If You Are dreaming of a Jazz Fest Wedding, Here’s How to Make it Happen:
Written by Tracey Sgambato • Featured Image of Georgianna & James Brandt Photo by Unknown
People have been getting married at festivals all over the country for some time now. While it might not be the norm, there are plenty of them! Just pick a festival – balloon festivals, Renaissance festivals, and certainly music festivals!
Here in New Orleans, the festival of choice is clear. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell has been hosting weddings in the Gospel Tent for decades. There is no record of when the first Jazz
Fest wedding took place, but it’s been going on for as long as people can remember!
Although there are plenty of weddings that happen during the Jazz & Heritage Festival, either at the Fairgrounds, or nearby, the Festival folks are not involved with the planning of those weddings. Typically, however, they will facilitate one wedding per Jazz Fest weekend. These couples are selected on a first come, first serve basis, and are the only sanctioned weddings at the Festival. Most often, they take place on the Gospel Tent stage during a ten-minute set break between Gospel acts.
Couples must obtain and bring a marriage license with them to the Festival. They can bring someone to officiate, or opt for the Festival to provide someone. Although there is no special fee to get married on the stage, couples receive no special privileges either. They must purchase their own tickets to the Fest, and they receive no access to dressing rooms. Additionally, friends and family of the couple will have to secure their seating like everyone else – on a first come, first serve basis.
Jazz Fest does allow couples to bring a witness backstage and on stage with them for the vows. Additionally, they often will provide some musical accompaniment from the musicians on stage. Some couples have reached out as much two years in advance to have a wedding (or vow renewal) at Jazz Fest, but usually the requests start in the fall for the following year’s festival.
If you are interested in getting married at an upcoming Jazz Fest, call (504) 410-4100, or visit them on the web at www.nojazzfest.com.
PHOTO CREDIT Left: Robert & Joyce McCoy Photo by Samantha Bohn. Right: Bride Julie Rushing Lee, marrying Wayne Lee Jr. Photo by David P. Armond.