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Happily Ever After: Finding the perfect wedding sendoff, New Orleans style 

Unique and memorable ways to bid newlyweds adieu

click to enlarge Sparklers create a dramatic sendoff.

Photo by Maile Lani Photography

Sparklers create a dramatic sendoff.

New Orleanians love a reason to celebrate. In many cases, when it comes to weddings, the more spectacle, the better. With that in mind, many couples are crafting perfect, Instagram-worthy exits. If it photographs well, it is probably a strong contender.

  "Brides and grooms want to incorporate their unique flair and get the special social media picture," says Mimi White, an events producer for White Oak Productions.

  Tossed uncooked rice is the old-school way to bid newlyweds adieu, and although it's a myth that rice is harmful to birds, the tradition doesn't have much traction today. White says most modern couples do not partake in rice throwing. Instead, bubbles, glitter, streamers and confetti bombs all are on the menu for wedding sendoffs. Sparklers also are a popular choice that add an element of drama to a night wedding.

  Couples who like pyrotechnics can kick up the sparkler concept a notch. White says her team's most memorable wedding sendoff was a fireworks show. Some venues, such as Southern Oaks Plantation, offer fireworks packages starting at $2,000.

  Second-line parades continue to be a strong trend even with out-of-town couples. These parades originated in New Orleans after the Civil War, when slaves, who performed the parade-like procession at funerals and weddings, merged their tradition with European military brass band processions. Today, the Crescent City continues the tradition with parasols, handkerchiefs and full brass bands. Processions typically take over the streets, getting locals and tourists involved in the fun.

  Many couples opt to personalize their second lines with details and objects that are special to them.

  "Some brides like the traditional white bridal second-line umbrella adorned with lace and pearls," says Kim Burr of NOLA Gifts & Decor. "Some brides prefer the more elegant style by adding white boa feathers, fringe and sequined fleur-de-lis appliques."

  Couples often design the second line to reflect their university or favorite sports teams.

  "The first choice is incorporating a New Orleans Saints theme, adding some gold fringe to jazz it up a bit, or their college alma mater," Burr says. "For most New Orleanians, Louisiana State University colors (purple and gold) make a great show."

  NOLA Gifts & Decor handcrafts the materials needed to personalize a second line. If sports teams aren't the couple's cup of tea, the shop can put together a different theme specifically designed for them.

  "What makes this ... unique is how each couple incorporates this tradition into their wedding theme," Burr says.

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