to the church uptown we had everyone take the streetcar. It was an absolute nightmare. It wasn't even a ton of people but half the cars just drove right by when they saw how many were waiting. What a mess. Especially for 400 people like they said? Don't put your guests through that hell lol.

        3. Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I know, it's really hard :-/. Having it near/in the French Quarter isn't required, just a plus. I'd rather find an area to at least fit everyone comfortably for a reasonable price.

          1. Call Mother's and inquire about "Mother's Next Door."

            I think your $30 PP price range is a bit low, but give them a call and see what you can work out. It will accomodate your crowd and give you a real New Orleans experience.

            Mother's Restaurant
            401 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130

            1. I think honestly, 30 per person for 400 people is low if you're looking for in the quarter (unless you don't have a sit down dinner) You'' be hard pressed to find many places in the quarter that can fit that many. Your best and cheapest bet would be the Warehouse district (potentially walkable from the quarter) they have tons of venues for parties and could do 400 or, as another said, Mardi Gras World but I do think that would be quite pricey.
              Its not a restaurant but I know many have receptions at the aquarium which is in the quarter and could probably do 400.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jmorri26

                All of the Audubon properties charge hefty rental fees, plus you're going to have the considerable expenses of table/chair/linen rentals....before you've even reached the food costs.