July 1 2024 | Planning Tips

Time To Plan Your Second Line

One of the most fun parts of a New Orleans wedding is the second line parade, a beloved tradition where a brass band leads the bridal party and the guests from the ceremony to the reception venue (it might also take place at the reception.) The first line includes a grand marshal, the brass band and the newlyweds who strut with decorated second line umbrellas. The second line is made up of the rest of the bridal party and your guests who follow behind, dancing to the music, waving handkerchiefs. Second lines can be long or short but keep in mind that shorter might be better for your guests in high heels! Six to eight blocks is the norm.

How to Get a Permit

Before you hit the streets, you’re going to need a permit from the City of New Orleans. You’ll find the forms you need at www.Nola.gov/OneStop. They must be submitted at least 1 ½ to 2 months before your wedding. The cost is currently $200.25. 

Hire Your Escorts

After One Stop receives your parade permit, a notification is sent to the Special Events Division of New Orleans Police Department who will contact you about hiring escorts which are required to close streets to vehicular traffic. You’ll need at least two officers at the front of your parade and one officer as a tail car. Fees for the escorts start at $384.98 for up to 300 people. Groups larger than 30 may require additional officers at the cost of $116 each. If your route includes the closure of a large intersection, you need to hire more officers.

Find a Brass Band

After you’ve filed your paperwork, it’s time to hire a brass band. Prices range between $1,500 and $3,000. You’ll find a list of here

Umbrellas and Handkerchiefs

Finally, you’ll need to find your second line umbrella. We recommend Beads by the Dozen. You’ll find wedding beads for your guests and masks for the bride and groom there as well. You can also find companies who will create customized handkerchiefs for you on Etsy. 

Learn about more New Orleans wedding traditions here